Monday, November 25, 2019

It's Finally Time

The busy season is upon us, gang, and I'm behind on all the fun stuff I still have to share with you -  but today, it's check-in time.

See, I've been posting a lot of "up" things lately: crafts and Disney and silly stuff - all of which I love - but you should always remember I'm still a panicky agoraphobe foundering through life the best I can. If you ever start to think I DO have all my stuff together, then please tell me so I can remind you I'm terrified of Spaceship: Earth, cry in front of mirrors, and feel like a big ol' failure about 65% of the time.

So while I've had some awesome panic victories the past couple months by going to Halloween Horror Nights, and I'm having a blast with all our crafts and party projects, I'm still really struggling with the fallout from my big scare with John last August. This is a totally new kind of fear for me, and I'll be honest, I haven't been coping well.

Even with John on a CPAP, I've found myself starting awake multiple times a night to obsessively check that he's still breathing. At one point our sleep schedules became comically mismatched, as I'd stay awake later and later to keep an eye on him. Over time I *think* I'm doing better, but I'll be fine one second, then seized with this awful terror the next, and have to fight off the urge to grab John and shake him awake.

With my agoraphobia and GAD I've always had a clear battle plan in mind: I know what steps to take to weather a panic attack, and I know how to practice Exposure Therapy to treat my agoraphobia. But this? This I have no battle plan for. How do you combat the fear of a loved one dying? A fear that seems so perfectly rational?

I don't know, but I'm tired - so tired - of being this afraid.
I always encourage you guys to seek professional help when you're feeling out of your depth, and these past months I've realized I'm there. I've gotten as far as I can on my own with my mental health, it's time to bring in reinforcements.

I won't lie; it took me a while to make the call. It took me even longer to tell John. Not because I was afraid he'd think less of me, but because I knew he'd go and make the appointment for me if I tried to put it off any longer.

Which he did, ha.

I'm now three weeks in with my new therapist, and I wish I could tell you it's been a miracle cure, or that I've had some mind-blowing revelations, but that's not the case. What I can tell you is my therapist is genuinely kind and encouraging and sort of a warm glow to bask in. We're still getting to know each other, still working our way towards the things I don't want to talk about, but most need to. That's OK; I went in knowing this is a long-term, slow-moving treatment, not a quick fix.

It also didn't hurt that for my very first appointment she had kittens in the office.


This was John's reward for driving me: squirmy kitty snuggles.

  Even though I feel better now regarding John, and I'm sleeping through the night again, I've been rattled enough to realize my mental health needs bolstering. I need better tools for next time - because life is hard, and of course there will be a "next time." So I'm doing this. I'm committing to this.

***

Last Sunday one of my oldest friends from middle school, Tim, called at 7AM. His father, our friend for 20 years and one of my favorite people, was suddenly gone. They'd had just 3 days' warning.

This week at the funeral Tim regaled us with stories to make us laugh, somehow comforting all of US instead of the other way 'round. Their house was packed full to bursting from people of all walks of life, the entire community touched by his Dad's generosity and charity work and that ever-present sparkle in his eye - the one that meant he was about to crack a joke. I left that night a jumble of grief and gratitude, and a renewed sense of purpose. I don't want to be afraid, but I also don't want to take my time here for granted. I want to be of use, to be a comfort, to point a light.

I want to remind you that you are loved. 

Incredibly, overwhelmingly, and joyfully loved.

So if you're floundering, too, or if you've had hard times in the past where you know you didn't cope well, then will you consider taking this step with me? I don't want to go alone. Make the call. Ask for help. Check your insurance, just in case. Commit to your own self-care, so you can shine a light. too. You don't have to be in a crisis, and you don't have to have anything specifically "wrong" to see a therapist. Obviously I'm new to all this, but I'm pretty sure therapy can be a form of preventative care, which we could probably all use this time of year!

And finally, if you're willing, and feeling VERY brave, will you do one more thing for me?

Will you publicly tell me if you've ever been in therapy? Even if it's anonymously. Just tell me here in the comments or over on Facebook.

Because, you see, this post is how I'm telling my family. This is how I'm telling my friends. Until this very moment, no one in my life has known except John.

So it'd be nice if, when all my family and friends see this, they could also see it's not just me. It'd be nice if they could see therapy isn't something to be ashamed of, or an admission of weakness, because look at these other people willing to talk about it, too.

I already love you guys, but if you'll do this for me, I'll love you that much more. 


****

I'll end with the tiny bit of craftiness we brought to the funeral: 

We bought the pitcher to use as a vase, and now I wish all vases had handles; so much easier for car trips!



Here's to bringing a little bit of sweetness to people who are hurting.

360 comments:

  1. I haven't been in therapy, but I've had lots of friends struggle with mental health issues, and what I have to say is this - THERE'S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.

    You have a chronic disease - like diabetes or a heart murmur. You have to get treatment for it. You wouldn't feel ashamed of taking meds for any other disease. You shouldn't feel ashamed for seeking treatment for a disease that absolutely can kill you.

    You're not 'weak', you have health issues. Invest in self-care so you can live fullest life you're capable of.

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    1. I was about to say the EXACT SAME THING! Thanks for saying it better than I could have Kate

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  2. I have been to a therapist at several different points in my life. You are totally right that they are for all times and people, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Sorry that you've been struggling, glad you are getting help!

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  3. I went to counseling during and after my divorce. As a social worker, I am very good at encouraging others to take care of their mental health, but less inclined to seek it myself. Having a non-biased 3rd-party view helped me see the situation in a new light and help fight off the sneaky hate monster that likes to hang out in the innermost thoughts. Friends and family are awesome, but they often have their own biases and opinions. I highly recommend your friendly neighborhood therapist, and to do your research to make sure you check their credentials, and even schedule appointments with a few different ones to determine the best fit.

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  4. I've been in therapy a few targeted times in my life (went for the free employer sponsored sessions, then stopped). I literally just found a therapist that I plan to stick with, long-term. It improves the quality of my life amazingly. Good for you!

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  5. Thank you for this post. I hate the stigma that mental health care has in our society. It's SO important to take care of yourself, mentally as well as physically! I'm so proud of you.

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  6. When I had my baby my anxiety spiralled back completely out of control (as opposed to hanging on by a thread) and I went back to counselling. She’s the light of my life and I was so terrified something would happen to her that I’d picture horrific car crashes, stair accidents, and a myriad of other things. She’s the light of my life so I had to get help.

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  7. I went to counselling in college for a short time, courtesy of a dear friend who saw me struggling (both mentally and financially), it's one of the dearest gifts I've been given not just because of the cost, but because I was seen.

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  8. Totally done therapy, more than once, daughter currently going. It is another tool to fight this disease.

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  9. I've been to therapy when I was at my absolute lowest with GAD, which had been misdiagnosed as depression time and time again. My therapist was great. She had me crying on a weekly basis, but it was cathartic. I addressed problems, I learned techniques and I still refer back to her notes. I have coping strategies that I wouldn't have if I didn't go to therapy and I'd recommend it for anyone who needs just a bit of help.

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  10. I'm going to be seeing a therapist soon. Took a few months to work out that the physical illnesses and problems I had been having were actually depression. So I'm doing better on meds now and going to see a therapist. I've had a lot of crap go on in my life the past year and a half that brought this on.

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  11. I've been in therapy for the better part of the last 30 years. I hid what my problems were when I was a teen but I haven't in a long time. If somebody has a problem sit it, then it's theirs and not mine. I have enougg to deal with my depression and GAD. Thanks for being a positive influence in my life!

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  12. I've been in therapy off and on for the past 20 years. Thanks for sharing Jen, today has been a hard one and I'm totally wondering if therapy may be on again based on today. ♡

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  13. oh I feel you. I used to force myself to stay awake next to my husband in order to "kick start" him when he did stop breathing (which was often before he got a cpap). ((((hugs)))) that fear is....paralyzing.

    I am glad to hear you are continuing to not only take care of yourself, but including Jon in the process. that is also important.

    (((hugs again))) hope your holidaze (intentional) go close to plan and even if you miss something, no one notices.

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  14. I've been to therapy a couple of times, and need and want to start going again, I just can't right now (can't afford it right now, and regulating visa conditions so I will hopefully be able to get it bulk billed and rebated, but considering we may also need to pay for fertility treatment at some point....) but long answer short. Yes, and therapy is important and I want more of it

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  15. Thank you for being so open with us, Jen. It really helps to be reminded that we are all struggling from time to time making our way through this thing called life.

    I have seen a therapist several times in my life. The first time was in my early twenties when I suffered from depression. I had a great experience and learned so much about my self. Some years later when my professional life wasn't as satisfying as I wished, I found it natural to seek professional help. With that help I was able to figure out what changes needed to be made.
    Lastly, this year when I found out my husband was cheatingon me, it was a psychologist who helped me work through all my feelings and helped me refocus on what was best for me.

    In all other areas of life, it is perfectly natural to get professional help with things we can't do ourselves. Why should this area be different?

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  16. I've done counseling at more than one point in my life, and wish I could do it all the time. I think it's invaluable, and that everyone should do it. Sometimes you just need a recentering, a refocus. Good on you.

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  17. I'm in the midst of a divorce, and this whole summer (we separated in May) has been hell on my mental health and my ability to sleep. I'm normally pretty regulated and very mentally healthy, so I've been hesitant to try any anxiety meds. But I did finally break down and go see my doctor about Rx sleep meds. I've also been in therapy for the last few months. Again, not a miracle cure, but nice to lay it all out there and have someone to validate and help me work through my feelings.

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  18. I’ve been in therapy. I went during a rough patch with my husband. I actually went to see about a plan to get him into therapy and after we talked, she told me that at the time, we needed to focus on me. I was very codependent and couldn’t talk about myself or my feelings. I went for about a year and it really helped me. It helped my marriage and helped me raising our daughters to be able to express their feelings. My daughter had a hard year last year and we didn’t hesitate to get her some help as well. I’m proud of you! Only good things can come from this step.

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  19. Yes, I have been in therapy. Burst into tears in the first appointment, just a mess. It was great and very helpful. I would do it again if I thought I needed it.

    Several years ago I started on anti-anxiety medication, and it has made a HUGE difference for me. So thankful I had the guts to mention my depression and anxiety to my doctor.

    Most of my immediate family has been in therapy at one point or another.

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  20. I have not (yet) been able to make myself go to therapy, but both of my teenage daughters have gone during times that they've struggled, because I want them to know it's A-OK (GREAT, even) to have regular mental health check-ups just like we do physical check-ups. I want to nip the stigma in the bud before it takes hold.

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  21. I have my second appointment with my new therapist tomorrow. I’m right there with you. *hugs*

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  22. Firstly hugs to you.
    I've gone to therapy on and off to help with various hurdles life has thrown. I think at this point it's becoming a lot more common to go to therapy and also to be more open with it. I'd estimate at least 75% of the people I know have gone or are going, and that's who I know about, I wouldn't be surprised if the number is higher.
    You've got this, we're all here for you!

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  23. Today is my 38th birthday. I have been in various forms of therapy off and on since I was 14. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. #endthestigma

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  24. It's also important to note that research shows the #1 that determines the helpfulness/effectiveness of attending therapy is feeling good about/connected to your counselor. If you feel judged, If you feel the counselor doesn't "get" you, if they spend the whole time talking about themselves, if you get a weird vibe, or even if you just don't really like the person, IT'S NOT YOU. It might not even be anything wrong with that person's abilities, style, etc. It's just not the right fit. Like pants, therapists are not one-size-fits-all. It's VERY much OK to meet a few people and/or switch if you aren't feeling it. If your counselor doesn't agree with this, that's a red flag their top priority might not be your care. Also, make sure the person you are seeing has an education and license in counseling. LCSW, Psy.D., Ph.D., LCPC are the some common ones. Ask questions about their style/approach. Some counselors are very old-school, insight-oriented, deep-dive into your whole history... while others are more short-term/solution focused. There are a million intersections and side-streets as well. Each can be good for different people for different problems at different times.

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    1. This is all very true. Also, if your therapist attempts to prescribe you any medication without first ruling out a physical cause for any symptoms OR if they attempt to diagnose with any disorder you after only sitting with you for one of two sessions, consider those big red flags that your health is not their top priority. A psychology professor told me that first year of college and I've mentioned it to friends who've sought out counseling since. One immediately left and found another therapist after her first pick tried to diagnose her as bi-polar after only one hour with her.

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  25. I've been in therapy twice, and should be right now due to my RA being out of control, but I have no way to fit it into my schedule because I don't currently drive and am often too ill to leave the house. Going to therapy is so important and I need to find a way to make it work.

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  26. First off I'm so sorry for Tim and his family's loss. Peaceful, healing thoughts out to all of them.

    Good for you, bb, for realizing you needed reinforcements. As you know Brandon and I've been to therapy - Brandon's been with his therapist on and off for more than ten years, and I've done several stints for various lengths, starting at age four, actually. (My mom put it best last time I told her I was going: "Sometimes you need a tune-up!") I think it's key foe people like us with anxiety and depression because while we know LOTS of things logically, the voice we end up listening to is...kind of just a jerk. And having the softer voice validated and its messaged reframed so as to make it stick is really helpful. I hope you continue to find it rewarding and helpful. <3

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  27. I started going to therapy about 4 years ago because I was at the same point you were, Jen. I finally realized I couldn’t do it alone anymore and was ready to ask for help. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I recommend it to everyone. It took me about two months to make the call, but I’m so glad I did. I’m so much happier and while my GAD will probably never go away, I now have tools and coping mechanisms that are healthy and appropriate. Good for you!

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  28. I have been in therapy for 6+ years. It is absolutely the best decision I ever made.I'm a better person for it. My love life is better because of it. My friendships and my family relationships are better for it. Don't ever think that going to the doctor when you are ill isn't the right thing to do.

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  29. I’ve been in individual therapy and couples therapy. The couples therapy didn’t save the marriage, but it probably saved the friendship. It was worth it just for that. There’s nothing wrong with therapy. It’s a tool for living and loving and being you that is severely underutilized.

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  30. Yep, totally have been therapy. 4 different times, I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of. I think it's just another tool in your toolbox.

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  31. I’m now in therapy for the third (and best) time! It is absolutely preventative self-care, as well as crisis management when needed. Almost all my favorite people go to therapy, and that list now has you on it. -^.^-

    One thing to note: goodness of fit is essential to effective therapy! If it doesn’t jive, the best thing you can do is find a new person and try again. That’s a big part of why I’m on #3. ^.^

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  32. I did grief counselling, a form of therapy, after losing my mum in a soul destroying way 10 years ago this Christmas. If I hadn’t have had that counselling I would not be here now telling my story to you.

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  33. I'm in therapy, and take medication. My husband takes medication and is finally seeing a therapist who wants to work on all of his mental health, not just the stuff that's the doc's specialty. I'd share pictures of our new floofs, but I can't do that here. But they are Tipper and Smudgie, and they help me too.

    Sending good health to you - and I'm so glad John's sleep therapy is working. I've been using mine for three years, and it's changing my life!

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  34. I’ve been in therapy three times so far and am about to start therapy again. One of the times I was in therapy was after the sudden death of my father in a car accident, when I developed an extreme fear of someone else I loved dying (hearing ambulance sirens would make me feel faint and often bring on a panic attack, and I would have to call everyone to check that they were ok, even though half of them live 8 hrs drive away and therefore the ambulance couldn’t be for them). Therapy (CBT, in this instance) REALLY helped with that issue. You are not alone.

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  35. I have been on antidepressants for over 5 years, a year in, I went to see a councillor. I went was dreading it, but it turned out to be so good for me. It didn’t cure me, but it has helped me process some difficult things. I can now keep things in perspective most of the time.
    If I had a physical injury and needed physio, people would EXPECT me to go, why shouldn’t it be the same for talk therapy?

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  36. I have been to therapy and it really helped me work out a lot of emotions I had at the time. Telling my parents that I was both doing therapy and on an antidepressant was not easy. My mother didn't see the point of them or in me going to a therapist, she thought it was something broken with me.

    Fast forward almost 20 years and my mother is now in therapy and on a very necessary antidepressant. It is never easy to admit you need outside help, let alone chemical help as well, but I just think of how far we have come in discussing mental health in the last 20 years and I am exceedingly thankful that we have grown in our acceptance for the mental health world.

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  37. Jen, I'm sitting in the waiting room for therapy right now... Really didn't want to come today, just don't feel like being open today, but this was exactly what I needed. It's ok if I don't make any breakthroughs today, this is a process and just showing up and moving forward is enough. Thank you ❤️

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  38. I'm a therapist and I've been to therapy. My super power is my ability to overanalyze something TO DEATH. For my work, its incredibly useful. For my own mental health, its pretty detrimental and leads to panic attacks. I think people assume therapy has to be something you do every single week for the rest of your life and feels like an enormous commitment, when really you can customize it to meet your particular needs. For some, the accountability and consistency is crucial. For me, I use therapy as a check-in every now and then to validate my experiences, to refresh my coping skills, and to create new goals. Its helped me through the loss of my dad, intimacy issues after giving birth to my daughter, and anxiety from work. There's no limit to what you can address and I wish more people could/would access this type of help. There are people all over who want to listen to you and remind you you're not alone. I"m one of them :)

    Quick tip: A lot of people's employers offer an EAP or Employee Assistance Program that is totally free and private. Mine got me five free therapy sessions which can get you a great head start on identifying a therapist you like.

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  39. Been in therapy, participate in a grief group, and am working towards getting my rear in gear and getting back into therapy. Added bonus I am a therapist �� gotta walk the talk. You are not alone. I may be biased but I think EVERYONE can benefit from therapy. Having someone there is incredibly comforting and talking things out provides perspective and insight. ❤ best of luck

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  40. I have been in therapy on and off since my late 20s. I'm 47 now and I tell everyone I can about it because we need to end the stigma. In my opinion, everyone could benefit from it. It has literally changed me in a good way. It's so important to have someone you can talk to who isn't involved in the same way your family would be. I am proud of your step toward self care. Keep going and know there are always options out there for you.

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  41. I am currently in therapy, and it is the BEST decision that I have made for myself in a long time. What a gift it is to be able to come in and have an hour each week dedicated solely to me ... my thoughts, my emotions, my process ... and to have someone there as my cheerleader, my challenger, and someone who facilitates my own discoveries about myself? I suffer from both anxiety and depression, and this has literally been a life-saving move. I am now a huge advocate for talk therapy. There is no shame in asking for help, particularly from someone specially trained to give it.

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  42. I have been to counseling. It was a huge help when I was at my lowest. Honestly most of my closest friends have been to some sort of therapy. It takes great strength to say you need help so no one should ever see it as a sign of weakness.

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  43. At some point in my life a friend made the offhand comment "gosh, I think everyone could benefit from therapy" and I nodded in agreement but never did anything about it. It took a personal encounter with grief to give me the push I needed but I finally checked my work benefits and found someone and it has been hugely helpful. I was able to work through the grief and even detoured to some other areas of life where I needed perspective and processing and while I'm in a good place now, I'm definitely keeping her info handy and will be making appointments as needed. You don't need to have anxiety or any formal diagnosis to benefit from therapy, sometimes just a neutral third party with experience listening is helpful just for going through the regular challenging parts of life that we all experience.

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  44. I've been in and out of therapy since I was 4 years old (I'm 43 now) and I even had myself committed for a little bit. What I've come to realize is that, with me, it's chemical and I will always need meds. Also, any fear that takes over your life is NOT rational. Even a fear of mortal people dying. How awful it would be if you spent the rest of John's life shaking him awake instead of enjoying him?

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  45. Long time reader, first time commenter. (My spell-check doesn't even think "commenter" is a word.) My therapy a few years back was a LONG time coming, but from the first session I was SO GLAD I did it. I went to get help dealing with a family member's addiction, learned the term "co-dependent", and suddenly my whole life changed. It certainly doesn't always work that way, but I've never heard a single person EVER say "I wish I hadn't gone to therapy." At least not as long as they stick with it and do the work. And for anyone who says therapy is for "weak people" or whatever nonsense they're spewing... NOPE. Just a big old NOPE. From what I've read here of your friends and family, they already know that and will be nothing but supportive of you. Now I'm going to take a super-deep breath and click "Publish" and try not to imagine the whole world is judging my "commenter" skills. :) <3

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  46. Therapy saved my mother's life, for which I am more than grateful. I'm glad you are taking care of you.

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  47. thanks for your encouraging words. I did therapy (behavioral) right after my 18th to work on childhood stuff. It helped, but now other stuff popped and built up and I should look into going to therapy again. Wishing you all the best on your journey

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  48. I first went to therapy in college, which was several years later than I should have gone. I have been in therapy on and off since then (mostly in therapy). I have gone for various reasons -coping while my dad was fighting aggressive cancer, dealing with various transitions in my life, recognizing the effect trauma in my childhood was having on me, or trying to manage symptoms. I have depression, anxiety, and ADHD (that's a new diagnosis I just got at age 35). My current therapist helped me recognize when I needed to try meds again, helps me name my progress, and is an important sounding board as I try new things. She was also the third therapist I went to when I moved here so sometimes it takes courage to say no this isn't working, especially when it is so hard to reach out in the first place.

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  49. I've been through therapy! Did EMDR as treatment for PTSD and it helped me so, so much. Proud of you! It's a big step, and such an important one.

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  50. I was in therapy for several years during dealing with infertility & a nasty boss & mother issues and all kinds of stuff. I've been considering again lately to deal with some extreme career burnout. I take psych meds & have for years & am not ashamed of that, either. It's no fun to try to go through life when your brain is your worst enemy. I'm glad you're doing better & sorry to hear of your loss, Jen. I'll wave at you through FoE pics next week when I'm at the Universal parks getting my HP geek on. (This vacation is one of my anti-burnout treatments.) ;)

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  51. I have been in therapy. More than once, over the years. The last psychologist I saw was by far the most help. As a sexual abuse survivor and the survivor of an abusive marriage and many years of working with a bully. Having an outlet to untangle my brain was wonderful. Having an outlet that is just for me, amazing. Knowing she is still working, even though I have 'graduated' from therapy is a nice safety net as well.

    When my mother was alive, she did know I was seeing a therapist. At one point I told my siblings that I was and got a variety of responses, like I am weak, I just need to exercise more or I was pathetic. So yeah, I did it for me and they didn't need to know.

    I hope therapy helps you because you deserve to get the most out of your life without any extra stresses or worries.

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  52. My husband goes to therapy every Wednesday. Over two years I've seen him work so hard with her help and make such progress. It's not a straight line, there are definite u-turns and meanderings but overall his health is so much better.

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  53. Me! I’ve been in therapy going on ten years now. I see a therapist individually and also go to group therapy once a week. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I started going when some issues in my life just got too hard and my current approach was unsustainable, and I happened to have a therapist as a roommate at the time and was able to ask her for a recommendation. Lately I’ve been having some issues with increased anxiety and depression, and it’s been helpful to know I already have those lifelines. I was just telling a friend that it’s somewhat ironic that it tends to take growing up to make us realize that we could use therapy, but then by that point we have emotional habits that are 41 years old (for me) and thus difficult to break. EVERYONE can benefit from therapy if they have the desire. And don’t worry if it takes you quite a while to delve into certain subjects. There are still things that I find difficult to talk about, even after ten years. I know I need to, though.

    I went on a trip recently to a place where a bunch of extended family live but got very overwhelmed at the thought of trying to see everyone and asking them to take time out for me. So my aunt arranged a family dinner, and almost everyone in the area showed up to see me. Just me! Like 20 people! The fact that I’m still surprised that many people—my family—would show up for me means I’m not done with therapy yet. :)

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  54. I've done therapy. Then had a relapse and went on meds. Then had another relapse and got new meds and therapy. It was hard, but necessary and I've doing okay since 2012. I had to tell my family as they did the first bit of therapy with me. I could have never done it without them and I am so much better with their love and support. I hope your family will be just as amazing as mine was!

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  55. I've been in and I'm it of therapy for many many years. I just turned 34 and it's my plan this week (I'm off of work) to find a new one and do a tune up because it's been about a year. Glad you had someone to support you and make the call. I've been depressed and it's hard to manage insurance and appointments when you can't even shower. Glad you have some excellent fortitude and a wonderful support system. Thanks for all you do.

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  56. I've been to therapy off and on since college. It's such a great tool for processing and dealing. I've been for grief, for divorce, for anxiety, for anger. For a while I think I just kept going because I really enjoyed the hour a week to say the things I wasn't sure if I could admit to my husband. Sometimes I asked her more questions than she asked me. I thi k more people would benefit from it. Proud of you.

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  57. Oh, yes, I have been in therapy, and am about to return to it. I only stopped because of an unfortunate coincidence of being ill and my therapist changing locations.

    Talk therapy has a whole lot of evidence supporting it's usefulness, and it has certainly been good for me personally. Life will always throw curveballs; doing whatever you can to be the best you possible is the way to be as ready for them as you can be.

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  58. Oh my gosh! Gently weeping over my keyboard (in a good? way) because I literally JUST requested a video-therapy appointment through my insurance, and then thought "Hmmm... what would cheer me up while I wait? Epbot!"

    I love my therapist and she has worked miracles for my toxic workplace-related anxiety and depression. Sadly, she is out of the office for a month or two, but for those in a similar situation or without much free time, there are video- and phone-based options! I know I was afraid to go to therapy at first because I was afraid of the big "mental illness" label. However, I can't express how much better I felt when I went to my first session, described my issues, and was told "So many of my clients experience the same thing and it is absolutely treatable."

    Yay therapy! Yay therapists! Yay brave people who make the big scary step to take a break from desperately holding it together for a few hours per month and work toward long-term, healthy coping strategies!

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  59. I've been in therapy twice with different therapists. The first time was limited visits and not a great fit. The second time was a very good therapist and over the course of a couple years. I'm currently considering going again and have been looking for someone who is a good fit for me. I strongly believe that everyone could use therapy--if for nothing else, to have an unbiased person to talk to.

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  60. I went to therapy for anxiety for a year - it didn't solve everything because anxiety isn't something that goes away, but it gave me so many more tools for handling it. And my favorite part, my therapist agreed a lot that whatever I was anxious over was a super!bad!thing! and anxiety was a pretty normal response, and that affirmation was so necessary. She just taught me to handle it better.

    I've been struggling this year and will look into our new insurance come January 1 to see about going back, I think my anxiety-handling skills could use a refresh.

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  61. I was in counseling for three years, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back if I needed it. It was so, so healing. Very hard work, but so very, very worth it. It's a huge step to take and I'm so proud of you for doing it, and for being open about it.

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  62. I battle depression and anxiety which has manifested itself as agoraphobia in more recent years. I remember shortly after my agoraphobia starting sneaking in, I read one of your posts about a fight with yourself to go to the store. That was the first time I'd ever heard someone mention something that even remotely sounded like what was going on in my head and I felt so much less "crazy." I find it hard to explain to people because I don't feel like I understand it myself and no one but my husband and doctor knows even a hint of it.
    To answer your original question, I have not been to therapy.. partly because I can't financially swing it right now and partly because I'm afraid to go new places. I've never known anyone to talk to about the option though so, please, share your experiences. I'd love to hear.

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  63. I'm a pastor, and I've seen a lot (a LOT) of funeral flowers... and variations on funeral flowers, but this is the first one I've seen with candy involved! I love it!! (One of the most interesting arrangements I saw included corn right from the field, and a cast iron skillet. It was beautiful.)

    I've been to therapy, in various types throughout my life. As a kid, as a young adult on my own, and as a newlywed, and as an older-married couple with my husband. I've taken my kids to therapy when they needed some support to get through life-things. Therapy is hard work, but so helpful.

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  64. I've been in therapy. Being a mom of a child with chronic illness is no cake walk and I have struggled with anxiety since he was little. At the beginning of his 12th surgery, he developed a tolerance to the anesthesia. What they gave him was not sufficient to completely put him out. It was awful. It took 5 adults to restrain him while he thrashed and arched off the table. My anxiety went through the roof after that. I had nightmares. My coping skills vanished. It wasn't pretty.

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  65. So much love to you, Jen! I've done therapy twice now - once for post traumatic brain injury-ness and now for overwhelming anxiety and life stress. It's been a MASSIVE help. My poor butt was finally able to afford it lately thanks to BetterHelp.com (seriously, SO CHEAP in comparison to regular therapy). While it's not magic cure per se, therapy definitely equips you well with the things you need to cope and progress into being the best version of yourself. I wish you the absolute best with it!

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  66. So much Therapy-and so so worth it :) Spent a lot of time as a kid when my parents divorced, and again after being diagnosed with postpartum depression after the birth of my daughter. <3

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  67. About three years ago, I suffered from debilitating health anxiety following the unexpected death of my brother. I also have a history of OCD. I thought I was in danger of dying and constantly monitored my vital signs and Googled symptoms. I believed that I was sick. I stopped doing all of the things I enjoyed and could barely function due to the terror of seemingly continuous panic attacks. I did not want to take medication, but I found a FANTASTIC therapist who is a specialist in anxiety disorders. Working with him gave me my life back. He had me doing exposure/response prevention exercises that were terrifying but ultimately empowering. Even better, I was able to generalize the lessons to nearly every area of anxiety that I struggled with. I always thought I was "high strung" person who would always be socially anxious, and I left therapy a changed person about 8 months later. I learned to accept uncertainty, and that was the key. My therapist understood (and informed my husband) that reassurance is the absolute WORST thing for a person with anxiety, which is counter-intuitive. Nobody will ever be able to promise you that John will always be OK or that you will always be safe. But you can learn through therapy to accept the uncertainty that comes with living life in a universe based on probability and be willing to live a wonderful life without the reassurance your brain desperately wants but can never really have. I have not had a panic attack in over two and a half years. I am well and happy, and I believe that you can be too! You can change yourself and how you experience life with the right tools.

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  68. Therapy is so important. I have OCD and when I was late teens/early twenties it was debilitating. Therapy was so important for me to learn and understand how my brain works and how to handle the anxiety and panic attacks caused by it. It sounds like you're already on the right track with recognizing and handling the signs of your own attacks, but talking through this new fear and understanding how to handle it is incredibly important. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

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  69. Been to therapy in my childhood, went to the school heltcare nurse for talks regularly in my teens, as sort of a low key not therapy therapy, been to a few different therapists through my adult years, some changes due to me moving, one wasn't a good fit and twice we have together decided I was ok for now and didn't need that kind of therapy. Have also done psycomotoric physiotherapy, that might actually have been the one that impacted most at the time I was going. I went to therapy mostly to help deal with depression. I'm 11 months meds free and have not been better in adulthood than I am right now. I regularly see my doctor to make sure the "black dog" is not coming back and we have also had conversations that have been therapeutic for me. Therapy is great self care <3

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  70. I've been in and out of therapy as needed for about 30+ years, and I agree that the first step of getting to the first appointment is the hardest. I've had to switch therapists sometimes to find someone that's right for me, and that was a struggle, too. But finding the right therapist made a world of difference, and I've learned so much that has helped me. Sometimes I was on medication with the therapy, sometimes not. Sometimes I'm better and doing well and I don't need therapy for a season. And sometimes things aren't so good and I'm back in therapy for a bit. Learning how to ask for help and knowing when I need extra help has been the best (and hardest) lesson.
    I'm so glad you've found a therapist and gotten help!

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  71. I've been in various forms of therapy/counselling/online therapy courses/group mindfulness classes, mostly while I was at university. I struggled a lot at the time (worrying that I wasn't ill enough, that I didn't deserve help - which was part of the problem!), but I'm doing well enough now that I'm not seeing anyone at the moment, and having taken that first step of asking for help already and knowing I can get help if I need it in the future is comforting.
    I'm also struggling at the moment with worry about losing family members, I don't have any answers apart from saying that you're not alone <3

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  72. I just started seeing a therapist last month after having my first ever panic attack. It's so helpful to have someone who will listen with kindness and empathy, and I don't have to worry about overstepping the boundaries of a friendship. I am so glad I took that step to take care of myself and I'm proud of you for doing it too!

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  73. You are not alone. I was in therapy for about a year after 9/11. I frequently think I should resume therapy because I'm alone and depressed. I've asked my GP for a referral but since I'm managing on an antidepressant and not having thoughts of injuring myself, the VA has deemed my referral a low priority.

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  74. I've done therapy multiple times in the past, and recently noticed the commercials for video chat therapy on your phone... and was contemplating trying it. While I like the experience of talking face to face, life gets busy, and I like the idea of being able to chat whenever I need/can.

    I'm super proud of you Jen, it's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, everyone needs some extra help working through things now and then. Recognizing it and asking for it takes strength and extra bravery!

    Big hugs to you and John. Also, thank you for being you and always sharing. I appreciate your posts, about your crafts, your health, your kitties. You are a bright light and you inspire me. <3

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  75. I've been in therapy a couple of times. It has been enormously helpful. The last time was about five years ago. I went in thinking I needed some help dealing with my parents' aging (dad with dementia, mom with medical issues) and realized that it was really about the fact that I wanted to have my own life - especially a relationship. Having someone to talk to every week gave me the courage to try online dating, which was horrible until it wasn't and I met my husband about six months later. I just want to say that there is no shame in therapy. It's absolutely a good and right thing to do for yourself. Also, I think it's fine to go for somewhat specific and discrete purposes that may take 5-10 visits to deal with. You don't have to fix your whole life. I mean, what else would you have to do with the next fifty years?

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  76. I have been to therapy for depression and GAD. It helped. I'm currently working on putting into practice the skills I learnt. I will be going again.

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  77. You’re not alone. I’ve been in therapy.

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  78. Last year, I finally worked up the courage to go to my doctor about my anxiety and depression. Now I’m working up to finding a therapist. I have numerous friends who say it’s done them a wealth of good even just having someone to talk to who isn’t involved in any of the things they need to talk about.

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  79. I hit a breaking point at the beginning of this year, when the B12 supplements and "just power through" attitude weren't cutting it. I wound up in inpatient psychiatric care for 10 days, and I can honestly say it changed my life. From that experience I developed a team of professionals looking after my mental health - therapist, psychiatrist, various other doctors I'd always been too afraid to go to. I still see my therapist once a week, and can hardly put into words how much better I am because of it. Kudos to you for taking the first step!!

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  80. When my life got too full of stressful things for me to manage, when I found myself crying, almost constantly for 2 weeks, my most loved one carefully said, "Perhaps you should go talk with someone about all this." I did, and my therapist told me it wasn't stress, it was anxiety and depression, and talking with her felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Usually, I can manage ok on my own, but when big things happen, I call her and go check in and she helps me figure out what I need to deal with and what I can let go, and it helps. So much more than I thought it would. I'm glad you are seeing someone and I hope they can help. You are not alone. You have so many internet friends cheering you on, quietly, from their own homes.

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  81. Jen, I saw a therapist, for the better part of two years, when it was finally time for me. That was a couple years ago and I am not ashamed. I love you so much.

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  82. I've been in therapy several times, individual and group. I'm seeking a new therapist now to deal with the fallout of an unexpected medical event this summer that has developed any number of subsidiary medical events that have life-altering consequences. It's no longer working to joke about the fact I literally died in an all-hands meeting and my coworkers revived me. It's also no longer working to burst into tears at random.

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  83. Love to you!! I preach to a lot of my family and friends about how wonderful therapy is. I've been in therapy for about 6 years or so. Sometimes I go closer to a month or two between appointments, but sometimes I go once a week. I always tell people that it's like car maintenance or an annual physical--even when nothing major is going on in my life, I like a little check-in.

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  84. I started going to therapy with my husband after we hit a really low rough spot shortly after my son was born. It helped immensely with our relationship - but it helped because we each learned how to better communicate with others in general and not just with each other. I learned that I likely have Asperger's and my husband learned that he had been dealing with some pretty severe anxiety since childhood. Luckily we have both learned some valuable skills over the years that have improved our mental health dramatically. We have been going for over 5 years now, but we still have a once monthly appointment (one month joint, then a private session each, rotating). I can see us stopping or drastically cutting those visits back soon, but still going occasionally as issues crop up or as a reminder of the things we need to focus on.

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  85. I have not been to therapy but I came very close last year. I was counseled by my pastors at church, and they recommended getting professional counseling help if my anxiety had worsened. Praise the Lord, the anxiety subsided, but I and my husband are always on the lookout to make sure I'm not falling into that pit again. And if I do, I will seek professional counseling help.

    May God bless you as you go through therapy. Your openness and vulnerability is amazing, and I wish you and John all the best. ::hugs::

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  86. I have been in therapy several times. I can always tell when it's time to go back, when I need that check-in, that help to talk through whatever is throwing me off, whatever it is I'm not coping with. Most of my therapy sessions have only been weekly visits for a couple of months at a time, as most of my mental health issues (Bipolar II, GAD, OCD) are relatively mild compared to some, and I just need to get steered back on track from time to time. But I am always, always glad talk therapy is a thing, because sometimes you just need an extra hand, someone a step removed from your life, someone that can give you perspective, give you advice, or just give you a sympathetic ear to listen. Therapy is a great thing and something I've never been ashamed of, because it takes great strength, not weakness, to acknowledge when you need help and take the steps to get that help, no matter what you're doing. So proud of you for taking care of yourself like this. <3

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  87. I've been in and out of therapy for years! I just started back in August with the same therapist I had seen in 2015-2016 when I was was depressed, anxious, and borderline suicidal. This time around there's no crisis, I'm just there for a little help with some big life transitions and living with/supporting my husband, who has PTSD.

    It's a brave thing and I hope it will be helpful for you! The stigma around therapy is tragic and I received flak from some of my family about going back, but I'm so glad I did.

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  88. Add me to your list. I've always had a difficult relationship with my mother, and went to therapy in my 50s. It made an amazing difference in realizing what I could change, and what I needed to let go.

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  89. Hey Jen, I don't comment but I'm a fan since the beginning of Cake Wrecks. I'm not a bit ashamed to say publicly that I am in therapy and go once a month to do what I call brain dumps. I started going with my then undiagnosed, high functioning Asperger's son who was very angry and misunderstood. I then moved on to my own sessions when I went through a nasty divorce. There were times it felt pointless until I learned to utilize the skills I was being taught. Then things got better. I've suffered from panic attacks that basically turn me into a zombie and take days to recover from. I'm here to say I've been in therapy since 2009 and will continue to go for as long as I can. I feel it helps me to be a better human in a world of craptastic ones. I jokingly say I'm in therapy to learn to better deal with those who need therapy. All jokes aside, take pride in knowing what you need mentally. Not enough people do. There should not be a stigma surrounding mental health care. (((HUGS))) Take care of You! It's the most important job you have. Good luck!

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  90. I’m in therapy for anxiety right now. It took me far too long to admit that I needed to talk to someone, but it’s made a big difference. ❤️

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  91. Let me try again, Mercury retrograde is messing with me. I am an old lady now but as a teen and young adult, I had was in therapy with and MD. Every thing he taught me, showed me how to do and what to read helps me to this day. He was an early practitioner of biofeedback which helped me with migraines. It's a long process and I lucked out with someone that I liked and respected. In this day and age he would have had me do yoga. So, it's a good thing, with the right therapist. If you have a good one that you feel safe with, excellent. If you get someone not quite comfortable ( after a trial period) switch it around. Keep the faith. One breath at a time.

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  92. I've done therapy after developing GAD and agoraphobia after a terrifying incident in 2014 where I blacked out while driving on the freeway. It took a really long time with the neurologist and others to figure out what caused the blackouts (it turned out to be painless, blinding migraines that shut down my vision) and even longer with the psychiatrist to deal with my fear of being anywhere other than home when struck suddenly blind without warning. Five years later, the migraines are prevented by medication and I have no problems going out. I am still reluctant to drive in certain situations, but 99% of the time I'm ok. I'm a huge advocate of treating mental health as seriously as we treat physical health.

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  93. I've been in therapy several times. Starting with family counseling for marital issues, then solo.

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  94. Twice now, I've typed a long response to this, and both times I signed out instead of publishing. UGH. Guess I'm not going to do more than this. Who puts a stinking "sign out" button where everyone else puts a "publish" one???

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  95. Yes, I've been in therapy too, and it helped just to talk to someone who wasn't in the middle of the mess I was in. I know I need to start again, but right now there are real, hard reasons (as opposed to vague, just don't wanna reasons) that should go away soonish. I come from a family of depressives with a real stigma against mental health, but one thing I realized is that is their problem, not mine. You are by no means alone!

    Re: chocolate bars in the arrangement: my father passed recently, and I would have LOVED that. We had a chocolate cake at his memorial because Dad loved his chocolate, and the bars would have been a wonderful way to remember him.

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  96. I've been in therapy several times and every time was always very beneficial. I've had some incredibly amazing therapists, and even one I didn't click with...after a few visits, I decided to find someone new. It's a process, but it's so important. I just found a therapist for my teenager, and one we determine if that's a good fit, I'm going to start looking into a new one for me too... It takes strength to recognize and admit you need help.

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  97. So proud of you for taking this step. I think you're a great example of someone who looks like she has her whole life so together- crafty, funny, beautiful, self-employed, with a loving, delightful husband and cute kitties, etc.- but still could use some outside help. I wish EVERY PERSON on the planet had access to mental health help, whether they believe they need it or not. If it was just there, available, all the time, I think so many people would benefit, and that would just make the world a better place. People wouldn't feel embarrassed or stigmatized if EVERYONE was doing it. And I think (as proven by the comments here) that WAY more people have done/are doing therapy than the general population realizes. Therapy has helped me at different times for different problems, and I'm in the process of getting back into it. I hope you get the help you need & deserve, and I'm sure you know we're all rooting for you.

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  98. I ended up in therapy at the beginning of this year, when a sudden shift in how my previously managed GAD presented forced my hand into getting help. I was massively skeptical after a previous group CBT class had been absolutely pointless during my teenage years, and at first I didn't think much more of this new round of 1-1 CBT. That all changed though when 6 weeks in I was instead diagnosed with severe OCD, which looking back explained not just the sudden shift to obsessive behaviours (checking, cleaning, avoidance) but also way back to the dim and distant past and a lot of what makes me act the way I do.

    Even after starting a new type of therapy after that diagnosis I didn't see any real changes. In fact it got to about the 5 month mark from starting the initial therapy consult where my best friend genuinely asked whether it was doing anything as she watched me get worse not better. But then, sort of randomly, it started to click without me even really realising, and by month 7 I was able to be discharged from the service in a much better position to deal with my anxiety/OCD than when I started.

    I still have blips, and am noticing after some rough family stuff that the blips are becoming more frequent and that I might have to seek out therapy again if I can't handle it all on my own, but without a doubt therapy improved my quality of life for the first half of this year, even if I didn't notice it for quite a few months.

    I really hope your therapist can help you work through your fears. If they suggest Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy, which deals with facing up to rational fears causing 'irrational' behaviours, do know that it really, really sucks and feels counter to everything that you think is logical and safe, but that it also can work wonders even if it doesn't feel like it.

    I have followed epbot since a frantic late night google of how to deal with a panic attack led me to your blog. I have since found a love of cosplay, craft and seeing you navigate life in all its geeky, challenging wonder, but that one article will always stick with me as being a friendly voice when across the world when I felt most alone. I hope you find many friendly voices to cheer you on with your next step forward.

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  99. I have been to a therapist for the last 3 years, and on and off though my life in order to combat my social anxiety and depression. I did the medication thing too but didn't like how I felt and so I wanted to try to control my anxieties as best I could with professional help. The last three years have been quite remarkable in terms of my progress. My therapist helps me dig really deep and try to help tease out the intricacies of my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes it is painful, sometimes it is scary, but in the end I'm always stronger each and every time. I've come to think of myself as being forged by fire, yeah it hurts, but you come out the other side empowered and feeling like a total bada*s. I have also come to realize that most of the time, when you admit that you are getting professional help that people are either incredibly supportive, or extremely uncomfortable. For the longest time I thought that it was me that was causing their discomfort, as if I were mentally unstable or deranged, but then I've noticed that I think my bluntness about my mental health is what makes them uneasy. It is like holding up a mirror and magnifying their own discomfort they have with themselves. I don't know of too many people who are truly willing to explore their mental issues with another person, and not only examine those issues but try to understand and fix them them. That understanding takes so much bravery because you have to be objective and truly be introspective and upfront with your feelings with denial, and that is so, so hard to do. Right now, I feel like I'm finally able to break free of the shackles of crippling anxiety and I can finally breathe for the first time in my life. I still have hard days and even bad days, but I finally have hope that things will get better. They have gotten better, and will continue to do so.

    Kudos for taking the first and all important step. I wish only for you the best days you can possibly have throughout your life. Keep going. You touch the lives of more people than you can possible know. <3

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  100. I was in therapy for a while in college. That was 30 years ago, but I was. It was difficult to make that decision because I felt like the reason I was going was my own fault (emotionally abusive relationship) so I should deal with it myself. No none knew. It was about 5 years later when I told my mom and that was in the middle of a colossal fight when I said she didn't know squat about what I'd been through in my life. Now I'm lucky enough to have a friend who is a therapist and I "check in" with her occasionally. I know she'll either give me a 5 second coping method, or if she should ever feel I need deeper help, she'll recommend someone for me. That's a blessing that I don't take for granted and fully know it's not a gift most people have.

    As for what got you to this point: I understand completely. I debated whether or not to tell you this because I'm worried that it'll do more harm than good but hopefully someone can get some good out of it.

    5+ years ago my husband was complaining of back pain. Long story short it turned out to be his heart, not his back and he had a completely successful quintuple bypass and is doing fantastically. A couple of years later he decided he was doing great and didn't want to take his meds anymore. That led to him coming to me one afternoon and saying he was feeling like he did before the bypass. Luckily, the admitting ER doctor was a friend of his and decided that even though it was probably a big fat nothing, they'd admit him and possibly do a cath the next day. I got a phone call at 3am from the nurse telling me that the'd gotten him back, but he'd coded earlier that night. If he hadn't stayed in the hospital, I'd have awakened next to a corpse. They gave him stents and he's stayed on his meds and is fine and dandy. I still wake up and make sure he's breathing. Not nearly as much as I did in the beginning, but it's been over 3 years and I don't do it every night, but I still do. My guess is that I'll be doing it for the rest of his life.

    This wasn't meant to scare you or to make you even more anxious. What I want for you is to know that it's normal to worry and not to worry about worrying. Eventually it will lessen and become background noise instead of a heavy metal concert in your face.

    Keep up the good work and bless you for being brave enough to share your journey. It's incredibly brave of you to do that but I'm positive you're helping so many others by showing them they're not alone and they're not defective. Neither are you.

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  101. I've been to therapy a few times over the years and am currently in therapy now. I love the push for being more accepting about mental health issues, but I wish that therapy would open up more as a more universal thing. I feel SO SO strongly that anyone who is willing to go to therapy would benefit from it. I had to fall pretty low in life before I went to therapy the first time, and I wish so much I had gone sooner, when my soul was already bolstered by stability and a modicum of confidence. I'm so proud of you for taking this step!

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  102. Therapy, twice in my life when depression or gaslighting got so bad that death was a consideration. Both times was for about 6 weeks, but it got my brain back onto it's usual semi-normal track. And neither therapist had kittens, so you are already winning the therapy game ;) You rock, and this is a great step for you.

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  103. I've been in therapy and on medication for 19 years. I have major depression and anxiety, and have ad to deal with a lot of stuff within my family that put me in therapy. Therapy has been a literal lifesaver for me.

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  104. I’ve been in therapy more or less continuously for 20 years. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic disorder, hypochondriasis, hypomania, hyperthymia, and C-PTSD from emotional/verbal/psychological/sexual abuse. Despite it looking pretty overwhelming when written out like that, I’m actually remarkably emotionally stable. ��

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  105. Hi Jen and family/friends!

    My name is Kira. I'm 37 years old and work in a library. I spent about 20 years in therapy (age 12 to about 30), and we talked me through a LOT in that time. You see, a therapist is like a friend that you can talk to about all the stuff you don't want to burden your friends and family with by rehashing the same anxieties or issues again and again. A therapist has been trained to listen and watch, to ask questions that will help you explore why you feel a certain way about things, and to read your body language and mannerisms over time to learn when you are holding back or are overwhelmed. Think of therapy like going to the gym with a personal trainer. In therapy, you build your strength, and learn techniques which help you in all areas of your life, and you have someone encouraging you to do better and to take care of yourself.

    Therapy is an amazing tool, and you should never be ashamed to take this step to care for yourself. Love and hugs from the West Coast.

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    1. This is so beautifully said. ~ Jamie

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  106. Oh my goodness, so happy you are getting help you need! I have been to therapy quite a few times over the years. Mental health is like any other system, sometimes you get ill or hurt and need help getting better. And just like your physician, sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get a therapist who is right for you. The barriers are not only stigma, availability of therapists varies a lot and finding affordable therapy can be a challenge. Medications are tools, and therapy can give you more tools to work with.

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  107. I went to a therapist for awhile in college because it was there, and free, and I had a lot to unpack from family issues. It was relatively short, but helpful, and gave me a lot of insights to keep working through things on my own after I graduated. It's a great tool, and I wish it was easily accessible for everyone. I'm glad it's helping you, and really appreciate you sharing so many facets of your journey in such a real way. I know I'm not alone. And neither are you. Love you Jen (and John!)

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  108. I haven't been to see an official Therapist, but I did go on a meditation retreat at 40 and told a group of strangers some stuff few people know; went on to do some life coaching with the retreat leader, who is the most amazing listener and suggester and supporter of all the things; and I've also had a really great group of women friends for the past 20 years that I can talk to as well. And my mom. And with all of that, I hope that I would, if I needed to, find a therapist to talk to as well. I believe it's SO IMPORTANT to get our problems out of our heads, in the healthiest way possible, to shed some light and clarity on them and get help if needed. Self care is good stuff. ~ Jamie

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  109. I've spoken to counselors before but not in a very long time. I am, however, actively seeking a new therapist. I have anxiety that I keep in check 97.5% of the time. But I've had a lot lately with sudden family illness on top of planning a huge life change of moving to a new state (selling house, changing my job of 23 years) all while my husband has already relocated to his new job and we're living 1000 miles apart. Not ideal. I can't do it all myself with just gumption...this is a new revelation to me...I am exceedingly stubborn and have always believed I could just weather things or find the answer if I thought about it hard enough. I wouldn't try an set my own broken leg, though, so trusting an expert is what's called for here! Best of luck to you.

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  110. I have been in therapy and honestly I probably need to go back once finances allow it. Glad you're getting the help you need!

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  111. I started therapy for the first time in my life, at age 41, about a year ago. It's been good. At this point, I think I know more people who HAVE been to a therapist than who haven't. It's super-duper normal.

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  112. I've been seeing my psychologist since 2015 to help with my GAD. I love having an impartial party to vent all my work and life frustrations to. And she responds with reminding me how to identify and deal with my triggers. I've also gone from seeing her every two weeks to once Every two months as my coping skills improve.

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  113. I spent 18 months in therapy after my divorce, when my husband left me with a 9 month old baby for another woman. It took a lot of therapy for me to stop feeling like a victim and to start understanding that I had control of my future, and that I wasn't a terrible mum because I couldn't keep my daughter's dad at home with us. 18 years later I'm actually grateful he left, and while life isn't what I had imagined it would be, it's better than it could have been. If I hadn't had therapy I dread to think where I'd be now.

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  114. I am a better person for therapy. 10+ years and I manage to go a least once per quarter. More if stuff is throwing down. Hooray for you! It helps to have the perspective of someone who is not a part of your daily life. When they give you advice, you can bank that they are trying to help YOU do BETTER. SO VERY PROUD OF YOU! <3 <3 <3

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  115. 2019 has literally been the worst year of my life. It was full of stress and loss, capped off by losing both my job and my father in a two week period. I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now without having worked with a counselor and a nurse practitioner (anxiety medication) for the last three years; I can tell you it’s been exactly three years because 2016 Election Day was my trigger to finally get help. I have gone from “I just wish everything would STOP “ (yes, that is code for suicidal thoughts) to being at a place where I was able to get through the aforementioned awful two week period and feel okay. My Dad was sick for a very long time before we lost him. One of the last times I spent with him I told him that when he died I knew I would fall apart, but then I would be okay. He told me that if this had been a few years ago he would have been worried, but now - he wasn’t.

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  116. I don’t know that you will ever ever read this but here it is from one stranger across the continent to another. Having a therapist these days is like having a favorite hairstylist. It’s out in the open, it’s just talking to someone, it’s just *normal* and not shameful or reserved for wackadoos with no coping skills (like me ;-)

    Here’s my best advice:

    When you don’t feel like going to therapy one week and you want to cancel “just this week”.... don’t. Stay in therapy. Cancelling “just once” leads to canceling more and more often. Always n m ale (and keep!) that next appointment.

    When you feel like you are getting better and “maybe I can go every other week or once a month” STAY IN (weekly) THERAPY.

    When you feel like you could not possibly have anything left to talk about... stay in therapy. You will be *surprised* at what falls out of your mouth that you didn’t know was lurking in your brainmeat.

    If you do not feel a connection with this therapist, there is NO SHAME in searching for another. It took me a couple tries before I found someone I could talk to and feel comfortable with.

    You are taking those first really feckin’ difficult steps. Going public is brave and (from this stranger to another) I am so proud of you.

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  117. I’ve been to therapy a few times:
    *Dealing with Childhood abandonment Issues (that kept creepy up at the worst times)
    *Dealing with the death of my favorite person, my dad
    *Marriage Counseling because we lost how to communicate with each other
    I can honestly say it has only improved my life in ways that I can’t even begin to explain. What I do know is that my life is better, my marriage is better, and I’m a better person (mom,wife,friend).
    Three years ago we took my then 9yo to counseling because his anxiety had reached a point that we didn’t know what to do to help him. He is a better person now. Optimistic, hopeful, and open to new ideas and challenges. He has tools in toolbox now that we ALL use to work together to help him. He’s has learned, “Yes, I can do this.”
    I openly talk about going to therapy for myself, with my husband, and for my child because others need to hear it’s okay to get help.
    I don’t fix my own teeth, I don’t color my own hair, I don’t do my own taxes. Why? Because I’m not trained to do those things. I go talk to professionals and have them help me. The same goes with therapy. They are there to help when you don’t know what to do next or where to go or what questions to ask.
    I promise you that your life will get better, not perfect, so much better.

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  118. I went to therapy several years back when my mother got a series of urgent medical problems, leading her to ending up in the ICU at one point. I didn't deal with some of that well AT ALL and realized I needed help. It took a lot of work but going was so worth it. I needed the help to help myself.

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  119. I have been in therapy on and off for many years. I've faced many struggles and some of them I couldn't figure out on my own. I highly recommend having that non-partisan ear to listen and a new perspective to help navigate the troubles. You my dear are in very good company!

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  120. I haven’t been to therapy. I went to counseling for a few weeks after the birth of my second son when I was diagnosed with PPD. I need therapy. I am barely hanging on by a thread most days. Well, it’s been better since I left my teaching position. But I have some really, really bad days/weeks/months. And this has been going on for years. For a multitude of reasons I haven’t made that first appointment. And I know I will make it... someday. I just don’t know how to today. And for that reason, this comment will be posted anonymously (because I’m sick to death of people telling me what I SHOULD do or what I NEED to do and while I know they are right, no one has yet taken the time to understand why I haven’t). Anyway, I admire you for doing it! And for being open about it. Yay you! I’ll get there. Someday.

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    1. I hope your someday is soon. I suffered with PPD after 2 of my pregnancies. Periodically, the depression gets bad again. I finally started trying to get help about 6 months ago. I started by talking to my GP. Then she quit. Then the next GP I had quit. I'm on my third now. I'm also trying my third antidepressant. It scares the crap out of me to mess with my already messed up brain chemistry,but something needs to change. This 3rd GP suggested I see a psychiatrist. My first appointment is in 2 weeks. I am praying she will be a good fit for me and I will finally be able to make progress. Not just for me but for my family - so I can be a better wife and mom, but also to be an example of taking care of myself. I don't want them to avoid getting help until they are in mid life. Get help sooner so the negative thought ruts are not as deep and easier to change.

      So, I hope that time for you comes soon and that you muster the energy to not give up and do something about it. Hugs!

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  121. I have been in therapy for a few years now and thankfully I have someone who is a good fit with me. It is so helpful and gives me so much hope and gratitude to face the future. I hope that you continue your journey as you feel the need, knowing that so many people here support you and are rooting for you Jen.

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  122. Had CBT ten years ago to help with issues surrounding my mothers pretty sudden death. You’re not alone x sending hugs from the UK XX

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  123. I was in therapy for awhile. I still don't feel like my parents understand fully what I go through when I am down. I had to stop therapy when my therapist cut back on her hours and have never bothered to find a new therapist. The last few years I have really struggled. I feel so alone at times and know I really need to go back.

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  124. I’ve been in targeted therapy a few times. And there have been times where I knew I needed it and it wasn’t available, like when I was deciding on getting divorced.
    My sister is in therapy, but dad has been in therapy, my cousins (8 of them) have all been in therapy at one time or another. It’s no longer a dirty word in my opinion. As so many of us have said, you go to the doctor for your other problems, why would you not see someone for your emotional problems as well?
    Sending you all the love.

    Also, yay kittens!!!

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  125. I have absolutely been where you are dear Jen. Therapy helped me in the past with some of the same issues you are dealing with. I am a big fan of you and your writing, sending my sincere wishes for your recovery.

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  126. I’ve been in therapy. My husband has, too. And my sister-in-law, my best friend, and a variety of other “my” people. You can be one of my people, too. I’ve been following you here and at Cake Wrecks for years but rarely comment. I just want you to know that your vulnerability and willingness to have the hard or awkward or embarrassing but REAL conversations is my favorite thing about you.

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  127. I started therapy this summer. While I don't think she's quite right for me, it's at least a safe place to say whatever's on my mind without distressing my loved ones.

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  128. Always been a bit of what I called a "worrier" - but really it was just GAD. It got out of control when our house got broken into and I lost all sense of feeling safe. Started not wanting to leave the house, but also didn't want to stay there. I'd panic if my husband didn't return a phone call or text right away, thinking the worst had happened. It was seeping into all areas of my life. So I got counseling then. Totally helped. No shame! Thank you for your transparency and bravery in posting this. You're not alone! Praying for you and for better days ahead!

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    1. > Always been a bit of what I called a "worrier" - but really it was just GAD
      ME TOO!

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  129. One of my mentors always suggests this group for affordable counseling. https://openpathcollective.org Our therapists provide affordable, in-office and online
    psychotherapy sessions between $30 and $60
    (between $30 and $80 for couples & family sessions)

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  130. My daughter has her first appointment coming up to see a therapist. Took me over a year to realize that she wasn't going through the typical "teenage angst" - that it was something more. She requested the therapist appointment - multiple times. I feel like an AWFUL mother for not recognizing the signs earlier - I thought she was just being soft and wanted her to learn through the setback in order to make her stronger, not a "snowflake." Communication is open. We will get her through this, and we will be healthier (and more open-minded) for it. I wish you nothing but healing and growth and you uncover this next chapter.

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  131. Thank you for being brave and sharing this. I've personally not seen a therapist, but I know they do a world of good for so many. My prayers are with you as you take the self care steps you need to in order to keep fighting. And also, as you tell all of us that we are loved, know that YOU are loved that much more in return!

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  132. I've been in therapy a couple of times and take psychiatric medication, as well. Neither is something to be ashamed of. I'm proud of you for taking the steps you need to live a life a little less free from fear. I cannot recommend highly enough @TheLatestKate on Instagram. Incredible life-affirming stuff with adorable creatures (I think you'd love the art style) from an artist with anxiety that makes my feed 1000x better every day since I started following her.

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  133. It was so hard for me to go to therapy, but

    It was a struggle to even get me to agree to go in the first place. I'd had a disheartening experience with a bad therapist before that made me feel even worse than when I started. Every time my husband suggested that maybe I should go, I broke down (or broke down further. I was usually already breaking down when he suggested therapy).

    The breaking down was roughly: I’m broken. I don’t even deal with anything too difficult, why can’t I deal with it? If I was a normal person, I’d be able to deal with my life. I’m so broken I can’t deal with my relatively normal life. This isn’t fair, why is everyone else able to handle it when I can’t?

    I finally agreed to try and after a couple mismatches and a couple traumatic events (a few deaths, a stressful new job that thankfully covered therapy, and some family drama), I found one who was a great fit. Seriously, even though I only went to her for under a year, calling life changing isn’t an overstatement. I love Leighna.

    Which isn’t to say it was fun. When I first started going, I felt angry and depressed before every session. I never wanted to go and I was very grateful for the fines for last minute cancellations or I probably would have cancelled multiple sessions. But somehow, after each session, I felt lighter. And gradually, going was easier, until I actually looked forward to sessions.

    When I’d talk, Leighna (and after I moved to a new area, Amy) would pinpoint in with a tiny question that would make me see the situation in a whole new way. She’d force me to rethink things I’d never even known I believed. She taught me to give myself space to be stressed and scared instead of fighting it, because when I actually let myself feel that pain, it was somehow smaller, and instead of getting trapped in the emotion like I thought I would, I was actually better at letting it go and move on.

    I’m still in therapy. I took a break for a bit after I moved, but new things came up that I didn’t quite know how to handle, and I’m getting a handle on it. It’s not quick, and sometimes it’s exhausting, but I’m a much healthier person than I was when even the mention of therapy sent me into a spiral.

    Also if you want therapy but don’t thin you can afford it, this buzzfeed article is actually really good at laying out some options you might have: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/affordable-therapy

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  134. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Been following cake wrecks and epbot for 10 years now. You are great. I went to therapy some years ago because of panic attacks and later because of mobbing issues at work and depressions. (Please excuse bad English. I am foreigner.) I am very happy during the day because I married the Love of my life at the age of 48 and now all the depressions and anxiety came back. Fear of loss I suppose. THANK you for sharing. I think I will reach out too.

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  135. Although I am not currently in therapy, I have been in the past. My kids all see a therapist and when we move in a month I will be immediately finding a new one for me and them. Oh and I have a brother with a psychology degree and another brother who is a practicing therapist. :)

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  136. I'm a mental health therapist, and I have been through a lot of therapy. I've struggled with my mental health since high school. I did therapy in college during my Bachelor's degree, then again during my master's degree, and now that I've been practicing therapy for a few years, I'm on a waitlist for a nearby therapist so that I can start back up again. Therapists need therapists, too. <3 You're not alone, and you don't have to be. It's good to have a team of helpers behind you.

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  137. I have been in therapy at various points in my life. Sometimes it was to deal with the damage done by having one parent who refused to get consistent treatment for their own mental health issues (up until the time they were committed... And then refused to get follow-up treatment after their release) and another parent with toxic anger issues. Sometimes it was to deal with specific crisis times, like the year our house burned down and then 5 months later I had an emergency c-section and my baby spent 2.5 months in the NICU. Even when I didn't click with a therapist, I have NEVER regretted making the commitment to my mental health, including consulting an expert when needed. Best wishes to you on your own journey!

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  138. I have been in therapy before. I'm getting ready to go back again soon. ASKING FOR HELP IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, NOT WEAKNESS.

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  139. I have been going to therapy for 5 years and it does me so much good. A combo of therapy and store bought serotonin got me past my agoraphobia. Even though sometimes going out to dinner can seem impossible I have been able to go to Europe for 3 weeks with my family, travel alone to different states and I even started working again! I go every 2 weeks and I can tell when I need to go.

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  140. I've been to a psychologist and taken my daughter - when we needed to work through some stuff. I found it a HUGE help! To be honest, the only reason I hadn't been before then or after (since I suffer greatly with depression and always have), is because it's not free. So when I'm already burdened with guilty feelings of being worthless, last thing I want to do is "waste" money on seeing a therapist, even though that's exactly what I need.

    I was able to get 1 lot of free sessions with a referral from my Dr, but I'm not even sure if I could get more, and even if I did it's a heap of paperwork to try and prove you need it - and that dissuades me from even bothering.

    It's a shame that mental health isn't given the same respect and attention than physical health is. The only way to help mental health issues is to make it easier for people to get the help they need, and reduce the stigma about it. In my country we have free medical clinics you can just walk in and get your health problems seen to - yet we don't do that for mental health.

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  141. There is not a single member of my family, including partners that hasn't been to therapy at one point or another. It has ranged from needing a few sessions to work through a specific issue to long-haul deep, hard but important work. I'm so proud of you for taking this step <3

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  142. I've been to therapists a few different times in the last 18 years, and it's taken until very recently for my family (specifically my Mom) to stop with the stigma and negativity about therapy. Your mental health is way more important than someone's outdated opinions. I'm glad you're getting the help you need to make this part of your life better for you and John (because I know he can't help but worry about you worrying about him). You are such a wonderful person who touches so many lives. We all feel like you're always here for us, so we hope that you know that we're always here for you, too. ♥️

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  143. I went to a counselor. It didn't take a lot of visits because I was ready to address my issues. I could see that my refusal to have kids needed to be discussed professionally. It was affecting my romantic relationships. I needed to hear that I wouldn't beat them. that I wouldn't yell at them. That it would be okay if I had kids, or okay if I didn't.
    It helped. and I didn't. but it would have been okay if I had. Because I have tools my parents didn't have.
    Now, I have bonus kids. And there have been times when I wanted to smack the teen. But I didn't. That would be inappropriate. I've learned to walk away and go take a nap. I'm usually much nicer after a nap.

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  144. I've tried therapy, but the therapist was such a bad match I felt like I wasted a year. I want to try again, but I'm so rural that I have very few options. I've heard there are online options, but I'm not sure if I could make a connection online.
    No shame in the attempt, though.

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  145. I'm 33 and I've been in therapy!
    When I was in high school, my mom signed me up for family therapy, and we went together.
    My husband's been in therapy, too!
    He improved so much, his therapist finally told him he was good to stop his sessions until he felt the need to start up again. ��

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  146. Yes! Therapy YES!
    Therapy saved my sanity when my family went through an incredibly hard time. Also, my daughter, a teenager, has been through therapy as well. It was incredibly hard to tell friends and family she was seeing someone, as it felt as though I'd failed.
    Until I realized, I succeed by hearing her, and acknowledging her pain wasn't something I could fix.
    We're not perfect, but we're so so much better. We actively talk about her feelings and how when the thoughts spiral out of control, we use our therapy tricks and tips.
    And we feel better.
    That's what counts.

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  147. I’ve been in therapy for over a decade. And was in couples therapy, too. There’s nothing wrong with it but I, too, struggle with the stigma. I can say that I feel like, in the long run, I’ll be a much happier person for taking care of myself this way.

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  148. Hi! I have been and am currently back in therapy. I didn't realize I was dealing with so much anxiety until I had a full blown panic attack. It scared the crud out of me and the next day I called to make a therapy appointment. We are working on building my self confidence and over coming some of my anxieties.

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  149. YES to therapy. Several times in fact. first when my first marriage was breaking up. Later family therapy with my parents & siblings (that's a long story) and I continued on my own for a few years with that therapist. Most recently, with my husband because he has a chronic condition (another long story). Nothing at the moment. I have certainly benefited enormously from all this help. And because I am Canadian, it was all free.

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  150. I have seen two therapists in my life. The first I liked a lot, but I didn't feel he was useful. The second, a wonderful woman I've been seeing since this spring, I both like and feel is useful. She's helping me learn to identify my emotions by my actions, among other things. I would like to note that it can take several tries to find the right therapist for you which, if you're actively suffering from anxiety or depression, can be a really hard thing. So please, be kind to yourself during the process and accept help where it's helpful, until you find the right therapist.

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  151. I have seen a counsellor twice in my 41 years. Both times I was going through hard times, and needed some additional tools for my tool box to help me get through. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. There is such a stigma attached to this, especially for women. Women are expected to be able to handle everything and are shamed if they can't. You will get through, though. YOU GOT THIS!

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  152. Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of. Medication that enables you to function in life is nothing to be ashamed of. I have done a bit of therapy, enough to know I desperately needed meds. I’d like to find a new therapist, because the meds alone are not solving anything, just helping me function. I’m so glad you are able to go! {{HUGS}} to you, John, and aaaaall the kittehs!

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  153. Hi Jen! Yep, I've done therapy, several different times. In fact, I'm starting back up right now, because everything is such a hot mess. Mental health IS health, and getting my anxiety u Der control is just as important as getting my diabetes under control. <3

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  154. I’m with you and I’m so proud of you for getting the help you deserve. I went to therapy when I was getting divorced many years ago. I was so depressed without even realizing how bad it was and in one of my very early therapy sessions I told my therapist that I didn’t think or see any reasons why anyone would want to be my friend let alone date me. She asked if that was how I really felt and I said yes because it was. I also started having panic attacks which were awful but have become much less frequent now. It took me a long time to crawl out of that hole, but I now am happier and healthier and remarried to someone who lifts me up and supports me and whom I love immensely. Thank you for sharing, thank you for your amazing spirit, much love and support and hugs to you. ��

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  155. Several years ago, I had a really bad breakup. It was even trickier because I'm poly, and while my husband has been my solid rock for 16 years, this breakup left us both in terrible shape. I found myself close to suicidal, hating myself and believing all the horrible things my exes had said about me. I went to therapy when I realized that I couldn't dig myself out of the hole myself, let alone help my husband out of his own. We both went (to separate therapists) for over a half a year, until we felt strong enough to walk on our own again (instead of needing to be hand in hand at all times).

    We're both in a much better place now, but I feel like just knowing that the option of therapy is there helps bolster me in moving forward every day. If I need it, I won't be scared of it as I was the first time.

    Wishing you all the best, you two. <3

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  156. I’ve been seeing my therapist for several years now, mostly for anxiety. At first, it was scary and I felt super broken for needing a therapist, but now I’ve come to really appreciate having a neutral 3rd party to help me untangle the way my thinking gets knotted up. She doesn’t fix my thinking per se, but she helps me find the knots and gives me tools to help untangle them. She helped me put together a toolbox for dealing with anxiety and helps me update the tools when life throws new curve balls at me. She was the first person I ever told that I occasionally look at life and wonder if it would really miss me if I just disappeared. (It’s not quite suicidal ideation, but close enough to be scary). She’s the person I’m currently helping me work through some food and body image issues.

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  157. I have seen multiple therapists/counselors/psychiatrists over the years to help me find tools to deal with my ADD, depression and anxiety. Most have been super awesome humans who really help. Some have not been good fits. I currently need to find a new one and am struggling with pulling the trigger because of the fear of it taking time to find a good fit. I definitely need to do it. Thanks for the push. <3

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  158. I wish I was in therapy! And my family! However I've tried and while we fo have some Family Marriage therapists in our area they are either not taking new clients or I would have to pull my kids out of school and my husband would have to take time off work. If there were some serious issues we would fo that. But I grew up in a repressed home and sometimes struggle to communicate effectively. I think it could just help our relationships.

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  159. Currently in therapy, and just got a diagnosis recently for Asperger's/autism, ADHD, and anxiety. I'm 35, and finally have _words_ for why the world is so hard to deal with. It is priceless.

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  160. I've been in counseling for over a decade. I had childhood abuse and other difficult things to work through. And life hasn't stopped throwing new, complex issues that require extensive processing and new tools. I'm also a minister. It's important to take care of my mental health so that i can care well for others. One of the best things i heard in seminary was a prof who said, "deal with your baggage now, or your churches will deal with all the unhealthy ways you cope with the baggage."

    I recommend counseling often in my work because mental health issues are incredibly common. They aren't more prevalent now, but fortunately, they are more commonly understood for what they are: nothing to be ashamed of and something for which help is available.

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  161. I've been in therapy for panic attacks that started after I passed out while giving blood. The Red Cross said I had a mini seizure. It happened at school in front of my classmates. No one was there that I was friends with. I was very shy and did t come into myself until after college. So I felt completely alone. Therapy helped and I've been on Paxil for about 20 years now. I have anxiety issues and bothers my mom and sister saw therapists for depression. As my doctor told me, issues like these tend to be genetic. My dad is a hypochondriac and his mother was obsessed with her weight to the point where she weighed and tracked it 2x daily. Talking about relating mental health to others; my husband read a post Anne Wheaton wrote about Will and his depression. My hubs send it to me, came over to me with tears in his eyes saying "I finally know what's wrong with me". He doesn't go to the doctor and just thought he was angry because of his job. He was never angry at me. But dumb little things would set him off. He knew he was irrational and again just thought it was stress. Come to find out depression in men presents typically as anger not sadness like women. A year later and with his medication adjusted it's amazing. You're awesome Jen! So I your hibs and everyone else on this blog, in the FOE group and some non-geeky people too 😉

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  162. Therapy is good stuff, and if it's not, keep trying different therapists until you find a good fit.

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  163. I have been in therapy twice for clinical depression, and I helped a friend have themself hospitalized once for a level of depression that scared the pants off me. I get by with talk therapy, they needed drugs, but we both needed help and reached out for the help we needed. You are not alone. You are never alone.

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  164. I went in school - we were on different wavelengths and I didn't find it helpful.

    I went back a couple years ago - and have no plans to stop going. I couldn't do the work that I do without it. My therapist helps me process work, break-ups, and everything in between. I love having someone to talk to on a regular basis, and am so glad that I found her.

    For anyone: it has to be the right fit. Find someone who will listen to you and not just impose their own ideas. When you find that someone, trust the process.

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  165. I have been to therapy and my son is in therapy. It is nothing to be ashamed of; it doesn't mean you're weak. That's my biggest hurdle with it, I always think I'm fine, I can do this, but sometimes I can't do it alone, and I need someone trained to offer the help I need or my son needs, like an MD or a dentist for body ailments and preventive care. I've been thinking I might need someone to talk to, my anxiety has been interfering with living my life. So good for you for recognizing you needed it and then doing it. And, of course, props to John for being an A+++ hubby and friend to you.

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  166. I have had a couple of bad experiences with therapy. I am trying again in 2 weeks and hoping for a better fit. I have put off taking care of me for far too long. Now I notice my children following in my depression and anxiety footsteps. I am fighting the uphill battle to get the care I need so I can set an example for them. Hopefully, they will seek help sooner and it will be easier for them.

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  167. I had an old school friend whose life mirrored mine in many ways commit suicide a few years ago. I broke down and had to have therapy for about 6 months. I still miss her and have the occasional crying jag but I’m out of therapy and finally off antidepressants.

    I’m cheering for you! You are very loved and need to look out for your mental health, okay?

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  168. This was a damn heartful of a post, Jen. Thank you for sharing.

    I've been in therapy for a long time. I see it the same way I see my meds. Sort of like a splint on a weak leg or a vitamin to bolster your system. It's not shameful or strange, and it's not your fault that this is something you need; it's just that a quirk of DNA or circumstance left us a little south of normal levels, and you do what you need to do to get yourself back up to where you ought to be.

    There's no lightbulb moments when doing therapy for long-term issues, and that's because it's not a cure, it's maintenance. And there's nothing wrong with that. Just another part of taking good care of yourself. :)

    Hug your kitties, Jen. You're loved too.

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  169. I spent almost six years in therapy; it took five of those before I could admit that I also needed medication for the crippling depression and anxiety I was dealing with. I couldn't have done it without the support of my partner; and at the same I time I couldn't have the life I do now *with* my partner if I hadn't finally sought the help I needed. Getting help can be one of the hardest and bravest things you might ever have to do, and I bet I'm not the only one who will go to bat for you if anyone out there tries to give you grief about it!

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  170. I have clinical depression. I was diagnosed at 19, but likely had it years before. I am an extrovert, and pretty upbeat, so people are shocked to hear it.

    At this point, nearly 20 years later, I've had ups and downs. My depression is well-managed, but that doesn't mean I'm always happy. Some days, it weighs me down and it's all I can do to get out of bed and face the world. And when I don't keep an eye on my self-care, I can edge into bouts of anxiety.

    I've been in therapy a few times in my life, when I'm going through so much that I need help beyond my normal coping mechanisms and medications. And without exception, I've been able to sort my way to whatever the underlying cause is. In a way, it's how I can solve my own problems, which appeals to my brain.

    This summer my depression got a bit out of whack; it took three months and more strength than I knew I had to take the steps I needed to take. But I did, and over the past three months, I've been healing and am better than I have been in a long time. I have a ways to go - I'm dealing with a stressful situation that still exists, but I'm not letting it consume me to the point of crying all the time (which sucks) or sleeping all the time (which wasn't restorative) or having frequent migraines (which both sucked and compounded the problem by adding to the stress load.)

    I am so lucky I have good insurance and had time I could take off of work. To those who aren't as lucky, know there are options out there, but sometimes you have to look for them and vet them. Which is scary when it's all you can do to make *a* call. One thing I have learned is that more people out there than you realize have been through mental health issues and are willing to help, whether it's research, accompanying you to an appointment, or just being there to listen.

    Hugs to you, Jen. It's not easy to fix one's brain, but you don't need to live in fear, either. We are all rooting for you.

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  171. Thank you for the encouragement. I've been putting off finding a therapist for longer than I like to admit. Not because anything specific is wrong, or because I'm in crisis, but because I know it could help me be a healthier human being. But it's also scary to admit that I need help with mental health, that I can't just do this one my own. Maybe I'll still put it off, but I hope your post is the push I need to make that next (very scary) step.

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  172. My “worrier” tendencies have seemed like they are getting a bit stronger over the years, and I have considered therapy, but have never made the leap. We lost my cousin last week in an accident that from all accounts really seems to be a tragic freak accident, so that’s really not helping my mental state....
    I’m so glad that you are taking care of yourself! If I could be guaranteed a therapist with kittens, that might get me that next step.

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  173. I've been in therapy on and off since I was about 19 or 20. I'm 35 now. I mostly go to a psychologist, but I've also seen a psychiatrist. No kittens though. I've taken meds for both depression and anxiety, but for the most part the therapy has always worked best. I don't think I'll ever stop going, even if it's just once every few months for a 'check up'. I know it's expensive and there are too few mental health professionals as it is, but tbh I think everyone could do with some therapy. It makes you more self-aware, helps you empathize with others and yourself, gain new perspectives. It's no miracle cure, it's just someone handing you the tools and you still have to do the work. But I've noticed that most people who've been in therapy for a while, tend to be better off for it. There's definitely no shame in it IMO. I'm open about it, including at work. I wish you all the best, good luck!

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  174. I've been in therapy before, several times. Never found a therapist who was a great fit for me, not least because it's hard to search when you're too depressed to get up, so it was never as helpful as it could have been. But it was still good for me and I got some useful bits from even the bad ones.

    Mostly, though, I have to say thank you for this challenge and encouragement. I've reached a point where I can't avoid that my husband and I need some therapy and I have to make that happen. All kinds of challenges for me with that, but knowing you've had to face that stupid appointment making phone call recently, helps me find the courage. Thanks and good luck!! ❤️

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  175. I'm in therapy for GAD and depression. It took me multiple tries to find a therapist I clicked with, which may have been the most challenging part. Like you said, it's one thing to realize you need help, and a whole 'nother thing to actually make the call. And deciding that a therapist isn't right for you and knowing that you have to make that call all over again? The worst. I stuck with a miserable therapist who kept telling me to get a hobby for far too long.
    I've been seeing my current therapist on and off for several years and quite faithfully for the last year or so. I have learned so many coping skills, but still have my bad days. It's great to have a person who does this professionally tell me that I'm doing ok, I'm normal, I may have a setback but I'm not a failure.

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  176. I've had a personal life coach / mindfulness coach for almost five years now. I started going in the months after my daughter was born, and I couldn't remember who the hell I was when I wasn't nursing or changing diapers. She has helped me lead a calmer, happier, more fulfilled life. I'm continually surprised how long it takes to make the changes in your state of mind and habits and mental space that seem so small and make such a big difference. Five years later, and I'm finally feeling like I got this. Hope you get there, too! It's so worth it.

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  177. 2 years of therapy here and going strong. I avoided it for years due to the stigma surrounding it, which is heartbreaking to think of now. BUT! Good on you and I am so damn proud of all of you who are going or planning to go talk to someone.

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  178. My daughter is a mental health counselor and works with adolescents and adults on a daily basis to help them improve their lives. There is an incredible need for her profession. You are not alone by any means.

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  179. I have also been to therapy! To more than one person, even! I'd note that it's important to get someone who's a good fit for you, so feel no embarrassment about swapping to someone else if you're not lining up. (if it's just fear of putting your issues out there, then go; but if your approaches to things just aren't mutually making any sense, find someone else)

    At some point in life, you realize that it's useful to have a toolbox so that you don't end up needing to use your canned vegetables as hammers. Therapy can help fit you out with a mental and emotional toolbox for situations you encounter now and in the future. It's a Good Thing.

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  180. Yes Jen, I’ve been in therapy! It’s a good thing! I don’t think it’s any different than going to physio to recover from an injury or surgery. It’s hard to heal if you don’t have a qualified person walking you through and helping you with the right steps. And I’ve been taking antidepressants for years. If you can’t make your own neurotransmitters, store bought is fine! :) Sending lots of love and support!

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  181. I've been going to therapy for about 3 years now, to help handle my anxiety and stress and feelings of self doubt. It's not miraculous, it's not magic, but it does help over time and with patience and openness. I'm so proud of you Jen! It takes a lot to get to that place and be brave enough to take that step forward.

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  182. Long time reader, first time commenter (o.k., maybe not first time, but it's pretty rare for me to comment). I have been in therapy. So have several of my siblings. I'm not currently, but I have been and certainly will go again. My previous therapeutic relationship sort of wound up because it was the right time. Now, I check myself occasionally and continue to use CBT techniques. Therapy has been a huge help for anxiety and when I will need it again, I will go (but my spouse may have to tell me to go)...

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  183. Currently I'm on a prescription that's supposed to be for depression but I'm taking it because it helps with my anxiety. I spent most of my teenager years in Alateen, had a bit of therapy after that, stopped, went back... it's a rollercoaster really.

    The medication helps, knowing I can talk to my husband helps, and knowing I can go back and talk to a therapist if I need it is hugely helpful. For me it's lots of little things rather than one big thing that helps put my life in balance.

    It was through this blog that I started reading The Bloggess and my husband started reading her too. He didn't understand that this was a real issue, that I did have something I needed help with, medication for, therapy to deal with, until he started reading her blog so I am forever grateful to you for that connection.

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  184. I’ve done therapy at several difficult times in my life, and I’ll admit it was hard to go that first time, because I had this effed up missed that I should be strong enough not to need it. The truth is that you show your strength when you allow someone else to help you when you need it. It takes courage and strength to reach out for support in order to be a better person. Each time I finished, I felt that I’d progressed as a person. If I need it again, I won’t hesitate to go. You are hella brave and awesome, and I know it will help you too!

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  185. I've been in therapy, pre- and post-partum depression and anxiety, and for several years after. It took years to tell my family. Therapy and medication gave me the weapons to fight my dragons.

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  186. This is the single most answers to any post of yours, ever - which tells me how loved the two of you are, John and Jen!

    Have had hard times, have had therapy and it was helpful. But the last time I was in a bad way, I happened to discover Epbot - and I read every. single. archived post. Caught up on years of things I had missed. And it was the BEST therapy for me at that time, knowing there were other people in the world that shared my love for specific things, that loved making things, and that were just as zany as me.

    So you have helped me, from then to now!

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  187. I've been in therapy and am about to go into it again. I tried going it alone for a while but It's still too much. It's okay. I just have to make the call. :D best of luck in your own journey. <3

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  188. I suppose I was technically 'in therapy' as a child - what would, these days, be understood as autism was in my day interpreted as a 'lack of imagination'. I spent most of third grade leaving school early on Wednesdays to go see a doctor that I would play games with. I had no idea, at the time, that I was being evaluated or treated in any way.

    Many years later, as an adult, I am not in therapy. I was never diagnosed with autism, or ADHD, or any of the things that scream at me when I read about them - just anxiety, and depression, and those are so common these days that people look at me funny when I express that they're giving me trouble. I did check myself into hospital in August, into a behavioral health center, for suicidal ideation. Part of me is glad, as I got a new medication added that's really helping. The other part of me looks at the medical bills and wonders what I was thinking.

    I dislike talking about my -feelings-. I'll be open as anything about my illness, my hospitalization, my chronic pain. But actually discussing ME... I don't like that. So I am not currently in therapy. Maybe I should be; maybe not. But if it helps... it helps.

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  189. I was in therapy as a teen, but it was part of my abuse; my abuser would choose therapists likely to listen to her, then lie to them about me, then pull me out and change therapists before they could get wind of her plans. So it took me decades to be comfortable around therapists again. But I'm glad I went back. I started seeing a pain psychologist, and slowly we worked our way to more general topics. Now I've had several and I'm doing so, so much better.

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  190. Ya, I've been to a therapist loads of times to work on all kinds of things. In my community there's no stigma around it, so it should be possible to find yourself a circle of friends among whom it's considered normal. You don't have to view it as "I'm a problematic individual who needs to be fixed" -- you can say to yourself and others that you are taking this opportunity for personal growth in whatever area. Just a more positive way to frame it... and I think it helps my progress to frame it that way!

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  191. I've had all of... I think 6 years of therapy, both group and individual, and truly, it gets better. I'm now navigating the world without weekly appointments... but the tools they gave really make the difference between life and death for me. Best of luck and take it slow:)

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  192. I went through an issue I won't get into some years back, and one of the things I learned was: talking helps. Furthermore, different kinds of talking help in different ways:

    - Sometimes it's great to talk to family and friends - the people who know you best, know exactly what you're going through, and are probably going through it with you. They love you, you love them, there's solidarity and support for each other.

    - Sometimes it's great to talk to people who're going through (or have been through) the same kind of issue you're going through, like a support group. They GET IT, but they aren't involved in your specific personal situation and can help you see it a little clearer. Plus, sometimes it's just easier to say certain things in front of people who don't know you and won't judge.

    - Sometimes it's great to talk to someone who knows ABOUT the issue you're dealing with, but is NOT personally going through it, and thus has a clearer head about it. This is where a therapist would come in. A good fit therapist can give you a new perspective, as well as strategies and ideas to try.

    - Finally, sometimes it's great to talk to people who have NO IDEA that anything is going on, and therefore aren't going to mention it, aren't going to ask about it, and will be perfectly content to chatter about unrelated subjects and let you feel like the you that you are when you aren't dealing with the issue.

    All of these have value, and there is no shame in any of them. The best you can do is find a mix that works for you, based on the needs of a given moment.

    Hang in there, hold your head high, and enjoy what you can of what you find in life.

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  193. Hi there...long time reader, first time commenter. I've been in therapy just over 2 years and have done some support group work. I am one of those people who has trouble being open about the fact that I am in therapy, but that more stems from why I am in therapy - some childhood abuse. I know I shouldn't be ashamed, but hey! Gotta have something to work on, right? I always encourage counseling and applaud all of you. You've given me years of laughter and ideas and inspiration. Much love!

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  194. When I was in high school, I had friends with really bad problems. Life-threatening mental health issues. I always assumed that since my life was OK, I wasn't who therapy was for. Flash forward to over a decade later and I will tell ANYONE and everyone that going to therapy was the best thing I did for myself. I didn't feel any different from it until I saw myself reacting differently to a situation that would have incapacitated me a year before. Therapy is for everyone just like physicals and dental cleanings are for everyone. I'm so glad you found someone who clicks with you.

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  195. I just started therapy, it's been about a month. I'm 40 and have never gone before. An issue in my life suddenly got in the way of proper functioning, and I knew I couldn't solve it/handle all the pain and confusion on my own. The hugeness of this seemingly minor thing, and how I was having such difficulty coping, tipped me off that something is not right, something is really bothering me deeply - and I need help!(Now of course I'm working on figuring it out.) I probably should've started going a few years ago for other stuff, but I was always on that line of, "nah, I'll just deal." And getting along ok.

    So far it's been fantastic. I can feel things getting better (as if by magic??) even though at the same time, I feel like more of a mess. But it's a refreshing thing, like tidying up a junk drawer. I don't know what else I'm going to find in there. I somehow got stuck on this issue - but with the help of the therapist I sense I'll be able to untangle it, let go, and figure out better ways of handling life. My insurance sucks, but it's worth it. I think my mental health is the most important thing!

    That said, only my hubby and bestest friend know I'm going. Personally I think others in my story would not understand, so for now I'm keeping it to myself. Maybe I'll tell more people later on.

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