Song of Style

Why I Started Therapy and what I have learned

30 comments

Today is World Mental Health Day. I wanted to open up and share some of my own experiences with you guys surrounding mental health. I think the more transparent we are about our own struggles, the more we can encourage each other to be vulnerable and open with the people closest to us. It’s so important to ask for what we need, and admit that we are not always okay. I hope my story inspires you to take action if you’ve been feeling like you need to take a first step, but haven’t yet done so. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and that working through mental health issues is a journey.

For so long, I thought therapy wasn’t for me. I wasn’t suicidal anymore, I wasn’t hearing voices, and I know I’m not crazy. I’d often think, Why do I need to talk to someone and get help? Well, last year was tough for me. Without getting into too many details, I was at my lowest low, and so unhappy with life. And then that tough time passed, and I survived. I worked, did life, but then, fast forward to a couple of months ago: I noticed myself feeling down and mentally exhausted again. My best friend, Jared, has been telling me for months that I needed to see a therapist. I had heard a few of my other friends mentioning that they see a therapists, but I still didn’t feel like I needed to see one. I always felt like they were being dramatic. I didn’t see the benefit of it. I would think, So, I spend time telling a therapist my problems and the problems are still there, so how is therapy going to help me? Also, therapy is expensive and takes time. Most days, I don’t even have time to sleep 7 hours or go to the gym, or eat a meal that’s not rushed. How would I find time to find a therapist?

But, I realized that so much of my energy was going to making my readers and followers happy, and not making myself happy. The truth is, I spend much of my time alone. Sure, I have a “glamorous life” by society’s standards; however, with every job and lifestyle, there are pros and cons. I get to see so much, and meet such inspiring people, but it doesn’t allow me to build a solid base and foundation at home in LA. My boyfriend lives across the country. When I am in LA, I’m usually catching up on sleep and emails. That means I don’t have time to nurture my relationships with my family and friends here. Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing life and am so grateful for the gifts the world gives me daily, but I have struggles too. I had a pretty dysfunctional childhood, and I know I can push people away as a defense mechanism. I was seeing a lack of self care manifest in different ways in my personal life: challenges in my relationships, lashing out on loved ones, anxiety and stress that kept me up at night, and fear of the unknown.

It was time that I took some of my energy out of building a life for all of you to see, and put some into building a life for me to feel content and happy. So, last month I finally started therapy. (Honestly, this was only because Jared kept telling me I needed to see one. Since then, I have seen my therapist several times.)

Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

1. You don’t need to have a severe ‘mental health issue’ to go into therapy.

So many of us have issues that I often times, I feel like everyone is just crazy, and that is just life. You don’t have to wait until shit gets to it’s worst stage, or until you’re at your lowest point to see a therapist. You can choose to begin nourishing your life at any time. I believe strongly (now) that we can all benefit from talking to someone who isn’t biased. From my own experience, I’m understanding my actions better, why certain things give me anxiety or stress me out, and how to communicate better.

2. The problem is deeper: why understanding your childhood is important.

I didn’t realize how much certain events in my childhood impact the way I live today. The way I was raised, my parent’s divorce, and significant life events have definitely shaped who I am – but it goes so much deeper than that. Since I was very young, my family didn’t stay in one place for too long. Almost every three years, we moved houses, schools, etc. That definitely allows me to live this crazy lifestyle (I mean, I travel 300 days out of the year. When my friend Benita was on a trip with me to Paris during men’s fashion week – which wasn’t even that busy – she told me she couldn’t live my life because it was too hectic.) Having two working parents who were divorced and certain childhood traumas impacted my childhood, and I was forced to grow up faster. I had to learn to be independent and responsible. Because of this, I also have very high expectations from other people: expectations which are not always healthy. I’m learning that I cannot force people to be like me… if that makes sense? I mean, I’m still learning and discovering myself through therapy. I know now that I have a long way to go.

3. Therapy is an investment with a guaranteed return in investment.

Fuck, therapy is SO expensive. Depending on your insurance plan, you might get therapy covered or some portion of it covered. But I’m not going to lie: therapy is costly. However, it is self-care, and it’s an investment in yourself. I don’t drink alcohol or party. I have a gym membership, but like I take care of my body. Also, I know I need to take care of my mind and emotions. I’m investing in myself, and myself is the biggest asset I’ll ever have. Without a healthy mind, I won’t be able to do all the things I love and want to accomplish. Therapy is one of the best ways to improve myself, and I know further down the line, I’ll be making a return in investment because I’ll be a better version of myself.

I talked more about starting therapy here:

30 Comments

join the conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Oh Aimee, it broke my heart to see your post last year when you were feeling so low – because I identified with your pain so much. Why is it that we can’t stand to see other people suffering, but accept our own agony as something that we deserve? I, too, struggle with loneliness and have always felt like a ‘square peg in a round hole’. I’m trying to be kinder to myself, and make healthier choices – while I am a sleep fiend and do need lots of rest, I realise that I also use sleep as a way of shutting the world out and retreating further into my loneliness because it’s become comfortable, I guess. Change is so terribly hard, and I often feel like I don’t deserve the happiness of a good, close group of friends, or a secure and fulfilling job, or meeting and spending the rest of my life with my soulmate. I often feel like giving up. But then, every now and then, I’ll have a day (or a moment) where I’ll feel content. I hope I’ll have the courage to keep chasing those happy moments for a very long time to come. And I hope you will too xx

  2. Thank you for opening up on this and sharing. It’s amazing how therapy still has a bit of a stigma attached to it. You and your friend are right though, it is better to tackle something earlier, rather than letting it become a bigger issue. Self care is vital to be able to get on with anything else you can give to others.
    xx Jenelle | http://www.inspiringwit.com

  3. I’ve been toying with the idea of therapy- my work covers a few on the phone therapy sessions for free, so I figured I might try it out, even though I don’t have anything ‘wrong’ in my life, just going through some growing pains and this and that. Thanks for talking about it :)

    https://thedianaedition.com

  4. Does mental illness run in your family? Since you and your sister are both struggling with it. Thank you for your courage to make a stand! Girl power is everything

    • So inappropriate to talk like that. It’s clear you didn’t understand a single thing she wrote

  5. Thank you so much for talking about this, Aimee! I’ve been thinking about therapy for awhile now, but like you, I didn’t think it was “necessary” for me, but you brought up a good point – we shouldn’t wait until things are at their worst to try to fix them. Always inspired by how you open up and talk about more personal topics!

    XO, Elizabeth T.
    http://clothestoyouuu.com/

  6. Honestly, I know I need therapy and I am going to therapy and I know that I NEED therapy but I had trouble sticking with it. I keep going and then stopping for a while and then going back when things get to a point where I’m like ‘I need therapy right now’. My issues require therapy and I’ve neglected myself over and over again by not committing to it regularly. Finally, a few months back I hospitalized myself when I was feeling particularly bad and honestly, it was a great choice for me. It allowed me to find affordable and sustainable therapy because it introduced me to a dr that made sure I found a regular psychiatrist/therapist before that dr would stop seeing me. I found a resident psychiatrist that, as part of her training and as part of my ‘contract’ with her, I see every week for a minimum of 4 months (I think). I’ve been seeing her for at least 5 months now and I’m really glad that we always make sure to set that next appointment.

    So, basically, even when you are suffering from multiple mental illnesses (actually BECAUSE you suffer from multiple mental illnesses) like me, you keep thinking that it’s ok to ditch therapy and that you’re already doing better enough to not need it and that you can deal with things by yourself.
    Because I’ve stuck with it now for 5 months I actually am realizing new things that I wasn’t able to before and I have a weekly stress reliever with someone I’ve developed a trusting relationship with.
    You have to show up for it to work! Luckily it gets easier to show up because it becomes a habit!

    ❤️❤️ thanks Aimee for talking about this and make sure to give therapy it’s time to work it’s magic on you ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Aimee, thank you so much for sharing how you feel, it could not have been easy to open up like this, you are incredibly brave! I am happy to hear that therapy is really helping, like you say you are your best asset. I can relate to the moving around part as a child, it mucks you around so much, we were always moving, going from the UK to Australia every 6 months to 3 years.
    You truly are an inspiration for us all, but please look after yourself first. xx

    http://www.rediscoveringmystyle.com

  8. Pingback: Why I Started Therapy and what I have learned – Womens Fashion

  9. This is so inspiring and I relate to this so much…

    I grew up with many struggles such as poverty, being the only Asian kid in the whole school, being bullied because of it, and so much more. I haven’t had therapy yet, but I have learned to slowly talk about my problems to close friends… To me, mental health is just as important as physical health. Like going to the gym, I believe we need to regularly express ourselves in healthy ways to release and to further our understanding of self-awareness.

    Thank you for the personal post, Aimee. It’ll motivate me to open up more.

    With Love,
    Yuki

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. I went through a similar situation as a child having to grow up quicker due to parents’ divorces. Understanding your childhood is definitely important in discovering yourself and how it shaped your life.
    In the end, self-awareness helps so much in my opinion!

    Wishing you the best,
    http://yumitime.com

  11. You have a very inspiring story. Self care is most important, totally agree. What I like the most is you don’t consume alcohol.
    Thank you for writing this inspiring article. Hope to read more of your writings. Best wishes for you future.

  12. Beautiful message! I appreciate your honesty and rawness with sharing your struggles and thoughts with us. I feel more connected, like I can related to you more so, when I read posts like this.
    While I don’t go to therapy, I confide in my closest friends and journal my thoughts and struggles. I will say, your childhood really really affects your adult life. I finally understand now my struggles and insecurities and where it came from. Parents too can impact your life in all the good and negative ways.
    I wish you the best of luck with your therapy journey!

    Tabitha
    https://coleann.com/