Even in today’s society, in which mental health issues have received some well-deserved representation in the media to tackle social stigma, it can still be hard to reach out to someone and say ‘I need help’. In fact, it often feels impossible. But I’ve never been more glad that I finally said those three words.
I think that many people will agree with me when I say that one of the main reasons why we avoid talking about our mental health is because we fear that we will be misunderstood, or that our problems will be dismissed as easily as a casual remark. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I’ve heard “it’s just one of those days, it’s fine” or “we all feel like that” or “you’ll get over it”, and I’m ashamed to say that I believed every word. I thought that if I just give it some time, fake it till I make it, all my problems would vanish and I would feel happy again.
All the issues that I have avoided dealing with were still there at the back of my mind
In public, I would smile and laugh, slowly merging into a version of myself that I knew I wanted to be, but didn’t recognise. In private, I’d eat my feelings, cry, and spend most of my time sleeping. Not my healthiest methods of coping, I admit. Years passed, and all the issues that I have avoided dealing with were still there at the back of my mind, waiting to be addressed.
Finally, I decided that enough was enough, and plucked up the courage to ask for help. I’ve had counselling in the past, but I was always too scared to talk about what really bothered me, so I focused on the smaller issues in the hopes that the real problem would eventually disappear on its own. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t.)
Being honest about how I feel, and talking to a professional is probably the greatest thing I’ve done for myself
A few weeks ago, I said out loud what was truly bothering me for years. And as much as it was terrifying, and painful, and emotionally difficult, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I could breathe. I didn’t feel judged, my feelings weren’t dismissed – instead, it felt like I was taking back my power. I learned that talking to someone can make all the difference, and that honesty really is the best policy. Being honest about how I feel, and talking to a professional is probably the greatest thing I’ve done for myself in a long time.
So if you ask what my idea of therapy is, it’s, well… therapy in its most literal form. Talking about what’s really on your mind can truly be a therapeutic experience, and as much as I hate being a cliche, I do feel like it has changed my life for the better.
Last modified: 4th November 2019