So if you haven’t heard (I tend to shout it to the rooftops, I’m a self-appointed ambassador), I recently made one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and started going to therapy, woot woot! It is something I have wanted to do for years, but a serious bought of depression in 2019 finally gave me the push to go for it. IT IS LIFE CHANGING PEOPLE! Do it! I am so proud of the work I have put into myself the past six months and I am excited to continue kicking booty on the emotional playground in the new year. No matter where you are at in life, I think EVERYONE can benefit from therapy. So if it’s something that has been on your mind, here are six takeaways I have gotten from my first six months in therapy, hopefully they help you pull the therapy trigger too!
- Therapy is more affordable than I expected. The biggest reason I put off therapy is because I didn’t want to pay for it. Being self-employed and having literally the cheapest health insurance possible, I assumed I would be paying an arm and a leg for a single session and I didn’t think it was worth it. But my mental health got so bad that I was ready to try anything. I mentally accepted that I would be paying $200 a session, but my insurance covered way more than I expected. This is obviously going to differ depending on where you go and your insurance, but my sessions are billed at $219 and my insurance brings is down to $83. And being where I am now, I would pay the $219 if I had to, it has been that beneficial for me! Strong mental health truly is priceless.
- Any therapy is better than no therapy. The other main reason I kept putting off therapy was trying to find a therapist seemed impossible. I would scour Phycology Today for different therapist profiles trying to find someone I connected with and would get overwhelmed and quit. But you know what? Any therapy is better than no therapy, so I called the clinic that was recommend to me by two different friends and let the universe figure it out. And I am so glad I did! I think it takes a handful of sessions to really get in the groove with therapy anyways, so I would just recommend diving in with someone who meets your basic desires (I wanted a female who was around my same age) and going from there. If you aren’t feeling it after a month or two, you’ll at least have a better idea of how therapy works and what you would like in a therapist. I mentioned my scouring process to my therapist and she even made the very valid point that not only is it super hard to really know if you connect with someone over their online profile (dating and therapists alike, amiright?), but a lot of therapists don’t put a ton of effort into those profiles, so you could be missing out on someone great just because of their profile.
- Emotional change is slow, and there is no golden nugget to fix your problems. I went into therapy naively thinking “I’ll just go to therapy for like two months, have my therapist tell me how to fix my issues, and will be a brand-new woman!” Oh past Megan, you’re so funny. Going to therapy is kind of like going to the gym, it takes a few months to see any progress, but progress IS happening! It’s so weird, because at our last session of the year, which was roughly six months into starting therapy, we did a bit of reflecting back and it is insane how much I have changed even though I am ending the year in an eerily similar situation as the year before when my depression kicked in. But it wasn’t something I really noticed in the day to day and honestly couldn’t tell you when or how it happened. I guess that’s the magic of therapy, and I don’t plan on ever stopping. Because therapy is beneficial no matter where you are currently at with your mental health.
- Therapy provides a good emotional benchmark for your feelings. This is probably the most unexpected thing I have encountered from going to therapy, but also probably the most beneficial. I currently go to therapy bi-weekly, and having that consistent check-in really helped me recognize the ups and downs of my emotions between sessions. In the beginning stages of therapy, so much “drama” would happen and I would just be so up and down between sessions that I would constantly be thinking “how has this much happened in a two-week period?!”. Fast forward to present day Megan and my emotions are much closer to an equilibrium because I have learned how to better handle my emotions and I am no longer going to therapy exhausted by all the has happened in the last two weeks.
- Having an hour that is 100% about you is LITERALLY INCREDIBLE. This was something I really struggled with when first starting therapy because I hate talking about myself. No joke, when people ask me what I do for a living, my response is usually, “Oh I own this little plus size clothing company, I don’t really like talking about it though”. So having to talk about myself for an hour was TORTURE at first. The first few sessions there was a lot of humorous redirects when talking about emotions, but my therapist would continuously call me out on it on I slowly got better at talking about myself and my emotions and now I can’t wait until I have that time that is just about me. Having this time has really helped the other relationships in my life because knowing that I have that outlet for myself, I feel like I have more productive conversations with friends and family because I don’t vent to them as much. Which brings me to my next point….
- Therapy has made me a better friend. I didn’t really think about how therapy would help my friendships and outside relationships in general, because in my mind, the issues I was working on were solely around romantic relationships and family dynamic. Turns out, they weren’t! Learning to have a more positive relationship with myself has poured out into the having more positive relationships with all the people around me. It has helped me identify those friendships that are really healthy and mutually beneficial and I have begun to emulate that to those friendships I was lacking that in. Working through my issues has helped me clear my mind to be more in tune with what those people around me need because I am not bogged down thinking about myself.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help in any way I can! Happy talking!