It's been a while since I've spoken to you about my therapy sessions and how I've been coping with my depression & anxiety and my divorce. I decided to get a therapist when I realized that my anxiety was only getting worse after coming to terms with the reality that my 10 year marriage was over. Playing clean-up to what was left of our life all alone was not easy, thankfully, most of the links between my ex and I have been erased but I am still consulting a therapist to help me to heal healthily.
I want to share my experience so far with you, session by session, and I also want to provide you my opinion of the online therapy service called BetterHelp. While reading up on my progress, check out the beautiful and peaceful Autumn inspired photos. Fall has always brought me such great inspiration to progress towards positivity.
If you have not subscribed to Tea End Blog yet, then I have no idea what you're waiting for! Subscribing to the blog will automatically enter you to win free tea, books, and other cool stuff that I am always giving away!
I think it's important that you ask yourself why before you consult a therapist. If you know what you're looking to get help with and you understand your needs then you will be able to 1) properly relay this to your therapist so that they may better assist you and 2) find an appropriate therapist to fit your needs.
I needed help with my anxiety; exacerbated by my ex-husband's betrayals and lies, my anxiety was causing panic attacks even during my sleep and lack of focus. I also needed to ensure that I would properly heal from my divorce, not allowing the pain to turn into hatred or bitterness. I wanted practical help in making sure I was functioning in a way that would favor peace in my future. I knew that I wanted to work on negative self-talk, it was time for me to change my inner voice from cut-throat to kind. I wasn't looking for spiritual direction, because I have that, I was looking for practical and clinical steps to understanding and changing my behavior and thoughts.
You see, I knew why I needed a therapist and therefore I was able to find one that would work well with me. And I did! Don't allow not knowing everything to stop you from consulting help, however, because a therapist can help you identify what you need. I would simply recommend asking yourself why before-hand and perhaps you can get a head-start and convince yourself to go ahead and get help.
SESSION BY SESSION SYNOPSIS
I want to share with you how productive my therapy sessions have been. Below, you will see a short summary for all of the therapy sessions that I have had so far. You will be able to see that the sessions do not consist of just talking and expressing myself but of also receiving practical assistance and knowledge into my thinking, behavior, and emotions.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 @ 7:30 PM CST
This session was cut short by a mistake on my therapist's part. It was supposed to be an hour but it was accidently scheduled for only 30 minutes. I was sort of relieved because I didn't know what to expect and was so anxious. I met my therapist and really liked his energy and direct approach. I actually posted about my first experience on Instagram Live and was super excited that he had, within 30 minutes, presented a game plan to attack my anxiety.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 @ 8:00 PM CST
This session was loaded with gems! My therapist evaluated the way that I was starting and ending my day and explained to me that it is very important that my day passes like a sunrise and a sunset; bold and strong in the morning and slowly waning and winding down towards the evening. He felicitated me for my self-care morning routine, specifically my grace and gratitude journaling practice and also my habit of writing down a to-do list of the things that I would like to accomplish in the day. He reminded me to always take time to recharge and to create balance.
I was also taught the Byron Katie Method of controlling one's anxious or negative thoughts; When a negative thought develops in the mind, we should ask ourselves Is It True? If we say Yes, then we ask, Is It 100% True? Most likely, it isn't. This is when we can entertain the thought that the exact opposite will occur. My therapist also showed me The Cognitive Model Diagram (see below) which helped me to understand how anxious and negative thoughts turn into behavior helping me to notice a situation or trigger that could eventually turn into a toxic behavior.
My therapist also introduced me to a calming practice: Sit down and place both feet flat on the ground, close my eyes and perform a check up on my body and breathing while reminding myself that I am safe. My therapist also suggested L-Theanine and ever since, I've taken 800mg daily.
Tuesday, September 08, 2020 @ 4:00 PM CST
I was really exhausted after having sold my house and finally paying off debts that I didn't even create (yeah, annoying and so unfair) amongst other "to-dos"; I just remember this session coming after having a full on break-down where I couldn't stop having anxiety attacks and bouts of falling asleep out of pure mental and physical exhaustion. The emotional turmoil was intense. My therapist kept encouraging me to take L-Theanine and I did. I decided to stop working overnight as a French interpreter to take care of my mental health. These two changes, along with trying to eat more balanced meals, helped me to create a good mental foundation for what I was going to learn next.
Honestly, I remember very little about this session. My mind was still very foggy and I was waiting for the effects of getting proper sleep, eating more healthily, and the anxiety reducing effects of the L-Theanine to become noticeable. I couldn't tell you what this session was exactly about to save my life LOL but, to my therapist's credit (and he deserves a lot of credit) whatever he counseled me to do helped me to make it through the week and focus on my goals to become mentally healthy.
Thursday, September 17, 2020 @ 1:00 PM CST
This was a very positive session where I realized that I wanted to rewrite my story and I didn't want my ex to be a main character in it. I needed to make major changes in my life, not just changes related to getting a divorce, but changes that would help me create the future that I wanted to live as a single capable woman. My therapist walked me through what this new life would look like and helped me create positive mental awareness around this new me.
Wednesday, September 27, 2020 @ 3:30 PM CST
In two week's time, the natural anti-anxiety effects of L-Theanine as well as my body's natural healing and coping mechanisms through proper sleeping and eating habits proved to be extremely effective, so much so, that I thought I no longer needed a therapist LOL. My therapist, without coercion or opinionated remarks, helped me to see that there was still healing to do and reminded me of all the reasons why I sought help.
During this session we spoke of proper ways to eventually inform my family and friends of my new life so that I would not be triggered into emotional mental states. My therapist also revealed to me that he was an author and quoted from his book! I bought it and I'm half way through it. It contains practical information on how to have productive conversations when there is a difference in opinions. The book's title is, "The Conflict Etiquette Handbook: The Art of Behaving Well in the Midst of Conflict" by Brian Briscoe.
Wednesday, October 07, 2020 @ 3:00 PM CST
This week I was so happy that I did not quit my therapist LOL I had two major triggers that reminded me of the emotional trauma that my ex had caused and I became fearful again and the negative/self-doubting thoughts returned. In this session I learned about the Prochange Method or The Theory of Change. It is a simple concept, but it really blew my mind! I have such a different view point of change now where I have decided to be much more patient with myself. I really liked the method and wanted to find a spiritual balance so I found an article entitled "How To Change What You Are" (Awake! 1991). These two articles together helped me create a positive outlook on the stage of change I am currently in and gave me confidence and reassurance that I could maintain the change.
Thursday, October 15, 2020 @ 3:00 PM CST
Today I found out that the judge granted my divorce and my name change. I am a certified divorced woman and I no longer have my ex's energy associated with the name I call myself. This is major. I was super positive during today's therapy session and my therapist reassured me that I'm on the right track. I told him that I was excited about my new life and even potentially dating again but fearful that my new relationships would resemble the emotionally abusive relationship that I just exited. My therapist helped me to create positive ideals around a future suitor and reaffirmed me with another book suggestion (he has come to realize that I love book suggestions!). He suggested "You Might Die Tomorrow" by Kate Manser; a book that explains why it's important to not allow fear to decide the way you live your life.
WHAT ABOUT BETTERHELP?
BetterHelp is an online counseling service provider that allows you to effectuate counseling sessions online, from the comfort of your living room, via video chat sessions. Honestly, during COVID-19, I'm sure that it has saved a lot of people from having to endure mental health crisis alone.
The service starts out with a simple but intuitive questionnaire so that you may be paired with the best therapist for your needs. I use my phone to take the session calls and I find it quite comfortable and private. I pay $65 a week and I am billed $260 every 4 weeks.
I love the BetterHelp therapy and counseling platform as it fits my personality and needs. My therapist also was a great match and I am so happy that my very first experience with a therapist turned out to be a positive one.
I feel very responsible that I have a therapist and that I am taking care of my mental health; I'm so very proud of myself! Don't neglect your mental health and even if you can't afford a therapist at the moment, figure out why you need one and then try to find self-help books that can guide you to healing. Where there is a will towards health, there is a way towards health.
I also hope that you enjoyed the Autumn inspirational photos! Are you enjoying this fall season? I certainly am! Happy Fall & Happy Healing, Tea Sipping Bookworms!
What Is Your Best Practice For Mental Health?