Why Therapy isn’t as Scary as it Seems

I was 13 when I started having panic attacks and, as a true millennial, I went straight online to see what was happening to me and what I could do to help. Therapy was one of the first things I saw and I instantly thought ‘god no!’. I’m not sure what put me off, but I just knew that wasn’t something I ever wanted to experience.

So I muddled along, trying yoga, meditation, deep breathing and none of it was really helping to stop my anxiety. I was still having panic attacks. As I got older, they became more frequent. At the time, I tried to be okay with it. I told myself the panic attacks weren’t pleasant, but they definitely weren’t awful. And I was okay with the little routine I kind of carved out for myself. I accepted that I’d always have panic attacks and that’s that.

It was only when I attempted suicide at 16 that my parents intervened and pushed me to go to therapy. I was so incredibly nervous. I thought she’d think I was a crazy teenager and give me dozens of drugs that I’d never remember my own name.

But I went and it was fine. My parents came for the first session, which was a massive help. I’m lucky that I’ve always had a very supportive family that have always done their best to help me. I don’t think I’d have had the guts to go on my own. My parents gave a brief history to the therapist and then we arranged my next session.

I continued to go to therapy, but it wasn’t helping. After I got home, I felt dreadful and I was panicking worse than ever. It got to the point where I was flat out lying to her so I wouldn’t have to admit to myself and her that I wasn’t okay. Eventually, because of the lies I was telling her, she signed me off and said I had made massive improvements.

So for another year, I muddled along on my own and I did start to feel a bit better. I re-enrolled in college and was making progress. But as most things go, I did get worse. Most of my anxiety manifests itself within education. And going back to college helped get my life back on track, but it also was causing anxiety. I had a month off college, I just couldn’t cope going in. Once again, my mother encouraged me to go to therapy again. Instead of going the NHS route and have a therapist assigned to me, we decided to go private and pay.

This time, possibly because my parents were paying, I didn’t lie. I told her everything. It was difficult and sometimes really upsetting, but it was important to me to get better this time. I also get on much better with my current therapist and my sessions are in her home rather than an office, which suits me much better.

My therapist now is more like a friend. We discuss all aspects of my life, and I truly feel she is invested in me. I can email her whenever and I’m never scared of telling her something. I’ve been seeing her for nearly a year and this year I’ve made the most progress. I finally feel I’m at a place where I have accepted myself and my mental illness. And I now understand that the panic attacks and me aren’t one.

Therapy isn’t for everyone, but I do think it’s always worth a try. I don’t think I’d be where I am now without my therapist. She’s helped me in ways no one else could. It can seem a scary concept and sometimes you try it and really don’t enjoy it.

But I would encourage you to try again with a different person. Not everyone gets on with everyone and this also includes medical professionals. If your therapist isn’t working for you, change and try again. Your recovery is always about you, and if they’re a decent person, they shouldn’t take it personally.

It’s also worth mentioning that going to therapy isn’t something to be ashamed of. If you need help, you shouldn’t feel scared to get it.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? What are your thoughts on seeking therapy? Leave a comment below!

Featured image by 胡 卓亨 on Unsplash

First image by Morgan Harper Nichols on Unsplash

Last image by Andrei Coman on Unsplash


Edited by Viveca Shearin

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  1. For me it is the opposite. I really wanted to go to therapy but now I’m scared af. I agree that you have to find the right therapist for you, mine is making me feel so uncomfortable and I don’t want to go anymore.

    1. If I were you I’d look for a new one, you’re not going to be making progress if your therapist is making you uncomfortable. I was really lucky that my second therapist and I just clicked instantly.

    2. You really should try another therapist. The first therapist I saw made me uncomfortable, encouraged my mother’s bad parenting, and obviously wasn’t qualified for my generation/age either. My second therapist was amazing, knew what she was talking about, and never asked me to do or say something totally out of my comfort zone. Seriously keep trying, it’s about your health, not the feelings of the therapist

  2. At first when I went to therapy, I was petrified. I didnt know what to expect and was afraid I was going to be judged and told to suck it up. But when I had the worst anxiety attack in front of my parents, I knew I had to try. When I first walked in her office, I wasnt even there for a second and I bursted into tears. She only smiled and guided my breathing to calm myself and said she would worry about the talk stuff later, for now she just wanted to get to know me. She seemed really interested about me and the atmosphere she had was just relaxed. I normally dont click with someone so easily, she only cared about me being comfortable and didnt pressure me. She was very understanding and explained to me why I was feeling what and I felt more educated.

    Feeling a connection and being comfortable with your therapist is so important. I was lucky connecting with the first therapist I was reccomend. There is no shame in seeking help! I felt that at first but I learnt it took true strength to ask and you’re only human. And if someone tells you otherwise, it’s because they’re scared and dont know how to ask. It’s for your benefit and you’re health is always important! Dont be afraid to speak up! (:

    1. Hi Ash,

      I felt the same. The thought of telling a stranger my inner most thoughts terrified me and I thought she would secretly judge me but eventually my mental health deteriorated and, like you, I knew it was time. I’m so happy that you clicked with your fist therapist! I agree it’s so important to feel comfortable and that you’re in a safe environment to say anything you need to. Thank you for commenting and sharing your positive experience, hopefully it will encourage others to seek help!:)

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