Today, my therapist hugged me.
I walked out of the office, sat in my car and cried.
I cried because I recognized something in that hug: my therapist recognized something in me.
Months of talking, crying, reasoning, medicating, what-if-ing, experimenting, and facing the deep, dark, twisty stuff and my therapist has never hugged me until today. So, I sat in my car and I cried. And it was a moment of joy.
Yesterday, I filled out divorce papers. I also received three rejection letters from publishers. I called my best friend in the middle of the night and sobbed because I felt like I had made zero progress in moving forward with my life. I told her that I feel like I’m hitting rock bottom in a lot of ways. I’m an alcoholic. I’m flirting dangerously with anorexia. Most days, I don’t get out of bed and my search for a job has been put on hold indefinitely because I just can’t face the world right now.
But, today, sitting in my therapist’s office, I realized that, in actually admitting how I feel to both the doctor and my best friend, I am making progress. That, in hitting rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Yeah, divorce sucks. It will take pieces of you that you feel you might never regain. It will leave you crumpled in a corner, drunk on Goose, chain-smoking and wearing a blanket over your head like a Sith Lord. But it doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a pariah. Someone will eventually love you again. Maybe they already do.
Rejection letters from publishers suck, too. But, guess what? It happens to every single writer on the planet. And it serves as motivation to write better, try harder, experiment with different ideas.
And admitting that you have problems… well, I guess that’s the first step in correcting them. So, while maybe I’m not my best self right now, I can at least acknowledge that and take action to be better. Because I value myself and I deserve to feel good again. Another benefit to admitting where you really stand is that your loved ones get the opportunity to help. By denying how much you’re hurting, you’re not only lying to yourself, you’re lying to those that might be able to help pull you out of your darkness.
So, when my therapist hugged me, I hugged back. Hard. Because I suddenly saw progress and it gave me hope.