Getting Your Mind Right: Why We All Need Therapy
While I believe that mental health awareness has improved (unfortunately due to tragic events and heart breaking stories) there is still somewhat of a stigma. Many won’t admit that they either judge those with mental health concerns or don’t believe in diagnoses at all. If you’ve never been given an actual label or prescribed medication it is easy to look at sufferers believing that you couldn’t possibly relate. Well I hate to break it to you but everyone has experienced some sort of mental health issue at some point in their lives. Whether it was situational depression after a break-up, bereavement, or anxiety in regards to a major life transition, we’ve all been there. The only difference between someone who is diagnosed and someone who is not is the actual impact their mental health status has on their daily functioning. Otherwise, we’ve all had bouts of less than perfect mental health and it is time to start acknowledging this.
As a therapist who has a therapist, I strongly believe that everyone should see a professional at least once in their lifetime even if only for a short period. I could argue my case all day, but here are a few reasons why:
It’s not about being mentally ill– It’s about being mentally healthy! The biggest misconception is that you are only to see a therapist when something is wrong with you or you are going “crazy”. For the same reasons why physically fit people still go to the gym and saved people still go to church, therapy is a great tool to help maintain a good mental/emotional health. Life is just as challenging as it is beautiful. Sometimes we need an environment where we can commit to processing what is going on in our lives while keeping positive methods of handling it all. Waiting to see a therapist when you are near a nervous breakdown is not the way. Instead, choosing to go as a way of making your mental health a priority is ideal.
We all have stuff– As we venture further into our adult lives, we may begin to realize that there are some unresolved matters from our past that still affect our present. The most popular response to anything painful or uncomfortable is to put those issues in a “do not open” box in the back of our consciousness. The problem with this coping mechanism is that the emotional baggage never really goes away. It’s just waiting to spill out at the most inopportune time. This can manifest in ways such as difficulty in relationships, parenting, and overall struggles with life planning or goals. Therapy can be a great way of addressing anything that has been suppressed and bring your awareness to areas you hadn’t paid attention to.
Your friends don’t know it all– There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to your friends when you need support to talk through what you’re going though. However realize that your friends are not professionals. They may not be fully honest with you or give biased advice based on their experiences. If you’re the strong friend of the group you are too busy helping everyone else to ask for help yourself. You may not share everything with them because you don’t want to bother them or seem needy. It may seem contradicting but you are more likely to be open and transparent with someone you don’t know. This is one of the reasons why therapy works. This is not to suggest that you have to fire your friends. Just hire a therapist too this way you have a professional on your home team.
It’s the ultimate “me time”- Therapy is the undivided attention you’re afraid to ask for that no one else honestly has the time to give you. Your therapist becomes your new “person” who is focused on you and your needs. You will be supported, guided, challenged, and comforted all in the name of healing! Seeing a therapist for the first time can seem very foreign as most of us aren’t used to someone being present and attentive to us with such intent. This type of environment can lead to some amazing breakthroughs. Just as we are eager to get a massage or mani/pedi, therapy is an amazing source of self-care that treats you from the inside out.
It works for Christians too– Who says you have to choose between prayer and professional help? I believe God gifted us all for the purpose of blessing others. He created amazing clinicians who are capable of providing good, sound counsel. There are awesome Christian therapists out there with a variety of specialties to fit your individualize needs and give you the best of both worlds. We all know that much of the warfare begins in the mind, so combating that with spiritual based therapy can give you the tools to renew your thoughts.
Self-improvement is the ultimate investment– Therapy can aid you on the road to becoming your best self. You can’t get where you’re going, pursue your dreams and passions if you are not mentally/emotionally capable of handling the quest. For those who may be stuck and feel like they’ve tried everything therapy can be the next best step. Throughout your journey some seasons will be more trying than others requiring you to solicit additional support. You often hear about the benefits of having a mentor and life coach to give you the keys to success. Well adding a therapist to that team can assure that you are internally equipped to follow your dreams and win!
I know there will be those who still decide that therapy will never be for them and that’s okay. However we still need to make it a priority to take care of ourselves effectively. Let’s make mental health a common practice, topic of discussion, and area of importance! Our quality of life truly depends on it.
Moment of reflection- Do you or have you ever suffered from a mental health diagnoses? Did you feel ashamed or that you would be judged as a result? Did you seek help? Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist? Is there anything preventing you from seeing one?