This past week was met with so many mixed emotions. It was met with a considerable amount of pain, with great sadness, with extraordinary anguish and a significant amount of reflection & revelation. Throughout this week while trying to cope with my afflictions and anxiety I became extremely lost, inhibited and unsure. I immediately felt myself facing a mental health crisis and needed to resolve how I was going to reduce its impact, but I simply didn’t know how to or where to turn first. My husband quickly and unselfishly pointed out to me where I needed to begin and reminded me of my mantra which has been continuously reinforced through a multitude of therapists and facilitators; that ‘I Choose Me’.
I have talked about the importance of making sure that ‘I Choose Me’ before, however, when I am faced with having to ‘Choose Me’, it is met with a great deal of resistance as well as feelings of guilt and apprehension. These feelings which are quite normal for me by now can and do often turn unsafe and self-destructive if not addressed straightaway.
There are many warning signs that someone may be in crisis or in need of immediate intervention that are important for loved ones to detect in order to de-escalate the situation. Many of these signs may come without any warning but it is important to remember that no matter how big or small they may seem to you, it is always best to follow your instincts. Some of the signs to look out for are; a sudden change in mood or eating and sleep patterns, intense agitation, unclear thinking or irrational thoughts, loss of reality, making harmful threats to oneself or others, isolating themselves, self-harm, an increase in alcohol or drug abuse, experiencing hallucinations or delusions and showing suicidal ideations (I’m pretty sure this list is a conclusive look at the week I leave behind).
When someone is in crisis I can assure you that communication is essential in limiting an increased or heightened risk. It is important that the individual feels acknowledged and validated by effectively listening and of course always remembering to use an empathetic & non-judgmental tone, but most of all, show compassion. For me, talk therapy has been a necessary part of my treatment to help me cope with my feelings, help me problem solve through my issues and help me change some behaviours that may be contributing to my symptoms.
Talk therapy often involves more than just ‘talking’ which may sometimes include journaling your thoughts, keeping track of your moods or participating in certain activities. Talk therapy is oftentimes crucial in understanding your mental illness, defining & reaching goals, coping with stress & anxiety or overcoming your fears & insecurities. Talk therapy can also play a notable role in understanding past traumas, learning to recognizing triggers and most importantly help to establish a plan for weathering a crisis.
There are several different types of specialists who are trained to counsel individuals in talk therapy, but finding the right match can sometimes be the most difficult part. This very intimate relationship needs to be feasible for both parties involved in order to get the best results. There needs to be chemistry and a high level of trust present on both sides which has been extremely challenging for me, some of which I have talked about before and some of which I may never be able to talk about.
I have spent many restless nights before a therapy appointment wondering why I am wasting my time only to leave that said appointment the next day, scratching my head, thinking ‘wow, that really was a waste of time!’ But for the first time in almost four years I feel as though I may have finally found that person, a connection worthy of a restful night’s sleep (which I’m working on). From my first appointment with her it just felt different this time, and, being different is in fact a good thing. The role of a therapist is to have clear boundaries which are safe and focused and although having loved ones to confide in is very cathartic, they are not always the most objective or non-judgmental when it comes to certain aspects of our lives, especially in crisis. With that being said, instead, their part in your recovery may best be served as a guiding force, listening to you, inspiring you and cheering you on all the way to your next appointment!