Two sides of the same field…Entry 2 of a Girl and her books.

Over the month of August, among the other many books I got to read, I came across a book that I consider myself quite lucky to have found. I believe the book is a memoir, I am certain that it is a memoir, written by an author named Lori Gottlieb. The title of the book is Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. When I first came across it, I wasn’t entirely sure it was a book I would fully be invested in. I knew it entailed matters concerning therapy and I was a bit iffy on whether it would be artistically motivating to read. I can say with certainty now that this book is a lot more than I anticipated. I read it gradually, but loved every bit of it, including how expressive the author wrote. I am genuinely glad I got to read it to completion.

Without giving out too much of it, the plot of the book is something that quite captivated me. I learned a lot and it gave me quite the insight. I say this from the perspective of someone who has mildly studied psychology, ( I say mildly because all I have had the chance to study it, is through a diploma and if I am being honest, I still consider myself quite the amateur in regards to it). Before I can delve into my own relation to psychology, I just want to elaborate on how insightful it was reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. Insightful in that, it was able to bring light into the subject of therapy from both a therapist’s opinion and that of a client’s opinion. It sort of normalized seeking professional therapeutic assistance, to those who already had sort it out and equally to those who hadn’t. I found that quite wonderful about the book. Besides just normalizing therapy itself, it too humanized therapists as more than just their professions. The author who is a psychotherapist takes us down the journey of being a therapist as well as seeking one out for herself. I found that quite great because, speaking from a personal opinion, one can be quick to perceive therapists as invincible. It is easily misjudged that therapists, being what their profession entails, are too strong of human beings to go through similar motions as those of their clients. On the off chance that they do experience similar hardships, the perception is that they are equipped to somewhat counsel themselves out of those said hardships. I should clarify that it does not work like that at all. As a psychology student, it is insisted enough that therapists need their own therapists for themselves. It’s entirely a chained link of therapists seeking out therapy from each other. That aspect of the book was quite important for me. I applauded the book mainly for that, besides all the other wonderful aspects of it that were brought out.

If someone came to me and asked me if I would advise them on seeking out help from a therapist or counsellor, or even a psychiatrist, my outright first answer would be yes. It is entirely important to give time and care to one’s mind as is given to one’s body. It would be instinctual for me to say yes as my first answer, but I owe you the honesty that it will not be technically a walk in the park. This is from a very biased opinion, this is my opinion as a client who’s been to therapy, it is not the opinion of a psychology student. This is also not meant to be a discouragement towards anyone out to seek therapeutic help, not at all. Therapy is great, wonderful even, but it will require a lot of you. Some parts of you will be required, parts that you may not be quite yet aware of.

My first experience of professional therapy was with my school counsellor in college. If I am being truthfully honest, it was long overdue. I want to be very clear that when I refer to professional therapy or counselling, I mean it as therapy from a professionally trained counsellor or psychologist. One who has studied in that field and is not a self-appointed counsellor. Anyone can give advice, not everyone can offer therapy. Just needed to be clear on that. I am strictly talking about a professional psychologist.

It was quite a big step for me to reach out to the school counsellor. I wasn’t the most approachable person, and neither was I the most approaching. At school, I knew well to never be too personal with anyone. Actually, if my memory serves me right, I was incited by my sister to seek out the counsellor because my sister thought of me then as a ticking time bomb. I was convinced that I wanted a baby, ( major eye roll) and I was only twenty years old. Then, it felt like such an urgency for me, like it was the only thing that I was missing, and it would somehow complete my life. I was quite naïve then because even now, I am not remotely ready for a child. Therapy was able to show that to me. I later learned that I was overcompensating for something entirely different. Anyway, my first take on therapy was good. I found solace and empathy that I had never quite experienced before. It was as it should have been, it was therapeutic for me and I was able to go through therapy for the next three years I had in college. It took a bit of a turn for me because the relationship between me and the school counsellor progressed to a very close friendship which in therapy is regarded as a dual relationship. To be able to maintain the levels of professionalism, it is frowned up to have any other sort of relationship outside the client/counsellor relationship. It is perceived that if the boundaries are severed, the therapist will not be able to give enough credibility in her profession hence why it is important that one seeks out a different therapist when boundaries are crossed.

For me, I wouldn’t say she entirely quit being my counsellor, and I didn’t seek therapy elsewhere. She transformed into a guide to whom I sort out counsel and advice. Now she is practically like my best friend who is also my Yoda. 

Therapy was able to open me up in ways I probably would never have had the chance to before. It even motivated me into being a better student in psychology. Sometime last year, I was able to go back to the professional context of therapy with an entirely new therapist who was just that, my therapist. I only got to see her for about a month before I stopped. The experience of it was quite different than my first which leads me to my next piece of advice, you don’t have to be stuck in a therapy that you don’t feel is working for you. It is absolutely okay to decide on changing your current therapist and seeking out one who best fits you. I understand for those who have been to therapy that it may sometimes feel like a betrayal to your therapist if one considers leaving, but it is best to remember that it is your wellbeing that comes first. There will be no hard feelings from your therapist.

From the standpoint of being a soon to be counsellor, I have only had so little experience as one. I did my first internship as a counsellor at a hospital and I genuinely disliked every moment of it. I was extremely underqualified and my supervisor thought it best to leave me alone on most occasions to tend to actual clients who needed therapy. I often hope that the clients I got to see were able to seek out a second opinion from a more qualified professional. Over time, I have not had the chance to be a counsellor since I finished my diploma. Let’s just say I have been putting it off for nearly a year now. I have convinced myself that I am not ready and I am not certain when I ever will be. On multiple occasions, I have had some serious self-doubt over whether psychology is even the right course for me. Most of the self-doubt best comes from the fact that I am on most occasions, a better client than I am a psychologist. I am two sides of the same coin. Reading this book sort of gave me a perspective of what it is like to be on both sides of the spectrum. The author delves into her own therapy and how difficult it was at first to not feel like her own therapist wasn’t doing enough for her as she thought she would towards her own clients. I am well aware of how that feels because it was in that exact position that I quit seeing my last therapist. Every day, I go through it in my head whether psychology was the best choice for a career. I knew I wanted to be a psychologist when I was in high school. I knew that I needed to be able to give some form of help to those who were like me then, to kids who had never quite felt like they were ‘’normal’’. I believe that I still want to do that, even despite the self-doubt. I still very much want to help people who struggle with their mental health. All I can do is hope that soon, I will get to offer that help.

To finish this off, I would definitely recommend reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. It is a wonderful, insightful, inspiring, beautiful and enlightening read. Lori Gottlieb is a wonderful author from whom I would love to learn more from, especially as a psychotherapist. Be sure to check it out. One can access it on the e-reader called Z library.

Some quotes I picked up from the book that I absolutely loved…

we have to let go of the fantasy of creating a better past.”

” When the present falls apart, so does the future we had associated with it. ”

Allow me not to be ‘remotely perfect‘ right now. To not be articulate with my words for I’m certain I don’t have the right words to express exactly what I’m going through. I’ve racked my mind and sort through it of ways to express what I am constantly feeling but I’ve come short of words. Ironic really cause words are always all I ever have.I can’t afford the standards I usually often put for myself whenever I write. I can’t promise I’ll complete this post or that it’ll make any sense or that it’ll mean anything at all. I’m just taking a shot at hoping that whatever I pour out will slightly ease the emptiness & hollow feeling that’s becoming of me. I wish I was numb. I truly do. I wish I wasn’t feeling or itching or urging for the things that are enveloping me right now. I feel wrong, I feel torn & more now detached from reality than ever before… cause this, this shouldn’t be my reality.I’ve read it over and over again but it gives me no comfort to read ‘it’s okay to not be okay’. I don’t want to not be okay. I don’t want to find comfort from accepting that I feel destroyed. I don’t want to feel any comfort anymore in my pain. No words known to me can measure up to what I feel. None can describe how paralyzed I feel & how immobilized my state of mind is.I’ve thought that maybe if I could rip off my hand, I’d have nothing left to hurt. That if I could finally chop it off, it’ll kill the urge to constantly look at my self inflicted scars. Or that maybe if I wrap them up, I’ll no longer have to feel the ridges everytime I graze my palm on my wrist. I’m trying, I’m battling but I can’t promise I’m winning.So to conclude whatever this post is, I’m breathing through surviving. I’m a shell of myself & a lot of the questions I have tried asking myself as to how to get out of this, I have no answers to. I hope it’s no burden to anyone who reads this. It’s heavy, like every other feeling in my life and I would hate to burden anyone else with my being. So I apologize. I apologize that I’m a 🐚 of who I hope to be.

Walls so high and my post depression ♠️

It’s seems like it was so long ago since I used this as the only platform to express how bad my depression was seven months ago. Quite a dark time that was and I am grateful that I came out of it unharmed and stronger. Trust me when I say, I was a hundred % sure I wouldn’t find my way out of that darkness that I had completely wrapped myself around and tightly held on to like a second skin. I was no longer scared of the pain I was feeling, instead I had embraced it and it became a part of me. I can’t tell honestly how I was able to pick myself up from that dark funk but I know a big part of it was me going for my therapy sessions that then felt like they were weighing me down more than lifting me up. I have a lot to be thankful for my therapist, she is amazing and is secretly my best friend though I don’t think she knows that quite yet 💁….

My life post my depression has been okay. I have been slowly picking pieces of myself and trying to put together the right spots to fill up the darkness that had resided there previously. Can’t say its easy because I’m trying not to fall back to the unfortunate comfort of sadness that comes with depression. I try always keeping my emotions in check and not allowing them to take a toll on me as much. I still see my therapist, probably will for the rest of my life because I choose to. At the moment I gotta admit am very reliant on her for when things get a bit overwhelming for me…like recently, I’m struggling with a bit of my past but I’m not about to make this update more depressing by bringing it up .Just a quick last word on it, if you feel like your emotions and thoughts are overtaking the person that you believe you are and they are playing a negative role on you, please seek help. Mental health is as a essential as physical health. If your feel like your not in a right space with your emotions and thoughts, please please seek help.

I love this space about my blog because it allows me to be honest with both the good, the bad, the sexy and the nasty. I believe I’m one contrasting human being. I am legitimately scared of being lonely and being alone .Am also very comfortable with pushing people away. See what I mean when I say I’m quite the contradictory human species. I don’t know if it’s quite supposed to be like that or that I am just wired that way. My fear of being on my own became prominent after my mum passed away. Then is when I couldn’t stand being on my own because I sure as hell wasn’t used to it when my mum was always around. I went to highschool and not only now was I feeling alone but I learned what loneliness feels like. They became such constant feelings of mine I hated every second of it. Lonely because nobody gave a shit enough to know that my life felt like the greatest misery in existence. Alone because I was just not good enough for people. So there began one of my greatest fears. And now que pushing people away… I build walls so high up that castle walls seem like nothing. My therapist countlessly reminds me of that. That I don’t allow people to get too close and therefore the walls I’ve built keep people just close but not close enough to go beyond my walls.

I carry a scar that will never heal and even if it does, it will always once so often gush open itself. I don’t know know how long it will ever take me to let myself go or be happy without looking over my shoulder for the next great pain waiting to knock me off my feet. I keep hearing people say happiness is a choice and I don’t honestly think so. I believe it’s an attitude instead. I don’t know how to get it or what in my life will deem worthy for me to regard as my sources of happiness. I don’t always want to be alone. I don’t always wish to push people away just cause I’m a scared little girl on the inside trying to protect her weak self.I wish I could say I love it but I don’t. I wish I could say I wasn’t socially anxious but I can’t because I am. I wish things could be different, but there ain’t. Learning myself is quite a process and I don’t know how long it’s gonna be before I learn that I need to stop trying at all to be alone. ✌😔

..Wounded Healer

Well here goes nothing… Been a while since I wrote. Been a while since I did a lot of things. I’ve had a really hard and hectic couple of weeks and men has it been messed up 😧. Every time I intended to write I would have an anxiety attack and couldn’t bring myself to face that I was in a black 🕳. I don’t really even know where I would start if I decided to explain what I have been dealing with. The perks are that depression and anxiety are real and they push you to lengths that you are incapable of thinking straight.You don’t have the normalcy you hold every other day of your life. Happiness, joy, tranquility and stability tend to be extremely farfetched in those moments and sometimes you drown in all that but don’t necessarily die so it’s continuous. You wish to talk to someone, just one person to understand you and wish to help you pick up your pieces because at that very moment you’re crumbled to bits of who you were before. You want that person to listen and tell you not just once that things will get better but to walk you through getting there because then your like a baby learning how to walk all over again.

I had emotional breakdowns whenever I was alone because all I wanted was to sink farther in my bed and just drown in the sorrow I was feeling. There are moments when I would feel okay but whenever a memory of pain or sorry would sneak it’s way in, It would be like a snap of a finger and I would turn into a shell of person. Depression got me screaming on the inside but was too exhausted to bother about it on the outside.It got me presumably to start having thoughts of self harm 😔. That was my ‘hit rock bottom moment ‘.I knew then that I needed to talk to someone else about it and preferably a therapist. Best choice I had made in a while.

In my luck, those thoughts of harming myself only went as far as thoughts and it’s thanks to my sister. She has been my greatest anchor, only she knew what went on behind our closed doors. My therapist was finally the shimmer of light I was looking for, she became more than just my therapist but my friend who understood and she has a special place in my nearly destroyed heart. She pointed me in the direction that I could get better and she took my hand and walked with me. She makes me see that I can be happy with myself and with my insecurities too. She reminds me everyday that life is a step at a time,I probably knew that, I was just taking life in fifty steps instead. My friend as I like to call her is the other clutch I was looking for and I am happy I found her.

I am still going to therapy every once a week and it’s opened my mind to a whole lot about my life and how to deal with the things I go through. My therapist/friend has taught me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and I am learning that for me knitting is one of them too. I haven’t thought about hurting myself for a week now and that to me is progress I never thought I would make. So I am grateful. Mental health is not something that should be downplayed like it is by so many people. Going through anxiety should not be a normal for anyone and neither should depression. I still have those moments where it’s hard to pick myself up but I am grateful for my family and my therapist because I am able to be motivated to pick myself up for me and for those I love. I am a wounded healer.

p.s If you got anything at all you may be going through, don’t hesitate to text me if you want to have that friend I never had and kept looking for. I’m always open to help someone else from dealing with mental health issues. Please don’t downplay it and assume it thinking it will go away. It will always hover like a dark cloud in your mind and when your most weak, it will creep back like it never left. ✌..And a beautiful picture of me 😁.