This post is part of our #TherapyHelpedMe series for Mental Health Awareness Month. Talkspace shares stories of how therapy helps people of all backgrounds work through the daily challenges of modern life.
When I stop to think about the role of therapy in my life, it is not difficult to realize how essential it was for me to become the person I am today. I met my current therapist five years ago when I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. I had panic attacks and could barely get out of the house, so my therapy sessions were the only time I socialized with anyone — and it was like that for a few months.
At first I wasn’t sure how my psychologist could help me, and I didn’t really feel comfortable opening myself to her. Everything I said was calculated, and since I was so insecure and destabilized, I feared that she would judge me if I was completely sincere. Over time, the calm and tranquility that I felt as we dealt with my problems made me increasingly spontaneous and secure in sharing my thoughts. Every time I sat in that green chair, she was there to support me and not to judge — indeed, she helped me get rid of my own stigma around my mental illness.
In one of the sessions, I said that I was worried about my professional life and I had no idea what direction to go. I had graduated in advertising and had gone through dozens of jobs that I hated. I never lasted more than a few days in them.
“I feel like a failure,” I said.
“Well, what did you like to do to have fun when you were a kid?” my therapist said with a kind smile.
“I loved to draw,” I said.
“Have you thought about drawing again? See how you it feels? Maybe it’s a good idea and you find a new hobby,” she said.
That day I went back to the house and immediately got a sheet of paper and a pencil. Without thinking much, I began to trace and was flooded with a sense of well-being. That was it!
Therapy has allowed me to have the profession I have today. Without the brilliant insight of my psychologist, I may not have found myself artistically and resumed my life normally.
Having someone professionally prepared to advise and suggest new points of view is really helpful and enlightening. I started practicing illustrations daily and with the help of my therapist, I got the courage to pursue a career as a professional illustrator. It not only gave me a purpose, but a deep self-knowledge and the ability to deal with adversities in a more mature way. Over time, I started to use my drawings to talk about my mental health, and this was what brought recognition and admirers to my work. I saw that I was not alone, and sharing my experience of therapy was a positive thing for myself and many others.
Later, when a long relationship ended, I already had a the tools to deal with the pain I felt. Just as I had found the path in my professional life with psychological help, I knew I would have the support to recover in my love life. I had several more sessions with my therapist, to help clearly realize how unhappy and stagnant I was, and to take advantage of the unique opportunity I was given to be myself completely — single, independent, and able to pursue my dreams.
At the end of the day, I can say that therapy has rebuilt me. It helped me to observe and analyze my life and thoughts without so much judgment, and see things more lightly. I have become a much better person and will always be grateful for it. I continue to sit in the green armchair in that small room every week to talk, listen, and evolve a little more. And so life goes on.