A lunch break blogger, just writing to hear herself talk.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why I love...

I had a pretty perfect childhood.
I've never had any major mental or physical health issues
I lead a perfectly functional life
I'm happy! Really, really happy!

All of that said, I LOVE THERAPY. I thought I'd write about my experience with therapy because I know sometimes it comes with a stigma. Or a fear. And there's no need for any of that! So here you go:

When I was in college, I heard that through the student health center, you could sign up for FREE therapy. I jumped on board without having any real reason to go. I had just broken up with my long-term boyfriend... but I wasn't like depressed or anything. Just thought it'd be nice to talk to someone. Also, it was free. Did I mention that?

I had the. most. beautiful gay man counselor. He wore SUPER trendy business-professional attire, like loafers with no socks, chunky glasses, bowties. Basically, he looked just like Brad Goreski (Rachel Zoe's ex-assistant). But he was really soft-spoken, a great listener... he was just so perfect. I loved him.

We had normal sessions. We talked about life. When I was struggling with making a decision, he'd help me make pros and cons lists. He'd ask questions I hadn't thought of. I cried a lot for no good reason just about every session (to be fair, I'm a crier though). It was just an indulgent, selfish hour every week where I just blathered on about all that stuff normally running through my head. And when I left, I felt less stressed. He helped me draw conclusions. Organize my thoughts. It was like spring cleaning for my brain.

Because occasionally I get anxious (I wouldn't say I suffer from anxiety. My spells are very rare), he also hooked me up with the Mind-Body lab (just like in the last few episodes of last season's Grey's Anatomy - that lab Arizona goes to to help her deal with the false pains she's feeling in her amputated leg?) You go in and sit in a dentist chair in front of a TV and they put heart rate monitors on your fingers. Then, they take you through a meditation exercise where your heartbeat effects the ripples in a pond, so you can get a visual idea of what your heart is doing.

It looks like this but with heart rate monitors on your fingers.

THEN, this was the coolest thing, you'd play race car games. To keep your car going straight, you had to keep your heart rate calm. To turn your car, you had to think of something scary or stressful to make your heart rate increase. Then, to make your car go straight again, you had to think of calm, soothing things. Basically, a training exercise to calm yourself down from a stressful situation! I would almost always think of a big dog chasing me, or being held at gunpoint or something like that. And then to calm down, I'd just think of a happy place, take deeper breathes, sometimes close my eyes. It got easier every time I did it, and I still use those techniques to this day.

Eventually, I had to graduate college. I had to say buh-bye to "Brad" and I jumped in to post-grad life. I moved around some, I changed positions within my company a lot, I've been pretty much living in flux for a three years. But as of 7 months ago, I'm in my permanent job assignment. I'm settling down. And I'm figuring out how I'm going to handle being an adult.

Theretofore... I am officially signed up for therapy, again. This time I'll have to pay for it (my company insurance is seriously sucky) but I just miss that outlet. That time to take a step back and get perspective. I'm perfectly fine, mentally. I suffer from anxiety less now than ever in my life. D and I are happy as a jaybirds. But I still think, in your twenties especially, having an impartial third party help you work through just the everyday stuff is invaluable. Learning techniques to deal with stress, worry, sadness, ect... things you'll be dealing with for the REST of your life... it's great.

I'm blessed to have this opportunity. I know counseling isn't cheap but MOST insurances do help you out with it. The counseling center I found makes after-work appointments, which is awesome. I also understand counseling isn't for everyone. It's a pretty uncomfortable, intimate process. I'd never want to portray it as anything less. But from one twenty-something girl who's no more (or less) crazy than any other twenty-something girl, it's VERY beneficial.

And, I mean, mental health is no joke. It's not something that is just healthy without any maintenance. I could make a whole soapbox speech about how if mental health care were made VASTLY more available we could solve so many of our country's problems. But I won't. I'll just say that counseling, in combination with prayer, meditation, yoga, quiet time, boo time with D, exercise, puppy kisses, Peyton giggles, and fresh air, MAYBE, just MAYBE I'll feel mentally ready to take on my charmed life.



  1. Arizona deserves the phatom pain in her amputated leg for sleeping with Petyon from OTH! Really Arizona? You're married to Callie!
    But I think that mind body lab sounds insanely stressful. Awful.
    Have fun a therapy!



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