Graduation

Graduation season is upon us once again. Caps flying through the air, tassels waving to and fro, and young minds full of dreams ready to take on the world.

I faced both graduations – high school and college – with a measured mix of trepidation and excitement. Eagerness for the next chapter, and fear for what lies in store… yet somewhere in the midst of it, hope to find the courage to endure it all.

Yesterday, I had a different sort of mini graduation – but it carried the same emotional weight as a graduation from a big university.

I completed an eight month run of behavior-focused therapy. That’s not to say that I’m done with it forever, but I have put forth my most life-complicating issues, and was aided by a professional in finding the skills and tools needed to handle those issues effectively and productively.

I was advised to take the route by my doctor, who was hesitant to give me a particular prescription without me showing a willingness to put forth the effort to make improvements on my own. Kudos to him, really. Because prescriptions may help, but not if people use them as a solution instead of an aid. But anyway…

It’s hard to admit that you need help. It can feel like failure, at times. But I am happy that I did so.

What I’ve gleaned from these sessions is that sometimes, it seems impossible to tackle roadblocks on your own, but with outside perspective and some useful skills, they can be toppled. And learning to cope makes it easier to move forward.

I’m not going to give a laundry list of the issues I needed to address, but one of them was that I had developed some obsessive checking behaviors (triple checking things were unplugged before leaving the house, triple checking that I had put down the garage door, etc.) which were occasionally causing blows to my punctuality, and being able to discuss that with my behaviorist has been an incredible help.

We dove into the “why” part of the issue, figured out what those behaviors stem from, and she asked me to come up with a plan for limiting, if not eradicating those behaviors. And now, after a few months, I only check everything once and can leave the house confidently.

Of course, that’s only one thing we worked on. I was fearful going into it, and it was hard to admit to needing help, but I appreciated having someone take a look at my damaging behaviors and not only not judge me for them, but encourage me to find the root of the issue and assist in planning out a course of action. I now feel equipped to handle new issues as they arise, and not let fear inhibit me from chasing success.

I had my last session yesterday, and left the office feeling like I had graduated. No cap, no gown. I’m not “fixed” or “cured” but I feel better. Lighter. More confident. I needed help, and I got it, but also was encouraged to find ways to help myself. And if I need help again, I no longer dread seeking it.

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