Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Taking First Steps In Asking For Help

By Matt Pappas.  You know something is going on in your life but you just aren't sure where to turn. You've heard that term, Mental Health, but maybe it always made you cringe.

I couldn't possibly have some type of mental health disorder, or suffer from some type of mental illness, right?

I've managed pretty decently in my life so far; I can survive daily and hold down a job. I have a family that loves me and friends to hang out with.

Or perhaps you are just the opposite...

You are alone, don't have many friends, your family relationships are strained at best, and you can't seem to find a career or steady job that you can hold onto.

I was mostly in the former category when I first realized I needed to seek some professional help. My life just wasn't going as I planned; which isn't necessarily a reason to seek help per say. In my case though, after 2 failed marriages and a realization that it was high time I start trying to understand myself better, I took the plunge.

I reached out through a program at my job that can put employees in contact with professionals for counseling, legal questions, medical concerns, family therapy, grieving, etc.

I was apprehensive to say the least and very nervous about trying this whole therapy thing again. My last experience with a therapist did not end well, as she divulged personal information about our sessions, to others.

The damage was done and the bridge was burned. For any "good" that those sessions did, the trust issues that I had were immediately increased 10 fold moving forward.

After a couple of days I was paired up with a local therapist and I scheduled an appointment.

At that point something strange happened, something I didn't expect. I began to feel a peace come over me, calmness. It was like; I'm finally doing something good for myself so let's see what happens and where this takes me.

I fully expected to be scared to death...

Looking back I was surprised by this feeling because I fully expected to be scared to death, to clam up, and end up sitting there in an office just wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into.

After decades of focusing on everyone and everything other than myself, it was as if my mind was saying... Finally, Thank You!

Having said that I was still nervous that first session. I mean when you start telling your story to a stranger, while sitting on a couch in an office, you get this feeling that you've seen this scenario before.

How many times on TV shows or movies has someone been sitting on a couch talking to a therapist about their "feelings"? How many times did you maybe think:

"Well that's just not going to do any good!"
"Why can't they just figure it out on their own?" 
"They must really be screwed up to have to talk to a therapist!"

When you are in that situation though, it becomes almost surreal. It suddenly hits home that you are now what you judged people for before. You are now THAT person who can't get their life together and has to resort to talking about their feelings to a therapist.

Shame and guilt can easily take over here if you aren't careful. You begin to wonder what's really wrong with you, and what you are going to uncover if you truly let your guard down. "Just how screwed up am I after all?"

Do I even want to go down this path...

Then you begin to rationalize why you maybe don't need to be doing this after all...

"Do I even want to go down this path, my life wasn't really all THAT bad now that I think about it?"

Rather than questioning yourself, try celebrating your decision to put yourself first for a change. Give yourself a High Five for taking the initiative to understand yourself and your mind better.

Know that you are doing something good for you that will benefit not only you but also those you are close to.

Reaching out to seek professional help can be so unbelievably nerve racking, intimidating, and scary. You really do get a better appreciation of yourself and what others go through when you are sitting there, one on one, being open and vulnerable.

You are now on the path to healing, understanding, positive self esteem, more self-confidence, and the realization that your mental health does matter.

Guest Blogger Note:

Matt writes for his website and blog, Surviving My .  He is an excellent writer and friend, sharing his struggles as he learns to heal from his past of child sexual abuse.  This blog post was written by Matt and I'm sharing it exclusively on the Mind Body Thoughts Blog.  Please make sure you visit Matt at .  He has some excellent wisdom and advice he shares that I am sure you will find helpful.

Also Check Out:

You may also want to check out a previous
blog I wrote about Matt's website and blog.

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