I just had a really positive experience working with a therapist, and I felt compelled to say that to all of you.
I don’t think the details are that important. I have anxiety. I have frustration. I have issues, like any human. Mine were getting in the way of happy days, healthy relationships and good work. I didn’t like that one bit, so I decided to talk to someone who understands the way the mind works. I certainly don’t. I have B.A. in Communications and a B.S. in writing.
I heard someone that I now forget say something that I’m going to botch, but it was along the lines of: I see a doctor for my stomach when it feels like something is wrong with my stomach, and I see a doctor for my brain when it feels like something is wrong with my brain.
I agree. And yet valid as that seems, I still feel awkward when I say the word therapy. I still don’t tell most people that I’ve been in therapy. Even at the therapist I’ve said things like, “when I come here,” instead of, “to therapy…where I am right now…in a room with just you, my therapist!” I think it’s because therapy = problems and problems = weakness and weakness = not perfection.
But that stigma isn’t true, it isn’t fair to me, and it certainly isn’t fair to you. Because maybe you think you need therapy but are afraid to take that step because people like me are complicit in keeping it shameful. Nothing should stop someone who would like help from getting the help they need – least of all someone who benefitted as much as I did from getting that help for myself.
So let me be clear: there is nothing shameful about going to therapy. It is brave, and it is helpful, and I recommend it to anyone.
I’ve been wanting to tell you that for awhile, but I was nervous. Then I saw a friend who made a difficult decision with help from a therapist, and I talked to a couple whose marriage was saved by therapy, and I was asked to reflect on my own progress in therapy by my therapist (eeekk!), and I realize that my nerves are not as important as the potential for you to get the relief you need.
How do you take that first step? Here are a few options:
- Ask a trusted friend who has worked with a therapist if they would recommend someone.
- Ask your general physician if there is a resource they recommend, especially since they are within your health network.
- Yelp. I know, but it can actually be helpful.
But I think the best first step is to tell someone you are close to that you’re thinking about seeing a therapist. Just saying it will help ease the tension.
You are more than welcome to say it to me in an e-mail, but I can already tell you my response: Good for you. That is a wonderful idea. It was a wonderful, wonderful decision for me.