People Who Go To Therapists Are Crazy
For some reason there has always been this weird stigma about people who go to therapy - that they're crazy. It seems that no one really likes to talk about mental health issues - they just ignore them, sweep them under the rug and simply pretend that nothing was said. It's sad really, because small problems can escalate into big problems very quickly.
According to the Jason Foundation suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10-24 year olds. What does this mean exactly? It means that more teens and young adults die from suicide each year more than from cancer, heart disease, AIDs, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. So what exactly can WE do to help - erase the taboo around going to a therapist, or a psychologist . One of the biggest factors in suicide being a final decision is because society tells them that you should be embarrassed for asking for help.
For me I think people are crazy for NOT going to a therapist. Whether you're overwhelmed with school, finances, your job, or even something bigger like a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, seeing a therapist is always a good idea. Of course our friends are always there to talk to but sometimes it can be a frustrating friendship if all you're hearing is their problems and how upset they are. In high school I started going to see a therapist to help me through an abusive boyfriend, and the effects that that relationship was having on me, and my relationships with my family. At first I was skeptical - like most people are - but then you build this comfort where your therapist becomes your biggest support and a friend. This is their profession after all, so they've learned how to talk you through some of your biggest fears.
2016 was an especially hard year for me. My mother was admitted to the hospital on the same day that two of my childhood friends died in a car accident in late May; a friend of mine was hospitalized after falling from a four story apartment building and we weren't sure she would make it, in June; I was dealing with an incredibly horrible roommate situation and financial issues from that roommate not paying bills on time from June to October; and finally lost my grandmother in September - the woman who helped raise me and who I spoke to on the phone at least twice a week. To say I was at one of the lowest points of my life is an understatement. I had been having tragedy after tragedy happen to me with no time to process and mourn and cope with everything going on. One afternoon in late October the extent of everything that had been going on in my life hit me and I felt so overwhelmed with panic, exhaustion (mentally and physically), guilt, depression, anxiety - you name it I was feeling it that day. Instead of trying to just push through and have the potential of harming myself or others I checked myself into the emergency room at one of the psych hospitals in the city. To the few friends I have told about this experience I have said that nothing makes you feel more sane than being in the emergency room of a mental hospital.
Questions after question about my mental state, my physical state, and where I would go from there was made in the six hours I spent in the emergency room. At first I immediately wanted to leave. I didn't want the doctors to think I was crazy, or if my friends found out to think the same way. But I realized that that was because of the way mental health is viewed. I forced myself to stay there and go through the entire procedure of talking about what was happening in my life and what we could do to help. I finally made the decision to go and see a therapist and psychologist and start up again on the anti-depressant I had take in high school because of the abusive relationship.
Now I'm not saying everything changed right away. That would be a lie, but I slowly began mending my friendships and family relationships that had been wounded when I became distant. I started therapy and having my anti-depressant medication monitored. It took me a few sessions to really open up and explain what was going on in my life and why it was having such a crazy effect on me. I had never really been given that opportunity to just talk, for 45 minutes straight. I've more often than not been the friend that has people over, makes them dinner, and then my friends talk about their guy issues, life issues, work issues, etc. I give them advice and go into some personal stuff here and there but being in therapy and just talking with no interruptions really allowed me to dig deep and get at the root of some of my problems. At first I didn't want to tell any of my friends that I was going to therapy. I was afraid they'd judge me. But the more I talked about going the more I realized the number of my friends that have gone or are currently going.
It made me feel better to know I was not alone, and made me want to break the idea that you don't talk about mental health if it's happening to you. At the end of the day though why wouldn't I. It could help another friend who's going through something similar to have the courage to seek the help they need. As horrible as the experiences were last year I've learned so much from them. I want to be able to share my story and make mental health a discussion. I want to let people suffering from anxiety, depression, low self-worth that you are NOT crazy. You are a human being that has emotions and needs. I don't want anyone to feel like they have no one they can turn to. I used to think those Suicide Prevention Hotlines were ridiculous but the day that I had a breakdown and I couldn't get a hold of any of my friends I realized that's why they're there. Sometimes in that low moment all you need is someone on the other end of that phone telling you everything is going to be okay. To hold you back from doing something that would ultimately hurt yourself and other people, whether physical or emotional.
New York City is a tough city to navigate. With the millions of people that inhabit the five boroughs you can still feel that concept of being very alone. People are working multiple jobs, have different groups of friends so it's hard to lock down people at the last minute. Having someone like a therapist to talk to makes that feeling of being alone a little less. If you, or a friend, is having a hard time dealing with ANYTHING going on in your life that is affecting your mood, your job, and your relationships you should think about just sitting down with someone either once a week, once a month, or how little or often as you see fit. Never let anyone make you feel like you're crazy. The more we talk about mental health and the more society understands the severity of it and the effects it can have, the faster we can lower those suicide statistics. The great thing too is that many insurance policies cover mental health in their plans. Check out some counselor suggestions below: