+ BY MADISEN KUHN + BANNER BY LAURA SUPNIK ILLUSTRATIONS BY LAURA SUPNIK
What I’ve Learned from Going to Therapy For most of my adolescence and early adulthood, I’ve viewed growth as going from point a to point b. One day, I’d reach point b, and life would finally feel a certain way, and it’d stick, and I’d be existing in this ideal version of life until I grew old and grey. But then I began to look around me—at the thirtysomethings, forty-somethings, fifty-somethings—and realized that there is no real point where someone achieves ultimate maturity, wisdom, and health. The whole point of growth is that it is constant. It’s not just a stage of life. It’s everything.
What I’ve learned from going to therapy every week for three months
2. it’s important to talk about your pain. Talking about your growth with others—your emotions, your revelations, your thoughts you feel afraid or ashamed to share—instead of internalizing it all, is amazing for your growth. You learn to recognize certain thought patterns and analyze them instead of just pushing them below the surface. You start to ask more questions—why do I feel like this? What can I do to help myself when I feel this way? Which reactions are effective and which are not? Every time I get out of therapy, I feel so much lighter. I get to let out everything that’s weighing on me with an outside perspective to ask questions and give advice that help lead to really special self-discoveries. I feel understood and heard and a sense of pride for making an effort to work on my mental health.
1. growth is not linear. I used to think my mental health over the years would look like a straight line going up from left to right. Instead, it’s looked more like a mountain range with definite
3. the desire to grow must come from within. Your willingness to heal, develop, and succeed must come from within. This is so important. I’ve had loved ones try to push me into growth
When I moved back home to Virginia after living in Los Angeles for about eight months, I knew I needed to dedicate some time and effort to better my mental health, or else I was bound to end up silently drowning in a pool of anxiety and lethargy. I’ve seen several different therapists over the years and have only connected with two of them, one of them being the therapist I see today. Every therapist is not one-fits-all. It’s so vital to both find a therapist that you feel works for you, and to not give up if finding them takes a little bit of time.
highs and lows. And that is okay. It’s okay. It. Is. Okay. It can be hard to accept that you’re not where you want to be yet, but accepting yourself at every stage is important. When you realize that there will be ups and downs and constant learning and breaking and rebuilding, some pressure is relieved. You don’t have to figure it all out right now. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to hold on to the hope that things will keep getting better if you want them to, and know that who you are right now is enough.