Since I turned 15, I have had three therapists.
My first was when I was 15 and I was self-harming. It lasted a few weeks, but I, myself, was not fully invested in the idea of going. Not yet, at least.
My second was when I was 20. I was in a bad relationship at the time, my grades at university were on a rapid decline, and my mental health was following along with it. I was lost, and I was desperate. I needed help, so I sought it out. This therapist lasted a couple of months until she moved to Colorado. Then, I went without therapy again until I was 22 years old.
At 22, I was going through similar things that I did when I was 20 involving my mental health. I took a gap semester from college. I had no place in the world and clung to those that I knew that I had a place with. My friends were dropping from me like flies. I felt like I was on a rapid decline and my will to do anything was growing thin. Once again, I needed help and I went and sought it. Now, I've been attending therapy for about a year and I feel like a new person. I remember who I was when I first started going to therapy, and I use it to fuel who I am now. To better myself, and to remind myself that I am never going back to that again.
At the start of my current therapy sessions, one year ago, my therapist asked me to define three goals I would like to work on throughout our sessions. I said 1) reducing my anxiety symptoms, 2) being more assertive, and 3) not avoiding confrontational situations. After setting these goals, she helped me to work on ways each week to better myself in these areas, and we moved from there.
At our most recent appointment, she brought these goals back up and I realized something...I've met the majority of these goals just in one short year. I've not only stopped avoiding confrontational situations, but I've begun standing up for myself. I've said what's on my mind and become more assertive. And I've had less anxiety these past few months than I ever would have dreamed possible. I'm far from where I want to be, but I'm working on it every week.
As the headline suggests, going to therapy has not made me any less of a person than someone who does not go to therapy. In fact, it's helped to make me more of one. It's balanced me and brought me to a new point in my life. One that I never thought I would ever be at. I look back at this 15-year-old girl, so lost and confused and terrified of feeling the way that she was feeling, and I could not be prouder to be where I am now.
For anyone considering therapy, don't think that it makes you weak. It doesn't. It makes you stronger. It builds you up. It makes you talk about the things you might be scared to talk about. And it's a place specifically made for you to work on yourself. Whether it be school, relationships, your mental health, or anything else that plagues you, therapy helps. I promise you that. And I can't imagine who I would be today without it.