I want to talk to you guys a little bit about anxiety.
Not anxiety itself, more about my therapy journey.
Back when I was in high school, I was convinced that I was depressed. I went through a hard time throughout high school. Mainly because I started dating and I felt like the world revolved around “love”. So I had my heart broken a few times and I was so miserable. My doctor referred me to a — I’m going to pause a bit and explain,
I want to define the different types of help professionals, they are the same right? No. Not exactly…
Psychologist focuses on psychotherapy and treats emotional and mental suffering with behavioral interventions. They can work hand in hand with a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist is medical doctor that focuses on a diagnosis and provides treatment and prevention of emotional, mental and behavioral disorders. The difference is they can prescribe medication.
A therapist provides support and guidance to help patients make decisions and clarify their feelings in order to solve problems.
A counselor helps clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems that cause conflict in the individuals life.
In a sense, they are somewhat similar but very different in the aspect that they each have different goals in mind. The reason why I want to point these out is because I’ve had three of these. I’ve had my experience with each one and prefer one over the other.
Back to my story, I was referred to a psychiatrist. My doctor at the time thought this would benefit me. During this time, I didn’t bond with my family that much, so they didn’t know much of what was going on with me. They wanted to help but didn’t know how so they believed that this was a good solution. Love wasn’t the only reason why I felt the way I did, I am a middle child. I felt like I was the odd one out in my family, like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I was always being compared to my sister or not good enough to set a good example for my younger brother. I didn’t feel as loved like my other siblings. Again, I was the rebellious one.
Anyway, psychiatrists are NOT for me. I remember going in and you sit there and talk for what, an hour? And all they do is listen. You watch them write down notes, thinking, what could you be writing down? Should I be concerned about what I say? Are they even listening? As you talk they just answer with a nod or an okay. I personally HATED that. You spend hundreds of dollars for a stranger to just listen. I could easily walk up to a random person on the street and tell them all my problems for FREE. I mean tell me what to do yo! That’s what you expect for them to do, but you see that’s not in their job description. Going in, I felt super uncomfortable. I didn’t want to talk to a professional about what was going on with my life. I thought it was dumb and useless. I barely talked. I went maybe about four times. But she diagnosed me with depression and prescribed me medication. When I started the medication I didn’t feel any different. I actually felt weird. I didn’t take it for long and eventually just stopped taking it. To this day, I don’t think depression is what I had. I think I just felt unwanted and strived to feel loved. To feel that someone needed me. Like I served a purpose in this life. I just needed to figure myself out, I mean I was in high school. That phase is such a hard phase in life.
Time passed by,
I had my hospitalization incident and I NEEDED to talk to someone about what I was going through. I didn’t really have any friends that were there for me during this time and I needed help. So I went to see a psychologist at my school. She was good. I think I was able to talk to her because I just had so much bottled up. I had so much I needed to get out because it was eating me up and disrupting my life. I was having panic attacks left and right. I wasn’t sleeping. I was having horrible nightmares, and I was having random episodes where I would just ball my eyes out. It was a really rough time for me. I would go see her maybe once a week. I remember the first time I went, I was comfortable right away. I told her everything I was feeling, what I was going through and she listened. Again, there wasn’t much interaction. She would repeat what I said in her own words to signify that she was listening to me. Which helped because it wasn’t just me blabbering for that whole hour. I felt like it helped me get through this rough patch because I was able to speak freely what was going on with me, with no judgement. I felt it was a safe space and I felt relieved after each session. My anxiety levels became manageable over time. I was able to learn about anxiety, what it was, how to cope with it and how to get through episodes. A lot of the time it was just by reading about others who were going through the same thing. I mean, I didn’t know of anyone who was going through anxiety, so I wasn’t really informed about it and no one understood exactly how I was feeling. Anyway, It was my last year of college there so I only saw her throughout that time and I BELIEVE it helped me. I learned a lot. I learned about myself, in that aspect. It was hard, don’t get me wrong, anxiety was so new to me. It was foreign and I felt crazy most of the time. I wasn’t able to get out of my head.
Time passed by,
I went on living life without seeing help. I felt like I had it figured out. Until about two years in, you see, I got pregnant. Anxiety and pregnancy go hand in hand. At least that’s what I strongly believe. While you’re pregnant with your first child, you worry about how it’s doing, health and everything. So if you’re pregnant AND have anxiety, it doubles. Plus, once baby is here you have a higher chance of having postpartum anxiety. I feel it should be strongly recommended for women even if they don’t have anxiety. Just because you go through a lot of stress and your body is changing throughout the entire process. I believe it would beneficial to every woman.
I decided to go see a therapist. She specialized in pregnancy and postpartum along with marriage. I decided to try it out and I LOVED her. She’s been my all time favorite therapists. I went in and she was super welcoming and I felt a good vibe with her. I was very comfortable from the very start. I was very open with her and she was super interactive. This was one of things that I always looked for in therapy. Feedback, suggestions, activities, you know hands on hands stuff. Give me homework, I’ll do it! She always had activities for us to do, and if it wasn’t activities it was different ways to cope with anxiety. It wasn’t things I already knew, she taught me different methods. We even practiced together in her office. This was something out of my comfort zone and she pushed me, which I was grateful for. Going into this helped me with my pregnancy and my birth. I was worried how that was going to go because I was scared and I didn’t want to have an anxiety attack while pushing out my baby. This was one of the best decisions I made because I felt strong going into labor. I stopped seeing her after the baby, not because I didn’t want to. Life just happened. I was busy with my recovery, the baby, and we ended up moving to a different city…
I personally enjoy therapy. I think therapists would be my go to just because what they do is what I look for. I feel like it’s soothing and it helps you understand a lot about yourself. It has benefited me in every aspect. At one point, I thought I needed medication. I felt like my anxiety was overpowering me and I couldn’t control it anymore. It’s hard, my life isn’t easy. But each day I take it one step at a time and I can say I’ve come a long way since I developed this mental illness. I still love myself at the end of the day, and I will continue to fight it because I will never let it overpower me.
Whatever it is that you go through, what you feel or what you do, just remember it doesn’t define who you are. We are each unique individuals who strive to be better every day, nothing is ever set and stone. Each person has their own persona and it is beautiful. No one should be judged. No one is better than anyone else. We are all powered by the same things, we all have a heart, a brain and a soul. Love Each Other.
You are not broken, you are breaking through.Alex Myles