7 Confessions of a Therapy Attendee
"Therapy? You mean, like, physical therapy?" my friends asked in confusion when I finally began confiding in them about my weekly appointments. "Oh, you mean like therapy therapy," they whispered in response to my correction, as though trying to use discretion. The stigma surrounding mental health illnesses and treatment is stifling the potential well-being of thousands who fear their seeking help will be met with judgment. No single conversation can fix this national (or even international) issue, but talking about therapy out in the open is as good a start as any.
1. Even Tony Soprano sees a therapist! It takes a lot of bravery to ask for help. Going to therapy doesn't mean you have given up, it means you're taking a very important step towards finding the solutions that will work for you.
2. You never know what will make a difference. One time, my therapist suggested I try a mindfulness exercise. At first, the idea seemed kind of crazy, but I gave it a try and now meditation is something I regularly utilize for easing panic attacks.
3. Don't withhold information from your therapist for fear of being judged - this is literally her job. And she can't help you unless you tell her what's really going on.
4. It's all up to you. The therapist is just there to provide tools - you hold the key to overcoming personal struggles. It takes a lot of patience but also self discipline and determination to break old habits and thought patterns.
5. It's hard, hard work! You will be asked tough questions. You will find yourself articulating feelings you previously haven't and coming to some tough realizations. It's not enjoyable.
6. Your therapist will make mistakes. You won't agree with everything they say, and that doesn't mean they can't help you. You just need to communicate this. Keeping your mouth shut if something isn't working will only hinder your progress.
7. It's not a one-time fix. You don't walk out of a session one day and go, "I'm CURED!!" It's a process, something you must consistently address (Sir Winston Churchill famously dubbed his depression his "black dog," which he would describe as coming in and out of his life as time went on). With enough self-love, you can! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.