I’m travelling to London.
I’ll just let that sink in.
It’s true. I am going out of my town into London, driving an actual car further than the supermarket for the first time in the best part of two years.
I’ve left my house far too early, and I have programmed the SatNav to help me get somewhere I already know how to get to.
If anyone doubts the impact a pandemic can have on our levels of self-belief I am the living proof.
I’m doing some filming for Spill, the workplace mental health company I freelance with some of the time.
We’re recording some live “Ask A Therapist” questions where clients write looking for advice with their emotional challenges.
Prior to setting off, they’d sent through a few of the questions they want to record and I, in an unusual fit of bravado, had decided not to read them in order for the whole thing to be more “realistic.”
I’m not sure what made me come over all “Robert De Niro” but my hubris is now causing me some anxiety, evidenced by an unusual level of indecision over which sandwich to pick at the M&S Foodhall (Cheese & Celery, obviously).
When I get to the office I sit in the chair with the clear glass bowl of questions in front of me, all neatly folded strips of paper, all too aware that there are none I am familiar with.
“There are a few questions we definitely want you to pick. Did you read the ones we sent you?”
“No, I thought it would be better if I didn’t prepare and risk getting in my own way,” I say hoping that they will tell me anyway.
“There’s one we want you to do that we need to add to the bowl because we all really loved the answer you gave when someone asked it in real life.”
“OK, which one?”
“Should I go to therapy?”
I suddenly feel cold, unable to remember for the life of me what I did say when it was first asked and, even more alarmingly, finding myself unable to think about what I’m going to say when it’s asked again in a moment.
“OK, can you just say a few words so we get the sound levels?”
I find I can’t think of any words.
“Just tell us your name and what you do.”
I just about manage that.
“OK, we’re rolling.”
I pull a piece of paper from the glass bowl, open it, look into the lens of the camera, and read, “Should I go to therapy?”
“Whenever someone asks this question the answer is almost definitely yes because if something in you suggests that you need help, you probably do.
Mostly this is a question asked by people who aren’t sure of themselves and don’t know if they or their problems are worthy enough to take to therapy but, in truth, that’s reason enough to go in the first place.
When you ask, “should I go to therapy?” there’s more than a suggestion you don’t really trust yourself to know what you need, or what is the best route for you to take.
So, if you need to ask the question listen to the little voice inside that came up with the idea in the first place because that inner guide knows you better than you think.”