Updated: Nov 6
In my country, there is a tendency to perceive psychotherapy as a negative phenomenon. If you are seeing a psychotherapist, then you must have a problem. You are not normal, you are a disturbed person, almost an alien. Luckily, this tendency seems to have changed for the better nowadays and people have come to realize that perhaps, taking care of your own mind is just as important as taking care of your own body. I mean, if you strained a muscle, or broke a ligament, for instance, you would immediately do whatever it takes to get back to health, wouldn't you? Of course you would because if you didn't, that would mean you couldn't play football, or run, or do anything you like any longer. So, why should it be any different with your brain, with your mental, not physical, health? Well, if you ask me, it isn't.
Whenever you have a problem, troubles on your mind, deep thoughts and feelings that you just can't seem to get rid of and that mar your day-to-day life, talking to someone—a friend, a member of your family—always feels like the right choice. However, there are moments when your internal trouble has dug too deep for anyone—even you—to be able to do anything about it; except, of course, a qualified therapist. This is a person who has studied psychological patterns for years, and therefore, knows the answers to most of what's going on within you. They know how to get you to understand what's happening to you and can teach you how to accept it, how to deal with it, and, ultimately and most importantly, how to move on. You just have to trust them and open up. Of course, some cases are far more complicated or difficult than others, but whatever the case may be, taking action is the best thing you could do to yourself.
As this pandemic continues, the psychological strain on every one of us is becoming apparent. It seems like, in the long term, we are all being affected mentally. I could list all the reasons why but I am quite confident you all know them by heart. I feel that whatever personal problem you might have already had before the pandemic started, if you take this and couple it up with the current general state of mind, you get a very disturbing result. I see so many reconsidering their lives, reflecting on what's good for them, and consequently taking important decisions; be it changing their job or their lifestyle completely. We have had time to ponder, we have had time to slow down, perhaps even to come to a halt. That is not necessarily bad. On the contrary, it might have given us the chance to see. But it has all come at a price and in some cases, it has worsened some of the negative vibrations we were already feeling for other very personal reasons. As a consequence of that, I see many people around me, friends and not, who, like myself, have decided to take care of themselves, to get better.
When I understand that a person, whatever the age might be, is willingly going through psychotherapy—by their own choice, because they felt the need to—I am so proud. I am proud because I know that when you open up, other people around you open up too, sharing what is common to all, but often goes unsaid. I am proud because I perceive the decision to heal yourself, spontaneously, not forced by anyone around you, as a wise, responsible, mature one. It means that you want to improve as a person, you want to get better. It means that you are taking care of yourself, and while it is always a noble thing to help others, I think we should never forget that we could not help anyone if we didn't help ourselves in the first place.
Edoardo is an Italian native and has lived and studied both in Italy and abroad. He graduated with a B.A. in Modern Languages and Economics from the University of Milan and with an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of London. He now lives and works in the city of Bologna.