My view of therapy used to come from TV. Shows we all loved to watch from Gossip Girl to How I Met Your Mother tended to depict anyone in therapy as dealing with serious issues – or a joke. When characters told friends they were “seeing someone”, the response was rarely positive. So when I thought of therapy, I associated it with anyone who was strange or “crazy”.
Therapy typically isn’t spoken about in African households like mine. Though the stigma is slowly changing in our communities, seeking therapy still isn’t seen as a norm. It’s telling that I only started seeing a therapist in my last year of university, while I was away from home. I was suffering with anxiety and depression. I found that it helped, but I didn’t tell many people about it.
After taking a break for a few years, this spring I decided I’d like to go back. I’m not alone – the uptake in therapy in the past few months has been noticeable. The Office for National Statistics found that the rates of depression nearly doubled during the pandemic.Mind also reported an increase in demand for services.With the world going through a global pandemic and a huge anti-racist movement, more people are starting to see therapy not just as viable, but vital.
But when I started up again, this time via Zoom, I noticed myself wanting to talk about my sessions online, too.
Plenty of people I follow on Twitter and Instagram discuss their therapy on social media – but a part of me was hesitant. Therapy is personal. I was wary of what people might think of me – fearful of oversharing and discussing details of events I still haven’t healed from.
But far from receiving negative feedback, many people tell me they find a supportive audience when they share about their therapy online.
Zuva Seven, 24, a student from Leeds, started seeing a therapist when she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. ”I decided I wanted to make a real and long-lasting change to my life,” she...