In my last post, I covered some of my favourite wellness apps and gadgets. Something that has helped me immensely, however, is therapy. I thought it deserved its own post!
Asking for help is something many of us struggle with. As someone who always prided me on being able to take care of everybody around me, I have always struggled to take care of myself or ask for help when I’ve needed it.
If you’re someone like me then therapy is something you should consider. With that being said, however, I believe that therapy is for everybody, whether there are specific things you need to work on or not. There are many different kinds of therapy for whatever you are struggling with as well as an abundance of therapists you can choose from.
Therapy for me started back in 2010 when I was first diagnosed with Bulimia. It was a tough time as I was 15 which meant that therapy had to involve my family. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me as I did not fancy speaking to therapists about the issues I had in front of my parents who did not really understand (at the time) the ins and outs of eating and anxiety disorders.
Later, in 2013, I returned to therapy and really benefitted from speaking to a cognitive behavioural therapist and carrying out activities that would enable me to reshape the ideas, thoughts and feelings I had with regard to my eating disorder and, at the time, crippling social anxiety. I found myself feeling less alone and more aware of my thoughts and feelings in a good way; I found a safe space to process my feelings and to put in strategies or techniques to stop me from falling into maladaptive behavioural patterns.
Sometimes it can be tough to explain or make sense of what you are thinking or feeling. Moreover, if you struggle with low mood or depression, reaching out can be quite daunting, particularly if you are someone who usually appears to be in control of your life. On the outside, it may seem like you have everything together. A good job, a car, a house, your family may be really proud of you. But that may only add pressure on you to continue living your life without really working on yourself and your mind. I certainly felt the pressure to keep my struggles private and just continue with my life. Sometimes you may feel like you do not have people you can reach out to. Or maybe the people you reach out to may be struggling with so much themselves, or sometimes the people you reach out to could be the ones causing you pain.
Being able to speak to a stranger about all your struggles adds a sense of relief as you know that what you say stays between the therapist and yourself. This enables you to explore your thoughts and feelings further without the fear of judgment or being a burden; so if you wanted to disclose an embarrassing event, you know it would stay in the session. Confidentiality also allows there to be a sense of safety during sessions, and may therefore encourage you to discuss or process difficult feelings and memories, which you may not have been able to previously if speaking to a familiar face.
“Therapists are also skilled at helping you explore your thoughts deeper, enabling you to develop insight into your thoughts and feelings towards things and seeing your experiences in new perspectives.”
Making Sense of that big ol’ mass above our shoulders
There are many kinds of therapies; each would be designed to deal with the issues you may be facing specifically. Some therapies are more focused on the here and now, whereas others could help you with struggles you may have faced throughout your life.
I have always been interested in learning about why I always thought about things in certain ways. Why was I so easily triggered by specific things? And what even were my triggers? Discussing these questions with my CBT therapist at the time really helped me to understand my eating disorder and anxiety, and how I could overcome them by becoming more aware of my triggers and learning to develop a healthier internal monologue.
I’ve had the pleasure of discussing mental illness with many people, I find it fascinating yet equally saddening at how many people think they are ‘going mad’ or that they feel like everyone around them has it easier than they do. I strongly believe there are many more people that struggle with their mental health than mainstream statistics suggest. One in four of us is at risk of developing a mental illness at some point in our lives and these numbers are on the rise.
Internal Monologue (n) – The semi-constant conversations we may have with oneself at a conscious or semi-conscious level.Collins
Therapists are trained professionals that go through extensive training and several hundreds of hours of practice before they can even become qualified. It is a thoroughly standardised profession and therapists are required to be registered to ensure they are kept up to date with relevant developments in psychological research and medicine.
With all this experience under their belts, I have found therapists to be the best listeners. Not only do they listen, but they manage to put all of the jumbled ideas and thoughts I may have and relay them back to me in a perfect, coherent sense. Therapists are also skilled at helping you explore your thoughts deeper, enabling you to develop insight into your thoughts and feelings towards things and seeing your experiences from new perspectives.
In the next few blog posts, I will be continuing on from my therapy series and giving some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your sessions from personal experience, and more importantly how to access therapy.
- Samaritans – a free, confidential helpline if you or someone you know is in need and would like to speak to someone urgently- Call 116 123
- Call 999 or visit A&E immediately if you are in a serious situation and are at risk of harm
- Click here to find out about various Mental Health Crisis Helplines in England