When we were kids, we would spin around in circles really fast and not stop even if we were dizzy. Why would we do that? Because as long as we were spinning, we were moving with the force. If we stopped, there’d be one moment of blissful stillness, and then a wave of dizziness would hit us and make us sit down until it passed, and we regained our orientation.
Today, we live in very stressful conditions that we have adapted to. At any given time, there is a multitude of worries, responsibilities and preoccupations going on in our minds. Yet, we are so used to having all that churning in our minds that it is background noise. Add one more worry or one more responsibility and it won’t make much of a difference. When do we become aware of the stress? When one thing gets out of hand – even if we have been managing fine with it all this time – THAT is when we make a change.
When people end a relationship that has been suffering for a while – usually because they don’t have time for each other – it isn’t a sudden decision. They’ve been spinning around in that relationship for a long time – letting the dizziness grow. Finally, when they cannot ignore the problem anymore, they decide to stop trying hard at the relationship – to stop spinning any further. When that happens, they experience that moment of bliss: ‘Yes, I stopped that unhealthy pattern in my life!’ What happens next? Loneliness and self-doubt crash into them, and makes them wonder – ‘Should I have ended things? Whom will I turn to now?’ Even if the person hadn’t been there for a long time, they at least knew that they could ask when in a relationship. Whom can they turn to now? Everything else that had been hanging suspended in mid-air comes crashing down – and that is when they seek help.
People usually come for therapy when they’ve hit a crisis – not when they’re fine and can figure out ways to avert a problem or cope with it. Why? Because when the crisis happens, we are given a glimpse of our fallibility. We realize that we have been affected by the relationship, and just ending things will not change how we have been affected by it. We get that one moment of clarity before reality catches up to us, and we have to sit down until we feel better again. When self-doubt hits us, we can feel anxious, depressed or hopeless, and that is when we NEED to seek help.
Some people come to therapy believing that they will find the answers to all their problems. That isn’t true. Sometimes, people need to recognise that they are vulnerable in order to benefit from therapy. When someone has been spinning around in circles for a very long time, dizziness is the only reality that they know. Stopping gives that one moment of clarity before reality catches up, and that’s when they have to sit down (i.e. seek help) until they feel better again. This is why insight cannot be forced, and nothing – not even therapy – can get you there unless you’re ready for it. Therapy is different for everyone – it is a unique journey that is shaped by who you are and what you want. What helps to remember is that we are all a work in progress, and coming to therapy can help us get back on track to where we want to be.
Here’s to working towards the best version of who we want to be!
This article has been written by Ms Nandita Seshadri, a therapist, and integral part of Adveka Foundation.