Anyone who knows me knows that much of my life revolves around mental health. I love talking about it, advocating for it, and writing about it so much that I hope to one day become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. My friends also know me as someone who always encourages people to get help when they need it. Yet, when I realized that I should start going to therapy again after a three-year hiatus, I felt embarrassed. I felt like I had already poured so much time and energy into getting better that I should be done with therapy.
Now that I have been attending therapy for a few months now, I have compiled a list of three key reasons why we shouldn’t be afraid to return to therapy.
We change. I was 16 years old when I finished therapy for the first time. I am now 19 years old. That’s three years of growing and changing! I am constantly questioning my beliefs, learning new information, and forming new opinions. This affects the way that I think about everything. I also know much more about the personal identities that affect my life, which has changed how I view myself and what I am seeking from therapy.
Life changes. Since I finished therapy the first time, I have moved to a new city, started college, began my first romantic relationship, gone through my first breakup, made new friends, started two new jobs, and had countless more life experiences. When I list out some of these changes, I realize that this is a lot! I’m not being too dramatic when I say I am overwhelmed. I have a lot to be stressed about, but getting help from a professional makes all of these changes feel more bearable now that I’m learning new coping skills.
Recovery changes. Sometimes my depression and anxiety feel very intense, and other times I feel like I can do anything. I just need a little help to make the positive feelings overpower the more difficult times. Therapy didn’t cure me of depression or anxiety, but it has helped me manage these ongoing issues. I’m not falling apart or going through a crisis, but I don’t need to be in order to ask for help. By seeking help before I reach my lowest point, I am winning the battle for my mental health before it even begins. Being proactive feels great.
Maybe I will once again “graduate” from therapy and never need it again. Maybe I will always need a therapist. All I’m sure of is that this is okay. I am no longer ashamed for facing my darkest feelings. Instead, I am courageous.