I See A Therapist And I'm Not Crazy
Why are we ashamed of who we are and the needs we need?
Over coffee one morning I was talking to a good friend, and I mentioned that she might benefit from going to therapy. She looked me dead in the eye and said: "I'm not crazy, I don't need a therapist." I was taken back, and for a split moment, I almost didn't tell her that I saw a therapist. In fact, it could have been easier to continue sipping my drink and shaking off her comment like it was nothing. But, honestly, how would that help anything? If my good friend still saw a stigma around going to a therapist. How could I help break the mold? I had to share my personal experience? Gripping my cup a little tighter, I took a deep breath and told her that I see a therapist, and I'm not crazy. She looked at me and had no idea how to take what I just said.
It is simple, sometimes life can get overwhelming and to have someone who has an unbiased look into your life can help immensely. When I was going through a tough time when I first had my son, my therapist was able to give me some coping techniques to use in real time instead of heading to random message boards that would probably shake me even more. When I needed some advice on my career, my therapist was able to ask me questions no one else had ever asked and those questions put my career path into a perspective that wasn't overwhelming. Therapy isn't just for those who experience a 'traditional' mental health diagnosis; sometimes it is someone to take you out of your life for just a moment to help you look at yourself, your actions and your thoughts a little differently.
I also took the time to explain to her that seeing a therapist is a process. My very first visit ended with me barely saying anything. I sat not knowing what I was doing there for a half an hour, but it was a safe environment, and it was okay just to sit.
All my friend could say after I told her my stipple was one sentence, "but, you are so strong." Yes, I am and just because I see a therapist doesn't mean I'm any less stronger. In fact, it makes me stronger because I can advocate for those who see a therapist and may feel uncomfortable telling others because they may fear the looks or comments. Seeing a therapist doesn't make you crazy, so quit thinking that is the case. In fact, the number of clinical insane people isn't even close to the amount of everyday people who just need guidance.
Share your experience and how you are helping to break the stigma of mental health in the comments.
Tips for your first therapy session:
1. Finish your paperwork before you go. Do not stress it the day of. Every healthcare provider requires it. Be honest and open.
2. Prepare to be open. It is a complete waste of both of your time if you fib when they ask you a question. They are medical professionals that are held to the highest standards of privacy law. This is the one time you can be honest without fear of judgment.
3. Keep an open mind. You've already stepped outside of your comfort zone, keep that going and try what the therapist recommends. If they want you to read something, read it. If they want you to meditate, try it. During the next session, you can tell them what worked and what didn't.