Last Friday afternoon, I sat in an uncomfortably short chair, holding onto its arms like I was preparing to be ejected. All I could think was, “This is not my life.” This was my mother’s first counseling session. I was surprised that she went and I was even more surprised by how she acted when the office door shut. I’d been preparing myself for this counseling session for the past few weeks, knowing that she would be reluctant and even defensive about seeing a therapist.
Over the past 30 years, I’ve witnessed events that range from bizarre (anyone want to know how our barn started on fire?) to violent and most of those events have had my mother at the center. Furthermore, these events were something I was told never EVER to talk about. Growing up in a tiny microcosm allowed for gossip to fly across town at the speed of sound itself.
In that afternoon’s counseling session, much to my surprise, her public persona fell away and her true behavior revealed itself. Years of anxiety, depression, and paranoia filled the dimly lit office. As she spoke, I wondered why I hadn’t done this earlier and why mental illness has to have such a stigma.
To me, this was a victory, though not in an epic sense.
Instead, it was simply a turn in the right direction and hopefully, I’ll have a mom again someday.