Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Update & Thanks

I was looking through my old posts and shocked to see such nice comments many of you have dropped by and left for me. What a nice surprise to know my words and research and thoughts may have helped someone out there. I am quite a novice at this so you can imagine this was truly a pat on the back for me. It has inspired me to write some more and keep everyone up to date with my new thoughts inside my head- I never stop trying to help myself improve, whether this is a blessing or a curse, I haven't figured out yet.

Lately I have been seeing a counselor again, and also a psychiatrist. For those of you who don't know, a psychiatrist is the one able to prescribe medication for depression, anxiety, all sorts of mental health conditions. A therapist is not usually the same thing as a psychiatrist, and in most U.S. states cannot prescribe medication. What they can do though, is work on the problems while you are taking medication, so that one day you can have the mental tools to come off the medication slowly and live a life medication free but changed. I also have my counselor talk to my psychiatrist over the phone periodically. Let me tell you about what happened a few weeks ago. I felt awful one night and was very teary. When I talked this over with my boyfriend, I realized I was not being completely, 100% truthful to my therapist about how awful I can feel at the worst of times. I mean at times I can wish I was dead. Not that I would kill myself or have a plan or anything of the sort. Wishing you were dead is entirely different from wanting to kill yourself. (If you want to kill yourself, PLEASE call a hot-line or visit an emergency room). But I realized this was not normal and I did not have to live like that, feeling so bad that I could wish I was dead. SO anyway, I realized that I had been embarrassed to tell my therapist how bad I can feel sometimes. I didn't want her to think I was "crazy". Well what's the point of that?

So, my boyfriend convinced me that the only way I would ever truly get any genuinely needed help for myself would be to stop being afraid the therapist would think I was crazy. (Here is a funny similar question someone asked)Or not good enough. Or not capable of ever amount to anything. These were all the fears running through my head, that a medical professional would find me inferior or inadequate or defective. If I were truly in need of help, I didn't think I could also amount to anything in life. But really, this all creates a vicious circle. So I decided at our next appointment (we are in couples counseling where I talk about all these issues) he would help me be completely honest. I recommend this style of counseling because it has really worked for us. In this case my boyfriend helped me get straight with my counselor so she could really know what was going on when she wasn't around. If you aren't in couples counseling, I recommend once in a while bringing a close friend into the session so they can tell your counselor what is really going on.

So, since then, I have since been a lot more honest in therapy and, as a consequence, decided to go on some medication to help me finally get some of these same old problems under control. I want some new problems to contend with! I have been sick of struggling over the same old situations year after year.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Constructive Living

Last week I was doing a lot of research on self-help books. I knew I wanted a new one, but at the same time, I felt pretty discouraged because I have bought plenty of them where I stopped reading halfway through or did not put the book into action into my life. So I researched for quite a while, looking for one that I felt would inspire me. I focused mostly on Amazon, reading the books in the previews they give, scrutinizing the reviews readers have left for which ones seemed authentic and not just the authors friends. I was originally looking for a workbook I could progress through incrementally (although I already have some workbooks at home). There were some really good ones I found that I will mention later in this post, but I settled on one because it seemed really original. I am a big fan of Japanese etiquette rules, for example I often will hear about an aspect of Japanese etiquette that I never knew about but I already practice the principle anyway, just naturally. For example they are big on not saying "No" directly and I find myself naturally shying away from being very blunt with people, I would prefer they can read the implications of other things I am saying. But I degress- I was interested in this one book based on the beliefs about psychotherapy in Japan- it is called "Constructive Living".
From what I gather about this form of therapy, it focuses on the here-and-now, not on family history or personal background. Therapists in Japan encourage people to learn how to do certain behaviors no matter their current mood or how they are feeling. I feel learning about this would be extremely beneficial to me as I am constantly changing my plans or losing my motivation because of being in a "bad mood" or having a bad day, not feeling well, being tired, etc. The book stresses the importance of doing things towards your goal anyway, no matter how you feel. Now I certainly hope and expect they will tell me some tricks on HOW to do that, because my mind is sometimes my very worst enemy and I can convince myself to pursue pleasure/relaxation just about all the time.

Here is a link to the book: Constructive Living

Maybe I will even review it when I am done reading it or along the way.

Here are some other books I was interested in and may purchase soon (oh how I wish my local library had a better collection!!)
The Practicing Mind
Procrastination and Task Avoidance: Theory, Research, and Treatment This seems to be a textbook but hey- I guess its one good reason I am in social work school!
Fat, Broke & Lonely No More: Your Personal Solution to Overeating, Overspending, and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
The Binge Eating & Compulsive Overeating Workbook: An Integrated Approach to Overcoming Disordered Eating
The Procrastination Workbook: Your Personalized Program for Breaking Free from the Patterns That Hold You Back
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play