Why I Haven't Been to Therapy in a While
I have always been an advocate for therapy. I’m a psychology major and even though I’m going into behavior analysis, I believe that everyone should go and that it can be beneficial to not only your mental but physical health. Therapy isn’t just for people that are diagnosed with a mental disorder or people that are going through troubling times. You can go when life is good and you can uncover underlying issues you never thought you had.
I started therapy when I was going through a lot and the reason I went was because of a friend. She was worried about me and if she didn’t mention it I don’t think I would have gone on my own. I was having issues with my parents and how they were deciding what I should do with my life. It was hard to live up to their expectation, and if I didn’t go into the field that they wanted me to go into, they weren’t going to pay for my school. The counselor that I had at the school was amazing but eventually she needed to leave so that she could be with her family more.
At first I didn’t want to start with a new counselor. I didn’t want to explain my problems all over again, so I toughed it out. I wished I didn’t. Things started to get bad again so I went back to therapy and my first session back was so emotional. I cried the entire session, and I never cried in a session before. I think since I had to explain what happened in the past and what was currently happening it was hard. It made me realize that even though I thought I was okay, that I was handling it myself, that I wasn’t okay. I didn’t want to do that to myself again, I wanted to get better. I started to go to therapy once a week again then I noticed that in my weekly sessions I wasn’t talking as much. I didn’t want to stop therapy, so I decided to go every other week. Even though I was doing better I wanted to still go to therapy just in case something happened I was still able to talk to someone and manage my emotions. My counselor also left my off day open for me just in case I needed to come for an emergency session.
After I got diagnosed with Graves’ I left my school to come back home. This was the time that I needed therapy the most but I could go because at the beginning I wasn’t at school anymore to get free therapy. I was trying hard to keep myself together and not having anyone professional to talk to. I would talk to friends every once in a while but I couldn’t put all of my problems on them. I felt like everything that I worked on; my confidence, my independence, my self-esteem went away. So when I got accepted to the university that I go to now I thought I could just go back to therapy. I made an appointment and went.
The experience I had at this school was different from my last. They had me sit with the counselor that was in charge of everything first. She asked why I came in and I was telling her my past issues and that I didn’t want it to affect my school work because it did before and she thought it was a good idea too. She wanted to see if biofeedback would work for me because of my anxiety, my resting heart rate was elevated. So every week I had to see her to learn breathing exercises so I could maintain my heart rate. At the end of the first appointment, she set me up with another counselor for my actual sessions. I was excited when I went to my new therapist not only was she the first Black counselor I had, she was also Haitian.
When I went to the first session with my new counselor I was going through an issue with my car so we talked about that and not really why I wanted to start therapy again. When the second session came around I didn’t know that it would be my last. Basically my new counselor said that I don’t have any actual issues going on with my life currently. I wanted to talk about how Graves’s affected me since being diagnosed and how going back home dropped my self-esteem. She felt as if since I’m back at school and away from home which I wanted that I didn’t have any problems at the moment and that I should come back when I have an actual issue. I remember still trying to talk to her and how awkward it was. When I left and I checked the time I realized I spent 20 minutes when the session should have been an hour. I was so confused.
I felt like my issues weren’t important enough. I felt as if I had an “actual problem” . I couldn’t go in because it probably would not be a problem for them. Since my counselor was Haitian she was a reflection of me and that rejection from my own people hurt, if it was from someone else I wouldn’t feel as bad. During the semester I met a friend that was going through something and she went to therapy at the school and her counselor told her that her problems were too much for the counseling center to handle and let her go. It’s like they don’t actually want to help their students and it’s the first time I experienced that. It made me realize that I got lucky with my first two counselors. I have another friend that had to go through a few counselors to get to the right one. I want to start again with a different counselor because I want to talk about my anxiety, and what triggers it so I could deal with it better. I want to start before I finish school so that it could be free and maybe later I’ll find cheaper options of therapy until I have a steady job.
I hope you reading this understand that therapy isn’t a bad thing. That you probably have to go through multiple counselors to get to the right one. If your counselor doesn’t seek therapy themselves it’s a bad sign. You are in control of your sessions and if you want to stop going to therapy it’s your choice not theirs. You can report your counselor if they are not helping you in the way they should. I hope sharing my story helps.