In one of my previous posts, I shared my battle against general anxiety and major depressive disorder and what I have done to start my journey toward wellness. One step I have taken is to seek professional help. Doing so was both relieving and frightening at the same time: I was ready to become better, and I was scared of the uncertainty of what may come. It took me months to finally decide to seek professional help because I had several alibis to refuse it, most of which are sentiments I share with several people as well. Below are the reasons I considered most dire for refusing therapy, and in this post, I hope to shed light why we need to see therapy in a new perspective.
I Wanted Quick Answers to Our Problems
Human as we are, we always want our problems to end as soon as possible. Because of this, I wanted a different approach to my mental health conditions: I resorted to anything that I believed can make my condition better or simply end my suffering (whatever it may be). This is the same reason some of us resort to chemical dependence, some us seclude ourselves from people we love and love us, and some of us give up.
This mindset has hindered so many of us to seek professional help because therapy takes time—gradual progress—to help us become better again. It’s true—it may take several months for us to recover and get back on our feet, at the same time, these are all small, steady steps toward wellness. This time, no matter how long it takes, becomes our foundation to being strong again. During therapy, we learn more about ourselves: our triggers, our coping mechanisms, our strengths, our areas of opportunities, our focus, our functions, and many more. This is the reason it takes time because it makes our wellness long-term.
I Did Not Believe that It Works
This connects to the previous reason: because I wanted quick answers to my problems, I didn’t not believe that therapy will help me become better, therefore, shunning the idea of seeking professional help. If I kept believing that therapy doesn’t work, it would have never worked for me. It is sad that most of us still see therapy as something that is a waste of both time and resources.
Contrary to this misconception, the more time I spent in therapy helped me better see how it can help me. I was able to get in touch with my emotions and know myself better; it taught me how to identify and handle my triggers. Similarly, therapy will work for anyone who opens up their time, heart, and mind to becoming better.
I Was Afraid of the Stigma
We live in an era whose mindset was crafted by a generation that does not believe in mental health, and because of this, we are afraid to be stigmatized when seek help. We have been reared by a generation who shames people believed to be mentally unwell, and we have carried that mindset with us. We have been raised to believe that anyone needing therapy is someone who deserves to be mocked or shunned.
Seeking therapy will not only challenge this mindset but also gradually change it. Going to therapy will help people see that it is nothing to be ashamed of, that it is a brave step toward wellness, that it is something to be proud of. Yes, it will take a lot of courage to seek help, and with the help of loving friends and family, this step will become a lot easier.
Had I not taken the risk of seeking professional help despite the stigma and misconception, I would be far away from being well today. Not taking a step toward wellness is more detrimental that giving therapy a shot. Going through therapy will also need dedication, discipline, and patience. This is an investment you can be sure to be rewarding. An investment for yourself. You are worth this investment.