Therapy and the taboo of "mental health"

This week I started therapy and I'm not afraid to talk about it. 

This is probably the best thing that's happened in my life for a while. And just as some women I know who are advocates for it, I think, even just after one session, I too would recommend it to everyone.

So what's my "problem?" you're wondering. Well you see, that's just what we're going to talk about. Why you think I have some serious or particular "problem" just because I have sought out therapy. And maybe I do, but that's beside the point. Professional therapy and counseling has the issue with being taboo to talk about (just like stillbirth and death and I'm sure many other sensitive topics) and perhaps that keeps it from being utilized.

Therapy being Taboo

Not Seeing the Whole Picture

In this social media, post-pictures-of-your-best-self driven world, we're all so caught up in sharing the good and highlights of our lives. Although I'm all about focusing on the good, this gives us a pretty incomplete picture of real life. While I don't think that social media should be an outlet for constant straight-up complaining (that's a sure-fire way to get tagged for not showing up in people's newsfeeds!) I think we might be more apt to talk about things if we realized that people we know are going through similar situations. Perhaps a reason why it's so important to get off the internet and make a phone call or go to lunch with someone and focus on real-life relationships.

Falsely Depicted

Many of us are only exposed to life events through the media so this is how we create our understanding of these things. Which makes sense to some degree, but again, it's not the whole picture, or in fact a very false picture. It wasn't until I started reading that I learned birth and pregnancy could be accomplished without pain medications in spite of what I "knew" about it from watching Father of the Bride, Part II as a kid. Same goes with therapy and counseling. Maybe your only exposure to psychology is from The Sixth Sense or something more lighthearted like What About Bob? It may or may not be like it's depicted, but without talking to real people or experiencing it yourself you don't know what it's going to be like. 

Correlated with Extreme Cases

If you're like me, the words "mental health" alone start bringing to mind extreme cases of mental health. People that are "crazy" or suffering from extreme disorders are the ones who need help and "That's not me, so I don't need help," we tell ourselves. "My marriage isn't failing, so I don't need help. I'm not suicidal, so I don't need help." Well, my friends, I think that's part of the misconception. We don't need to be at the cliffs edge before we need help. And that's a conversation I am so glad one of my best friends who is studying to be a marriage and family therapist had with me.

Why I Liked It

Many people are aware of the things they should be doing to enable us to be happy or have successful and fulfilling relationships. Or maybe people aren't aware.  Either way sometimes it's hard to see the forest through the trees, and a therapist can offer that new perspective. Not only the new perspective, but an unbiased, un-involved perspective based on sound principles. This is help that a best friend or confidant can't offer, but a professional can.

I feel like I am often self-aware of many things happening in my life, but having the help of a professional can bring new light and understanding and guidance to a situation that you might just not see or solutions you might not have thought of. That happened for me on my first session! I was fortunate to find a woman on the first try who seems to be a good fit. I felt at home just stepping in to her office, because of how it was decorated. Maybe that's not important, but for me it made a difference. And by the time I left her office I wanted to hug her for listening to me and helping me find the first steps I need to take to be a happier, healthier person!

A  Word of Advice

I wondered, before I started, how I would know if I had found someone that was a good fit or not. Especially because I may not have "clicked" with him or her on the first session. My friend I mentioned above advised to give it at least four sessions and if it's not working after that to perhaps find someone else. My therapist even asked me after our first session together if she thought we'd be a good fit and thankfully she was! I hate trying to find new providers of healthcare!

Update: A dear friend of mine was able to share her experience with therapy and how it actually turned out to not be the best thing for her and her family. Yet she was able to turn to God for healing. I love hearing others' perspectives, experiences, and insights. I am so touched to be able share with and know such wonderful people.


  1. I'm so glad you've written about this. It's a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I think counseling is a wonderful way for us to understand ourselves better and continue developing. I don't know why I always wait till I'm in the middle of some crazy emotions to finally ask for help, but I'll definitely admit that therapy helps me too. I've met some great people, through the work I do, that do all sorts of emotional healing, soul searching and have just basically helped me to see my full potential regardless of whether I get there in this life or the next. It makes life more meaningful for me. Good for you for getting help and reaching out. And I appreciate you sharing it as well. Have you ever tried using oils to help with emotions? I use lavender, and clary sage a lot for myself. Let me know if you'd ever like to try using some. I mail samples to people all the time.

    1. " I don't know why I always wait till I'm in the middle of some crazy emotions to finally ask for help." I think sometimes we think we can handle it on our own, until it's blatantly obvious we can't! At least maybe that's how it is for me!.

      I haven't tried oils for emotions, but I know lots of people that love the results they get from them!