Nidhi Chaitanya, a therapist and educator, addresses the common concerns you might have had regarding therapy. In poignant and positive words, she explains why therapy after all is not such a bad idea!
Therapists can heal yet another broken soul. But the real superhero is the one who is being brave enough to choose to heal, and saving the world in turn.
1. Therapy is weird. Trust me, if you haven’t done therapy before, you haven’t had a conversation like that! Yes, the therapist will actually, like actually actually, LISTEN to you. It will be awkward to feel like you matter so much. Your heart will beat like it is trying to match pace with your racing mind. You will have sweaty palms. You may even freeze wondering what to say! But, once you start speaking and realise you don’t need that invisible script you were looking for, you will notice that sometimes all you need is to just say things aloud in front of a listening heart. Like the popular coach and author of one of my all-time favourite books ‘The Art of Extreme Self-Care’ Cheryl Richardson beautifully puts it,
“People start to heal the moment they feel heard”.
So, go get heard!
2. Therapy will prevent that fortnightly 2 AM ‘Maybe we should break up’ chat you compulsively have with your partner. I love Instagram quotes. And one of my most favourite ones is,
“If you don’t heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.”
I don’t know who may have first gifted that line to the world, but I sure love them for saying something so close to the truth. Often our deepest and most unhealed parts manifest as our darkest and most hurtful behaviours in our closest relationships. Hurt people hurt people. Read that previous sentence again. Please. And go find some healing.
3. Therapy will NOT make you a better person. Therapists don’t try to make you a better or worse person. They honour who you are as you are. Do you know what that means? It means you will learn to own your lousy and crazy sides like a boss. Just close your eyes and imagine how lit your insides may feel if you start liking yourself as entirely as you deserve. Take your time! Feels awesome, right? It is going to feel EXACTLY that nice. No, actually better.
4. Therapy will make you skip the sob trip to the bathroom! Yes, I know. We all do it. Behind bathroom doors, on to our pretty journals, in our fluffy pillows, sometimes on the innocent shirts of our BFFs and partners, often on our phones – we vomit our undigested emotions. But why are we hiding those tears? Because people constantly give us unsolicited suggestions to stop crying, to have faith, to think positive, to just cheer up or move on!
But therapy is where you get to cry – as much as you need, as long as you want, as deeply as your healing demands. And crying is healthy. It releases serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins into the system. It detoxes the body, calms down the sympathetic nervous system, helps you sleep better, relieves pain, and releases stress. Yes, crying is GOOD for health. Cry. But with a therapist. So you don’t dehydrate and faint in that bathroom stall you have blocked for the last 40 minutes trying to use the pot as your therapy couch while swallowing some random article on why you need to go to therapy. Just get out of there. Please.
5. Therapy will make you skip that overly expensive date with that terribly boring person. Yes, therapy is expensive. That’s pretty unfortunate. But please put a few things in that Amazon cart in your ‘Save for later’ list, skip the paid membership on one of those lame dating apps, eat bananas instead of McDonald’s maybe, but go, for, therapy. If you can manage to somehow afford a luxury like that, do not skip it. Just go for it.
6. Therapy is for you, and you, and you, you, you. Yes, a therapist’s couch is a place we all belong to. We all feel weird. We all feel like the rest of the world does not get us. We all take big stressful decisions and make many difficult choices. We all have a past we haven’t dealt with and a future we are anxious about. We all have gotten sick, got our hearts broken, felt lonely, experienced a rage, contemplated suicide, ruminated on disappearing from everywhere, used shopping/food/screen time/social media/sex/sugar/exercise/work/alcohol/religion/hard drugs to feel better. We all have hated ourselves, realised how flawed we are, felt rejected, experienced loss or death of a loved one, felt stuck, felt sad, and felt something – at least once in our lives. We all have relationships – with ourselves and others. Meaning, we all need therapy. Therapy is not where only mentally unhealthy or diseased people go. Therapy is where any of us can go, just like the gym or the salon. It makes our minds healthier and surely more pleasant for ourselves.
7. Therapy will make you a superhero without a cape. Superheroes are not really people who fly around saving the world. Real superheroes sit on a couch at a therapist’s office (or at home with an online therapist) and deal with their own selves. They save the world from yet another broken soul by being brave enough to choose to heal. I know it takes courage to talk to a complete stranger about your deepest secrets and lowest points. I know we are told that we must be really weak and lonely to ‘need’ someone outside our psychologically-illiterate loved ones to figure our lives. But you know what? It is actually the bravest thing to do. Popular Instagram therapist Lisa Olivera says,
“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone.”
You are not alone. Take that help. Make that friend. Find that healing. Meet yourself. Get that appointment. Find your couch!