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Seeing a Therapist Is 100 Percent Intimidating...at First

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There is a difference between seeing a therapist/counselor and a psychiatrist. A therapist and counselor are pretty much the same; I think it's possible they use different terms because it's less intimidating when you say "counselor." You often see the term "counselor" used in a school setting, but I've been to a counselor at a facility other than a school. Well, needless to say, I've been too all of the above: a therapist, a counselor and a psychiatrist. The difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist can diagnose and prescribe medication to help with the mental issues you may be suffering from.

You automatically may think that going to a therapist or psychiatrist is intimidating, and it 100 percent is at first. You have to find the right person for you and that may take time, hence me seeing both a therapist and psychiatrist. It took me a while to figure out who was best for me and who I was most comfortable with. I first went to a psychiatrist because even I knew what I was feeling wasn't normal, and I wasn't living the life of a normal 19-year-old.

When I went to the psychiatrist, she did diagnose me with depression and anxiety, which still I have to this day. The depression is not nearly as bad as it was when I was younger, but I can still feel it creep in sometimes, and I try my best to avoid it at all costs. That's not always possible, and that's something I've learned from going to see a psychiatrist just by the way she explains things. She did give me medication to take daily, which I did, but it made me like someone even worse than I was at that point. I was not gaining anything from the medication, so I stopped taking it, letting her know the side effects it was giving me and I did not want to continue coming to sessions.
Rorschach Test in shape of butterfllyFrom that point on I went to see a therapist once and then a counselor another time. Yes, it's just like you see in the movies, sitting on a couch or chair and the therapist seated across from you with a pen and paper ready to take notes. It's hard to completely open up right away, so usually they ask you general questions. You don't have to answer them if you don't feel comfortable, just FYI. But after a few sessions (if you like the person), you'll start to slowly open up. You can talk about anything and everything. I remember talking about how bad my anxiety was affecting my life, which I was pretty open about regardless. You can talk about your family, your love life, school and your mental health in general.

It does take time to come to terms with yourself that it really is best to see someone. Also, it does take time to open up and truly let someone know how you really feel about certain situations and aspects in your life. I swear up and down by therapists. I recommend them to my friends when they're going through a hard time and talking with friends/their parent(s) is just not cutting it anymore. It is up to you to determine if you just need someone to talk to or if you truly believe you need medication for some of the issues that you may be having, which is completely fine. That's when you do your research (usually therapist and psychiatrist take normal health insurance) and find what is best for you.

You might go to a session and feel uncomfortable and tell her you want to leave, which I have done before and then move onto the next one. But in time, you will find the person who you feel a connection with and are able to open up to. As for counselors, you can also look them up, or if you are still in high school, they are usually available to you. If you're not comfortable with your appointed counselor, then you go to the one you think you'll be most comfortable with. Counselors are also available outside of schools; you can look them up. Some of them take health insurance, but also some of them are affiliated with the community and offer free counseling services.
Looking at my 19-year-old self up until now, the improvement I've made is huge. I still have my days where depression really does get me down, but at the end of the day, I know I will soon get out of it and see the bright side of life. Everyone has "those days," but if those days turn into "those weeks and those months," it may be best to give talking to a therapist a shot. There is no need for you to feel sadness/anger/anxiety/any draining emotion for an overwhelming amount of time because it really does take over you, in the way that you don't want to interact with anyone, or go out, or just do any daily life activities. Over the past four years, there have been many things that have stuck out to me from my prior therapists that I keep in the back of my mind. When my friends are venting to me, I use the words that were once said to me and have made a huge impact, hoping it impacts them also.

You may think that going to a therapist makes you "weak" in a sense, because you can't handle your own thoughts/feelings, but that is not the case. If you choose to go talk to someone, which I truly hope you do if you feel as if you need it, the impact of their words will stay with you forever, which gives you an outlook to positive thinking and a positive future. Feeling the sense of needing to speak to a therapist makes you far from weak, it makes you strong. Strong because you are taking care of yourself and doing the best thing you can for yourself and that is all that really matters. In the end, yourself is all that matters, your physical health and mental health matter and getting help for either of them issues makes you a stronger person.

I'm not a therapist, but if you want to talk to someone, I'm gladly here to just listen or give advice to the best of my ability if you'd like. Find me on Instagram and Twitter will be linked below.
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