The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Have you ever wondered, do I really need therapy? I’m mentally healthy enough, right? Well…I hate to break it to you, but I thought the same thing.
For the longest time, I put off going to therapy. I had an astounding four intro sessions with four different therapists and never followed up out of fear. I made every excuse in the book. They ask too many questions or they weren’t helpful, they didn’t know what I needed etc….But what I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t ready to talk about a lot of things and so I ran far, far away from the help that I needed.
I started feeling “off” my senior year of high school. Let’s just say I always felt kind of “off” but then I finally admitted to myself that something was wrong. I’d have these sharp periods of depression followed by social isolation and distrust of everyone in my life. I was dissociated most of the time and I wasn’t really living life. The first three or four intro therapists told me that I had some sort of “adjustment disorder.” In real talk, this is like a therapist admitting that they don’t think you have anything going on that’s “too concerning.” This only made me feel more defeated and reluctant to open up to people, because it sounded like I was making a big deal out of nothing. That I was being too dramatic.
When I started therapy at COFC, everything changed. With my new therapist I discovered the true root of my problems. My new therapist told me right after our first one or two sessions, that I had trauma from my childhood. It was as if someone ripped open the curtain covering my life and everything became much clearer. I always felt alienated from other people and emotionally immature, because my emotions would spew out everywhere like a volcano. With her validation, I no longer felt like this crazy outsider. My therapist opened my mind to see my past in a different light. I learned that my childhood wasn’t “normal”, though nobody’s really is. Growing up with an alcoholic father and emotionally distant family had affected me much more than I was ever able to give myself credit for.
It caused a multitude of issues for me in my adult life. 1)Being able to trust people and not being skeptical from the first moment, 2) Being stuck in the past, 3) Feeling undervalued and unwanted. When I was allowed to recognize my own past trauma, it was as if something clicked and I could understand myself.
Now, it’s not as easy a process as I’m making it out to be. The progress I’ve been making is not linear. I go back and forth and sideways and upside down and all that, but now that I’ve started therapy and realized my worth, I can never go back to the way it was before. And I think that’s magical.
I’ve started doing EDMR treatment, which is a treatment where the therapist moves their finger back and forth in front of the patient’s face and the patient recalls memories in a very fluid manner and the goal is get the traumatic memory to the other side of the brain and to a place of healing.
And I’ve started group therapy at school, where I meet with other wonderful women who have gone through traumatic experiences and we all learn and grow from one another. That aspect has been incredibly valuable to me, because trauma is often a lonely experience. Speaking out your trauma to others is terrifying, but so rewarding.
Going to therapy has literally changed my life. I know everyone says that, but for me it’s true. I’ve been validated and valued in a way I’ve never let myself internalize before. I’ve grown a stable support system and I’m held accountable for my actions. This process has been super emotional and hard, but I am so thankful that I took that first step.
So, if you’re on the fence and think you don’t need therapy, it won’t hurt to give it an honest try. Cause who knows? You just might change your whole life.