Marija Mandic

6 Things You Learn When You Return To Therapy After Years Of Not Going

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As a freshman in college, I was urged to seek therapy by one of my soccer coaches after they noticed I was depressed.

I had never really been depressed before this, but I took their advice, hesitantly, and went to our in-house athletic counselor.

From that day forward, I would visit multiple therapists at multiple stages in my life.

Some days, I hated it. I still felt hopeless afterwards.

But most days, I felt like the weight of the world was finally off my shoulders. I felt lighter and more self-aware.

Early in college, I went to therapy for depression. Later in college, I went to therapy for an eating disorder spurred by my parent's divorce. Post-college, I went to therapy after getting out of an abusive relationship.

Yep, I've had my fair share of shitty situations, and therapy has always been my saving grace.

I've always struggled with relationships and dating. (A lot of people do, right?) So after my last relationship, I went to therapy on a weekly basis.

And then, after a certain amount of time, I found my footing and thought I could navigate life on my own. I went back every once in a while, but I felt like I had the right tools to work with.

After feeling a heavy weight in my most recent relationship, I got back on board with therapy.

And so, I've learned quickly that you're never truly done growing:

1. Self-discovery is never-ending.

For the longest time, I felt like once I knew who I was and where I was going, things would just… be.

Well, shit happens, people disappoint you and you keep growing. It's amazing how much you find out about yourself that you never knew before with the help of therapy.

And sometimes, you realize you're not living the life you want.

You know what? You get to decide how you want to live it, and that's pretty amazing. Therapy can help you find that path, or at least the steps to get there.

2. You should be kinder to myself.

I once heard a piece of advice that really stuck with me in regards to self-talk: If you wouldn't say it to your friend, don't say it to yourself.

You are kind to your friends when giving advice or help, right? Well, it's time you also use that kindness on yourself.

Therapy helped me realize that although I have things I need to work on, I am only human, and we all make mistakes. It's how you pick yourself up after those mistakes.

So, be kind to yourself.

3. You are not just your problems.

I am my hobbies, my friendships, my hopes and my dreams. I have my fair share of demons and baggage, but that's not all of me.

In fact, that's just a small piece.

4. You can change.

It might take baby steps, but change is possible. The secret is, you have to want to change, and you have to be committed to the change.

It isn't overnight that you can change the habits you've built over time. But again, be gentle with yourself, and take it one day at a time.

5. You will mess up again.

Oh yes, you will mess up. You will have those doubts again that you never wanted to have. You will question everything.

And, you will certainly think things seem impossible. But, think back on that heartbreak you never got through, or that time in your life when you didn't think you'd make it through.

Well, you're here, so you definitely rose above.

6. You'll tell everyone about therapy and how awesome it is.

I find myself telling everyone I talk to how helpful and meaningful therapy has been for me. I am a fairly open book, and I find that no matter what someone is going through, therapy can be an amazing tool to help you.