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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Mental health and I have a rocky relationship. You could even call it toxic. Having been raised in a household where the word “therapy” held a lot of weight, combined with the slight wince on my parents’ faces every time I suggested such an idea, it was never really an option for me, no matter how much I needed it. Starting therapy means so much to me for this reason, and having my parents’ support to do so means even more. That being said, I have some pretty high expectations: will therapy live up to the hype?

The series of events which pointed me to therapy began in March, when I was diagnosed with ADHD. I tried medication and my family and I decided it was not the right course of action for me. The other recommended treatment was therapy. I went untreated for about four months, during which a series of incredibly large life changes occurred. I became an aunt, my mom moved two states away, I graduated high school, my parents sold our house, I moved to Colorado, and I started college. It would be natural for anyone to feel stressed out, but structure is critical to managing ADHD, and I was definitely thrown for a loop. While ADHD was the primary reason for starting therapy, anxiety was the secret driving factor I never told my parents about. It should be noted that I am seventeen, so I do need my parents’ approval to begin seeing a therapist. 

I searched for ADHD therapists in the Boulder area, checked the bus routes to make sure I could get there, ensured that my insurance would be accepted, and made a list of all the therapists who were compatible and accessible to me. I then called each office’s phone number to check for availability and landed on my therapist. Although I didn’t purposefully look for a therapist with a similar cultural background to me, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the office specializes in Asian American clients. During my first session, I was comforted by the sense of understanding that came with my therapist having comparable experiences to me, not to mention the office environment itself feeling familiar. I really recommend finding a therapist who understands and relates to certain aspects of your identity if that is accessible to you. 

I was so nervous going into my first appointment; I really didn’t even know where to start. So, I was surprised to realize that the first half of the appointment was devoted to paperwork. Afterwards, my therapist introduced herself and then asked about me. She questioned my concerns, how ADHD shows up in my life, and what my goals are. We practiced deep breathing exercises, and that was it. I left feeling excited to continue, but not like anything major had changed just yet – I mean how could anything change after only one session? She informed me that the next session would be devoted to “unpacking.” 

I arrived at our second session ready to vent, but I realized there is a downside to dumping everything at once. As someone who is shy and just beginning to get to know my counselor, unloading a bunch of personal problems was definitely not the way to go. Not only did we run a little over time, but we also didn’t have time to fully address everything I said. While she did try to make sure that I left in a positive mental state, I was concerned over the time and decided to say I was fine when I definitely wasn’t. The rest of the day felt off after that. 

My third session went more smoothly. I definitely learned my lesson from the previous week; slow and steady is the way to go. After some deep breathing exercises and bringing myself back to the present moment, I told my therapist about my week, not racing ahead to tell her about any other problems. Everything I told her came about naturally, and I realized that I preferred addressing a few things and working through them over addressing everything at once. I left feeling refreshed and like I could tackle all the small stressors of the week. 

While I have only just begun my therapy journey, I have already begun implementing techniques I’ve discussed with my counselor into my daily life. Even though my therapy is for ADHD and anxiety management, I want to emphasize that anyone can go to therapy and that everyone should have access to it, no matter how big or small your problems may feel. Wellness is essential to everyone, and if therapy can help you achieve that, this is your sign to go for it.

Samyukta Sarma

CU Boulder '27

Samyukta Sarma is a contributing writer for Her Campus at CU Boulder. She is a freshman at CU studying Media Production with interests in English and Psychology. Writing has been her passion since she was a child and she has a fondness for journalism. In high school, she was involved with her school newspaper and elected the position of News Editor her senior year. Since beginning her college career, Samyukta has joined Her Campus and Radio 1190’s News Team to continue exploring all that journalism has to offer. In her free time, Samyukta enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, listening to music, thrifting artwork and clothes, and crafting. She can usually be found at the library or at a coffee shop sipping on cold brew or matcha. In her future career, she hopes to be making documentaries, never losing touch with her love for writing.