Therapy is a wonderful experience for so many people. It's a tool that allows us to secure our own well-being with the help of a compassionate, engaged supporter sitting right across from us (in normal times, that is).
And yet, many people are not in therapy.
That is the case for a vast array of reasons. Cost, insurance struggles, lack of time, simply not being ready--all are very real and legitimate reasons.
So a crowdsourced resource like Reddit can be helpful.
A recent thread offered anybody on the internet the chance to anonymously take a look at very real tidbits of wisdom from people's therapy experience.
It's not at all the same thing, but it's nice to dip your toes in this way if you're curious or hankering to talk about the things weighing on you.
Phaesphoric asked, "What is the most helpful thing your therapist has ever said to you?"
"My therapist and I were discussing how I felt about a pretty deep betrayal from my now ex-wife. I was beating myself up for not seeing how bad she really was when there was plenty of evidence."
"He wrote down something on his yellow notepad and then held it up right in my face, practically touching my nose."
"He said 'what's that say?'"
"I couldn't read it; it was too close to my face. Stepping back from it a bit, it could read it said 'you're too close to see it.' He was right."
"I was too close to the problems and the situation to have been able to see it where in retrospect it was so obvious. I stopped beating myself up over it and was able to let it go."
"I'm confined to a wheelchair. It's amazing how many people still look at you like you're a freak! I was told by my shrink of 15 years to smile big and say hi loudly."
"They'll either say hi or look away. Either way, I've made an attempt to humanize them to the disabled. If they don't, it's their problem."
"Worrying about something that might happen just makes you miserable."
"It's great to have a contingency plan, but don't spend all your energy worrying about something that might never happen, just deal with it if it happens."
No Need to Overhaul
"'Maybe you can treat yourself like a person and not like a project.'"
"It changed my life. I'd been treating myself like something to fix, and seeing every little problem as evidence that I was a failure and a terrible person."
"I learned to give myself the same benefit of the doubt as I'd give any other human I met on the street. Humans make mistakes, including me—that doesn't mean there's issues to fix, it means I'm a person."
Address the Simple Stuff First
"'You're not sleeping, you're missing meals, and you barely see your friends. It's no wonder you're depressed. You are barely taking care of baseline needs, my dude!'"
"She was right. I needed to actually take care of basic human needs before I could move up any higher on Maslow's hierarchy."
Where Do You Take It?
"The lifespan of an emotion (the actual physiological sensations—adrenalin, heat in the face, tightness in the chest, rapid heartbeat, fists clenched, etc.) doesn't last very long. Emotions only last about 90 seconds or so."
"What keeps an emotion alive and lingering after the fact is the stories and the associated thoughts we tell ourselves about them."
"It's usually what we think should have been rather than what it is that causes us that extra suffering we're all too familiar with. And the longer we've been telling ourselves a certain story, the harder it is to "'just let it go."'
"That my mental health issues arise when my body is trying to tell me that i'm mentally exhausted. Just like when you don't get enough sleep, your body tells you that by making you feel tired, or hungry when you haven't eaten enough."
"When i haven't been giving myself enough down time, i've been super stressed trying to please everyone and meet everyone's needs, i burn out, and feeling depressed or anxious at nothing in particular is just a way my body lets me know that i need to look after myself."
"That I'm not necessarily broken or going to feel this way for the rest of my life."
It Is a Choice
"I'm not required to forgive anyone, especially from abuse. I can if I want to and it works for me but if I don't feel forgiving then I don't have to." -- NorienneSedai
"So important!! I hate how often people act as if forgiveness is the only way to be a good person or to move past something." -- Phaesphoric
"Mine said this in an offhand way, but it's stuck with me:"
"'Try to find something you enjoy in every day. Even if it's something small like taking a hot shower or going for a walk. If you start feeling down, you can think about what you enjoyed from that day, and recognize that you've done something nice for yourself.'"
"You cannot expect one person to fulfill all your needs and to be with you whenever you want them to." -- shieldsforcamelot
"Actually came here to say something similar. I had a therapist once tell me 'if you need someone you can't love them.'"
"Now, that statement was heavily based on context in that situation and my tendency towards co-dependence, so PLEASE don't take it as axiomatic." -- OfficerWonk
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