Are you accidentally standing in the way of reaching your own goals by making these mistakes in your mental health recovery?
Not being honest with your therapist
This was the single biggest mistake I made the first time I did therapy. A big part of me just really didn’t want to be there and I certainly didn’t want to do the homework that my therapist set me, cause who actually wants to make themselves anxious on purpose? Right?!
In fact, I’d actually pretend that I did the homework, or come up with some imaginary excuse as to why I just absolutely couldn’t complete it in a million years and I would literally pretend to be getting better when I really was not.
I know how much it fucking sucks when you’re practically forced to talk to a stranger about your feelings. I know how absolutely exhausting therapy is and how crappy you always feel after your sessions and I know how hard the homework is to do, especially if you’re doing CBT and you need to face your fears. All of that being said, absolutely NOTHING will change if you don’t open up to your therapist, or communicate with them how you’re actually feeling and nothing will change if you pretend you’ve done the homework when you haven’t… trust me on that one!
It wasn’t until my last go at CBT where I decided to be as honest as possible and it finally bloody worked! Who knew the whole 8 years before that, that it was me standing in the way of making therapy work!
Not giving treatment a second chance
Ever given something a go and when it hasn’t gone to plan, just decided it doesn’t work at all? Well, not everything will work for us but we’re not always in exactly the same mindset or place we were when we tried it the first time.
If it doesn’t work the first time round, wait a few months and try again, before deciding it truly isn’t for you. You never know what can change with time.
Not to mention that there are lots of different versions of the same treatments, whether it’s therapies or brands and strengths of medications etc. You may also not benefit from therapy if you don’t click well with your therapist and it may totally work for you with a different therapist.
Letting things go back to normal after therapy
I have done this and I’m not ashamed to admit it. When you “graduate” from therapy, it can feel such a relief and you almost think “I did it, I never have to do any of that shit again!”
That was me many years ago before noticing that my old ways were creeping back in!
Your brain needs to be exercised just as much as your body and I truly believe that if you’ve had anxiety (especially for a long time) that you always need to keep up the work to stop it from taking over again.
I always give myself challenges to keep my social anxiety at bay and often complete the worksheets from my book when I challenge myself. As soon as I feel anxiety getting the better of me, I whip out my worksheets and self improve!
Not making time for self care
This is so important, no matter how you define self care. If you’re burning out from battling your anxiety and don’t make time for yourself, it can have a really big impact on your mental health.
If you go to therapy or counselling for example, make sure you do something relaxing afterwards, whether that’s a hot bath, a long walk or meditation, or even a workout to release some endorphins.
Talking yourself out of trying something
Us anxious folk are really good at overthinking and talking ourselves out of doing stuff, before we’ve even tried it. Don’t let your recovery be one of those things. Every time you think “this won’t work because…” replace it with a positive thought such as “It can work, if I give it a go”.