Why Seeing a Therapist or A Counsellor Shouldn’t be a Taboo
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
by Jananie Chandrarao. |
I was falling apart in the middle of Developmental Psychology class and miserably failing at swallowing the lumps in my throat. I felt that I was going to just burst into tears moment at that moment. Not the silent sobs but the kind of wailing desperate cries where you constantly pause to inhale sharply like all of the air in the world is not enough to allow you to breathe.
That’s when I knew I needed help, professional help because I cannot be constantly stuck here, in an endless loop of trying just survive another day instead of consciously living my life. Fast forward after few months of therapy, the one question I had in mind was ‘Why isn’t everyone doing this, regularly?’ because my view on therapy has drastically morphed from being ‘therapy is for mental illnesses’ into ‘therapy is for well-being’ and who doesn’t desire well-being?
Seeing a therapist or a counsellor should be a regular thing given it is a valid way to get to know your feelings. Being human consists of having feelings and emotions from all of the spectra and dealing with them is not trouble-free. Thus, therapy can function as a great tool to decipher your complex human emotions and turn them into simple yet understandable subjects to be dealt with. Also, a therapist can spot your harmful behavioural and emotional patterns even before you. For instance, I remember my therapist saying how she was doing everything she could but I wasn’t getting any better and this is solely on me because I didn’t want to get better. At first, the accusation was thought to be absurd and unacceptable but as she explained further, I began to understand that I’ve built my entire identity and existence around my trauma to the point I didn’t want to go anywhere beyond it as the beyond was unknown and what is unknown can be scary.
Secondly, as much as your loved ones can assure you of their presence in your life and that you can reach out to them whenever you want, the truth is no one can always be there for you or completely understand you given everyone has their own life and struggles to deal with. As much as they tell you that you’re not a burden to them, which you are not, having mental illnesses such can anxiety can tell you otherwise. Regularly seeing a therapist, on the other hand, can be the best solution as there’s always a safe space for you to open up and discuss your life. Besides, therapists can help you develop techniques and strategies such as journaling and breathing techniques to cope with your struggles and problems as they are trained individuals to help you navigate through your daily life problems which can also include things like time and stress management. Since they are trained individuals for such things, there’ll be no space for the fear of being judged for opening up, that many people widely feel, to exist.
Thirdly, it is always possible to get better from mental illness but just like how even physical illness, cancer has relapses, so does mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. The path of recovery is not always straight, sometimes it is filled with more surprises and struggles any of us can anticipate. This doesn’t mean all hope is lost, but it just means that you need to be prepared and well equipped on how you’re going to deal with those relapses.
With the help of therapists or counsellors, you can always devise plans on your coping strategies and triggers to avoid that might cause damage to your mental health. This might also include preparation to enter support groups and maintaining your current medication or switch your medication until it gets better for you. Even if your relapse does occur, you’ll be relieved to know that you always have a safe space to go to acquire help.
Oftentimes, due to their experience and knowledge in the field of mental health, they might just see the signs and symptoms your loved ones might have overlooked. For instance, certain unexplainable behaviour such as always wanting to wash your hand way too many times or doing anything for exactly three times might seem peculiar to someone else or might be even considered annoying by others.
But such things could potentially be symptoms leading to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)in the future that only therapists and counsellors pinpoint most of the time. Moodiness and lack of participation in activities that they once enjoyed for an extended period among teenagers are also considered to be something like a ‘phase’ that they go through by parents when in reality it can also be symptoms of depression making their daily lives unbearable. It is impossible to expect people around us to understand the struggles we go through with mental illnesses that they don’t have adequate knowledge about. Thus, seeing a therapist regularly would help you to understand your actions and educate you on how to deal with your mental illnesses if you do have one.
The typical and nonsensical notion that only crazy people go to a therapist to get help should be kicked out of the window or thrown off a building. Mental illnesses have been a taboo for far too long that it drives people who should be getting help further into darkness and we as the new generation who have a better understanding of mental health should be breaking that toxic cycle. I believe therapy being a valid way to address your emotions, therapy is available even if your loved ones are not, therapy preparing you for your relapses and therapy helping you to be more aware of your mental health are convincing enough for you to be an advocate for regular therapy without any taboo attached to it.
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