Post-therapy reflections: Lessons learned and other musings

Last week Friday was my last therapy session. *Exhales*.

What a blessing, and much needed journey of healing, finding myself again and reclaiming the parts of my life that had been stolen by years of trauma. I have been quite open about my mental health journey online, both on here or on Instagram, as much as I felt comfortable revealing. Today, although I won’t go in any more detail about the exact reasons why I had to go through this process, I do have some thoughts I want to share now that I’ve come out on the other end.

This was not my first round of therapy, but the difference this time was the fact that it was actual treatment (CBT – Cognitive behavioural Therapy) for PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). And so this was a pretty intense season of my life, with a very tailored and targeted approach to treating my trauma. To put it simply, it worked. Today I feel free and healed in the areas of my life that needed healing.

One thing I wasn’t fully prepared for, was how open, vulnerable and transparent I would have to be during the sessions. This is one of the things you need to realise before going through CBT – you will be encouraged to reveal your inner thoughts and feelings, in quite a lot of depth. You will be challenged and at times broken, but in a good way – to unleash your real, raw emotions. You will be taken back to dark times, it will feel uncomfortable at times but for the treatment to work, you will have to allow yourself to go there and engage fully with the experience.

My therapist was a male professional who conducted each session with the utmost professionalism and respect. Bearing in mind the sensitivities around my issues, I am so glad and grateful that this was an individual I could trust and be vulnerable with.

Some of the things I learned during the past 5 months of CBT:

  • The importance of being kinder to myself: Seeing myself through the eyes of the older, wiser woman that I am today; being forgiving and proud of myself, as opposed to condemning and ashamed.
  • My life isn’t defined by one or two unfortunate or traumatic events. There’s a much bigger picture, ever piece counts and is part of my story, both the good and the bad. Seeing my life as a literal timeline, written black on white, helped piece together my story. I had almost forgotten how rich it was.
  • Every single one of my actions and behavioural tendencies can be explained. There’s a reason behind the things I did as a younger woman, especially during my childhood and teenage years. There’s a reason why I felt, acted, or lived a certain way. Even today, more often than not there’s justification and reasoning behind my actions, if I just take the time to dissect and process them.
  • I am loved. Somebody somewhere is proud of the woman I have become. It is time I started to believe this too, and lived in this truth.
  • The importance of being in the present, the here and now. This also means understanding both the similarities and differences between my past and my present, and being able to focus on the present and what is true about my life today.
  • Trauma does not have to follow me around. There are ways to block it out, and the power to do this is within me. The same way my anxiety can be managed, and the negative feelings I have towards myself can be silenced too.

It feels great to be writing about this, post treatment. This is true closure for me. I can finally conclude this chapter of my life and turn the page. And I hope and pray that those of you currently going through therapy or some form of treatment for your mental health issues will get to experience the liberating feeling I am feeling right now.

To find out more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, click here.

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