I’m not ashamed to hold my hands up and admit that I have been attending counselling or therapy sessions now for nearly 18 months. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding therapy from what it actually involves to how it will end up making you feel during or even after.
For me therapy has been the most life changing journey and one that I don’t think I’ll ever regret embarking on. I had a lot of negative beliefs surrounding therapy when I first started attending, anything from not thinking it will work and will instead make me worse, to thinking it was something for people who had been through a horrific life event that they needed help moving on from.
I hadn’t been through a horrific life event nor did I need help moving on from anything. The whole reason I sought therapy was to help improve my mental health and wellbeing. Without it I don’t think I would be where I am today and I am so glad I walked through the doors of that therapy room that cold early November day in 2016.
Because I am so much better now for it.
Here are the 10 things therapy has taught me so far (although I could probably say way more)…
That someone does actually care about me
When I first went to therapy, I was carrying around a horrible belief that no one cared about me and that I was a lost cause. It wasn’t until I began to visit my counsellor more and more, that I soon began to realise that there are people out there who care about me and there is also someone very close to me that also does aka me. In therapy, it is my time and space to do with it exactly how I want to. I can talk about whatever I want, I can feel however I want to feel and I can behave in whatever I want to. It is my time to just simply be me with no fear of judgement or upsetting any of my loved ones. I’m taken seriously and my thoughts are important.
Having someone who wants to know about how I am and what life is like for me, has taught me to be as kind and compassionate to myself as my counsellor has been to me. Sure it may be her job to sit there and listen to me, but she clearly does that job for a reason and it is to support people like me who need a neutral person to listen to them. Through this, I now am able to take the time out for myself to listen to me and what I need to then help me deal with whatever I am going through in the correct way.
That I am pretty damn impressive
Now when I sit in that therapy chair and think back to my journey in the past 18 months, I find myself getting quite emotional. The changes I have been able to implement into my life within this time frame has been remarkable. The fears I have faced and overcame has been an amazing experience. I’ve have prove to myself that I am capable of stepping out of my comfort zone, facing my fears and coming out of the other side of it ten times stronger.
I feel pretty damn impressive to have achieved so much in such a short space of time. The type of things I have been able to overcome are things I never thought a couple of years back I would be able to even come close to completing. But it’s just taught me to believe in myself because it can truly take me far.
That I am admirable
One thing that has always stuck with me throughout my whole mental health journey is that I am so determined. Determined to overcome things, determined to not let things defeat me or to give up, determined to not let people in or determined to hold it all together. My determination can either be something that gets in the way of me getting better or it can be the thing that really pushes me to improve.
Whenever I hear my therapist call me admirable, my smile just grows because I know deep down inside of me that without this determination to want to succeed and to keep on going, I wouldn’t be able to called admirable. To have someone see that the effort and hard work I put in to not give up, is something that should be admired means the absolute world to me. It’s such a lovely compliment that gives me even more motivation to keep going!
That it’s ok to show emotions and to have bad days
I’ve always been a fairly emotional person. I can easily cry at an episode of Super Vet or when someone gives me an amazing gift for my birthday, I’m usually reduced to tears in complete surprise and appreciation. Showing emotions has never necessarily been hard for me until I actually got into therapy. That determination side of me kicked in and I refused to turn into a blubbering mess in a place where it was more than welcome. This took time for me to just be able to let out whatever needed to come out as I spoke through more of the more challenging times.
Now when I attended my sessions, most of the time I could not care less if I start to cry and end up walking out of there with no mascara left on my lashes. I’m way more accepting of the emotions that come and go during my sessions, just like I am in the outside world.
I’ve also been able to be more welcoming to bad days. I used to be so determined to fight them off and not have them because in society we’re taught to not let things get us down, to pull our socks up and keep on going. This can be so damaging and in my own experiences has just driven me further and further into a deep dark hole.
Now instead of fighting, I welcome them in and allow whatever feelings come up to just simply be. Without experiencing these bad days, I cannot learn how to deal with my thoughts and feelings better. They help to teach me so much and appreciate those boring average days so much more. By doing this, I’m not neglecting my pain and I’m giving time to the feelings that are usually screaming out to be heard.
Its crazy how much quicker recovery is this way than what society has tried to convince me is the right way!
That validation is the biggest relief for me
I can be going through the hardest time in the world, but when those around me don’t take me seriously or appreciate the stress I am going through, it can hurt even more than what it bothering me. When I sit in therapy and I go through everything that is troubling me, to have my therapist turn around and say to me ‘that must be really hard for you’, its like this wave of relief comes over me and I burst into more tears because it’s just like somebody finally gets it!
If someone else can validate my thoughts and feelings, then they are honestly making my entire day that little bit better. They are actually listening to me and putting themselves in my shoes. Its like a massive weight being lifted and I can finally feel like I can breathe a little easier again. It’s not being attention seeking or thinking you have it worse than everyone else, it’s more about feeling like your thoughts and feelings are being accounted for.
I don’t think anyone really understands until they literally hear someone out and take a moment to think about how they must be feeling. We’re all so consumed with our own life and problems, that when someone one confides in us about their own problems, we’re so quick to give them opinions and advice to help them move on, that we forget to just take a moment to let what we have learnt sink in and come to realise how much pain our loved ones must be in even when it may seem significant to you.
I’d love to do a part 2 to this post because I have so many other useful things I have learnt. So if you’d like to read more of that then please do let me know!
What are your thoughts on therapy?
Have you ever been? Would you ever go if you felt like you needed to?