Therapy, as a term, scares most of us. I often find myself wishing for a world where answers for certain questions were readily available. Kindly let me share my vision of an easier world.
In my ideal world, we all have access to the library of mind management. I visit there often. Today, I’d grab the book “Who are you?: Take this quiz to find yourself; Including a special interview with Benedict Cumberbatch on how he found himself”.
Yesterday, I’d just finished reading “15 quick steps to let go off your emotional baggages, with a quick exclusive on childhood traumas”. Fun read. Practical stuff. I got my eye on “Heal yourself within a week — warts and all” But I need to schedule it for a time when I get a week off from work.
If only life were this easy, right? It suits our busy always-on-the-run population. It suits our young minds that constantly seek instant gratification.
But in real life, we have to do all the hard work ourselves. We have to struggle through and find the answers we are looking for. We have to recognize if we need help and have the courage to ask for it. To be vulnerable. To cry out for help.
I began therapy after much delay, almost a year ago. It had been long due and had reached a point when I was tired of my own shit. Initially, I faced multiple obstacles in starting off and I wondered if its my inner resistance manifesting in my environment. I took my time to find my grounding and fortunately found the right fit with my therapist which created a safe space for learning and healing.
As a student of psychology, I had a fair understanding of mental health issues and the help I needed. But even with knowledge of the subject, therapy made me question multiple things about the process, about myself and the journey I had embarked on. My identity, my truth, my perception of the world, my upbringing, my notions, my experiences, my reality. All of them were questioned, broken down and rebuilt. There is a lot of unlearning and relearning that occurs through this process. It always gets a bit worse, before it gets better. You find yourself getting more fragile before you realise that you have always had the strength to face it all.
I have experienced anxiety since I was a child, but this was a revelation that dawned on me during therapy. It was certainly my learning of the subject of psychology that got me attuned to my signs and symptoms. Yet, I continued to find reasons to move on and look past the importance of therapy but once it began, I knew immediately that it was one of my best decisions ever. Within a few months, I noticed my craving for change grew and my resistance and the love for my old dysfunctional patterns and behaviours broke down. It has been metamorphic, but it hasn’t been all rosy as one can imagine.
Let me tell you a few things you need to remember if you are planning to undertake therapy –
Therapy isn’t about all the answers you are looking for. But it is the recognition of your ability to find these answers and apply them in real life.
Therapy is not a direct ticket to a better world. My mental health issues have waxed and waned over the years. I have experienced phases of depression even when I was under therapy. But what you learn is it to pick yourself up and strive forward.
It is not all straight forward and easy. It will be embarrassing, confrontational, challenging and frustrating. But that is what makes it worth it. Insights might be silent visitors that come by once in a while to check on your progress.
The big changes might not be visible straight away…or even for a long time. You begin watering your seeds and you will see them grow with time. It is the small little everyday changes that eventually accumulate into the trees that provide shelter.
You are responsible for your own growth. It’s not about changing your parents, your boss, your friends or your partner. You are accountable for your own actions and owning up to them and working on yourself, if the right path to heal.
You will lose people. One thing I have noticed from my therapy is that I have changed enough to outgrow people. Some might take it well, some might hold it against you. When who you are changes, what you thought were real intimate relationships in life might change. You stop watering dead plants and you begin to walk away from things that no longer serve you. You will need to push yourself to stay on track and keep going, despite knowing that the world around you is transforming. It is for the better.
It is one step forward and two steps back, at times. Healing isn’t a linear graph. And this is what I have told myself every night. Faith in the process and in myself is what keeps me going back every week to find the strength to heal.
It can be scary enough to make you want to back out. Taking a new step, bringing in changes to alter your life and choosing a new unknown path is definitely scary. But the risk will allow you to take a leap into a life you have always wanted.
It will change you. And all you need to ask yourself is, ‘are you ready to change and finally become the best version of who you can possibly be?’
About Ms. Ramitha Ramesh
Ms. Ramitha Ramesh is 23 years old MA in Clinical Psychology student from TISS. As a psychologist in training, she tries to integrate factual details with her own personal experiences of mental health struggles. She is passionate about movies, music, reading and finds writing to be cathartic. With every piece she pens down, is in the hope to put out content that is relevant and relatable to others through the process of being honest and compassionate to her own self.
Want to know more about therapy? Click here to know more about the concept of ‘Power Control in One’s Life’