Blog

Aug21
2017

Valid

By Eleora Rephaela

Two months ago, I finally asked for help—help I should have sought out over a decade ago. I approached my family doctor and for the first time I told her that my body was fine, but my mind was sick.

I left the clinic with a list of therapists in the area. On the drive home, I choked back tears, still trying to avoid the reality of what was happening. An undeniable grief over having to admit that I couldn’t fix myself on my own washed over me. I couldn’t heal myself; I wasn’t getting any better; I was still drowning.

Driving home, I thought back to a friend who had let me in and shared a heavy, but significant part of her story: she had been sexually abused by her grandfather. She allowed me to walk alongside her as she battled unrelenting attacks on her mental and emotional well-being. She would let me be her listening ear, let me support her, let me see the “ugly parts” of her.

Throughout her journey of recovery, she told me ‘it’s OK to be vulnerable.’ She encouraged me to do the same: to open up, to ask for help, and to be honest with my story.

But still, I struggled to believe her words—words that were coming from the mouth of someone who had a “story,” a “legitimate” reason to be depressed, to experience anxiety, to be seen by a therapist. I couldn’t help but belittle my own darkness. I thought, foolishly, that once the therapist found out it was just depression or just crippling self-loathing, they would secretly laugh at me—and tell me to get over it.

I worried they would decide I had no reason to be or feel any of those things because nothing “bad” had happened to me. My feelings were just feelings, so how could they be fixed by counseling? How could they be considered worthy of a $150 session?

But they are worthy. Mental illness, no matter where it stems from, doesn’t need a reason. It just consumes whichever vessel it wants. And that vessel is always deserving of help.

When I finally found a therapist I thought could help me, I wanted to resist her to protect my vulnerability. I was convinced if I was honest, I would essentially walk out feeling like it was all a waste, that she wouldn’t want to hear me whine about my petty problems.  I was afraid she would tell me my feelings weren’t valid, that they didn’t matter, or that they were wrong.

But she didn’t condemn, she listened. And when I was done talking and sharing all of the “ugly” parts, she told me it was OK. She told me she was there to help. She told me my feelings were valid. That I was valid.

I had my fourth session today. Shortly after, I had an awakening of sorts. I realized that it doesn’t matter if your pain originated from an entity outside of yourself and forced its way into your life without consent. It doesn’t matter if that entity came from within yourself. We all deserve a chance to heal, to search for hope and to have it fulfilled.

I know it’s early to say, considering I’m new to this whole therapy thing, but once you find something that works, you start to witness the progress you’ve made. And even though bad things will never cease to happen, and while pain is often a constant companion, we learn to cope. We learn to accept. We find ways to be free even among the threat of darkness. When we allow ourselves to heal, we allow light to enter.

And in the end, is light not all we ever wanted?

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Comments (10)

  1. aj

    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  2. Brittany

    This is exactly how I feel. I don’t feel deserving of help because I don’t have a “reason” for being anxious or depressed. I have close friends who have been through very difficult things in their lives, and comparatively my life has been fine. What right do I have to complain? I’m still scared to ask for help, but it’s helpful knowing that there are others who feel this way too, who were able to reach out and get the help they deserve. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Brittany,

      You are most definitely deserving of the help you think/feel you need. There doesn’t have to be a reason beyond the fact that you are experiencing these struggles and emotions, and they are real.

      We hope that knowing you are not alone in feeling this way will encourage you to address those needs.

      You can email us any time at info@twloha.com, but we do suggest that you seek out professional help. You can start here at our Find Help page: http://www.twloha.com/findhelp

      Or text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. Trained counselors are available 24/7. They are there to help you. They want to help you. No matter what.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  3. Sarah Lyons

    Thank you so much, it could’ve been me who wrote this except I haven’t been brave enough to find a therapist, I do yoga and run. I often feel like I would just be whining and who wants to hear that. Thank you for validating how I am,how I feel. You don’t know how free this makes me feel Thank you

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Sarah,

      We hope that Eleora’s and others’ stories will encourage you to seek out the help you deserve. There are people out there who want to help you, who want to listen to you vocalize your struggles and help you through this difficult journey.

      We suggest professional help above all else, but here are some options available to you:

      -Our Find Help page: http://www.twloha.com/findhelp

      -Email us at info@twloha.com any time. We read and respond to every email. Please email us when you need someone to listen and offer you encouragement.

      -Text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line, you will be connected to a trained counselor (24/7). They are there to help you. They want to help you.

      Please extend kindness and understanding to yourself. Do not hesitate to ask for help. You don’t have to go through any of this alone.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  4. Becca

    I went through a struggle and had a person tell me that people had gone through worse. For the longest time, I convinced myself that I could just “get over it” and move on. Unfortunately, my brain also convinced me that I wasn’t worth it. The spiral can create a deeper, darker, struggle. It wasn’t until I found an amazing therapist, that I discovered that it really does matter that I stay alive. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re a beautiful person. Keep fighting. Stay alive. <3

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Becca!

      We are so glad that you found a therapist that could help you! You are worthy of every ounce of hope and help. Know that, remember that. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your story with us.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  5. Remy

    I have been in therapy on and off for over 20 years and seen so many therapists, I’ve lost count. Even with the one therapist I actually connected with, I still found myself holding back. I have the same fears as you. That the events in my life were not bad enough for me to be feeling this way. That I’m just wasting the therapist’s time and my money. That no one can help me and I’ll never get better. I don’t know how old you are but at my age, I feel I’m running out of time. Reading your blog post just may be the one thing that makes me give myself one more chance. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Reply  |  
  6. Perla

    this is exactly how my experience went. after struggling with these suicidal thoughts and self hatred since i was 12, at 24 i finally decided to look for help. i too expected the therapist to tell me “oh you’re just feeling sorry for yourself.” i broke down when i was finally diagnosed with major depression and when she let me know that it was ok to not be ok. she let me know that there is no “valid reason” for depression. it happens. a year later i am grateful to have found help i only wish i’d done it sooner.

    Reply  |  
  7. Westlifefanforl

    Amazing! keep writing.

    Reply  |