Every Friday I walk across the street during my lunch break and sit and talk with my therapist for fifty minutes. My health insurance covers very little of the cost, making my therapy a large weekly expense. When weighed against everything else, though, it is absolutely worth it and something I very much need.
There are three things people often bring up in opposition when they hear I go to therapy: it’s a waste of money and time, they have a personal hatred against therapy, and the granddaddy of them all: depression isn’t real/my “problems” aren’t real and therefore therapy could not possibly help me. I believe that people are entitled to these opinions. I believe I am also entitled to have my own opinion and do not allow people to foist their’s on to me. And yet, most people are not satisfied by that. They want me to accept their opinion as truth. Here’s what I think about that:
Number One: I don’t care if you think it’s a rip-off or a bunch of malarkey or a waste of time. If you want to talk me out of going to therapy, you’re wasting your time. Move along.
Number Two: I don’t care if you do or do not go to therapy. Ever. I am not trying to “convert” anyone. I don’t think it’s the “only way to live.” I choose to do it for me, but you’re not me! I recognize I am not any kind of authority on any one else’s emotional or mental well-being. Do what you will and be well.
Number Three: I don’t care if you think depression is a made up disease. Fine! You can think that all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that I often go through periods of deep sadness and despair. I don’t care where you think it comes from or what you call it. The fact is that these depressed feelings are part of my life. They are there, I assure you. Quibbling over an explanation for them is not helpful to me at this time. I am purely interested in ways to cope, handle and deal with my depression in a practical way in order to live my life. Go have a rousing debate with some neuroscientists, psychiatrists and psychologists about the theoretical causes and treatments of depression. (Seriously, please do. Pull at those threads because I am coming out of some depression and don’t have the mental and emotional energy for that, but Lord knows the mind is a mystery and I totally support others exploring that mystery. I also understand if you’re good with the explanations we have and have no desire to explore – I feel you!)
No one is going to be talking anyone out of or into going to therapy, and my feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are indisputable facts, regardless of what we call them or what has caused them, so let’s all just get along, okay?
Do what you will and be well. That is, after all, exactly what I’m trying to do.