When I was growing up, my parents put me in therapy a multitude of times. The first was after my mother left my father, and she thought I might need to see somebody about it, as if 5 year old me had any fucking idea how to process the concept of a separation or divorce or how to talk about any feelings I might’ve (but didn’t at the time cause I was fucking 5 years old) had on the subject. Then, throughout middle school and some early high school, my stepfather convinced my mother I needed to go to therapy. In fact, I’m relatively sure it’s safe to say that the most common heard phrase I’ve had said to me by my parents, and other people, is:
“You should see somebody/talk to a therapist”
Because what’s the best thing to tell someone who’s already well aware of their issues? That they have issues. Bitch, I know I’m ruined, thank you very much for the critical update. The time I was in therapy throughout my adolescence (the middle school/high school time) was terrible and spanned about 4 different therapists, all of whom did nothing to help me or care about whatever I had to say in the slightest, and, all of whom were reporting everything I might’ve told them right back to my parents, so I was smart enough not to say much of a damn thing to begin with. What forcing a child to go to therapy does to them is obliterate their trust.
“Oh, we don’t know how to handle this, so we just fucking won’t, and we’ll pay someone else to deal with our childs issues.”
I recognize these people are technically ‘specialists’, that they go to school for years to get their degrees and all that, but so many kids put in therapy don’t need to talk to a total fucking stranger. They need to talk to their fucking parents. If they think they can’t even talk to their parents, all that does is say you can’t talk to anyone, and so they’ll never open up, or at least not easily, thus making friendships and relationships harder to form. People put so much emphasis on family, how family will be there for you no matter what, but rarely back it up when it comes time to. So, instead of talking to these ‘specialists’, I vented to the girls that I liked, and took their genuine heartfelt concern as romantic interest because I was a stupid teenage lesbian who didn’t know any better.
All that did, in turn, was make me bitter when they stated their obvious and understandable disinterest in me, and though I never became hateful towards women because of rejection, it didn’t help me feel any better when I was already at my lowest. And then, when a girl DID show genuine romantic interest in me, I was cautious to believe it and was always skeptical, even if she was 100% sincere. And to think, all of this could’ve been avoided if my parents had just. fucking. talked to me.
So, perhaps, just perhaps, the people who don’t know me, aren’t me and aren’t therapists need to stop telling me and others that they need to seek therapy. Trust me when I tell you that a lot of us know we’re damaged, that the last thing we need is it being said is so few words repeatedly to our faces, and that we are perfectly capable of working things out, if we choose to do so. I’m not saying therapy can’t be helpful and does nothing. There’s people it works for, and it can be of great help to people, but not everyone is the same, and that’s where it starts. Painting everyone with a mental illness as the same is the start of the problem. Not all depressed people are the same. Symptoms give the idea that we all experience the same thing, but we all experience it differently.
Stop telling us to talk to people and talk TO us.