UPDATE: The link for the five posts of the series are below:
- Post 1: Analogy of Therapy
- Post 2: Emotions = Information
- Post 3: Handy Communication Techniques
- Post 4: Emotions Need Be Processed
- Post 5: The Humanity of Me
The past few months have been transformative in certain ways. This is my attempt to document it and share it within the parameters of what I am both comfortable and enthusiastic about. While in many ways, mental health discussion and awareness has been increasing a lot lately, there are still some areas or demographics that are certainly not reached. My goal is through these series of posts, I can share what I have learned, how I have been applying it (or plan to) in my life when it comes to treating myself and others, and perhaps it can encourage others to seek out resources and help to improve one’s mental health.
This post is about how I explained to my brother how therapy works. It may not be perfect, but my goal was to make to concept more familiar.I am aware that this is not the case for many, not even for me. It wasn’t only after a few sessions has passed by that the concept is less foreign, and the familiarity makes the benefit and healing easier to welcome.
I sought out help from a mental health service provider because of my history with sexual assault. That was my main goal – to unravel how this impacts my current way of living and be able to tackle it head-on. That being said, I am aware that other difficulties in the past likely contributed to how these experiences caused lingering pain and ongoing unhealthy behaviors. Particularly the death of my family members, and certain aspects of the environment I grew up in during the following years. After signing up, waiting patiently on the wait list, attending an education session beforehand, and attending a few one-on-one sessions, I’m slowly grasping the concepts and realizing that they have merit and value in one’s life.
It was already two months since the first therapy session when I chatted with my brother about this and he was surprised – apparently this was the first time I officially told him about this. The fast-paced schedule of the lives of being a young adult may have made that information slip. I took that opportunity to explain the process, and the main thing that came to my mind is to correlate it to physical therapy. How I explained it it something like this.
The process and its value is pretty much like when you are injured (let’s say you busted your kneecaps as a kid) but you were not taken to the hospital because it seemed like the injury didn’t look as serious as it actually was. It affected the way you walk, and there is the ongoing slight level of discomfort ALL THE TIME. But since you didn’t know any different you continue to walk in the same, not ideal, manner. Then as a adult, you started to do more intense things like swimming, running more, or training for a marathon, and then you knees started to HURT A LOT that it was harder to simply walk some days. Then you go have your knees checked and you discover that there needs to be some intense corrective surgery that needs to be done because of the awkward way the knees have been functioning. There has been something THAT IS NOT WORKING, ALL THESE YEARS. So, they cut it open, and fix up the bones. Then here comes the slowly regaining the ability to walk, stage by stage, and there will be the occasional moments of sharp pain, setbacks, anger and fear. Then you keep on going with the support of the medical and rehab team. Until you can comfortably and confidently walk again, and be able to do the other intense things as well such as scuba diving or that marathon. What I am going through is kinda like that – but for mental health…
From the viewpoint of a professional, I don’t know whether this is a good analogy or not. But I felt that it is simplified and someone who is completely unfamiliar with the concept can hopefully relate to. Therapy is still ongoing, and I look forward to sharing more insights in the future.