Mental Health Counseling and Stigma
Mental health counseling. I never really knew what that meant when I was younger. You usually think of Freud and all kinds of other “stigmas” about what psychotherapy is. I admit that I used to judge people who were “seeing someone.”
And then I recall being about 2 years sober. Very vivid memory. I was lying on the couch and I had this sudden epiphany that “holy $!@# all of my ‘ism’s’ aren’t just related to my previous alcohol and drug use.” I remember calling my sponsor and saying something like “what now?” She laughed …. then replied, “Now you’re getting it! Now you’re ready to continue the healing process.”
Seeing a Therapist
It was probably a couple more years before I finally scheduled my first session with a therapist. I knew that I needed to discuss some deep-seated thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and that I needed to feel safe, trusting, and without judgement. My first session (and many afterward) have revolved around relationships. Talking with friends and family either came with advice and suggestions coupled with the fact that I would probably censor much of what I was feeling so that I never was honest to the level I needed in order to heal and grow. I think I was around 45 years old, a few years sober by then, and I was going to become my Mom’s caretaker as she had Alzheimer’s and could no longer live alone. Help!!!
That was about 11 years ago and I have seen someone on and off ever since. I moved to Seattle from North Carolina in January of 2019. With spending 53 of my 56 years in North Carolina and never before on the West Coast it took less than 3 months before I had found a compatible therapist. Do you know how many therapists there are in Seattle?! Moving is one of life’s top 10 stressors. I was feeling a variety of emotions and sought assistance in sorting them out. And, although having a strong network of women in recovery, a sponsor, my son, and brother; having a professional that will listen emphatically without judgement is worth an awful lot to me and my overall wellbeing. Self-care…. I had heard about that.
Where I Am Today
If you would have told me years ago that today would find me writing this, I would have laughed at you. There was a time in my mid/late 30’s that I honestly did not think I would see 40. Recovery has opened so many doors for me and millions of others. If you would have told me when I was in treatment that I would be a licensed therapist, I would have doubted you. However, continued sobriety has afforded me the opportunity to walk through those opened doors. Adding mental health care has broadened the possibilities that are available to me and all of us. Addiction affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Therapy is where I seek help mentally and emotionally. Plus there’s that adage… “a good therapist goes to a good therapist.” 😉 I see mine on Mondays at 6pm.
– LeeAnne Garvey, SUDPT, LMHCA
Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers Mental Health Therapist
Receive Mental Health Treatment at Lakeside-Milam
Our Outpatient Mental Health Program is led by our Clinical Director, Ross Finke. One does not need to be in our substance use disorder programs to see any of our therapists. We have outpatient locations located in the greater Seattle area, as well as HIPAA compliant telehealth services. Contact us today to schedule an initial appointment, (800) 231-4303 or email@example.com