Sick therapy vs Well therapy

I’ve had my go around with the therapists. Even as a 2nd grader, I knew there was something cool about being able to chat about my feelings with a stranger. I always signed up for meetings with our school guidance counselor, so I could be taken out of class and sit on a bean bag and chat with her.

Was I dealing with anything very difficult? I don’t think so. I just have always been a deep thinker and I wanted an outlet for my thoughts.

sick therapy

Therapy, of course, played a major role in my recovery from anorexia and depression. I went weekly for a few years until I was able to taper off to the point of feeling like I had the skills to manage on my own. At the beginning, however, I was sick and in poor mental health. I was resistant to therapy and I felt like it was forced upon me. The therapist and I would sit in the room together for a good 15 minutes before anything was said. Usually I would be looking at the clock, counting down the minutes until I could get out of there.

As far as the stages of change go, I needed someone to walk me through from the pre-contemplative stage all the way to maintenance stage. When I was sick I needed therapy like I needed medication. I think if I would have realized that at the time, I would have taken advantage of it.

It has been a little over a year since I saw my therapist. I am doing so well and I am in a wonderful place mentally.  But let me say, therapy is definitely worth trying if a healthy state of mind is not something you have right now.

well therapy 

This past summer I developed an anxiety I never had before. Almost every night I would have physical symptoms start abruptly- nervousness, racing thoughts, nausea, and inability to sleep. A tightness in my stomach would be my signal that the anxiety was about to begin.

I couldn’t think of an explanation for it. I had dealt with depression in the past, but not this type of anxiety. Where was it coming from? I was feeling good about my life and didn’t have any real worries- at least not during the day. Yet at night I could almost count on it hitting me. These were feelings I couldn’t really explain to anyone and I honestly didn’t care to, because the racing thoughts weren’t pleasant thoughts.

After a few months of dealing with this, I decided I had to do something about it. Maybe I needed a change in medication or maybe I just needed an outlet for my thoughts. Nonetheless, I decided to contact my school’s community counseling clinic and set up an appointment. I felt a little weird making an appointment with a therapist when there was nothing really “wrong” with me. Up until the appointment, I wondered if it was going to be worth it.

You guys, having someone to express all my thoughts and fears to without repercussion is (in lack of a better word) amazing. I found that the best thing to do with those racing, repetitive thoughts is to just get them out. Verbalize them. Even if they sound crazy, just put them out there. And with a therapist, no need to worry about burdening anyone.

Through talking with my therapist, she helped me to see that having my house broken into this past summer probably contributed to my anxiety. When the event happened, I didn’t think too much of it, but I now realize it was probably effecting me on a deeper level. She also pointed out that my anxiety could be medication-induced, which helps explain it’s unknown origin.

This time around therapy is not necessarily my “medication” as it was before, but it is something that I can and do really benefit from. She’s given me some techniques to help calm myself in the evenings and even suggested I try melatonin to sleep better. Both have been helpful.

I share all this with you because I am an advocate for discussing mental health. Let’s have open discussions, as Heather did earlier this week, and not keep quiet about issues many of us deal with. If we can talk about our bowel movements and periods, can’t we talk about our minds?

Anyways, thanks for letting me think out loud with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences.

18 thoughts on “Sick therapy vs Well therapy

  1. <3<3<3 Love you so much for posting this! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and perspective on therapy. Until you brought it up, I really had never thought about how much my problems could be burdening my loved ones. And I think it could be so helpful to not only share my racing thoughts and feeling, but also to see things from a different perspective.

    1. Thanks girl- I love you for all your amazingly honest posts!
      I don’t doubt that John wants to be your sounding board, but I think saying something to a stranger can be even more freeing. I like how there are no real expectations, unlike how when I am talking to Terry, I am expecting him to react in a certain way.

  2. I can totally relate to you in some way, my boyfriend has anxiety as well and he would wake up shaking in the night, thoughts racing, a lot like you said. He never understood what it was either, but I’m glad you came around to figuring it out! He sees a therapist as well but hasn’t gone in a while since he’s been feeling good. I’ll let him know that you experienced similar feelings at night, I’m sure it will make him feel more reassured 🙂

    1. Yes, please let him know he is not alone! I think the anxiety probably has its ebbs and flows for most people, but hopefully he is in the clear. But if not, it is great he is open to therapy if things get worse!

      1. Yes, it’s definitely up and down for him, but I think he is getting better at managing it. The therapy really helped him for that, there really are a lot of benefits for people who are open to just talking!

  3. I think EVERYONE should see some form of therapist – no matter their mental health. We all have thoughts and emotions and, if left alone to run and spin around in our own brains, they can start to really hurt us. Even if they “seem small”, they can affect how we see ourselves or live in this world and can affect how we treat those we love. Its just so important to talk… about anything. To just get it out. To have someone who you can just spill everything out to is so, so healthy.

  4. I love you for speaking so positively about therapy. I don’t think it’s as bad anymore, but therapy had such a negative stigma attached to it for such a long time… and that probably kept so many people away from it that could have really used it’s healing powers.

    1. Totally. When I was a teen in therapy, I’d always just tell my friends I had to go the doctor without explanation when I had therapy appointments. I have many students in my husband’s youth group who could benefit SO much from seeing a therapist, but the idea just freaks them out. I pray my openness about it can help others to feel more comfortable with the idea.

  5. My husband is a therapist (& depression/anxiety run in *both* of our families), so I appreciate this post. It’s disturbing how we (society) gloss over mental health. So many problems (crime, drug abuse, etc!) could be reduced if we simply took it seriously.
    I’ve never been to therapy but I’m considering it. I don’t think I’ve dealt with PPD (perhaps some postpartum anxiety), but lately I’ve found myself overly anxious and so easily angered ALL the time. The near-panic attacks remind me of what I experienced a couple years ago when I felt trapped at my job and had major self-confidence issues and would literally become short of breath and feel my heart racing if I didn’t get outside at lunch. Anyway, this became rambly…thanks for sharing and I agree 100% that sick AND well therapy are so beneficial. And so glad you’re in a good place. 🙂

    1. I love your “rambly” comments.
      I think therapy would be a great idea, especially since you have experienced life changes (hello, a baby!) and are having to adjust the rest of your life. I know a lot of moms struggle with feeling less “adult” when most of their lives are taken up with a small child. Talking those thoughts out could be so freeing!

  6. I’ve never been to a therapist, but I feel like my recent experiences with talking with a nutritionist has been similar to as if I had gone to a therapist for any food issues. It’s amazing the things you can uncover just hearing yourself say things aloud!

    1. Definitely. I find that even when I am talking to Terry, hearing myself talk about things that are upsetting me don’t sound like such a big deal. I am so glad you decided to see the a nutritionist!

  7. This is really great information. I’ve had anxiety and been to therapy off and on my whole life. It really helps to pinpoint the source and how to deal with or eliminate it! Besides, who doesn’t want to talk about themselves for an hour? 🙂

    1. Thank you!
      That’s another thing I’ve found more satisfying about “well therapy”, I actually want to talk about myself! If my therapist was actually my friend, I don’t think I could keep her around too long.

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