Mental Health / Speaking Out

Why I Went For Therapy As A Psychologist

. 5 min read . Written by Priyanka Manchanda
Why I Went For Therapy As A Psychologist

Wondering whether reaching out to a psychotherapist would be worth it? Here’s how I improved my personal and professional life by seeking help from a mental health professional, despite being a psychologist myself.

I recently watched Criminal Justice on Hotstar and there was a scene in which the father of the protagonist said, “Aaj kal toh sir dard hone par bhi log therapy le lete hain.” 

Funny, right? Here’s something that’s not so funny. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed that in India, there is a huge shortage of mental health professionals given the number of people struggling with mental health issues. While the popular notion of mental health is the presence of depression, anxiety or stress; mental health is more than the absence of mental health disorders. 

WHO defines mental health as ‘…a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’

I understood the importance of mental health and emotional well being way back in 2011 (I was in 10th standard) when I decided to pursue psychology. But little did I know that when it came to myself, I too would face challenges in reaching out to a therapist. 

Why I Became A Psychologist

By the time I was 15 years old, I had gotten used to my friends reaching out to me for guidance and support about their personal, social and academic life. I found comfort and satisfaction in helping others. 

So when one of my teachers said to me, “Why don’t you become a psychologist if you care so much about the well-being of others around you?”, it got me thinking.

Eventually, my purpose translated into becoming a growth catalyst in the personal and professional lives of others. I specialise in organisational behaviour, but I consider myself a mental health advocate

Why I Decided To Seek Mental Help, And What Happened When I Did

Despite studying psychology it took me 4 years to convert the thought into the reality of reaching out. Ironic, right?

But it didn’t change the fact that I had issues with self confidence and self esteem, which would hinder my regular personal and social life. Every day, I was living with pain and emptiness and still not considering a psychological intervention, thinking that it was manageable.

Why I Went For Therapy As A Psychologist

By the time I began working, I began to see the spill of self-esteem issues in my work life. Everyday comments were breaking me down, making me question my competence.

Little did I realize, I was walking with a pebble in my shoe! My suffering had become my identity. And when I decided to seek help, the recurrent statement I heard from my loved ones was, ‘You are a psychology student, why do you need a psychologist?”

But one day, I had a public display of my tears because of body shaming (I would never imagine myself crying in public) and that day I knew, I needed to get that pebble out of my shoe.  Each morning, I would wake up feeling that I cannot survive another day.

How Did My Therapy Help Me?

  • Therapy helped me understand that everything was not my fault. Some things are largely influenced by the environment. 
  • It helped me develop my judgment and sharpened my ability to detect red flags in personal and professional interactions. I learnt how to retrospect and reflect on all the things that felt wrong but I dismissed them.
  • It takes you three dots to draw lines, at least three legs for a table to stand, and three instances to reveal a pattern of behaviour. Therapy helped me focus on pattern-seeking, instead of jumping to conclusions before three occurrences of an event. 
Why I Went For Therapy As A Psychologist
  • It helped me develop confidence, because there’s a fine line between accepting your mistakes and indulging in self-sabotaging behaviors. 
  • While I thought I could have been more assertive, my therapist helped me understand that I made sufficient efforts. It is not my responsibility to be perfect in every possible way.
  • It is ok to leave when things, people and places do not feel right; be it 6 months to your job or 6 years to your relationship. Quitting is okay,as long it is not becoming a pattern. 

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To connect better with others, it is important to connect with yourself, be aware of your challenges and identify your own triggers. As a psychologist, therapy helped me become more self aware. 

Because I looked within, it also helped me understand how a person’s behavior is influenced by the behaviors of others around them. Now when I speak to people, I am able to establish myself as a psychologist with more confidence.  

How Am I Doing Today?

There are high days and low days. 

Why I Went For Therapy As A Psychologist

On my high days, I celebrate the good things I did and I appreciate myself by indulging in positive self talk and documenting what I have achieved. I feel more confident about my thoughts, ideas and my ability to learn and grow.

On my low days, I talk to my friends who then remind me to evaluate my progress so far, and to discuss the challenges and ask me questions to explore possible solutions to those problems. 

I ask myself, “Have I done enough to help myself and the challenges I am facing?” If yes, I reassure myself. And if not, I make sure that I speak to the concerned people.

Therapy helped me break my barriers and take charge of my own life. 

My suggestion to you would be to pick up your phone and book that appointment. You have the power in you to deal with the taboos and stigmas attached. You deserve the transformation you desire for.

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