Therapy definitely still has a stigma around it.
It’s hard to shake the reputation past generations have given something, especially when it comes to therapy; however, what most people don’t see is that a therapy session is like a diamond mine. You uncover a lot of yourself, and that includes the gems and the duds. But the duds don’t have to be negative.
Everyone goes through traumatic events in their lives, leaving them with scars that they either face head-on or repress to be dealt with at another time. Eventually, to be your best self, you need to address those events, and it’s extremely hard to do.
The combination of quarantine and therapy has shown me how great I am at repressing emotions. It’s easy to do when you have distractions—school, work, friends, even traffic. Once all of that was taken away, I had to face my true self, including the emotions I locked in a box and put away someplace I assumed was far away. In reality, they were closer than I ever imagined, and they didn’t take long to come to the surface.
That’s where my therapist comes in, or as I affectionately call him: my bro Dr. B.
I’ve been going to Dr. B for over a year now, and he’s made me realize the habits that have made me me for worse or for better. It’s refreshing to have someone call you out on your BS, especially when you know they’re doing it with your best interest at heart. Sure, family and friends can be like that, but therapists are just different.
They’ll call you out, but they won’t judge you. They give you suggestions, but will never force you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing in that
moment. They’ll listen and witness you exhibiting the same behavior over and over again, but they’ll always be patient with you. They’ll sit there while you cry, but you know by their expressions that they feel sympathy for you, but a sympathy that won’t cloud their judgment on what you still need to do to better yourself. Basically, they’ll go through your life with you being a great asset that knows how to balance soft and tough love.
I’ve realized that seeing Dr. B has been an investment in myself, which is new for me. I’ve always sacrificed my health for other people or other things, and it led me to develop anxiety, and now, depression. Even though it’s rough to deal with these illnesses, my therapist makes it easier.
Dr. B helped me see how I ended up here, how I continue patterns that my family has had for generations, how I can change me. I may not be able to change other people, but I can change myself. That’s something I’m still learning to do because I’m always worried about hurting other people’s feelings if I put myself first, but Dr. B reassures me that it’s not selfish to put my health and well-being first, especially if I’m doing it over people that do not treat me with the same respect as I do them.
Yes, it’s hard to have to deal with hard-hitting emotions, but in the end, they’ll help me feel better overall. I’ve put self-care off too long, and I’m nowhere near where I believe I should be. Therapy isn’t something that works after two sessions. I’m barely in the second stage of what Dr. B calls “Changing my Behavior” and I’ve been in it for months. I can pinpoint my problematic behavior and habits, but doing something out of my norm is difficult. Ultimately, I know I can do it, but I need more time, and that’s okay.
Society expects us to complete tasks in the shortest time no matter what. I’ve quickly learned that I don’t need to follow society. I’m taking things at my own pace, and it’s been great! I still struggle, but the struggles are necessary to help improve myself and my life.
Written by Michelle Allende