by Ivy from BeautifullySimplyYou
I used to think mental illness and mental health was someone else’s problem. I used to think that therapy was useless and I surrounded myself with people who thought the same negative things about therapy as I did.
It wasn’t until I was in the midst of being broken that I found myself having a casual conversation with a friend who told me that she was in therapy and how helpful it was for her, that I realized that therapy could be what I needed to finally work through my struggle, to finally feel true happiness and self-love. Someone who looked like they had it all together, needed help, and to me that was the push I needed to help me start breaking down my own stigmas associated with mental illness to see that I was not alone in my struggle and that I too could get help.
I remember not really knowing what therapy would be like, feeling anxious about opening up to someone, being afraid that my problems weren’t that big of a deal and that my therapist would judge me. But even with being terrified, I walked in anyway. I knew I wanted better for myself. I wanted to get the regret off of my chest that had been weighing down my soul. I wanted to know what it was like to experience self-love. And therapy truly helped me to do all of these things.
Therapy was so beneficial for me. I was able to speak my mind, without being judged. Therapy allowed me to finally say exactly what I was feeling, it allowed me to get so much of what I had held in for so long off my chest. Therapy allowed me to see what I could do to replace the void of not being an athlete and to relieve much of the regret that I had. I finally had someone in my life who listened to me in a non-judgmental way and allowed me to see how worthy and strong I was all along. I was able to finally see that I deserved to keep fighting for my tomorrow. Some days my therapist didn’t even have to say a word, but I would always leave feeling so much better because therapy allowed me to be intentional about opening up, it forced me to speak about my struggles even if on that day it didn’t feel like I was struggling. The days when I was having a good day or a good week and I felt that therapy wasn’t going to be beneficial, those days were some of the best days to go to therapy, because I always found something out in the midst of talking my therapist that I was struggling with that had been pushed into my subconscious. Therapy allowed me to make connections on my own of why I did certain things in my past, what I wanted and deserved for my future and actions I was going to take to achieve that better future for myself. If I didn’t go to therapy, I would be less likely to challenge myself in this way, I would feel less confident in telling my story. Therapy saved my life, because it helped pull me out of a dark space and taught me that I did not need to live my life in regret because I was capable of so much more.
I admit that I had a great experience with therapy from the start, but not everyone has that experience or gets connected with the right therapist on the first try, which I can imagine is frustrating and discouraging. I encourage you to keep trying and searching until you find someone who is a good fit for you, that listens to you, challenges you in a healthy way, and gives you the tools you need to be the best version of yourself. Because you are worth it, no matter how difficult the journey may be, you are worthy of finding the right therapist who will give you the support you need and get you through your darkest times.
One thing I have realized through this process is that recovery truly isn’t linear. At one point, my therapist and I decided that I was doing well and was mentally stable enough to stop therapy for the time being. At first not going to therapy was fine, until I felt like a piece of me was missing. I started to feel overwhelmed with juggling a full time job, this blog, speaking engagements, spending time with friends, my boyfriend and my family. I was becoming exhausted, I was losing grip, I was being more negative with myself, I was going back to old habits.So I just made a decision for me to go back. And even just making the phone call to start therapy again brought me a breath of fresh air and allowed me to feel like I could get back on track. It is easy to feel too busy to find that hour to nurture my mental health and get help, but finding time is so necessary because without finding that time I am more likely to slip into darkness and it is so necessary for me to make the time for my mental health through therapy in order to maintain the light in my life.
There is a beauty in knowing that you can stop and re-start therapy at any time. As humans we experience some rough patches in our lives filled with rain, and some patches of sun with minimal clouds. Both places are okay to be at and one place may require more help than others. For me, it is comforting to know I can take a break from therapy, re-start whenever I need to or stay consistent and go regularly. In your journey with therapy it is important to figure out what works well for you and how regularly you should be going. And even if you haven’t had a good experience with therapy, and want a different approach, find a trusted person who listens to you, doesn’t interrupt, doesn’t talk about themselves, but just listens. If you have a person like that in your life, whether they are a professional or not, they can help to save your life like therapy saved mine, and that is a blessing.
To my therapist, I thank you for being there and just listening. You don’t know how much you’ve done to help me see the light in my life.
Be Beautifully Simply You