There are many times that I think to myself, what am I doing? Who do I think I am? It isn’t a matter of who I am but what I am doing or why am I doing it. It leaves me feeling incapable and worthless. I doubt myself for what I have done and the choices I have made. Fast forward and I am in a rut eating chips on the couch binge watching tv. This isn’t me. This isn’t what I enjoy but I feel stuck and lost. I feel like I can’t do anything right, so why do anything at all.
This is usually when I tell myself, just do something. One thing. Anything. Just make a choice. So I go shower. I don’t feel great and I definitely don’t feel happy, but I did something. Now make another choice. So I eat toast. Nothing extravagant, I don’t have that much in me. Cooking can be hard. So instead I just do something. Eat something. Afterwards, ok next best decision for me. One at a time.
This gets me through the rut I was in but I am left with a lingering doubt in myself. Confidence is the ability to see oneself in a positive light and know you can handle whatever comes at you. It is a skill. Much like any other skill, it needs to be practiced. What would it be like for you to practice confidence? What would it look like? For me, it looks like holding my head high, taking up space and making a decision best for myself. It isn’t knowing that it will work out or that it is the right decision. it is knowing I have the resilience and ability to handle it.
At first it seems like I am faking it until I make it. But it is intentional work I put forward to ensure I am developing that skill. Sometimes I need to tweak how I use confidence or what it looks like but over time, it becomes more automatic and less intentional. Before you know it, you are confident instead of using confidence and that feeling. Wow. It is something else I tell you.
Let’s set up a strategy to build your confidence and get you out of the rut and into the wow!
Whenever I start something new, I am so excited. I want to rush head first into it and get everything done all at the same time. I know this strategy doesn’t work and isn’t effective but I do it anyway. Why is that?
Past behaviours and experiences are how we set our expectations based on learned pathways. It all starts with the biology of it all. Starting something new means I draw on my past experiences and what worked in the past. The reinforced pathway. I always start this way and the starting point is always the positive point. Therefore there is no reason to change it and I have this strong learned pathway to go head strong into it.
But, the next part, oh the next part. It is the one where I start to doubt myself. It might look like…What am I doing? Who thought this was a good idea? I thought I could do this? What was I thinking…. It stems from the ultimate feeling of not being good enough. And that feeling, it sucks. It doesn’t do me any good. I can see you shaking your head at home while you’re reading this. You know that feeling. Maybe it looks a lot like me.
What if I told you, we could change that. Would you believe me? What if we created a new pathway so that your go to wasn’t that up and down spike? It can be done. Now, it takes effort and strength and commitment. I’m not talking the whole climbing everest or running a marathon effort, but conscious and deliberate attempt to change. Sound doable?
If so, reach out to me to learn more. Got 15 minutes?
For those of you who have experienced trauma, I know you feel it deep inside you. It can be a struggle to remain in control and go through the motions of life. Even when you think you have a handle on things, you find yourself pulled into the memories, the experiences and the feelings. So you cope. You find ways to deal with it and try to plug forward.
Did you know this is actually the first step when we think about treating trauma? Safety & Stabilization. We increase the skills for the client so that they can be resourced to handle when things come up. Because we know that they will come up. We also know the power clients hold in being able to do something about it. At times, this is the key to unlocking the power and control to move through life. Instead of things happening to them, it is just something that happens.
So, what are you coping skills? Well, start with your symptoms. Know what you are facing. Being aware of how it shows up, when it shows up, how intense it is when it shows up, and so on doesn’t change it. It doesn’t make it show up more or less. It just is you noticing. Once you notice, you can start to focus on the skills to lessen the symptoms. This means, lessen the intensity, lessen the impact, lessen the duration. You shift that power of control from the symptoms to yourself.
Then start the list of coping skills. What do you do? Does it work? What have you tried? Did they work? It is ok if they didn’t. It’s about having options. It’s ok if they lessened it just slightly. Less is more, well in this case it is.
So here is your starting point. Here is step 1 & 2. Then reach out and we can look at next steps. You don’t have to do it alone but if you want to, you can. You can also aren’t meant to know how to do all by yourself. So have someone to guide you along the way. Teach you. Help you. Hear you. Emphasis on YOU!
Why does my partner do that? I mean they know it gets under my skin. They just don’t care. If they continue I’ll do it back and see how they feel! 😡🔥🤬👿☠️
Wait! Hold up for a moment. If you do that, I mean you can, they you are going to stay in this cycle. If you take a breathe, on any given day would you CHOOSE to do this behaviour? Would you want to hurt your partner? If so, continue scrolling.
If not, how would you behave? What is important to you? Who are you as a person? These are your driving force. This is your compass on how you behave. You can’t control others but you can control yourself.
But that leaves your partner still doing something you don’t like. What do you do about it? Well there are many ways we can face it together. You probably have tried some already. Together we can weed out everything that works and doesn’t to create a relationship that is more rewarding and fulfilling. It can be done
No one ever tells you the bad, the hardships, the struggle. I mean would you listen if they did?
We hear coping and how things get better. We hear the blessing and gratefulness. All of which may be true but it doesn’t take away from the fact that at times it is so hard and requests so much of us, I just lock myself in the bathroom.
Ok. Rewind….. Cue vcr rewind machine sound….. (All wait for some to google that)…
Ok. When would you stop it and see the shift? When do you go from I am ok to I am sliding. If we can get ourselves to recognize this point we can do something about it. That something can be a lot of things and what works for one doesn’t work for another. But we need to open our eyes to the shift. The shift in ourselves. That’s our power
We are all good mothers. We are all trying our best. We are all different. We are all great. There is no one right way so atop trying to fit into a mould that isn’t even perfect anyway. Do your best. Try your hardest. Learn, grow but mostly KNOW YOURSELF.
What is counselling? What does it look like? What is normal? What can I expect? I am unsure and it builds my anxiety to make the first step.
I get it. Being uncertain about basic aspects lead to a compounding stress level to even start. Now, let me caveat this that I speak about my own experience as a client and a clinician but not everyone is the same.
I offer a free consultation so we can meet and go through some quick details first. You can tell me a bit about you, I’ll tell you about me and my approach and we will go through some practical pieces. This gives me insight in answering, “Can I help this person the way they are needing me to right now?” I know a lot of things and continue to grow but I also know I have limits and sometimes I am not the best suited to a client. That is ok. But that doesn’t mean you are alone. I will help try and connect you with potential other clinicians who are suitable. It also gives you the opportunity to see if you feel comfortable with me before making that commitment for yourself.
So, to the original question: What is counseling? Well interesting enough counselling is not regulated and the title counsellor can be nearly anyone. The titles Psychotherapist, social worker, & psychologist are protected by our licensing bodies. For example I am a Registered Psychotherapist (short form RP) under College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). This means we have standardized education and experience as well as adherence to a set of laws and ethics to protect the public and to hold our license.
May approach is transparent. I have nothing to hide. We work together in an integrative approach to therapy and treatment. After all, you are the one doing the work, you should have a day in the approach as well.
Send me any questions you have and I will work at answering them one at a time!
Not ones tells you that life gets hard. The kind of hard that hits deep in your core. Like the how did I get here? One moment things are fine and the next it is a tornado.
If we think we are immune and can overextend ourselves, push off our needs or ignore the signs, we suffer. We fall. We face hard. And we have to do the work.
In my journey as a therapist and a person, I learned hard hits you when you least expect it. But it doesn’t last forever. I can do something about it. Bottom up behavioural approach works best even if we don’t believe it will work. Yes, I said we. Cause it happens to us too. We aren’t super humans or special in any way. We have the knowledge but we still have to do the work.
It worked. I felt better. I was gaining confidence. I dare even said I liked myself again. I knew I was worth it and I knew I was making a difference. I was happy.
Then it slapped me in the face. Rejection. Fear. Envy. Ahhh! So I spiraled. I did all the coping things I did before. I pushed myself away from everyone. I made myself small. I proved to myself everything I thought was wrong with me with evidence. Evidence my brain made up, but evidence nonetheless. It was only a day. But a day turned into days into a week into weeks.
I cancelled my appts. I was tired. I felt I needed to rest. I was overwhelmed. I needed time to myself. So I took it…..to the extreme. I took too much. I didn’t listen to myself once I had filled that bucket. So now it was stuck overflowing. Now I felt back to where I started.
What do I do now? That first step. You know the one you should do and know will be good for you deep down but you do everything to avoid it or try every option other than that. Yeah I did that. I tried everything except book an appt with my therapist. I was embarrassed. I regressed. I only wanted them to see me as successful.
So I waited. And waited. And waited. I tried something else then something else and something else until I was left so drained and alone. I made the call. Will email actually let’s be real here. I booked it. It was still two weeks out but it was booked. I did it. Yay me!
Oh crap but now I have to tell them. Now I have to be real and honest and face it. No, no, no, no, no. 😬. Insert panic here. How am I going to do that…. What am I going to say.
So it lit a fire under my butt. I started my mental health walks. Showering. Eating better. Sleeping less. Increasing water (decreasing coffee).
And guess what? I started feeling better. I was so focused (ok scared) of facing my therapist, I started doing what I needed to do all along. Doing right by me. Slowly and intentionally. Napping still included.
By the time I reached my appt. I was good again. Phew. I wasn’t a lump but a shining big rock. Look at me go!!
I used to always berate myself when I made a mistake. Often in my head but sometimes out loud. Like not in I am going to hurt myself way but in the acknowledging I suck way. Am I making sense? I found my go to strategy was to act first. Criticize myself before someone else gets a chance to. This way I am in control. I win!
But do I? Honestly? That means I am surrounded by criticism. All the things I do wrong. All the things I suck at. All the reasons why I am not special. Guess what though? I started to believe it. Slowly it chipped away my armor (self worth) until I was less able to cope with myself.
But ok. I got this. I can do this. I am in control! I can turn this around. So I use it to motivate me. I get goals, some I achieve! 🥳 and some I don’t 😭. But no matter how many accomplishments I made, the voice inside my head said it wasn’t good enough. Have you heard that voice before? “So what? Not big deal. Anyone can do that. Look at what you didn’t do.”
It felt like a losing battle. I was trying everything: affirmations, focusing on one thing, ignoring it, staying in bed all day, filling up my day completely, never being alone, … What was the answer. It felt bigger then my capabilities. Was I failing as a human?
So I did the one thing I was dreading, therapy. Why would a therapist need a therapist? So embarassing!🤨😨😱😞