• Kristina Cherep

Go For The Tune Up ; Don’t Wait For The Breakdown

This is pretty applicable to a lot of different things, such as your car. Usually if the check engine light goes on, you take your car into the shop to get it fixed before your car stops working. The same goes for your mental health! How? Well let me tell ya...

I started therapy in June 2017 and that lasted until September 2017. I remember the feelings that rushed out of me when my therapist told me I was done. Not completely done, but that we could start seeing each other once every few months or whenever I needed a tune up. When she said the phrase tune up it felt kind of weird, but I just nodded my head and agreed that I would definitely come in whenever I needed a tune up.

I didn’t really think about what a tune up might be like or when a tune up should happen. I was on cloud nine from “graduating” from that phase of therapy. Life went on and I was using my strategies and keeping up with managing my mental health. By doing the things that bring me joy, surrounding myself with people who I wanted to be surrounded by, and challenging myself. Does this sound like a build up to a big crash and burn?...

Well it’s not; just to a tune up! In December I started to recognize some thoughts and feelings that seemed WAY too familiar. I continued to use my strategies and continued sharing with others. I began to feel a little overwhelmed with the holidays coming up and I was also in the editing process with my editor for my book. So I had anxiety, but it all seemed like “good” anxiety. I knew my anxiety was slowly peaking, so I continued to use my strategies.

But then I had a mini anxiety attack. In a way I felt like a failure at first, but then I realized this was just my “check engine” light going on. When my anxiety attack ended, I told my husband that I needed to call Kalie (obviously a pseudonym for my therapist!). I needed my first tune up. So I called her and here I am a few days after my first session with her!

This first session was A LOT different than my first session with her back in June. Back in June, I came in crashed, barely functioning, and desperately needing to be “fixed”. I had no idea where to even begin and what to share. Everything in my life seemed wrong and needing to be fixed. This time, I came in for my tune up. I seemed to be able to get right to the point on what was causing me a lot of anxiety. I had a very beneficial first session. My check engine light didn’t turn off from that tune up. The tune up wasn’t a one time session. It may take a few sessions or several sessions.

In June, I wasn’t sharing with you that I started therapy because I was ashamed and felt broken. I was in no way capable to share because I had crashed too hard. I also felt like a failure for having to go to therapy again.

This time is different because I’m not ashamed and I don’t feel broken. I just feel a little off. And that’s okay. Therapy isn’t a one time thing for me because I need my tune ups. I can’t speak for others if they need tune ups, so I’m just talking for myself.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to be afraid to go back to your therapist if you need to. Or to even go to a therapist in general. You’re not a failure. In fact, failing would be not going in and waiting until you crash and burn. If you see that your check engine light is on, you (hopefully) now know what to do!