5 Lessons from Therapy

In 2018, I started seeing a therapist. I initially wanted to see someone for my anxiety that had only gotten worse since Alec arrived in September of 2017. I didn’t know what to expect during my first visit, but my therapist ended up being exactly who I needed. On top of anxiety, I was diagnosed with PTSD. This year, we realized I also have depression.

I’ve been working hard during my mental health journey, learning how to cope and working through my trauma. There have been several “lessons” that have been helping me along the way; some people may call these alternative thoughts or affirmations. They have greatly helped me almost daily. In an effort to keep breaking the stigma around mental health, I wanted to share these alternative thoughts with you on the blog today.

IMG_20191207_153221_172

1. I am loved and lovable.

I feel so silly listing this one, but it’s honestly the most important.

I have struggled with feeling loved and lovable for most of my life. My father and I no longer have a relationship after years of traumatic experiences from childhood to my wedding in 2018. I struggled with thinking there must be something wrong with me if my own father can’t love me. This compacted with a tumultuous, abusive relationship that spanned from age fifteen to twenty really tore my self confidence to pieces.

I started therapy and have repaired a lot of these feelings. I can’t say I’ll never feel that way anymore. Regardless, I tell myself daily that I am loved and lovable, because I am. I have family and friends who love me. I have an amazing, supportive husband who loves me so much. I am loved. I am lovable.

2. I don’t need others to validate my self worth.

In the age of social media, I can’t help think that things have gotten so much worse for teens when it comes to seeking validation from others. Me? I sought validation through everyone. I wanted to be teacher’s pet, I wanted to be your best friend, I wanted to be the best girlfriend ever. Others’ words of praise defined me.

But I didn’t always get praise. Sometimes I got harsh criticism. Sometimes people didn’t like me for no reason. I took it all to heart, and let it tell me how much I was worth. Now, I know what I am worth. I know what kind of person I am. I don’t let harsh words tell me I’m less than a person… most of the time. It continues to be something I am working towards. I’m learning that I don’t need anyone to validate my self worth because I am worthy.

3. If things are out of my control, it’s going to be okay.

Having anxiety, depression, and PTSD can be a bit of a triple threat some days. When my day isn’t going to plan, when I feel like things are getting out of my control, I tend to get angry or just emotionally shut down. The last thing I want to do is lash out at my loved ones, so I adopted this alternative thought to tell myself when things aren’t exactly going to plan.

I still don’t feel my best when plans get changed or when I’m in a crowded space feeling like I can’t get out. But then I tell myself that it’s going to be okay. And, eventually, it is. For someone with anxiety, this alternative thought can be the difference between spiraling or moving on with my day.

4. Others do not control my emotions (I have power & control).

Confrontation is one of the things I avoid the most. I will do whatever else necessary to avoid it. I know this isn’t healthy so I’m working on it slowly. So what exactly makes me avoid confrontation? I can say without a doubt that I’m afraid of the other person’s reaction. Whether it’s anger, sadness, or invalidation of my feelings, it’s enough to make me try everything else I can first.

My alternative thought comes in when I feel myself getting emotional in response to their negative reaction to the confrontation. I want to control my response so I can handle it in the most healthy way for myself. When I feel like they are taking my power and control, I can lash out which isn’t a solution to anything. Instead, I repeat my mantra that I have the power and control then I take my time to respond in a way that conveys what I actually want to say instead of letting my emotional response get the best of me.

5. If someone doesn’t want to be my friend, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.

The sad truth is we can grow past friendships and relationships. Hanging onto people you have outgrown can turn toxic and build resentment. It’s so hard not to take it personally when you stop being friends with someone. I used to equate losing friends to being a bad person which is totally untrue.

The same can be said of making new friends. Sometimes you don’t click with people, and I’m learning that doesn’t mean I’m unworthy. It just means we weren’t meant for that kind of friendship right now or maybe ever. People grow and change along their journey. I have grown and changed more over the last three years than I ever have before. Remembering my alternative thought for these relationships helps me remember that I don’t have to be a bad person to let go of a friendship.

What are some lessons you’ve learned on your mental health journey? Let me know in the comments!

GGHeart_Tiny_WP Logo copy

Follow A Geeky Gal!

INSTAGRAM| PINTEREST | TWITTER | YOUTUBE

 

28 thoughts on “5 Lessons from Therapy

  1. Hugs! It’s not easy… I have surrounded by toxic people in my family and workplace…. so I have to fight my anxiety all the time. Sometimes, I can get really depressed and I am lucky to be able to vent to my mom… she just listens and let me cry my eyes out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! Thank you so much for continuing to share yourself and your story. I related to a lot of these lessons you’ve been learning because they’ve been things I’ve had to work through too. Especially trying to not care so much about what other people think. And after losing a couple close friends this year, not letting those lies creep in of “why don’t they want me anymore? Am I not worth it? Is something wrong with me? Can I trust anyone?” It’s really really tough and is a bit of an up-and-down journey, but we’ll get there 🙂 And I’m so proud of you for not giving up and continuing to seek growth in your life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to this a lot. My Shrink is helping me with most of these things as well.
    Which I also have been promoting when writing a bit! I found it’s really helpful to promote the lessons my psych teach me to live them. I always put myself below others, thought that they needed to make me happy, but I am the one that needs to make me happy. Just like you make you happy.

    An important one that I also had to learn is to not fill in things for people. Like if I am to poor to go out for dinner with friends, I cant assume they think bad of me. Nor should I have to tag along and starve myself other days.

    We make our own hapiness and we do have friends. Just because sometimes we need to choose for ourselves doesnt mean we are unlovable. The people that choose to be around us love us and we should not have to walk on eggshells to keep everone happy. If everything is right people we love, should be there for us anyway, as we should for them
    Yet when we put ourselves below others we also devaluate their love for us… so we shouldn’t do that and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My key lessons from therapy is to remind myself that I have a lot of power and to identify and take small actions then little by little I can really have more influence over my life. Visualize, plan and execute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ❤️ Good therapists can change the way we think in such powerful yet simple ways. I’m so glad you’ve learned these things. I’m learning too but through a different method! Sending love and light

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve always considered going to a therapist, but I never really felt like my problems were severe enough to warrant it. I sure do hope to get one sessions someday to confirm my suspicions. Happy to hear it has worked out super well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe just about anyone can get something from going to a good therapist. I used to think that there were people in the world who were worse off than me. While that remains true, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get help and live a happier life. You also deserve to work on your problems to better yourself. ❤️ Thanks for reading, Lumi. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d like to hug you right now 😭 I read the post about your relationship with your father and omg I can relate to so many things, it almost made me cry…! I think that for a long time my father had no clue how to show it’s affection and love to other people, it was really hard when I was a child to understand that and our relationship was really not good. Now he’s better at that or maybe I just learnt how to not care about it, I don’t know…!
    Anyway, this post was wonderful, you’re so brave of sharing all these things, I’m really proud of you 😊 I can relate to a lot of what you mentioned here too, but I love how this post is filled with hope and self-improvement, I truly felt how many progresses you made on your mental health journey just by reading this post. 😊 Good luck with everything Megan ! You deserve to overcome whatever tore you apart and live your happiest life 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love a hug! Caroline, I’m so sorry that you are going/went through that. It’s so difficult. If you ever need to talk, my DMs are open. ❤️

      Thank you so much. You’re always so kind. I really appreciate your comments. ❤️ I am striving towards a life that these alternative thoughts come naturally and to put the negative feelings and trauma behind me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much!! The last years have been way better, though but I won’t hesitate if I need it! 😊Of course, mine are open to you too! 🥰

        The first biggest step is to have the will to change and you already did it, no you can only move forward 💪😄❤️

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s