Since self-care is a high priority for me in this season of life, I’m sharing my experience with therapy today. Just like visiting the dentist or OBGYN, I visit my therapist on an as needed basis. I want to preface my experience by saying that it has monumentally improved and changed my life for the better. It might not be effective for everyone, but it has helped me. Here is my story:
A few years ago, grief struck me as I lost 2 young loved ones in the span of a year. I stubbornly tried to deal with the loss on my own. While that year was full of the highest highs, like getting married and landing my first real job, it also marked the worst year of my life as I lost a best friend and a close family member.
As I navigated through this big year of changes, I developed self-destructive tendencies while trying to keep up the illusion that I was getting through it. It got to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning due to anxiety several times a month. Have you ever experienced this? It was crippling.
I felt trapped inside my head and didn’t know what to do. The idea of finding a new counselor seemed overwhelming. Would I find a good one? Where could I find one? Could I afford it?
All of these factors fueled my anxiety even more, but I ended up finding one through my graduate school alumni benefits. If you need help finding someone to talk to, try using the resources through your health insurance benefits, alumni programs, or church. I even found out that the school county I work in offers 10 free sessions of counseling to every employee! The amount of resources that are available for mental health is astounding. I was pleasantly surprised by the options once I looked around.
A few weeks later, I met up with my new counselor and things instantly started to get better. For me, it’s crucial to have a neutral person in my life that I can seek advice and help from in a safe space. I am a very private person and I love that I have an hour of time where I can vent and seek help. Nothing is off-limits in that room during our time. I talk about work, home, family, hopes, dreams, and fears. I even have the ability to bring my spouse or family members if I need extra guidance.
My therapist laughs and says that I psycho-analyze all of my problems by myself as I talk, but I just really need someone who listens. I know that I have strong, solid relationships with my mom, husband, and friends, but it’s so comforting to know that I have a trusted counselor who can help me sort out my problems. She keeps me grounded and reminds me to stay mindful during stressful events. Even better, she pushes me to be a better person and advocate for myself.
I’m sharing this self-care practice with y’all because there seems to be a stigma attached to therapy, but I want to challenge it. Therapy constantly teaches me about how I treat myself and others. It’s like writing in a journal, but instead of hiding your feelings on a page, you have a person who will listen and offer advice.
How do you deal with issues in your own life? Do you seek professional help, too?