I have been writing and speaking on the topic of psychotherapy and mental health maintenance for years and the number one question people ask me is: “Am I crazy if I seek therapy?” Most times the answer is, “No.” In fact, most successful and happy individuals work(ed) with a therapist or confidant. Look, everyone has a bag of “crap” – EVERYONE. And, this bag is filled with unresolved issues, traumatic experiences, disappointing moments and personality ‘quirks’ from the time we were born. So, by the time we become adults, our challenges show up in our personal and professional relationships.
When we don’t address our issues as they arise, normal challenges can cause significant problems in our relationships and even contribute to the development of certain mental illnesses like depression and anxiety or personality disorders like boarderline and narcissism.
Instead of asking, “Am I crazy if I seek therapy?” the question should be, “How should I begin working through the issues in my bag of crap so I can stay or become healthy and whole?”
Here are some tips:
1. Accept the reality that you are not perfect.
2. Make a commitment to taking personal responsibility for your behavior: past, present and future.
3. Remind yourself that you are conditioned to thinking, feeling and behaving in ways in which you are probably unaware. As a result, it will take time for you to fully identify and understand how you experience the world and how the world experiences you.
4. As you look for a therapist, try to select someone who is empathic of your experiences and feelings and can help you through your fears, anger and defenses.
Let me know how your journey goes and feel free to ask with questions. Best of luck to you!