Therapy Saved My Life ..

You're only given a little spark of madness. 
You mustn't lose it.
- Robin Williams

I had an interesting talk today with someone I consider my elder today. Recently I've come to the realization, with the help of therapy, that I'm not really acting like myself. I mean for the longest people who really know me have said it to me numerous times when I came around to hang out. I never really understood what that meant, because in my mind I just thought I grew out of things, and simply just calmed down. But as I looked deeper within myself the past couple of weeks, I actually see what they are saying. I am a man who prides himself on having a great mental prowess about himself, meaning I understood that 95% of the battle is all in the way we think things are, therefore I was able to will myself through a lot of situations and have an better understanding of things.

I just wanted to state this before I said it, I never down talked the Army in any capacity, I was warned ahead of time the nature of the beast and what I was getting myself into, but I chose that lifestyle because it's something that I wanted to do for personal reasons, so with that said, I have no ill will or malice towards it. But I seriously think that the whole lifestyle you have to live wasn't suited for me, and with me telling myself that I would play the dog and pony show, I never really got my mind out of that fall in line, don't think more than you have to lifestyle. I mean there were flashes in the pan that I had and people were surprised by what I knew, but more times than none I just kept my mouth closed because I didn't want to seem smarter or give the impression that I knew more than those in charge of me. Because let's face it, at the end of the day, people are pretty petty when they see you as a threat, and I was just there til the end of my contract and it was never that serious for me.

But with the fact that there were plenty of situations that made me frustrated and I couldn't do anything about it but ride my contract out, I became stressed and the fact that I worked 24/7 most of the time and never really got to spend time with people that I actually liked and loved I was a little on the depressed side. Especially after going to Iraq, but that's a situation I'd rather never talk about in my life. But when I got out, I realized that there were things that I didn't really enjoy anymore, I kind of just didn't want to be bothered by most, so I became kind of closed off, and to myself. For a good eight months after I got out, I was just doing my own thing. Going to movies, eating at Chic-Fil-A, just walking around stores by myself, I just needed the me time to recollect myself. For the most part I thought I got it together, I thought I had it in check. So I decided to branch out and be social again. I went out a couple times to the club and realized that it's not my scene anymore. I think that I went to the couple a handful times since then and I think it's only when I went to the thirty and up club that I actually enjoyed myself because it was about the music and the people that I was with, even though I'm not 30 lol.

Fast forward through the rest of the year and to April and it was then that I realized that I couldn't do it by myself, I just couldn't. I realized that mental prowess that I once had, was all but gone, and that in order to get it back, I needed help to get back to that level. I will say that I thank my ex for talking about the importance of seeking help, especially with me being an African-American male. I just want to say, people who have had bad experiences with therapy should try going back again, because it's like anything in life, if you don't have the right therapist that can make themselves feel relatable to your specific life, then it won't be a great experience. I've been fortunate enough to have two different ones, the first being a graduate student, that really related to who I am as a person. It also helped that they were African-American women. But the latter of whom I'm seeing now is quite possibly the perfect fit. She's unconventional, uses crass language, and genuinely cares about her patients. I have to say she's the most wittiest person I know, and she's constantly challenging me to be a better man, a better human being.

I was looking for a Robin Williams picture to go along with the quote above and I actually saw this gif and thought it fit perfectly with the realization that I came to when I was in therapy. When my close friends tell me that I've changed, I automatically realized that the main thing they are referring to is my confidence. I realized at a young age that I could do anything I wanted to in the world. I knew it didn't matter how smart you had to be, how tall you had to be, or how many people you had to know, I just knew I could do it. That's why a lot of my close friendships have stood the test of time, because I was confident in them. I was confident in myself enough to lead most situations and give great advice. I don't give advice based off of what I think I knew, but off the situations that have occurred to me or other people, basically I learned and adapted. And my therapist explain those are the kind of people that other people follow, those are the kind of people that people want to see in front of them in pressure situations. To this day it still amazes me that one of my former coworkers in the Army looked me in the face and said, "if I had to go into a combat situation, I would follow your lead 10 times out of 10 because I know you'll have my best interest at heart before your own". Things like that genuinely surprise me because I don't act on doing things because they're for my own gain, I just do it because it's, right.

And that's part of the conversation that I had with my elder today, he reminded me that back in the day, no man was perfect by any long shot, we all had our demons. Sure you have those  guys that made far less mistakes than everyone else because they learned from other people's troubles. But at the end of the day, you put on one pants leg just like I do, so there's nothing that you can do or I can do better than anyone else, it's just how much thought someone is willing to put into it. He said that one of the mistakes that people make nowadays because of the times is that everyone thinks that they have to have their life in a certain order or level, or that they will one day have it together. He said that's like trying to make the perfect circle, yea you may get there 80% of the way or even 99%, but you'll never be 100%, because life isn't about having 100%, it's about being 99% and appreciating that imperfect 1% for making you have the insight to appreciate that 99% a little more.

I'm going to get into that conversation with my elder in a later blog, but after having that talk, I appreciate my therapist that much more. She didn't sit me down on the couch and let me talk all my problems out and then gave me a cookie and said "awe it will be alright, here's how to make everything better". My therapist literally ripped me apart. She dissected all of my actions, my history and shit just critiqued me like no other. She literally showed me every single thing that I've done wrong in my life. At one point I was really considering not going back. I was open, I told her all of my fears, concerns and worries, and she just destroyed me. I was actually in my feelings after every session for two months, for two months I came home, turned on slow jams while I was taking a shower, sang my heart out to the point of tears. I mean if you look on my iTunes, Please Don't Go, Someone To Love, Wish U Were Here & Just Give Me A Reason are all my top songs played. But something in me told me to keep going, keep going back and listen to what she had to say.

Then she tore me apart some more, until last week. Last week was the day she sat me down, and said to me, "For weeks you've been coming, for weeks I've been giving you hell and I didn't let up on you one bit. You kept coming back time and time again because you wanted to be a better person, you didn't see it that way, but I did. With most of my patients they need some sort of direction, they need to be led somewhere, not you. You wanted to know how to fix yourself so you can be better son, brother, uncle, friend, boyfriend, one day a better husband and father. That to me is the easiest person to help get back on their feet  because you know what life is about, you've just lost your way and need help back on the path". Robin Williams once said:

"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." - Robin Williams

To be honest, I felt that way for the last four years and I didn't realize it til I sat and talked to someone who broke it down and make me realize how faulty my mentality was. It wasn't til I lost someone, who I for the first time in my life cared for more than myself, that I realized that I needed help being me again, and it has paid off tremendously. The returns on how better I'm feeling about myself now is feeling great. I'm not there fully and I haven't quit therapy, but everyday is better than the day before, and I'm slowly regaining who I was when I was legit happy and didn't worry about much. All of this thanks to my ex who pushed therapy, my therapist who pushed me and most importantly God who continues to push me towards the man who he wants me to be.

Side note before I go, I realize that my blogs are getting longer in terms of writing, I know this and I'm glad because I'm able to go into more detail about things that I normally wouldn't write about, but I realized that someone out there might click on my link and see that there's someone going through the same thing or worse than them and that there is hope for them to turn it around in their own personal life. I'll admit being open like this is new for me, I also feel like bloggers have to be completely immersed with their writing to gain those special connections between them and the readers, and that's all I'm trying to do. Until next time.

"What's right is what's left if you do everything else wrong." - Robin Williams

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