Friday, December 18, 2009

What I Learned

So I've been seeing a counselor for the past four months or so.  One of my benefits at work is that I can see a counselor on a short-term basis for free.  I've attempted to do counseling in the past, but I haven't found a counselor that is a good fit and worth the money.  This time around though I liked the one I got.  She was affirming and nonjudgmental and easy to trust.  Anyway, today was my last session with her.  I can go back and see her if I need to, but for now we are done.  To be honest, I'm not sure how much I got out of it.  I definitely made progress, but I'm not sure if it was stuff I could have done on my own or if it was the counselor that helped me do it.  Although, that's probably the sign of a good's me that has to make the changes and if I figure it out for myself it's likely to work better. But she facilitated the change, gave positive feedback, guided me in the right direction, etc. And it is probably helpful to have a neutral party just to talk things over with.  And I'm less depressed now that when I started, according to her assessment tools. Anyway, I wanted to write down some of the things I learned or ways that I changed so that I remember them for the future.

1.  I'm definitely an introvert, and that means I have to work harder than 75% of the rest of the world in social situations.  Making friends and becoming comfortable in social situations will move more slowly.  I need to work at developing skills that most people take for granted.

2.  I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  I should recognize both my strengths and weaknesses and build on them. I shouldn't expect everyone to like me or for results to happen quickly.  Building friendships and relationships takes time and practice.

3.  Negative self-talk serves no purpose.  Positive self-talk can help.  When I'm feeling down, I need to tell myself that the situation is temporary and will get better with a good sleep or will pass in a few days.  When I'm depressed my thinking isn't always sensible or the right way to look at things...I shouldn't make any major decisions based on how I am feeling when I'm depressed.

4.  I have good coping skills and a good support system.  Even though I tend to think negatively and be too hard on myself, I already have the skills to look at things more positively.  I have people to rely on, I'm ok with sharing my feelings, I have a good family and a few good close friends.

5.  I'm more ok now with being alone.  I used to get kind of panicky and lonely when I was home alone or by myself, and felt that I was worthless if I wasn't talking to or texting someone or had plans to look forward to, etc.  Now I can handle it better.  I definitely prefer to be with people, but I also recognize that alone time is good for me and gives me time to recharge my batteries and relax.

6.  I think (hope?) that I'm less dependent on friends or other people to make myself feel good.  I think I am better able to handle getting emotionally attached to people and move things a little more slowly. I don't get sad or down if I don't hear from R every day (even though I like to!).  Even though I have my "time of the month" where I'm more emotional and feel more lonely, I'm doing okay, and realize that it will pass.

So I guess the four months were beneficial.  I would still like to develop my social skills and be more comfortable in my own skin, but it will come.


Bravone said...

Great lessons we can all apply. Thanks for sharing what you have learned. My therapist told me that the most important thing he would ever tell me is that the antidote to shame is acceptance. It can be applied to self acceptance and the acceptance from others. Good luck on your journey.

Ben said...

Thanks for this wonderfully thought-provoking post. I'm thinking of seeing a counselor at school when I get back to help me sort through my values, emotions, and frustrations.

Clicky Web Analytics