I believe every one of us should go to to mental therapy at some point in our lives. And it has nothing to do with the fact that 20% of us are on anti-depressants or some other form of mental health drug. (OK, maybe it does a little.) But the fact is, we all have problems. We all have baggage. And we could all use someone to periodically tell us that we are “normal”. Especially this time of year.
Even though I am not clinically depressed or anxiety-ridden (although that does run in my family), I have a life coach who I meet with once a month. She’s not a licensed psychologist, but she might as well be because she has helped me more than any other mental health professional ever has. The biggest gift that she gives me is the permission to feel the way I do about certain things. Instead of feeling guilty about some family differences, or ashamed for not doing more for others, or like I have to put on a happy face and pretend that everything is great all the time, she allows me to say that some parts of life are just “shit” and it’s OK to be pissed at certain people or not want a relationship with certain others. It’s OK to not be happy at a job when I was making a lot of money. And it’s OK to quit something, start over and keep trying until I everything and everyone in my life “feeds” me in a healthy and positive way.
Through all of this, my life coach has helped me weed through a lot of crap and get to a place where I am honest with myself about what makes me happy. I am more centered, more grounded and more in-tune to what works for me in life than ever before. And that’s a gift everyone should give themselves. We could all use permission to feel the way we do and to know that we don’t always have to suck it up and pretend that we’re that smiley emoticon at the end of our emails.
To find a good therapist in your area, you can start your search here. You should also ask around. Ask your friends if they have recommendations. Don’t be embarrased or shy about it–this is how we keep ourselves mentally fit. Also, check with human resources at your job to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program. Often times, these programs cover a certain number of free visits to a select list of therapists. And finally, check with your insurance company to see if they cover mental health therapy and who is on their list of providers.
But most importantly, feel free to switch around. If you meet with a therapist who doesn’t seem to “get” you and you feel judged or uncomfortable in any way, try another one. The goal is to align yourself with a great coach who can give you permission to feel the way you do and then help you identify what really feeds you in life.
Is there a better Christmas present than that? I don’t think so.