What We Learned In Therapy
Allyson Byers, inspired by a great Buzzfeed article about the benefits of therapy, shares with us today an insightful series of quotes from real people going to therapy every week about what they found to be the benefits along the way. You may see a familiar name or two in there.
About the author: Allyson Byers is a freelance writer who loves writing about mental health and chronic illnesses. She lives in Los Angeles with her 7-year-old rescue dog. When she's not writing, you'll find her at a comedy show or checking out LA's food scene. Read more of her writing at allysonbyers.com.
This article shares 19 stories about things that every day people have learned in therapy.
It’s packed with wisdom and so many helpful techniques for managing your anxiety and depression.
Others sharing their stories made us think about our own experiences in therapy and how much we’ve learned since starting on this journey. So much so that we want to share our stories -- and the stories and lessons learned from others in our community -- with you.
How therapy helped us:
“I struggled with my sexuality for years. I knew I wasn’t straight, but I wasn’t ready to come out as a lesbian either. I just felt stuck. But after starting therapy, I learned that labels aren’t permanent. I’m in control of who I am and who I love. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for the choices I make. I stopped worrying about labels and what other people expected of me...and just started dating whoever I was attracted to. I’m finally living my truth, and it feels amazing.” —Allyson B., Freelance Writer
“The biggest thing I learned from my therapist is to first of all ‘Give yourself grace’—meaning understand that you’re human and you're going to make mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be patient with yourself. Progress is progress no matter how small. Take the small victories. Also, remember that if you have a slip-up or make a decision you don't or didn't like, it doesn't negate all the progress you've made. It doesn't mean you have to start all over. Sometimes all it means is to slow down and be more aware or intentional about the decisions you make.” —Marina E., Customer Care Representative
“My therapist told me a couple months ago that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself. To relax, but to create spaces where relaxing comes naturally.” —Lauren B., Writer
“Be kind to yourself and meet yourself where you're at. The trauma that you're unpacking likely didn't happen overnight. Don't expect it to go away or work through it overnight. If you need to take a break, let yourself. It doesn't mean you're less than or incompetent because you need some time. If you're ready to read a book and get real deep into the thing you're working on, go for it. It's okay to need space, it's okay to need time, and it's okay to be ready when you're ready.”—Britt B., Editor
“Boundaries are important. Don’t cut yourself off from others, but also don’t be sharing so much of yourself that you allow people to trample all over you. Learn to set up the necessary boundaries so you can protect yourself and also stay close to other people.”—Kelly L., Executive Assistant
“That I'm a reasonable person and can trust my own judgment. After an emotionally abusive relationship that included gaslighting, I had to be slowly helped back to trusting myself and relying on my own powers of observation and assessments. I constantly wondered if I was crazy or the only one noticing or experiencing certain things or if I was being unreasonable. All she really did was tell me, ‘No, that seems valid.’ Over and over and over and over. But I trusted her judgment where I felt unmoored by my own. After a year or so of having that backup to check myself against every time I needed it, I finally started to regain my confidence.”—Christy K., Marketing Associate
“Self-worth is paradoxical. You can think very highly of yourself and be confident in your abilities and still treat yourself like crap.”—Sandra G., Public Relations and Events Coordinator
“Mental health is a marathon, not a race. And you can’t love other people until you learn to love yourself. Everything from depression to anxiety to anger all has a genesis in lack of self-love.” —Justin A., Actor
“I thought I was going to therapy to better cope with anxiety and perfectionism. I was, but at the time, I didn’t realize the complex patterns in my family that I was unknowingly repeating, and quite how much trauma I was holding that I needed to be seen and unpacked. As someone whose chronic instinct is to handle everything on my own, after about a year and a half with my therapist, I now finally feel safe leaning on someone I trust to ask for support and feedback when I need it. This has had a tremendously positive impact on my personal life, but has gone even further to have a powerful ripple effect in my professional life as I build a team around me at work.” —Alyssa P., Entrepreneur
“She was very firm with me when she expressed how crucial it was that I start acknowledging and appreciating that I, too, have needs. Throughout my life, even people who I knew loved me the most often glorified my tendency to deny myself of even the most basic kinds of care and nourishment, wrongfully attributing this way of being to traits like discipline and strength. She was adamant that during our time together I learn the difference. This was a new kind of love for me to experience, and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to carry it with me.” —Kayla W., Community Manager
Be kind to yourself.
Based on the narratives above and millions more like them, it seems a few of the biggest lessons therapy teaches us is to have self-compassion and be kind to ourselves.
Self-discovery and growth are hard, but so worth it in the end.
Everyone deserves to have a life they love, and therapy can help you get there.
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Thank you, Allyson, for engaging with others about their therapy experiences and sharing this insightful list of lessons with us today.
For those of you who would like to share more about your own journey, we’re all ears: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anything on your mind you’d love to see answered on our blog?
Let us know! We’d love to hear from you. Connect@mywellbeing.com or let’s chat on social @findmywellbeing