I’ve been seeing a therapist for a few months now. I felt like I was no longer effectively managing my anxiety on my own, and needed help– so I got it. I’ve been seeing her weekly, and so far it has been really great. And despite the fact that there is no leather chaise lounge for me to lay on while we talk, I have relatively few complaints. (Though her black leather sofa is super cute and comfy.)
I’ve seen a therapist before, but this was my first time seeing someone consistently. And although I had some expectations for how it would go when I started, I had no idea how much seeing a therapist would affect areas of my life outside of just my anxiety coping skills.
Talking about yourself will get easier
I don’t like talking about myself unless it’s to make someone laugh. Talking about “bad” things has always been kind of hard for me. At my very first session I really struggled with effectively explaining myself, and repeatedly second guessing myself when I spoke. Now I am much more comfortable with it. I don’t always feel like the most effective communicator in general, but I feel like I am greatly improving on that just by spending an hour a week trying to properly articulate my feelings.
You look at your everyday habits differently
I talk a lot about my social anxiety with my therapist, and we focus a lot on how I behave and feel in social situations. Becoming aware of those behaviors has made me aware of other things I do in my life. I’ve made the revelation that I prefer the bus to the train because of my anxiety, and am constantly diverting attention from myself when I’m in a new situation. I am starting to understand my preferences and actions in other situations, even though those never get talked about in my actual sessions. Without meaning to, I am taking the tools I am learning from my sessions into other areas of my life.
You will gain confidence
Hearing that my anxiety is validated felt like a huge weight off my shoulders. I had already been diagnosed several years ago, but regularly being told by a professional that I am not just “worrying”, and that “snapping out of it” is not an option makes me feel better. My thoughts, and feelings are real, and being told that feels liberating. I feel less and less conscious about my anxiety as time progresses.
You will LOVE having a space to focus only on yourself
Having one hour completely devoted to ME without guilt is fantastic. It is a space to talk through the overwhelming internal monologue that builds up every week with another person, and I always leave feeling more relaxed and refreshed having done so. It’s almost like getting a mental massage. If for no other reason, I would recommend everyone to try therapy at least once just to experience the relief of the release.
You will struggle with how to refer to your therapist in regular conversation
His/her impact on your life doesn’t stop when you leave the office, and sometimes you have to refer to them to others who may not know the details of your situation. I have made professional connections through my therapist, and had to think fast about how to answer the “So how do you know ___?” question. (Hint: “I know her through her work” is a good way to stop that question cold and illicit a somewhat embarrassed reaction from the other person. I don’t recommend it.) Relaying a restaurant recommendation, or funny story from a session has been replaced with “My friend” instead of “My therapist” just to avoid having to have that awkward conversation.
Obviously, these revelations won’t fit every single person, but they are things that have become very true for me. The tools I am taking with me from each session are wonderful, and have improved my life very much, for my anxiety and for just life in general. If you’re at all on the fence about seeing someone, please just take the plunge. Finding the therapist you connect most with won’t be immediate — it honestly felt a little like trying on jeans: feeling upset and let down until you find your perfect fit– but it is so worth it when you do find it.
By the way, I have another post planned on how I went about finding a therapist (It’s here!). BUT if you have questions, please feel free to comment or reach out to me in another way and ask! I already have gone through the process of finding one, so that post is not for my benefit, it’s yours! Help me make sure I’m helping you!
Got any questions? Have you ever seen a therapist and have some noticed some unexpected changes in your life? Share them!