Why the hell do we still label therapy as a bad thing? I am on the struggle bus with this one. If you follow me on facebook you may have seen my video rant about it. Now it’s time for a little more of thought out blog post. Maybe it’ll even make sense! No promises though.
I go to Therapy. So what?
It’s no secret that I have a therapist that lives in my phone. I swear by it. It has completely changed my life over the past 5 years. I have done therapy prior to this as well, it just turns out that Talkspace is what works best for me. And having this particular therapist is working for me. It doesn’t really matter what people go to therapy for, what matters is that EVERYONE probably needs it. Yeah, even you. Right now, you. Reading this. Why am I so fired up about this now of all times? Because of my kid.
It’s also no secret that one of my kids got the short end of the stick when it comes to ‘mental health’. The poor thing got wired differently, so he goes to therapy and takes medications. At 7 years old, he’s already feeling the shame associated with it and all I can think is ‘WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK!? He’s just a KID!’ My other kid will go too. Because he has his own shit to deal with. We ALL do!
Why is strengthening our emotional muscles considered weak?
I mean, really? Do you have any idea how hard it is to admit you’re wrong? Especially about something you might have believed your ENTIRE life? Weak my ass! Going to therapy is like going to the gym for your brain. And, just like the gym, you get the results equivalent to the work you put in. And it shows. If you do the work, you get strong AF. Mentally strong. Which is badass.
Let’s also think about the strength it takes to go to therapy in the first place. To take that step and walk in the office or pick up the phone. Have you ever asked for help? For something that hurts but no one can see? The next time someone tells you they are in therapy, don’t look at them like they’re weak. Think of the amazing strength it took them to go there in the first place and then to tell you about it? DAMN. That person is a badass.
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No, your <insert hobby here> is not therapy.
I am so guilty of this. I have a tendency to call going for a run ‘free therapy’. But it’s totally not. What it really is, is an escape. I might think about things, but I’m not working on the hard stuff, facing my fears, or being challenged about my way of thinking. Therapy requires another person. Sure, a conversation with a friend or family member can be like therapy, but it’s still not the same.
Therapy requires a professional. Someone who sees right through your bullshit and calls you on it. My therapist often says ‘I’m not trying to be unkind…’ followed by a truth bomb that both stings a little and forces me to rethink things. That’s how you grow and learn. Not by losing yourself in a fantasy of how you’d like to deal with things or listening to your friend agree with you. In the words of one of the smartest women I know… I’m not trying to be unkind here… but… you need REAL therapy. #sorrynotsorry.
So, stop calling your exercise habits therapy. Definitely stop calling your wine or beer drinking habits therapy. Your chats with family and friends are advice. And label your hobbies what they are: your escape. Oh, and go to fucking therapy. The way the world is today and how whiny we’ve all gotten… we all need it. Just fucking go.
Can we do better for our kids, please?
Go ahead, call me selfish if you want, but I think we need to be better for our kids on this one. If my seven-year-old is already feeling anxious about being in therapy something is WRONG. If he is already worried about other kids knowing and asking me to use code words then we need to do something. Mental health issues aren’t nonexistent among kids. I don’t know why we pretend that they are. If anything, kids need therapy more than ever right now, so why are we letting the stigma go on?
‘Well, what the hell do you want ME to do, Rebekah?!’ I’m so glad you asked. I’ve made you a list.
- Go to therapy yourself.
- Put your kids in therapy. You’d be surprised how much they probably need it.
- Stop using the following phrases as insults or responses to mental health issues:
- You need help!
- You’re crazy!
- What’s wrong with you?
- Stop referring to anything that’s not actually therapy as therapy.
- If anything in this article made you roll your eyes… be more open-minded. Ya jerk.
Therapy is a GOOD thing!
Let’s be 100% clear about something here. Therapy is for everyone. Why? Because absolutely none of us are perfect. You do not need to have some crazy traumatic experience or super heavy diagnosis to benefit from therapy. Exercise is good for every BODY just like therapy is good for every MIND. Ya with me?
Can we please stop thinking of therapy as some dark and gloomy thing that only the doomed need? We don’t think of the gym as a place only the weak go… so why would we think of the mind gym that way? Would you all get on board if we started calling it the mind gym? Or the Mym? ‘Hey, I’m off to the mym!’ would that make everyone feel better? Do we need therapy to make everyone ok with the word ‘therapy’?
Yes, I’m getting a little salty and yes, I’ll stop now. I think I made my point. Let’s just try a little harder on this one, mmk? Maybe if it’s not so ‘bad’ to build our emotional strength people won’t do so much stupid shit. Wouldn’t it be nice to give a world that was a little bit nicer to our kids?