I had my first therapy session when I was 18-years-old. It didn’t go so well and when I left I vowed that I would never go back again. I know it takes time and effort to find the right therapist and wish I could have told myself back then what I know now.

ERICA’S FIRST THERAPY SESSION

“Ms. Loberg?” The receptionist had to blare out my name in front of everyone waiting.

“Ah, yes, right here.” I stood up tall and proud. Heck yeah, I want some medication and someone to talk to. I walked into a tiny room and was faced with my “help.” A tall thin weasel man in his early thirties sat behind a desk.

“You must be Erica.”

“Yeah.” I sat down and crossed my arms and legs, refusing to relax.

“What brought you here today?” Here goes everything.

“Well you see I am a senior…never been in therapy before by the way…and I have no idea what to do for the rest of my life or where to go or who will listen and I have no one to talk to.”

“What about friends? Do you have any close friends?” What if I didn’t? He knew nothing about therapy. That question could be grounds for suicide, but thankfully, I had plenty of friends.

“Of course I have friends.”

“Do you talk to them about your worries?”

“Yes, sort of.” What did this bifocal kid, who probably lived a life of nerddom, know about anything. I was a second semester senior about to face the real world in a few short months. I had serious roommate problems, no job and anxiety attacks about the future.

“Do you take any drugs?”

“Like weed?” From his reaction I could tell that he wasn’t asking about recreational drugs, nor was he prepared for the truth.

“Sure, I smoke weed, on occasion.”   The lies felt good. They masked the pretentious judgment I felt searing my skin.

“But you do other drugs as well?”

“No. I don’t even smoke weed that much. Only when I am with certain friends.”

The nerd continued to stare me down.

“Okay. So there are no other drugs being used.”

“I have tried Ritalin. Actually Ritalin is something that a friend recommended for my hyperactivity and inability to sit still, which was really hard to start taking because I hate the idea of taking a drug to alter the personality that God gave you. Like all those kids that are on Ritalin because kindergarten teachers can’t deal with their innate energy. Maybe they should return to the old days when they would simply strap kids to their chairs and not let anyone out, you know?” He didn’t know.

“I see. Well, your time is up. Would you like to schedule another meeting? I would like to explore more and talk a little about your family life.”

“Sure, why not.” I stood up ready to leave this ignoramus.

Fresh cold air hit my face. I thought I would go back. I never did.

Twenty years later I found my way back to therapy and realized I wasted twenty years of opportunities to get help.

Don’t let a bad first session ruin twenty years of a chance to get help. Lesson learned.