Here's why we should all try Talk Therapy

Here's why we should all try Talk Therapy

Growing up, I never gave the idea of talk therapy much thought. I assumed it was only for crazy people. Of course, I didn’t know what crazy meant, and I was pretty sure I would never fit into that definition anyway.

But then my (ex)husband said to me, “Sometimes I can’t believe some of the stuff you say. You need help. You’re crazy”.

Hmmm, maybe I need to learn what the definition of crazy means. If someone says you're crazy, does that make it so? Do crazy people know they're crazy? What is crazy? What if he’s the one who’s crazy?

My mind was spinning, making me crazy!

The first few times he said it, I decided it was a joke. He was funny that way. But eventually, the repetition of those words made me wonder if I was indeed, the one who was crazy. So I decided to try and figure it out, and in the process I would find out what crazy meant.

Of course finding out if I am crazy comes with some understandable fear.

What if I am crazy? Then what?

“I’m fine. I’m functioning. I’m just having some marital problems. He should go to therapy too” I thought.

I knew a lot of people who needed to be fixed, by my definition. Therapy is for them. But whatever, f*#k him, I’ll go to therapy. What do I have to lose? This could be an adventure. 

I started my therapist search the usual way, by going online. That wasn’t helpful, the search was too broad. This was before online therapy so I had to find someone close. I tried Google Maps and this rewarded me with many local options.

I started to call to ask some questions. I had no idea what to ask. What qualifications does a good therapist need? The ability to talk? Empathy? A nice sofa? Did I have to lay down? That could be awkward. What initials had to be behind their name? What do those initials mean?

The calling didn’t seem to be working either. No one answered the phone. It seemed secretaries weren’t a thing in this profession.

So I waited.

The next day I got a call back. One. The woman made sure I understood she was a LCSW, not a real therapist.


LCSW stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker, which still meant nothing to me. Although I knew what a Social Worker was from my days as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). I just assumed she had some sort of state license and worked in a clinic.

But really, it didn’t matter. She sounded approachable and I was desperate to learn if I was crazy - or not. So I made an appointment.

I arrived early and waited alone in the small vestibule. A kindly woman finally came out and asked my name. When I was confirmed as her patient, I followed her to a small office.

Sure enough, there was a sofa. Blue crushed velvet. It’s odd the things we remember. So I sat down and comically asked if she wanted me to lay down. “Only if you want to” she kindly replied.

After babbling that I had no idea how to do therapy and that I was here because my husband kept calling me crazy, she calmly told me, that was fine. She explained how her practice worked and that this would be talk therapy. Nothing more.

Again, I had no idea what ‘nothing more’ meant and talking was fine, all I wanted to do was talk. So this seemed like a good fit.

I don’t remember much about those first few months. I don’t remember her asking about my feelings or emotions. I do remember her listening to what I had to say. I remember her interrupting my diatribes and asking me to define and/or explain something I had said. I talked fast, as was my habit at home since I rarely felt I had time to get my words out before I was interrupted. She would often look up at me with a quizzical look on her face when I would tell a story.

And I cried a lot.

After a few months I noticed when I left her office I I felt ‘lighter’ - maybe happier? I slowly began to feel better about myself and my life. All that talking was like losing weight. It felt like the burden of pent up thoughts and emotions was being physically pulled out of my body and I was gaining a sort of awareness I’d never felt. My confidence began to shift as I became more sure of how to express my feelings. I began to set some boundaries in how I allowed others to treat me. And the veil of confusion and self doubt was beginning to dissolve.

A few months into my weekly sessions, I needed her opinion on my crazy level. "do all these things I tell you make me seem crazy?"

“Melissa, the definition of crazy is clearly defined in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). You aren’t the crazy one in this relationship. You are being manipulated and emotionally abused.”

Whoa. Hold your horses! She was making a statement.

What a relief! That’s all I needed, some validation that I wasn’t crazy. We could work on his crazy later.

All my stereotypical thinking about therapy had been blown out of the water by this experience. I didn’t have to constantly talk about my feelings. She asked me logical questions and gave me substantive solutions to help me work through my experiences.

In a culture that is often caught up in outward appearance as the basis of a successful life, therapy helped me understand a few complicated realities about human existence.

The mind often works harder than the body to protect ‘us’ from what our culture and social upbringing teaches us is safe and real.

The mind creates stories to shift our thoughts when our body reacts to something that doesn't FEEL right. So often, we ignore the feeling, or we normalize it, integrating it into our body. Then we adjust our behavior to keep the feeling of safety, often at our own disadvantage as our behaviors change. Over time, our idea of safe shifts until our body can no longer stay inside homeostasis, or a state equilibrium.

Only when we learn to question and examine our own personal lived experiences and perceptions and therefore our own created reality, can we begin to change or shift to see the world through a different, more informed lens.

This realization is what begins to create confidence in who we are and how we live in this world where we are constantly bombarded with information.

Therapy helped me learn that my way of thinking and seeing the world isn’t and can’t be the only way reality happens. A seemingly obvious truth, but one I had never been exposed to.

Therapy helped me build boundaries around how I allowed others to treat and talk to me. It woke me up to what was actually happening in my relationships. Along with other modalities I will get to later, I began to shift from my people pleasing habit, “of course I will do what you want” person to someone who didn’t always say yes to things I didn’t want to participate in.  

No is a complete sentence and is a word I am allowed to use.

I learned that relationships are a dance of behaviors between two people. And once that dance is learned, it should be an easy transition from step to step. Relationships should be easy. If they are hard there’s something amiss. Therapy helped me target what was missing.

I began slowly to live inside a more confident body which allowed me to walk through the world with more confidence. My confidence kept expanding as I began to question and shift what I held to be true about my life.

Therapy wasn’t all about my mind, my body had to integrate the information I was feeding it. Therapy taught me that my repressed emotions had begun wreaking havoc on my behavior, my attitude, my physical health, and created unhealthy acts of desperation to maintain a perceived and unhealthy relationship that wasn’t worth maintaining.

Changing wasn’t easy and lifelong engrained habits are hard to break. Culture still builds walls I need to examine and choose to live within, climb, or break down. But therapy introduced me to a different and fulfilling way of living and I can’t look back.

Therapy wasn’t the scary demon I made it out to be. It was a neutral third party with an educated and informed view of human behavior. A therapist can validate my behavior and/or give me help to examine behaviors I am willing to work on and change. Therapy is a way to get help managing life, which for many of us, isn’t easy to get through.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.