Getting the Most Out of Therapy When You Aren’t Used To It

Rowan Tuffs

How a High Achiever Can Tackle Therapy and Thrive Despite the Stigma

When you’re someone who is used to succeeding in multiple areas of your life, you might not be too concerned about the state of your mental health. In fact, you likely do not pay any mind to it at all. You’re under the impression that your mental health is fine because so many other aspects of your life are, but that isn’t always the case. 

When you notice parts of your mind are buckling under the constant pressure both yourself and others have placed upon you, it’s time to take a breather and realize that not everything can be perfect. Though it may be difficult to shift to this mindset, taking time for your mental health is crucial to sustain your quality of life. And you don’t have to be alone while you do it. There are steps you can take to confront the factors of your life that have become stressful to you, and the most vital step is letting yourself get help. 

It’s time for therapy. 

Being a High Achiever

When Success is Your World

Do you find yourself constantly busy with tasks and activities that you never let yourself blow off? Do you rely on completing assignments in a more than satisfactory manner? Is it not enough to simply finish a job, but to excel at it as well? 

If you agreed to any one of these statements, odds are you might fit into the category of being a high achiever. 

When you depend on the validation that you receive after successfully completing tasks to get you through your day, you become someone who requires constant gratification in order to flourish. Your accomplishments are a part of you who are. In fact, they are the most important aspect of your entire personality. 

You cannot let yourself slack off in completing your duties because, if you do, your worth drops. A part of you sinks and you begin to feel as though you are inadequate. The stress piles up.  

But you’re used to feeling that way, so there’s nothing to worry about. Right? 

That might be your typical mindset, but you should know that, despite all of the success you’ve had in different aspects of your life, you don’t need to feel that way. You should not let the anxiety you feel rule your life

Still, you can’t help it. So what do you do? 

Try to start by finding the cause that has been driving your success.

Being used to success makes it difficult to see your problems for what they are. If you feel stressed out, it is okay to take a breather and figure out what you can do to help yourself.

The Root of Seeking Success

There is likely a reason you have become so dependent on excelling in various facets of your life. Have you ever taken a step back to think about it? Take a moment to do just that, and see if anything resonates within you as you continue reading. 

Any love you received from your parents as a child came primarily as a result of academic success in school. You became a star athlete because other people called you inadequate. You’re friends with everyone because you can’t stand the thought of being alone in the world. 

These are all common factors that may have motivated you to strive for more, to make something out of yourself when nobody else could give you love for just being who you are. So you continued to search for success wherever you could find it, relishing in the perceived happiness these triumphs brought you. 

But it was never a healthy coping mechanism and, as more time passed, you began to discover the walls you built were not meant to last. Dealing with that realization is difficult, though.  

Avoiding Therapy

Because You Don’t Feel Like You Need It

So you know you’re a high achiever, and you know that it has been incredibly draining for you, yet you still feel reluctant to go to therapy. Why is that?

It probably has a lot to do with the fact that you don’t perceive your struggles to be legitimate. You have succeeded in so many different parts of your life that you find it hard to wrap your head around the possibility that everything is not alright.    

There are many reasons you might believe that therapy isn’t an option available to you, but it absolutely is and you should be able to confront the part of yourself that feeds into the stigma. If you have genuine concerns about your mental health then you should think about how therapy could benefit you as a high achiever.

Despite accomplishing so much, you don’t feel as though you’ve earned it. There is nothing wrong with bringing these feelings up in therapy. 

Imposter Syndrome

You’ve achieved so much in life, yet feelings of inadequacy still persist. People have expectations of you that you aren’t sure you can uphold. Sometimes you feel as though you are a fraud, as if you happened to luck out in every accomplishment you have received. 

Thoughts like these will drastically affect your mental health and leave you feeling awful. These feelings of inadequacy often manifest in other ways, such as high anxiety or depression. It is important to realize where these thoughts are stemming from, but it can be difficult. 

Therapy can help you to unlock parts of yourself that you might not be comfortable addressing on your own.   

Bottling up your feelings isn’t a healthy coping mechanism. A therapist can help you feel less isolated and more conscious of what’s impacting your mental health. 

Getting the Most Out of Therapy  

Even though your perception of reality undermines your own issues, it is important to be honest about what is going on in your life to your therapist. Refusing to be honest will only come back to haunt you later on. Your therapist wants to help you, so let them give you support by being transparent about your feelings. 

Know that you aren’t being judged for seeking therapy. You likely have reservations due to all that you have accomplished, and you may fear what others will think of you if they discover you’ve been attending therapy sessions. 

Don’t pay any mind to that. 

When you are with your therapist, nothing else matters. You are in a place where there are no judgments from outsiders, so try to refrain from judging yourself too much. There are no standards you should feel pressured into bringing with you to the appointments. 

Let yourself open up to your therapist and feel confident in the fact that you are working on becoming a better version of yourself.   

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