Therapy. There is such a stigma surrounding the term. People like to assume that if you seek out therapy you are a "crazy" person. The thing is, you don't have to be crazy to go to therapy. Everyone goes through tough times and it is nice to know that there are people in this world who have dedicated their career to helping you through those problems you face.
The university I go to has a counseling and psychological services (CAPS) program that allows students to meet with a counselor multiple times throughout the school year, as well as provide 24/7 assistance to students in crisis. While I have known about these services since my freshman year, I never felt that going to therapy was for me. I always thought therapy was for the severely mentally ill individuals and didn't think I would benefit from it. But after multiple unfortunate events came into my life all around the same time, I started to feel that maybe counseling was something I should try. It only took me four years to go, but I am thankful that I finally decided to.
For my first therapy session, I met with my assigned counselor and it was basically an intake appointment with her getting to know more about me, my family, my struggles, and anything else that made a significant impact in my life, negatively or positively. I told her everything from not having a place to live for part of my freshman year, being in a traumatic car accident, my financial struggles, my dad's cancer diagnosis, losing my best friend, trying to figure out my education and career path, my issues sleeping, my anxiety, and other events and challenges I have been facing.
While I have always thought my problems were never significant enough to seek out therapy, my counselor made sure I understood that no matter what my struggles are compared to the next person, what I am going through and what I am feeling is valid, and there is no such thing as problems not being significant enough to talk about in therapy.
I have been going to therapy for about two months now. I look forward to my weekly appointments with my counselor. I get to reflect on things that have happened to me in the past as well as the present, while my counselor helps me through them. She has given me many tools to help manage my anxiety and worry and has even helped me get better sleep at night. Sitting down with her and talking about the good and bad events that have happened to me has really helped. Every time I go to therapy I end up crying, but I also end up leaving there feeling like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Something else that I have found very beneficial to therapy is having someone to talk to that doesn't know you outside of the room. It has been nice to be able to spill anything and everything that is on my mind without any judgment. It gives me a safe space to fully express my feelings and concerns.
I feel that more people should seek out therapy, especially when going through difficult times in your life. You do not have to be "crazy" to get help. Your mental health is just as valuable, if not more valuable, than your physical health, so you need to make sure you take care of yourself.
Therapy has given me an unbiased, nonjudgmental person to talk to and has also provided me with mechanisms and strategies to help cope with the things going on in my life. I am truly thankful for my counselor and all that she has been doing to improve my mental health, which has ultimately improved my overall well-being. And I am glad I made the decision to get the help I originally didn't think I needed.
Don't be ashamed to go to therapy. We all go through difficult times and there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help to get through such times. Therapy is one of the best forms of self-care you can do for yourself, so don't be hesitant to ask for help.