Saying Yes to Therapy
Anytime someone says the words therapist, my mind automatically links it to mental disorders and trauma. I always felt like my issues were never that severe and a therapist would look at me and laugh. I wanted to talk to someone but convinced myself that with a little will power I can overcome anything. “I am just being dramatic”. I would tell myself. I sought marriage counseling once with my husband during our first year of marriage. We were not on common ground in raising our children and in other life issues that I was not sure how to proceed or how to effectively communicate my concerns to him without it turning into this huge argument. Ariel has a temper. The moment he feels fingers are being pointed at him, he dives into defense mode and is too busy defending himself to listen to what I am saying and accept, what I thought to be, constructive criticism. Those few sessions helped our marriage tremendously.
I tried talking to friends but not in full detail. I was a little embarrassed and thought they would judge me or just not understand. My friends sympathized with me and provided a much needed and helpful listening ear for me to vent, but I knew I needed to take initiative to heal and change this thought process. I needed guidance. You see, for years, and honestly, unbeknownst to me, I suffered from ruminating thoughts. I never even knew what the word ruminating meant until about a year ago when I was having one of my episodes and just happen to google what I was experiencing. I sought God and prayer to help me cope but I just could not escape it. My mind continued to play tricks on me. I could not figure out how to alter this thinking process. The episodes kept coming more frequently. I was losing sleep; overthinking situations that were out of my control; I would go days with this uneasy feeling, sort of like this dark cloud following me. I would find myself going into a panic or having anxiety over situations that were not worth my energy. I was tired. I wanted to change.
I felt like God answered my prayers when I hosted the women’s empowerment workshop with Nancy Ruffin. One of the attendee began to share information about her therapist and how extremely helpful she has been to her needs. After the workshop, I pulled her aside and asked her for her therapists information. I held on to it for a while. I kept telling myself I don’t need therapy and that my issues are probably silly anyway. Until I had another episode and I said, “that’s it! We are done here”.
It was the best decision I have ever made. In just 3-4 short sessions, I learned tricks to retrain my mind and untwist my cognitive distorted thoughts I had been living with for far too long. I found peace within myself and I am much happier because of it. I no longer overthink or draw conclusions or assumptions about situations. Although I am still a work in progress, I notice such growth in me and I am ecstatic. Situations that would have me in my feelings, no longer do.
I understand that thoughts are not real. I learned that things are not always black and white, and that is ok. I learned to stop jumping to conclusions and making negative interpretations of events even though there is no definite facts to support it.
It is important to talk to yourself as you would a friend. Be compassionate and stop putting yourself down. If you find yourself with this distorted way of thinking, do not be afraid to seek help in challenging your negative thoughts and finding peace. Something as simple as perspective will make such a difference in your joy, happiness and above all, peace.