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I go to therapy. That’s really hard for me to admit, but I do.
For much of my life, I thought of this as something I shouldn’t need to do. And if I did, I should keep quiet about it. I don’t remember ever learning that therapy was something to be ashamed of, but it’s not something people openly discuss, the way we talk about other health issues.
In college, I saw a therapist because my friends made me. I was unwilling to admit how depressed I was. They knew I needed help they couldn’t provide. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t say much, and it didn’t do much. Ultimately, I hit reset by moving to San Diego for a summer, where I was free of the stress I felt in college. But I know I can’t keep packing up and starting over every time my mental health starts to slip.
About six months ago, I started to feel like my anxiety was out of control.
Since then, I’ve been to three therapists. One didn’t take my insurance, another was an hour away by metro — none have felt like quite the right fit. Going to therapy shouldn’t give me more anxiety than relief. Lately, I’ve been considering if I need to switch again. Finding the right therapist feels like a work in progress.
May is Mental Health Month, and these days I’m feeling thankful for people who openly share their stories about therapy, like the three comic artists below. They’ve inspired me to follow their lead and dare to be vulnerable, to talk openly about the issues we usually keep to ourselves. I hope that, in doing so, I can help others feel a little less alone. We all need help sometimes.
Though I have gone to therapy a couple times in the past, it has never been easy for me to take the leap and set that first appointment with a new therapist. I have a really difficult time opening up to people, and a therapist is a stranger. It takes me a long time to get comfortable; I must put in a lot of emotional and mental work to trust another person. This fear of truly connecting with someone has prevented me from seeking therapy, even though I know it is becoming increasingly important for me to get help.
As a young adult, I never thought therapy was an option. Even when I was struggling with depression, I saw therapy as a last resort for people facing circumstances more dire than my own. It wasn’t until I hit a new low while studying in my birthplace of Tokyo that I realized I was avoiding therapy because I felt ashamed of my struggles.
Looking for a new therapist feels a lot like dating, but being without one doesn’t offer the sense of freedom that single living might. I’m currently between therapists and finding a new one has proven challenging. Friends have tried to help by suggesting websites and therapists they’ve had good experiences with, but thus far my insurance won’t cover any of them.