3 | Overcoming loneliness: As a stay at home spouse, Briana Marie Pruitt says therapy allowed her to get out and do something good for herself.
“Seeing a therapist was the best thing my husband and I ever did,” Pruitt says. “I loved knowing that I had a place to go and talk, but also that I had somewhere to go that didn’t require me to spend money or be alone by myself. The company was great to have.”
4 | IT’S FREE!: As military spouse Leila pointed out, several of us spouses can get multiple therapy sessions for free, and while this shouldn’t be your only reason for seeing a therapist, it is a big bonus.
Leila addressed another important issue: the stigma that comes with seeking therapy – something that stops many people from seeing help outside their families or friends.
“Therapy and mental health in general have such a stigma attached,” Leila says, “but I think therapy can be immensely helpful. If you know you are dealing with things emotionally or need support, it is a very healthy thing to seek therapy.”
Morales expressed similar sentiments. “I was always afraid to tell my family,” she says. “What would they think? I felt that every person I would talk to would think that depression meant suicidal, or that maybe I was crazy and needed to be put in an institution.”
Some other myths about therapy include that problems in the family should stay in the family, that a stranger just won’t “get” what their clients are going through, or that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s important we debunk these myths, so that more people will reach out to get the help they need.
For one, seeking help is one of the bravest things you can do. Reaching out when you need a bigger support system takes courage. Getting professional help has saved many people’s lives, and there’s nothing weak or embarrassing about it.
Also, while a therapist is indeed a stranger at first, there are benefits of speaking to someone you don’t have a close relationship with. It can help you feel more comfortable discussing emotions, fights you’ve had with your partner, or insecurities. Where our spouses, friends and families may have trouble refraining from making judgments, counselors are trained to be neutral and help us sort through the messy parts of our lives.
No, therapy is not for everyone (although I think everyone should give it a try), but it’s hard to deny the multitude of benefits many military spouses gain for speaking with a therapist. I’m sure I’ll be reaching out for outside help again during my husband’s time as a service member, and I definitely won’t be ashamed to speak about it.
Would it benefit you to see a therapist?
- Are you having trouble adjusting? Seeing a therapist when you make a big move or get married can help you adjust emotionally. Dramatic life changes aren’t supposed to be easy, and finding support can make that transition process smoother.
- Do you have a support system nearby? If not, a therapist can serve as your support system when you relocate. It took me months to find a close friend, so having someone other than my husband I could trust and speak openly to was a lifesaver.
- Are you and your spouse arguing? Fights are normal in marriages, but when they’re constant and start to outweigh the good times, it might be time to see a therapist together. It’s something my husband and I are considering, since we want to continue to strengthen our marriage. There’s nothing shameful about it either. It’s a beautiful thing to work on your relationship.
- Do you constantly feel sad? Everyone gets sad every once in a while, but if you constantly feel sad or angry, there might be something more serious you need to address. Therapists can help you decipher those emotions and possibly refer you to a psychiatrist if medication is recommended. Taking antidepressants helped me through my depression and anxiety for years, and while medication isn’t always the answer, for many, it makes a big impact.