The first time I told my family I was seeing a therapist, a certain person told me that I must not speak about it in public because I won’t get a job if people know that I have “mental problems”. At the time, I was seeing a therapist to help me cope with the death of my father.
After that comment that I shouldn’t tell anyone, I walked away feeling shame, thinking seeing her was something I shouldn’t talk about, that somehow I was weaker because of it. I went away feeling ashamed. I stopped telling people I wasn’t okay. I stopped asking for help. I stopped seeing my therapist.
I thought it made me strong
I thought I was stronger because strong people don’t need help. That isn’t true. I know that now. I didn’t back then.
I was nervous that someone would discover I had this shameful secret. I was a mess.
Now when I look back on that time of my life, I realise that the only shame should have been with the person who made me feel like needing help wasn’t okay. It was okay! It is okay!
I’ve seen multiple therapists in my life. I’ve seen them for various reasons and some of them have helped, some haven’t. It’s more to do with me than them.
Some have suited my personality, some haven’t. Some have been terrible but most of them have been wonderful. My favourite was a woman named Anneke who I stopped seeing because she moved away. I loved my sessions with her. I could talk about anything without feeling judged. Without feeling like there are people in the world with bigger problems than I have because let’s face it, there are. That’s okay too.
I remember walking into her room one day and bursting into tears. Her immediate response was to ask if Odie, my beloved cat had died. He had been struggling with Feline Leukemia for months and it was taking its toll on me. My response was a sad no. “No Anneke, my father died.” I thought about how small all my problems up until this point had been. Nothing prepared me for that moment but I was glad that she was there to hold my hand. She gave me back my power and made me see that I have the strength to get through this.It's OKAY to sometimes need a hand to help you get back up! #MentalHealth Click To Tweet
There is no shame in needing help
There is no shame in needing help. It doesn’t make you weaker. Don’t let anyone make you feel like getting help is something to be ashamed about. Depression could happen to anyone and it had happened to me.
The world is full of terrible taboos that we can’t talk about because they should be kept locked away, in our closets. With all the other skeletons. The truth is, those secrets only serve to hurt you later on. There is no shame in falling down. Only in not getting back up. Sometimes, we just need a little hand to get us back on our feet.
There is no shame in needing help and getting it from a professional – that’s what they’re there for so why do it on your own?!