What to Consider If You Question the Value of Therapy
A while back, a mentor shared that he and his wife had marriage difficulties many years ago and spent thousands of dollars they didn’t have to get their partnership back on track. People asked him at the time how he could spend that kind of money on something like therapy.
“Isn’t my marriage worth more than a few thousand dollars?” he asked.
This past year, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). For the past few months, I’ve been spending about $800 a month — money I don’t have as a single mom—to get the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) I need to stay healthy for me and my children. How can I do this? Isn’t it irresponsible? With a deductible of $13,500, shouldn’t I just accept I can’t afford therapy at this time?
Personally, my answer is no — for many reasons. Just like the mentor I mentioned, I realized, for me at least, my well-being is worth going into debt. I can always make more money but I can’t always undo the harm or pain caused by a mental health issue that is pushing me over the edge. I can’t undo harm from self-harm. I can’t undo people I have slept with to fill the void. I can’t undo my wishes to not be alive. Sometimes, therapy is something we can make peace with financing, in the same way we’d finance a student loan, car, or home.
When I question the value of therapy, I consider this:
1. My children’s well-being is worth more than a few thousand dollars. For me to be the mother they need me to be, I need to do the work and get the support I need. At this point in my life, avoiding therapy would be like getting shot and refusing to go to the hospital. I am certain it would be disastrous for my health. I need to be healthy — it’s worth the expense.
2. My own life is worth more than a few thousand dollars. Yes, my kids are expensive, but as they say: you need to put your own breathing device on first before assisting those around you. I need to realize I can’t give up on myself! Investing in my well-being is the most important thing I can do — even if I need to go into debt to do it.
My friends rely on me. They love me. And still, they can only help me so much. It is worth seeing a specialist who can give me the precise tools I need to heal myself. I love my friends. I want to stay alive for them. I’m willing to do what it takes to make that happen.
3. The world is so beautiful! Isn’t it worth spending money on yourself to ensure you’re alive to see and experience it 100 percent? Isn’t it worth it to wake up with the possibility of bigger, better and more? That hope is not something we all have without therapy. We deserve to spend money to ensure we experience life the way we were meant to.
I know it can be overwhelming, thinking about the cost of mental health treatment, and mental health care is not as affordable as it should be. But believe this: everything else in life which you are paying for — your car, your home, your children’s schooling, etc. — will be worthless if you aren’t healthy and fully alive.
You only live once. I believe your mental health is the best investment you can make.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash