Within the office walls of a woman named Shelly, I met myself for the first time. I was fifteen and just beginning a slow and steady walk underneath the surface to find the shards of shattered glass I had unknowingly embedded there. The blades looked like the effects of divorce, distorted self-image, an eating disorder, and your run-of-the-mill teenage rebellion. They cut into pieces of my spirit that changed who I was becoming.
Across from her chair, I learned to cultivate purpose and meaning from these experiences, how to respond to the chaos in a way that created a person I was proud to be, and to shed “victim mentality”, while holding hands with grace to meet real freedom for the first time. I ugly cried, a lot, but ultimately left the weight of these very real challenges in her office to live my life in freedom with hope in the future.
I felt a ton of shame when I started going to therapy. My narrow, teenage view thought this type of help was reserved for people who were really messed up. A note to that little lady: we’re all a little messed up, sweets.
Now, therapy has become a process I revisit to come home to myself through all the windy and twisty ways life can lead me away from this internal haven.
When I began to seek therapy, I needed two things. The first was a trusted voice of reason to tell me that going to therapy was beautiful and brave; that if I continued to follow this bravery, I would live a life of purpose, impact, and authenticity. I thought it was a crutch I needed because I was weak, but in reality, it was a strengthening gateway toward a truer self. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone. The second was an outline of how to find the right therapist, along with additional resources to aid me in my process of healing. My goal in writing this is that it is both of those for you. Here are a few resources to help get you started:
This is one of the largest digital platforms talking about mental health today. The site covers every topic from addiction, diet, philosophy, and everything in between. It also helps get you connected to therapists in your area. Psychology Today takes the taboo out of the topic of mental health. Through copious lenses, it shows the faces and perspectives of those who have experienced mental health challenges, or are professionals working in the field. If you’re looking to get connected to a therapist, this is an awesome place to start. Pick 3-5 profiles that you connect with right away and contact them to get to know them better.
Headspace is a digital platform that provides guided meditation for its users. The app is free and extremely accessible, offering variety from one-minute guided meditation sessions, 10-minute guided meditations, and specific series geared toward anxiety, relationships, rest, and more. It’s free to download and use, and easy to implement into daily life. Co-founder and narrator of the sessions on the app, Andy Puddicombe, gave a Ted Talk about the positive effects of meditation and how it changed his life. Check it out here!
Much like Headspace, Talkspace is a digital platform for mental health, but is geared more specifically toward conversation. What’s really cool about this app is that they partner with companies focused on emphasizing the importance of mental health to their employees. Many working professionals are signing up for their online therapy sessions with licensed psychologists to get the help they need without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.
This is a mental health and self-care podcast that serves as a platform to have conversations about family, friends, work, mental health, love, and literally everything else. Best buds Sally Tamarkin and Katherine Heller answer listener questions honestly and sometimes humorously. Listening to them really does make you feel like you’re connected to them on a friendship level. Climb aboard and get advice from two friends who have lots of feelings and lots of opinions.
So, you heard it here that it’s true: we are all beautiful when light shines through. You will find healing in the form of connection, grace, and time. Therapy will almost certainly will feel like a street fight. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll hate it at first if you’re new to ugly crying and actually resolving conflict like I was. But through the process, you will hear yourself. You will know the sound of your own voice. You will come home from the inside out and you will recognize the life you’re creating. It will hurt. It will feel amazing. It will feel like everything all at once. So step into the light, pick out the shards of glass, and stand in the victory and simultaneous street fight of vulnerability. You will be proud that you did.
Photos by: Eun Creative