Talk About It: My Experience With Therapy

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I'm a relative newbie to therapy.

I had some counselling a couple of times while I was at uni, but only started my current course of therapy in August of this year. Finding out my doctor recommended me for psychology was intially quite disquieting; immediately clichés cobbled from TV stereotypes came to mind. I imagined a cold stranger with a notepad, staring at me through unnecessarily angular glasses... "And how does that make you feel?!"

The reality, I am pleased to note, was far less sinister. My therapist is warm and human, and though our sessions haven't always felt easy, they have proven to be hugely beneficial. They've been a safe space to help work out the behavioural patterns and deep-seated beliefs that have helped to shape me, and I now look forward to our sessions, tiring though they sometimes can be.

Not every time has yielded an "Oh my word, that's a major breakthrough" moment, but a surprising amount have. I've learnt plenty about myself; that I fear conflict like the plague, that I have schemas (deep-rooted, often unconscious beliefs) around being a failure, and that being an introvert isn't the stigma I first thought it was. My therapist is a real sweetheart, and it has been really empowering to have someone in my corner, helping me shed a light on the things I fear.

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I am very aware that I landed on my feet with this one; I was lucky enough to be matched to a therapist I genuinely like, making the process far easier than it perhaps could have been... but even so, I still wish more people felt able to ask for therapy. It needn't be a permanent fixture of your life, like TV & movies might make it seem; rather, it can be a powerful tool to help us overcome life's toughest struggles.

I've decreased from weekly, to fortnightly, then monthly appointments; I know that were I to go through a rough patch again, they would be increased accordingly. Of all the mental health supports that I have tried, this has been my most beneficial by far. I'm a braver and more confident little figure because of it, and feel like I'm slowly learning to approach myself with a level of compassion that I once thought utterly impossible.

We all go through spells of life that challenge us; chapters that feel bigger than what we can manage alone. Today is actually my 25th birthday and if I could have one present from my friends reading this, it would be that those of you who could benefit from support feel courageous enough to ask for it.

Have you ever tried therapy? Would you give it a go? I would love to know about your experiences in the comments!

WellbeingAnna Considine