By: Sydney Batt
When I was younger, I had been to a few sessions of therapy but had never committed to it until three years ago, when I decided to take my mental health seriously. Going to therapy for the first time can be scary or awkward for some, and having to explain yourself over and over again until you find a therapist that is right for you can be tiring. However, if you’re like me, once you find a therapist you think is a right fit, the effects are unbelievably life changing.
I was lucky enough to have found the right therapist on the first try (which isn’t always the case). Since I was young and confused about my emotions I didn’t have a gameplan on what I was going to therapy for or what I wanted to change about myself or my behavior. That made it so the first couple sessions were relatively awkward as we were trying to figure out what I was trying to achieve by going. Regardless, if you know why you are going, it is still a positive step to take. The therapy that I had most success with is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which is based around thoughts and feelings.
Therapy completely changed my life, that is only because I trusted my therapist and was willing to put the work in to change myself, which is most important. It is okay for it to take time to trust them and the process; however, the more information you share, the more you will accomplish. The timeline for building trust is different with everyone, especially when it’s information you haven’t come to terms with. I had no problem talking about my depression but when it came to talking about my sexuality or self harming I would get extremely uncomfortable and defensive. At the time I was ashamed of who I was and what I was doing to my body, which made me very judgmental over myself, so I assumed my therapist would judge me too. It took me about a year to realize my therapist isn’t judging me at all, she was there to help me and support me.
I was able to open up about the toxic relationships I had in my life and my self-destructive behavior. My therapist helped me understand my problem behaviors and learn different coping strategies that didn’t involve destructive behavior. My therapist also educated me on the importance of creating boundaries with family and friends, which was a huge help to me. They taught me how to create my own boundaries when people ask me invasive questions that make me uncomfortable. I now know how boundaries save my relationships from becoming toxic, which has helped me open up more about how I am feeling.
It was important for me to understand that medication can only do so much, and if I truly wanted to live a healthy and happy life, therapy was necessary. Medication has helped extremely with preventing mania and depression, but therapy has helped me control my behaviors when I am in a depressed or manic state.