Lets Talk – Therapy

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My Personal Experience with a Therapist.

Therapy. The idea was quite daunting to me; confiding in a complete stranger made my social anxiety meter rage with fear. When things started to spiral out of control (or so I thought), I was desperate to try anything.

It was one of the greatest decisions I ever made.

She has helped me in an abundance of extraordinary ways. She has helped me make connections between my thoughts and reality. She always knows exactly the right questions to ask. She really seeks to understand, and challenges my thought processes. She opens my eyes to new perspectives, and provides me with valuable insights. She has made a significant impact on my life, and I am internally grateful for her guidance and support.

Keep in mind – sometimes finding a therapist, that is right or you, can be a bit of trial and error. You have to find someone you can trust wholeheartedly, and feel comfortable enough to fully open up to and allow yourself to be vulnerable with.

I understand that there may be financial constraints that may hinder your ability to access this type of resource or service (which is a big part of why I created this blog – a project that will hopefully come to light in the next couple of months, so stay tuned), but there is are many organizations that help connect you with “non-profit support services”. Just do a quick google search of the Mental Health Association or Organizations in your location! Hospital websites also provide information about available services that are located in their district. I will also list a few websites at the end of this Post.

Here are a list of common questions I had when I was debating
seeking help from a therapist.


WHY should I seek help from a Therapist?

  • You’re experiencing unexpected mood swings
  • You’re undergoing a big change.
  • You’re having harmful thoughts.
  • You’re withdrawing from things that used to bring you joy.
  • You’re feeling isolated or alone.
  • You’re using a substance to cope with issues in your life.
  • You suspect you might have a serious mental health condition.
  • You feel like you’ve lost control.
  • Your relationships feel strained
  • Your sleeping patterns are off.
  • You just feel like you need to talk to someone

Credit: Huffington Post

WHAT can therapy help me with?

Therapy helps individuals, couples, and families address personal difficulties by allowing you to talk openly and confidentially about concerns and feelings with a trained professional.

Therapy may be useful if:

  • You’re facing situations causing you stress, anxiety and upset.
  • You are experiencing intense or uncomfortable feelings such as anger, sadness, fear, frustration and depression.
  • You are behaving in ways that don’t fit your normal pattern, don’t serve your needs, or are problematic to you or others.
  • You are thinking thoughts that are peculiar, hard to understand, out-of-control or disturbing.
  • You’ve experienced a traumatic event, such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, a serious accident or a criminal injury.
  • You are dealing with a relationship issue or family conflict.
  • You’re going through a difficult life transition, such as the death of a loved one, a life-threatening illness, divorce, separation, or a mid-life crisis.
  • You are challenged by family issues, such as parenting, child-rearing, adolescence, and aging parents.
  • You need help with an addiction such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex or gambling.
  • You have an eating disorder.
  • You are facing difficulties with matters of gender identity, sexual orientation, racism and oppression.
  • You wish to explore spiritual issues, questions of meaning or matters of faithCredit: Psychotherapy Ontario

HOW can therapy help me?

  • Understand your mental health condition
  • Define and reach wellness goals
  • Overcome fears or insecurities
  • Cope with stress
  • Make sense of past traumatic experiences
  • Separate your true personality from the moods caused by your condition
  • Identify triggers that may worsen your symptoms
  • Improve relationships with family and friends
  • Establish a stable, dependable routine
  • Develop a plan for coping with crises
  • Understand why things bother you and what you can do about them
  • End destructive habits such as drinking, using drugs, overspending or unhealthy sex

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

WHO provides Therapy or Counselling?

Many kinds of mental health specialists may provide talk therapy. Some common professionals include:

  • Psychiatrists (MD)
  • Psychologists (PhD, PsyD, EdD, MS)
  • Social workers (DSW, MSW, LCSW, LICSW, CCSW)
  • Counselors (MA, MS, LMFT, LCPC)
  • Psychiatric nurses (APRN, PMHN).

Your ability to talk honestly and openly with your therapist, set
clear goals and make real progress are the most important things. Think
of your relationship with your therapist as a partnership. The two
of you will work together to help you feel better. You do not need
to feel ashamed or embarrassed about talking openly
and honestly about your feelings and concerns.

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

HOW do I get the most of my Therapy?

When you first begin therapy, make a list of the things that are bothering you and the issues you would like help with. Bring it with you to your first appointment. You might include:

  • Issues in your family or other relationships
  • Symptoms like changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Anger, anxiety, irritability or troubling feelings
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance


Additional Resources:

Ontario Society of Psychotherapist : Why choose psychotherapy?

American Psychiatric Association: Psychotherapy

Canadian Mental Health Association: Getting Help

American Psychology Association: Understanding Psychotherapy

Credit: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Institute of Mental Health: Help for Mental Health

Mental Health America : Find Help

Please Comment and Share Mental Health
Resources available in your Country.

Compulsive Worrying – Coping

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I have a confession, I am a compulsive worrier.
Ever since I can remember, I have always lived my days worrying about pretty much anything and everything.
I would imagine the absolute worst case scenario, conjure up a detailed motion picture movie in my head, and then I’d believe it as if it were currently happening. Negative assumptions would be preceded by a slew of negative feelings, which would be based off this unrealistic reality.
Eventually this thought process became very destructive and started to affect many different aspects of my life, and well-being.


Signs of Symptoms of Panic Attack Disorder:

Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
Sweating
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
Feelings of choking
Chest pain or discomfort
Nausea or abdominal distress
Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint –
Chills or heat sensations
Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization –
(being detached from oneself)
Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
Fear of dying

Signs of Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
Being easily fatigued
Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
Irritability
Muscle tension
Difficulty controlling the worry
Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or –
restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Signs of Symptoms of Social Anxiety:

Feeling highly anxious about being with other people –
and having a hard time talking to them
Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about -feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or –
fearful of offending others
Being very afraid that other people will judge them
Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
Staying away from places where there are other people
Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around


I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Unless you are a close friend, or family member, many people have (and will) find this shocking to believe. I became very good at keeping my feelings locked away in the closet. What people observed was a total inaccurate interpretation of how I actually felt. Inside, I felt like my brain was caught up in a storm of constant, repetitive, and racing thoughts, but that didn’t stop me from smiling. It was on fire. Eventually the anxiety led to Major Depression (and the smiling ceased to exist – for a while), which I will discuss another time.

The greatest accomplishment for me was being able to recognize that there was an issue, and that I needed help beyond peer social support, journal writing and self-help books.
There is so much stigma circling around mental illness, when it’s merely no different than any medically diagnosed condition. It should be treated with the same level of priority and importance. Medication, psychotherapy, and support groups are okay. No one should feel judged or embarrassed to seek support. The only way to break the stigma is to talk about it, spread awareness.


Here are some things that have helped me manage my cyclic worry:

Create a list – Identifying the things you are worried about allows you to acknowledge them for what they are (just thoughts), and it allows you to do something about them (or perhaps nothing at all).
Analyze (but don’t over analyze) – Determine whether your thoughts are productive or non-productive. Productive in the sense, can you do something about it now? Non-productive thoughts are typically worse case assumptions, “what if”, that cannot be changed.
Embrace Uncertainty – Accept your limitations, and let go, focusing on the things you do have control over and enjoy.
Bore Yourself Calm – Repeat the negative thoughts in your mind until they lose their importance, resulting in boredom.
Stop the Clock – Worry creates a sense of urgency. Become mindful, and focus on what you observe in the present moment. Practice mediation, deep breathing, music therapy, and/or journal writing.

Ask, “What can I do in this present moment to make my
life more meaningful and pleasant?”

Check out : Rejuvenate your Mind and Body with These Simple Practices
Lastly, Talk About It – I have to say, I am very thankful of the support I have in my life. I have the most amazing family and friends. BUT, sometimes we need professional support, in the form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy through certified therapists, psychologists and/or psychiatrists. Recognizing the need for professional help is key. If you notice your excessive worrying, or anxiety is starting to affect multiple areas of your life (ie. work, personal, relationships) then it’s highly suggested you reach out for additional support.


Helpful Resources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Canadian Mental Health Association

Anxiety.Org


Rachel Page ♥

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