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Therapy - Removing the Stigma of Mental Health

It's okay to ask for help. It's actually the mature/intelligent thing to do, but for years now people in "therapy" have been referred to in a derogatory a tone. It's used as a joke in television shows and media, creating a stigma surrounding those who are willing to seek professional help for their personal struggles. Why do we have to throw around phrases like "they need therapy" or make snide remarks about someone seeing their therapist. It's possible in our blossoming society we might be making strides where in many cases this is untrue, but for a lot of us, that stigma is still there. Seeing a therapist does not mean you have insurmountable mental health issues, seeing a therapist means you recognize something in your life that you would like to be different and are willing to analyze what YOU can do to change it.

I have seen my therapist on and off for years. During an incredibly scary time in my life she guided me through removing myself safely from an abusive relationship. I thought I was a strong person, you know, one of those people who would "never stand for" being abused. But it happens slowly, it creeps in disguised as love and brokenness. Through trauma you become entwined and you start to believe a story that is not your own. I honestly don't believe I even would've left without her guidance and in that I may owe her my life. It was an absolute turning point which took me years to truly recover from, but through the eyes of a therapist I was able to see past the pain to my true potential. It was like lifting off layers of myself until I remembered who I was underneath.

Throughout the years she patiently, and without judgement walked me through many more difficult times in my life. We talked about things you talk about with your friends, but you'd never listen to the advice of your friends the way you would when you trust your therapist. Your friend can tell you to leave your abuser time after time and you'll rationalize it over and over. But when you report to a therapist week after week, there is a benchmark. There were mini-goals set and someone other than your self, your family or friends to hold you accountable. This is a 3rd party whose sole objective is YOUR health and safety. It's truly a safe space for you to be honest, as honest as you are ready to be while you build that trust.

As a society we've lost touch with ourselves and the importance of our feelings and emotions. Our emotions affect our body, eventually our health and often without us even realizing. And as society tells us to "suck it up" it takes work to get ourselves back, to reclaim the right to our own selves, but it isn't impossible. Is it hard to admit we aren't happy with ourselves? Sure. Does it mean we shouldn't try to get to a point where we ARE happy with ourselves, with our choices? It may seem overwhelming, and maybe even impossible but truly, it isn't. You can take the first steps to reclaiming yourself. Like weeds in a garden you may pluck them out and they may grow back again and again until you take proper measures to stop them from creeping in. Don't be afraid to tend your own garden.

Finding a therapist can certainly be difficult, and in a time when things seem their worst, depression may inhibit you from reaching out to anyone. I've been there and I know the physical and emotional pain depression can cause, but you can dig yourself out. No one is going to come save you, but if you just reach out your hand someone will try to keep your head above water. Sometimes it takes more than one phone call, sometimes we don't vibe with the first few people we meet with, but you CAN find someone you are comfortable with. One bad experience with a therapist does not all therapists make. Would you stop trying to date after your first "bad" relationship? You CAN find someone who will help you feel safe, and heard in your most difficult times. You can unload on these people guilt free, because they are trained to hear your struggles and offer solutions. You won't damage your friendships and family relationships walking in circles with them about problems you "refuse" to solve because your therapist will understand that you need patience, love, acceptance, kindness, and a person to hold a mirror for you. Finding the right therapist is a great first step for anyone looking to preserve themselves and their relationships. Therapy isn't for "sick" people or people who are "mentally unwell" it's for healthy people, and people who WANT to be healthy.

Right now many insurance companies are covering the FULL co-pay for therapy. And now, it's even easier because you don't have to leave your house to talk to someone, you can Skype or have a phone call.

I put my zip code into the search bar at Psychology Today and found two full pages of therapists complete with pictures of their smiling faces so if you're out there looking for therapy you can choose someone who sounds right for you!


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