February 1, 2018

So here’s something I’ve been wanting to talk about on my blog for a long time, but haven’t been able to find the courage to do. I have been going to therapy every week since May. I decided to write about my experience for many reasons.

Mental health is stigmatized, dismissed, and not talked about. Over the past few months, I have read several bloggers’ posts about going to therapy and/or dealing with anxiety. At the time, I was not comfortable sharing my own struggles, but I appreciated the fact that they could be so open and raw on their blogs. If this post helps one person, I will be happy.

I want my blog to be real. I want to be more open and honest about my struggles. I often get comments about how good I am with coping with military life and marriage. I really love those comments and I do think that I cope pretty well, but it is really hard.

Also, I remember talking about this with one of my military spouse friends back in April. I told her I was thinking of going to therapy. She then told me she had been going for a couple of months. It wasn’t until that moment in which I shared my struggle that she felt comfortable sharing her experience with me.

Since then, I slowly started telling people. And I’ve found how common it is. I had no idea that so many people I know go to therapy or had gone to therapy in the past, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they go alone, sometimes with their partner.

If you decide to go to therapy, you do not have to tell anyone. But since I have been pretty open about a lot of aspects of my life, I wanted to use my blog to tell you that you are not alone. There seems to be a stigma involved with going to therapy, but it’s an incredibly positive thing.

A few months ago, I looked at Nick and said, “do you think I have anxiety?” And he said, “Uh, yeah.” But the look on his face said, how could you not know that? I have always had anxiety. But I have always been able to kind of work around it. Nick has always been really good at helping me when I feel anxious, but Nick’s not around much lately.

The last straw

Last year, Nick was away for a long time and it was hard. I felt this culmination of an entire year of not being able to lean on Nick, of seeing other guys come home while Nick goes to work on the weekends, of the stress of military life.

I didn’t have one specific problem. I just needed help dealing with all of my emotions, anxiety, and stress. I needed help understanding how much to expect from Nick and how much I should let go when he works just so much. I needed help coming to terms with being a military spouse and all that comes with that.

For me, this took a lot of self-awareness. I finally realized knew that I needed help dealing with some things. During my first session, my therapist said that if I just needed to vent for an hour every week, I could do that. But she has given me a lot of great strategies and advice that I feel have helped me so much.

The first therapist I went to, I didn’t like. He asked me some questions that seemed just too personal, like the name of my blog. Therapists should not be looking you up online. I never went back and I almost gave up on the idea of therapy. But I went back online and found another therapist and decided to give her a try. I am really glad I did that and now I know that you really have to find someone you click with and trust.

It’s very humbling to go to a therapist every week and tell her my struggles and what I need help with. I am also so fortunate to be able to access this kind of healthcare through the insurance that I get from the military. I pay $16 per session, but there are many ways to get this care for free, too, if you are a military spouse.

Going to therapy is an incredibly personal decision. And I will be honest with you. There are some days where I really don’t want to go. There are some days where I think about stopping. It’s honestly exhausting.

But despite the hard work, I know how much it has helped me. And I’m here to say that it might help you too.

If you want to talk about this topic more but don’t want to leave a comment, please feel free to email me at carolann.findingithaka {at} gmail.com

 

 

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12 responses to “Taking the stigma out of therapy.”

  1. Anna Parker says:

    I had some a while back through work and I was amazed that when I needed it I found out everyone more senior than me had already benefited from it. If only it wasn’t so taboo people would know it’s benefit before they leave it too late. I learnt stuff that still keeps me sane today!

  2. Dana says:

    You are NOT alone. Not even kind of. And yes, we ALL should talk about it more.

    As a friend told me once, you’re not just doing the hard work. You’re also doing the HEART work. This process will set you on a path to gain tools that will be useful to you for a season, a lifetime. It’s growth, and sometimes, we need a hand up. And that’s 1000% okay.

    Thank you for your courage to share!

  3. Julie says:

    I’m all for it – there is never judgment! I think most people would benefit from some therapy to be honest. I’ve finally started seeing a therapist myself and in fact, a lot of my successful friends all see one! I’m definitely looking forward to working with her and getting myself into the space I want to be in. Thank you for opening up!

  4. Amanda says:

    I sometimes think it would be really nice to be able to go and talk (or vent) to an unbiased person who can just listen. Nothing wrong with therapy, as long as you find someone you trust and someone who is good. Friends of ours went to a marriage counselor (is counselor considered the same as a therapist?) and from what he told us, they were getting terrible advice. Sadly, they ended up getting a divorce, although I don’t necessarily blame the therapist. ANYWAY, tangent. The point is, I think it’s great you’re going and find it helpful! I think more people should do it and would honestly consider at least going a few times myself if it weren’t so expensive.

  5. Jen says:

    I appreciate this so much! I’ve struggled with multiple things and being able to talk to someone who is objective helps tremendously. It is so critical to take care of our mental health. SO proud of you for knowing this about yourself and taking the steps to make yourself feel better. <3

  6. Nadine says:

    I love that you are sharing your experience of therapy. I would never judge someone for going. I feel like we all have different ways of coping and dealing with things. And therapy covers such a wide array of things like anxiety that so many people suffer from and probably don’t even consider it. That is super creepy that the first one you saw asked for your blog name! What did you say?

  7. Audrey says:

    I think it’s brave and kind of you to share your experience. I went to a therapist two or three times in high school for depression/anxiety, but my mom didn’t really understand or support the idea of it so I never went back after they diagnosed me. (I know that’s totally backward.) Kyle has been telling me to see a therapist for YEARS, but I’ve never looked into it. One of my best friends has recently started seeing a therapist and she loves it and recommends it for almost everyone. My other bff is a social worker and a firm believer in therapy. Anyway, all that to say I don’t see a therapist, but I know it’s something I should look into. I’d like to believe that I’m one of the people you’ve convinced to look into it more.

  8. Rachel says:

    Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure it wasn’t easy but I hope it helps remove some of the stigma around therapy. Personally I think it’s a very sensible and valuable thing to do. The only thing stopping me is wondering how on earth to find the right therapist. I think I just need to stop worrying about it and pick a starting place!

  9. Good for you for going and for sharing! I’ve been a few times myself, and yes, you’re right… you need to find one you click with!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for sharing this, friend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to therapy–I’ve often thought that I should go to one but the scheduling has never been right. I’m definitely going to look into it more when we get back to Hawaii. All that to say I’m so proud of you for sharing this. <3

  11. Christy says:

    OMG $16 per session? You have no idea how lucky you are. I pay $180 out of pocket with “good” health insurance because my insurance would only cover therapy for substance abuse purposes, which is SUCH A PROBLEM! Like, oh great, it would have been easier to get treatment if I drank myself into oblivion instead of proactively trying to get help. I’m so glad you found help and didn’t run away after your first lousy experience. It’s hard. It’s hard to admit that you need therapy and it’s hard to find someone you trust. My experience has definitely shown me why we have a mental health crisis in this country and it’s just really sad.

  12. Sarah says:

    i’ve been meaning to comment on this since I saw your Instagram about it a few days ago, but it’s taken me this long to sit down with my computer! (I can’t handle comment systems from my phone haha). I think this is such a powerful post and thank you for sharing. I wrote a post about my own therapy experience, but it’s one of those that I write and then sits in my draft folder for time immemorial lol. I went to a therapist over the summer in England and it was so helpful. I was referred after the death of my housemate, but the waiting list was so long that by the time I saw the therapist I had already come to terms with a lot of things on my own time. However it was right around my dissertation being due, so I needed a therapist anyway hahah – I think it just taught me that even if you don’t think you’re “going through something” therapy can always be a good idea. I’m glad you were able to switch to a new therapist that fit you better. I was lucky with mine as we hit it off right away, but now that I’m back in the states it seems like a daunting task to find a new therapist all over again… maybe some day!

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