How to be your own therapist

How to be your own therapist

#1-Self Reflect

#2-Every Problem has a Solution

#3-Talk to your doctor about an antidepressant (if needed)

#4-Ice Cream

#1-So I’ve been down in the dumps for several reasons lately. I think being single is the hardest thing I’m dealing with right now. I’ve worked on me and have self love and moved to a town I love BUT I’m still single. With all my friends married and most with kids, it’s hard to see the constant happiness posted over and over again on Facebook. Now, I know marriage isn’t easy. I have one friend who is very honest with the struggles she is having with her husband. I know another getting a divorce because her husband cheated on her. So I’ve been thinking why is being single more difficult for me lately?!? And I realize it’s because basically I’ve not had a good date in OVER two years. I’ve stopped trying in this town. I am going to give Bumble a shot cause I haven’t been on that yet but I think this town is too small for a 40+ single woman.

#2-So, then I began thinking, if I don’t have a good date in the next 6 months, I could move. And if I move (and I know the town I want to try next) and then find someone in the next couple of years, I’ll have the rest of my 40’s, all of my 50s, 60s, and hopefully 70s and some 80s and THAT’S A LOT of time to be with someone. So just thinking about that has put me in a better mood.

#3-I’ve been on the same antidepressant for the past couple of years and it’s time for a change.

#4-You can never go wrong with ice cream.

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DEPRESSION SUCKS

DEPRESSION SUCKS

Earlier today I was struggling big time and crying and wondering when is it gonna get better. I still don’t know when it’s gonna get better. But what I did do is I went to see what Jenny Lawson is up to…If you don’t know her she goes by The Bloggess and is SO honest about depression. I was reading her tweets cause I haven’t read them in a very long time and saw one that said:

Remember that depression lies. Get help. Celebrate each day you get through. Remember that this will pass. You’re not alone.
In a funk

In a funk

 

Overall, since the last time I wrote, life has been good. I still enjoy working as a therapist at the jail. Yet, I noticed a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel like myself.

It started with me getting back on a dating site and I heard from a guy but I didn’t pursue it. I told him I was going out of town (which was true) and I’d contact him when I got back. I went to a music festival and had one of the BEST times of my life. I went by myself but met someone new each day so I had no worries about being alone.

I got back and had NO desire to contact the guy…he was decent looking. I think maybe why I didn’t pursue it was because he didn’t “wow” me with anything…it was a basic “how are ya” message.

Then, on Facebook, a couple of friends hung out without inviting me. I feel so middle schooler saying this but it hurt a little to see I didn’t get an invite. So I deleted my facebook profile and I am just trying to focus on me and the blessings I do have in life.

But see, here’s the craziest thing about depression: no matter how much someone has, a dark cloud can still follow him/her everywhere. It feels like just breathing can be difficult. Smiling seems fake and forced. With the suicide of Linkin Park’s lead singer (a band I never listened to but just spent the last couple of hours listening to them), it’s just SO sad…

I have had to do A LOT of POSITIVE self talk these past couple of weeks and remind myself there are still MANY good times ahead to have…Hopefully, I will find that someone I can spend my evenings with so I’m not alone most nights….And until then, what am I going to do??? Breathe….one moment at a time.

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Meaning of Life

Meaning of Life

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I was just trying to read and my mind kept going back to the patients I had this past week so I know I need to write. Writing is so therapeutic for me.

A patient who is still waiting to see how much prison time she is going to serve said if she has to spend more than 10 years in prison, she is going to commit suicide. I asked if she had family and she said her sister is her best friend and she talks to her mom frequently. I said she could still love her family while in prison. I asked why would she want to end her life because I bet it would devastate her family.  She shrugged and said “I’d just be taking up space.” I’m scared she is determined to end her life depending on her sentencing. And you know what’s really sad, I could hear some republicans say: “good for her…we don’t need to be wasting our tax dollars on her.”  I just bought Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and I hope this will help give me some direction on where I can take my next therapy session with this patient.

Another patient I had knows she is going to serve 10 years in prison. She had three children and her parental rights were terminated last year.  She talked about not knowing what to do now in life. We first talked about rather or not her children will come find her once they are 18. I believe most children have a curiosity on who their birth parents are and do go looking for them. This patient said: “Well if they did, what purpose would I have in their life?” I talked about how in our 20s it is all about discovering  the world and she could help guide them and let them learn from her mistakes. She then talked about if she succeeded in making changes to improve her life and became stable, wouldn’t her children be angry with her and ask why she couldn’t do it for them. Of if she stayed on the same path and continued to use drugs, would her children say: “You STILL haven’t changed?!?!?” I said it is important to change and allow your children to know that at any given time, we do have the capability to change.

The last patient I wanted to mention is someone I didn’t sit down and talk to but I was asked to check in with him. He was a 20 year old male and had only spent a couple days in jail and was getting released. I asked what his plan was and he said he didn’t know. He said he would rather stay in jail because he would have a bed to sleep on and food to eat. This just broke my heart to hear…can you imagine being so hopeless you would rather stay in a jail?!?! I asked if he had tried the homeless shelters out and he said no because his goal is to not have to stay in one. I said there is nothing wrong in staying in a homeless shelter and it sounds like that is what you need to do for now. A Deputy said he talked to him earlier and the patient said he never had a mom and his dad was in prison.  As I was leaving, I saw the same Deputy talking to him and I bet you anything the Deputy was giving him some advice. I wish I was a fly on the wall and could have heard that conversation.

When dealt a shitty hand…

When dealt a shitty hand…

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Had a friend on here ask what I have been up to since it has been so long since my last post. It doesn’t take much to get me writing again. =)

I’m loving working as a therapist at the jail. The last few months I’ve been meeting monthly with this 19 year old who has been dealt such a shitty hand in life. He and his sister were adopted probably around the age of 5 or 6. Then their adopted father molests his sister so then I think he and his sister go into foster care.  He ends up at the Division of Youth Corrections for a couple of years as a teenager. And then the only person he knows he can love (his sister) is shot dead when she is a teenager.  So NOW how is he able to believe that there are more good people than bad?? That this world is a good place?? I sure wouldn’t if I was dealt the hand he was dealt. I worry about his depression. At our last session I told him he HAS to BELIEVE that there are good people in this world. And when he runs into the bad people, now he CAN make the choice and move on and not have those bad people in his life any more. Surround himself with good people.  Life isn’t easy and at times discouraging, but when we surround ourselves with good people it makes the difficult times bearable.

I’ve been thinking A LOT about Aaron Hernandez’s suicide. I enjoy the work that I do because just about every patient I have at the jail has someone that cares about him or her. I fear one day one of my patients will lose their life to suicide. I’m working DAMN hard every day to make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s tough to see the signs of suicide at the jail….most people aren’t happy to be in jail….they spend their days sleeping in their cell. Isolating. And how can I find those that are isolating? Thankfully, I work with a GREAT team of Deputies (and many hot ones too, haha). I’m relying on them to communicate to me when they notice someone isolating….But with  Aaron Hernandez, if he was isolating, was that normal for him?  It’s tragic Aaron took someone’s life too soon but also tragic that Aaron was so hopeless.

Depression

Depression

I had a patient the other day that I continue to think about every so often.

He said he was adopted and never felt like he belonged. He tried to find his birth parents but found out they live in two different countries and they do not want to be contacted. He said he received a Bachelors and was a Chef but most recently was doing some other work. He said he has seen many therapists in his life and does not like therapy. He said one of his good friends had just committed suicide at the mental health agency in our town. He briefly touched on him being in jail and said he believes he was going to be released later that day or tomorrow so his charge was not serious. Yet, he said he is on probation for another three years and can’t wait to get out of Colorado and go back home to New Jersey.

And he looked sad…very sad and this is why I think of him now. That old saying how the eyes are the window to the soul I believe is totally true. I can tell by looking in someone’s eyes if I need to worry about them. And I worry about him.

What did I say? I talked about how depression lies; how sometimes people have to create their own family; self love is important; and there is always another option.  BUT see, even with me knowing all of this, I still get depressed. So, if this happens for me WITH all of my support and all of my knowledge; I just can’t imagine how shitty depression can be for some people and why I worry about them.

Our mind can be a brilliant gift or a horrible nightmare and if it’s the latter, life becomes so hard.

I didn’t know how to end this post until today…a friend posted the following quote that I want to share: “Sometimes the only way to let go of the darkness is to express it. Write it out. Paint or draw. Take photos. Do something when you feel the darkness. Make the darkness something that gives light. Real, bright, pure light.” -Teryn O’Brien. I also like the Zacharia quote…owning one’s sadness and then letting go I think is healthy and possible for most anyone.

sadness

 

 

 

What do you choose NOW?

What do you choose NOW?

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Liz grew up with both parents drug addicts. They would spend their nights shooting up while Liz would watch. Hardly ever going to school, Liz talks about how she would be lucky if there was mayo and bread to eat. Liz’s mom gets AIDS and her dad goes to a homeless shelter when Liz is in junior high (Liz is still really not going to school). When 17, Liz realizes “If life could change for the worst, i thought, than maybe life could change for the better…it was possible I could change everything.” Liz went on to graduate from an alternative high school and then was accepted into Harvard and graduated from Harvard.

This is the story I’ve been telling my patients the last few days because this is the book I finished last week. It’s called Breaking Night by Liz Murray and it’s an amazing story.

And then I came across this quote the other day which I immediately saved and will share with patients: “A lot of people feel like they’re victims in life, and they’ll often point to past events, perhaps growing up with an abusive parent or in a dysfunctional family. Most psychologists believe that about 85 percent of families are dysfunctional, so all of a sudden you’re not so unique. My parents were alcoholics. My dad abused me. My mother divorced him when I was six…I mean, that’s almost everybody’s story in some form or not. The real question is, what are you going to do now? What do you choose now? Because you can either keep focusing on that, or you can focus on what you want. And when people start focusing on what they want, what they don’t want falls away, and what they want expands, and the other part disappears.” ― Rhonda Byrne