In 2007 I migrated from Spain to Australia. I moved away from familiar faces to a place where I knew no one and also where a different language was spoken. Apart from that, I also experienced a complete change in family dynamic: both my parents began working, and my two sisters and I spent more time alone than we were used to.
Flash-forward to April 2018, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. At the beginning of the year I was experiencing anxiety attacks and extreme feelings of sadness, to the point where I felt almost dysfunctional. As I sought out therapy to recover from this dark period of my life, I realised the underlying issues behind my anxiety and depression. For years I had been suffering from these ailments, but I had been coping with them by indulging in my past sexual addictions.
Since 2007, I had been coping with anxiety issues through masturbation and by 2012 I had began coping with my depression and loneliness through my porn addiction. Since I had cleaned myself up from masturbation and porn addiction since 2016, I had no idea how to cope in a healthy during difficult periods of my life. This is where therapy benefitted me the most.
Here are 3 reasons why I sought therapy in 2018 (and the reasons why you also may want to):
1. You don’t have to heal alone
Whether it is group therapy or an individual session, a therapist is there to accompany you on your journey towards recovery. Especially when there was no one who would understand how I felt, what I thought or what I experienced, my psychologist was there to listen to me with empathy and an open mind. I even remember when I opened up to my therapist about my past struggle with porn and masturbation, and the understanding she displayed as I recounted to her my years of difficulty with those addictions. Although my therapist herself hadn’t gone through any kind of experiences like mine, my sessions with her where the times I felt the least alone.
There is a misconception that therapists are there to help clients by telling them what they are doing wrong and dictating what to actually do instead. But this is not the case. A therapist is there to accompany you through your healing journey, providing you with a toolkit of coping mechanisms to manage with the life stresses you may encounter. They are NOT there to dictate the decisions you should make. They are there to empower you to make your own decisions towards the life that you want.
2. Safe place to explore your deeper issues
In order to achieve the life that I wanted, I needed to look at the barriers preventing me from moving forward. Therapy sessions were the safest place for me to explore those barriers and the deeper issues behind them. As I progressed through my therapy sessions, I slowly realised that the reason I was struggling so much with anxiety and depression this year was because in the past I would deal with big setbacks by engaging in my addiction to masturbation and porn. Having this knowledge prompted me to examine my triggers much more closely in the safe environment of the therapist’s office.
When I say safe environment I don’t just mean it was a place free from physical danger. It was also an environment free from mental and emotional danger. Because the therapist wasn’t there to push her own agenda, I felt safe to share my thoughts, my emotions, cry if I needed to, show my anger and frustration about things without any fear. It was a place free from fear:
- Free from the fear of being judged
- Free from the fear of rejection
- Free from the fear of disapproval
This freedom from fear was what helped me to see that deep down inside of me I needed to heal from the scars I had gained from social isolation, emotional deprivation and fear of failure that in the past had been triggers of my addictions.
3. Best investment in the long-term
I never sought therapy until after my recovery from porn addiction, but I can honestly say seeking therapy now has actually done wonders for my healing journey towards purity. I had it in my mind to go to therapy since 2014, but would put it off because it was too expensive. But honestly: IT IS THE BEST INVESTMENT OF MY LIFE FOR THE LONG-TERM. My psychologist helped me to practice mindfulness to cope with my anxiety and depression, which is a tool I know I will be using for the rest of my life. Since having invested time and money for sessions with my psychologist, I have felt that I have been able to manage through self-doubt through writing my thoughts and feelings in my prayer journal, manage feelings of overwhelm by meditating, and get trough feelings of worthlessness through mindful prayer and affirmations, and so much more.
I am so glad to have given myself permission to seek therapy, as I have learnt so much about myself during therapy. And I hope that if you are someone struggling with porn addiction, that you may give your own self the permission to seek therapy. By learning strategies to cope with my own anxiety and depression I definitely can say confidently that I have all the tools I need to prevent myself from relapsing back to my porn and masturbation addiction in times of difficulty. I guarantee you that with the help of a therapist/psychologist you will be able to identify the deeper issues behind your own sexual addiction (whether porn, masturbation or sex addiction) and adopt new coping strategies to manage with those deep issues that are most likely the culprits behind your addiction.
Saint John Paul II, intercede for me.
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, intercede for me.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, intercede for me.
Mother Mary, Mother of Pure Love, pray for me.