When you get the call or arrive to see someone who is depressed it can feel overwhelming. You may want to help but you may not exactly know how. You may feel at a loss for words, unsure of what direction to take or feel downright helpless. And as a therapist I have noticed that feeling helpless is one of the emotions that humans dislike most.
A client came in and told me that she felt terrible. “Why?” I asked.
“Well, I was with a friend and she told me that she landed her dream job. Making four times as much as me. I wanted to be happy for her, but I just felt jealous. I felt like we weren’t in the same league. All I could think was that I could never have what she has.”
Mantras for the not so positive-a primer for taking the very first step.
I am a therapist. I am also big on working with people in ways that I am willing to work on myself and that have actually worked for me or others rather than giving the textbook answer. In short, I try my best not to be a hypocrite. I also know that people are different than me and some interventions will work for them even though they never worked for me. For example, the extrovert who has issues with sharing the microphone with someone else. Definitely not an issue I have but can still offer solutions none the less. If you read about change the list is usually the same-journal, vent, write down triggers, write down alternatives, blame your mother. And these things work well blaming your mother actually doesn’t work. But what about when you have it down? What about when you are not actively needing day treatment or twice a week therapy. What then?
The theme in my practice has been anger this week. You know, that revved up feeling that you get when something really p*&%es you off. We all have it to a greater or lesser degree. We would not want it to go away entirely either. You want to be able to fight or flee if someone is attacking you. But the problem with most relationship situations is that the other person is not really trying to attack you. It just feels that way. Yesterday, I was telling my husband that WE forgot to write our friend a check for money that we owed. I heard him respond from the other room and this is what he said: instead of talking about writing the check, you could just write the check.
You Can Jump Through the Hoops without Believing they Will Make or Break You
Sister somebody once told me in the third grade, “Nicole, your handwriting is terrible. You will never get anywhere with that handwriting.” I remember trying to pay attention so I could master each task with perfection until I realized it probably wasn’t going to happen.
While at the time I was devastated by the news that my handwriting stunk, now I think, Is this true? Does my handwriting have to be good? I mean, do we have to be good at every subject?
Maybe not. In fact, what I have found in life is that working together with a team of different talents is good enough. It turns out that the things I don’t like to do or am not good at, other people like to do and are good at. If we work together, the job gets done. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?
One of the most common ways a client will sabotage their own progress is through negative thinking. You know negative thinking… It’s when you try to embark upon something and a little voice in your head pops up and says, No! You can’t. You never could. Don’t you remember the time you totally screwed that up?
My clients who struggle with starting their own businesses say things like: Maybe this isn’t for me. Maybe I am better off having someone else call the shots. Maybe I should go back to what I was doing. Maybe I am not the type who can do this.