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Why You Should Give Therapy A Chance: My Story

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I went to therapy for the first time on Veteran’s Day in 2014. I remember the date because it was a holiday off from school, and my friends were over. I told them that my hip had been hurting me from running, and that’s why I had to go to the doctor.

I was completely opposed to seeing a therapist. I had been experiencing acute depression and anxiety for about a year, and was engaging in worrisome behaviors. With the strong guidance of my parents and my school counselor, I agreed to try one session. Just one session.

Courtesy of Walmart

My mom drove me to Lindsay’s office. I sat on the cushioned couch beside my mom, and let her help me explain my anxiety and depression to the kind stranger sitting across from us. I didn’t really have the words yet to describe how I was feeling. Towards the end of that first session, my mom left the room and I sat on the couch alone. Lindsay looked at me and promised that she would support me unconditionally.

It has been six whole years, and I still speak with Lindsay every Tuesday.

Lindsay has helped me through some of the worst times of my life, and has been there to celebrate the happiest days as well. I’ve made big decisions in her office. I’ve processed heartbreaking news and fears about the world around me. I’ve grown profoundly as a result of my willingness to give therapy a chance.

scrabble quote "you will be okay"
Photo by Sincerely Media from Unsplash

I know that my story is unique. Finding a therapist that you work well with can be a long and frustrating process. I am incredibly lucky, and somewhat astonished, that I found my perfect fit on my first try. If you are having trouble connecting with a therapist that you feel safe and supported by, I urge you to keep trying. Once you’ve made that perfect match, it is so worth it and so monumental.

A lot has changed over the past six years. When I first agreed to see a therapist, I kept it a secret. I left school early every Tuesday for my appointments, and I wondered what my classmates thought when they saw me leaving. I made sure not to tell my friends, for I internalized a lot of shame.

Today, I am an open book when it comes to therapy and my own journey with mental illness. I’ve been able to help others reach out for support. I’m often the friend that people turn to if someone they know is struggling and they’re not sure what to do. I’m humbled and honored each time this happens.

It is a liberating feeling to not have to sneak around or lie about what I am doing. If anything, I’m proud of the years and years of work I have done in therapy. Sometimes I think Lindsay knows more about me than I know about myself. This is not all to say that therapy “fixed” me. Therapy is not about getting fixed. Sure, I have grown profoundly since I was 15, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop growing or learning more about myself. I see therapy as a chance to unpack and sort through all of the thoughts and emotions that come with being alive.

Woman sitting on a white window sill looking out into the distance
Photo by Alexandre Chambon on Unsplash

If you are considering reaching out for support but are nervous about how others will react, remember that this is for you. There are so many people who spend their whole academic and professional careers in hopes of someday helping you.

You deserve to feel loved and supported unconditionally.

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst