I’m a huge advocate of mental health. I had a series of life events take place in my life between the years 2004-2007 that prompted me to seek assistance from a psychologist. I fought against all negative stereotypes because I knew deep down inside there had to be a better way.
Life gives us lemons and sometimes you just can’t get out of bed to make freaking lemonade.
Death, divorce, job loss, illness, and a plethora of other traumatic events can make us feel stuck.
Sometimes you want to change patterns that were demonstrated to you that you don’t want to pass down like abusive ways of communicating.
My anxiety and anger began to take a toll on me in such a way that I just wanted answers. I love my family deeply but I began to repeat negative patterns that I saw demonstrated from childhood and they did not match the life I was building for myself.
People who have truly committed to therapy now have tools to enhance their communication and work through conflicts.
It is always my go-to advise for folks to go and obtain those skills designed just for their life.
During the years people have expressed concern, fear, and prejudices about therapy that I’d like to share with you. If you are thinking about going to seek help for anything, I hope these 8 points help push you in the right direction.
1) COST: This is by far the number one reason people give when I mention therapy. With everyone watching every penny it’s difficult to imagine spending money just to talk to someone for an hour once a week. What people don’t realize is that many clinics have a pay scale. I’ve known people who have gotten therapy for $10.00 a session or for free.
Also, If you are working chances are your employer may offer an employee program that offers to counsel over the phone. Rest assured your sessions are confidential, as it is illegal for therapists to share any of your health information with your employer.
If you purchase health insurance via your employer then you are most likely covered for family and individual mental health care with an average co-pay of $10-$25.
2) RELIGION: You cannot pray depression, anxiety, grief, abuse or drug addiction away. Your pastor is lying to you if he is telling you that. Good clergy with common sense will advocate for your mental health and pray with you as you discover wonderful or not so wonderful things about yourself. They will compliment your clinical care with scripture and perhaps offer some additional feedback.
On another note, if your pastor is not a trained psychotherapist with state licensed credentials, and specializes in the area of counseling you need, you run the risk of never truly gaining the desired results of therapy. While pastors have life experience they do not have the expertise to diagnose and prescribe the necessary treatment some parishioners may need.
3) FEAR: “What if I go and my marriage falls apart?” ” What if I find out I’m a bad mother” …These are just a few of the many fear-based reasons people delay going.
It’s true…your marriage may not make it. You may find out you suck as a parent. Those things may be contributing factors to your depression. You are worth the journey towards truth.
The truth may also be that you find out that your family thinks you’re the best mom ever, and that your husband has some unresolved issues of his own he’s willing to work through. The results could be you walk out of your last session on the path to a stronger happily ever after because you and your husband will be given tools to fight fair. You will be given tools to cope with the normal stresses of parenting.
4) COMMITMENT: Therapy takes time. In a society where we want instant fixes for everything, I have found people become very impatient with a process that deals with trauma, pain and life planning. Your commitment will be anywhere between once visit a week for about 3-6 months. Sometimes people need longer.
You have to commit to the reading materials, the assignments the moments. You may have breakdowns so you can break through. Therapy is a process, it’s not a one size fits all.
When my husband and I committed to therapy we would have lunch or an early dinner after each session, we grew to love and protect our time together. When I went alone to therapy I’d grab some time for myself by catching a matinee or going to thrift shops in the area.
No matter how you design it, it will take time and you are worth it.
5) DENIAL: Denial can be a useful survival mechanism, but oftentimes it’s just not a productive way of living.
I am a realist and therapy showed me that I was actually in denial about a few things! I was surprised and shocked when I learned things about myself that were locked in, protected by the walls of denial.
When I worked through some things it was freedom! I was able to see my life in a way that was liberating.
7) FRIENDS: People tend to think of their friends as constant sounding boards. That is selfish. The occasional vent is fine, we all do it but your friends are not there for you to monopolize their time with your problems. Your friends are there for you to share fun experiences with.
A therapist gives you time and unbiased feedback, not based on their personal experiences.
8) IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE: That’s like breaking your arm and saying a cast isn’t for everyone. Umm…No.