However you pour the sand in your holes.
Choooooooo. Y’all not gonna like this one!
Monster reality check of all reality checks. I have been wanting to write again and I just simply haven’t been able to. In the past I could write on Sundays at work because those days always tend to be slower….. BA-BY… those days are gone.
COVID is back in action. Pedal to the metal.
”Aint no rest for the wicked. And money don’t grow on trees.” (1)
The day I started writing this is my birthday. I am 34. Currently 20 weeks plus 3 days pregnant. The universe gave me COVID for my birthday. This will be a topic for an entire other blog. But, what better time to write new blogs than when I am isolating and home for 10 days? This blog is not about COVID, it is about something that is one of my regular, tried-and-true soap boxes, and also the elaboration of one of my signature one-liner life mottos!
What is that life motto you may ask? Oh? You didn’t ask? That’s okay, if you’re not new here you’re well aware that I’ll tell you anyway…
”A good therapist is priceless.”
You can quote me directly on that.
A good therapist is priceles. And guess what? They aren’t all good!
WARNING: Opinions ahead.........In my opinion: One of most unfortunate things that happens in healthcare, is when a person finally gives in to attending therapy, and they end up with a bad one. Then they’re ruined. Never gonna go back. Hated the idea already …then it sucked. Tragic I tell ya.
The next tragedy is that many people believe they don’t have any need for therapy. It makes me LOL. Maybe you’re in a good cruise control time in life, and that’s great. But, also maybe your poor choices and coping mechanisms have been in place so long now, they feel normal, they get you by, and you’re surviving. But I PROMISE you, there is something in your life than can be improved upon by way of a therapist. END OF OPINION.
I lie. This blog will mainly be my opinions… I’ll tell ya that early on in case you aren’t in the mood and you can back out early.... but... don't….
How do you know that you “need” therapy?
Your spouse tells you. Your mother-law-tells you. Just joking haha, but occasionally they are right. But if it's your spouse telling you that, I'd say, "You picked me, so right back at ya."
You do things frequently that you end up apologizing for.. saying “I’m sorry” for stuff you did/said/didn’t do every day or every week or every month…
You never say you’re sorry.
Having the same fights over and over for months or years with your significant other… Same old shit, over and over.
You have an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, food, sugar, shopping, work, porn, social media, attention, bad boyfriends/girlfriends, saying yes (or no) to everything all the time, controlling your weight/food/lifestyle too tightly….
You aren't your thoughts. You are what you repeatedly do.
Gary John Bishop was the first person to ever tell me, in his book - negative thoughts don't matter. You can have negative thoughts about yourself, your circumstances, other people. And you can reject them through what you do. What you do is far more important. Everyone has doubt. Everyone fears they aren't good enough. Only some people act in opposition of their thoughts, and do whatever it is anyway. I cannot recommend this book enough. Obsessed. He has others. (6)
There are recurring thoughts and emotions that you think and feel silently on a regular basis, that make you sad, bothered, mad, scared, disgruntled, bitter, wonder…
You avoid being alone. Whether that’s at home, for going out, eating, in terms of a relationship, etc… If you always “have“ to do things with other people…
You consistently avoid hard questions, hard conversations, whether that is by physically walking away or by avoiding phone calls, emails or texts.
You lie or exaggerate often.
You feel sad, generally uninterested, bored, unmotivated, lazy more often than not or even all the time.
You feel like dying would be nice.
You feel like another person dying would be nice.
You pit your kids against their other parent. Married, Separated or Divorced.
You find you have the same issues/outcomes in every romantic relationship, despite being with different people.
You lost something big in your life (like your house burned down) or someone via death or separation or fall-out.
It’s never your fault. It’s everyone/anyone/everything/anything else’s fault when something goes wrong in your life. Never yours.
You always have “bad luck.” You always say things like “That‘s just my luck” or “That WOULD happen to me.”
You cannot recall the last time you cried because it’s been that many years. Happy or sad or mad tears.
You push your kids past their limits with academic and extra curricular things.
You frequently argue, name call, or fight with people in public.
You are scared of normal things, like shopping, driving, working, church, etc.
You think about something you want to change in your life or about yourself daily, or multiple times a day, or weekly, but, then you do nothing…
I don't know this guy. He was on the Wix image gallery. But he just really fits the vibe of that long bullet list.
I could go on and on. I won't, don't fret. I'm on that list up there a couple times, this isn't the finger-pointing Olympics. Humans behave the way they do for REASONS. There is always something deep down that a person has experienced that shapes the way they talk, think, respond, emote, spend, sleep, eat, judge, stereotype, work, present themselves. Things people do or don’t do, say or don’t say, achieve or don’t achieve, believe or don’t believe. Humans are almost NEVER what they appear on the outside.
“Never judge a book by it’s cover…” heard that one? No? It's new.
Our world spins on coping mechanisms. Whatever that looks like for you, however you pour the sand in your holes…… LOL…. Ew. Not like that. But actually… kind of….
So, what’s another one of your life mottos?
Oh my gosh well THANKS for asking!
”If you’re not miserable enough to be desperate to change, you don’t have the right to complain.”
YES. I do actually mean that. And I do actually say that in real life when it's necessary.
If you aren't miserable enough to be desperate to change... Guys, CLEARLY I don't mean in instances of physical/emotional/sexual abuse. That is not what we're talking about here. Those situations are dangerous and have to be dealt with totally differently at first. Therapy comes later.
What I mean is, if you are MISERABLE in your job, your marriage, your neighborhood, your career, your body... but you repeatedly do nothing to improve it or change it... You forfeit your right to complain to me about it. I mean that. Habitually voicing aloud your own misery or dissatisfaction about something you will do nothing about, is good for nothing except feeding the plants. I read his whole book about this and I cannnootttt recommend it enough!! Gary John Bishop is my JAM. Here's what he also said in another of his books...
Your life is made up of all the things you are willing to accept. Read it again, slower.
Therapy is about healing your demons, being painfully honest and accountable, getting to the root cause of a pattern or issue, and owning your own shit.
OKAYYYYYYYY I’LL GO. How do I know who to pick? What do I even say when I get there?
I mean - I’m fine, I can’t just walk in there and cry to a stranger.
No crying is required although it would be good if you did.
It is my opinion that First Steps in being the best you you can be : PRACTICING humility and vulnerability.
Admit that you hung the toilet paper “under” & not “over”.
Admit that you didn’t forget to fold the towels, you just simply didn’t want to fold the towels.
Admit that you left the garage door open, it was an ACCIDENT.
If you see yourself in any of these examples, start there. Easy stuff, has nothing to do with you as a person, and if we can’t master this step…. Call your therapist Mr./Mrs. Millionaire cuz you gonna require a lot of appointments LOL
When easy stuff gets to be not so difficult to verbalize, you can then take it up a notch…
I misunderstood what you said and I over reacted. My bad. (Ownership)
I know we were going to meet up, nothing came up for me, I just don’t feel up to it today, I promise to let you know when I feel up to it. (Honesty & Vulnerability)
I should not have argued with you about ________, because it really doesn’t matter and was not worth fighting about. I am sorry. (Accountability, Appropriate Apology). (The next higher step from this, is that the argument stops IN it's tracks before it really even happens because 1 person can talk him/herself down AND the other person down by doing a reality check - "this really isn't important. it doesn't matter. we aren't going to argue about it." The end. daaaayyyyuummm! That's good stuff!)
See where I'm going with this? It doesn't have to be complicated. If you have no idea whether you are a person who needs to practice this method, but you saw yourself on the first list, THIS is a GREAT talking point for your first therapy appointment!! If you don't know what to say to this stranger who has x-ray vision, allow me to assist you....
I’ll tell you that therapy is sometimes like a TV series. You talk about current events first in season 1, get to know the characters, their dynamics, then in Season 2, you get the backstory. Then you understand why people are the way they are, #BethDutton.
omggggg cannot wait for THAT next season. IYKYK. Faith Hill is the mom!!
Another part of your vulnerability practice can entail one of two things…. Letting Big Brother see you type “Therapists in my area” into your Google search bar.… Or you can ASK a friend if they’ve ever seen anyone themselves or have heard of anyone good. Gulp.
PsychologyToday.com (2) has a list of licensed therapists in your area. With reviews and small paragraphs about what they specialize in treating. They have their “things“ that they are best at, or have extra training in. Sometimes they are certified for cool, different types of therapies like EMDR or PCIT. (3) (4)
There are even online services now that you can do from wherever, like BetterHelp (5), and they claim to be affordable but I call BS. Again, if they’re good, and they help you progress as a person, from whatever convenient location you choose to use them from - priceless… But if they aren’t, and you’re locked into a certain number of sessions… Yikes. BUT - whatever works for you works for you!!
Now. If you are a total yarn ball of nerves and anxiety and wanting to bail at any moment because you are afraid of what they will ask you or what to do…. Please allow me to help you…There’s a variety of options. You don’t have to give a good therapist much info, they will build on what little you give… Sometimes they can even build on silence….
Stuff you could say, customize one to make it your own:
”I am here because there are things I want to change. I have no idea where to begin, or what more to say, so if you’d ask me specific questions to start out, that would help me use this time wisely, instead of trying to explain how I feel all at once to a stranger.”
”I know why I’m here, but I have never done this before, I am so nervous, and I don’t know what to say. Can you start with some easy questions and just lead me through this first appointment?”
“I am here because my marriage sucks and I don’t (or do) want to get a divorce.”
”I am here because I hate my job and I’ve hated all my different jobs for the last 5 years.”
”I am here because I feel sad and unmotivated all the time. I don’t know why.”
”I am here because I feel like lately I cannot control my _____ (spending, gambling, eating, drinking, pill habit, porn habit, thoughts, etc etc etc). It is so incredibly hard for me to say that out loud and I have never said it out loud, but it is the truth.”
See what I’m doing here? You don’t have to walk in with your own problem solved.
That’s their job.
You have to walk in and say the truth about why you are on their couch staring at them bewildered and sweating your ass off with anxiety.
It is the norm in our 2021 fake highlight reel world to confuse THERAPY with THERAPEUTIC.
These are two very different things…
THERAPY is rehabilitative.. healing.. progressive.. evidence based.. strategic.. harder..
THERAPEUTIC is relaxing.. distracting.. endorphin-inducing.. enjoyable.. easier..
*Rubs hands together with excitement at the oncoming reality check……..*
Your mani-pedi with champagne after your 9am fitness class is not THERAPY. Its THERAPEUTIC because it’s self care. A mani-pedi does absolutely nothing for your “issues”. Neither does the gun range, cutting the grass, running a 5k….. have you ever said “retail therapy!“ or "The gym is my therapy!" when you spent money you didn’t need to spend because you had a bad week or you killed yourself at CrossFit? That’s not THERAPY, fam.
A massage is therapeutic. Unloading a few magazines at the range is therapeutic. They are things you enjoy, that make you feel good. These things don’t EVOLVE you. They don’t challenge you emotionally and psychologically. They aren’t going to cure your jealousy or low self esteem or addictions. They just FEEL GOOD and TAKE UP TIME…..
Therapy VS. Therapeutic
MAN. How much do y’all hate me if you’ve read this far?! LOL!! It’s okay, you may not hate me later if this blog gets in your head and rearranges it back right.
The last thing I'll say on the matter, is that pills only do so much. Pills have their value. Some people NEED medication. They've done all the "other stuff" or their life circumstances are such that they are having difficulty with basic functioning. Pills help people. But they are too easy. And part of the problem is that insurance pays for you to see your PCP. Insurance doesn't commonly pay for you to see a therapist. Also uncommon, a prescriber and a non-prescriber therapist in the same office. They exist, they're out there - you get what you pay for, and I'd argue sometimes you definitely don't get what you pay for (speaking from e x p e r ie n c e).
Medication will not fix you if you don't do any internal work to fix you. Medication might make you feel better day to day but it doesn't fix your problems. Some things will absolutely get better with medication, and for some people, provide them the energy to participate in life. But it is now way too easy and common for people to just get on an SSRI and call it a day (or a month, or 6, or a year, or decades).
A good therapist is priceless.
If YOU are feeling suicidal, or someone you know is contemplating suicide, PLEASE, text, message, FaceTime, snapchat, or call someone you trust. If you can't trust anyone - bring yourself or get a ride to a hospital or clinic. Those feelings can't wait, they can't be put off - but with the right help - they can be WORKED THROUGH. The hotline: 800-273-8255.
Today is not the day, don't give up. (7)
I am a medical professional, but not a therapist. I am qualified to speak in broad terms, help you understand concepts, and to empower you to get the help you need. This blog is not intended to diagnose you with any condition, and I will not recommend or prescribe any medications for you. This blog is for discussion, learning, and entertainment purposes only.
I'm not paid by any entity or person I mention in this blog. I did it fo' free. Just for you.