Why Therapy is Important to Me / Big News at the National Institutes of Mental Health

This morning on Twitter I noticed this article on Brain Imaging which I wanted to share with you all.  I think it’s fascinating that we seem to be moving closer to being able to illustrate weather traditional therapy methods will work ahead of time. This could save patients, families, and medical practices A TON of time in the long run, as long as the results of the study are to be believed, and the patients are willing to undergo the imaging.

As someone who has from time to time had issues with social anxiety and issues with being comfortable in crowded spaces, I find the idea fascinating.  To me it also offers scientific (through the imaging/data) proof that therapy DOES work.  For us to know it won’t in some people, we have to acknowledge that it DOES work in some others.

A lot of the people I talk to think therapy works.  There is a persistent minority however who do not.  They see it as a waste of time, that it’s “just talking, anyone can do that”.  I even get a bit of “well, they aren’t doctors – how qualified are they?”.

To be honest, I was one of those till recently.  I didn’t think therapy was necessary to deal with my band of bi-polar/anxiety disorder/ADHD.  I figured that empirically, scientifically, all these issues are related to chemical imbalances, and once chemicals (ie medications) are introduced into my system, and given a few months to equalize everything, I’ll be ok.  1+1 = 2, right?

Wrong.  Sometimes, life throws something else at you, that you can’t explain scientifically or empirically.  It’s like the issue of religion and science.  The conflict isn’t always visible, but it’s there.  There are pieces to life that each can’t explain.  And there are pieces to being sick like I am that science itself and chemicals can’t fix.  That’s what therapy is for – it fills in the gaps.  I can’t tell a prescription what I’m afraid of, or what I feel about this situation, or how pissed I am that I’m stuck like this.  I can’t tell a pill that I hate it.  Or that I need it to feel normal.  I can’t look at my psychiatrist and tell her how I have a hard time remembering to eat food during the day.  These things are all more that science can explain.  They require some faith to come to grips with.  And that’s why therapy is important to me…….it’s like my faith.

I will get better.  I have faith in that, too.

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