Updated: Jun 10
My doctor gave me two choices, "medication or therapy". I was 19 when I was diagnosed with depression. Being diagnosed by my doctor made me feel more sad. I didn't know what to make of it. It made me feel like depression was going to become my "Scarlett Letter A". Like somehow from there on forward, EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE would now know I was depressed and would see it written all over me. But...they call it "the silent killer" for a reason.
My depression was hidden for a full year after that appointment. I continued to suffer in silence, alone while I played the roles of best friend, student, sister, aspiring model, daughter, etc. Looking back on those years, I had been depressed for YEARS before my official diagnosis. My written journals, that were destroyed during my early 20s, told the tale clearly. I journaled daily or weekly about how sad I was, how angry I was, how alone I felt, how misunderstood I felt.
During my continuous suffering, I became so depressed I couldn't handle it. I knew I had to do something about my sadness, so I found a therapist and asked my mom to help me make an appointment. I remember being really scared going into my first session. I was afraid to cry in front of a stranger. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to form words. And that's exactly what happened. I cried ALOT and couldn't form many words which turned out to be just fine because I left that first session feeling relieved. Exhausted, but relieved.
What I find to be crucial about therapy is finding the right therapist for you. Every person is different and every person connects with people differently. There IS such thing as the wrong therapist for you. A therapist should never judge you or tell you what to do. Sometimes, I watch movies and television shows involving a patient/therapist narrative and I can fully understand why people would get turned off at the idea of therapy if they had been considering it prior. The entertainment world gives a false narrative about therapy.
It's almost been 10 years since my first session and I've been in/out of therapy many times since then. I'm sure this will continue to be my narrative in the years to come. I tend to need therapy when I'm going through an unbearable time in my life. When life starts to feel so heavy and I don't have the resources or means to do it on my own. When I find the right therapist, I have weekly sessions until I feel ready to "graduate with honors" and take on the world.
You'll know in your heart when you feel your time in therapy is coming to an end or when your weekly sessions turn into monthly maintenance sessions. Therapy has grown me, challenged me, become my mentor, become my wisdom, my savior. Before therapy, I didn't know I minimized myself. Before therapy, I didn't know having depression is ok and that there's different types of depression. Before therapy, I didn't have certain communication tools. Through therapy I have become more aware of my feelings, learned how to communicate in a healthy way, and have a deeper meaning about interpersonal relationships. What more could one want in life?
What I'm currently working on in therapy is finding the meaning/purpose in my life. I'm so excited to be in this chapter of my life because finding this meaning/purpose has always been a challenge for me. I'll be sure to keep you updated and I look forward to therapy continuing to better my life.