While not all of us will be so open to admitting it, a lot of people do indeed find themselves going to therapy. Throughout 2017, over 1.4 million referrals were made for talk therapy in the UK, with almost a million people beginning treatment.
However, despite these high statistics, many people still find it difficult to talk about going to therapy for one reason or another. This could fall in lie with their fears around going to therapy in the first place, or it could simply be because they don’t want to be singled out as somebody who needs ‘extra help’.
Though that’s just the thing – people will go to therapy for all different types of reasons. Some may partake in therapy to work through issues they’ve faced throughout their personal lives, while others will seek out a therapist simply to enhance their self-reflection. Whatever reason you go to therapy, it’s never something to be ashamed of, but we have the notion that it’s something that we feel like we have to hide.
This is largely because of the stigma surrounding the idea of going to therapy in itself. For unwarranted reasons, society likes to demean and belittle those of us who seek professional help. We’re made to feel like outsiders – like people who can’t cope on their own. But this just isn’t the case. Somebody can be more than capable of handling their own life and still want to go to therapy. It’s an individual choice, and one that shouldn’t be judged.
I’ve been to see many therapists in my life, and my life is only just beginning. I’m still regarded to be very young, which leaves me wondering just how many more therapists I will have the pleasure of meeting. That’s not to say that they’ve all been good – to be honest, only my present one has proven helpful. In fact, because I have such bad experiences with some healthcare professionals, I’m somewhat scared to continue going to therapy. I feel like my therapist is going to give up on me at any moment, like the others have, and then I’ll be left sinking in the deep end with no hope of being pulled out of the depths.
These fears, in a sense, indicate that I do indeed need the help that I am seeking. Without my therapist’s guidance – as much as I want to ignore it – my eating disorder and my mental state plummet even further than they already have.
Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of, and that’s something that I’m also still trying to remind myself. All going to therapy means is that we’re taking the strides to try and become better versions of ourselves. We’re trying to find strategies and methods to be able to cope and manage our mental illnesses and our emotions. Going to therapy means that we’re actively trying to be better, even if we don’t necessarily feel like we are.
Every time I walk into that waiting room, I am doing so willingly, and so are you. Each therapist appointment is likely a choice that you’ve made. I know how it feels to think that you’re being made to go to therapy, but, by partaking, a part of you is involving yourself in the process rather than shutting yourself off completely. This is so brave and it takes a lot of strength.
Just like somebody would seek professional help for a broken arm, we’re allowed to seek help to better our mental wellbeing. Yes, sometimes it’s going to feel horrendous. Sometimes it’s going to feel like it’s not even worth it, but it is – it is. We’re trying to live a life as the best versions of ourselves and we shouldn’t be demeaned for coming to terms that we may need a bit more help to be able to do that.
Regarding somebody as weak just because they go to therapy is a cowardly move. All it shows is ignorance and arrogance. Nobody is above therapy – nobody is better than the next person just because they might not go to counselling. If anything, the people who engage with the help that they need – and the help that they deserve – are the ones who are the strongest among us.