The year is 2006
And I (Carrie) am tentatively taking steps into the world of self development.
I am doing so, because I am monumental amounts of unhappy.
It's getting harder to hide it from the people around me.
Hell, I can't even hide it from myself anymore.
Which is saying something. Because I’m drinking so much right now, that I regularly end up hiding in my own flat from myself.
Even my sweet neighbours are beginning to lose patience with me trying to get into their abode at 3am every week night.
I get myself to the library, and I pick out a book by Dr Phil.
As I read it, it seems alright actually.
Until he starts to tell a story about a woman who used his methods to change her entire life.
Including getting rid of her boyfriend.
Let me tell you, that book went back into my handbag so fast, I’m surprised the giant moustache didn’t come flying off Dr Phil‘s face in the process.
Yes, I was aware that my relationship was crap, but I was feeling bad enough as it is!
The last thing I needed was to rock the boat when I was barely able to grip onto the paddles as it was.
And that, dear reader is the biggest reason that many of us refuse to go to therapy.
Which is a perfectly logical reason to not want to go.
After all, none of us see a therapist because things are going swimmingly.
So the idea of perhaps having to make significant life changes, whilst feeling under par?
It’s enough for any of us to avoid examining our feelings under a proverbial microscope.
The good news is that no therapist would ever strong arm us into examining any part of our life that we weren’t ready to.
Therapy is first and foremost about us.
Who we are. How we feel and respond to the world around us.
After all, we are the stars of our own show.
The cameos should rightly get far less Air Time.
A good therapist will let us come to our own conclusions about our relationships, and merely guide us to do so, in a safe, supportive manner.
And never, ever force us to take action.
In fact, the more self-aware we become, the less likely we are to have sudden knee-jerk reactions.
Some relationships work out, some do not.
But the relationship with ourselves is the only one guaranteed to last our lifetime.
Engaging in therapy is the most sincere form of self care that there is.
And whilst one side effect of it may be that we realise who is a good fit for us, and who is not.
That’s never the main focus.
So please, if that’s your biggest fear about getting help
Please put it aside.
Getting well and staying alive is the important thing.
We can work out the finer details way further down the line.
I went back and read the Dr Phil book, years later when I was in a much better place.
Turns out he didn’t recommend knee-jerk break ups anywhere at all.
l had fixated on one sentence and taken it totally out of context.
And I could have just read it anyway, because I did my usual impulsive break up a few weeks later regardless.
In my then patented highly destructive manner.
It took 11 years after the Dr Phil-gate, for me to finally go to therapy.
By then I was married to the love of my life.
And never once did my therapist tell me anything scary about our relationship.
Please don’t be like me, and wait over a decade to get professional help.
Your are the only one who gets to dictate your actions in a romantic relationship.
You call the shots.
No one else.
Everything is done on your say so.