How Therapy Changed My Life

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I was inspired to write this blogpost after reading Jame’s version from his blog, The Bipolar Writer. I hope he doesn’t mind that I am writing a similar blogpost inspired by his. James is an excellent writer and his blogpost talked about how therapy has helped him open up and assisted his recovery process. I thought I would talk about my journey with therapy and how it has changed my life. I have been treated by two therapist, and they have been completely different in their approach. However, both of them have been essential and helpful during my recovery process. So in this blogpost I want to talk about why therapy has been so important to me.

Life Line

I wasn’t sure how to call this, but the fact that I have a trusted psychiatrist to call when I am feeling helpless has lowered my anxiety immensely. I know my family and friends have been essential in my recovery. However, there are times when no one can seem to bring me down from ledge. I don’t know if it is because a psychiatrist is a professional, but somehow, being able to have someone to call who I know will comfort and calm me down has been such a blessing. That is why it is important to find a psychiatrist that you can trust and communicate with. It can be the difference between feeling completely helpless and knowing that there is always hope.

Spill Your Guts

Let’s face it. Whenever I talk to my family and friends about my mental illness, there is always a certain “dark bit” that I leave out. Mostly, because it pretty much terrifies others when you tell them the depth of your helplessness. So I am so relieved whenever I see my psychiatrist and I can just lay down every horrible thought I have at his office. I know that everything I say in that room is confidential so I don’t have to hold back. Plus, I assume that my psychiatrist has heard these types of thoughts on multiple occasions so his reaction is always calm and reassuring. I find this really helpful because I know that I am not the only one with this issue, and it makes me feel less alone somehow.

Game Plan

Usually when I am in a bad state, it is hard to think rationally at all. Here is where my psychiatrist has been extremely helpful. He is able to break down my huge cloud of spiralling thoughts and make it more concrete and manageable somehow. Moreover, he is able to help me refute these helpless thoughts step-by-step and then provide a game plan on how to attack them. Most of the time, after I walk out of his office, I feel a little lighter. Instead of having a million thoughts in my head, I now only have a couple of pointers that I need to focus on before I see him again. This really helps me because I tend to get just overwhelmed easily. Plus, after I see him, I often glimpse an end point, and that is truly hopeful when mental illness often feels eternal.

How has therapy changed your life? I would love to hear your stories.

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Finding Transcendence

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As someone with anxiety, you often get caught up in thoughts that keep coming back again and again. Sometimes they can be crippling, but once in a while, you look forward to them coming back. This week, I actually quite enjoyed repeatedly contemplating the idea of transcendence.  In my last blogpost, I talked about my reflections after watching a TED Talk about happiness. The speaker, Emily Esfahani Smith, talked about her four pillars to a meaningful life and one of the pillars, transcendence, really intrigued me. For her, transcendence are “rare moments when you are lifted above the hustle and bustle of everyday life” and you feel connected to a “higher reality.” For example, she said that she felt transcendence when she was writing and that others have found it in religion. So it got me thinking about where did I find transcendence?

Initially, I just really couldn’t come up with anything. For my husband, fishing was definitely his form of transcendence. You didn’t know when he would be back! It was then that I realized I was stuck in thinking that only hobbies could be considered transcendent. In fact, we actually can find many transcendent moments in our everyday lives.

Family Dinner

Easy conversation. Endless laughter. Yummy Meals. For me, this equals transcendence. Family dinners take me away from the stressors of everyday life and allow me to enjoy a place in time where I can just be myself. Where I am enveloped by conversation about new and exciting ventures, but also familiar inside jokes only those at the table would get. I think we often forget how precious and rare these moments actually are and how thankful we should be.

Taking Care of my Succulents

I was initially going to title this paragraph “Gardening,” but then I thought who was I kidding? I don’t know if I would call taking care of a few potted succulents actually gardening. I started growing succulents a couple of years ago and I am genuinely hooked. I truly love planting a succulent, tending to it, and then being able to see it grow and flourish. Of course, there have been some that didn’t make it, but it has been rewarding to learn and grow from these mistakes. I decided to include this hobby in this post because I do truly lose track of time and space when I come home every day to check out each succulent to see how they are doing and if there are any changes.

Puzzles

I have mentioned my love of solving puzzles in previous blogposts. Jigsaw puzzles were actually at the core of my healing during my hospital stay. One of the most difficult aspects of my hospital stay was filling up my day with things to do. Something about the physical act of figuring out how to fit all the pieces together in a puzzle gave me a sense of peace, purpose, and fulfillment. Since there really wasn’t anything else to do there, working on these puzzles took me away from the reality of my mental illness, even though it was only temporary. Knitting, word games, and anything similar to a puzzle all give me this feeling of transcendence.

What is your form of transcendence?