Welcome back to Creative Crushing Anxiety. This week, we are talking about something that is very close to my heart and that is Mental Health Month. I love that we have a month about this to raise awareness and just really get past the stigma and really put these conversations out into the world. If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, then you know that that is a huge personal mission for me is to let it be known that mental health is an important topic, we need to address it, we need to be having these conversations, we need to normalize it. What I mean by normalize it is that is to make it okay for people to come and ask for help to make it okay for people to talk about their struggles and the things that they’re facing and to not stigmatize them, or make them feel like something’s wrong with them or that they’re crazy if they go to therapy or get on medication. It’s something that at some point most of us will deal with at some level.
Quote I Love: If you can’t make your own serotonin store bought is fine. -Unknown
Whether it’s depression, whether it’s anxiety, whether it’s some schizophrenia,, bipolar, whatever the issue it is, even if it’s just like the smallest amount of generalized anxiety, your mental health is so important. You know, we’re taught to get enough sleep, exercise, eat right, but we’re not really taught to take care of our brains or our mental health, our hearts and to really just examine what’s going on inside for us. What comes up for us. What triggers us. What makes us happy. What makes us feel safe. What makes us feel healthy. What keeps keeps us up at night. What keeps us feeling frantic. What throws us off our games. Those things are so important because your mental health can have so many effects on your physical health. And if you haven’t experienced that, you may not understand why being sad or being angry or feeling overwhelmed, how paralyzing that can be to someone physically. How it can actually manifest itself into physical symptoms like chronic pain, or hives. It’s so tied up your mental and your physical, it’s so completely tied up. The same way if you’re overweight, you may feel bad about yourself mentally because of the physical condition.
When you have these mental issues, they can manifest themselves physically and then you have pain. I know when I get very stressed or very overwhelmed, I feel physical pain in my upper back, I call it the “little man.” Anytime my massage therapist is working on me she can feel the little man she can feel when I’m doing the stretches and when things are going on for me because I that manifests itself in my body physically.
The Benefits I’ve Experienced Because of Therapy
What I really wanted to talk about today, along with just giving you that message that it’s okay to need help. one of the ways that I have gotten help for my anxiety and depression is therapy.
I’m not saying that is not my full treatment plan, first of all, but I have been going to see my therapist for about three years now and it has completely been life changing. Now I’ve previously went to therapy back in college for a bit but just this journey that I’ve been on the past few years, especially with starting the business and the growing pains of your late 20s has been
such a vital part of me just making it from day to day. Sometimes it has been the only thing that really got me through. So I want to talk about some of the benefits that I’ve experienced from therapy.
If you are on the fence about going, I’ll say this, it’s not for everyone, like the traditional therapy model, it’s not. Some people aren’t there yet, maybe they will be someday. But if you feel like you would benefit from it, I completely recommend you look into it. A lot of times people don’t realize that, depending on your insurance, it may cover, you know, part of it or all of it. So I would definitely check, I know that I’ve had co pays like as little as $25. I’ll pay that $25 to take care of myself mentally. So definitely look into that, check your insurance company’s website, even call them and ask them about that. And then don’t be afraid to meet with a few, I got really lucky and hit it off with the person that I was assigned with rather quickly. It just felt like the right fit. It was what I needed and who I needed. But don’t be afraid to like shop around because this is the person that you’re trusting your mental health with, like you’re putting it in their hands, like yeah, a lot of it is your responsibility, but they’re going to be kind of your partner on that journey. So please feel free to go see someone if you don’t feel like it’s great, go see someone else. Or if you want to maybe see two people and then see which one feels like a better fit for you.
A Sounding Board
The first benefit is definitely it just gives you a sounding board. I feel like a lot of times we’re so wrapped up in what we’re doing, or we are having conversations with people and we’re thinking about what we need to do afterwards or, or waiting for them to stop talking to speak we are doing more than thinking and feeling.
In therapy, it’s a place for you to just talk and and they’re not going to tell you, “this is how you need to live your life,” they’ll give you exercises and practices to help you deal with certain situations. But a lot of times just having a place where you can talk things out, a lot of times you’ll find yourself solving your own problems.
You say, “I’m going to go home, and I’m going to journal,” the next thing you know, you’re just writing random things or someone texts you and then you’re distracted. But in this, it’s kind of like a silo of really being in yourself.
A Safe Place
Another benefit is it’s just a safe place to share your ugly thoughts. When you’re in a really bad place, and I’ve experienced this, you can have the best friends, you can have the best family members who would totally be there for you but it doesn’t always feel like a safe place to talk to them. Because either you don’t want them to worry about that about you or you’re afraid they won’t get it or you’re going to think that they’re going to treat you differently. When you talk with your therapist that kind of gets stripped away, you know, if you’re like me, I know, I have no idea who my other therapists clients are but I’m sure that she’s probably heard something similar to what I’m saying or something “worse “than what I’m saying. So I can just let out the scary, ugly thoughts that I have in that safe place. And there’s not like I’m, I’m worried that I’m going to be at dinner with a friend and she’s going to be like, “Your therapist told me…” the same way that may have with a friend.
What I mean by that is, you know, if you express like really negative or heavy feelings to a friend, they may not know how to deal with it and they may talk to another friend about it. And not in a gossipy, malicious way. Just in a general “Oh, she said XYZ and I’m not sure what to do about it.” Then you kind of feel like that trust is broken, and then you don’t feel like you you’re in a safe place. If that happens, not saying that would happen. If you would rather talk to a friend, by all means, go for it. But if you have that hesitancy because you’re worried something like that may happen, then a therapist is a great way to go about talking about your problems.
Another thing that I have really loved is the undivided attention during the session. I know that that sounds vain but as women we give so much to other people. I know as a business owner I constantly have clients, friends, family members vying for my attention. It’s funny because I had a work day today where no one was supposed to be online, I had my Scrum board all set out for the day was just going to work, focus. I got up started working left my phone on the bed and about two hours passed by and I walked past the bed and I said, “Oh, there’s my phone.” And I realized that I had all these messages. But it was so funny because my phone was on silent. Once I had it my attention was split. A lot of times we don’t get that undivided attention to focus on what’s going on with us internally. Many times when you talk to the other to the other people in your life, you want to be fair, you want to ask them how they’re doing, you want to talk about what’s going on with them, you want to support them. But in therapy, you’re not really talking to your therapist about how her day is going. You’re talking about what is going on with you. And you can just really get it out without being interrupted, without wondering if the other person is interested, without feeling like you need to reciprocate and that’s because that’s a different relationship with your friends.
It is important that you reciprocate and you take turns with your friends. Both coming in the relationship giving as much as you’re getting. But with your therapist, honestly, you don’t have to worry about that. It may sound selfish, but you need that, sometimes we all need that.
I had friends before, who I’m not really close with anymore, I would feel like I would bring up something to talk to them about and maybe they’d make a joke or they’d maybe say one comment and then just completely change the subject when I was really still needing to talk about it. I remember one time, I was really, really upset. I called a friend crying. And she said “I’m sorry, I can’t really deal with this right now.” We’re not we’re not really friends anymore. Like if we run into each other, we’re cordial. We didn’t have a big falling out. But I just realized that is not the support that I need in my life. The crass, cold way that she said that, knowing that I hadn’t reached out to her about anything, it wasn’t like a redundant thing. I was just in a really low place and I needed someone to talk to in the moment. To be so shut down and never followed up with, that’s something that you don’t really get past. It can make you feel like your problems are a burden and and and then it makes it harder for you to open up again, you don’t have that feeling with your therapist.
I will say that therapists are professionals and sometimes that means that they have to give you tough love. And that may be something as far as calling you out on something that you said you would do that you haven’t done, or a pattern that they see you repeating that is harmful to your health. You have to be open to that feedback. I think that’s the thing that shocks a lot of people when they hit the point where the therapist is like, “Okay, you’ve been coming a while, I know. You have to know your patterns. I feel like I’m not supporting you if I don’t call this out.” You have to be open to that feedback. Yes, it is a place where a lot of times you discover that the answer is all along. You have to know that they’re not always going to tell you everything that you want to hear. Sometimes they’ll tell you what you need to hear. And that’s their job. Even if you do get mad at them, it’s not like you have to go have dinner with them later like with someone in your personal circle. I find that if my therapist says something, and that kind of makes me mad, I go home and I’m like, “Oh, she’s right. I needed that reminder.”
As I mentioned previously, a lot of times you’re so distracted, and you’re so pulled in so many directions, that you don’t stop and really examine what it is that you want or where you want to go or what it is that you’re doing or how you’re really feeling. And this gives you that silo to really just stop and see where you are and ask yourself the hard questions. A lot of times, my therapist is so good at doing is asking questions that I wouldn’t even thought to ask or she asked them worded a certain way that really opens up my mind.
For example I might haven asking myself, “What do I want to eat?” Then my therapists says “What don’t you want to eat?” That reframe really opens my mind. (Don’t worry I don’t spend my therapy hours talking about food lol this is just an example.)
They are trained and they have the tools to position things in a way that will really open and unlock things for you. Because there have been moments where I’m sitting there and I’m rambling about something and she’ll ask a question, or I’ll just be rambling and a truth that I either didn’t want to let out, or hadn’t really accepted or consciously heard yet will come out of my mouth. And I’ll be like, and I feel like a huge weight lift off of my shoulders because I’m you realize, “I did have the answer for that,” or “This is what I want,” or “This isn’t okay.” And that, in and of itself… ir is just it’s so important to know yourself.
I see so many people, especially at my age, who are you know, trying to discover themselves while doing all these things, getting married, having kids, starting businesses, changing careers, all the things. But they’re doing so much based on that outside path and that outside funnel of what they should be doing. I find that with therapy, you really stop and you say what’s, what’s the inside path? What’s the calling that I feel? What’s the direction that I feel? What’s really going to make me happy and not just look good on paper?
As you know, I’m always very, very open about my mental health journey on the show. And I wanted to just share that with you this month. So my homework for you, if you are considering therapy, is just to look into it. If you feel like you need any help or like you could benefit from talking to someone, look at your insurance if you have insurance and see what your options are. If you don’t have insurance, maybe look into some of the online programs available (I linked to some below). Just see what your options are. Because that is something that is such a small move, but once you make it and you know what your options are you feel empowered to take the next step.
Online Therapy: (Please note: I have not used either of these but have heard good things.)
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