The Taboo Around Therapy
Although the pandemic gave youngsters the time to really dwell on the topic, and develop a better understanding of it, the preceding generations still seem to struggle with the idea of being mentally healthy.
The idea of reaching out and seeking professional help for your peace of mind is mostly normalized amongst the younger generations in our country, today.
For a long time, the word therapy has been a social taboo. People who seek help are often tagged as unstable, overly emotional, or weak. In India, people are used to taking action against things, when they see a physical and substantial amount of damage done to a person, seeking help otherwise is considered madness.
When you hurt yourself while playing a sport, ideally, you would be taken to a doctor to heal the physical injury. But when you’re mentally hurting because of an unfortunate event in your life, you are told to be strong, to cope up and get over it. This is what we’re used to, this is how we’ve lived life for a long time now. When we’re hurt, we bottle up all our feelings including, anger, betrayal, sadness, and avoid them for as long as possible, until we break down at an unusual time.
Most of us today are afraid to seek help because we’re afraid to be seen in a certain light. We don’t want to be judged, we don’t want people to think poorly of us.
The only way to get over this stigma is to talk about it. Start at home, initiate conversations with your parents, talk to your friends about it, share your experiences with them, and ask them to share theirs.
Most people undertake therapy as a last resort, when they’re depressed, or when they have reached a level of pain that is unbearable. Mental sicknesses are like viruses that grow inside of you, they do no damage initially, but they eat up your cells one at a time and eventually cause you immense suffering.
You and I are not the same
You and I are not the same, we might be made of similar cell structures, and have similar anatomy, and we are all humans, but we are truly different from each other. We have lived our lives differently, and have had different experiences, and that becomes a part of who are.
We all process things differently, some of us deal with pain better than some others, our responses to things are poles apart too. Our mental capacities, our tolerance levels, and our saturations points are all different.
Because everything in our lives is intertwined, something you experienced 10 years ago can have an effect on how you think about something today.
If, for example, you had a terrible tennis accident at school that embarrassed you, you’re likely to resist playing tennis for the rest of your life to spare yourself the embarrassment.
Trauma can take many forms: it can be something as small as failing a class test to the loss of a loved one. We go through a lot from childhood onward, and we are exposed to a variety of external stimuli that affect us throughout the course of our lives.
The truth is, regardless of how small the trauma may seem, it can still have an impact on your current life if you don’t work on yourself, and if you aren’t willing to self-reflect.
We are wounded.
We all deal with things differently based on our experiences, both good and bad. Most of the time, we truly believe that we are right, and our way of dealing with issues is an integral part of who we are.
All of us carry unhealed wounds from the past, and we all go through our own share of humps. We often leave these wounds open, in flesh, and with time, they don’t heal like they’re supposed to. Instead, they are buried deep inside, only to erupt at an unfortunate time.
We need to understand that when we fail to acknowledge all the hurt we’ve experienced, we will start to give it more power over our decision-making, our conscience, and our lives, and we will be blinded before we know it. While you may not realize it, the pain and hurt you hold inside of you will cause you to hurt the people you love, even when you don’t mean to.
Talking to your friends and family is not enough.
Sadly, not everyone has friends or family members they can confide in. People who care about us can only do so much to help us; all they can do is listen to us, maybe advise us on how to deal with situations, but they aren’t professionals, they’re just people going through their own struggles, battling their own fears.
We need guidance when it comes to dealing with our feelings and processing them. The type of guidance that only trained professionals can provide.
Pouring out your heart to someone you’re close to can make you feel relieved, but it is a temporary solution, it is a band-aid that could be ripped open any time.
Why Seek Help?
There is a common misconception that professional mental help is only for those suffering from mental illness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Therapy is about seeking help when you’re not sure how to deal with things, reaching out when you know you’ve been holding on to feelings that you have no idea how to process, Acknowledging your problems and your life as it is, and self-reflecting so you can be at peace with your mind.
It is simply talking to a professional and learning how to deal with your feelings, how to process your past, and how to be happy with yourself, which in turn will bring peace to your daily life.
Talking about our emotions and our thoughts can help us untangle them, and see them clearly for what they are, and therapy will help you achieve that. Seeking help from a professional will help you have a better insight into what your default behaviors are, how you tend to behave under different circumstances, and why. It’ll help you understand yourself, and therefore be kind to yourself as you go.
Therapy will also allow you to have better, more honest conversations with the people around you. It will help you understand yourself on a much deeper level, and push you to become self-aware. It will help enrich the quality of your relationships with people.
Therapy can be a very daunting topic to talk about, especially when you’re not very aware of the challenges it brings. Therapy is a personal choice that one makes to lead a better, healthier life. It should be encouraged by our schools, institutions, and workplaces, so we break through the stigma around it. Although a huge mass of our population has beliefs against it, there is still hope that we embrace it more as time passes. If you do understand the benefits and the idea of therapy, encourage discussions about it amongst your friends and family, so we heal, and create a more humble and nourishing environment in our families for the coming generations too.