I always knew that I could benefit from speaking to a counselor, but I always had a reason not to, even though I would look into it frequently. Either money, insurance, or timing issues always stopped me. I was open to counseling but was never truly motivated to take any action on finding a method that would work best for me.
When my doctor suggested I look into therapy she mentioned she had a patient that communicated online with their counselor, unlimited. I was intrigued by that since my schedule is so erratic I didn't see how making scheduled appointments would work for either one of us. The idea of being able to reach out to my counselor at any time held great appeal for me. I don't mind face to face interaction, but the messaging helps me get my thoughts out in a way that makes sense so I am being as honest and open as possible so I can get the best feedback. It allows me to take my time without wasting my counselor's time if I'm struggling to put feelings into words or I get interrupted with work. So, I did a Google search and read the reviews on several online counseling options, but BetterHelp had the best reviews and I immediately liked the feel of the website and such. It just felt right.
When I signed up for BetterHelp, I was mainly looking to handle my depression and anxiety, but also tackle issues related to stress, sleeping issues, family issues, relationship issues, and childhood trauma issues. I felt that I had so much to talk about that it was difficult for me to even find where to start. Even on medication, I was struggling to handle my depression and anxiety in a healthy way. I was doing well, but I knew I could be doing better.
I've been working with Jason, my BetterHelp counselor since I signed up in late December of 2017. After our initial conversation, he mentioned how he was into spiritual things such as Reiki, crystals, energy, etc. Since that's something that started to heavily influence my life, I felt relaxed and comfortable speaking about those things to someone who could fully relate and understand what I meant. I find that his responses, advice, input, etc. are something I've unknowingly come to rely on to help me. Knowing I can say anything at any time to him without zero judgment is incredibly freeing. Having that unbiased ear to listen and provide advice and feedback is so refreshing for me.
I think I would have put myself at a 5/10 when I first signed up, but at the time I probably thought I was more of a 7.5/10. However, now I feel confident saying that I feel like I'm truly at 7.5-8/10 most days. I've managed to implement healthier habits into my daily life with Jason's help, suggestions, articles, etc. I feel less guilty for feeling and I'm improving on how best to handle my sensitivity and emotions and how to communicate them.
We started with just me dumping all of my thoughts out into a jumbled mess of paragraphs and feelings. Once we sifted through everything and started getting to the root of the issues, Jason was better able to provide more specific guidance. He gave me tips on managing my stress and sleeping habits. He provided affirmations for me that I looked at daily to help keep my mind positive and not from sinking, and he made suggestions on how to implement healthier self-care habits for myself. I think one of his greatest attributes is his way of knowing when I need an ear and when I need actual advice. Sometimes we just talk out a situation because he seems to know that's what I need most at that moment.
Self-care and self-love are the most important things I've learned from Jason. I've always been a loving person; but to others, not so much myself and I wasn't aware of that. Jason has helped me realize not only was I forgetting myself, but that it's okay to put myself first and it doesn't automatically make me selfish or a bad person. Saying no to things I don't truly want to do is not a bad thing. In the past, I would find myself doing things I didn't want because I knew that the other party wanted to do it. But now I can confidently turn down a night out for dinner and not feel bad because I need to be at home alone in my own space. I still struggle with my sensitivity not only to my own emotions but others as well. However, with Jason's help and guidance, I've been able to start implementing ways to shield myself from being drained by those around me.
Jason understands that how I'm feeling isn't me being overemotional or "out of control"; it's a result of me being so sensitive that I can feel other's moods and energies and if I don't do something, then those feelings and energies drain me. Which happens slowly sometimes and I don't even realize it until Jason asks how I've been doing with it. He basically calls me out in the kindest way. I'm not sure if he actually knows I've been lacking or if it's a feeling or what, but every time he's asked me, I've realized that while I'm not feeling horrible, I've felt better, and I know exactly why: self-care. I slacked and now I'm grouchy and touchy. Simple reminders to continue to do things for me has truly helped me get through most of my dark and twisty days.