I Have A Therapist Mainly Because I Don’t Have Friends To Talk To

At first I was afraid to admit that I recently started seeing a therapist, but I’ve realized I shouldn’t be. Here’s my experience with therapy and why it’s been so beneficial for me to have someone to talk to.

  1. There’s still a stigma around those who seek mental health treatment. Many people who see a therapist feel embarrassed to be open about it for fear of being judged, including me. According to the American Psychological Association, only 25% of people with mental health problems believe that others are sympathetic. I hope that talking about it more will help improve people’s attitudes towards those who seek therapy. We’re people too, and most of us are actually pretty normal. Most people wouldn’t even be able to guess who has a therapist and who doesn’t.
  2. I initially went to therapy to treat my anxiety. There are many different reasons people seek professional help. I found a mental health counselor because my anxiety got out of control after I started having children and it was affecting my ability to function. For example, I was so afraid of something bad happening to my kids that sometimes I wouldn’t even want to leave the house. Nothing I tried lessened my anxiety, so I knew I needed guidance from a professional.
  3. Then therapy became more about having someone to talk to. My anxiety is under control now, but I continue going to sessions because it’s nice having someone who’s unbiased that I can vent to. My counselor tells me if I’m being crazy or not and helps me handle life stressors in a healthy way. Friends can do this too, but as I get older, I have less and less close friends, especially none who I can talk to about serious things like my mental health status.
  4. I’m not saying a therapist can substitute for friendships completely. Friends are obviously still important to have. My counselor even tells me to try to make more of them. I have plenty—the difficult part is becoming close to them. For some reason, it’s so hard nowadays to connect on a deeper level with anyone. It was so much easier when I was younger, but now it seems almost impossible.
  5. Life gets in the way of developing close friendships. I think adults become so busy with their own lives that they can’t spend as much time with friends as they could when they were younger. Most people are focused on their responsibilities, careers, or families and everything else has to come second. It’s true for me at least, even though I make as much effort as I can with my friends. Having a therapist is a great way for me to supplement that part of my life that’s lacking a bit.
  6. Maybe it’s sad, but my mental health counselor has become a friend in a way. I know she’s not really my friend because she’s getting paid for it. However, talking to her gives me the same result that talking with an experienced friend would. She’s someone that listens to me, knows the right things to say, and gives me useful advice for dealing with stress. Regular friends can’t always do this so in some ways, she helps me more than a friend could.
  7. Friends can be judgmental and selfish. Therapists don’t judge you (or are great at hiding it), whereas friends tend to react in unhelpful ways sometimes. Most friends do their best, but sometimes they don’t always know the right things to say. They can also be selfish, may not care about your issues, and will only want to talk about themselves. Therapists don’t talk about themselves at all during sessions. They’re also trained in how to talk to people and guide them through difficult situations. My counselor helps me to see things from a more rational point of view and to respond to hard times in the best way. Friends aren’t usually as good at that.
  8. I’m so glad I started seeing someone and I wish I had done it sooner. I’ve learned to cope with my stress and anxiety through my relationship with my therapist. She has helped me get that part of myself under control. However, the fact that she’s someone I can talk to as a friend has been a lifesaver more than anything.
  9. I used to feel ashamed about seeing a therapist, but not anymore. I didn’t want people to think I was mentally unstable. It’s also a little embarrassing to admit that part of the reason I see someone is because I have no close friends. Still, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t care what other people think. People like me should be more open about our struggles so that mental health treatment will become less taboo. It should be considered normal.
Kelli loves to write about lots of different topics, especially relationships, parenting, health, and fitness. She is excited to share her experiences!