Why therapy was the decision that changed my mental health’s trajectory for the better

I want to take a break and talk about something I’ve been wanting to for quite some time. Mental health.

Every time I see read about someone taking their life in the news, it always makes me feel a certain way. I’m not going to sit here and say I have ever reached the point where I’ve wanted to do it. But I won’t lie and say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind because it has… multiple times.

Depression, for whatever reason, has lingered with me for many years. It’s something I’ve battled with and always told myself, I could get over it. When you toss in anger, it makes that a dangerous pot of boiling water. My mental health hasn’t been the greatest. For years, I’ve dealt with internal battles and questions on why certain things in my life happened. I’ve bottled up 90% of my feelings and lost the ability to convey them.

Having a daughter was the best thing that’s ever happened in my life, but even after that, those internal struggles never left. Anger. Sadness. Anger. Sadness. Anger. Sadness. It was a pattern I hated but couldn’t get over.

I needed a change. Last year, I made a decision that changed my mental health’s trajectory. I found a therapist.

It’s something I’ve always been hesitant about doing for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Being brought up in a Vietnamese culture, it was basically like keeping your feelings and emotions to yourself.
  2. I had zero desire to speak to a complete stranger about what was going on in my life.
  3. How would someone who didn’t know me understand me?
  4. I felt that seeing a therapist was a major sign of weakness.
  5. I could go on and on with excuses of why I didn’t want to see a therapist.

But I reluctantly set up a meeting with a therapist that I was able to choose after researching profiles and backgrounds of each person.

The first meeting was probably an awkward one, but probably nothing unusual for any therapist. I was open with them on my thoughts and feelings, my hesitations about doing this. My therapist asked some questions and just listened as I opened up about everything.

After a few visits, I started to feel more comfortable. What I started to learn about the process was my therapist wasn’t there to chastise me or preach to me. That person was there to listen and provide guidance on perhaps why I felt a certain way in certain situations. They helped me understand things and made me step back and re-analyze those moments and feelings.

Every session, my therapist gave me things to think about and steps to take every time my feelings would start to go back to the deep, dark hole I wanted to avoid. Over time, I started to see progress in myself and a different outlook on life. Some of the annoyances and disturbances in my life that once brought anger or sadness don’t have the same effect on me. Let me tell you, crying to a complete stranger was the oddest yet most relieving feeling I’ve had in some time. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Am I still completely healed and a perfect person? By no means, but my mental health took huge leaps and bounds in the right direction. Do I still make the same mistakes I have been trying to work on with my therapist? Of course, we’re all human. But how we react and rectify those situations is what, I think, makes it different for me. I’m happy with my personal growth and have come to terms with so much in my life, thanks to my therapist.

And to think, all it took was for me to reach out and talk to someone.

Since then, I’ve spoken with friends who have made the same decision, and it was so relieving to hear others experience the same problems I’ve been going through.

You constantly hear it, if you’re feeling depressed to talk to someone. It’s true. Don’t wait until you hit rock bottom. There are people in your circles who will listen. If not, there are professionals out there to help. Set aside your pride and find someone. Please, before it’s too late.

It will truly be the best decision you’ll ever make.

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