When I saw this shirt on a random Facebook ad, I knew I had to have it. If I’m passionate about anything, it’s that everyone should go to therapy. I firmly believe that everyone in the world would benefit from therapy at some point in their life. While some may need therapy for a longer period of time than others, there isn’t a person alive who wouldn’t benefit in some way. I am very open about the fact that I go to therapy, and will continue to share my experience in hopes of fighting the stigma against mental illness.
I was not always an advocate for therapy. I went to my first therapist in college, and absolutely hated it. I think I only went twice, but I was convinced it wasn’t for me. A year or so later, my eating disorder was pretty bad and I knew I needed help. I decided to give it another shot, and hated it again. Being the perfectionist I am, I was so frustrated at myself for being “bad at therapy.” I finally decided to go to a new therapist, and start over. I really tried to have an open mind and find someone that would be a good fit. After that first appointment, my entire perspective of therapy changed. I knew it was something I needed to make a priority in my life.
As wonderful as therapy is, it is not easy. The hardest part is making the decision to start. Then the process of finding the right therapist can be lengthy and complicated. Insurance of course doesn’t make the process any easier. If you can push through the dreaded research, insurance claims, and assessment phone calls, it is absolutely worth it. Since starting therapy in 2018, I have had 5 different therapists and learned something crucial from each one.
One of the biggest hesitations with therapy is the world’s view that we can handle things on our own. I know when I was clearly sick, I was still convinced I didn’t need help and could fix it on my own. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We need people, we need each other. Friends and family are great resources, but therapists provide an objective view that you may not see. They are bursting at the seams with coping skills and advice. I go to therapy to learn skills to make me the best version of myself so I can be the most present for myself and others.
In the beginning, I went to therapy to be fixed. I was ashamed of my mental illness, and was searching for anyone or anything that could just fix me in a session or two. Instead, through therapy, I learned that it was not me who was broken at all. I didn’t choose to have a mental illness. Nothing that I did, or would ever do, led me to my eating disorder. Living with mental illness is exhausting, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in it that it is hard to see myself apart from that. Through therapy, I have learned how much life there is outside of mental illness, and my therapist spends every week reminding me of that. She reminds me of the progress I have made and will continue to make. I could go on forever with the lessons I have learned from therapy. One hour a week keeps me on track and ready to face the next hurdle. It’s not like I leave each session with all of my problems solved, but I leave with a sense of relief knowing that we will get through it together.
To my therapist (She reads my blog, because she’s cool like that):
Thank you. Thank you for meeting me wherever I am, every single week. Thank you for never being disappointed, and always being focused on what is best for me. Thank you for pouring in to me and never giving up on me, even when I want to give up on me. Thank you for telling me what I need to hear, even if I don’t want to hear it. I will never forget the first appointment I had with you. I was at rock bottom, and starting with a new therapist was not high on my list of things to do. Nevertheless, I left that session feeling supported and seen, and that feeling has never left. Thank you for laughing with me, reminding me it’s ok to cry, and encouraging me to keep writing. You laughed when I said therapy was the best part of my week, but it’s 100% true.
If you have ever considered going to therapy, do it. Therapy is not lying on a couch while your therapist takes notes on a legal pad behind a desk. Therapy is self care, a relationship, and a safe space. You don’t even need a reason to go. Everyone needs therapy and everyone needs to know that going to therapy is cool.