It is not easy to go through therapy.

Let me skip all the mental debates of whether or not we should go seek for help from a psychologist. That is a whole other chapter in itself. It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that I have a mental illness and professional help will be beneficial for my recovery. Let’s also assume that your insurance will cover for the $190 per hour expenses and you can take time out of the never ending chores to bring yourself into a Psychologist office once a week.

With all the above assumptions, it is still not any easy process. As far as I can remember, I have already changed 6 different psych-doctors. I call them psych-doctors because they have different titles: psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health counselor, and psychotherapist. Every time changing a psych-doctor, I need to restart the process of telling my story which triggers a lot of buried pain. Gradually, my story became more and more concise since I am bored of telling them over and over again. Sometimes, I don’t even know what story I should tell. I understand that the bullying from Grade 3 to Grade 11, the high expectation from my parents and the cheating from my ex boyfriend all had contributed to my depression and anxieties. I have also learned through all the self-help books that I can “control” my mood by eating healthy, regular workouts and treat-myself from time to time. But, I know that I am still not ok.

Periodically, I will go into weeks of dark times. But my appointments with the therapist don’t always go in sync with my depression cycle. My previous psych-doc ran into the conclusion that I do not have depression. “You just need to chill.” She said. “Try aiming for 80% instead of 120% all the time.” Yes, I agree. Just one small issue, I don’t know how. My mind are wired to aim for 120% in order not to disappoint my Asian parents. Deep down, I knew that I am still a failure in my mom’s eyes because I have never got a Master degree. I cannot simply “chill” with my brain conditioned to constantly looking for signs of betrayal after trusting my ex for 10 years and catching him in bed with my friend. Things are not as straightforward as it seems, unfortunately.

A few suggestions:

  1. Don’t give up hope for seeking help and getting yourself better. If you didn’t get a psych-doctor that fits your style, change one instead of giving up on therapy.
  2. If you are a psych-doctor, tell your receptionist to care a little bit more. It already takes a lot of efforts for us to pick up the phone with all the background noise of doubt, guilt, self-blame, and other negative emotions. Don’t just mindless reply with “sorry we don’t offer weekend appointments”. Maybe add something like:”Thank you for reaching out. How about this time? Let’s make something work.” It helps a lot by caring, surprise!
  3. Please understand that there is a cultural factor in dealing with mental illness. As shocking as it might sound, it is normal and culturally accepted for parents to get overly involved in their adult children’s life, especially most of them have only one kid due to the single-child policy in China.

Anyway, I am going into another therapy session now. Fingers-crossed.

Stay hopeful SISTAR~

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