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Therapy Saved My Life

Why is mental health such a huge topic, nowadays? Maybe it’s because more people are being transparent about hurting. Being depressed and/or experiencing anxiety doesn’t make you weird. It makes you normal. It makes you human. Sometimes, we forget that every single individual we come into contact with has struggled with their mental health at one point or another.

Normalizing mental health starts with understanding the value of therapy for all.

Though, we are burdened with our own struggles. Often, compassionate living can fall through the cracks. We live selfishly, judge freely, and consider everyone a potential threat. Oh, wait. No, that’s just me when I’m in a state of unraveling anxiety and hatred towards humanity. Maybe you can relate.

It’s a true shame that we are not kinder to one another. I live in New Jersey, where strangers typically aren’t friendly. They seem to be aggressive and impulsive by nature.

Of course, I am blessed to cross paths with the occasional kind soul. I am beyond fortunate to be surrounded by an abundance of love in my close circle of friends. But the level of disregard by the general population is so massively astounding.

With each passing day, it becomes more apparent that every soul I meet is dealing with something I may never know about. This helps me to cope with the reality that people can be so damn mean.

Normalizing mental health starts with understanding the value of therapy for all.

I Hated Therapy

I’ve been in therapy since I was a kid. It started when I was around twelve, if not younger. It’s hard to remember; a lot of it is a blur. When my dad was diagnosed with dementia, I acted out in foul ways. I threw tantrums and got physical with my mom.

A social worker came to my house but left a bad taste in my mouth to this day. I remember her fixation on trivial behaviors that were seen as misbehaving. In retrospect, I was trying to cope with my emotions and didn’t know how. I really didn’t like her.

I experienced a wide array of therapists and social workers throughout my adolescence. I didn’t like most of them. Once I had a therapist tell me to keep a rock in my pocket and squeeze it when I felt angry. I thought that was the dumbest shit I had ever heard.

It always felt like they were siding with my mom and telling me what to do. It really pissed me off, and I refused to go to therapy for a long time. There was nothing helpful about another person nagging in my ear about everything I was doing wrong with my life.

Then, I Met Mr. Waitt

Mr. Waitt was my high school counselor. He changed my life. He reignited the joy within me that had been drowned by the feeling of hopelessness and unworthiness. Maybe I connected with him because he was a dad.

His compassionate approach to mental health treatment completely transformed my attitude towards therapy.

He had the ability to uncover sadness in a way that felt safe. When I yelled and screamed out of frustration, he didn’t try to stop me. He acted as a safe haven for many students and was well-loved by faculty. I’m forever grateful for his presence in my life and the impact he made on me. He made talking about mental health easy.

Gradual Improvements

As the years progressed, it became easier to articulate the chaos in my mind. I worked with a number of great therapists who help me uncover childhood trauma I had no prior awareness of.

I tackled stale habits that had been holding me back. I learned to control my anger and realized that it’s not possible to change other people.

I gained insight on my triggers. I started being more vocal about my involvement with therapy. It’s something I’m proud of — no longer ashamed. I understand now that therapy helps conceptualize the thoughts you are experiencing.

I can agree that voicing those repetitive thoughts in your head often helps to make sense of them. Going to therapy provides a judgment-free space where a trained mental health professional can provide you with objective feedback. Often, tactics are presented that can help address the problems you are currently facing.

See For Yourself

Therapy is not a quick fix. It’s a process of learning and unlearning old behaviors that contribute to or perpetuate sadness. Going to therapy does not make one weak — quite the opposite. Taking responsibility for your mental health is something that should be admired with grace. It is one of the bravest things that you can do.

I hope that you take the step towards healing. You never know what can be uncovered.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Non-Fiction, Opinion Piece, Personal Narrative, Self-Help