Every Monday at 1:00 I go to therapy with my husband.
We have been seeing the same therapist for over a year now.
Since we normally go during the school day, the kids are never around when it’s time to go.
Now that it’s summer and the kids are home all the time —
ALL THE TIME —
they know every single thing I am doing every minute of the day.
Which, in today’s instance, is a good thing.
Being Monday today, I had my therapy appointment.
Number 5 and Number 7 were at a friend’s house.
Number 3, 4 and 6 were home.
Number 4 knows my husband and I see a therapist. She knows I’ve seen a therapist on and off for the last twenty-five years on my own as well.
We’ve had lots of conversations about this, and she has actually expressed an interest in seeing one herself.
Number 3 is thirteen years old.
If you, like me, have had the pleasure of raising teenage boys, you know they can be rude and disgusting and annoying and frustrating.
You might also know that they can be ingenious and creative and sarcastic and hilarious and there is often very little drama and any grudges they might have leave as quickly as the come.
Number three is all of these things.
He’s a little bit of a clown and he loves to laugh.
He very often does things that are either wrong or really f&^%ing annoying, but they also make me laugh.
When he is in the room I am almost always stifling a laugh because the funny thing he has done isn’t something I’m really supposed to be laughing at.
But I just can’t help it.
Along with all these things, teenage boys can be completely oblivious.
So today, as I was leaving for the therapist, I said goodbye to Number 4.
“OH! You are still going to the therapist with Dad? Good!” she exclaimed with literal delight.
I said goodbye to Number 6. He couldn’t have cared less where I was going.
And then I said goodbye to Number 3 and told him I’d be back in about an hour.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I have an appointment,” I told him.
“A doctor’s appointment?” he asked me.
“A therapist’s appointment,” I replied.
“Are you suicidal?” he asked.
“I’m not suicidal.”
“Are you depressed?” he continued.
I may have rolled my eyes.
“DO YOU HAVE ISSUES?” he asked.
“I go see the therapist every Monday,” I told him. “I go with Dad. I really like going. It helps me feel better.”
“Okay, Mom,” he said. “Have fun with your issues. See you in an hour.”
We high-fived, and I walked out the door.
Number 3 was being a smartass. I think.
And what I hope for all my kids is that they understand — without question — that therapy isn’t just for people who are seriously depressed or suicidal.
That it’s for anyone who could use a little help navigating the ups and downs (mostly downs) of life.
I am doing everything in my power to normalize and destigmatize therapy and mental illness and asking for help in general.
There is no shame, no embarrassment, and no weakness in seeing a therapist.
I tell my kids when I have a dentist appointment, I tell my kids when I have a doctor’s appointment, and I will always tell my kids when I have a therapy appointment.
That way, when the day comes that they need and want to see one — and I believe that day comes for all of us — there will be no shame, no whispering, and no hesitation.
Sure, I have issues.
But you got ’em, too.
We all do.