I used to be ashamed of the fact that I needed therapy. I had no desire to be one of those people that had to go to someone because they have too many problems to deal with on their own. I hated the idea of going and sitting in a room with a complete stranger and telling them all about my life. It made me feel weak, lonely, and insecure. I never thought it would end up helping me. During my freshman year of college, my advisor thought it might be beneficial to seek some help. I was in a pretty dark place at the time and didn’t feel completely compelled to decline the offer. So after setting up an appointment and actually going and talking to this person, I saw the value in the process.
She never once made me feel weak and she never made my problems seem insignificant. I always had a little trouble opening up to her, but her patience made it worthwhile. We started from the very beginning and worked our way through the issues. We didn’t always find a solution, but she helped me see what the causes and effects were. Ultimately, she helped me understand a whole list of things I never dreamed I would understand. At the end of the year, we hadn’t made it through everything, but my time at that school came to an end. I may not have worked through every single detail, but my time in therapy taught me some valuable lessons.
Sharing is not weakness.
I used to believe that talking about my problems was a sign of weakness because it showed that I couldn’t handle them on my own. I wanted to believe that I had the strength to carry the weight myself. I didn’t want to burden others with my doubts and failures. But the truth is there is no need to carry those burdens yourself. My time in therapy helped me realize that it’s okay to reach out for help. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a professional someone is always there to help you. Sharing your problems is really a sign of strength because it says that you have enough courage to know that you can’t do it on your own and you have enough trust to allow someone to help.
Validation is always helpful.
Going through therapy helped me feel validated for the first time in my life. I had complete faith that a person I barely knew would help me. She may not have helped me through every problem and at times I left her speechless. But her demeanor through it all showed me that there is no problem bigger than we are. We face nothing, even life, alone. She helped me realize that I have just as much a place in this world as anybody. She helped me see that I am a valuable person and she treated me in that way.
It’s okay to cry.
There were many times when I fought back the tears. Again, I didn’t want to appear to be weak. I wanted to have full control of my emotions. However, at times that was impossible. She helped me see that crying sometimes is the best way to work through a problem. Letting out all of those negative feelings and thoughts can be beneficial. Sometimes crying it out helps you see that it is in the past. And sometimes that is where your problems belong. The more you bring them up, the harder they will be to let go.
A perfect life does not exist.
I often see people, whether I know them or not, and think to myself they must have a pretty decent life. However, that’s not always the case. Therapy forced me to dig beyond my own surface and really find the problems that I had buried away. It gave me a new perspective on how I view other people. Most of the time we only see the surface. We don’t know what issues or stories another person has buried away. I discovered some of my own that I had forgotten about. No one has a perfect life.
Every little bit helps.
It’s not the biggest battles we face, but the everyday ones that really impact us. Every time we overcome a challenge or face a problem we are victorious in more ways than one. I learned at an early age that there is no way to predict what the next hour will bring. So you must face it head on and with as much courage as you can. You may not be able to change the world, but you can allow yourself to do good and be good. Know your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Say kind words to other people. Go pet some puppies. Go and explore nature. Find something you love and get lost for a while. The limits are endless. Overcome the small things because when you work through those little things, the big things follow suit.
Therapy is not always welcomed with open arms. Many people give therapy a very negative connotation. But the truth is, therapy does a lot of good. It deserves more credit than it gets. We often think that a therapist might judge us or belittle us, but that is far from the truth. Therapists do a great job of lifting up the weak and helping them understand their place in the world. They are there to help, not judge. So if you think you might want to try therapy or if you have some things you need to work through therapy is a great choice. It’s confidential and judgment free. They are there to listen.
Originally written by Samantha Proctor on Unwritten.
As part of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re focusing on treatment and the stigma around getting help. Check out our coverage here and share your story at email@example.com.