Therapize Me!

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I’m the type of person that strongly believes in preventative care. Want to lessen the odds of getting sick? Eat healthy. Exercise. In theory, the more of an effort I make to take care of myself now, the less the chance that I’ll need medications down the road. Proactive, not reactive.


So it only made sense that decided to go back into therapy.  I say “go back to therapy” because I’ve sporadically seen therapists throughout my life, starting when I was 7 or 8, and my parents were getting a divorce.  Then, again in my teens and early 20s.  My close friends were a little surprised by my decision to go to therapy.  I’ve got it pretty good.  Very happy marriage, happy job.  But I decided it was a ‘preemptive strike’ against future strife.  There’s a lot of emotional upheaval going on in my life right now – not going to get into all the details here, but you bet that I’m counting having a baby and re-envisioning my role as a worker, wife, and friend in the mix.

As someone who has not only personally experienced depression before (side note: depression blows) but also has a history of depression in the family, I took a look at everything going on in my life and decided that I needed to get my butt to therapy ASAP.  I could feel a lot of the same symptoms creeping up on me – excessive worrying, insomnia, stressing out, picking fights.  Like I said – preemptive strike.  After all, depression has a ridiculously high relapse rate (perhaps 33 – 50%), and women are particularly vulnerable post-childbirth due to lifestyle changes, stress, and hormonal fluctuations.

I decided to seek out a therapist that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as I really wanted a therapist in Charlotte who would give me specific coping mechanisms v. just listening to me talk about stuff and saying “Uh huh, uh huh, how does that make you feel?”  Although the “uh huh” therapy can be very nice, I’ve got a few people in my life that I can vent to when needed; the problem is that all of these people approach giving me solutions via their own biases.  I needed to talk to someone who had no preconceived notions of who I am or how I feel.

One of the best examples of CBT in action was when we talked about my nervousness regarding natural childbirth.  Everyone has told me, “Don’t get your heart set on a certain birth plan; if it doesn’t happen, you’ll be so upset and the entire experience will be ruined.”  Hearing that only stresses me out more because 1) of course I have a way I want childbirth to go, and 2) people telling me I’m going to be disappointed because I feel the way I feel is upsetting.  My therapist and I talked about a time I thought someone would go one way and it ended up going another – actually, I’m using my horrific Wildman Olympic Triathlon lake freak-out as my example – and whenever I feel nervous about childbirth, I remind myself how the triathlon didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was wonderful anyway because I still finished. I do an entire visualization of the triathlon experience while deep breathing.  I can’t even tell you how helpful this particular exercise has been for me!

Anyway – I wanted to write this post because I really understand how strong the stigma of mental illness still is in our society, and I think that’s a shame.  Going back into therapy and admitting that I’ve struggled with depression doesn’t mean I’m a loser or my life is falling apart.  There’s nothing wrong with saying, “You know what? I need a little help,” whether your version of help is a ‘preemptive strike’ or ‘holy hell, I need my head screwed on straight this very instant or I’m going to explode.’  I also wanted to write about it because being proactive instead of reactive has been incredibly empowering for me.  I could clearly look at the next few months and see many scenarios in which I would just meltdown – why keep barreling towards that grand finale when I could do something about it right now?

So, all of that being said, it feels good to take care of every bit of me.  Not just by eating right and movin’ my bod, but figuring out what’s going on in my head and heart, too.  And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.  And a thing worth sharing.



  • Christine @ BookishlyB April 23, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I think the biggest issue with therapy is finding someone that works with your personality. I went once in college because I was extremely homesick and stressed and the lady wasn’t helpful at all, so I quit after one session (this actually worked great; I figured I needed to help myself so I would never have to talk to her again). A few years ago I was feeling similar a little antsy with life but was then overwhlemed by finding a person. My doctor recommended someone, but so what? She really doesn’t know me. Failed attempt number two. Luckily I don’t feel the need now, but who knows in the future. What do you suggest for finding a match?

    • Clare April 23, 2012, 5:31 pm

      I’m a therapist and I’ve been to a few therapists, some were great, others not so great. I’d recommend using – click on “find a therapist”. You can narrow your search by specialization, geography, whether or not they take insurance, etc. and also see a picture and read a bio. I think that’s helpful because you can get an idea of what the person’s theoretical/treatment orientation is (psychodynamic, CBT, eclectic, holistic, etc) and what they are like before meeting them. I’d encourage you to talk about your past experiences with therapists with your new therapist in the first session because it can help give them an idea of what you’re looking for/what you didn’t like. I always ask my clients about prior therapy experiences and it has always helped build rapport. Good luck!

      • Christine @ BookishlyB April 23, 2012, 5:46 pm

        Good to know if the time every comes! It’s so much more personal that a dentist or optometrist 🙂

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:30 am

      My suggestion is to talk to friends and family members who have seen therapists and see if you can get a recommendation… of course, this involves telling people you are interested in therapy. So this might not work for everyone. However, this is how I found my therapist. A friend said, “I know someone who would be PERFECT for you,” and she has been. I think Clare’s thoughts below are really wise, too. .

      • Alisha April 24, 2012, 11:51 am

        I’d also perhaps recommend examining your expectations. Usually, it takes at least a few sessions for a genuine rapport to start building and usually the first session is a “getting to know you session” (versus a real therapy session). Sure, sometimes two people just don’t click. But, it could also be that you aren’t really giving the relationship a chance to develop.

  • Julia H. April 23, 2012, 3:18 pm

    While I still read all my favorite blogs (yours included), I took a break from commenting on them months ago…but feel compelled to comment on this one because of how absolutely happy I am that you wrote it. First of all, props to you for not being afraid of the stigma that goes with therapy (I am in agreement that this stigma is ridiculous & shouldn’t exist in the first place). Second, props to you for taking the initiative in your health/happiness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with therapy (from personal experience, I, too, can say it rocks). I think it’s important to send people the message that you don’t have to be at rock bottom or suffering from extreme issues to go to therapy–anybody can go at any time. Thank you again for writing this post!

  • Angela April 23, 2012, 3:57 pm

    I needed to hear this today (along with the comments) – thank you for writing this. I’m currently in a transition phase in my life… things are pretty good but a lot has changed for me in the last year and I’m realizing that as one gets older I’m focusing more on the ‘stress’ of change rather than the fun and excitement of it. I would also be interested if you have any insights about how to find a therapist.

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:31 am

      Good luck with your life transitions 🙂

  • Laura @ She Eats Well April 23, 2012, 4:46 pm

    Thanks for writing this post. I am a huge believer in therapy and I think the hardest part of it is finding a therapist you like. People get impatient and give up too soon; sometimes it takes a few therapists before you find one you click with.

    I have struggled with depression too and try to keep very in tune with myself if I feel symptoms creeping up. For me, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle aka endorphins really help keep me sane. I recommend therapy to everyone ha, seriously, I think it can be so beneficial. So re: your post a few days ago about creating global rules – I think a global rule should be everyone goes to therapy and it’s free :).

  • Allison April 23, 2012, 4:49 pm

    Wonderful post!

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove April 23, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the rocking post! I work in public mental health for people with severe mental illness (Schizophrenia, Bi-polar, etc) and my dad suffers from Schizophrenia, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting it out there that depression/mental health issues are nomal and can be treated!

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:32 am

      Thank you for your work – it’s very important.

  • Peach April 23, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Props for going to therapy, I’m a huge fan and advocate and I don’t think a person needs to justify it.
    Regarding this “Don’t get your heart set on a certain birth plan; if it doesn’t happen, you’ll be so upset and the entire experience will be ruined.” , that’s actually not true. Typically, it’s not so much about following the exact birth plan that results in a positive birth, it’s more about how you are treated and talked to and that you are allowed a voice in the decision making of any interventions.

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:32 am

      Agree with your statements re: treatment.

    • Alisha April 24, 2012, 11:52 am

      love this idea!

      I must admit, I get a bit defensive when people tell me not to come up with a birth plan because I’ll just be upset. I never know what to say in response to that!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 23, 2012, 4:56 pm

    I think therapy can be a great thing! I’ve tried a few myself but they were all the “uh huh, uh huh, and how does that make you feel?” types and I REALLY didn’t like it. Both times I quit after a few sessions because they weren’t getting me anywhere and annoying the mess out of me! I really should find someone specializing in CBT! Lol well when I can afford to…

  • Cindy April 23, 2012, 5:01 pm

    It is funny you posted this today, b/c I finally talked to my GP about how my current meds weren’t working. She suggested CBT in addition. My main fear is that at almost 37, I am so set in my brain I am unsure if all the therapy in the world can fix 36 years of self loathing and issues. I’m actually quite terrified.

    • Brita April 23, 2012, 5:52 pm

      Don’t be scared 🙂 You’ve taken the biggest, hardest step there is: admitting that you need some extra help. Depression is a total liar, it’s trying to tell you that you can’t be helped… well, I call bull, from someone who HAS been helped when I thought there was no way in hell I could be.
      You’ll be fine. I’m rooting for you!

      • Stephanie C April 23, 2012, 7:45 pm

        Couldn’t have said it better myself 🙂
        As a psychotherapy trainee and someone who has been in therapy off and on since I was 20, yes it’s hard to change, but it’s worth it!

  • Kendra April 23, 2012, 5:01 pm

    Caitlin, I’m so glad that you shared this! I feel the exact same way about therapy. It is a tool that I use to bring balance to my life as a full-time working mom and I find I am better in all facets of my life because of it. I use it to learn how to be my “authentic self” and not a version of myself that I have become very good at tailoring for others. I too have a great life and an outsider looking in would wonder what in the heck I have to be depressed about, but it is not something that they need to understand. Therapy is not for anyone other than you. Enjoy it and I hope you get from it what you hope to. Also, if you are interested, here is my little story

    Thanks again for your post!

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:33 am

      Great post!

  • Alex @ Alex Eats Green April 23, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Thunderous applause for this post! I think it’s very hard for some people to understand why therapy is so important. There is definitely a misconception about it – that it’s this super clinical, cold experience, when really it’s just chatting away to a non-judgmental audience. It’s incredible how helpful it is, and what you can discover in some of those sessions (such as tools to help deal with anxiety). I am a different person (for the better) from my year in therapy, and I truly believe that everyone should give it a shot.

  • Christy April 23, 2012, 5:04 pm

    Good for you on being proactive! After I had my son I had severe postpartum, but had no idea until my sister in law said something to me. And now, being months out of it, I can look back and see how bad it really was. Now planning for my second baby, I am more aware and can take immediate action if necessary. Yes, crying is normal after you have a baby, but not for months! 🙂 Good luck!

  • Moni Meals April 23, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Caitlin… You are so incredibly fantastic, brave, intelligent, and powerful to write this. I am so happy you are taking care of yourself and encouraging others(as ususal!!) to do the same. you are offically amazing and good for you. There is nothing wrong with therapy and I feel people who judge people who see a therapists, well they are the most far down the rabbit hole as you can get. Just sayin. Hang in there!!


    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:35 am

      Thank you Moni.

  • Liza April 23, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Caitlin, I was just coming to your blog today to see if you’d posted this yet. I was excited to read a few weeks ago that you were planning a post on it. And, here it is, on what has been a particularly hard day for me. For the first time in my life, ever, I’m considering seeing a therapist. I am nervous. But, like you said, I want to talk to someone who won’t advise me with any bias. That’s so true and important. Thank you for posting this… I think I will go ahead and take the first step, even though the thought of calling and making an appointment has me welling up with tears (even as I write this!) I just think I’m at a point in my life where I do need it. I’m looking forward to reading the comments on this post. Thank you so much. 🙂

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:37 am

      Don’t be nervous 🙂 Its fun to to talk about yourself for an hour straight. Hah 🙂 Good luck.

  • clare @ fittingitallin April 23, 2012, 5:10 pm

    LOVE THIS. I too battled depression and saw a therapist, and fully believe that EVERYONE can benefit from therapy no matter how “Great” their life is. Good for you!!

  • Emily April 23, 2012, 5:11 pm

    My job revolves around getting people to be proactive and go to therapy, so thank you for putting this out there. I think you’d like this post.. it’s very similar to this one!!

  • Maggie @ Running on Fro-Yo April 23, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Caitlin, your blog is one of the first I started reading a few months ago (right around when baby HTP went into the oven!) and I love it. I have never commented but after reading this post I just have to! I love that you are so open and honest about everything but ESPECIALLY something like this which carries such a ridiculous stigma. I have been in CBT for on and off for a few years and I love it! I am very type A so it is way too easy for me to be constantly overwhelmed and stressed. I think you’ll really like CBT 🙂

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery April 23, 2012, 5:17 pm

    It’s really brave of you to share this, Caitlin. I think that’s a really smart idea and I hope the CBT works out for you. It can be really helpful.

  • Sara April 23, 2012, 5:23 pm

    i don’t comment often and just started reading your blog a few months ago, but i’ve found it a source of sophisticated (but really fun!) conversation about many issues regarding health, lifestyle, and wellness (that aren’t just banal ‘i ate oatmeal this morning’ food blogs) that is open, honest, and intelligent – and this post is just another reason to like it!

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:40 am

      Thank you for reading!

  • Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real April 23, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Caitlin, thanks for being honest and open in this post. Depression & therapy are usually what I call “closet topics” as in keep them hidden in the back of the closet and don’t discuss them with friends. I have a history of depression in my family (my father) and never acknowledged that it could affect me later in life. Earlier this year I started seeing a counselor for anxiety issues (reactive to my issues with insomnia, over-scheduling, not spending quality time with family). It is liberating to share my experience with friends now who knew that I was suffering but were afraid to speak up about it. Through therapy sessions and a trial of medication, I am learning to deal with my anxiety in much healthier ways. Thanks again for using your blog as a way to reach others with this sensitive topic.

  • Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not April 23, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Your honesty right now is fantastic. It takes a lot of guts to say that to thousands of readers. Therapy is amazing but so many people don’t understand it. Thanks for putting one more positive message about its benefits out into the universe 🙂

  • Hillary April 23, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Going to see a therapist has been on my to-do list since I was in college—we’re talking nearly a decade here. I have a list of referrals from great friends whom I trust, but I just never bite the bullet and make the appointment. Like you, depression runs very, very high in my family, and I have a lot of crap to sort out before I get married and take the next steps in my life. Time to check it off my list, huh?

  • Kellie April 23, 2012, 5:28 pm

    I have OCD and depression. The hormones from and after pregnancy caused my symptoms to sky-rocket. I did CBT and it really is great. I think that this is the perfect time for you to start therapy. For me I have to take medicine, practice my CBT, exercise and eat well to handle my condition. I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone, but it has made me a more empathetic person and more understanding.

    • Caitlin April 24, 2012, 10:40 am

      That is a positive way to look at it 🙂

  • Michelle April 23, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. It gave me the courage to pick up the phone and make an intake appointment for counseling. I am on the brink of some big life changes (finishing grad school, moving across the country, taking a relationship long-distance) and have been really struggling to handle it all. I’ve been contemplating therapy but felt silly giving it a try while I can still manage everything. I think you’re right that a preemptive strike may be a logical step. Best of luck to you 🙂

  • allison April 23, 2012, 5:34 pm

    I think everyone could use a little therapy! Glad you’re going! I need to get back 😉

  • Johanna B April 23, 2012, 5:35 pm

    I’m proud to be a reader of your blog. I have suffered repeated bouts of depression since I was 15. I went through several severely suicidal periods. Now, I’m so much better but I stay in touch with my therapist. We do “tune-up” appointments periodically when I feel a need or just to keep in touch. There is a stigma but I strongly believe in good therapy. It’s worth seeking out.

  • Mel April 23, 2012, 5:36 pm

    I absolutely love and appreciate your honesty. I have a family history of mental illness and have felt the effects of depression in the past too. (It blows)

    I think you are absoutely right about there being a stigma against mental illness, depression, etc. People don’t seem to realize that mental illness’ strike from chemical imbalances in the brain. Sometimes people really can’t make themselves happy-even when they try!

    I’ve never sought out therapy, but will definitely keep the idea in mind if I ever felt like I needed it. I think the best thing people can do is admit that sometimes, they need help. Ain’t no shame in that!

    Thanks again for your refreshing honesty.

  • Marissa C April 23, 2012, 5:39 pm

    As the daughter of a CBT, good for you!

  • Kate April 23, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Thank you for this post Caitlin and for being so honest and brave. I went to therapy for a year when I was in college and then I stopped. Honestly, I think it’s time to go back. Do you have any tips on finding someone?

  • Rebecca April 23, 2012, 5:48 pm

    This post is very timely for me as I just took the “plunge” and called a counselor who specializes in infertility to help me through this difficult period in my life. Thank you for sharing your story with the world and letting everyone know that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Sometimes we just need a professional, unbiased, honest point of view to help us along this road of life.

  • car April 23, 2012, 5:50 pm

    thanks for posting this. i also come from a history of depression, and it’s comforting to read of others who do as well, and who handle it successfully. your blog has been really really awesome lately btw.

  • Emily April 23, 2012, 5:51 pm

    Caitlin, thanks for writing such a brave and wonderful post!! I am so grateful for you and other strong, public women who share openly and honestly their struggle with mental illness. As a future (graduating next month!!) therapist and a woman who suffers from anxiety and seasonal affective disoder, I wish there were more people out there working to decrease the stigma around mental health. I also loved that you spoke about using CBT therapy; its nice to know what clients are looking for and I am glad to see that people are shopping around for the “right” therapy for them 🙂 Best of luck to you on the next leg of your therapeutic journey; I’m sure you will come out stronger and feeling more secure 🙂

  • Becca @ Blueberry Smiles April 23, 2012, 5:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this post.

  • Sarah@WilliamsburgBaby April 23, 2012, 6:03 pm

    Yes! This! I don’t see a therapist, but my pregnancy has gotten me thinking about so many different things: my childhood, things I’d like to do differently, my relationship with my parents. It’s such a huge thing to imagine being a parent, I really feel like I’d like to have my mental ducks in a row (if such a things is possible.) As much as I feel prepared for parenthood, its such an emotional time and can bring up hurts you thought you’d long since overcome or put in the bottom drawer.

  • Samantha Bailey April 23, 2012, 6:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and loved it, and love it more for you sharing about depression and heading to CBT. I have struggled with mental illness, and since being pregnant know the increased fear and anxiety that it brings into ones life. CBT has done wonders for me and helping me to understand what is going on and giving me the right tools to deal with it. All the best!

  • Alex @ therunwithin April 23, 2012, 6:12 pm

    This is such an amazing post. Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of, I know it really saved me. I did both DBT and CBT, finding benefits in both. Thank you for sharing your experience, I know it is something I have grown to not be ashamed of and even embrace.

  • Lisa April 23, 2012, 6:15 pm

    I don’t get the stigma at all. I’ve been in therapy on and off since 14 and I think everyone on the planet could benefit from talk therapy. Analyzing our thought patterns and behaviors to have a better life is nothing to be ashamed about.

  • Sandra April 23, 2012, 6:17 pm

    Thank you for this post and calling out the stigma surrounding mental and emotional health maintenance.

  • Heidi April 23, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I think it’s great that you chose to share this because you’re right-thee is still a stigma attached to mental illness and I think the more people talk openly about it, the less of a stigma it’ll have. I think it’s so smart of you to be proactive and go back to therapy before the birth of your baby. I have also struggled with depression off and on since college and I found that after the birth of my 2 children-I struggled with some post-partum depression issues. (especially after my 2nd-probably because I had both a baby and a 2 year old to take care of at that point!) So I definitely think you are doing the right thing.

    And about the ideal birth plan-neither of my children were the result of an ideal birth. (both ended up being csections for different reasons) and while I was sad that my ideal plan didn’t work out, in the end I found that my happiness about having a healthy baby overshadowed any disappointment that I felt. So it was all good!

  • Rachel April 23, 2012, 6:24 pm

    I am glad you were upfront with your therapy and your past mental health issues! I dislike how society treats mental illness as if its not a real illness–the whole “its just in your head thing”–but the whole ‘in your head thing’ is much harder to battle than a physical thing, especially when you are often afraid to admit it and your battling yourself (and not a broken arm or a tangible thing). I think if more people were honest about their mental health and sought treatment, without the stigma against it, society as a whole would be better. I think it is much more dangerous when people try to hold it all in, rather than express their feelings to someone (a therapist, a friend, a teacher, etc.). It’s also important to realize that mental illness is a disease–you can’t just get over it; it takes serious work just like fighting off the flu or healing a broken bone. Thank you for putting it out there, and hopefully helping to make it more acceptable in society.

  • Sarah April 23, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Caitlin, I just want to say thank you for this post today. It’s timely and the push I need to find a therapist myself!

  • Lisa April 23, 2012, 6:28 pm

    That post was fantastic! I agree with you that there is a stigma associated with mental health and there shouldn’t be. I am also pro-therapy. My daughter started going when she was 7 and it has provided her – and me – with tools we can use forever. Good luck with the baby – my children are my biggest blessing 🙂

  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries April 23, 2012, 6:39 pm

    everything here is SO well said!! i couldn’t agree more. i honestly believe every and any person could benefit from therapy! no one has the perfect life and we all have things we need to talk out and deal with.

  • nicole April 23, 2012, 6:40 pm

    I LOVE this post! I think strong people know when to seek help, and even stronger ones admit it! Thank you so much for this one.

  • Lauren April 23, 2012, 6:48 pm

    As a clinical psychology grad student, I absolutely loved your post. I’m biased, but I obviously think that everyone should seek out therapy – especially during different types of seasons. I think you have wonderful reasons to go back to therapy. I hope that you find CBT helpful! (It also sounds like you could just use a more directive therapist, one that isn’t only humanistic, nondirective, or client-centered.)

    Thanks for sharing and adding to the decrease of the stigma!

  • Ali @SeeAliEatSeeAliRun April 23, 2012, 6:51 pm

    I appreciate this post for many reasons, but the biggest is that it’s so important to get rid of the stigma associated with asking for a little help!
    I went to therapy a few months before major hip surgery. I hadn’t been able to run for months and was living with daily pain. I was starting to just feel sad so instead of talking about incessantly with family or my partner, I went to the expert. And it helped me so much! I think you can go to therapy for any reason that is bothering you-it doesn’t have to be major mental illness.

  • Elle April 23, 2012, 6:54 pm

    This post is so uplifting! I’ve been “reading you” for a few months now, but, not knowing you in real life, I had a slightly different “image of you” – in a nice way, of course! I’ve been struggling with depression myself for a long while (and still at it), and reading this post today just gave me a nice kick! There I was thinking: look at this woman, look all the things she has accomplished – she’s an athlete, she’s a writer, she’s going to be a momma 🙂 – and sometimes she struggles just as you do: but she made it, and so can you! Thank you Caitlin!!

  • Melissa @TryingtoHeal April 23, 2012, 6:54 pm

    More power to you Caitlin. I got over the “therapy means there’s something crazy wrong with you” stigma when I started going over two years ago to mine who has helped me move mountains to recover from my eating disorder. Have that kind of help, and unbiased opinion about everything you want to talk about I felt, was amazing.

  • Whitney @ Fritter and Waste April 23, 2012, 7:12 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this! And huge props to all of your lovely readers for being so supportive and kind (I love reading all of the comments). It’s amazing to me that there is such a stigma against therapy when in fact it’s one of the best things you can do. Like you, I am a huge believer in preventive care. I went to therapy when I was a teenager and struggling with depression. My younger sister just started going a few months ago and I think she’s already starting to feel more calm and at ease. Cheers 🙂

  • Emily B April 23, 2012, 7:20 pm

    Good on you, Caitlin! I see a therapist every six weeks or so for a mental illness. Strength is not fighting all your battles alone, but knowing when to ask for help:)

  • Allie April 23, 2012, 7:22 pm

    I love that you are so open and honest! I agree, there is such a negative stigma attached to seeing a therapist and I think that is, indeed, a shame. I went to therapy for a year, just a few years ago, and I really feel like it changed my life – I learned so many things from my therapist and become better equip to handle life. I believe it is equally important to take care of your body and your mind. Thanks for sharing Caitlin!

  • Laura April 23, 2012, 7:23 pm

    Cheers to therapy! I’m a loyal reader, a practicing psychologist, and I adore YOU via your blog, Caitlin! You ROCK! I love all that you stand for and you inspire me. Wishing you a fabulous rest of the week.

    Three cheers for reducing mental illness stigma!

  • Laura @ Backstage Balance April 23, 2012, 7:24 pm

    Bravo, Caitlin – I appreciate this post for several reasons! One, thank you for being open with your readers about seeking out therapy. You are correct that there is a stigma that still exists, and it’s time for that stigma to get with the 21st century 🙂
    Two, my sister is a doctoral candidate for clinical psychology and I feel that it’s a very important area of science to be studied. It’s remarkable to me that she’s dedicated to this area as her life’s work.
    Lastly, I believe in therapy as it has helped me during various parts of my life. Depression is indeed a b*tch, and therapy has helped me deal with it in a non-medicated way.

  • Kate April 23, 2012, 7:40 pm

    Thank you so much for this. It is the healthiest of us who get therapy. I run a community mental health agency and you are right on target.

    You are an extremely strong woman and I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago.

    Thank you again.

  • MK April 23, 2012, 7:45 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, Caitlin! I’ve been in CBT off and on since I was 19 (23 now) to deal with life changes and to develop healthy coping mechanisms. It has helped me tremendously and I’ve always wondered why other people were skeptical of it. I thought “if I take care of myself physically then why not mentally?”. Anyway, it’s just really nice to know someone else looks at it this way too.

  • Erin April 23, 2012, 7:47 pm

    Thank you for writing this! I am graduating in three weeks with my Master’s in Counseling and am so thankful that you took the time to write about this need and the stigma. As someone that has gone and continues to go to counseling myself, along working in the profession for the past 2 years, I truly believe in the impact that therapy can have. I’m actually moving to Charlotte next month to after receiving an offer for a job after graduation. I was wondering if you would feel comfortable sharing any insights into the counseling practices there as I am looking for someone to aid me through this next transition process too. Thanks! And so glad that you’ve had such a wonderful experience!

  • jenna April 23, 2012, 8:00 pm

    🙂 your’e so encouraging and smart!

  • S April 23, 2012, 8:00 pm

    Bravo to you, Caitlin. As someone who’s totally not in the “healthy living” world (I actually write about mainly baked goods… and rich creamy recipes… and never about working out), I once had MANY healthy living bloggers on my blog roll. Partly because I knew some big ones in real life and partly because the 20-something food blogging world used to be a whole lot smaller. Well, I no longer read ANY of those blogs because I feel they’re either a) really obsessive, b) completely judgy and/or c) totally boring. I just can’t relate to them anymore.

    Yours is now the only one I continue to read because you actually post real world, thought-provoking, entertaining posts. And when I say “entertaining,” I mean, you don’t just post your meals and workout stats. You talk about issues that everyone can relate to and think about and that most bloggers are afraid to approach. You seem like a genuinely nice person who anyone would be lucky to be friends with. Though I can’t relate to your workouts or vegetarianism, I can relate to you as a human being, which is SO much more important. And that’s why I keep reading.

    You’re blogging because you actually have something to say and you know how to say it well. I know that’s why you’ve had so many successes so far… and I hope you continue to have more. You deserve them!

    p.s. your baby is lucky to have you as a mom!

    • Sara April 24, 2012, 8:39 am

      Love this comment and totally agree. Where’s the “like” button? 🙂

  • Rachel April 23, 2012, 8:15 pm

    As someone with a past history of depression, you most definitely made the right choice in your “preemptive” measure! I’m a huge advocate of therapy. Although I do have bias as I’m a therapist who practices DBT. DBT may interest you too given you and your husbands line of work. Good for you for keeping yourself healthy, inside and out!

  • Jen C. April 23, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Another great post! Thank you for being so open and honest about mental health. And I completely agree with you about CBT.

  • Alicia at Poise in Parma April 23, 2012, 8:27 pm

    Good for you for recognizing that you need some self-care right now. CBT is amazing – it’s done wonders for me on my road back to “normal” from my depression and anxiety issues. I wish you the best to finding your peace of mind.

  • jessica g April 23, 2012, 8:32 pm

    thank you so much for writing this and embracing it. I had to choke back tears reading this one. I’ve had my years of therapy and while i often joke about it, i know that when i tell myself i need it again i often feel embarrassed or upset. my husband and i are working on a family now. this process has caused me a lot of stress and grief as it is taking far longer than i ever anticipated. I know that i will need to call a therapist soon – for proactive measures. …

    i just want to thank you for being so honest. it is a gentle reminder that help is always ok. again – thank you.

  • julie April 23, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I’d like to think I do more than just say, “uh huh but how does that make you feel?” That’s a pretty simplistic/niave way to think about other types of therapy. But otherwise, cool post.

    • Crystal April 23, 2012, 9:45 pm

      I agree as well. I’m in graduate school to be a marriage and family therapist, and we use a lot of different types of theories including CBT, and yes we do try to understand what people are feeling but we get people to view their situation differently. Plus each theory has its own unique way of dealing with people and families. I think people put that stereotype on therapy, so that in itself sways people away from therapy because they do think all the therapist is going to do is nod and say “How does that make you feel?” and make you lay on a couch…..Just something to think about since you mentioned how much there is a stigma on mental health…

      However, I think it is great that you are putting the topic out there, and starting conversation on it. And I definitely believe EVERYONE can benefit from therapy because everyone goes through struggles.

      • Clare April 23, 2012, 9:56 pm


        • Caitlin April 23, 2012, 10:12 pm

          I’m not saying that all other therapists do this at all – sorry if that was implied. I think the vast majority of therapists do much more.

  • Emma April 23, 2012, 8:59 pm

    I’ve used CBT and it was a total lifesaver, have you read Feeling Good? There are some great exercises in there, and really effective tactics for handling negativity from others.

  • Sally DeBoer April 23, 2012, 9:01 pm

    THANK YOU for talking about this. I have Major Depressive disorder, anxiety, and OCD. For a long time I was embarrassed and just thought that something was ‘wrong’ with me, that I was inadequate because everyone else could cope and I could not. So I worked hard, obsessed over calories and exercise, graduated from the Naval Academy and went to flight school.

    Of course, my problems manifested themselves and I had a panic attack on a flight followed by a suicide attempt. After having spent 2 years in flight school and earning my wings I felt like such a failure. Through CBT, medication, and my loving family I feel like a different person. Of course I can’t fly any more due to the meds, but I have realized there is so much more to life than being perfect or subscribing to some ‘plan.’

    Sorry for the novel, but I am so glad you are sharing this and I find your take on therapy so refreshing. Good for you and thanks for having the courage to talk about this. You may not remember but I actually thanked you via e-mail the last time you brought up depression. I went to the doctor and asked for help the next day. Thank You!!

  • Lesley April 23, 2012, 9:01 pm

    It is absolutely amazing that you have much self confidence to write this post. You should be very proud of yourself as I’m sure you are!

  • Kelsey Y. April 23, 2012, 9:13 pm

    This just hit home with me. I’m only twenty, but I’ve gone through a lot of hard times, like dealing with my parent’s divorces, remarriages, high school, college, moving out on my own…and the list goes on. When I was in 10th or 11th grade, my mom said it was a good idea to get the thought into my mind about seeing a therapist, and I agreed.

    I didn’t “connect” with my first therapist, and after “fixing” some parts of my life. I didn’t go for awhile, until big problems arose with school and my sister becoming pregnant (at 20, and single). And now, my therapist is a close person in my life.

    The stigma that stands in our society is awful, and I usually try to relay information to my friends to help them out, and know its normal. I don’t hide that I go to therapy, and there should be a reason for me to do so.

    So I wanted to thank you for this. It really brightened the end of this Monday.

  • Luv What You Do April 23, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Good for you for taking care of your emotional well being as much as your physical! And for being open and honest about it. I think that everyone should have strategies to deal with stressful times and that finding an expert is the key!

  • veronica April 23, 2012, 9:31 pm

    So many nay-sayers on your blog. People tend to project their disappointments onto others. THEIR birth didn’t go as planned, so they think they’re doing you a favor when they tell you not to expect too much. They think it is “heading off” your disappointment.

    Well, if you’ve read Ina Gaskin’s book, then you know that what we THINK is often related to what we do. Having your mind in the game is critical to labor. We often see self-fulfilling prophecies when it comes to birth.

    Whether we think we can, or think we can’t, we are right.

    You have all these people basically telling you to aim low, have no plan, and to expect everything to go to hell once labor begins. That’s what happened to them, so it’ll probably happen to you, right?

    Imagine you wanted to run a 4:00 marathon. You’d train for it. Put in the hard work beforehand. But even more, you’d visualize it. You’d picture yourself running hard and strong and crossing at 4:00. You wouldn’t visualize 4:15 or 4:45 “just in case” because that would be counterproductive to your goal. You visualize what you want to happen, not what COULD happen.

    What if people told you a 4:00 is ridiculous and that you really should just shoot for a 4:30 so you wont be disappointed. How rude would that be?
    It’s no different when it comes to you in labor.

    Sure, things may not go to plan on race day. But instead of inundating a runner with worst-case scenarios, we should uplift them with positive encouragement – going back to the self-fulfilling prophecies.

    So you know what Katie? I am going to help you visualize the goal instead of focusing on the “what ifs” and the “might happens.”

    You will have a beautiful labor, and it’ll be everything you hope it to be.
    The end.

    • Caitlin April 23, 2012, 10:14 pm

      I love this comment; thanks Veronica. Are we in real life friends and I’m just not recognizing the email?! You called me Katie 🙂

      • veronica April 23, 2012, 11:12 pm

        I wish! You’re quite fantastic. But I’m about 3 hours east of you so our paths may never cross IRL.

        I just remember you writing that those closest to you call you Katie, and by using your “common name” I wanted to drive home the point that I care about you and want you to feel uplifted in your birth choices.

        • Janelle April 24, 2012, 1:24 pm

          I LOVE Veronica’s comments here. I completely agree. It’s important to visualize a positive, empowering experience. We should do a better job of supporting/encouraging each others’ visions and hopes, rather than pressuring or discouraging or causing more reason for anxiety. So… I second that you will have a beautiful labor. It’s going to be amazing and life-changing in the most wonderful way, and you’ll be an even stronger woman than you are now.

          Also, thanks for a great post on therapy, Caitlin!

  • Christie April 23, 2012, 9:44 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I talked to my therapist about CBT as well and she referred a really interesting book to me. Check it out if you’d like…

    Feel free to shoot me an e-mail for more info.

    • Christie April 23, 2012, 9:45 pm

      The initial book is more informational, there is a follow up that is more applicable- The Handbook.

  • Heidi April 23, 2012, 9:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I have been thinking for years I need to see someone about my anxiety issues. I just need to do it.

  • Becca April 23, 2012, 10:01 pm

    Thank you so so much for posting this. It truly inspired me to take charge of my anxiety issues and start looking for a therapist who can help.

  • Laura April 23, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Thanks for writing this post!!! I did CBT with some of the students I counseled last year and I really believe in the framework. I’d love to be able to see a therapist, but doubt I can afford it:(

    • Clare April 23, 2012, 10:25 pm

      Look for places with a sliding scale. A lot of clinics can offer services for as low as $5, and some private practice clinicians offer services for as low as $25 in certain areas. Also, consider seeing an intern. It’s cheaper 🙂

  • Aylin April 23, 2012, 10:04 pm

    I am going too! Just booked an appt right before I pulled this post up.

  • Lauren April 23, 2012, 10:05 pm

    You’re awesome. Good for you!
    I’m thankful I have your blog, sister-friend.

  • lynne @lgsmash April 23, 2012, 10:12 pm

    THank you for this post! I’m a big advocate of preemptive therapy (and therapy whenever it’s needed!) as my family has a history of depression and suicide. THANK YOU for sharing the importance of therapy and taking care of your mind/emotions when you need to and helping to reduce the stigma.

  • Linz @ Itz Linz April 23, 2012, 10:26 pm

    I love this post! I too know firsthand the benefits of therapy. I first began seeing someone in high school and on and off through college. THere is something about talking to an objective person who can give good advice. I agree that there is sadly a stigma and hopefully someday that will be removed.

  • Carin April 23, 2012, 10:27 pm

    Well done, honey! It IS “a thing worth sharing” and yet another way in which we’re similar. I’ve been in CBT therapy for a few weeks now, after many years of trying to be strong, thinking “I can get through this alone” and reading endless articles and books which haven’t fixed the problems, because they haven’t tackled my issues.

    It’s a really good idea to do this as a “pre-emptive strike”, because having a baby really does change your self-perception and focus. As a child whose parents are divorced too (and who have given me many, many other issues to boot…!), having my first baby really raised my emotional state with questions about family, duty, love and entitlement. Of course I try to be the best mum I can, but in doing so I’m sad, confused and disappointed that my parents’ actions don’t communicate the same level of love… and that impacts upon my self-worth. I’m not trying to project this on to you (or to anyone else), but it’s important to realise that becoming a parent isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and leaves you wrapped in a little golden bubble! It’s a real emotional rollercoaster, exacerbated by hormones and sleep deprivation, so it’s good to be in the best place possible before you set off.

    Love the cross legged belly bump photo. Open that pelvis up, baby! <3

  • Eireni April 23, 2012, 10:31 pm

    Hi Caitlin, I am a long time reader but have never commented. I am finishing up my Masters in Social Work this year, and SO appreciate this post. I am hoping to become a therapist specializing in CBT, and have found it very useful in my own life as well; in fact, one of the things I have been thinking about is what it would be like to be pregnant/post-pregnancy and how my mind would react given all of the hormonal upheaval (I too have a family hx of depression). Reading your blog has actually given me a lot of insight into the possibilities of life change in the pregnancy process, and I appreciate you writing about your mental health in the blog; one of the ways stigma around mental illness can be combatted is through just talking about it, and normalizing the idea of therapy! On a sidenote, I also wanted you to know that everyone at our school here in Salem, MA leaves operation beautiful stickynotes in the bathrooms:) Love seeing them, and love writing them!

  • Wendy Heath April 23, 2012, 10:36 pm

    You rock. Thanks for sharing this and encouraging people to take care of their mental health. It’s a shame that a stigma still exists- mental health issues affect all of us, either personally or with people we know and love (and how many are scared to speak up to us?)

    Atta girl.

  • Kris April 23, 2012, 10:52 pm

    I really applaud you for being proactive and sharing with your readers. The last time I had therapy was in college, but have definitely needed it at times since. It makes me sad that with my DH’s career (involving high level security clearance), therapy just was not an option, at least not through our health insurance. I think it’s a sign of strength to realize that we’re not able to mentally handle it all on our own.

  • Sarah April 23, 2012, 11:19 pm

    Bravo!It takes strength to realize one’s weakness. Bravo to your husband also for supporting you on your paths where ever they may wander. You are very wise.

  • kate April 23, 2012, 11:39 pm

    i love this post! it is SO true…there is such a stigma about therapy and depression…i was in therapy (i did DBT though) for cutting and it made ALL the difference in the world (well, along with the medication i’m on as well). but it is so true…if you need help SEEK IT! thanks for a great post and good luck with everything 🙂 🙂

  • Liz April 24, 2012, 12:08 am

    LOVE this post! I’ve sufferred from depression in the past & tried different anti-depressants, but they never did ANYTHING for me. I feel very weird about seeing a therapist for some reason – I guess I feel like ‘how could I find someone who I would feel comfortable with?’. However, plenty of people obviously do find the right person, so why shouldn’t I try?!? 😉

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras April 24, 2012, 1:22 am

    I love you for posting this. It really is sad how much of a stigma there is around mental illness, even therapists. A good therapist is fantastic, and I think everyone could benefit from one at certain points in their lives. You are a rock star for taking care of yourself, and a rock star for sharing about it.

  • Suzanne April 24, 2012, 1:27 am

    So happy you have shared this part of yor life on your blog! As a mental health practitioner (Nurse and Marriage Family Therapist)AND as a therapy client myself, I applaud you and am going to share this as so many people still assume you have to be on the verge of a breakdown to go to therapy. ANYBODY and EVERYBODY could benefit from therapy. We are always growing, evolving and learning about ourselves. <3

  • April 24, 2012, 2:44 am

    As a writer and blogger who has written several times in support of de-stigmatizing depression, anxiety and mental illness, I really appreciate your candor and refreshing attitude. It isn’t a matter of ‘one and done’; it takes focus and attention to proactively do the things necessary to maintain a balanced approach to life, and vigilance to ensure that you know whether everything’s on track. That you stepped back and saw the potential for relapse or a difficult time ahead during what will be extremely busy and life-changing moments ahead (becoming a mother, launching two books, shifting roles, etc.) is to your credit, and blogging about it is even more so. Thank you, and sincerest wishes for healthy days ahead.

  • melissa April 24, 2012, 4:35 am

    I would love to hear your advice/ tips on tackling anxiety as well as improving confidence.

  • Ruby April 24, 2012, 5:58 am

    Thank you for this post. I’ve actually also been thinking about looking for a therapist, but it’s even less accepted where I live to do so pre-emptively, as opposed to waiting until you’re in a crisis/have a very specific problem. I just now had another search for a therapist around my ‘hood after you mentioned the CBT. I had CBT for my eating disorder and I still use the techniques today, they work so well for me/my personality! I even used them once to get rid of a very annoying internal dialogue I got stuck in (“Where are my keys?/Glasses?/Mobile?” – “I was wondering that as well!” GRRRRRR). I changed the internal response to “What a good question!” (much more positive) and after about two weeks of correcting myself with that, I got rid of the aggravating response 😉

    Anyway, I also wanted to add that whole birth warning/baby warning stuff IS annoying. I think part of it is that people who have kids sometimes get taken by surprise about certain things (the first weeks with a new baby, giving birth, your emotions, etc.) and then say they wish someone had told them about it. Or maybe they have regrets they don’t want another person to have.

    I don’t believe this works though, as there’s nothing you can do right now except read about other people’s experiences & read books, OR ignore it all – whatever works for you. It’s not as if you can know everything beforehand. And it’s not as if you’re completely incapable of reading, thinking or making any decisions during labour or when the baby is here. I love reading personal accounts, and I love it when moms are honest about their experiences, good or bad, as long as they just share it without adding some kind of extra weight to it like a “you should” or “watch out!”.

    One final thing I want to add is that now you’re in the third trimester and getting close, it is very natural to want to… retreat? Nesting isn’t just about cleaning or tidying. It’s kind of like retreating into your own private space, your safe haven, your home -inside and outside your head. So of course the move is making you feel very stressful – I’ve always felt lost & ungrounded for weeks after a move, like you don’t have a real home (yet). So remember that it is okay to retreat – whether in real life, or perhaps even on the blog: really make sure you ask yourself if what you are going to share/are sharing if you are really okay with it. It’s okay to nest, really.

  • Jen April 24, 2012, 6:12 am

    When I was about 4-5 months pregnant, I became very depressed. It was summer and I’m a teacher so I had a lot of free time to “stew” in my own thoughts. I was having some dark and suicidal thoughts. I got myself to a therapist right away and after 3-4 sessions, I felt great! Back to my normal, happy self. I was worried that the baby blues would hit me hard after I gave birth but I didn’t really struggle too much. I was too much in love with my new daughter. My life seemed to be right on track then. It sounds like you’re doing exactly the right thing. You’re going to be an amazing mother!

  • Julia @ Brides Up North April 24, 2012, 6:16 am

    Well done Caitlin. xxx

  • Shannon April 24, 2012, 6:55 am

    Good for you, Caitlin. I think you deserve congratulations for being so smart about self-care. As you may remember, I’m a CBT therapist. I also have a history of depression in my lifetime, too. It is SO common, and SO treatable, generally.

    Re: the childbirth thing…I sincerely hope this isn’t one of those statements that is going to make you feel worse, because I mean it 100% to make you feel BETTER: As a mom x2, I can honestly say that no matter how the birth goes, the only thing you are likely to feel about what happened during labor is mild curiosity, pride that you did it (natural, epidural, OR C-section), and ecstasy over having your baby. In all honesty–and I’m saying this as someone who had 2 very different, very challenging, opposite-outcome, unpredictable labors/deliveries–once your baby is born you usually don’t care that much (if at all) how he/she got there. I’ve heard so many other women say this too. It becomes the least important thing you can imagine. What is suddenly, jarringly important is the living creature in your arms, keeping him/her safe and healthy, and being a mom. I can almost guarantee that for you, too. (Almost. I’m not a magician, after all.) 🙂

    It will be great! However things go, it will be amazing.

  • katie@newmamamac April 24, 2012, 7:23 am

    great post. i honestly believe that every single human being on the planet suffers from some form of mental illness. whether it be depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar, personality disorder, etc the list goes on. there should be no stigma when it can and will strike every one at some point in their lives. and how can it not? we are put on this planet and we deal with so many difficult things : divorce, death, illness, having babies, job loss, natural disaster, war…….we are not perfect and i dont think we were made to be perfect. good for you for going to therapy!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 24, 2012, 7:53 am

    I love your honesty!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 24, 2012, 7:53 am

    I think this is such a good idea! There’s this idea in society that if someone goes to therapy, it means they’re depressed, mentally ill, or going through a rough time, but I don’t think that is or should be the case at all. I like how you framed it as a preventative measure – that’s such a good point!

  • Jen April 24, 2012, 8:19 am

    Thank you for posting this. I too have suffered from depression and have a family history of mental illness. I have been doing pretty well for the past few years, but have recently been going through a stressful time at work. Thank you for talking about depression and therapy and how it is okay to admit you need to get help from a therapist.

    May I ask, how did you go about choosing your therapist? (I ask because I have had good and also no so helpful therapists and feel a bit weary about finding one…)

  • Anne Kendall April 24, 2012, 8:50 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!! I am currently earning my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and I can’t tell you how many people ask me why I want to work with “crazy” people or they say, “Ooooh, good for you!” as if being a Licensed Professional Counselor means I’m ridding the world of mental instability. I am 100% a believer in seeking therapy “just because” or as a preemptive measure. Thank you for serving as a role model for those who may be wavering about the benefits and stigmas of therapy — CBT, as well as other schools of thought — do wonderful things for people. Therapy and counseling aren’t just for those who are “crazy”! 🙂

  • Sarah April 24, 2012, 9:06 am

    Hi! Great post!

    Just as an FYI, the term “preventative” is actually a colloquialism. The proper term is “preventive”. Not to be nit picky, but as a healthcare professional, it’s a pet peeve 🙂

  • Mildly Entertained April 24, 2012, 9:25 am

    Good for you. My sister went to therapy when she was pregnant as well and it helped – it’s a big life change and there’s a lot of stuff going on in your mind that’s scary and anxiety-provoking…

    I would love to go back to see a therapist but I don’t have health insurance and they are over $100 per visit. I’ve tried counsellor and support groups that are much cheaper…but it’s not the same and causes me more stress.

  • kc April 24, 2012, 9:46 am

    Dang. Thank you for posting this. Yesterday, I literally told someone, “I think my life is falling apart!” and in reality it probably isn’t, I just need a little help. 🙂

  • Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY April 24, 2012, 11:24 am

    Thanks for doing your part to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness. People need to realize that just because you don’t have an alter ego or have attempted suicide, it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t benefit from professional help.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help; in fact, rather than conveying weakness and helplessness, I think that by having the courage to ask for help, it shows a great amount of personal strength and courage.

  • meghan April 24, 2012, 12:25 pm

    beautiful post caitlin!

  • Amber K April 24, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I was in therapy in high school, but I didn’t take it seriously at all. I didn’t even really want to be there and I didn’t feel like I be honest (especially since for the first couple of sessions my parents were in there with me).

    I wouldn’t necessarily mind going again, but I have problems with social anxiety and feeling judged. Which is probably why I should be in therapy – ha! But I did a anti-depressant drug study and I never felt like I could be honest with that therapist either. I’d just have to think about it more.

  • Doug April 24, 2012, 4:08 pm

    While there is still a strong negative stigma to mental health issues, I think (hope) that the increase in public discourse is breaking down some of the stereotypes…and will finally help eliminate the shame that surrounds it

  • Grace (Graceful Eats) April 24, 2012, 10:57 pm

    Caitlin, thank you. Thank you, thank you for posting about this. I’m really struggling to balance a lot in my life (as evident by my email about colleges), and I’ve thought before, “Man, I wish I could just go talk about everything out loud to someone.” But I live in a small town, so the idea of telling someone everything in my head can be daunting, and I usually talk myself out of it. The stigma of “If I go to therapy/counseling, I must be messed up” is also terrifying.

    But now I think I owe my mental health just as much commitment and love as my physical health… 🙂

  • JenATX April 25, 2012, 12:31 am

    you know what? as much as I love therapy and as much as I know it has helped me in my life, I have told very few people in my life about my sessions. My boyfriend and two best friends are the only people I’ve talked to about it…. I’m not sure how that makes me feel. I’m going to ponder this..
    Meanwhile, yay for therapy and those secure enough to just throw it out there for the world to know 🙂

  • Katy @ HaveYouHurd April 25, 2012, 10:38 am

    Great point. My mom, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in October, just recently was diagnosed with depression. Most people would say, “well duh, that’s normal” but to my Mom it wasn’t normal. She had been praised by everyone about how strong she was being through her entire battle with cancer and when the Doctor told her she was depressed, she lost it. She had a really rough week. She wasn’t eating, she slept most of the day, and she was just genuinely very unhappy. She started seeing the therapist at the cancer center after she was diagnosed and even after one session I could tell a huge difference. Depression and mental illness are very real diseases and they are nothing to be ashamed of. Just because you need help from someone doesn’t mean you’re not strong. Sometimes the strongest people are the ones willing to admit they need help.

  • Julie April 25, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Caitlin, I think you’re a very wise person whose “got it together”.

  • Jenny April 25, 2012, 5:17 pm

    Love the openness here — in both the post itself and the comments!

    I’ve never commented before but I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. Thanks so much for putting this out there.

    I am open with my friends about going to therapy, and most are understanding about it, but there still seems to be this lingering stigma. People seem to either think you’re seeing a therapist for extreme situations (death in the family, suicidal thoughts) or they think it’s a gratuitous hobby, as if having a therapist is like having a purse. One of my biggest pet peeves also is when people say in casual conversation, “oh, running is my therapist” or “wine is my therapy” … These comments imply that needing something more, like therapy, means that you are weak and that life on its own isn’t enough, and it somehow should be. Life is hard, and I’ll take ALL the extra help I can get.

    Healthy body, healthy mind!

  • Jolene ( April 26, 2012, 11:54 pm

    Good for you Caitlin!! Also, I think CBT is the best (I am studying to be a psychologist).

  • Michele May 6, 2012, 10:15 am

    I kept this post up on my computer for over a week b/c I really wanted to comment…then I deleted it. THEN when reviewing one of your most recent posts – it popped up AGAIN and I knew I had to take a moment to comment.

    So…yeah…at the age of 19-20 – honestly can’t remember now, I was placed in a psychiatric ward – BEST. PLACE. EVER! 😀 Bet not many people can say that.

    I was all that – outgoing, super cute, super tiny, great figure, good job, etc…yeah, it’s the truth, not bragging, just who I was, but NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE knew the demons on the inside!

    I’m so glad I got help. B4 leaving the ward, you spend an ENTIRE DAY working through how you face the world again. What do you tell people – I mean you literally disappeared from existence for 2 weeks and very few people knew where you were! How do you deal with all ‘that’!

    Well over 20 years later, a husband and 3 kids, I love to tell the world I beat it – I beat the demons that tried to rule my life. Have I back slidden occasionally? Oh yeah – but I’ve always been willing to step out and seek help.

    Finding the right person to help you is so important – I’ve conquered panic disorder which developed in my 2nd pregnancy and came on strong again in my 3rd pregnancy.

    I’ve battled suicide – BUT I WON!!! I so look for opportunities to reach out and help others – others that are struggling with depressions, or just feeling down. The mental stigma is still strong and infuriating to me, but we each have to be able to stand on our own and admit the battles we have faced, because only when you can admit your struggles can you step forward and seek help.

    Thanks for the post Caitlin, it brings tears to my eyes, but I’m glad I can say – I WON!!! And I will continue winning because I know the journey, I have walked the journey – the journey is me!

    • CaitlinHTP May 6, 2012, 12:11 pm

      I am extremely glad that YOU WON!!!

  • Brynn November 19, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Thanks, Caitlin. I always appreciate your honesty and openness.

  • Sarah November 20, 2012, 2:21 am

    Thank you for writing this. I’m about six months into my longest stint in therapy and can proudly say that it’s working. I was diagnosed with depression years ago and have finally learned to recognize when I’m on a “downward spiral” and how to steer my thoughts/actions in a more positive direction. Thanks Dr. Mike!

    Good for you for being proactive. Screw the stigma!! Great blog!!!

  • Danna January 25, 2013, 10:24 am

    This is very inspirational post that is very well-written. I too believe that there is a stigma around going to the dreadful therapy session. I was first afraid about it and admitting to myself and one other how I felt. But it was the best decision for me seeing as how I could have felt if I did not take a proactive step. Thanks for the great post Caitlin and reminding me that it is always A-OK to either go or return to therapy.

    I truly enjoy reading your blog. You are an inspiration to women today.

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