Why I’m Going Back to Therapy

Life

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I’m going back to therapy.

Oh. *awkward silence* Uh. Are you okay?

The easy answer is to say, “I’m fine!” But technically, not really. I’ve slipped back into some bad habits. And I want to talk about them.

Even though it’s 2018, mental health is still an uncomfortable topic for some. That’s why one of my goals in starting this blog was to be real about it and help break down the stigma.

Here’s how it goes. Life seems to be going normal. But the demands, stress, and existential questions involved in just being a human sometimes can mean… a dark cloud can sneak up.

It’s easy to justify at first: I’m stressed, so I’ve been binge eating. I have a headache, so that’s why I haven’t been listening to much music. The headlines are depressing, so I feel anxious. Decisions stress me out; whatever, it’s been a long week. By the way, I’m turning 30 this year, wtf am I doing?

But how tired do you have to be to stay in bed for 12+ hours at a time? Or is it really just laziness that keeps me sleeping on a bare mattress, when clean, crumpled sheets are within reach at the foot of the bed?

The morning I didn’t feel like doing yoga — the highlight of my day — anymore, and was too overwhelmed to control crying spells… The red flag was waving in my face.

So I did some research, and booked an appointment with a new therapist in town. It’ll be my first time going back to therapy in nearly two years. Last time, I learned to cope with debilitating anxiety. This time, I hope to answer some questions that keep me feeling down and “stuck”, learn ways to express and acknowledge my feelings, and revisit some old trauma to better understand it.

I don’t feel scared, sad, weak nor “crazy” by taking this step. Instead, I feel strong. It is the most intimate act of self-care to acknowledge your pain, explore what’s causing it, and work on making life a little easier.

While I don’t want anyone’s sympathy, I do want to encourage an open conversation.

It can be awkward when someone shares their struggles, but finding supportive words doesn’t always have to be strained. However, I can’t properly emphasize the importance of validating a hurting person’s feelings and letting them know they aren’t alone.

After sharing that I was seeking help again, here are some responses that made me feel empowered and loved:

“Good! That sounds like a great decision.” 

“Sorry to hear you’re going through this again. Let me know if there is anything I can do.”

“How can I help?”

The more people talk about mental health, the more we can normalize it and inspire society — parents, bosses, friends, etc. — to understand and acknowledge its real value.

To quote my old therapist, Gail (miss you, gurl): “Mental health isn’t something we have, it’s something we do.”

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Break On Through (To The Other Side)

Life



This is a post about feeling depressed — and then digging out. Since today marks the first day of spring, I thought I’d honor the gradual return of more light, in a figurative sense.

While it may not always be detectable to others from the outside, because I’m still forced to work, look presentable, and function overall — when a depressive episode does hit, it can feel exhausting to fake a smile or complete simple tasks.

Although everyone’s experience is different, I’ve implemented some new habits that help me feel lighter and more in control.

1) Cleaned my house.

The condition of my house tends to be a pretty good reflection of my mental state. And the embarrassing piles (er, mountains?) of laundry that had accumulated over the winter months are no longer occupying various rooms in my apartment. Clearer space = clearer mind.

2) Cut off toxic friendships.

Trying to make me feel bad about myself? I don’t have the time. Bye.

3) Fighting negative thoughts.

I forced myself to become painfully aware of some of the constant negative thoughts I perpetuate internally. And then I would interrupt myself — “dude, stop” — to replace the bad thought with something more pleasant. Whether it’s repeating the opposite as true, or picturing something that makes me happy. The demons might still return, but they no longer dominate my headspace all day.

4) Minor physical activity.

Maybe someday I’ll make it to a gym, but in the meantime, I started to incorporate some very light exercise — extremely short jogging — during nighttime walks with Saki.  I also added stretching and basic yoga to my daily routine.  Even 15 minutes is enough to feel more relaxed and energized.

5) Self-care!

I’m no stranger to the concept of #treatyoself. But lately, I’ve indulged in various forms of more deliberate self-care. Whether it’s making extra time to relax, like using a face mask with weird ingredients … or giving myself something to look forward to, like planning that aforementioned solo trip. (More on that another time!)

It’s all pretty simple, but these minor changes feel much better. What helps you?

Dress: Target. Booties: TJ Maxx, old.

(Yes. Post title was inspired by this song.)