Dropping the Stigma of Therapy

I remember dreading the first day I went to therapy. I literally cried to my husband, “I can’t do this.” I was scared of dealing with my past, but I also felt like there was something wrong with me, that I should be able to fix myself without therapy. Only “crazy” people need therapy, right? To be fair, I did indeed feel crazy.
Dropping the Stigma of Therapy.jpgThe therapy I attended was a group for sexual abuse victims. I expected everyone to look how I felt on the inside. Instead, everyone looked completely normal. I was shocked. Shouldn’t we all be a complete mess?

Apparently, we’re all very skilled at keeping it all together on the outside while everything on the inside swirls around like a hurricane. We take care to hide our wounds, flaws, and messy parts from the world. We wear nice clothes and do up our hair and make-up. We smile. We keep ourselves busy so no one will know anything is wrong with us.

The truth is, no one has a perfect life. And probably everyone could benefit from a round or two of therapy from a skilled professional.

So let’s drop the negative stigma that comes with therapy and allow ourselves to get the help we need, okay?

As mentioned in other posts, sexual abuse can cause all sorts of false beliefs about ourselves, negative or self-harming behaviors, PTSD or C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, anxiety, etc. We can’t usually overcome these things alone or with our own will power. You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg or a head wound to “just get over it” or “think positive thoughts” and then expect them to be healed the next day. Don’t expect the wounds of your spirit, mind, and emotions to heal merely because you or others want you to.

Please, if you need professional help or medication, don’t hesitate talking to a therapist or getting medications such as an anti-depressant because of the stigma, or because you worry what others will think. Heavenly Father knows we sometimes need to rely on other resources to help us get back to a healthy place in our lives. We need to pray, receive priesthood blessings, and work on it ourselves, but we are also expected to utilize the great people trained to help us heal!

I don’t have any more fancy words, but I think the talk, “Like a Broken Vessel” by Jeffrey R. Holland is an important resource, as well as his recent message on YouTube.Though he is mainly speaking about depression, I think his advice has multiple applications.

If it helps, instead of thinking of the help you need and all the fears that go with it, think of yourself as your child or one of your friends. What would you encourage or help them to do if they were in your situation? Do those things for you. Ask your support person to help you have the strength to talk to someone to get the help you need.

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