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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Miller

So, Who's Your Therapist?

I have a very adult-related announcement: I see a therapist.

Like many people my age, therapy was a very taboo topic growing up. In my mind, therapy was reserved for people undergoing trauma, loss, or relationship problems. I never saw myself laying on the infamous velvet couch, hands crossed, discussing my inter-most feelings unless I faced an unprecedented event that led me to it (hello, COVID!).

My relationship with therapy started even before COVID hit the country like a ton of bricks. I started going to therapy back in 2015 when I found myself over-obsessing about the future. It started out with big milestones and introspection -- like, "what am I doing?" "who am I?" "how do I want to live my life?" And quickly started taking over my life in my every day routines, almost to the point where I would find myself feeling stuck and unproductive.

This, my friends, is known as anxiety. And it sucks.

Anxiety is like a silent crow sitting on your shoulder, weighing you down, chipping away at your confidence, and preventing you from doing things you really want to do.

I always told myself that it's fine, shove it deep down, and if it gets really bad, you can always go to therapy.

This is the fundamental problem with therapy. We see therapy a reactionary measure instead of a preventative step in mental health.

We don't put off our annual physical with our physician until something is already wrong, right? Well maybe some do, but insurance covers preventative medical visits for a reason. Sometimes if you wait until it gets bad, it's too late.

Once I started my journey with therapy, I didn't immediately get better. Therapy doesn't promise to fix or treat your mental health issues in 1x week sessions.

How does the saying go? Teach a (wo)man to fish, and he eats for life. Well, therapy gives you the fishing rod. It equips you with the tools to manage and live with your anxiety.

Over time, I began to grow more comfortable with my anxiety because I was learning more and more about it -- like how it started and how it continues to evolve and manifest in my life.

While I am no closer to wearing the "I beat anxiety!" ribbon, I no longer see it as this ominous, scary bird sitting on my shoulder. I see it more as a friend. It may be annoying and critical at times, but I know it's just trying to look out for me.

My takeaway from this is: let's normalize going to a therapist and asking others for therapy recommendations, as we do with physicians. Because the more people who take action and care for their mental wellness (in the same way as their physical health), the more awareness we can generate around mental illnesses, notice signs when symptoms appear, and, potentially, save lives.

And because my creative juices are a-flowin, I'll leave you with this poem (ha!):

I met a millionaire named Fred,

Who didn't take good care of his head,

Even though he had all the money

Fun things were no longer funny

Maybe we should treat good mental health as wealth, instead

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