A certain stigma exists around therapy, leading many high schoolers who are in need of help to worry about the judgment they will face if they seek assistance. Having been in therapy herself, junior Grace Billman has faced some of this discrimination in her own life.
“People who haven’t experienced [therapy,] don’t know the positive effects — [they] think of going to therapy as negative because you’re admitting that you have a problem,” Billman said. “I think it’s a strength because you’re admitting you need help, and you’re seeking that help to make yourself feel better.”
However, Billman hasn’t always viewed her therapy in such a positive light.
“At first, I kind of thought of it as a weakness,” Billman said. “I would tell my therapist ‘I don’t want people to say I’m weak for not being able to handle this on my own.’”
Eventually, Billman realized she was not wrong for seeking help but rather strong for admitting when help was needed.
“If you suffer quietly, it’s just going to go downhill from there,” Billman said. “I didn’t get help for a long time, and it just kept getting worse and worse.”
After persevering through comments and criticisms, Billman’s next step was to become more comfortable opening up to her therapist.
“There have been some things I didn’t mention to my therapist because I was embarrassed — I didn’t want her to judge me,” Billman said. “But that’s what she’s there for is to help me and not judge me. That was something I had to try and learn.”
Regardless of how other people view therapy, it has had a very positive impact on Billman’s life and even allowed her to conquer problems she never knew she had.
“I started going because I was having really bad anxiety for a while,” Billman said. “I actually got diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.”
Billman describes Generalized Anxiety Disorder as “having anxiety all the time” and having “different triggers for your anxiety.”
“It comes with different effects, too,” Billman said. “I went through a period of time of having panic attacks about once a week.”
Billman even felt as if she was “controlled by her own mind” due to relentless stress and anxiety.
“I would spend a lot of time in my head worrying constantly and not being able to get out of that,” Billman said.
Once she accepted her therapy and courageously moved past feelings of weakness or shame, Billman began to make significant progress toward a happier and better life.
“From when I started to now, the growth I’ve had in therapy has changed me a lot,” she said. “I definitely know how to handle my anxiety better and how to take care of myself.”
Therapy has also taught Billman countless life lessons and made her an overall better person.
“My therapist showed me how to stand up for myself and how to prioritize myself and my needs first, which has definitely helped me,” Billman said.
Therapy has had an immensely positive impact on Billman’s life, and she would recommend it to anyone feeling helpless.
“Now that I’m in therapy, I feel like I’m in control — I can live my life without constantly worrying,” Billman said. “I can calm myself down when I need to. I am a lot happier and more confident in myself.”