Starting therapy is something I’ve wanted to do for a few years actually. But it wasn’t until December of last year that I decided it was finally time for me to bite the bullet and start going.
I’ve been sharing a lot of therapy updates on my Instagram because I’ve never seen anyone talk too openly about therapy. The closest I’ve seen is Meghan Reinks on her socials and podcast, Don’t Blame Me. Which was actually one of my biggest motivators to start therapy! Meghan really normalized the idea of therapy for me and made me realize it’s not just for “broken” people and that anyone can benefit from it. And I want to do the same for my readers.
Hopefully, sharing my therapy journey will be as inspiring as Meghan was to me and help people realize therapy is normal. I also want to bring awareness to certain things that I didn’t even know were signs of possibly having anxiety until literally last year.
Even though I don’t go into major detail about what I talk about in therapy, talking about this makes me feel super vulnerable, so let’s keep this a kind place. Alright?
How to find a good therapist for you?
There are two ways going about finding a therapist: referrals from a doctor or by doing some of your own research. My first therapist was a referral from my general practitioner and I found my current therapist on Psychology Today. You can search licensed counselors by city, specialization, and by which insurances they cover! It’s pretty fabulous.
I would recommend making a list of three of four possible therapists you feel like you could vibe with, and afford, and then call them all to get quotes. Or just go with the first one and then if that doesn’t work out go down your list.
Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t find a therapist you vibe with right away. My first therapist made me feel very uncomfortable which made talking to him hard. Part of the reason I’m going to therapy is for not knowing how to have conversations with other people and he would force me to start every conversation, and gave no help on how to do so. That’s not a technique I can personally work with. So I made the effort to find a new therapist who worked differently and I clicked with her right away.
You’re going to be telling this person the darkest parts of your mind and if you don’t feel comfortable in the first sitting I doubt you will a few sessions down the line. Plus, if you’re waiting to get comfortable you’re just paying extra money.
I’ve recently talked about how my mental health has been really bad. At the end of last year, I was lonely and sad all the time. So I started working on things to do to make me live a happier life.
Since then, I’ve found more things that really help keep me in a positive mindset, so I wanted to come back with another post. This time it’s not focused on things you can do to just be happier at the moment but to promote a continued positive outlook.
There are only two things on this list that maybe not everyone will be able to do: going to therapy and getting an animal. But I thought I would include them just in case someone is looking to include those in their life. Especially since I feel like the idea of therapy is not really talked about enough.
So let’s get to the list of items I’m doing to improve my mental health.
Tracking Daily Gratitude
I used to keep a daily gratitude journal a couple of years ago. It was actually my new year’s resolution in 2016 and I kept it up for about two years and then I willingly quit. I decided I had learned that every day had its positives and I no longer needed to document them to see that.
Now I know I was wrong.
I’ve started keeping track of daily gratitude again, but only one thing a day in my planner. Every night before I go to sleep I write down one thing I was grateful for that day. Even if I think of more, I will only ever write one. Because it only takes one good thing to improve your mood.
Keeping a Happiness Scale
Along with my daily gratitude, I also keep a daily happiness scale in my planner. This doesn’t really affect my mood nor is it to help on a day-to-day basis. It’s more of a bullet journal tracker item. I’m doing it to maybe catch a pattern. And to prove that I’m not always sad like my anxiety tells me.
I am a very positive person. I smile easily and always try to find the good in a situation. But the past few months I have been extremely unhappy, lonely, and just sad. Spending time alone was no longer fun and I just wanted attention all the time. I started to become clingy to my significant other and cried all the time. Basically, I became a different person and for the past three or four months I didn’t self identify as the positive happy person, I self-identified as the lonely depressed girl.
Even thinking about it now I have no idea what caused this shift. But I don’t think that’s too important right now. What’s important is finding ways to get back to being happy again. And these past weeks I’ve found how to be happy again, and how to love being alone with myself again.
All the photos in this post are ones I took by myself! I thought it was super fitting since it was time I spent alone to take them and photography is one thing I always really enjoy.
My biggest tip is to take the time to enjoy your mornings. I had gotten into the habit of staying in bed until the very last minute and then throwing on clothes and going to work still feeling tired and crappy.
Now, I set my alarm for ten minutes earlier to give myself more time alone in the mornings. I use those ten minutes to read the news, something I’ve always wanted to stay on top of. And then I get out of bed and make breakfast and do my makeup while watching YouTube videos.
It’s so easy to get addicted to caffeine. I should know because I’ve become addicted multiple times over just the past three years. So last summer I made the conscious decision to drink decaf.
Telling people I drink decaf usually gets me the same reactions I get as when I tell people I’m a math major. Picture people with their jaw dropped, eyes bugging out and whining, “Really? Ew how!?” To which I always say, “It’s actually not that bad.”
I actually did a small experiment two years ago where I went three weeks without coffee. If I could go almost a month without any coffee, then I was pretty sure I could go forever with almost exclusively drinking decaf. I say almost because sometimes I do forget to ask for decaf, or I get regular caffeinated coffee if I’m really struggling that day. But I only keep decaf coffee in my apartment, which means I can drink and make coffee whenever I want without losing any sleep.
Before I give away the whole post in the first 200 words, let actually get to the the big reasons why I made the switch.
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