Some Thoughts On Therapy

Some Thoughts On Therapy

Almost everyone I know at college is grappling with some sort of mental illness, whether it's depression, anxiety, or just the overwhelming feeling of stress and paranoia that convinces you, that you have both. Needless to say, it's rather talked about an issue that infiltrated high schools and colleges across the world. The question is how do we prevent or solve these mental problems?

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As a teenager, people didn't really seem to know what to say when you said you were depressed. Instead, a look of confusion, come across parents faces and the immediate answer is almost always therapy. Now I have a bittersweet relationship with therapy. I do think it's effective, but I think it also is overrated and overhyped to those who are uneducated about the power of vulnerability and how crippling loneliness can be.

Therapy makes sense for people who are depressed because they mostly feel lonely, so if they have a non-flaky person that they can count on, of course, they are going to like going. It gives them a sense of stability. Talking about anything you are going through, is going to help no matter what. In my opinion, the only difference between talking to a friend and a therapist is the objective/non-judgmental opinion. You can be completely open with someone and know that they won't judge you or look at you differently, which sometimes can make all the difference.

I did see a therapist for a number of months, after my parent's divorce. I loved the woman I went to see, and I always felt better, mentally, like I wasn't carrying around so much on my shoulders, after talking about my problems. However, I had so many questions going into therapy, and I was always looked for a simple solution, instead, every time I got more questions. It was incredibly frustrating. I also found the experience quite mundane.

Although money isn't exactly a problem for my family, I was outraged at the cost of going to see someone and paying for it. My mom loves therapy and has continued to go, ever since she split with my dad. The fact that I was forced into it, might explain my opposition to it. One thing you should know about me is I am incredibly perceptive about human emotions (not to toot my own horn) and so almost every time the therapist spoke I was speaking the same words in my head or out loud (oops).

So, I didn't get much out of the experience, other than just getting a few things off my chest. I had countless long talks with my mom about life, the future, how to deal with feelings, and moving on. For this reason, my mom has always told me to become a therapist, that it is my calling. However, I can't see myself promoting something, that I don't fully support myself.

I want to make it clear, I am not discouraging therapy as a whole, just that sometimes it takes the right person (therapist) to make it work and also you need to be patient and open to the experience. If you don't feel comfortable being vulnerable, you may as well not even bother with it.

I could see myself, giving it another shot. A lot of my friends see a therapist, in college and say its helped them with a lot, in terms of dealing with self-confidence and eating disorders, which is one of the biggest problems for most girls on college campuses.

I believe that therapy will be around for a long time because you can't underestimate the power of human connection and relationships. People will continue to go to therapy if they feel a connection with that person because that is where most joy in life comes from. It comes from relationships and the feeling of having someone listen no matter what. If we talk to friends nowadays, people have difficulty listening because they are busy with their own lives, and therefore you never get a potential solution to something you are going through. Hence, people search for other ways to feel whole or appreciated, aka therapy.

These are my thoughts and I hope you enjoy and give therapy a try one day, just for kicks and giggles. It might work wonders. Hell, what do I know anyway?

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10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.
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We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

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Fight And Flight, How I Conquer My Emotional Battles

In times of high threat and peril, science says our innate response usually follows one of two paths: fight or flight.

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Like almost any other concept related to humans, the idea of "fight or flight" boils down to either/or, one over the other, choice A or choice B. This seems logical, as science also says we can't actually multitask as humans. We may think we can manage multiple tasks simultaneously, but we're inevitably occupied by one thing at a time. Now, depending on each person, the response to any given situation might vary. Someone might feel courageous enough to stay and "fight," while someone else may deem it wiser to make like a bird and take "flight."

Regardless, this concept revolves around a definitive choice, a choice of just one response, not both.

While I agree with this concept as it is, I've come to think that, in some areas of life, we can manage both. We can fight, but we can also take flight. Although fight or flight generally refers to physical threats/obstacles, I think the fight and flight apply on an emotional/mental front.

This past weekend was quite a whirlwind, blowing my emotions in all kinds of directions, which is really what prompted me to think about my emotional response to the weekend as a whole. As a bit of important background, I'm not a crier by nature. I just don't cry in public/ in front of others. Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with crying in public. It's a perfectly human response. No book, movie, song, or the like has ever moved me to tears. (Well actually, the movie "The Last Song" with Miley Cyrus did cause a stream of tears, but that's literally one out of a decade.)

Enough about that for now, though, I'll make mention of it again later.

I think this past weekend's deluge was an unassuming foreboding of the flood of emotions that came pouring in on Sunday. The day began like any other Mother's Day, we opened gifts with my mother before heading to my aunt's for a family lunch. Only once we arrived, I was informed that my other aunt, who's like a second mom to me, lost her beloved Shih Tzu of 14 years, Coco. We all knew that Coco's time was likely limited, but it still seemed sudden. I was a bit rocked by the news, but ultimately knew she had given life a run for its money. After all, I like to joke that if I come back, it'd ideally be as a house dog.

Needless to say, the suddenness of it all wouldn't really hit me till later that afternoon.

Fast-forwarding to the evening, we decided visiting my other grandmother would be a nice gesture on Mother's Day. Although she was still out and about, my house-ridden grandfather was there, and so we decided it'd be nice to stay and visit with him. A bit more background, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago, so we've unfortunately watched him slowly decline since the diagnosis. As such, this is where things went on a steep downhill slide. We arrived mid-nap, which subsequently meant waking him from his nap to visit. In hindsight, it seemed like a very poor choice, as when he awoke he seemed completely disoriented and largely still asleep.

It was as if his eyes were awake, but most everything else about his body remained asleep.

We stayed only but 12 or 15 minutes, as it didn't prove useful to stick around any longer. Enter the flight of my emotions. I've known my grandfather wouldn't be the same every single time I visited. I've dreaded but prepared for the time when he wouldn't remember us, or wouldn't be able to communicate with us the same. As much as I thought I'd be unphased when it happened, I wasn't. At the time, I tried to shuffle through other thoughts. I tried to jump to the upcoming things for the week and what I needed to take care of next. I wanted my mind to float off till my emotions wouldn't be so strong.

That's where I believe the flight response happens for me. When I'm face to face with an emotion-laden experience, whether it's sadness, frustration, or whatever, I try to shift my thoughts away from what's stirring them up. My mind takes flight. Maybe, that's why I don't cry in public. I don't allow my mind to focus long enough to conjure up a physical response.

My mind never stays in flight for long, though. I wouldn't say I'm scared of the emotions, rather I just need them to calm down or settle before I can pick them apart. I tend to process my feelings internally, but they never go unchecked or un-analyzed. That's why, even though I typically don't show my emotions in public, my throat still tightens up and my eyes still become glassy behind closed doors.

Nevertheless, this is where the fight response shows up. Except, I wouldn't say this is so much a fight, even if the situation can be a sort of emotional battle. It's more of a coming-to-terms. I know that I can't outrun my feelings, and I don't ever intend to. At some point, I let them catch up to me, and then the sorting process can begin. It's usually not that tumultuous like a real fight would be, but it doesn't mean that the emotions don't present a challenge at times.

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