Therapy: The New Coffee Date Conversation

About one year ago I was sitting at a Starbucks at a meeting with another female entrepreneur. We were talking about the challenges we face about running our own businesses and about life! I opened up about the personal struggles I was having and feeling like I was not in charge of my own life. It was a great conversation and felt good to just open up about what I was experiencing. Then, this woman whom I admire for her success and authenticity asked if I’d ever thought about talking to a therapist. Now my initial reaction to this question in my mind was “What?! Me? Do you think I have that bad of issues?” Maybe I shouldn’t have told her so much about me, I felt a little embarrassed. But then she mentioned it had really helped her. I was suddenly curious. Maybe therapy was for “normal people,” successful people, confident people...people who just wanted to be genuinely happy.

I thought about this conversation for an entire year. During rough times I thought about making an appointment, but then things would feel better so I thought I was okay. My life was a bit of a roller coaster so this is why it kept coming up in my mind multiple times. I was running a start-up business, adjusting to a new relationship and working at a job that I wasn’t passionate about.  I often felt burnt out and like I was living a double life. I was experiencing the highs from entrepreneurship and following my own passions. Then lows when I was working at my day job in customer service. 

The pressure from both careers gave me anxiety. My expectations for myself were so high and I wanted to be able to deal with it all and keep a brave face, but I couldn’t. I felt like I was slapping on a smile but holding back tears. I knew this wasn’t how I was meant to feel. I couldn’t keep doing this every day. I knew I had anxiety but was I depressed? Probably, but I didn’t want to put that label on myself. 

I needed an outside perspective of my own experiences and situation without a personal opinion from a friend or family member. I had been so unsure of myself for so long that I had been seeking the answers from others without tuning into myself for what was truly good for my own happiness. This is why I knew I needed some help. I needed to release all of my emotions, fears and frustrations in a healthy way. I felt stuck and the only way to get unstuck was to try something different. 

I had no idea what to expect when I made an appointment. I chose Exhale because it looked less “clinical” and more casual for a safe conversation. I could tell they valued wellness and natural health which was really important to me. It felt good to just talk to someone and voice my problems without trying to hold it together or worrying about what they would think of me. I felt a sense of peace to get everything out of my head and be honest about what I was struggling with. It was hard to come to terms with the things I was holding onto, but no wonder why I felt like I was carrying 100lbs on my shoulders. I was carrying a bag full of past feelings while trying to run a new marathon with new obstacles. I felt weighed down when I needed all of my energy for my current ventures. I needed to get rid of that heaviness as well as dealing with my day to day anxiety and learn how to manage it.

My journey with therapy is only just beginning but I am very hopeful and know that the tools I am learning will help me to manage my anxiety, deal with my feelings and lead me on a better path to happiness. I know this is my time to get back to feeling passionate, calm and confident. In order to be successful, we have to reevaluate our current situations and coping mechanisms in dealing with stress. To be able to move forward I first need to slow down and face what has been holding me back. It took a lot of courage for me to admit I needed help, but I feel stronger because of it and by letting go I actually feel like I am taking back control of my life. 

Writer: Anonymous