By Rachel Hill
In my final post in my series on tackling anxiety, I wanted to open up about my experience with therapy.
So let me back up a little here. After losing both my parents within a few years of one another, I didn’t realize all the feelings I was harboring and that were bubbling beneath the surface and not being dealt with. And to be honest, it took me a long time to even come around to the idea of therapy.
The stigma around it made me feel like going meant that something was “wrong” with me. But now, thankfully, I know that’s not the case and want to encourage those who are on the fence about going to therapy to do so.
Going to Therapy
For me, as strange as this may sound, I was actually motivated to go to therapy after listening to an episode of the popular podcast My Favorite Murder. In the episode, the hosts talked about their experience with therapy and suggested heading over to the Psychology Today website, where you can type in your zip code and find a therapist in your area.
So I took them up on the suggestion and found someone who I felt would be a good fit to help me deal with a lot of the issues I was dealing with. I remember in my first session being so nervous and questioning if I’d even be able to open up to a complete stranger. But that’s what they’re there for. They’re trained to ask the right questions and are so skilled at helping you navigate a path to feeling better.
So during my first session, I cried probably five minutes in! And then immediately cracked a joke, saying something like, “Oh man, that wasn’t supposed to happen until at least the third session!” Clearly, a defense mechanism on my end. And it took a long time for those walls to come down. So, if you are just diving into therapy, be gentle with yourself and realize that it doesn’t happen overnight.
After almost two years of therapy, I wanted to share some takeaways from my experience:
- Take time to find the right therapist for you. The first one you find may not be the best fit. Honestly, I take at least 15 to 20 minutes to pick out ripe avocados, so this being a much more serious investment, I took my time finding the right therapist for me.
- Be willing to go there. Real talk, you’re not going to accomplish anything if you don’t dig deep and tackle difficult topics.
- Implement. Remember your days in school when you would put off doing your homework or studying for a test?? Yeah, don’t do that with the tips your therapist gives you to put into place. They’re for your benefit, and implementing them may be difficult at first but totally worth it. It gets easier with time.
Overcoming My Anxiety
I’ll leave you with this, bringing it full circle and back to the ladies of the My Favorite Murder podcast: One piece of advice that I really took with me and found value in it is, “Anxiety is a fucking liar.” It’s sort of becoming my motto. And every session — in fact, every day — I work hard to remind myself of that and use therapy as a tool to work on overcoming my anxiety.
I hope you find some value in these tips and find this helpful if you’re looking to find a therapist that’s a good fit for you.