How Much Does It Cost To Learn How to Breathe?

Therapy is expensive, but sometimes it’s needed. After feeling so overwhelmed and unable to breathe, I finally made an appointment with a new psychologist. Her rates are reasonable – for $125 an hour I get to hear feedback on all the ways I view life incorrectly. The hour-long session was necessary. I was on the edge and needed to be talked down. I needed to be reminded that everything will be ok. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it will be.

It’s not clear what mental health disorders I suffer with… and I hate being over dramatic… but the fact of the matter is that I have trouble dealing with emotions and conflict. Something that might not even phase another person can fling me into a deep depression. I swing between poles of security and insecurity, and no matter what success I have I feel like a complete impostor. The greater the success, the further one has to fall.

In my $125 therapy session, we very quickly got to the root of the problem — I really don’t like myself. I don’t even know who I am. My entire life has been defined by feeling motivated by fear of not being good enough – of having to prove myself. I discovered just how scared I am of the person I would become should I not feel like I have to prove something to the world. My therapist said – think about this for a second, what if you could love yourself for who you are, not what you do? Let that sink in. How does that make you feel?

It honestly make me nauseous. I have so much trouble allowing myself to even like myself. So every little negative occurrence in my life sends me over the edge. But in a way I love feeling not good enough. I want to be the underdog. I want to be a failure that somehow despite all odds against her manages to succeed. Only then does success feel worth it. Only then does success feel real.

Then we got into talking about who I really am… what defines my inner self. Luckily she is less new-agey than I thought she’d be from her website (yeay she’s actually an east coaster) so we can relate. She’s very into mind-body work, understanding how things make you feel and learning how to cope. What we uncovered is how I long so badly to just love, simply, to be a mother, and to care for other people. Is that who I really am? Is it just what I think I want to be because that person would be so pure of all superficial desires? I don’t know. We’ll be working on that weekly now, in my sessions which will cost $500 a month. That’s a lot of money that isn’t going in my bank account, but I think at this point in my life it’s necessary. I’m really feel like I am heading towards a steep cliff and I can’t promise myself what I’ll do when I get there.

Is this life with depression? Am I just overreacting and being dumb? I can’t handle life, that’s for sure. The more responsibilities I have, the better I feel for a while and then sooner or later I hit a wall and crash. Is this bipolar disorder? Is this borderline? Did the lack of love in my family filled with narcissism and some minimal abuse really mess me up this much? I mean, who is actually “well adjusted?” And is it ideal to love yourself… why do we need to love ourselves? People are animals and animal instinct is pretty terrible when you think about it. Some people might be able to fight that, but if people really were able to fight it why would capitalism exist? Our entire society is built on being pretty fucked up greedy individuals. There are people who dedicate their lives to giving and helping other people, who live very simple lives, and I’m pretty sure they are just as happy if not happier than the rest of us.

I’m a little scared the therapy will lead me to accepting that all I want is nothing at all. Or maybe that’s not so bad, when a family comes into the picture, and when you can dedicate your life to the happiness of others. But that still requires money. Not necessarily a lot of money. But it takes cash to buy a house, feed your family, take vacations… and I’d much rather go to work day in and day out because I’m telling myself I love it and love what I do than because I need to make money. The fastest way to the worst kind of depression is living a life that is all about money, and not about passion, for where to spend most of your waking hours… at a job.

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6 thoughts on “How Much Does It Cost To Learn How to Breathe?”

  1. Though I’m disappointed for you that it sounds like you have no mental health coverage in your health insurance, I do think therapy still has a great long term ROI on happiness, which is what money’s for in the end, right?

    “Am I just overreacting and being dumb?” No. It took living with someone who put my feelings above others to realize that how I feel matters to.

    “Did the lack of love in my family filled with narcissism and some minimal abuse really mess me up this much?” No one can screw a person up quite like family. Mine was so screwed up I didn’t really know what normal was until I moved a couple thousand miles away. And it still holds me back. It’s one of the things that’s definitely on the “con” side of having kids.

    1. I have mental health coverage but who is covered is extremely limited and most of them don’t even have appointments available. Out of network coverage exists, but I’ve found in the past that having anything on my record about mental health is a surefire way to see trouble getting private insurance in the future. With Obamacare this may no longer be true, but I’m too scared out of it to put my therapy on my official insurance report anytime soon. I’d rather just pay for it up front, versus when I can’t get insurance later.

  2. I’ve never been to therapy, so I can’t say I know what it feels like.

    As someone who feels pretty well adjusted (mentally, physically, emotionally and all the -ally’s you can count), I can’t really say for sure what makes me the way I am.

    I guess knowing myself helped a lot. I know what my flaws are, I keep forgetting to counteract them (one of my my flaws is forgetting my flaws.. 😛 ) and remembering what’s important in life.

    What you want it achievable as long as you have a plan in place.

    Otherwise, you need to change what you want so that you are happy with what you already have.

    I changed what I wanted, and now I’m happier than before.

    1. Great advice. My biggest problem is not knowing what is it that I want, I guess. I’m good at picking something to work towards, but it’s never clear if it’s what I really want. I’m envious of those who have figured out what they want. I’m going to therapy to figure that out.

  3. I agree that living life for money is a definite mistake and you will find yourself 20 years later miserable, depressed, and wandering where your life has gone.

  4. I gained a lot of perspective from living abroad. Perhaps take a trip to India for a couple weeks. Their poverty might energize you to love yourself more and appreciate more of life!


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