There’s a little blue house opposite a park. It looks so innocuous, so peaceful, so pleasant. It is decorated in a mix of traditional and modern styles. Polished wooden floors mix with paneled walls and vibrant rugs. My eye is drawn to the soothing colours and to the warm tones around me while I wait, sitting upright, on the edge of the lounge.

I’m called in. Into a neat room, warmed by the air conditioner on the wall and by the mood lighting in the corner. There is a pack of tissues placed strategically on the table next to the main lounge. I sink into its depths, taking a deep breath and willing myself to relax.

Despite the pleasantness of my surroundings, I’m not looking forward to the next hour. It means I have to talk about myself, my worries, my fears. I have to lay my soul bare in front of the virtual stranger in front of me. Who somehow, gets through my barriers and encourages me to share the load.

I am a perfectionist, someone lacking in self-esteem and who is seemingly incapable of asking for help. I am stressed, anxious and deeply unhappy. I want to find a way to reclaim myself, to live again, rather than just merely exist.

I ramble, a jumble of confusing words and half sentences, while my eyes roam the room, trying to avoid the piercing stare of the therapist before me. Despite my best efforts, my eyes keep being drawn to hers. Perhaps it’s a semblance of my normal good manners returning or a desperate plea for help. I really don’t know.

The questions are asked in a low, soothing voice. Sometimes it takes only a simple statement for the tears to come. They fall down my cheeks, unwanted and unbidden. I can’t speak, I’m choking on my own emotions as they rise up from within me.

I take a tissue and dry my eyes, desperate to regain composure. This is hard. Harder than I thought it would be. My eyes are sore, as sore as my soul feels as it is ripped bare. Truths uncovered and revealed in all their painful glory. Reluctant confessions torn from me. Sobs wracking my body.

She gently suggests some strategies and heads off to photocopy some information. I take big, deep breaths, trying to regain my composure before I have to leave the warm room and return to the waiting stares of those in the room outside.

The receptionist has kind eyes. She is wearing the same coat that I am and I make a half-hearted attempt at a joke. Anything to distract her from my tear-sore eyes and puffy face. Although a part of me is sure that she has seen far worse…

I let myself out the door, back into the rain. The coolness of the night is a welcome relief. I suddenly feel overheated and overwhelmed. I’m not sure I’m ready to face my demons but I have to try.

The little blue house twinkles back at me in the rain. It still looks innocuous and peaceful and pleasant. The little blue house opposite the park.

As I walk away I send a silent prayer that the kind souls within it can help me face my demons once and for all….