What I've Learned From Being In Therapy
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Health and Wellness

What I've Learned From Being In Therapy

Certainly more valuable than any class I've ever taken.

What I've Learned From Being In Therapy

1. Everything is Going to Be Okay

Some weeks I have trudged into therapy, spouting that I was an emotional black hole who would never be able to improve. Other weeks I thought that my world was ending. Time marches on, however, and things work themselves out. What is a problem now might not be a problem two weeks from now.

2. A Lot of Your Issues Are Created in Your Own Head

In most situations, you are the barrier to seeing the world how it truly is. While your issues are valid and your emotions deserve to be acknowledged, you create delusions and fantasies in your head that obstruct reality. Use the knowledge that problems are created in your own head as proof that they can in fact be altered and changed. If you made these issues, you can certainly take them apart.

3. Happiness is Not a Destination

Happiness always seemed to be the end goal of therapy. If I did the right things, I would leave my final therapy session completely ‘happy,’ whatever that means. I have learned that happiness is something that I can experience, even in small doses, in my everyday life. Happiness is not some shiny, elusive goal that I have to chase by being successful or challenging myself too much. Happiness is also not something that has to define my entire day. I can have days where I feel unpleasant, but can also find things to be happy about. Conversely, I can have days that are generally positive, even when everything isn’t necessarily alright. Life does not have to be lived in emotional extremes.

4. The Way You Think Is Not Permanent

I have learned that the mind is a flexible organ. Before therapy, I assumed that my thought processes were part of me. I believed that my incessant anxiety, self-deprecating thoughts, and other unhealthy habits were unable to be moved, even with my best efforts. Now, I wish I could go back six months and tell myself that I was wrong. Though it takes emotionally exhausting work and the revaluation of your whole life, you can change how you think about yourself and your life. Before, I never thought I was worthy of meaningful connections with other people, and that I would always be defined by my issues. Now, I know that I am an extremely strong, resilient, caring, and amazing person who has been through a lot.

5. Progress Takes Longer Than You Think

Being the overachiever that I am, I thought I could ace therapy like I could any test or project. In my mind, if I followed my therapist's instructions, I would start getting better and my issues would evaporate every session until one day, they were gone forever.

Well, I was wrong. Some days I would enter my therapist’s office, full of bravado, proclaiming that I had never felt better. Other sessions I would feel emotionally depleted and contemplative by the end of the one hour slot. Progress is not linear. Human beings are naturally resistant to change, because it is big and scary. Even when you try to coax forward in your mental and emotional health, there will be setbacks. Often, life gets in the way of progress. If you improved every week, that would not be evident of authentic progress. Sometimes, you need to learn and adapt as life unfolds around you. Moving a few steps backwards is natural, healthy, and not at all indicative that you aren’t getting better.

6. You’re a Lot Stronger (and Braver) Than You Think

The act of going to therapy itself requires an immense amount of courage. Week after week, you go back, knowing that the ways you have been thinking, the ways you have been living, will be ripped apart and reassembled. I do not know many people who would willingly admit to themselves that their lives are in desperate need of change and bare their souls to strangers. But you keep going back, because you have finally realized that you are worth the effort.

7. You Are Not Alone

While you know that people love and care about you, experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues feels incredibly isolating. At times, I felt like I was the only person in the world to be feeling the way I did. However, I saw people in the therapy waiting room that I never expected to see. I saw people that I admired, people who seemed well-adjusted and always cheerful, people who seemed happy. While we all have our own unique paths that led us to therapy, we are not alone. You are not the only one who is hurting. I promise.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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