When I was 23, I endured my first and only (knock on wood) panic attack. It was, without a doubt, the scariest, most unnerving few minutes of my life. While short-lived, I was terrified of suffering through another one. So I found a therapist in the area and within a week, we were rifling, together, through the episode’s underlying causes, many of which I was unaware even existed.
I quickly learned the value of having a therapist, a person to help you combat life’s challenges and tribulations. We all have personal issues but many prefer to keep them bottled up instead of opening up to a professional and risking being vulnerable. Whether it’s due to fear of stigma, parents who discouraged discussion of emotions, or a society with a “just suck it up” mentality, many refuse to seek the help they desperately need.
But the people who could benefit the most are often the ones who are most afraid to open up. If this sounds like you, here are three reasons to let go of the fear and open yourself up to therapy:
1. Fear typically indicates that action needs to be taken.
Fear, though uncomfortable, is a useful emotion. It can indicate we are in danger when faced with a wild animal, motivating us to run for our lives. But it can also focus our attention on things that we need to face rather than flee from.
There is always an explanation behind our fears. Taking the initiative to figure it out can save us from future suffering. If you know you have issues to work through but the idea of opening up to a stranger scares you out of doing so, use that fear as a sign that you need to take action.
2. A problem can only be solved by going through it, not around it.
Initially, it seems easier to sweep issues under the rug rather than face them. But eventually you’ll run out of hiding places and discover this method creates much more work on your part. Ignoring issues doesn’t make them disappear; it simply suppresses them.
Solving a problem by breaking it down and dealing with it step by step, as difficult as it may be, will always be the better decision. This is undoubtedly challenging, especially when you have a lifetime supply of suppressed issues. Working with a professional, who can provide you with the appropriate tools, can make it much more manageable.
3. The benefits are well worth the risk of opening up.
It’s frightening to share our deepest fears with anyone. We fear judgment, ridicule and embarrassment. This is completely normal and part of being human. However, we run into trouble when we allow these things to deter us from the help we know we need.
When we decide to push through those fears and become vulnerable, that is when we can truly begin to heal. Unleashing all of the pain we have fought so hard to keep secret makes room for freedom, joy and contentment. Weighing the benefits can make any initial fear and hesitation to seek outside help feel almost secondary.
Therapist photo available from Shutterstock