What if I go to therapy and find out I’m “crazy”?

Motortion / Adobe Stock

Source: Motortion / Adobe Stock

“What do you think?” I asked Megan near the end of her first date with me. I gave her a brief summary of my evaluation and told her she met the criteria for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. I also said that she’s probably going to have a lot of therapy, and mentioned some things we might work on together.

She seemed to be holding her breath, as if she was waiting for the speech. I started “I think…”, then stopped. “Well, I guess what I really want to know is – do you think I’m crazy?” she asked. Deep down, Megan feared she might be broken in some fundamental way.

Many people who begin therapy (and many who fear it) share this apprehension—that when a trained professional looks deeply into their psyche, they will discover a fundamental inability. For Megan, it was afraid than to be told that she really was less than, Quack, so-so Psychotherapy can not be repaired.

What does treatment mean

Most people start treatment when they are really struggling, often during the most difficult times of their lives. Because of this, it can feel like a defeat — especially in a society that persists in “others” with mental health challenges. This permanent stigma prevents many from seeking treatment.

But the decision to start treatment is a sign of your perfectionism. No matter how hard the time you’re facing, or how hopeless you feel, part of you is determined to find the support you need.

I reassured Megan that I wasn’t thinking in terms of “crazy” or not, and that, in fact, I had the opposite impression of what she was afraid of. I told her, “Coming for treatment is a sign of what is right with you, not what is wrong.” A part of Megan knew she needed help, and was willing to overcome her reluctance and societal stigma to get it.

What you discover in therapy

Here’s what you’re likely to discover really when you start treatment. First, you’ll find validation for thoughts and feelings you’ve struggled to understand.

Your therapist may help you see this Definitely You think and feel these things, based on what you’ve experienced. Definitely You sometimes assume that people are talking about you behind your back, because your mom is constantly criticizing you. Definitely You have a hard time feeling secure in your relationships when you have them Childhood It was characterized by loss and instability.

You are likely to discover that your fears and struggles Logical, at the expense of what I lived in. You may have survived a major trauma, and are finding it hard to feel safe. You may have experienced a loved one’s betrayal, and now you often feel like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead of criticizing yourself for reacting in ways you don’t understand, you can start to develop empathy for who you are and what you’ve been through.

You may also discover that you have more strength than you knew, the same strength that kept you this far and that drew you into the work of therapy. Along the way, you’ll more clearly understand the continuing legacy of shocks And it hurts you, I lived.

Although it may sound contradictory, you will see how important it is sane You are. Even many of the people I work with have begun to see what they describe as “madness” as the radically rational part of themselves that refused to keep up with the madness around them. For example, you may have been labeled the “problem child” in your family because you were the only one who refused to brush long-standing problems under the rug, and you can’t help but highlight things that others have chosen to ignore.

Finally, you may very well begin to accept that the patterns that are giving you trouble now—the ways of relating to others, thought processes, and emotional responses—developed when you most needed a way to survive. You may have learned to never get your hopes up, for example, because they were often dashed as a child; Now that I’m older, it’s still hard to trust that things will work out.

Although these coping methods may not work so well anymore, they brought you into a precarious past. They were the best anyone in your site could do.

The same wisdom The part of you that formed these defenses may start to tell you that it’s time to try something new, as I describe in Mindful cognitive behavioral therapy. Even if you feel broken, starting therapy shows that the seeds of new life are already within you.

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