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Mental Health

I Kept Quitting Therapy, & Now That I’m Committed I Wish I’d Stuck With it Sooner

I always knew I wanted to give therapy a try, but I was too scared to actually do it. That would mean I’d have to verbalize my problems, and that would make everything too real. I was also fearful of being judged by other people due to the stigma around mental illness. During my junior year of college, in the fall of 2019, I reached my lowest point. I was sad, I felt alone, I cried every day, and I started having extremely negative thoughts. I realized I couldn’t heal myself, and needed someone to talk to. I realized I needed help and guidance, as well as a safe space to talk about anything and everything.

I tried looking for therapists near me, but after a few sessions I’d stop going. I didn’t commit and stay on a consistent schedule. I started to think that maybe I wasn’t ready to talk about it, or to truly start to heal. Then, in December of 2020, I went through a few life experiences that made me feel even more lonely, sad and angry. I cried at home, I cried on my way to work and on my way back from work, and even at work. I cried anywhere possible. I concluded that I wasn’t okay, so I wrote down all of my problems and everything I wanted to work on. I felt ready to work on myself once again, so I found another therapist near me and booked an appointment in March of 2021.

For my first therapy session, I was nervous, but excited to finally start this journey. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I made a promise to myself that I’d stay committed and consistent no matter what. I’d had enough of feeling not okay, enough of these negative thoughts, and enough of not doing something about it. For my first therapy session, I spent and hour and a half talking and crying. I told the therapist everything about myself and everything on my mind, without holding back due to the fear of judgement or anything else. At the end of it, I felt relieved and refreshed. It was the first time in a while that I sat down to talk about all of my feelings with someone, and it was the first time in a while that I cried and let it all out. I felt heard, understood, and validated.

Together, the therapist and I discovered which four emotions and topics we needed to focus on throughout our journey together. The four emotions are anger, sadness, loneliness, and being too hard on myself. My therapist has also helped me realize patterns in my life by making analogies and connecting two completely different situations by a similar theme. He asked me how therapy has been making me feel, and I told him that I feel relieved. I feel like I’ve learned more about myself, have had eye opening thoughts and realizations, and the biggest thing that I feel is “enlightened.” I’ve been attending therapy each week so far, and though it’s only been a few weeks, this is the longest I’ve been to therapy and I can already see the change. I feel the change, and I’m happy that I’ve stayed consistent. I look forward to it each week, and I’m not ashamed to tell people that I go to therapy because it takes strength to acknowledge you have feelings, problems, etc, and it takes even more strength to get the help you need, and to want to make the change and work on yourself.

It’s important to do research, read reviews, and learn about the treatment of each therapist before actually choosing who to go to. I used Psychology Today to find therapists that focused on the issues I’m dealing with, as well as therapists near me. I made sure to read the biographies of each therapist and learn how and what they focus on with their clients. I found one that focuses on emotions, because that’s what I have a hard time verbalizing and dealing with in a healthy way. Going to therapy doesn’t make you weak. I wish I’d done it sooner and stayed committed, because even after only three consistent and weekly sessions, I feel more aware of my problems, I have an action plan, and I feel better.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m excited for this journey, and encourage anyone that’s considering therapy give it a try. For me, it’s working better than I expected, and I look forward to doing more self-discovery and healing.

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Odalys Lopez is a fourth year college student at the University of Illinois at Chicago planning to double major in psychology and sociology with a minor in biological sciences. She loves exploring the city of Chicago, drinking coffee, watching movies and shows, writing, reading poetry, and listening to music. She loves being involved at school and in the community.
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