Ah, therapy. Going to a shrink. Seeing a counselor. Seeking help. Seeing a man about a horse...wait. Um, well, whatever you want to call it. It's a thing. It's a thing people do. And it's a thing people do that literally saves their life.
What a powerful and wonderful thing. And yet there is such a negative stigma attached to it. It's only for broken people. Something is seriously wrong. You have failed at life, relationships, etc., and this is a last resort.
Yes, people go to therapy for all of the above reasons, but so what and good for them, first of all. Second of all, some of the wisest and healthiest people I know use therapy as a tool for success. It's a part of their self care routine, thrown into the mix with yearly doctor check ups, getting massages, and seeing the dentist.
Our mental health needs maintenance, too. Especially for those of us that are prone to anxiety and depression, which is the majority these days. Don't think you are alone.
I talk a little about my mental health journey here, but I've been getting back on the therapy train lately, and it's been life-changing. I just love it.
Still don't believe that therapy is for the cool kids? Well, perhaps these celebrities will convince you! Beyonce and Jay Z, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, even Kim and Kanye report using therapy as preventative care and a way to build their relationships.
An article from Huffington Post states that "verbalizing feelings can have a significant therapeutic effect on the brain." Agreed.
Another article from greatist.com states, "Therapy isn’t just for moments of earth-shattering personal tragedies. It can also be useful in reorienting yourself toward your true wants and needs, training yourself in the art of self-compassion, and better understanding, respecting, and communicating your feelings. And—surprise—it’s often easier to pursue these goals when you’re not wrestling bigger, darker obstacles."
I love the phrase, "training yourself in the art of self-compassion." That is huge, people. And is really the key to healing a lot of mental and even physical pain. That negative self talk is quite the beast.
Another phrase from that quote I really jive with is "it's often easier to pursue these goals when you're not wrestling bigger, darker obstacles." Therapy is a way to stock up your tool belt. It gives you healthy thought patterns to use to commandeer your unhealthy ones.
And the best way to learn about your triggers and what do to about them is when you are already healthy and happy. Because when that storm comes, and it will come in one way or another, it will take all that you are just to stay afloat. Trying deal with past and present pain and retraining your brain in the midst of all of that is darn near impossible.
I recommend going to therapy anytime of your life, but here are some questions to ask yourself to see if it might be time for some mental TLC.
- Have you been in a funk lately that you just can't seem to get out of?
- Even when things are going well, do you have some thought patterns that seem to sabotage the joy of it all?
- Do you find yourself cranky for no reason?
- Are you taking on a lot right now and are afraid of failing?
- Do you have thoughts that need to be verbalized, but you are afraid of what your friends or family would think?
- Does the idea of having someone really listen and hear you sound pretty nice?
- Could you use to mental tools to help resolve personal and relationship issues?
- Do you want to keep yourself in check so you don't take your own issues out on others, like those you love the most?
I give you permission to see a therapist without it meaning that you are crazy or that something is seriously wrong. In fact, it can keep you from things being seriously wrong.
Also, ask for recommendations for a good therapist from your doctor or someone you trust. I've had my way with bad therapists, but the good ones are really good and are worth asking around for.
I shall end with this quote from Sophia Bush.
"You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously."
Until next time,
Take good care.