Therapy proves every day to help individuals overcome their personal challenges. These challenges may be rooted in addiction, a low self-esteem, the development of a mental illness, or even a tainted relationship—regardless, the therapeutic process helps to address and better manage any given issue, as well as the damaging effects that accompany it. The following individuals have experienced the power of therapy firsthand, and they’re here to share just how it changed their lives for the better:

1) “Had I not gone to therapy, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.”

Josh Bladh, Senior Marketing Manager at Dr. Taylor Bladh O.D. Inc., says that therapy helped him identify and manage his anxiety: “For the longest time I had anxiety and didn’t really know what it was. My body would mimic the signs of what I know to be a heart attack and I would think that I was dying constantly. It was getting worse and worse as years went on, and I couldn’t suppress it anymore, so I started lashing out at my wife and children. Work was terrible and had I not gone to therapy, and found the root of all the imbalance in my life, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. I am currently 36 years old and last had a second round of intense therapy about five years ago. I am forever thankful for the close friends and family that recommended therapy. It is a life-long battle for sure, but how rewarding the process has been in understanding myself.”

2) “My therapist validated that my concerns were real.”

Bobbe White, Try Laughter! Inc. Speaker was relieved to have a safe space for voicing and addressing her concerns: “My therapy was for anxiety and depression. It was so comforting to have an hour where I was encouraged to talk about what was going on with me. Because mental illness can’t be seen and can only be heard, our family members tire quickly of hearing about our feelings and problems. It’s not their fault, they just aren’t equipped to listen and decipher what it all means. My therapist validated that my concerns were real to me. This is so important when other people will tell you, “Cheer up,” “Chill,” and “Don’t worry so much.” She had a way of letting me talk to a point where I would often end up solving the dilemma myself, just for giving me the license to talk freely.”

3) “The tools therapy provided me have changed the way I live my life.”

Therapy helped fulltime traveler Brittany Wittig through an incredibly difficult time of her life, and she only wishes she started it sooner: “Therapy changed my life, and my only regret is that I waited until I was in my late twenties to start seeing a therapist. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was 26 years old. At the time of her diagnosis the cancer had metastasized to her brain and spine, which prevented her from walking. The following two years were a blur of doctors, care-taking, and extreme stress. It was during this time that I began seeing a therapist. I continued my weekly therapy for nearly three years, at which my therapist felt I was ready to stop my regular sessions. My mother’s terminal illness was the catalyst for my therapy, but the tools therapy provided me have changed the way I live my life in a profound way. I no longer fear change and upheaval because I know how to cope appropriately with stress. One of the biggest lessons that I learned in therapy is how to nurture myself rather than beat myself up over mistakes. Ironically, since I no longer fear failure, I fail less.”

4) “After 10 weeks of therapy, I am feeling happier than I have in years.”

Graduate student Shelby Keye finds therapy incredibly relieving and accredits her renewed happiness to the process: “I started seeing a therapist due to an enormous amount of anxiety that I was experiencing. It originally stemmed from a breakup that occurred 2 ½ years ago. Unfortunately, it was more public than I would have liked, and I received a lot of negative feedback during my last two years of college from peers that didn’t know much about me or my ex. I was told consistently that I had failed. With the constant voice in my head that I wasn’t good enough and that I should have done this or that, along with having to watch those same people give him praise for his career success and a new relationship, I couldn’t help but feel insignificant worthless, and frankly just not good enough. I was slowly falling into a dark, deep hole. I decided to seek professional help when I began struggling to go more than just one day without shedding tears. After about 10 weeks of therapy, I am feeling happier than I have in years. I am still not where I know I could be, but it takes time. I learned how incredibly important it is to be honest with yourself, your family, and your friends about how you are feeling.”