Isn’t weird how the people who have never been to therapy seem to have the loudest opinions about it?
“Therapy is for the weak.”
“Therapy is just an excuse to complain to somebody.”
“Therapy is a waste of time and money.”
“Therapy is for soft people who don’t know how to handle things on their own.”
Here’s the thing, although these opinions over-saturate the topic of the therapy, none of them are true. What is true about therapy: It is fucking hard!
It is hard to sit there and pour your emotions out to a stranger, especially if you have a hard time doing that to the people you love.
It is hard to hear how almost all your habits are unhealthy.
It is hard admitting that you’ve fucked up so many times within an hour.
It is hard trying to change your ways after doing the same thing for years.
It is hard being open minded to others opinions about your life.
Worst of all, it is hard to keep showing up with so much back lash from people who do not know what it actually takes to go to therapy.
Therapy isn’t just a “safe room” where you talk about your feelings and then go home. It is an intense, hour long session of trying to change almost everything about your thoughts, your habits, and your life. You leave exhausted. Then you are on 24/7 thought control to literally change the way your brain is operating (both emotionally AND physically). It does get easier, but it is never easy. Then you go back and do it all over again next week. Even more so if you are in an inpatient treatment facility. Then therapy can average around eight hours a day, seven days a week. So DO NOT let anybody tell you that therapy is easy, because if it was, you wouldn’t actually need it.
One major component about therapy that you have to consider is the therapist. No two psychologists are the same. It is important to find a therapist that specializes or has a lot of experience with your symptoms. This is somewhat obvious, but something less obvious is to find a therapist that has the same morals, ways of communicating, and maybe even religious believes as you. Here is why:
My first therapist wasn’t a good fit for me (hence why he is my first rather than my only). He was very adamant about being spiritual to find happiness. Now, there is nothing wrong with this type of therapy, he seems to actually help a lot of people, but I am very skeptical about the universe’s energies and them having anything to do with me crying or not. His way of thinking was nowhere close to mine, so the therapy actual made my condition way worse. I got frustrate that it wasn’t working so I gave up on myself a lot.
My second therapist was completely different. She specialized in Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I thought she was going to be perfect for me since she specialized in my condition. She was AMAZING at explaining BPD and helping me understand how to better myself from it. The only problem was whenever I brought up something from the past (anywhere between birth and a couple of hours ago), it always seemed to end in “Well, it is what it is, you can’t change it.” Although I completely agree with this statement, I brought up my challenges in the past in hopes of analyzing the situation and seeing how I can do better next time, so brushing it off wasn’t helpful to me.
My third therapist was extremely religious. Again absolutely nothing wrong with religious therapists, as long as their way of thinking lines up with yours. I am not religious in the slightest, so given the advice “God has a plan for all of us.” and “God will never give you anything you cannot handle.” was not helpful in the slightest.
My fourth (and current) therapist has been perfect for me and my diagnosis. He knows a crazy amount about BPD and DBT and is also very scientifically driven, which means he can explain why I am doing the homework and why my therapy works with my brain. He also runs through past situations with me to find new ways on how to think about similar situations in the future. He’s been an amazing therapist to work with.
I am not saying to find a therapist just like mine because that’s the only way therapy will work, I am saying to find a therapist that works for YOU because that’s the only way therapy will work.
So yes, we’ve now established even considering go to therapy can be hard, let alone actually going and find a therapist that is right for you, but is it worth all the hassle, time, and tears? YES! Finding a type of therapy and a therapist that works for you is life changing. I never thought I could go any entire day without a panic attack, I thought that I was too crazy to love, and that I would never find happiness. That was less than 2 months ago. Now, I feel like I could take on the world. I can makes plans and have it fall through without considering myself a failure. Do I have shitty thoughts that create shitty days – yes – but is it every single day – not even close anymore. I am starting to see myself again and I would have never been even close without reaching out for professional help. Do your research, don’t be afraid of therapists (or switching them), and I can almost guarantee that you won’t regret it.