Don't Be Afraid of Therapy

Awareness about mental health has come a long way, but there are still many stigmas attached to it. A lot of these stigmas focus on going to therapy. People may say that it shows weakness or that people who go to therapy are crazy or that it means someone is a failure. Thinking about therapy may conjure up thoughts of someone laying down on a couch, confessing their secrets to a strict-looking Freudian therapist who is scribbling away on a clipboard. 

As somebody who has gone to therapy several times during my life, I've had these thoughts run through my mind over and over again. When I was ten years old and first started therapy, I thought this meant that I was crazy and was too different from my friends at school. I thought I could never talk about it with anybody except my psychologist and my mom. I barely even talked to my younger siblings about it until I was much older. I was terrified that everybody would make fun of me, so I kept quiet about my experiences at therapy and with my mental health.

Since my first therapy appointment, I've started counseling sessions back up twice, both in my college career. I went to weekly therapy sessions from elementary school until about halfway through high school, until I was moved to more spaced-out appointment dates. I went to counseling again last year for my anxiety, and I'm back in it now for my anxiety and depression.

One thing I've learned through all of my time in therapy is that the hardest part is getting yourself into it. Even though I know it's helped me in the past, I feel afraid that I had to "take a step back" and see a psychologist again. I have to remind myself that it's what's best for me.

For anybody out there who is wondering if they should go to counseling, I'd recommend you take the time to research practices near you and see if their services fit into what you are feeling at the time. While therapy has helped me, it may not be for everybody, so don't get frustrated if you try it and it doesn't feel like it's helping you at all. Taking care of yourself mentally means figuring out what works for you, and that may mean taking a chance on some things even if you're unsure about them. 

If there is anything holding you back, especially those stigmas attached to seeing a psychologist, remind yourself that those are just stigmas and aren't true. After all, the cool thing about therapy is that it can be...wait for it...therapeutic. 

For additional resources on the University of Iowa campus, check out this link to see what University Counseling Services can do for you. 

Photos: cover1, 2