I want to begin with saying that I think everyone should see a therapist. It is amazing. It is like having a friend who sits and listens to you an hour every week without any interruptions. You can vent, cry and ask for advice without the fear of judgment. Seeing a therapist allows you to let go of everything you are bottling up. Therapy is a great form of verbal release.
I want to share my journey because I know there are other 20-something-year-olds who feel the same way as me. In our society, mental health is still a taboo subject and I believe we need to be more open about it. Not everyone’s struggles, challenges or issues are the same, but making it an open conversation makes it normal. Because facing challenges is normal. Needing to talk to someone is normal. Asking for help is normal. So here is my story and how I started to see a therapist.
My Journey to a Therapy
As a new graduate, I was still adapting to what we all call #Adulting and for some reason, all the dots were not connecting. I didn’t know where I wanted to be in my life and felt the pressure of upholding the “societal norm” coming down on me, hard. It wasn’t until October that I started a new job. It was my first corporate job and with it came big responsibility.
I was in a new town, away from my friends and family and a two-hour drive from my boyfriend. My hours in the day were limited and weekends became cherished. I was fortunate enough to move in with my aunt and uncle to save money (no shame). Not to mention, the new added stress from work made life a little more confusing but living with family helped.
I began to notice a change in my everyday schedule and lifestyle. I was exercising less, eating foods a little more freely (not always the best choices) and worrying all the time. I would avoid hanging out with friends but at the same time feel as if I had no friends (when I knew I was surrounded by love) and visited home every weekend. There were days I would go to bed as soon as I got home because I was so exhausted I could barely function. I would become anxious for no reason and my chest would start to hurt. I was overthinking and shaking my leg constantly. I had no clue what was going on with me, but I didn’t feel myself.
In February, I finally called a therapist and scheduled my first appointment. I can’t explain the wave of relief I felt after my first meeting with her. I cried my eyes out the whole hour (for what I thought was no reason) but in reality, I was dealing with anxiety and stress.
I started attending therapy weekly and discussing situations and triggers that made me feel anxious and why I was distancing myself. We came up with techniques to calm my thoughts and decrease the amount of stress I carried around with me. It was amazing to be able to just open up about how I felt. I could talk to her about upcoming plans I had with friends or projects I was working on at work. Speaking was natural and it felt good to figure out the reasons why I felt a certain way.
I will be the first to say, I thought I would have no trouble adapting to the post-grad life, but I did. It is a big step and a lot to grasp. Looking back, I took on too much at once and didn’t allow myself to ease into this new lifestyle. I know I am capable of succeeding and doing great things, but I needed to let go of my pride and ask for help. This decision wasn’t easy. I was constantly comparing myself to my friends and how well they had adapted to their jobs, new cities and lifestyles. It wasn’t healthy and that is what drove me to therapy.
We set weekly goals, discussed manifesting a positive body image and focused on finding what made me, me. After a couple months, I could tell a huge difference in my confidence, the ability to control my thoughts and began to worry-less. I now only attend therapy twice a month. It has helped me create a new routine and adapt to this new chapter in my life.
I believe therapy was the first notch in living a holistic lifestyle. Therapy has helped me get back to the “old” but improved me. I have started practicing yoga again, eating healthy and surrounding myself with my friends and family. I have had a positive experience with therapy and my journey still continues.
So if you are struggling with yourself, your health or maybe something from your past, do not feel shame asking for help or speaking to someone, even just a friend. It can be scary to open up to a stranger, but therapy is nothing but beneficial. In therapy, you learn how to approach the challenge you are facing. When you lay out the issue, it becomes clearer, more logical, and therefore more manageable.
It is important to keep in mind that your health and happiness is the most important thing in life. New experiences are sometimes tricky to handle alone. Do not compare yourself to your friends or peers, everyone has a different story. Focus on writing the best version of yourself and remember that there are good things coming.
I want to say that every BODY and MIND is different. From our organs to our thoughts –No one’s story is the same. The way my body and mind react to a situation, may not be the same way you react. I am not a doctor or a therapist, nor am I prescribing you treatment through this post. I have worked closely with a therapist, acupuncturist and naturopathic doctor to find a lifestyle that worked for my body and mind. I highly recommend that you explore a route that works best for yours!