While at the Meeting Italian Youth event, I spoke with Danilo and he had a good perspective regarding the development of Italy in regards to mental health and being more accepting towards this topic. Being someone who struggles regularly with my mental health, it was interesting to hear about how Italians view it and how it still is somewhat considered a taboo subject. Going to therapy is not something that is widely accepted as helpful and a common perspective is to accept any issue as normal and go on with your life.
I started therapy in high school because I was struggling with my perspective on life, as well as my relationships with others. I did not really see a point to therapy as I did not feel very comfortable speaking with my therapist in the beginning, but as time went on, I realized that she was there to listen to anything I wanted to say. In the first year or so, I would hide feelings or issues I was having from her because I believed she would judge me, but when I finally would reveal my thoughts, there was no judgement on her part. Therapists, if they are well trained and you feel a connection, will help you with any issue because that’s what they are there for.
Hearing from Danilo that therapy is not widely accepted as a form of medicine was very disheartening, as I have found so much solace from speaking with my therapist. The views of older generations stick, and their views are to keep the emotions inside because they see them as small issues. One thing he mentioned was that since COVID-19 hit, the acceptance of mental health care has gone up as this pandemic was so unprecedented and surprising to everyone because of the mental toll it took on everyone.
Being abroad can cause a lot of issues, especially as someone who deals with depression and the negative thoughts that accompany it. I have started to track my feelings three or more times a day to have more control over them and know exactly what I am feeling in any given moment. This, along with speaking to my therapist has given me a better outlook on my life and views. Having control over your emotions takes a lot of time, and even after years of therapy, it is an ongoing issue that I will learn and struggle through for the rest of my life, which is somewhat that is also difficult to realize: problems do not stop once you start going to therapy, you just learn how to manage your emotions and how you handle the difficult situations thrown in your direction so you can have a happier life and not focus on the negative.
Talking to my therapist about my feelings regarding my friendships, especially when I have an argument with one of them, has been extremely helpful because I have someone who can listen to my feelings, and break them down with me. When I am overthinking, my brain tries to protect me by searching for the negative so I do not get hurt again, but in the end, those thoughts are not the truth and not something I should focus on.
Having a therapist to speak to about my feelings is such a blessing to me and to anyone who struggles with the negative thoughts and feelings they have; and if you don’t have a therapist, tracking your feelings can also help immensely! I am very glad that Italy is becoming more accepting with therapy because there is so much that people have to deal with regarding mental health, and it is not only black and white as some people make it out to be. If you are thinking of speaking to a mental health professional, then take the steps to get there, and it may be the one you need to make to feel more fulfilled in your life. Therapy is for everyone and it helps when you put in the time and effort to make a change for yourself.