Mental Health

Going for Therapy for the First Time at 32 Years Old

posted on September 25, 2020 | by Kelley Matney

Going for Therapy for the First Time at 32 Years Old

I have always been supportive of the idea of therapy. While therapy can be a stigmatizing or taboo topic for many, to me it seemed like a benign matter that was nobody’s business. I still remember when I was in my early twenties and one of my friends shared with me that she had started seeing a therapist. I encouraged her efforts in self-improvement. Luckily, she was very eager to share her experiences with me; before that everything that I knew about the topic came from television therapists like those seen on Grey’s Anatomy, Frasier, and The Sopranos.

But therapy was great for other people but just not for me.

Do I Really Need Therapy?

The idea of going to therapy popped up in my life a couple of years ago, when I was having a bad year, being forced to deal with a series of stressful life events one right after the other and I was not coping well. Luckily, I had supportive friends and family who were always there to lend an ear or a shoulder to lean on.

But after several months of being my sounding board and place to vent, one of my friends suggested I go to therapy. She said that while she was always there for me to talk, she could tell my anxiety was getting the best of me and that it might be helpful for me to have someone better equipped to offer actionable advice to better cope with my stress.

Again while always having seen therapy as a positive exercise I fell into a very common line of thinking; it’s the idea that therapy is for people who have experienced truly traumatic events, for people who have problems way worse than mine, and who can’t figure things out on their own.

It Wasn’t A Short Journey

That was over a year ago. There were many obstacles to me finally taking the plunge and going to my first appointment; things like cost, accessibility, fear, you name it! Therapy is definitely a privilege that many don’t have access too, it is expensive and it can be difficult to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with, that let alone is accepting new patients. I jumped at the chance to use these obstacles as an excuse as to why therapy wasn’t for me.

What Finally Changed?

Two things finally convinced me to follow through and make an appointment. First, I found a therapist that worked within my budget. This is a big hurdle, luckily there are a lot of options out there for you, see if your insurance covers it, ask therapists about their sliding scale for payments, or look into the Open Path Collective. The second thing that convinced me to finally start seeing a therapist was the global pandemic. I was already at my breaking point anxiety wise before everything changed several months ago, but, then COVID hit and it all went haywire. The tiniest inconveniences or setbacks would wreck me emotionally and ruin my whole day. Doing simple tasks for my job was so emotionally draining I would break into tears after (or while) completing them.  I was a wreck and I knew it was finally time to stop avoiding it and get help.

One Month Later

It has been a little over a month since I started going to therapy and I won’t say that I instantly saw a difference – I think it will take several more sessions for there to be any real improvement. It takes time to get comfortable with your therapist, but I am getting to the point where I am looking forward to my sessions and I find that hour with her incredibly freeing and restorative.  

We all have things we need to work on, destructive thinking that prevents us from being our best selves. If you have the resources to make it happen, I no longer think therapy is only for people with monumental problems, I have officially joined the ‘everyone would benefit from therapy’ bandwagon.

Have you ever considered going to therapy? If yes, what is stopping you from giving it a try?