It was a few days after I witnessed the death of my identical twin sister when I found myself in the waiting room of a counseling center in my hometown. I had never been to a therapist before so I had no idea what to expect.
I sat there in a fog in oversized sweatpants and a sweatshirt that I had on the night before. My hair was dirty and my face was definitely not washed. I was hanging on by a thread.
As I sat there, another lady came into the waiting room and was distraught. I felt for her and it made me feel a little less alone, but not for long. She continued to cry and talk to the receptionist about how she “might not be able to carry on.” I was thinking maybe she just lost her child, her husband, her sister, but no, I was wrong. So wrong.
Her cat died.
Listen, I love cats. Like I could easily fall under the definition of “crazy cat lady” and I’m genuinely not trying to minimize her loss. Pets are like family to many and they help us through horrific times, so I get it, but this was the foreshadowing of what I was about to experience with this therapist.
My name was called and I looked up to a man wearing sunglasses. I got up and followed him into his office. I sat on a couch across from a big window. He sat down in a rolling chair and scooted towards me. He was awkwardly close to me and kept his sunglasses on the entire time. Thinking back, he might have had a sight impairment, but it should’ve been addressed if that was the case.
The awkwardness didn’t stop there. It was a grueling 50 minutes. He asked me “what happened” and just stared at me. There were way too many long pauses and moments of silence.
You have to remember this was only a few days after I experienced true horror and witnessed (heard, saw, smelled) things no one ever should. I could barely remember my name let alone answer his inappropriate questions.
Looking back, I really hate that I had to deal with this. This was my first time meeting with a therapist and I wasn’t even in the right condition to be driving. My mom drove me there and waited in the parking lot.
I wish I had gotten up and said “thank you for your time” and walked out within the first few minutes (or not have said anything at all-remember, you don’t owe anyone anything). I felt worse leaving than I did going in. I was afraid therapy “wouldn’t work.” And that there was no hope for me.
That is so wrong. There was hope and I eventually found the “right” therapist after meeting with one more “wrong” one.
I’ll share with you about the “right” therapist soon.