I’m back in therapy lately, did I tell you? After however many years away. It’s good, I need it, it’s helping, etc. For the longest time my mental health regiment was: writing. It worked for a very long time! Really well! Until it didn’t seem to be helping as much as it once had, at which point I added: running. Which was. more work, but still great. It helped. But over time, as literally everything around us has continued its cannonball descent into horrifyingness, writing + running no longer cut it, and I avoided the decision for as long as I was mentally able, and even a little past that, until Yes, my body said, you are literally experiencing the world in black & white, and every morning you find the list of reasons not to get out of bed a little more compelling, enough, we’re going back to therapy.
Around that same time one of the websites I use gave me a discount code for another website, an online therapy thing. Which I was excited to try. Things were pretty dark at that point, and I was fairly desperate to find something/someone quick. But I tried 2 therapists and they were both incredible duds. There are a lot of different ways to do online therapy, I learned, and having a professional to text about what’s going on in your brain turns out to be a popular way to do it. But it’s not what I want or need – I want regular therapy, but online, with video. Just normal face to face unloading without having to physically go somewhere. I was about to give up but then gave it one more shot and the therapist I matched with (?/!) was amazing, clicked instantly. They gave me prompts for things to discuss and we jumped immediately into video chat and it’s good, it’s been good.
I haven’t approached therapy this time around with a particular agenda or over-arching set of things I want to work through, it’s mostly just: life is hard, things are bad. But in and around all the things we talk about, we have been talking about mindfulness a lot. How can I be more present, in the moment, with the people around me? That poem by Marie Howe:
It tf me.
So often I find I have no accounting for where the days or weeks go. I just get from place to place, with things happening around me, always thinking ahead to the next thing, always worried about missing or forgetting something in the future, mentally revisiting some past wrong, plugged into my earbuds or my screen and drowning out whatever is meant to be happening at that moment. Busy, to no clear end.
So: mindfulness, attempting to make a habit of being more in the moment, learning to break myself out of the shell that protects me from my life. I have this app and all it does is ring a bell a few times a day. I set it for weird intervals so I’m never sure how far ahead the next one will be.
And the thing is: it shocks me out of wherever I am, every single time. I suddenly get pulled forward into the present moment. I breathe and I name:
- the things I see,
- the things I hear,
- the things I feel.
It is incredible, the sense of distance I experience, the sense of being physically pulled away and back into myself in the present moment. Where even was I a few seconds ago? I never have any idea. I was looking at something, thinking about something, not thinking about something. I’m whisked out of that and into the now, and it always feels like such an incredibly long distance to travel. But I do it, and keep doing it. However far away I get, I’m moving back to myself. I’m on my way.