Let’s Talk About Therapy

The other day someone came up to me and said, “Thank you for being so brave and talking about seeing a therapist. There is such a negative stigma around therapy, and I am happy you are driving the conversation in a positive way.” 

I have to be honest, my first thought was, “Is this bravery?” 

My second thought was, “Is there truly such a negative stigma around therapy?” 

And I realize, those are my thoughts now because I have been in therapy for more than a year now. Therapy is such a large part of my life that I almost forget it was ever a big deal to make that phone call. I do not see therapy in negative lenses because my therapist is truly the most positive experience of my month. 

But when I first emailed to make my appointment, I remember feeling so nervous and anxious. 

I remember feeling like I didn’t know where to begin. 

What story do I tell first? 

How do I explain how I feel in only 50 minutes? 

What if this doesn’t work for me?

The beauty is a great therapist will never make you worry about where to begin or what story to tell. A great therapist will make you feel comfortable and valuable the entire duration of your session without rushing you or your emotions. 

So, maybe attending therapy is brave. Because I know asking for help is brave. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes: “She was never quite ready. But she was brave. And the universe listens to brave.” 

You don’t have to listen to people who make you feel bad about attending therapy. No one gets that kind of control over your emotions and life. You don’t have to listen to explain your therapy experiences, goals, and intentions with people who are hurtful or disrespectful about your journey. You are the one person in control of your life. You get to call the shots. You get to make the decisions on what you believe, become, and dream about in your life. One of the most powerful lessons that my therapist taught me is that “anxiety hates action.” If you are feeling anxious, find a way to make a decision. Find a way to move forward. Find a way to take control of the situation instead of letting your mind control you. This doesn’t have to be a massive, huge action. The other day, I was having anxiety about my son attending an after-school care program. I kept writing this story about how this program could expose him to dangerous people. I kept writing sad outcomes. My therapist helped me understand my options for making a decision to move forward so my anxiety didn’t keep my mind racing. She encouraged me to ask about hiring procedures. Do they perform background checks on the people working with children? What is the protocol when something bad happens? How do they communicate updates with parents throughout the program? Simply building the list of questions to ask is one step in a positive direction to help eliminate my anxiety about this big decision. 

Now it’s your turn – what big decision do you need to make in life? What can you do to move forward, even in a small way, to help reduce some of the anxiety and racing thoughts about this idea or topic? 

I know that making the first phone call or hitting “send” on the email when you are asking for help is scary. But, I promise you that you will change your life forever if you allow yourself to learn new ways to cope and overcome what is hurting you in your life. 

Investing in my self-care by attending therapy has been one of the most magical, beautiful decisions I’ve made to heal myself from a painful past and move forward toward a positive future. 

The universe is waiting for you to make the right call. 

The universe is waiting for you to demand what you want and who you want to become. 

I am rooting for you and I believe in your ability to change your life.

Much love,

Ashley