I have been struggling mentally for many years now. Many. Years. And I knew that eventually I would need to go to therapy.
In college, I started allowing myself to recognize my own needs. My health, both physically and mentally, dipped very low at that time, and I didn’t have a choice in ignoring my feelings anymore. It was very overwhelming and exhausting.
I started dating Chase about five months into my first year, and that’s when I finally decided to “fix my mental health”.
That was my first big mistake. Yes, my intentions were good and valid. I wanted to take the strain off of him as my only listener.
But my problem? “Fixing” my mental health. Can you really just “fix” a whole aspect of yourself with one therapy session?
Obviously not. But I didn’t realize that at the time. So I went to see a therapist.
1. I didn’t know what was up with me
I met Tish, my therapist, and the whole first meeting, we just chatted like two new friends. And although it was nice to sit and talk, I finally ended up asking something like “so when do I find out what’s wrong with me?”.
She asked me what I thought was “wrong”. And I sat there stumped.
I genuinely had no idea. I didn’t even know what to say.
I kind of stumbled over my words and said, “well I just barely started paying attention to how I’m feeling mentally. I would try to ignore it before. So I don’t know.”
This was the first reason why it was SO important for me to see a therapist. I knew something was off in terms of my mental health, but I had no idea what it truly was.
After about 3 months of weekly therapy sessions, Tish helped me to realize that I had GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) as well as PDD (Persistent Depressive Disorder). Because of the firm and real diagnosis, I was able to make an actionable plan towards feeling better mentally.
2. I needed someone to talk to specifically about my struggles
After Chase and I decided to get married, he recommended that I start meeting with a therapist. In my mind, I saw nothing wrong with getting professional help, I just didn’t want to.
I can’t even give you a better reason. But I recognized the strain and stress it caused Chase. I did not want to start off our marriage not knowing myself mentally.
One of the reasons I finally went was to lighten Chase’s burden (which was just that he didn’t know how to help me at all). We were both way out of our comfort zone in dealing with mental health struggles in a romantic relationship.
Meeting with Tish meant that I could unload all of my worries, stresses, anxieties, and more. There was no underlying worry that she would stop loving me because she doesn’t in the first place. And there was no fear of disappointing her either.
Yes, I would still talk to Chase. I would tell him how I was feeling, how he could help me, and he would still listen when I needed him.
However, having a person there specifially to help me talk it out and understand what I was feeling was SO helpful.
3. I was always confused and stuck in my own head
As much as I wanted to self-diagnose and find ways to help myself on my own, I needed Tish. She could see my feelings and emotions in a way I couldn’t.
I tried to push aside these normal feelings I was having. They weren’t wanted and just got in my way. But this was really harmful for me instead of helpful.
I would push back, and the emotions would come at me even stronger. Then I REALLY wouldn’t know how to cope.
Tish talked me through the experiences I would share, and point things out to me that I had not recognized before. She helped teach me tricks and methods for working through and with, instead of against, my feelings.
Being able to get insight from someone who knew of my struggles, but who wasn’t actually me, was SO helpful.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still not the best at this. I am constantly working to improve and grow in this process. But she helped me see to the bigger picture, and to see outside of myself because I can’t.
4. I needed help from a professional
Receiving a real diagnosis from a real professional lifted so many burdens for me.
No longer would I need to question my feelings.
And no longer could anyone try to convince me that I was making things up in my mind or blowing it out of proportion.
I was able to start medication that helped me (and still does!) to have more control over my emotions.
These would NOT be possible without the help of a licensed professional. And for that, I am SO grateful that I finally decided to go to therapy.
I am not an expert, but I have had experience meeting with therapists. It is my opinion that, if you think you may benefit from talk therapy, you probably will. And if not, you may at least learn more about yourself in the process. I encourage you to try it out!