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  • Writer's pictureAnjum Madan

Lessons from Therapy

I made it. This year has been a tough one – in more ways than one. But you know what – it has forced me to look inwards. It made me realize that I could not go on the way I was going and to take action towards making a change. I had thought that I should get help in the past but had never taken the step to find out what my options were. This time, I did. I reached out to my employee benefits plan and found out what I was eligible for. That in itself was progress.

First Aid Felt Heart

When I started 20 sessions sounded like a lot. I mean – I’d be fixed by the end of it, right? I know, I know I sound like one of those people who don’t understand mental illness. And yet, I should have known better. But here’s the truth – I spent most of my life (all of it in fact until this year) thinking that I was okay. Sure I had times when I was blue. But I was able to function. I was able to get on with my day and keep things together. I was alright. Then, a couple of years ago I started hearing the phrase “high functioning depression” and realized that it described me quite accurately. Learning of the term was the first step. It made me realize I was not the only one.

Anyway, back to the lessons!

  • You have to actually do the work. It’s hard. Staying the same is easier. But if you want to change, you have to actually do the work. Even the bits that sound dumb.

  • Break things down into smaller steps. After spending so much time putting things away and being a high achiever, I find it harder now to do all the things. I have found that breaking things down into smaller steps helps. I feel like I am achieving things and it's easier for me to keep track of all the steps.

  • Celebrate the little things. It may seem stupid but noticing and congratulating yourself on the little things is huge. For me, it includes things like when I pause during a downward spiral or when I start a good habit that I dropped off again (things like meditating, journaling, or painting)

  • Be kind to yourself. It is okay to have negative thoughts. It’s okay to not want to get out of bed or have a shower. But don’t let yourself live there anymore. Have your moment and then do something, no matter how small to change your state of mind. Go for a walk. Play with your dog. Send a friend a text. Listen to some music. Do something small so that the whole day isn’t spent in that mood.

  • End each day with a positive thought. Even if the thought is that “tomorrow is a new day”

What would you add to this list?

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