“So, Rachel,” she started, settling back in the sunken brown armchair in the corner of the room. “Why are you here today?”
I glanced around the surprisingly cozy room, wondering how someone answers that question. It wasn’t like I was at the dentist due to a toothache, or wandering around Forever 21, even though, at 25.5, I had no reason to be there, looking for a choker that I had no reason to wear.
I rubbed my clammy palms on my yoga pants and wondered if it was unprofessional to wear yoga pants here. I mean, I don’t think there’s really a dress code. But I wanted her to see me as normal. Rational. Not one of the crazy-crazy people she deals with.
Fuck. These are the pair with a hole in them.
I glanced back at her probing gaze and tried to formulate how I had felt. How I had been feeling for as long as I could remember. How shitty things had gotten recently. Were they actually shitty or was I just being dramatic? Did I even have a reason? Did I have reason enough? Did normal people just go through hard things in life without help? Normal people do that, right?
My mind wandered back to the guy in the waiting room. Blonde. Bright blue collared shirt. I think he had been sitting in the car I parked next to when I pulled up to the small, renovated house-turned-office. With only three parking spots, the choices were slim, and I didn’t want to make eye contact with him as I scrambled out of my dirty car and up the unknown steps.
I was thirty-five minutes early, but I needed to fill out paperwork. Besides, I hadn’t been productive all morning, thanks to the humming anxiety in my veins. I couldn’t eat the shitty, healthy toast I slathered with peanut butter this morning, and the two cups of coffee I had was only making matters worse.
He smelled like cigarettes as he breezed in the door, and he sat three seats away in the small waiting room.
“Hi,” he said, as he reached for a magazine.
“Hello,” I answered back, in a way I hoped would convince him that I’m not crazy, I’m just here for my emotional wellbeing.
In Sex and the City, Carrie starts dating the guy she meets in the waiting room of her therapist’s office. Well, by “dating” I actually mean “fucking.” But they get together only to realize they’re the human form of each other’s problems. Is that his problem? Is he too relaxed? Does he have no emotions? Is his family perfect?
I picked at the hangnail on my thumb, subconsciously wondering why I always peel the cuticle on my thumb to the point of it growing pink and raw. Why was I here? Why was I in a therapist’s office?
For as long as I could remember, anxiety was just a part of my life. As I got older and family problems got worse (which, according to my mom, there are almost always hard things in life, I was just too young to see it), I started feeling more and more panicked. But was that why I was sitting on a green velvet couch, unsure whether to lay down like they do in the movies and talk about my childhood? Or was it because in a weird “I yearn to be famous and need validation from everyone kind of way” I loved the idea of going to a therapist because it sort of seemed like something famous people did. And let’s be real, I ask people to pass me compliments and validation like someone on a low sodium diet asks for the salt at dinner (Jesus, I’m getting old). But was that it? Was that really the reason? Did that little shallow thought push aside the real panic attacks, the constant anxiety, and the cycles of depression?
Maybe I’m just a sort of shitty, vain person who actually could use the help. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Because after spending sixty minutes in that room and crying my literal asshole out (not a real analogy, it’s fine), I realized that every single person in this world should have a therapist. Talking to someone who was unbiased and able to help me get to the root of the problem. Talking to someone who didn’t want anything from me (other than my money, of course). Talking to someone who actually listened. That’s something everyone should have.
And I know that’s ignorant and spoiled and vain of me to say. Everyone can’t pay $60-120 to see a therapist weekly just because you’re 10 pounds overweight and your parents love your siblings more (not saying that’s my reason. I want to lose way more than 10 pounds). But if you can rearrange your budget, or if you don’t have a budget and you’re just going off of the general principal that you’ll hopefully have enough money, I suggest going and seeing someone. Whatever you’re dealing with, how big or how small or how seemingly life ruining or insignificant, you don’t have to deal with it alone.
Besides, I hear that getting a therapist is the first step towards being famous. And if we can’t all be happy, we might as well be well-known, right? .