The Best Form of Self-Care

So it’s been a minute since I’ve written. When I started this blog I had grand ideas about publishing once a week. It’s not that I don’t have enough to say, it’s that putting it down on paper has proven to be a trying task. There are times my mind feels like a washing machine, and all my thoughts are articles of clothing. They all mix together, unsorted, trying to get clean and organized. But instead, they just roll around in my head. Life has definitely gotten in the way and I have had to pause to take some time for myself. Taking care of my mental health is definitely harder to put into practice than just talking about it. It’s something I am a huge proponent of, and have written about before. However, as is always in life, talking about something and putting it into practice are two very different beasts. But… to be the best mother and woman I can be, I have to be a little bit selfish.

Over the past little while. I have found myself having many conversations with people about therapy. It has made its way in countless times, not intentionally, but simply in the course of conversation. I have never been shy about speaking to a therapist, and I gladly share my experiences with others. I am a huge champion of therapy and the importance of both talk therapy and behaviour management skills (in the form of CBT and the like). I think this comes from my background in psychology, but also in seeing the results firsthand.

I remember one time in the car, J had asked me about a therapy appointment. She wanted to know why I was seeing a therapist, In hindsight she actually got the terms therapist and chiropractor mixed up (ha!) but I didn’t know that at the time. I took the opportunity to explain to her how important therapy is and how wonderful it is for adults to seek support. I explained to her that just like kids need someone to talk to and problem-solve, adults need the same.

It doesn’t go away just because you get older, even though children (and truth-be-told many adults) think it does. I told her that the strongest people in the world need therapy. And I truly meant it. I never want that therapy to be a bad word.

All of this is why I’m here to say that therapy is one of the best forms of self-care. Far as someone who is perpetually anxious, talking through scenarios and potential issues is a great way to self-soothe. Even more so, using those opportunities to do inner work, speak to my inner self, and revisit previous traumas are all great ways to grow personally and psychologically. These are all things that cannot be accessed when we are in immediate crisis because they are less important at the time. However, they are just as important during growth periods.

In the past, therapy has been viewed as something crazy people needed to do to get well, or that addicts needed to do in order to recover. It was mandated… necessary to become a better, more functioning member of society. But the truth is, we are complex beings. A lot is going on in our minds and the ability to resonate with our thoughts and be the strongest we can be mentally is so important.

Being strong enough to say that we are working on ourselves is one of the best forms of self-care. Taking the time to be the best we can be, or even bitch and complain to an impartial party will allow us important clarity.

One thing that I am working on is consistent appointments with my therapist, whether I am in crisis or not. Consistent doesn’t need to be weekly, but just at a regular interval. Although I am not ashamed to admit that my weekly therapy appointment is often the highlight of my week. I think that in many ways continuing therapy during those “downtimes” can be more powerful than when we feel we are in desperate need to speak to someone. I am guilty of this in a huge way. I let my therapy appointments lapse because I felt like I was in a good place. Then, the moment I felt like I was in crisis I was incredulous at the fact that my therapist couldn’t possibly drop everything and see me immediately. This is obviously completely unrealistic and a sure sign that I was in desperate need of therapy. But obviously, this is not the way the world works. And therapists don’t sit around like a crisis hotline waiting for you to meet them.

It should be said, though, that although I am saying this with a bit of jest, there IS a crisis hotline should it be needed, and there is no shame in accessing it. In Canada, the Suicide Prevention Hotline is available at 1-833-456-4566. In Toronto (where I am based out-of) you can always call 905-408-HELP 24 hours/day. If you are EVER worried that you or someone close to you are in imminent danger of self-harm, please call 911.

This is life (and we don’t ever have to go through it alone). Love, Mom.

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