941-462-4807 meg@megyounglcsw.com

unsure of therapy You may be thinking that therapy cannot help you. You may be thinking that nothing will help at this point. Or you may think that nobody will understand. Possibly you think that you don’t even need therapy at this time despite what others say to you. You may have even tried therapy with little to no success in the past. You may have talked to other first responders who have not had the most success with therapy. It is true that therapy is not easy and will not provide a quick fix; you very well may not feel better after the first few sessions you have.
 
Unfortunately, if you have noticed that your life just isn’t the same anymore or if others have told you you’re not the same anymore, and you decide not to go to therapy, nothing will change for the better. Your life will not only not improve, but is likely to continue to get worse.
 
You may notice a steady decline in your emotional well-being, you may notice becoming more sarcastic, you may notice you are more jaded, you may notice changes in your relationships, and you may even notice behavior changes in your children.
 
Not only does living life believing that therapy won’t help won’t make your life better, it will impact the lives of others around you. You cannot throw a pebble in the pond without making ripple effects and you cannot change without others around you feeling that change and adapting to that change. If that is a downward change, the adaptation of those around us are likely to also be a downward change.
 
Perhaps your relationship with your spouse is just not the same. Perhaps you are arguing more. Perhaps you are having more trouble sleeping these days. Perhaps you are spending less time with your children. Or perhaps the change you’ve noticed is at work – you have less desire to go to work, or you’re more sarcastic after the calls you go on.
 
At first you might have blamed it on everything external – work is stressful, you’re just tired, work is demanding more of you, there’s changes in the personnel at work, etc. You might have even felt like people are picking on you or chastising you. It is true that when we are stressed, we have a lower tolerance for criticism, even if it is accurate.
 
Unfortunately, when we ignore the symptoms or blame it on something else, it keeps the cycle going and we continue to feel worse and worse. The downward spiral becomes overwhelming. And by the time we believe that maybe we do need help, our brain convinces us that it’s too late; that therapy won’t help.
 
Eventually, we wind up in a place of extreme exhaustion and hopelessness. This may continue to play out in sarcasm, or it may play out in anger, or depression, or something else. However it plays out, we start to feel like things will never improve. Once the brain starts this line of thinking, it is hard to get out of. The train of “and then” or “what if” can get completely out of hand.
 
The truth is, it is completely normal for this to happen. When we are stressed, the very primitive part of our brain responsible for survival called the Amygdala, gets activated. The sole purpose of the Amygdala is to keep us alive. It acts like a smoke detector – it does not care of you burned the bread or if the house is burning down; it just sets off the alarm. The Amygdala does not care if you are truly in danger or not, it sets off the signal in case you are in danger – THEN it communicates with the Hippocampus which has surveyed the environment and determined you are not in danger. But, like the smoke detector, the alarm has already been set off. Once the Amgydala activates, the “survival” train takes over. You no longer think logically and you no longer think of the “good” – survival is only needed in times of “bad.” It is completely normal for negative thinking to get out of hand at this point.
 
Although it is normal for this to happen and although it is true that you may be feeling pretty hopeless that therapy can help, all you need to do is learn a few tricks to convince yourself therapy is worth trying; not convince yourself that therapy will work. Once you convince yourself that therapy is worth trying, it is entirely possible to find the right therapist who will help you feel like yourself again.
 
Keep reading to learn how to start making changes to convince yourself that therapy is worth trying today
 
RIGHT NOW YOU ARE FEELING HOPELESS, HELPLESS, AND UNSURE OF THE FUTURE
 
Quite honestly, the biggest downside to not overcoming the downward emotional spiral is the potential for suicide. You may be thinking “I’d never do that” but I promise you that most first responders who commit suicide did not think they would ever get to that point in their lives either.
 
But, let’s back it up some. At the very least, if you don’t work through your feelings and thoughts about therapy and do not come to therapy, you will find yourself no better off than you are now. Can you imagine what life would be like for you if you felt this way for the next 10, 20, 30 years or more? Think about it, where you are today did not happen over night. It got worse over time, right? So logic would tell you that if you are feeling this way now, it is likely to only get worse. Can you imagine feeling worse than you are 10 years from now…and worse than that 20 years from now? And worse yet 30 years from now?
 
Living with this downward spiral all because you have convinced yourself therapy won’t help you is literally making it worse. What if you ignored someone’s injury which is clearly life threatening? What if you said to them “you’re ok. I’m just going to go over here and not pay any attention to you.” They may literally die, right? So you may not physically die from your emotional upheaval, however, your body and brain work together. If your brain thinks you are in danger, it sends the signal to the body to stop all functions that are not needed for survival. When that happens, people end up with digestive problems, heart problems, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and a whole host of other physical problems.
 
THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. YOU CAN AND YOU WILL FEEL LIKE YOURSELF AGAIN
 
Although you currently struggle with the belief that therapy won’t help, you have the potential to get your life back. You have the potential to get yourself back. You have the potential to get your health back. When we choose to try something even if we don’t have 100% conviction in, there is a real possibility for improvement. Even if you don’t believe it.
 
Right now you have the opportunity to try something and possibly get everything back that you are losing. You also have the opportunity to do nothing and let this downward spiral continue. What’s the worst that will happen if you convince yourself to go to therapy? The worst that will happen is nothing changes and you’re where you are now. What’s the best that will happen? You’ll feel like yourself again.
 
YOU DON’T HAVE TO CONVINCE YOURSELF THERAPY WILL WORK. YOU JUST HAVE TO CONVINCE YOURSELF TO BE OPEN TO TRYING
 
Yes it’s true you’re feeling confused about therapy. Yes it’s true you may be thinking it won’t work; nothing will help. However, as I said above, what’s the worst that will happen if you go to therapy? The key is my heading above. You do not have to convince yourself that therapy will work. You just have to convince yourself to be open to trying.
 
Making this change is not as difficult as you may think. There are a few things for you to think about and work on honestly with yourself. You don’t even have to tell anyone that you are doing this. You don’t have to share your thoughts with anyone at this point. When you follow a few simple steps, you will start to see that maybe the risk is worth it. Maybe you are worth it.
 
Take a look at these next steps to see how you can start working on convincing yourself to give therapy a try
 
One of the biggest reasons you struggle with not going to therapy is because of your thinking. “It’s not going to work.” “Others have tried it and don’t feel better.” “I shouldn’t need therapy.” “I’ve tried it before.” It makes complete sense that you’re feeling hopeless. Our thoughts guide our emotions. Do you remember The Little Engine that Could? “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” His attitude and thought process helped him get where he was going. If we think positively, we feel good. If we think negatively, we feel bad. Our thoughts are so incredibly powerful.
 
The first step I want you to take, right now is: Identify your thoughts about therapy. What is your reason for not believing it will help you? Write those thoughts down.
 
Here at Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC, I help my clients narrow down what their negative thoughts are. Often they don’t know at first “It just won’t work.” Other times they know “I shouldn’t need therapy.” Either way, once you clarify what the thought is, you can start to not only understand the reasons behind not going, but you can start to challenge those reasons. This leads me to step 2.
 
Next, I want you to challenge each of those thoughts. Something as simple as “Is it possible…” “Is it possible it will work this time?” “Is it possible my experience will be different that John’s?”
 
Remember how powerful thoughts are? Together with my clients I help them challenge negative thinking; reframing their thoughts to something more positive. “Is it possible this will work” actually puts hope into the brain. It changes the feeling from hopeless to neutral. We are not trying to convince ourselves that it WILL work; we are trying to convince ourselves that it MAY work; that there is a POSSIBILITY it will work.
 
When you schedule a session with me, we will work on overcoming your hesitations which will help you begin to notice a shift in your emotions. You will start to see a shift in the way you think and feel about this and other situations. It starts a train of possibilities.
 
After you challenge these thoughts, my last step for you is to do some research. There are a ton of therapists out there, each with different approaches. Maybe one approach didn’t work for you. Or maybe one person’s personality didn’t jive with you. See who else is out there. I have a client who is in his early 70s and has been seeing therapists for years. He always saw men his age because they “understood” him better. Then he came to me. A female much younger than him. He has told me several times that he has gotten more help from me and has moved forward in improving himself more with me than with every male therapist he ever saw. All this means is one type of person might work better than another for you.
 
One thing I know for sure is that changing our beliefs is incredibly difficult. When we truly believe something, it is often very difficult to change that belief. There are no quick fixes, but therapy does work and achieving the feelings of control and stability that you so desire is possible. You absolutely can feel like your old self again. Schedule a session today. It is time to get on the road to feeling like yourself again. It is not only possible, but likely to change your beliefs and your life with Meg Young, LCSW, PLLC as I specialize in working with first responders just like you.

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