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Prepping for therapy? While every therapist has their own approach, there are common questions you may be asked at your first appointment.
Do you remember internet pop-up ads?
In the days before pop-up blockers, you would be surfing the internet, minding your own business, when a pesky advertisement would suddenly appear on your screen.
You may have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It’s a mental health condition that arises after a traumatic event, often characterized by flashbacks, severe anxiety, and disturbing thoughts.
It happens to all of us: you’re going about your day, everything seems fine, and then something happens, or someone says something, and you get triggered. It’s as if you switch gears. Maybe you start to feel hurt or angry or depressed, or just a whole bunch of negative feelings. You might start to think that your best friend or partner doesn’t care about you, that life feels worthless, or you feel worthless; maybe you start thinking that nothing ever works out. You might feel tense all over, or get a sinking feeling in your stomach. Each of us has our own familiar pattern, but all of us experience this big negative ball of jumbled feelings, thoughts, and physical reactions—and it feels just awful.
Manic-depression, or bipolar disorder, is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions in psychiatry. Part of the problem, as noted in yesterday's post, is that the term bipolar has been watered down to an adjective for moody. Anyone who has worked in mental health can tell you that if someone's symptoms are erratic and involve mood changes, an (inappropriate) bipolar diagnosis may be on the way. As the title of John McManamy's book, Not Just Up and Down, tells us, it's, well, not simply up and down moods. Using the term manic-depression is much more descriptive and could help practitioners stop and think about what they're looking at before any knee-jerk diagnosis is applied.
In-person meetings can be anxiety-inducing enough. Many of us wonder when we should listen and when we should talk. And when we finally do talk, what should we say and how should we say it?
Have you ever noticed how frequently your mind returns to problems and situations that cause you pain, and insists on rehashing what’s wrong? It’s a strange phenomenon really, our addiction to thinking about problems. Even when we don’t want to think about what’s bothering us, still, we keep thinking about it. Why do we do this, and how can we break this thinking addiction?
Depression isn’t always obvious. In fact, some people go to great lengths to hide the symptoms of depression from the people around them — concealing the problem so well that they themselves may scarcely recognize it.