A Love Letter to My Therapist


Dear You,

I miss you. I did not know I would miss you as much as I do. I did not think I needed you so much until I found you. Well, that last part might not be accurate. I probably knew deep inside that I needed you, but I was afraid. I feared what people might think or say about me. I was concerned about how my seeking you out might affect my spouse. I felt shame for not understanding why I was feeling so sad, panicked, and anxious. After all, I was fine.

Then, a series of events led to me going to the ER, thinking I was having a heart attack. Turns out it was another kind of attack. Anxiety. I thought up until that point, anxiety and panic were the next “fad” that military spouses seemed to be expressing. Once one person in our community said something, many more people suddenly seemed to be diagnosed. Later, I saw that it wasn’t a “fad” but something people were starting to share and feel less ashamed about.

That trip to the ER meant I needed to face my anxiety and overcome my medical fears to go see my primary care physician. I started taking medication, but to remain on the medication, I needed to find you. You aren’t easy to find! Fortunately, a friend at the time told me about you, and I got brave enough to tell her that I thought I needed help and asked her for your number. When I reached out to you, the world was about to shut down. But you agreed to meet with me when you had an opening. I had to wait a bit, but then I took that spot on Monday nights every other week.

You changed my life.

It sounds cliché. But, having that space on the couch every other week to share became one of my favorite things. You listened. You cared. You called me out. We shared about our families, interest in books, faith, and travels. We laughed together. I cried some of my biggest tears in your office and the car on the drive home. I journaled deep thoughts; I tried new practices. I challenged my thinking and took stock of the good and evil throughout the weeks. We spent two-and-a-half years together.

And then…

The orders dropped. I couldn’t take you with me. I wanted too so badly. I was mad at “the systems” that meant we couldn’t keep up our visits virtually. Sometimes, these times, being a military spouse is hard. I couldn’t see reestablishing all we had after two years with someone else. So, instead, I faced one of my hardest goodbyes. It was saying “see you soon” to you. I miss you a lot. I tell my husband and friends that I miss you. I put into practice the tools you gave me, and I think about your office and your smile and wonder what you’re reading these days and where you are traveling.

I hope our paths will cross again in military life, even if it’s just for brunch and a chat. That’s what I’d do with my girlfriends when passing through. You feel like an old bosom buddy now. You made me feel comfortable enough to share my journey with others, to express my beliefs that military members and their spouses deserve to not live in fear about the stigma of talking to a therapist. I wish it were mandatory. We’d see lives saved, marriages repaired, and healthier children if everyone had a safe place to process.

You changed my life, and I’m forever grateful.



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Ellen Kehs
Ellen Kehs was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois where she met and later married her high school sweetheart, Mason. Together they’ve traveled the world, most recently touching down in Florida in June 2022. She’s a mom to three little boys, Theodore (eleven), Woodrow (nine) and Maximus (six). Life is never boring with her boys! Ellen loves being a military spouse and she embodies the “bloom where you are planted” mentality. In addition to soaking up whatever current city she’s living in, she is passionate about reading and getting books in the hands of children, as well as helping other mamas connect with each other. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education, a master’s degree in adolescent literacy and technology, and she teaches full-time online, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom. Her hobbies include, exploring, reading, swimming, napping, snapping pictures, playing games, baking, and loving on the little men in her life.


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