There’s so much stigma attached to the concept of therapy that I shy away from talking about it, even though it’s done me the world of good.
Let’s say I’ve just come from therapy and I bump into someone I know, in my head I feel I should have no fear in telling them where I have been just like I wouldn’t think twice if I had come from the GP. However, the reality is very different. Worrying about the judgement from others would lead me to hide my therapy because people associated with it are often seen as weak or crazy.
I know I am not alone when I feel this way and unfortunately the result is that many people prefer not to pursue therapy or counseling despite feeling a significant amount of mental, physical or emotional distress.
I undertook Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which taught me coping mechanisms for some of the worst effects of PTSD such as:
- Derealisation – no doubt the problem that caused me the most grief, it was at the core of my anxiety, depression, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. For anyone unfamiliar with Derealisation it can come in many forms but affected me by seeing objects change in shape, size and color and I was also seeing the world as two-dimensional and feeling disconnected from it. It still affects me and I don’t think there will be a time when I’ll live without it but knowing how to control what I see without becoming overwhelmed is the best outcome therapy could’ve given me.
- Anxiety and Depression – I am very proud to say that I’ve overcome depression and have not been on medication for almost two years (YAY!). Medication was very helpful in the short-term but shouldn’t be relied on but therapy teaches you how to manage your condition long-term. Anxiety is still a pain and has a number of triggers but I now know what to avoid and how it should be managed so it lasts a couple of hours rather than a few days (which would usually result in a breakdown).
But one of the best things therapy did was to educate me! It allowed me to understand PTSD by putting the changes I was going through into a way that I could understand and in turn, I was able to recognize when they were taking a hold on me.
I hope by talking about my own experiences that anyone who may have been holding back from getting the help they deserve will see there is no shame in going to therapy.
It is tough mentally, emotionally and physically and should be respected as a form of treatment no different from going to your GP or having physiotherapy for an injury. We should be able to talk about it openly without feeling judgement!
No doubt I will be going to therapy again in the future but without it there is no way even six month ago that I would’ve had the confidence to book my travels alone and I’m so proud of myself to see how far I’ve come.
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