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Why Trying Therapy Is so Important

As a 19 year old, I’m truly inspired to see my generation embracing the advantages of therapy in today’s world. Podcasts, celebrities, TikTok influencers, everyday people are encouraging my generation to not be afraid of therapy. Your therapist is there to help you, not judge you in any way. By seeing people in my age group express how therapy has affected their everyday life so positively, I’m given the courage and motivation to continue to go to therapy. I started therapy pretty recently, in January of 2021. I had been wanting to start therapy for a while at this time. Not because I was particularly mentally unstable, but because I was just curious to see how it would affect my mental health. To say it’s changed my life would be an understatement. My sister started therapy last summer and within just a few months, I saw such an increase in her happiness, her mental stability, her confidence and her overall positive look at life. I was inspired by her and her motivation to invest in herself. To work toward bettering herself without a timeline, without a timer telling her to focus on college, family, or other obligations first. It was truly motivating as her older sister to see her truly grab onto that thirst for mental health as well as a new way of looking at not only her life but herself. I wanted that for myself. I wanted the anxieties, the stresses, the uncertainties to decrease as my self love grew. Within a few months, I’ve found that. Not only has an increased sense of self love helped me on a daily basis, but it has also helped me in expressing love in the important relationships in my life. 

Are you thinking about starting therapy? Are you feeling a bit of uncertainty about this commitment? Well, you’re not alone. I was too. To be completely honest, I started thinking about starting therapy when I was 16. However, 1) I was too scared to talk to my parents about needing/wanting help because I felt like I shouldn’t need it and 2) I was scared I wouldn’t get what I wanted out of the experience, a newfound sense of self love and confidence in myself. I learned quickly that you can’t go into therapy expecting something specific because you could never plan the type of growth you are certain to make through therapy. You have to approach therapy with a sense of understanding and acceptance that whatever you work through is what’s meant to be. Never address a situation before therapy and say you’re going to “fix” it that day and be fine with it the next. You have nothing to “fix.” Take it from me. I joined my first zoom therapy session and said I wanted to fix this, this and this. My therapist stopped me in the middle of my sentence. “We have nothing to fix here. Just things to grow past,” he said. I was fascinated by that statement. You as a person have nothing to fix about yourself. You just have traumatic experiences that affected you negatively, that you have to grow through, that you have to heal through, that you have to breathe through. So if you’re nervous about starting therapy, just go for it. I made a rule for myself before I went to the first session. Even if I didn’t enjoy it right away, I promised myself I would go for three sessions. If I still didn’t enjoy it after that, I could be done. Maybe give yourself this same rule before your first session. You have to try something new for a specific amount of time to decipher if you actually find it beneficial for your wellbeing or not. And if you don’t, move on! Find another form of therapy!

One thing that I did before starting my first therapy session was write a journal specifically for therapy. I am on my 16th appointment now and I have written in my “therapy journal” before and after every single session. Writing about how I’m specifically feeling before therapy and seeing that growth within just an hour is so powerful for me and my mental health. Actually being able to read that I am growing is so encouraging. Sometimes it’s hard to see growth when you’re not actively looking for it. In therapy you shouldn’t be, you should be expecting yourself to grow, it should just happen. By writing down how I’m feeling before and after, I am giving myself an inside view into my growth process, a process not many people see or know how to look for. Sometimes there is growth between the “before” and “after” entries and other times there is not. That’s just a portion of therapy that you have to accept going into it. 

You have to accept that there are some days when therapy will help immensely, when you will feel the changes, when you will feel the release of talking through your situation. And there will also be days when you leave therapy feeling the exact same as before or possibly even worse. It truly depends on how you approach each session, if you decide to give all of your gut and all of your strength to yourself and your mental health. For me this was one of the most difficult aspects of therapy. Understanding that not everyday will be successful. Understanding not everyday will lead to intense breakthroughs. Sometimes therapy can just be an outlet to talk. You don’t have to have some life changing conversation every session. This stigma surrounds the therapy community. The fact that you need to come to each session and be prepared to talk about your deepest darkest traumatic experiences and move on from them in one single meeting. When starting therapy, don’t ever feel like you need to have a specific event to work through. I started going to therapy for anxiety and depressive thoughts and now I’m working through some body image issues that I honestly didn’t even know existed. That’s what’s so rewarding about therapy. You work through the things you knew you struggled with and you dig deep enough to find anxieties and stresses you forgot about or didn’t know existed at all. By truly digging deep you can understand where those anxieties lie and how to work through them if they arrive again. 

Therapy is exciting, terrifying, eye-opening, and even a bit tiring, but so worth it. Take the rest of this time in quarantine to truly invest in yourself and your mental health, because YOU’RE worth it. You’re worth the time it takes to understand yourself emotionally. Creating a positive mentally safe environment for yourself in a truly unfamiliar time in our lives is so important for YOU. No one else. INVEST IN YOURSELF. Say it, “I’m worth it.” You are! If occupational therapy isn’t for you try different forms of therapy, music therapy, physical therapy, whatever works for you. Just remember, you’re worth it. You’re worth the pain, the anger, the grief, the heartache you’ll work through because at the end of the tunnel there is light. You are so full of light. Therapy can help you see that again.

Meguire Hennes is a Her Campus Editorial Intern and a senior at Montclair State University. She is majoring in Fashion Studies. Meguire is excited to share her knowledge of pop culture, music, today's fashion and beauty trends, self love/mental health, astrology, and musical theatre. When not writing or in class, Meguire can be found living her best Carrie Bradshaw life in NYC, singing 70s/80s classic rock a little too loud in the shower, or watching her favorite rom-coms over and over again. Coming from a small town in Wisconsin, she's excited to see what adventures await her in the big city!
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