The Number One Thing I’ve Learned in Therapy: Your Story is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

How I went from ‘trying’ to go to therapy to ‘going’ to therapy.

Gracia Kleijnen
Published in
5 min readMay 2, 2021


Orange leather couch in an empty room with sunbeams and shadows of a plant on the white wall
Photo by Martin Péchy on Unsplash

So we’re really doing this”, I thought to myself.

After some back-and-forth pacing, I took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. No answer. Maybe I was at the wrong address? I rang once more.

A calm, friendly person welcomed me in. We sat ourselves down. Then they dropped The Question.

So. How are you?

Asking me why I had come there wasn’t even necessary. I had braced myself, but the Train of Tears already accelerated into fifth gear. Weeping, I looked up. They met my eyes with confirming nods. To this day, I don’t know what this nodding meant. Recognizing a pattern, maybe, of people coming in and crying uncontrollably?

They continued to dig for information as I shared the most pressing issues I seemed unable to solve on my own. Using these as specks of paint, they constructed an image of how my life developed up to the moment I arrived at their practice in a not-so-pretty mental state.

From Trying To Go to Therapy…

The first time I tried going to therapy was at age seventeen-ish. That didn’t work out. This therapist wasn’t bad, but as I sat there sobbing, one of their colleagues barged in on our session.

I felt confused. I saw that session and time with this person as a sacred space. A space where I could try to open up with this person only. Their colleague had no place in it. I found the disruption inappropriate and never set foot in that room again. I had learned nothing.

Years passed before I gave therapy another try. After the first few trial sessions (those few you get covered by the state before you apply for a lengthier trajectory), the therapist considered me “well enough” to continue on my own, as I was taking action to improve my life here and there. They basically told me, “Great job, now go home”.

I wasn’t upset. Not even disappointed. All I thought was, “Well, if you don’t want me here, I won’t need to come”. That was that. Never set foot in that practice again.



Gracia Kleijnen
Invisible Illness

Sheets maker. Comic illustrator. Words on relationships, mental health, productivity & self-development in 35+ pubs. 📕Book author: