I understand that as much as we try to create a world where mental health is accepted, normalised, within everyone’s comfort zone, today the subject is still a little tricky. I think it is so important to break down the stigma surrounding mental health so I am continually trying to share my experience with work colleagues, family, friends.
Having been very open about the fact I am currently having therapy I have noticed a massive array of responses. For me these have included…
“Oh, wow I didn’t think…” Either concludes with I didn’t think you would need therapy or sometimes just trails off to nothing.
“Why do you need therapy?” Or other similar question. Sometimes framed kindly and with an enquiring tone, sometimes dismissively with a tone that makes you question yourself, should I be getting therapy.
“…” Either that I have shared the information, like I am telling them something far too personal to be spoken about in polite company or shock that I needed it when I appear so “together”.
“Ummm, maybe I am not the person you should be speaking too about this.” Usually framed with a worry that I am about to try and use them as a therapist or maybe because they have a fear that it will get too close to subjects they struggle with.
“…” This one is often just a look and then a very fast change of subject. Sometimes they just dismiss it and move on, sometimes there is a noticeable maintained shift in their approach to me.
It Does Not Matter How People React
Ultimately I always understand that there is different challenges for people in this space. They may have had a bad experience with a family member or friend, they might be struggling themselves, they might have been trained to think that mental health was a sign of weakness or danger.
For me therapy is a powerful tool, an effective treatment. Much like the treatment for any illness it is not immediate and sometimes alone is not enough to solve the problem.
As a minimum I find it the most powerful tool for self development. To have someone trained in pealing back the layers, someone to hold a mirror to your past, your present, your future. That guide to help you navigate complex worries, hurt or hope.
Ultimately as hard as it is if you are having or have had therapy don’t take anyones response personally. It is often less about you and more about them.
I think it is great if you feel comfortable to share. If we want to remove the stigma around mental health we have to remove the stigma of its treatment. # I am in therapy!