I remember the car ride there. I was fourteen and I didn’t know myself. I would be kidding myself if I said I knew myself now. It was one of those days that was cold and warm at the same time.
My mom said “therapy,” and I heard it as a dirty word. I heard anything that was a sign of weakness as a dirty word in my mind. Anything like “cookie,” or “tutor” or “help.”
I knew what I was doing with my life. Or at least that’s what I thought.
I was forced to go to therapy when I was fourteen.
Since then I’ve been through four different people, countless different car rides, and spent infinite hours in rooms that felt like sandpaper or hand sanitizer.
But I found a fit.
And I realized something, something important. Seeing a therapist is not a sign of weakness. Many people who are completely “sane” and “together” see therapists. I know that I am running my life better now than I was seven years ago and I still go back to see mine from time to time. And it’s unclear if I’m doing better because of the treatment or because of myself or both.
And there are millions of stigmas. They probably won’t stop. And I know what people say. I know they say that “you shouldn’t care what other people think!” and “it’s up to you to change your life!” but sometimes they don’t know.
In a 2011 survey, it was reported that 1 in 10 people seek treatment, which can mean antidepressants or therapy or both. The most effective treatment is shown to be a combination of therapy and medication, which is arguably not the best fit for all.
Disclaimer: this is not an attempt to say that therapy is right for everyone. What I’m trying to say is, if you believe therapy is right for you (and it definitely can be) then no one should feel bad or ashamed about going. Sometimes, therapists are just a neutral party that one can vent to in order to help them process issues, like a fight with a friend or a shady guy situation.
People won’t stop talking. People talk about me for things that I may or may not have done, that they may or may not agree with. Everyone is different, and the world is not a one size fits all type of ordeal.
All I know in my life is I have known people who are completely wonderful have gone through therapy, and they are some of the most “stable” people I know. I make an effort to stop the negative language surrounding getting help, and it is possible for many of us to do the same.
Maybe then, the next fourteen-year-old or ten-year-old or fifty-year-old, won’t feel bad when they admit they need help.