The first time I walked into a counsellor’s office, I was just fifteen years old. As I approached my mid-teens, I found myself being in a constant state of unhappiness. I wasn’t sure of what to expect but I knew that I needed to deal with some of the issues in my life at that moment in time. Society is constantly telling us to deal with issues on our own. Remember the time when people who went to therapy were seen as mad? Thank the Lord that it isn’t as stigmatised as it used to be.
I spent most of my 20’s trying to run away from my problems. I wasn’t able to really think for myself. Hundreds (if not thousands) of thoughts were running through my mind per minute and when I discovered my anxiety and depression had return for the second time in just two years, I knew I couldn’t manage on my own.
The reason why I’m telling my story is because I believe that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. I am sure that a lot of you can relate to experiencing terrible moods. Thankfully, therapy was beneficial as I embarked on the road to recovery. There were so many lessons that I was able to take away and I am going to share five of them all with you now:
I was able to open up about things I couldn’t share with anyone else
If you decide to go to therapy, you’ve got to prepare yourself for discomfort. I remember one of my first experiences vividly. I was trying so hard to be strong and I convinced myself that I would leave my session with my mascara in tact. Once you have gotten over your discomfort, you should be able to build a rapport with your therapist. Remember that their goal is to help you become the best person you can be. Sharing intimate details of your life with anybody takes an enormous amount of coverage so don’t feel like you have to put yourself out there all at once.
I was able to identify behavioural patterns
Honesty is the best form of self care. Self care isn’t just about going to get your nails done once in a while. You’ve got to check in with yourself on the inside too. In order to identify any patterns in your behaviour or any toxic behaviours, you have to take in what you may be told. Naturally, when someone tells you something that you don’t agree with, defending yourself is probably your first thought. Before you strike, think about the scenario or story in question. Think about what the experience(s) taught you and whether you’d do anything differently. Evaluating behavioural choices is a good form of self-reflection.
I was able to get to know myself better
Have you ever sat down and asked yourself ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What’s my purpose?’. We have all experienced a rut or two at some point in our lives. Therapy helps you to get a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. One of my biggest weaknesses is not celebrating achievements as much as I should. After seeing a therapist, I was able to appreciate my good qualities as well as what makes me authentic. A totally different mindset came upon me and I felt much more relaxed as each session went by.
I was able to understand the difference between prevention and choice
Emotions are usually at an all time high before someone decides to see a therapist. I remember going through my difficult period towards the end of last year and there were moments when I’d be uncontrollably sad. I felt like my soul had been crippled by shame every time I talked to my therapist about what had happened. She told me I had nothing to be ashamed about and she explained that there are some things in life that are just beyond your control. There’s a difference between prevention and choice. Understanding this will make your life so much easier.
I was able to understand other people too
The end of my previous relationship was difficult to deal with. Although the end had been looming for a while, making the decision to end the relationship was still hard. It’s amazing how an experience with one person can make you determine to understand other people too. It took me years to realise that I have a tendency to fix, heal and change people. The idea that I was always doing way too much than I should became a reality. Ultimately, I came to the understanding that all relationships are beautiful and they should be mutually fulfilling.
I think the most important thing to remember is that therapy is a form of self development. I can only speak for my own experiences but if you are suffering from some kind of trauma or personal difficulty, you may want to consider speaking to a therapist. We all need an outlet. Every step you take towards being a better you is always worth it in the end.
This is a very sensitive topic so I understand if you are reluctant to share your own therapy experiences but if you would like to, then do leave a comment.
If you are considering therapy and you’d like to ask a question, feel free to leave a comment.