How Therapy Helped Me This Pandemic

By Anna Pangalangan

The year 2020 is such a handful. This is certainly true for me as I weathered dark days before and during the pandemic. I knew I needed to seek professional help before I go off the deep end. It was something that saw me through my crisis.

It’s not that I tried hard not to fight the goblins in my head. I did put up a good fight. I tried to journal, prayers and writing on my journal. Those things helped me but things were just not the same. I seem to be more fragile now, more immune to mood swings and anxiety attacks.

Growing up, I used to be able to wing it. I am not as sensitive, but maybe that was the folly of youth. Now that I am a bit older I feel more than I should. And I start to realize that the nuances in my personality have an impact on the way I live and make decisions.

These thoughts were intensified with a severe case of pandemic blues. There are things outside my physical body that I cannot control and which my mind cannot accept. You see, my mom works as a nurse in New York, the epicenter of the virus outbreak. The constant fear of her contracting the disease affected me deeply. Sleep eluded me. Peace of mind was hard to find.

I could not fall apart just yet. My siblings are counting on me to take control of the household. It was a good distraction. There were endless things to do: Paying the monthly bills, doing the weekly grocery shopping, spearheading the daily cooking. The domestic grind gave me a sort of reprieve.

But the gloomy feelings remained. After a while, I finally succumbed to seeing a psychiatrist after getting the blessing from my parents, who were also reeling from the effects of the virus in their city and livelihood.

Meeting my shrink

I had my first appointment with Dr. Z via Zoom. Doing remote consultation was my only option since this was during the height of the pandemic. I was nervous because it was my first time to see a psychiatrist after a long time.

I used to talk to psychiatrists in my former workplace but that was sporadic. And I was not as comfortable because the psychiatrists there were mostly old men. I want a psychiatrist whom I can talk to like a good friend. Thankfully, Dr. Z fit the bill.

When Dr. Z’s face appeared on the screen, I immediately took a liking to her. She seems friendly and interested in what I had to say. Of course, you will say that it is her job to listen. But regardless, I felt it safe to open up during our hour-long consultation. She asked about my history and what I do in my present life. My reflections fell on sympathetic ears. There was no judgment at all, which made me heave a sigh of relief.

I could not bear to trouble my friends and kin about things that run through my head. But Dr. Z took everything in without flinching. She helped me to see things from a different perspective. I imagine my brain being ironed out with every session. The crazy kinks have since gotten smoother since my first session.

It’s a long journey

Dr. Z said that we would need more sessions so she can know me better. I feel no shame in accepting this reality– that something is amiss in my disposition. But I do not despair. It only makes me want to become a better person.

Note: This story originally appeared in our sister-platform for our Stylish Magazine tab via Style Visionary Network on June 1, 2020.