It’s a weird situation shaking hands with someone for the first time and then immediately vomiting every bit of knowledge of what’s wrong with yourself at them. Seeking psychotherapy is like some weird reverse dating situation. You know how when most people date, they try their best to hide all their annoying quirks and glaring issues at the beginning, in the hopes that the gradual release method will soften the blow and succeed in convincing some sucker to spend the rest of their lives with them? Well, therapy is the opposite in the sense that you purposely expose all your flaws since you’re not worried about scaring away or losing the person.
You’ve gone out of your way to pay someone not to run away when they find out what a monster you are. They’ve even got a master’s or doctorate degree on their wall that says they won’t lose their poker face and make you feel like an irredeemable mess, no matter how many steaming piles have hit your psychological fan. It’s an interesting dynamic.
“Hi, my name is Lady. I’m slightly suicidal and prone to flights of delusionality that I like to write down and call fiction. Can you help me be a tad more functional in society without yanking out all my word-spewing bits? Thanks.”
I have to admit, when I made the decision to seek professional help several months ago, a little part of me expected to walk out of that room with a brand that read “crazy” on my forehead. Not that I’m opposed to therapy. I mean, heck, I wanted to be a psychologist at one point, so I hate the stigma that’s attached to receiving psychological/psychiatric treatment. If it’s publicly acceptable to heal our bodies, why isn’t it publicly acceptable to heal our minds? But in all honesty, a part of me was still laughing at myself for having reached the point I had to walk into some room and talk to a stranger for an allotted amount of time, just because I couldn’t handle the weight of my issues on my own.
It takes guts to admit that to yourself. In an ideal world, everyone would have close enough friends and family members to talk to on the regular basis and not need a stranger to talk to. In an ideal world, I would just have a stable enough head on my shoulders in the first place. But this is not an ideal world, and speaking to a loved one is not quite the same as talking to a qualified professional. So to a therapist I went.
I ended up seeing my therapist roughly once a week for two months and it was a great experience. Not in the sense that I walked out of there a renewed and completely whole person, entirely devoid of the thoughts that had plagued me before, but it helped. It definitely helped. I felt and still feel somewhat rejuvenated as a result of having a better grasp on myself. This more intimate knowing of yourself, or just assurance that you’re not completely nuts, inevitably translates into having a better grasp on life in general.
Therapy is not just some silly thing people who have a lot of money and time on their hands choose to engage in so that a person can ask them how they feel constantly. It can sincerely be a big help and you might be surprised at how accessible a therapist may be to you, even if you don’t have insurance. There are such things as free clinics and there might be one near enough you if you do some digging. Another alternative is online counseling which tends to be more affordable or using the variety of free phone mental health services.
Don’t ever let the stigma of getting psychological assistance get in the way of you receiving the help you need. It’s not something to be ashamed of. In fact, there are plenty of people who say they’re fine, but could use psychological attention and are much worse for the wear. Don’t be those silly people. Throw away your ego if you have to so you can get a better quality of life. Seriously, which is better? Some ridiculous sap who has his thumbs up but is dying on the inside, or a person whose insides match their outsides, even if that does mean grinning a little less because at the moment you’re not particularly happy. At times, even people who have a stable support system can use a stranger to whisper all their dark, secret thoughts to.
Sometimes, you grow so tired of ignoring your problems or questioning yourself about how you’re doing, that you just need someone else to do it for you for a while.
And that’s okay.