therapy talk: the importance of using skills as prevention techniques
Today I went back to therapy. I am now home, and able to return to my work at home.
For a brief moment we talked about the difference between prevention and intervention.
In life, do you start brushing your teeth after you get a cavity? Do you start washing your face after you breakout? Ok- maybe some people do, but ultimately no. You do these things to prevent a certain outcome.
But for some reason- people often forget about preventions when it comes to their mental health. Mental health in its existence, is often forgotten.
Or like many: You wait until an issue blows up before you seek counseling.
In August, I had an intake at the campus counseling center. I wasn't in crisis. I wasn't even nervous about college. But I knew myself and I wanted to seek help before I needed it. I advocated for myself. I was using prevention techniques without even being told to.
Just like that decision, one week from today I emailed my therapist on the car ride home from Boston. I wanted to check-in with her and give myself that reminder that she is there if I need her.
Ok, but besides counseling how can you prevent a fallout with your mental health?
I mentioned to my therapist how I live inside my head. My mind has a mind of its own. I can be a space-case, and concentration can be difficult for me. I have said in previous posts how I struggle with this in my classes, and how it then affects my self-esteem as I tend to punish myself for it. I have learned ways to accommodate for this, though, leaving me less overwhelmed so it is easier to focus.
My therapist asked if anything has been bothering me, (or that I have been anxious about.) I had to think. I realized, I did not have anything. Not a single thing. "Honestly, I've been in a really good place. I just want to keep things this way." I laughed, saying that if I thought too hard about "if" something had been making me anxious, I would only create reasons to be anxious.
Some people may assume that when you've reached this enlightenment or overall content place in your life, that you can say "see ya" and counseling is no longer needed. I have learned that this is one of the best times to go to counseling. The challenge, is finding things to talk about (or vent about), but this way you can listen and build on skills to work on any day despite what current state you're in.
This summer, I am taking a 1 month course, 3 days a week at my local community college in order to get some credits out of the way that go towards my major. My therapist found this as "good timing" weirdly enough. I will have just one course to focus on, and study for, instead of 3 or 4 other courses to follow. With this, I can work on mindfulness this summer with my therapist, and practice skills to use in and out of the classroom.
This is where therapy + prevention come together. You learn skills, not just to get you through the moment, a shitty week, or mid-life crisis. It is recommended you treat these skills as "homework" (many therapists actually give homework) so they can be implemented in your life, and one day these skills won't feel like work- you will just find yourself doing them.
Since I have been doing well, I decided to do counseling every other week instead of every week this summer. We'll see, or maybe I will push it back even more!
Until then I want to create goals for myself that relate to mindfulness strategies. I will start with 3 for now.
Utilize the 5 senses to self-soothe
ake peace with imperfection- inside and out.
"Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground." - Teddy Roosevelt
** And a question for crystal using folks, Which type of crystal would you find most suitable for bringing into the classroom? Best for grounding, focus, anxiety..
please comment or contact :-)