A very frightening thing happened this past week. I had my last visit to my psychologist.
It has been almost two years since I started seeing a therapist. At first it was on a weekly basis, then bi-weekly, then monthly. I have often talked about the mental aspect of keeping myself healthy and recovering. I am certain that without this health crisis, I wouldn't need to see a psychologist. I am also certain that one way or another, I would have gotten myself to the place I am at now. However, I think it might have taken a lot longer and it definitely would have been more tumultuous getting there.
I have always been a mentally healthy person but I don't think one person is capable of maintaining a healthy mind under the particular stress I endured. At some point after I had my first ostomy surgery I was very much in limbo between living a life of a healthy looking person but still dealing with incredibly dibilitating symptoms. As I tried to resume parts of my normal life, it was evident that something needed to change but I wasn't capable of doing it on my own. A friend of my family was very aware of the physical and emotional pain I was in and recommended I talk to someone, and so I did.
The biggest reward I gained from therapy was that I had someone to hold me accountable for the things I wanted to do but was too scared to act on. Throughout my struggles with my doctors here in Philly, I always talked about how I wanted to go back to Maryland but I never did. The more I talked about it, the more I understood that the decision to return to a doctor I trusted was the only way I would be able to come to a satisfying conclusion about what decision to make. Therapy provided me with someone whom followed up with every single thought that came out of my mouth. I am not so certain I would have started working again or returned to school as soon as I did without this.
Before this last appointment it had been over two months since I saw my psychologist but she wanted to follow up with me one last time and officially "close" my case. It was emotional to return to her and know it would be the last time I would share such intimate details of my life presently. But, it was also an appointment less focused on the steps I needed to take to regain my life. Instead I told her about how great it felt to tell my boss about my past with Crohn's, the contentment and challenges I feel as a college student again, and the happiness of being able to share the past few months of my life with amazing people who have accepted me completely.
I know I will be okay without that safety net in my life. But, I am also grateful that I was open-minded enough to understand that sometimes I have to ask for help. I am certainly glad I did.