My Journey with Psychotherapy
My story starts with the aftermath of getting divorced over 16+ years ago. Instead of facing the emotional pain of the ending my marriage, I decided to fill every waking hour with distractions. I worked 8-10 hours as a director in a non-profit 5x a week in the city's east end. I started teaching 2x a week as a professor at a college in the city's west end.
I was a substitute spin instructor in the evening in my neighborhood 1-2x a week. And I started dating someone new. There was no room to feel my feelings, and I ensured it.
As you might imagine, after six months, the intensity of those distractions caused me to crash and burn, and I could not keep it up. While my workplace did offer an employee assistance program, it left me feeling cold and unsupported. I shared this with the human resources manager, and as an alternative, she sent me to the Gestalt Institute of Toronto.
There, I began my self-work with the Executive Director at the time, Joanne Greenham, and my life started to transform.
Joanne, may you rest in deep reverence, and may the memory of your impact be eternal.
Therapy helped me feel my feelings for the first time. I learned to be present with what I feel now. I learned to speak up and use my voice. I started to understand that my needs matter and have always mattered. I learned to put myself first and fill my own cup before allowing it to overflow into others.
I learned that saying no and establishing healthy boundaries is an act of self-love and respect. Some may say that this radical act is selfish. The way I see it, the more I behaved the same way in a changing world, the more I got stuck in repeated patterns and experiences. Those patterns did not support my highest good.
The definition of selfish is concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.
How could it be selfish to allow myself to be the best version of myself, thereby permitting others to be the best versions of themselves?
I learned that I have respect for myself and an equally big, generous heart. I need to give that generosity to myself.
There are plenty of gifts of generosity to share with others, and I enjoy sharing, whether it's my time, energy, effort, attention, love, respect, trust, or money.
To me, that is not selfish. It's a shift in my priority and protection of how I choose to share my gifts with the world.
Therapy has also taught me that people who surround me often want me to stay the way they remember because, at times, it benefits them and their narratives.
When I changed, so did my relationships with others.
I said goodbye to many friends and family members when I started to heal my soul.
I even lost the relationship and connection with my mother, who is no longer a part of my life.
Psychotherapy takes work. It demands commitment. And it requires YOU.
It was my guide from one neglected, familiar, and toxic way to a healthier way of being my true authentic self.
It takes bravery and courage to go against everything you are born into and be something else, someone you were always meant to be.
As difficult as my journey has been, I would not change a single moment of my life experiences. It has shaped me into a beautiful, authentic, soulful being.
Now, I have attracted, grown, and developed an inner community of friends and supportive beings of all ages, races, and religions. I had to face and understand my values, wants, and needs. We support each other the way we need it. We work through our emotionally unsupported upbringing, childhood traumas, own biases, inner + external criticism, internalized + externalized racism, judgments, and societal + social media pressures. I've accepted the beings that come, go, and stay as my noble teachers. My evidence of all the challenges of this work reflects the beings I surround myself with.
Moment by moment. Experience by experience.
My gratitude is unprecedented.
Over the years, my journey took me to many therapists, healers, and spiritualists in Toronto and worldwide. Now, it's come full circle. After fifteen years, I am back at the Gestalt Institute studying to be a psychotherapist.
My life path has led me to support others to be
fully heard, seen, and felt.