This Blog has kindly been written by a client of mine, whose therapy recently came to an end. Matt wanted to share his story, so that other males feel empowered to ask for help with their own struggles. Matt explains in this Blog, how he struggled for many years as a young male experiencing difficulties with his own mental health and how reaching out for support through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, helped him in moving forward to build a healthier and happier life for himself. A huge thank you to Matt for doing this and I hope anyone reading this, feels empowered to do the same.
Therapy at first feels like you are giving up, like you are admitting defeat and that you aren’t strong enough to deal with your issues by yourself. There’s certainly a pressure to feel like I need to be self-sufficient, to show weakness is to be shunned by others or not worthy in some way. I think that's why I found it to be really difficult to start going to therapy and why it took so long for me to eventually go. I don’t think I’m alone in having felt like that before, feeling like you aren’t worth fixing or that “this is normal and I need to get over it myself”.
I spent quite a few years from my late teens to mid 20s trying to fix myself, I could tell early on that something wasn’t right, I believed I was deficient or less of a person then other people, and that it was all down to me to figure things out, on my own. It was like an overwhelming feeling of responsibility for myself, it wasn’t anyone else's problem to fix but mine. I think this perspective is what drives a lot of people, guys in particular, into feeling even more depressed, anxious and/or suicidal.
The thing is, there’s far too many reasons for why you think and behave the way you do that it’s extremely unfair to put the burden of responsibility all on yourself. Are you going to be responsible for your genetics, upbringing as a child or every-time something bad happened to you or somebody you care about? As humans we have been given this complicated bit of biological machinery, the brain, without instructions on how this machine works, nor have we been told how it can break or how to maintain and look after it. We can certainly try to fix a car without knowing anything about vehicle repairs but we are likely not going to get very far without help, why would we treat something as complex as the brain differently?
It’s possible to make progress on your own, to learn how this stuff works for yourself, there's quite a lot of good books, videos and other stuff out there that really can help and get started on feeling better. There is a substantial benefit though to having somebody there to open up and talk to about the things that really bother you. Therapy helps to get an outside perspective and guidance, building up the self-esteem and control that makes you truly self-sufficient. You aren't weak for needing help from somebody else any more then you are weak for relying on farmers for food, we are social creatures, it’s in our nature.
Starting therapy may feel not worth the time, or that its just not for you or that you don’t have it in you to get better. It really can feel intimidating, but if you do take the first step, you’ll find out how much better things can be.
Blog written By Matt (Aged 26)