Seeking help from others should never be shameful: after all, one person cannot be expected to do all things on his or her own. Seeking advice from peers, colleagues, friends, mentors, etc. should be expected.
My post today though is not about the idea of generally seeking help from others: it’s more specifically about seeking professional help for mental health. As a society, this is still somehow shunned and looked down upon. If you’re seeing a “shrink”, there must be something wrong with you!
But trust me, there is nothing wrong with that: in fact, I believe that if you have the power and strength to admit that you need to talk with a therapist/counselor/psychologist/social worker, then you are stronger than many others out there who refuse to get the help because it’s “shameful”.
I might have needed talk therapy a lot earlier than I did, but I wasn’t aware of this available resource until my senior year of college. At that point, I had a roommate situation where the actual RA of our floor lived with me and she was the problem. We did not get along but we also refused to work on compromising; I tried to keep a strong front up, but I felt this stress eating away at me every time I came home. So I sought out counseling for the last semester of school to learn skills to cope with and overcome the stressful situation in a healthy way.
When I moved to San Francisco, I sought out counseling there as well because of the transitions I was going through with the move, work, and building new relationships in a new city. Counseling always felt to me like a sanctuary, where I knew that whatever I talked about at each session was private, just between us. I was comforted knowing that I had a neutral party to vent to about the struggles I was going through.
Over the years, I have had several different counselors since I have moved around the country a bit. I have enjoyed each session with each therapist I have seen: it’s nice to see how each of them have their own style. I feel that I have become much stronger and better at handling my emotions because of counseling. Granted, I had also been on antidepressants for four years and that had also helped me better handle day-to-day life.
In the end, I feel like we all, as a society, can benefit from even just a bit of talk therapy: we need that neutral, third-person view to help us gain clarity and improve our lives. We should never shame ourselves or others from seeking out professional help; after all, it does save lives and helps our society ultimately thrive.