The Stigma of Seeing a Therapist

I saw saw a post from an account I follow on Instagram that said, "No one ever hears a friend say I have a doctors appointment, and thinks something is wrong with them. It's generally the right thing to do to see someone if your body feels atypical. On the other hand, if someone wants to see a therapist for their mental health, people are more likely to judge."

After seeing that quote, I really started to think about the stigma that therapy has in our society. People who see someone to talk about their mental health often keep it a secret from their peers because they don't want to be judged. Although society is getting better at arising awareness for mental health, it still does not take away the judgment of seeing a therapist. 

My sophomore year in high school, my mental health took a big toll on my life. I think every girl can relate to a time where they have felt not good enough. My depression was at an all-time high and I felt so alone. My mom had talked to me about seeing someone, but I was so set on not going. I was fine I thought, why would I need to see someone to talk about my problems. My parents had never really dealt with one of their children being depressed, and they didn't know how to handle it. My mom tried her hardest to talk to me and let me know she was there, but what teenage girl wants to talk to her mom about her problems or emotions? After not seeing any improvement on my health, my mom forced me to see someone if I wasn't going to talk to her. 

Anna Schultz-Black And White Girl From Behind

I was so ashamed of having to go to a therapist. If my friends were to find out, they would think I am weird and not talk to me. I would be looked at as crazy or someone who isn't normal. I of course didn't tell anyone I was going, and as the day arrived, I was really nervous. My mom researched about every therapist in my area, and based on her judgment and my personality, she found someone she thought would fit best for me. I remember walking into the appointment with tears already forming in my eyes. What was I going to talk about? Will this lady judge me? I had such a bad mindset going into my appointment. The minute I walked into her office and sat down, I immediately felt safe. I had so much I wanted to say, and I had no idea half of the things I had spoken I really felt.

Seeing a therapist was one of the best decisions I have stuck with. Just having an outlet to talk to someone is comforting. After not being ashamed of saying I talk to a therapist, I found that a lot of my friends and family members were also seeing someone. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one, but at the same time it is sad that people feel they have to hide something that can be a big part of their life. Seeing a therapist does not make you weak; in fact it makes you strong. Opening up about your fears is courageous and something that not a lot of people can do. Seeing a therapist does not mean you are in a bad place. Talking to someone can actually help you learn more about yourself. Even if you are in the best place, talking to someone can help you figure yourself out. Lastly, you are NOT crazy! The word "crazy" only increases the stigma of seeing a therapist. 

self-love

Breaking down stigmas of seeing a therapist will only make our society one step closer to everyone feeling safe and secure about reaching out for help. Hopefully we all can talk confidently about our therapy appointments as we are with our doctor appointments. 

Abigail,