I’ve had my go around with the therapists. Even as a 2nd grader, I knew there was something cool about being able to chat about my feelings with a stranger. I always signed up for meetings with our school guidance counselor, so I could be taken out of class and sit on a bean bag and chat with her.
Was I dealing with anything very difficult? I don’t think so. I just have always been a deep thinker and I wanted an outlet for my thoughts.
Therapy, of course, played a major role in my recovery from anorexia and depression. I went weekly for a few years until I was able to taper off to the point of feeling like I had the skills to manage on my own. At the beginning, however, I was sick and in poor mental health. I was resistant to therapy and I felt like it was forced upon me. The therapist and I would sit in the room together for a good 15 minutes before anything was said. Usually I would be looking at the clock, counting down the minutes until I could get out of there.
As far as the stages of change go, I needed someone to walk me through from the pre-contemplative stage all the way to maintenance stage. When I was sick I needed therapy like I needed medication. I think if I would have realized that at the time, I would have taken advantage of it.
It has been a little over a year since I saw my therapist. I am doing so well and I am in a wonderful place mentally. But let me say, therapy is definitely worth trying if a healthy state of mind is not something you have right now.
This past summer I developed an anxiety I never had before. Almost every night I would have physical symptoms start abruptly- nervousness, racing thoughts, nausea, and inability to sleep. A tightness in my stomach would be my signal that the anxiety was about to begin.
I couldn’t think of an explanation for it. I had dealt with depression in the past, but not this type of anxiety. Where was it coming from? I was feeling good about my life and didn’t have any real worries- at least not during the day. Yet at night I could almost count on it hitting me. These were feelings I couldn’t really explain to anyone and I honestly didn’t care to, because the racing thoughts weren’t pleasant thoughts.
After a few months of dealing with this, I decided I had to do something about it. Maybe I needed a change in medication or maybe I just needed an outlet for my thoughts. Nonetheless, I decided to contact my school’s community counseling clinic and set up an appointment. I felt a little weird making an appointment with a therapist when there was nothing really “wrong” with me. Up until the appointment, I wondered if it was going to be worth it.
You guys, having someone to express all my thoughts and fears to without repercussion is (in lack of a better word) amazing. I found that the best thing to do with those racing, repetitive thoughts is to just get them out. Verbalize them. Even if they sound crazy, just put them out there. And with a therapist, no need to worry about burdening anyone.
Through talking with my therapist, she helped me to see that having my house broken into this past summer probably contributed to my anxiety. When the event happened, I didn’t think too much of it, but I now realize it was probably effecting me on a deeper level. She also pointed out that my anxiety could be medication-induced, which helps explain it’s unknown origin.
This time around therapy is not necessarily my “medication” as it was before, but it is something that I can and do really benefit from. She’s given me some techniques to help calm myself in the evenings and even suggested I try melatonin to sleep better. Both have been helpful.
I share all this with you because I am an advocate for discussing mental health. Let’s have open discussions, as Heather did earlier this week, and not keep quiet about issues many of us deal with. If we can talk about our bowel movements and periods, can’t we talk about our minds?
Anyways, thanks for letting me think out loud with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences.