The Road Back To Therapy
Welcome to an imperfect journey called mental healing!
Text by Şevval Yürüten
Which one is harder, I wonder, starting something or restarting it? If we could begin again everyday, would that make the act more trivial, mundane? Each start gets me excited and stressed out at the same time, because beginnings matter; because if the beginning’s perfect, that’s how the rest will follow. But here we are at Wonderflaw, where this illusion seems to be utterly irrelevant. The very fact that my first words at this wonderful and imperfect playground are on going back to therapy is quite ironic, baffling, befitting, and honestly, very very delightful.
Welcome to the scattered journey of a busy mind!
My first experience with regular therapy was three years ago. After a rocky two years, I bid farewell to some flaws and took some to accept the wonderflaws that are a part of who I am. Everything was “stable and healthy”, and I was rejoicing with my 2.0 self, when abrupt life events made me lose all control.
And I went back to therapy.
During the first session, I frantically talked about the unexpected turns of events and sudden losses in my life. Next time around, I explained how the changes were exhausting me emotionally and how much I yearned for a mental vacation. After that week, I took that long-deserved break and it felt so right to be on the road with myself. Upon my return, I mentioned this article to my therapist, who straight out asked my motivation for restarting therapy. But really though, why was I there?
The question occupied my mind for some time, and I found the answer in my old, now-cringeworthy behavioral patterns that I’d thought I had nothing to do with anymore. It certainly wasn’t easy to accept the sense of mental power the 2.0 Şevval had earned with years of regular therapy. In a reality where nothing is constant, did this count as a setback? Or was I being rather unkind to the wonderflaws of my mind?
The hardest part of going back to therapy was accepting the sheer need – once again. Just when I thought I had reached the calm mental state of my new chapter after dizzying efforts, I felt a profound disappointment in my bones. Wasn’t I “healed”? Then I realized, the guilt of this self-defeat was the very thing that actually invited me back to therapy.
As I pondered if this inner battle would last forever, my therapist introduced the notion of Third Wave Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, that examined this inherent chaos. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a prominent therapy model of the third wave, aims to increase psychological flexibility by teaching individuals how to gain awareness for and embrace their thoughts, emotions, senses, memories, and incidents.
Can a contemporary mind’s obsession with self-healing and progress be limited to therapy sessions? In my opinion, it’s fairly unrealistic to regard “healing” as the terminus of therapy. And to think you will never feel bad after that point onwards. The new-generation approach mentioned above emphasizes the importance of making peace with the presence of flawed behaviors (gently deemed “dysfunctional”) instead of completely eliminating them.
Yes, I’m back in therapy. Yes, it hasn’t been easy for me. And yes, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that a mental journey is incessant and never perfect. Maybe I was upset to be greeted by the mess of my mental rooms which I had Marie Kondo-ed religiously. But don’t our minds, quite like our homes, get messier as long as we are here and alive?