Why go to therapy?
I didn’t believe therapy was a viable way to get help growing up. Especially, secular therapy. There were subtle teachings from the pulpit that leaned on guilting you if you chose to get help from anyone but Jesus or the church. We were encouraged to pray more, worship more, read the Bible more, and meet with our discipler more. As if our discipler and church leaders were the only answer to our mental health.
Indeed they were a direct line to our mental health. As much as they were trying to help us, the system, language, and tactics they used have proven devastating to so many people’s mental health. If you’ve been following me for a few years, I have not been shy about sharing about my own mental health. Or if I didn’t come right out and write it, you can tell I was struggling.
The first time I decided to hire a professional counselor, I was nervous. I had to just go for it and believe that there were answers for me, outside the Bible, prayer, and the fundamental Christian beliefs that I learned growing up. I had to believe that there was TRUTH for me waiting in a different approach. All the years I spent trying to pray my way out of depression, loneliness and confusion had never worked. Maybe because in all those years, I was made to believe that I was unworthy just as I am. I was shown that I wasn’t doing it right. I was being convinced that the answers were outside myself.
I googled “Christian gay counselor” and swiped through websites until I “felt” my way to one. Within a week, I had met my first outside-of-the-church, real therapist. I was nervous and yet, the stories I had to share were at a boiling point. I was not going to tip-toe into this relationship. I needed relief from all that I had been carrying. So, I committed to myself to not hold anything back.
Our weekly calls were only an hour, and afterward, I would either take a nap, journal or head off to run stairs. I took the time to care for myself after these calls because it was important that I really took it all in. I wanted to reflect on our conversation, on what was going on in me, and this honoring of myself took time. She helped me understand more about myself than in all my years in the church. Why? Because I could bare all. I didn’t have to encode my words or avoid topics. She wasn’t asking me to disconnect from what I was thinking and feeling. I was free to speak. I was free to feel. I was free to fully develop my connection to my soul, spirit, and body.
She gave me permission to come back home to myself.