What if Therapy Doesn’t Make it Better?

Afifa Zaheer
3 min readSep 23, 2021

I like to believe that I never faced childhood trauma. But trauma is not necessarily physical. It can be emotional, mental or even verbal. Now when I think about it, I cannot recall every incident that led to internal anger and agitation towards life in general. I was a happy teenager, I enjoyed going to school, I enjoyed reading books in the library, and above all I enjoyed being around people.

But then, something happened. A gradual decline began to occur in my desire to be around people. The noise, the crowd and people bothered me. My patience dropped drastically and I just wished to be home, in the silence of my room. I did not wish to speak with any of my family members. Every day I woke up and wondered, “what is it that bothers me?”

“Why do I feel angry all the time?” I muttered to myself during showers.

Then one morning, I woke up to the sound of my alarm going off at 7:00AM. I still remember the time because I had finally decided to come clean. I knocked on my parents’ bedroom. Quietly, my mother opened the door, with her eyes half closed, she looked at me in bewilderment and asked, “are you okay?”

“I want to go to therapy” I said with a quivering tone.

She looked at me in a way that I still can’t explain. She was not angry but she was also not delighted to hear the news. All I can say is, she did not shame me for it. And that mattered the most.

After couple of seconds, she finally managed to form a smile on her lips and nodded in approval. That was it. That was the end of the conversation. Next morning, at the breakfast table my father spoke up, “you’re not that religious, you should pray, that will help”

“It does and sometimes it does not”

“Then how do you know for sure that therapy will help you?”

Is there even a way to predict if one form of treatment will be helpful than other without testing it? How could I have possibly answered that question?

I am a product of two cultures, two countries, two life styles and above all, two opposite ideologies. While my parents do not feel torn between opposing beliefs, I find myself struggling to feel at home. Most of the times I feel out of proportion. Like something is missing. Some days it feels like I cannot find peace in any aspect of my life.

Many times you will find yourself doubting the decision of going to a therapist. Primarily because a lot of cultures, and societies still label it the house of “maniacs”. Therapy is considered a toxic thing. And the question whether or not it will help you heavily relies on whether or not you will open the doors to communication with your therapist. You have to be completely honest, there is no room to be deceiving or to hold yourself back because you are ashamed of It.

Whatever you share with your therapist will remain confidential. The doctor is practically forbidden by the law to share any intimate details of your conversation as long as none of your thoughts seem suicidal and you are thinking of potentially hurting yourself.

Do not get caught up with “Will it even help?” That is for the process to determine for you. You cannot make that decision without giving it a chance. Because what you allow is what continues.



Afifa Zaheer

Writer | Poetess | Financial Consultant. A South-Asian Woman Mastering the Art of Metamorphosis as an Immigrant.