There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy

I behave like any other normal person so therapy should be out of the question, right?

I wouldn’t wish an anxiety disorder on my worst enemy. Recently, I woke up and my heart was instantly racing. I couldn’t explain why I felt anxious, I simply did. I spent the whole day trying to calm down but as I laid down listening to music, I could still feel my heart thumping loud in my ears.

Breathing is a useful technique, but every time I tried to take a deep breathe my lungs didn’t feel large enough to take in the air I needed. This disorder has no logic and it doesn’t help when people don’t believe me.

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when I was 16-years-old. After dealing with anxiety attacks for weeks, I went to my doctor and explained my situation. I couldn’t handle it anymore and I genuinely thought I was going crazy. I was referred to a psychologist and began therapy for a year.

It’s normal for people to experience stress in their day-to-day life: you miss a bus, you’re cutting it short on a deadline, you’re dealing with personal issues, etc. But when you have an anxiety disorder, everything makes your heart race.

You’re constantly on edge waiting for the worst to happen. Your body tingles and your hands get sweaty simply thinking about your name getting called during attendance.

I’m considered a high functioning person dealing with a mental illness. It’s true, having an anxiety disorder is a mental illness. There are people in my life who refuse to accept this. It’s not normal to have your body go out of control when it becomes severely overwhelmed by outside forces and negative thoughts.

When people find out I have an anxiety disorder, they look at me and tell me I look completely fine. I behave like any other normal person so therapy should be out of the question.

There have been other individuals who completely dismiss the importance of therapy and who say I’m making it all up, to “relax” because the real world is scary and everyone deals with anxiety.

Being high functioning means I can conceal my disorder well in public and it also means I’m aware of what my disorder makes me think/do. I know I freak out about trivial things but I can’t help it.

It’s completely okay to ask for help when you can’t handle it on your own. Therapy is amazing and has great benefits. My therapist was kind and patient. She helped me understand my thought process and guided me to solutions.

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve gone to therapy, they ask me what it’s like. The best description is, it’s like having your own talk show. It’s an hour long conversation about anything you want and an outsider gives their perspective with advice.

Therapy is not for crazy people. Therapy is for anyone who needs help. In this technologically advanced world, we’re constantly stimulated by everything around us. Everyone’s lives seem perfect on Instagram and we live in an unpredictable world where a reality star has become the Republic presidential candidate.

It’s an insane world out there and it’s important to realize we can’t always handle it on our own. There is strength in asking for help and therapy shouldn’t be laughed at, but instead advocated for.

I am more than my anxiety disorder. I continue to work hard towards my goals and nothing is going to stop me. After I decided to no longer go to therapy, writing and focusing on school became my main outlets. (I’ve written about my experience in greater detail.)

I’m an ambitious woman who isn’t going to let her anxiety hold her back in any aspect of life. I wouldn’t be the same person without this anxiety disorder and my time in therapy.