Therapy: my experience

A deep dive into the topic of therapy and mental health.

Leah Graham
22nd March 2022
Image from Unsplash @Priscilla Du Preez
We are more open than ever in discussing mental health; various campaigns are splashed upon our TVs, social media, and even bus stops. From Every Mind Matters to Get Britain Talking to #Don’tFilterFeelings, reminders that someone is there for you are everywhere, but why is therapy still considered a taboo topic?

Openly, I first started attending therapy aged fourteen, and I have been on and off for the last seven years. I’ve had three therapists in these seven years, the first two on the NHS and the third privately. My experience with therapy has taught me two things, number one, therapy shouldn’t be something to be ashamed about and hide from others; number two, the NHS mental health channels are desperately underfunded.

The work I did with her was some of the best advice I’d ever received; I’d leave each session with a new sense of clarity.

When I started attending therapy, a counsellor would come to my school and talk with me once a week. I don’t remember much, but the lady was nice, and I could openly tell her about all my worries, which had absorbed me, irrational or not. After she left, I never received any communication about the outcome of the sessions; years later, when reading my notes in a doctor’s office, I saw she had written I had ‘signs of psychosis’- a massive help.

My second therapist came during sixth form; I had had a significant anxiety attack that lasted a few weeks. By the time I was over the worst of it, a slot had opened in the NHS waiting list. After a few weeks, I was back to ‘normal’ and didn’t require therapy, but I had six sessions with my therapist, and I was determined to make them count. I asked if we could explore more my triggers so I could work on these. My therapist said something along the lines of ‘I don’t know if we have time’ or ‘I don’t know if we can do that.’

My final therapist made me believe in therapy again. I could openly talk about everything I was feeling, and I had someone to listen and support me. The work I did with her was some of the best advice I’d ever received; I’d leave each session with a new sense of clarity.

Attending therapy shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.

That wasn’t to say I wouldn’t cry my heart out in the sessions either, but when you’re bottling so much up, just having someone to listen to you can be everything. In the last year, I’ve learned that more of my friends, family and classmates are in therapy. They don’t need to discuss reasons they don’t want to, but admitting you’re attending therapy shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.

Working on yourself and having someone to support you in your struggles aren’t signs of weakness; they’re signs of strength. Though my first two therapists couldn’t help me in the way I needed, therapy on the NHS is still something I am incredibly grateful for. More needs to be given to the NHS to help people suffering from mental health issues, but also, if we were all a bit more open about therapy, the world might be a bit brighter.

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