Zia Hassan

When To See A Therapist

+++ title = “11” date = 2019 +++

I had lunch with a friend recently and mentioned that I was seeing a therapist.

“A therapist? Why? Are you depressed?”

The truth is, I didn’t decide to see a therapist because I was depressed. It was because we just had a child. I wanted to know my own mind so I could be the most effective parent possible.

Every couple weeks, my therapist and I meet to examine my life: my biases, my quirks, my challenges, and my wins. My anxiety was already declining when I began seeing her and I’ve never been depressed (other than some acute episodes). In examining my life, I get to uncover some really important features of my mind that I didn’t know about before.

For instance, my need to skip sadness and go directly to anger. Becoming aware of this lifelong feature empowered me to decide to try a different way of thinking. I realized that our thinking patterns are like dirt paths. If you’re walking in a field and see a dirt path, chances are you’ll walk on it just for a sense of direction. The same goes with our mind: if we have an established thought process, it’s the easiest and only known route to take, so we take it.

But that path was created by our minds to begin with. There are infinite paths to take. Therapy can help us see that, which creates a new world of possibility within us.

I saw an Instagram post that said seeing a therapist when you’re depressed should be the same as seeing a doctor when you have the flu. I don’t see it this way. I see the therapist as I see a fitness coach. They watch your form, they give you feedback, and then it’s on you to practice and make it happen. Preventative instead of reactive.

That’s how we change the stigma. Not by looking at our mental health the way we look at a broken arm. But by looking at it as practice for healthy interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships.