The Best Gift My Emergency Fund Has Ever Given Me

The Best Gift My Emergency Fund Has Ever Given Me

Something you might not know about me is that I have always been good at remembering dates. I still remember that the first boy who kissed me was born on January 30th. I know I stood on a stage and gave my high school valedictorian speech on June 11th. I wish I could forget that I lost a good friend on August 3rd. I know I graduated from university on October 23rd, which was his birthday. I will always remember the first day I was sober. And I will never forget the date I found out my parents were getting divorced. I haven’t always been good with numbers, but I am good with dates. Dates, I know. Dates, I remember.

I can already tell 2017 is going to be a year where a few new dates burn into my memory. January 29th will be the day I submitted the first draft of my book (and there will be more dates with more milestones to celebrate, as time goes on). February 5th will be the day I reunited with an old friend. And March 20th will be the day I moved to Squamish. But I do believe the most important day of the year, so far, was April 5th. April 5th at 2:13pm PST, to be exact. That’s the day I knew I couldn’t deal with my problems and my anxiety on my own anymore. That’s the day I decided it was time to talk to a counsellor.

Like so many of the big changes I’ve made in my life, this one seemed a little impulsive in the moment. On the same day I wrote about my anxiety and the slow breathing experiment, comments and emails started pouring in, and many of you suggested I consider talking to someone. Then a friend texted and said she had recently found a new counsellor, and encouraged me to at least look around; read through a few websites; see if anyone seemed like they could be a good fit. Within the hour, I had found that person, typed up the email and hit send. Two hours after that, we were on the phone. And the next day, I was in the office.

It seemed a little impulsive, the same way starting the shopping ban seemed a little impulsive and the same way getting serious about my money seemed a little impulsive. In each of those moments, I sort of threw my hands up in the air and announced I was ready for change. But neither of those changes were made on a whim. They were made only after telling myself “I should stop wasting my money,” and “I should look at the numbers and fix this,” countless times before. In this case, I had been telling myself “I should probably talk to someone about this stuff,” for two years. April 5th is just the day I finally decided to do it.

Why I Was Nervous About Starting Therapy

It’s not hard for me to come up with a list of reasons for why I put it off for so long:

  • I wasn’t ready to face my feelings.
  • I didn’t know if it would work. And I didn’t want to waste money on something that might not work.
  • I thought that because I had been dealing with it all on my own for this long, I should be able to see it through on my own too.
  • I felt ashamed* – as though not being able to deal with it on my own would mean I wasn’t strong enough or smart enough or capable enough.

*If you consider how therapy is portrayed in the media, it’s not surprising a lot of people feel this way. The characters never seem to want to go, and the results are often anything but ideal.

When I started searching for counsellors and reading through their websites, I found my anxiety also went up just thinking about how expensive it would be. If you listen to the podcast, you know I’ve been trying to shift from a scarcity money mindset to one of abundance this year. Two months ago, I could barely stomach the thought of setting up a weekly $100 automatic deposit into my investments, because I was worried I would run out of money. Could I really afford to make an even bigger investment in my mental health!? On April 5th, I finally knew the answer: I couldn’t afford not to.

Something shifted in me that day, and I realized it wasn’t a matter of asking for help anymore, or even wondering if it would work. I was just ready. Yes, I was still scared to face my feelings, and I was scared about what kinds of things might come out of our conversations. But I was also tired of living in fear and in pain. When I wrote about why you shouldn’t treat yourself, I shared that my life was unsettled, things were hard and I was sad. Things only got worse, and I could physically see that my usual coping mechanisms weren’t working anymore. In an email titled “My White Flag,” I wrote that I was ready to start doing the scary work.

My Experience With Therapy, So Far

I wasn’t going to share any details about my sessions, but thought it might be useful for anyone who has considered going to therapy to at least hear about the first one in a constructive way. First, I will say I had – and still have – no idea what to look for, when searching for a counsellor. I’m sure there are credentials or types of experience or something you’re supposed to consider. I didn’t look at any of that (and found the sites that just listed all the credentials totally overwhelming). Instead, I did what I always do: read the words and trusted my gut. My gut told me one counsellor would be a good fit, so that’s who I emailed.

Thankfully, my gut was right and my counsellor replied almost immediately. As my friend said, “I think a good counsellor knows there is a short window of time where a person will accept help”. Mine obviously knew this, and I was in the office the next day. I was nervous, but not for any of the reasons I mentioned in the list above. On April 5th, my anxiety had gotten so intense, I was genuinely afraid to calm down. I didn’t know how to do it, and I didn’t know what would happen when I stopped operating at that level. I felt like I was going to burst – and I did, in the sense that I basically cried the entire first session.

My counsellor was incredible through all of it. No matter what I shared, I never felt judged. My counsellor just made space for me, and together we brought new topics out and explored them a little further. Obviously, you can’t fix anything in one hour… but I did gain a lot of insight into where my anxiety was stemming from, as well as why I was feeling and acting the way I had been. We also practiced meditation and mindfulness techniques, which helped calm me down and made me feel like my feet were finally planted on the ground again. I walked out of our first session feeling like a new person, and knowing my problems were fixable.

I’ve seen my counsellor three times, so far. Sometimes we sit in an office. Sometimes we walk around the Brackendale Walking Park. Each time, we talk about different things – usually whatever I am feeling most anxious about that day, and then anything else that’s been on my mind since our last session. It has definitely stirred up some emotional stuff; things I had never thought of before, or had shoved down and forgotten about for years. But it has also already given me an incredible sense of peace – like everything is going to be ok, I just need to do some work. I’ve even had a few breakthroughs that helped me release some anger and feel more compassion.

The Best Gift My Emergency Fund Has Ever Given Me

Looking back at who I was and how I was feeling only 20 days ago, I am so glad I had the courage to send that email. It felt a little impulsive, in the moment. I had only scanned a handful of websites, then quickly picked the counsellor who I thought would be a good fit. Then I typed up the email, and asked the friend who had encouraged me to look for someone if I should send it. She said yes. I hit send. I cried for a minute, feeling scared and unsure of what was going to happen next. But then a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. The first step had been taken. I was going to get some help. New coping mechanisms were on the way.

Therapy isn’t cheap – especially when you’re self-employed and have no extended health coverage. When I write the cheque each week, I know that’s real money that is going to come out of my bank account, and it could add up quickly. But I don’t really have to worry about it… and that’s because of my emergency fund.

During the first year of the shopping ban, I saved more than $17,000 – $10,000 of which went into an emergency fund. Before, I would have told you that money helped me feel comfortable enough to quit my job. I would have told you it helped me stay afloat while dealing with irregular income. And I would have told you it helped me sleep at night. Those things have all been true, but this month my emergency fund gave me the best gift of all: the ability to invest in my mental health. It gave me the freedom to scale back on work. It gave me more time and energy to focus on myself. And it put my life back into my own hands.

There are so many posts in the blogosphere that will make the case for why you should have savings. I know, I read hundreds of them every week for Rockstar Finance. For some reason, though, we still aren’t good savers. I don’t know why that is. Maybe we make excuses for our spending. Or maybe there really is always something that needs to be bought or paid for. I don’t know. But I do know there will come a day where you will wish you had money for something, and savings gives you an incredible gift: options. I haven’t actually touched my emergency fund, but I know it’s there if I need it. That gives me a lot of options, and I am so grateful for it.

Experiment #4: Slow Breathing

I know the month isn’t quite over yet, but I think it’s safe to say this slow living experiment was even more successful than I could have imagined.

  • have slow mornings – done!
  • do yoga 10x (short practices are fine) – nope, might do it 5x but have zero guilt about it
  • meditate for 7 days in a row – done! and doing it almost daily
  • listen to audiobooks/podcasts on this subject – done!
  • go floating at the end of the month – booked for May 5th

In January, when I first decided to do these experiments, I wrote that there was “so much work to be done this year” – and there is. What I didn’t know was that so much of it would be personal work; deep work; work on myself. It’s not going to be easy. In fact, I think some of it is going to be hard as heck. But the cost of not doing the work is far greater – and that’s not a bill I want to receive.

While I would like to believe I would have had the courage to reach out for help on my own, the truth is I know it’s only something I felt comfortable with after more and more people told me about their own experiences working with counsellors. You know who you are (friends and readers alike) and I am grateful for you. If there’s a chance sharing my experience with therapy will help anyone make that decision for themselves, this post is worth publishing. If you want to talk about it or ask me any questions, email me anytime. And if you need an extra push, here’s a reminder that helped me: it’s no different than going to a regular doctor about a physical ailment.

This weekend, the first thing I noticed when I woke up both mornings was that the elephant was gone. My chest felt light. I could finally breathe. He crept over a few times each day, but it never lasted long. I even had my first dance party in the kitchen, since moving in. When I was looking for a picture for this post, I was immediately struck by how beautiful this one with the Tibetan prayer flags was. While there was no white flag – like the words I had chosen to title that first email to my counsellor – I decided to use it. In reading up on them later, I learned the white flag (not seen) symbolizes air – something I am no longer gasping for all day, every day. :)


Books and Podcasts I Consumed This Month

And if you need a reminder that life is a beautiful gift, watch this. <3

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  • I am so very proud that you sought the help you needed, and have the courage to share your story. This is such a powerful post. Bravo!

  • Well done. It takes strength both to commit to spending that money and to accept help. Money spent on your long-term health should be the last thing you cut spending on.
    I think it’s really positive to seek help. You don’t have to be in the depths to do so. Counsellors can help you learn to feel better, about yourself, the world and your place in it.

    • Yes, I think that’s an excellent reminder for anyone reading, Victoria. Anytime is a good time for counselling. You just have to go into it with an open mind, and know it may not always be easy… but it will be worth it.

  • So glad therapy is helping already. I think it is scary to start because you sense it’ll stir up things you haven’t felt or dealt with fully. It takes a lot of courage to make that step. I am really hoping someone close to me will be ready to make this step soon. It’s time. But I know the person has to be ready, and I can’t make that decision. Thanks for your openness here–I know it will help a lot of people!

  • Well done for doing it Cait. It is massive step and I am sure it will help you a lot.
    I have signed up for therapy almost 2 years ago and thought I will be out of there in 6months time,but I am still going there once a week. I was secretly hoping for a quick fix but unfortunately it doesn’t always work like this. I still get days where I think I should stop and put these money towards paying off my debts but looking at how far I have come over these past 2 years I know it is money well spent and I will leave when the time is right.
    Good luck with it and looking forward to reading your updates.

    • And it sounds like you’re doing the smart thing too, by checking in with yourself and making sure therapy is still an investment worth making! If it’s helping, go as long as you need to. :)

  • Good for you! I’m so glad to hear your sessions have been a positive and helpful experience so far. I can understand being hesitant about spending the money – it is expensive – but you are right, what better thing to spend money on than our health? Health is precious.

    I am definitely one of those people who is not good at saving. I’ve always wished that weren’t true, but, alas. For me, it’s that there’s always an excuse for something to spend on, as you said. I think there are psychological reasons why people in general are bad at saving. I was just reading an article a while back about how studies have shown that the human brain is not wired to be considerate of our future selves or future generations, and this is why it’s hard for us to commit to or care about future/long term issues (climate change, etc). I wonder if that also comes into play when we make decisions about whether to spend or save money.

    • That’s an interesting point! I also sometimes wonder if it’s harder to save when HAVING savings isn’t one of your values. We are quick to value things like brand new stuff, travel, etc. and so that’s where our money goes. But if you don’t VALUE having money in the bank, you won’t have any. (And if you do value having that cushion, like I now do, you save some.)

  • Thank you for being so candid about your experience in counseling! Too often people feel ashamed to admit they’re seeing a counselor, which is seen as something taboo. I’ve been in counseling myself for years and on medications to deal with mental health. We need to talk about these things so people are comfortable getting help and living happily.

    I know how daaaaamn expensive counseling is, but it’s the best expense I’ve ever had. I hope you’re on a path to healing. :)

    • It’s so refreshing to hear someone say it’s the best expensive they’ve ever had. Thank you for sharing that, friend. <3

  • So glad you were able to say you needed some help. No one can walk through life alone!! Sometimes that’s the hardest step- reaching out for help. Good for you Cait! I teach yoga and I find I always feel better with a regular meditation practise. A good friend has several on his website that are free for anyone to use- mindfulmike.ca They range in length, which I appreciate on busier days. And SO MUCH YES to treating going to a counsellor like any other doctor. I think everyone should go to see someone at some point in their life-it can do amazing things for mental wellbeing. Sharing your story here can give others the courage they need to reach out for help as well.

    • Oh my gosh, your friend Mike seems like such a wonderful person! Thank you for sharing his site with me :)

  • Amazing post Cait. I’m glad you found a counsellor who you clicked with on your first try. It’s a brave step but glad to hear you are already reaping the benefits. Squamish is the place you are meant to be to start this new chapter of your life. I read Rising Strong a few months ago, such a great book. And you are advocating the words of Brene Brown by being vulnerable with this post. Also seen that video on Ruthie a few days ago, I looked like a hot mess after it. But good to get a good ole cry in. :) Different stories, but on similar paths. Illness, pain, anxiety, depression – they teach us so much. Lately my mantra is – What can I learn from this? I just got around to reading your previous post. I did the course “A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment”, last year. It’s broaches both the sins and habits of what determines a happy and fulfilling life. Lots of food for thought.

    • Oh, I was a HOT MESS the first time I watched it too, haha. Glad we are in that club together, Sharon ;) and “what can I learn from this?” is such a powerful question. I honestly think that’s the mindset I walked into therapy with. Like: ok, the past two years have been really tough, and I have a ton of anxiety right now. What can I learn from all the things that got me to walk into this appointment? And what can I learn when I’m here? Hugs.

      • Another video I would like to add to the Hot Mess club is “Seeing”. https://vimeo.com/37153340 If you get the time it’s worth the watch :) I think a curious and learning mindset can never go astray. Although I totally understand, at times, we just want to graduate and have the lessons under our belt. But lessons aren’t gained without trials and tribulations. You will definitely come away with a lot from this. Hugs from across the ocean :)

  • Congratulations! I am so proud of you for taking this important step. I suffer from lifelong, reoccuring depressions and have been in therapy on and off since I was 10. Finding a good therapist is like finding any sort of practitioner/dr- you need to find someone who is a good fit for you and who makes you comfortable. They will have tools that can help you navigate your life, and manage what you need to (in this case, your anxiety). There’s still so much stigma about mental health and therapy, and even the idea that going to therapy is a privilege, because it’s so expensive.

    I hope it helps, and that you continue to feel calmer, and that you can work through some of these things. As I think back to your earlier writings, I’m not surprised that you are coming to this point. Getting sober and then having a major life change like parental divorce late in life are traumatic things- and worth working through with a trained guide. (I hope this all makes sense and doesn’t sound patronizing…. I’m still getting over jetlag from my amazing trip to South Africa).

    Much love and healing to you and keep writing. I always appreciate your posts.

    • No, it doesn’t sound patronizing at all! Those are two of the biggest things I need to work through. It’s interesting: I would’ve thought that getting sober would’ve solved the problem, and it did solve some. But it also left me with low self-esteem and no tools to boost it. And it meant I had NO coping mechanism for when things were tough (I always drank it away). This is deep work, and it’s time to do it. Hugs, friend.

  • You are such a dear for writing to help others who might need a nudge toward seeing a counselor. I would imagine most of us who have seen a counselor at some point, got a nudge from a friend, a spouse, a
    child. But for those who don’t have that, I hope and believe, your writing helps.
    And when it comes to having a good counselor, any money you pay is truly an investment in yourself; a lifetime investment into what makes you tick. I think that’s a brilliant use of money!

    • I couldn’t agree more, Emilie. Old me would’ve been scared to say that… but one session in, I knew this was going to be a game changer. <3

  • So awesome! Not only are you taking a very brave step in taking care of yourself, but sharing your process is such an inspiring form of vulnerability (I read Brene Brown recently too, and have come to appreciate how crucial vulnerability is to growth). I think it’s pretty crazy to ponder what we are willing to spend on, while forgoing personal development and inner growth. Thank you so much for sharing :)

    • “I think it’s pretty crazy to ponder what we are willing to spend on, while forgoing personal development and inner growth.” <-- YES to that. I once calculated that I have probably spent at least $36,000 on alcohol and drugs... that came with ZERO return on investment. Onward!

  • I too am happy to hear that you took a chance and that it seems to be paying off for you.
    Back when I was stuck in a toxic work environment, I knew that I needed to talk to someone, too. But I didn’t do my homework first and ended up with a counselor that was not the right fit for me. I was so desperate for help, that I just went with it instead of trying someone new. She was able to help me get passed my immediate issues and concerns, but that was about it. I started dreaded going to see her after my first few visits and ended up quitting before I really felt “healed”.

    • Well if you haven’t already done so, I would just like to say… it’s never too late to look for someone new. :)

  • Congrats on deciding you were worth the investment to seek help! It can be scary to take that step, and you’re right, mental health is not often portrayed in a positive light. Self care is critically important, and I’m so happy that you’ve made that commitment to yourself!

  • It takes courage and vulnerability to admit you need help, to know it’s better to seek help than to keep trying to do it all on your own. I applaud you making this step. I’ve been in therapy on and off for many years, and have always found it beneficial. Whether it was regarding romantic relationships, work issues, parenting, general stress and overwhelm, I knew I had a place to go. Now you do too. <3

  • Bravo Cait!!! It is easy to offer help to others yet so hard to seek help for ourselves. So glad you took that first step. Often times we forget that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. We didn’t hesitate to get our teenage daughter help for her social anxiety almost two years ago and it has helped her tremendously.

    • Oh that is so wonderful to hear, Shelly! Especially at a young age. That investment will help her now and in her future. <3

  • Fantastic reading. Having done therapy myself some years ago I can definitely say you’ve made the right decision. It’s not an easy road but worth it in the end. It gave me my life back. I’m with you all the way.
    Good Luck!
    Irene

  • Thanks for opening up so deeply here, I have only ever suffered from stress and anxiety on a mild-middle level. But I know it’s hard to shake off. I am frugal by nature and I suppose I find paying for a massage or spa (things I love to do), too much of a luxury; but that’s where I am not investing in my mental health.

    When it comes to money, it depends what your goals are to what you are comfortable with. I used to think that paying off my mortgage was the most money saving goal I could have. But skimping every month for years to have it paid off fully; will only lead to me feeling deprived. I started a 6 month shopping ban recently from mid December and packed the intensity of it in by March. It actually shot my anxiety up so greatly, that it wasn’t doing me any favours. It did have some positive outcomes though. I managed to save up enough to buy a new car with cash (something we had really needed, we had a tiny car for a family of four for years, but it had started to restrict our adventures so it was time to upgrade to a second hand, family car) and I booked us all a luxury weekend away in the forest (to slow down and curb my anxiety, and it worked it was an amazing weekend).

    • It sounds like what you learned from that experience was how to become a mindful spender – putting your money towards things you actually needed, and things your family valued. I’ve often thought that maybe we don’t need to give ourselves harsh deadlines on things like shopping bans. I learned most of my lessons within the first 7 months. We’ll learn the lessons as time passes, and that’s the most important piece. :)

  • Bravo Cait! Asking for help is a sign of strength within yourself and I wish you much success on this journey of learning more about yourself. Your blog inspires me more than any that I’ve come across, so I thank you for sharing your trials and tribulations to all of us.

    This is money well spent on your mental health and happiness and I applaud you for taking that first step.

    Good luck and I will continue to enjoy your posts. Carol

  • Best gift I ever gave myself was to go to therapy. You will not regret it. It doesn’t matter how much it costs, it’s money well spent. You will thank yourself later. Be proud. Starting therapy is not an easy decision to make.

  • Good on you for taking care of your mental/emotional self. So much focus is put on taking care of the physical self and not nearly enough on the mental. I’m so glad you found someone to talk to. When I was younger I saw a councillor and it made a world of difference to have some listen to me without judgement.

    • I am loving hearing these stories about how people went to it when they were younger. I can’t imagine how helpful it must have been to take what you learned into your future :)

  • It’s awesome that you have taken that step and it’s helping, Cait! Sometimes the best decisions we make are impulsive, such as this one. I saw a counselor several years ago and it really helped – worth every penny I spent! I wish mental health were viewed more like physical health. There’s shouldn’t be any stigma attached to healing, whether it’s physical or emotional healing. Both are equally important!

    • I couldn’t agree more, Amanda. I also imagine that improving my mental health will somehow naturally start to improve my physical health…

  • I love your new logo. I also love the direction in which you are taking your blog. It feels very personal and like a daily diary. I remember my therapy date was January 16, 2012. I had passed a wellness center near my house daily for years wondering if I should go in. That day, my car drove itself into the lot. Not joking…my car felt yanked. And sitting in her office is the woman who saved me from my anxiety. I think what makes a good counselor is one who teaches you tools to take with you. When I read they taught your mindfulness, I thought “Yes!”
    Good luck, Cait!

    • What an incredible story, Amanda – thank you for sharing! Isn’t it interesting how our bodies always seem to tell us what we need? We don’t always listen, but when we do… it just works.

  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse taught me a lot about slowing down and breathing with a cause daily. After I read this over Christmas I have viewed the world differently. I stop and listening and enjoy little moments daily. I keep a copy on my kindle app on my phone, so I can reread it anytime. Great job on seeking help and taking care of yourself.

    https://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-Biographical-Afterword-Hermann-Hesse-ebook/dp/B000FC21PA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1493082592&sr=1-1&keywords=siddhartha

  • Oh wow. Thank you.

    I’ve been knowing I need to go to therapy for a good 18 months now. You nailed my excuses to date: mostly fear (of opening up to someone, of facing myself, of doing the hard work), but also financial. Even though *I have an emergency fund* and *I have options* …but, I grew up in a world of scarcity not abundance, and can’t manage to shush that worrying voice that tells me it’s not enough, who knows what’ll happen next…

    As I was reading through your post, that weight on my chest and ball in my throat got heavier and I thought about the sensation as I was reading. And in the very next paragraph you brought up the elephant and I had a holy eff moment. I now have words for this feeling.

    Thank you for being brave enough to write about this.

    • I’m sorry if the holy eff moment was scary, but I also know how important they are to have. If you ever want to talk more, please feel free to email me, AB. I’m always around. Hugs.

  • Well done! I started therapy in January after having had a total emotional burnout over the Xmas break.
    It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself this year. It is not cheap to say the least, but I am finding that it is worth every cent I pay. I don’t consider stopping it for financial reasons (having savings helps a lot!) as it’s been only 3 months and it already did wonders.
    I hope you will get what you are looking for from your therapy sessions. It’s a scary journey to become a better version of yourself.
    Thanks for your blog!

  • I think everyone has a few ‘skeletons in the closet’, but so few are able to talk about it openly or seek help! And in a world where even therapists are in therapy, it’s only expected of people to wait a long time before seeking professional help.

    I actually understood myself while in college. I studied social work and it has helped me face my own ‘skeletons’. I’ve read so many psychology-related books and had so many “a-ha!” moments, it was kinda scary for a while.

    Making the effort to understand your own behavior and why you feel certain ways is difficult. But once you understand the roots of your problems and learn how to cope, everything changes for the better! And you do feel stronger and more confident in yourself :)

  • How much would you say regular meditation has helped you so far? I’m experiencing a lot of anxiety, anger at work due to an extremely packed schedule. I’m hoping meditation will help me, I’ve done it before but have not done it regularly. Thanks for your reply. New to your site, saw you on Break the Twitch. Enjoying what I’ve seen so far. Thank you for sharing!

    • Hey JD – glad you wrote! I would say, so far, that regular meditation has helped a lot. In my experience, my anxiety puts me in fight or flight mode, which isn’t a healthy state of living (and I’ve been in it for about two years). It makes me say things I wouldn’t normally say, and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Meditation – or really, just the simple act of focusing on my breathing for a while – grounds me. So far, I’m not practicing formal sitting meditation… sometimes I sit in a chair, and sometimes I lay on my bed or even on the ground. But it helps. Another thing that helps is reminding myself meditation isn’t going to cure all my anxiety overnight – but it helps me in that MOMENT, which is all I can ask for. Easing my anxiety for even a few hours is so beneficial. And finally, a friend sent me this quote which reminds me to slow down and breathe when my anxiety creeps in: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” I want to live in the present :)

  • Thanks for sharing this. I too have found myself back in therapy for the past month. It’s been helping, but I think I need more. I’m nervous about going on medication (again), but it’s been such a struggle this year. Mental health issues are no joke. It makes every day so hard — especially to get work done. Hoping we both find health and happiness soon!

    • Do whatever is going to help you, my friend. Only you can know what that is, but I am standing next to you. <3

  • So proud of you, Cait! And thanks for sharing your story. You mentioned two points I want to emphasize.
    1- you can’t afford not to get help. For yourself, for your kids, for your marriage. If counseling is expensive, think about inpatient psychiatric treatment or divorce, and you’ll see what a bargain it really is.
    2- there’s a short window in which people are open to help. It’s sooooo discouraging to finally ask for help and be rejected–or worse, ignored. If someone opens up and asks for help, we need to be present and available. Even if we’re not the right person to help, we can help get our loved ones to someone who can help.

    Big hugs, girl. We’ve all got your back and will be here supporting you in any way you’ll accept.

  • Hi Cait – good on you!
    Reading your post made me think of these two books, which you might find interesting:
    1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin; and
    2. Sarah Wilson’s new book about anxiety — First, We Make The Beast Beautiful.

  • Bravo for the bravery in sharing your struggle, putting yourself first, and your inspiring authenticity.

    Here’s to many more dance parties, calming & mindful moments and living the life you deserve <3

  • Thank you so much for being brave enough to share this. We met with our pastor a few years ago and he told us that yes, therapy is expensive, but what in the world is more worth your money than investing in your own health?

    Having someone to work through your thoughts and feelings with that can give you acceptance, understanding, and just a bit of guidance is something I think we could all benefit from.

  • Well done, Cait! I think most people would be better off with a stint or two in therapy! I know it helped me deal with some things in the past and I’ve been thinking on and off about going back for a little while. I landed in therapy in 2010 after a panic attack. I’d never had anxiety before, at least not in a way that I had labeled, and the panic totally freaked me out. I stayed in for a few years, took some meds, and slowly improved my circumstances to the point where I felt I didn’t need it anymore. So I left! But you can always go back when you need to.

  • Thank you for sharing this powerful story. I think that investing in your health is always money well spent. I started a meditation practice about six months ago, and I can’t believe what a difference it has made in my life. Just 10 minutes in the morning sets the tone for the whole day. I feel calmer, less stress and better equipped to deal with issues that arise during the day. Are you using an app or following a program? I started using Headspace (a paid subscription), but once I felt like I had the hang of meditating I switched to the free Insight Timer app.

  • I heard you talk about this on the podcast before I was able to read through the blog post. I so know how you felt, except that in my case, it was a moderate to severe kind of depression. I was embarrassed to admit that there was something wrong. But when you sit in front of a counsellor and literally cry every time you are there, you know something is wrong. She helped me to make the decision to leave my husband. It was the right decision then and it still is today.

    A good counsellor is so important to help you look at things from a different perspective. Mine helped me to learn Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and it was super helpful. I knew when I talked to her, for that one hour session, it was my safe place. I’m SO glad for you that you are going now and that you did have the money to pay for it. I’m in the states, and even though I have health insurance, it’s laughable and I would have to pay everything out of pocket before hitting my $4,500 deductible. But luckily now, I have some coping skills that I learned from all those therapy sessions.

    Yes, when that elephant gets lifted off your chest, and you finally acknowledge a problem, it is so much easier to breathe.

    I’m very proud of you for having the courage to write about this. I’ve written a lot about it on my blog and whenever I do, people say how much it helps them too. To feel like they are not alone. Because you’re not. We, your readers and podcast listeners, are right here to support you.

  • I love this. I found your blog (do we still call it that? am I showing my age?) today and am loving combing through the posts. I was in therapy a time or two in the past and it really helped get me through some tough times. I haven’t been in a couple of years and last week the thought crept in and now more and more I’m wondering if it is time again. I’m currently happy and thriving, but I know there is some ick lurking under the surface that needs to be tended to. Thank you for reminding me that this is important.