This Tuesday we thank Dia for sharing her story on #TalkingFreELYTuesday .
“Most people who meet me see this bright eyed and bushy tailed, happy
go lucky girl with sunshine and roses at her trail. For the better
part that is me. I am that annoying, constantly positive person.
Always smiling, laughing, making light of things. So it often
surprises people to realise that the reason I disappear most Tuesdays
around lunch time is to go to therapy. I have been doing so for nearly
two years and I find it so useful that despite the usual stigma around
therapy and mental health, which suggests you should keep it to
yourself, which tells you it’s your personal secret, I don’t. I tell
“I’m heading to therapy, I’ll pick this up in a couple of hours.”
“I have my therapy session booked in. Can we do (x,y,z) instead?”
I mention it. I proudly mention it. I mention it because I want to
help break down this stigma we have built around it. I mention it
because maybe it will help one other person knowing my experience and
realise they’re not alone. I mention it to normalise it.
Having depression doesn’t mean I’m lying each time I smile, each time
I laugh or tell a joke. It doesn’t mean you have to tread around me
carefully. It doesn’t mean I’m going to breakdown or randomly combust.
It doesn’t mean I’m constantly struggling. It doesn’t mean I spend my
evenings and weekends in a dark room (has been known to happen!) and
it doesn’t mean that just because I’m dancing like no one is watching
I am “fine”. Having depression is no different to the normal cold. It
comes and it goes. There is no flu jab to cure it. Therapy and in some
instances medication is a way for you to get geared up for that tingle
in your throat (continuing the cold reference).
So that is another part of me, depression. I did struggle to accept it
was depression for a while. I struggled to accept I “needed” therapy.
It felt like a weakness. Asking for help. Putting my hands up and
giving up. I “needed” help. I had never questioned whether I “needed”
the optometrist when I had my annual check up. Or, whether I “needed”
the dentist when my tooth hurt. Or, when I “needed” a paracetamol for
that blasted headache. So I “needed” to get past that point, past the
stigma and just attend a session.
I wish the stigma wasn’t there as I know I should have gone sooner.
But that’s often the case. Therapy is seen as a last resort.
Regardless, I have discovered it and now, I know it is something I
will never give up. I cannot imagine giving it up. Sometimes I attend
weekly, sometimes less frequently. I attend even when things are fine,
because you need to talk about the good and the great as well as the
not so good and not so great, to give you time to reflect. To give you
And that’s all therapy is. A conversation to allow you to reflect and
gain perspective. How often do you have the undivided attention of
another human being for a full 50 minutes? So I see therapy as a
privilege and I see my mental health to be the most important aspect
of my health. As the saying goes “a healthy mind, a healthy body”.
So next time you see me disappear, now you know the answer as to
“where” I go, feel free to ask how it was. Don’t avoid asking because
you think it’s too personal. It’s the same as asking how my weekend
was. I will most likely tell you it was great. I will tell you it’s
the best part of my week. And I will be telling you the truth.”
You can see more of Dia’s poetry and art by following these links
If you would like to tell your story on Talking FreELY Tuesday please get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org