“Why do you go to the therapist every week? Who goes to a doctor when they’re not sick? You’re healthy, you don’t need to go.”
My dad tells me this in the car Tuesday evening after picking me up from the train station. The question makes me choke, catching me off guard again. It’s the second time he asked me this week and I still don’t have a response for him.
I told my parents about my depression about a year ago, when it became unbearable and I thought taking Zoloft would help with the aching in my chest.
It didn’t because there’s no one-way cure for all my mental health problems and anxiety.
Two months ago, I realized avoiding my problems didn’t really help. I got anxious about little things, felt insecure in any of my relationships, and felt unmotivated to accomplish anything. I wanted to keep running away but that meant becoming a person I didn’t want to be.
“Did you cancel the rest of your therapy appointments? They’re pointless,” my dad tells me in the car yesterday.
All of our important conversations happen in the car because we don’t know how to communicate outside of that space. They don’t understand why I feel more comfortable talking to a stranger about my problems than them. They think it’s some new age millennial bullshit telling me to go to therapy, because why would I have issues when I have them for financial stability? What do I possibly have to stress about? After all, they let me change my major to something that makes me happy, they let me live on my own during college, and they have given me everything I wanted.
I don’t know how to tell them that I’m unhappy with everything still, that even when things go my way, I still feel sad and lonely. Incredibly lonely.
I don’t know how to tell them I go to therapy because I want to figure how to manage my emotions, communicate better, and become a better person and the daughter they want. I don’t know how to tell them I go because I don’t love myself, but I want to learn how to accept myself more.
I don’t know how to answer so I respond in anger. I snap and scream at him, frustrated with myself for not being able to talk, frustrated with him for not understanding why I feel the need to go, frustrated that we both don’t know how to talk to each other without screaming.
I noticed even in therapy I don’t know how to talk about my emotions, how to actually communicate with someone else about my life and problems and things that make me upset.
I notice this with a lot of my friends, too, and with romantic partners. We all don’t like talking and being vulnerable with someone, so we send memes about our feelings, or say “lol” after a serious text because we don’t want to confront someone head on and talk things through. We have a fear of emotional intimacy because we don’t even know how to cope with it ourselves, so how can we trust someone else to deal with our insecurities and true feelings?
I don’t know how to tell my parents I go to therapy because I want to be able to talk to them more, that I want to learn how to manage my sadness so I can be happy around them.
But I’m learning, and taking the steps to maybe to one day have that conversation with them because that’s all I can really do.