Hi there! I’m going to start by saying this is a judgement free zone. And if you’re reading this, then you know that I am a big advocate for making mental health a priority. Often when I chat about it on Instagram, I am flooded with questions like “how did you find your therapist?” or “where did you start?”. So today, I’m sharing how I got started – but with that being said, this is the story of my journey and yours can and will look different. I’m sharing this in hopes of helping others, not advocating that my path is the right or only path. In fact, I hope you read this and learn from my missteps or it helps guide you in some way, if needed! Here we go..
The year after having Clyde (2017), there were times I felt like I was holding a 20lb brick while swimming and trying to stay afloat. There were some of the happiest moments of my life but simultaneously, I was struggling with postpartum anxiety – at the time, I didn’t realize it. I thought “I can do this, keep pushing through, keep all the balls in the air.” but now looking back, it is so clear to me all of the signs & symptoms were there. I was controlling, I was constantly anxious. There were hormonal mood swings. And I felt totally isolated. All of this coupled with a move cross country, leaving my full-time job of 8+ years, breastfeeding (and all that comes with it including hormones) & caring for an infant, etc… well let’s just say times were sometimes tough. My mental health suffered.
So, after months (and yes, I mean MONTHS) of saying “I feel like something is off” either internally or aloud, I finally FINALLY decided to find help.
Step One: Google is your best friend. But you can always ask friends or family for recommendations, if they have or know of a good therapist. Or even ask your insurance provider. Start by making a list of things that you think will matter to you in a therapist. And then search for therapists in or around your area. Search for female or male, if you have a preference. Search for people specializing in areas where you feel you need support – postpartum, for example. Search based on reviews, if any are found online. Search for whatever you want. And begin to narrow down your list.
Step Two: pick up the phone and speak to these people. Once you have your list narrowed down slightly based on a search, talk to them! I called a dozen or more therapists. I was determined. I told them about myself and listened to what they had to say. I asked them questions that mattered to me and noticed how they responded. Each conversation lasted around 5-10min. In doing so, I found someone I felt like I clicked with.
Step Three: Find the Time and Make the Appointment! I felt this was the hardest step for me. I had found someone I liked but now I had to actually MAKE THE TIME and DO IT. That meant prioritizing my health and making time for myself. Something I wasn’t good at doing. But so so worth it.
Step Four: Find a schedule and cadence of regularity that works for you! Ultimately, you should feel a strong connection with your therapist. This is someone you should feel comfortable sharing things with and seeing (in-person or virtually) on a regular basis. Work out what that looks like for you, and bear in mind costs, but consistency is key here, in my opinion.
If you’re still looking for more information, I found this article to also be helpful when finding a therapist for the first time.