When you’ve hit a proverbial brick wall in life, you know it’s time to make a change. Going to counseling is an excellent way to change your life. When you’re at a loss as to what to do, when you’re confused as to how to move forward because your self-destructive behaviors are making it so that you’re sabotaging your own happiness, you probably need to see a therapist. Many people choose online counseling because of its convenience and flexibility. Others prefer to see a therapist in person in the office. It’s up to a personal preference as to what works for them.
Life is full of happy moments as well as stressors. The scales can tip and before you know it you’re overwhelmed and stressed out by how difficult your responsibilities are. You want to be a good friend, parent, partner, co-worker or supervisor. But it can sometimes feel like fulfilling these roles is nearly impossible. Maintaining a balance between how hard you work and how much time you get for leisure activities can be a challenging task. This is something that you can discuss in therapy with your counselor.
People struggle with many psychological issues such as co-dependency, substance abuse, domestic violence and more. Human beings live through unbelievably difficult circumstances and still survive. We are all survivors, regardless of what we’ve been through. We are all warriors because we didn’t quit life. Even if you’ve wanted to leave this world if you’re reading this: you are still here. You haven’t given up.
When you find yourself talking to a counselor, that is your chance to look at your life, examine what you’d like to change and do that. If you’re having trouble changing toxic relationship patterns or self-destructive habits, there is hope. Sometimes it can take years to modify your behavior. I know that isn’t what you want to hear right now, but it is the reality.
As the introduction to The Road Less Travelled says: “Life is difficult, this is a great truth.” It is the truth and it can be both difficult and terrifying. But in order to be brave, we must first be afraid. Fear is a motivator for us to change as people. We cannot change unless there’s a reason to. When you have resistance or fear, which means that you are probably doing something extremely powerful and you’re terrified.
It’s okay to be scared when you are making big life changes. Your fear is normal, especially when you live with anxiety, panic disorder or PTSD for example. Anxiety disorders have a way of being insidious and creeping up on us. They convince us that we are deficient, defective, weak or inadequate. Working with a therapist can teach us that we are not those things. You relearn how to view yourself in a healthy way, look in the proverbial psychological mirror and recognize the good qualities that you have.
A competent counselor is someone who can see a balanced perspective of who you are. They can see your good qualities and the things that need work. Your therapist is the person to lean on when you are struggling with core beliefs that are not actually true. You are not broken, you are not a bad person, and even if someone told you that you were these things, you do not have to accept them as the truth.
Therapy is about being real with yourself and finding out what you love about you and what needs to shift. We all have things to work on and sometimes having a person who is objective point those things out can help us become more independent, confident and self-assured.
Be who you are, because who you are is beautiful. Who you are is someone that deserves to be loved, appreciated, wanted and seen. If you were told that you don’t matter, it’s a lie. If you felt invisible you aren’t, and your counselor sees you. A therapist is there to inspire you to be true to yourself, embrace the good, the bad and the scary parts of you and value all of them. You can integrate those qualities and love yourself.
The process of self-love is something that takes time, but you will get there. And you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to a mental health professional about your struggles, and they will guide you towards that self-acceptance you’ve been searching for. Don’t give up. You matter.
About the Author:
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.
Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.