By Jamie Schafer – White Hall, MD
It’s hard to convey to someone why they need something, especially when it’s something that heals internally with difficult to see progress. Therapy has such a negative connotation as is, trying to convince someone it will help often falls on deaf ears before a point can even be made.
I’ve been in and out of therapy since I was a toddler – so for me, therapy is normal. It’s like going for an emotional check-up whenever I need it. Friend issues, anxiety, daddy drama, financial stressors, over-thinking and crazy-double-life ex-boyfriend are just some of the topics I’ve discussed.
You don’t have to wait until you’ve hit bottom and feel like you can’t get up to finally go to therapy. I pop in every now and again when I’m feeling overwhelmed to get a mental re-alignment. Talking to an objective person helps me figure things out and get myself in check.
Start by finding a therapist you are 100 percent happy with. Mine has the memory of an elephant, a kind and welcoming disposition and has no problem telling me if I’m being an ass. It is okay to shop around for a therapist. I saw free therapists back in college, who were provided by my university, and I’ve walked away from therapists who didn’t make me feel all that good.
Now let me stress this (get it?), therapy is work. Your first session will be more a “getting to know you” scenario, but after that you are there to work on yourself. Step two is dedicating yourself to making improvements in yourself and in your life.
It’s work! You are going to dig through things and have to really look at yourself and the situation, and just when you think, “holy crap, I’m in the bottom of a hole,” you are going to come out on the end of that tunnel and see the light. Even if it’s a tune-up appointment, you will still need to take an honest look at yourself and make some changes in therapy. After all, that is the point.
Sometimes I feel like I wear an unofficial “Therapy Advocate” badge at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been met with odd looks after saying to someone, “You should go to therapy.” I don’t mean it offensively, I mean it in my non-judging way. If your brakes aren’t working, you go to a mechanic. When your emotions aren’t working (or overworking) you go to therapy.
Going to therapy, for some people, means admitting they are broken and need help. So I ask you, what is wrong with that? There are things in the life bigger than us, and we are not meant to carry the weight of the world all on our own. We often do attempt to take that on however, and getting out from under it is “just how life is.” It’s not though, life is not mean to wear you down.
Open your mind to therapy. If you feel low, if you feel as though life is overwhelming you, seek help. It is not something that should bring you down further – you should not be ashamed of going to therapy. Some people flock to the gym, others find solace in shopping malls, some talk it out in therapy. It’s just another avenue for you to reach the ultimate you.