Editor’s Note: I was deeply moved by my dear friend Austin’s video on therapy and how it’s helped him deal with anxiety and depression. Beautiful to see he’s sharing his story, honored to be sharing it with you.
“I don’t think I need therapy. I view it, kind of, as a weakness.”
The most common, and annoying, thing people say about going to a therapist is the above statement. Obviously in different ways, but you catch my drift.
I think people are fearful because being explicitly honest with someone can somewhat seem taxing on a person, but I’m here to assure you that it’s not. In my recent sessions, I have left feeling empowered, joyful, and ready to take on this insane world.
I never thought that I would be able to wake up and root for myself again. I thought my life was going to end up as that iconic scene where Alice is falling down that black hole of confusion forever. What is my point? What does this all mean? Well, I’m not almighty or better than anyone else. However, I have learned is an immense amount of extremely innovative ways to cope with trauma, rejection, and/or hurt through my therapy sessions, so I would like to share them with you all.
1. Honesty is the most beautiful thing in the world
I was lying to myself constantly. Once I became more truthful to my soul, I felt a difference in my anxiety and depression. It’s almost as if I was curating a story line for myself that wasn’t ever going to be true. I was denying my mental state to everybody, which was a way of self-sabotage. Speaking your truth and sharing your past makes people, and yourself, root for YOU.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–rooting for yourself, whether it is in your car, your bed, or the mirror, is massively important. Go and have that pep talk with yourself, even if it’s for 5 quick minutes. When things were really dark for me, I would wake up and say ALOUD, “Can you do this today, Austin?” My therapist taught me that when we have those moments to immediately get out of bed and distract yourself with something. Take a shower and belt your lungs out. Work out and sweat all your pain off your shoulders. Do the tasks or hobbies that will hypnotize you away from the dark thoughts and once you’re done, look in the mirror and say aloud, “FUCK YEAH, I can do this today!”
3. Find things that make you shine
I had to sit down with myself and quite literally jot down on a pizza stained notebook paper all of the things that made me soar. What hobbies make me shine? What people make me better? What is my mission in life? Sometimes, it’s not easy getting rid of toxic things in your life. In fact, it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever started trying to accomplish. It’s a journey, but you start to see how vastly important this is to your shine.
4. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself
My therapist said to me, “Where is that Austin when he was a child and stood up for himself when it was necessary? I like that Austin.” I sat and thought, well, that’s kind of interesting, because I like that Austin too. The universe then put all of these necessary opportunities to take off that innocent silk barrier on my chest and put my armor on again. She didn’t mean get into arguments with everyone or say FUCK YOU to your boss. She meant that if something is not benefiting me in the short or long run, then fucking stand up and cut that shit out.
5. Vulnerability is not scary, it’s actually quite attractive
I don’t mean attractive like, “Oh my god, I just told you all about my past traumas look how fucking hot I am now!” NO. What I meant was if you sit down with someone, like a therapist, and speak what’s on your mind or something as simple as how your day is honestly going, then you attract energy to you. It could be good or bad, but I’ve found that if you beat down your stricken walls like the Berlin Wall, you tend to let more honest people into your arms. NEVER be afraid to reach out for help, because people will help you. I promise.
Photo by Noemi Gonzalez.