Remember that healing is a process; one day at a time. Your self-esteem wasn’t trashed overnight and true recovery takes a long time. But you will be energized as you begin to feel better.
Pause and listen to the negative messages you send yourself and talk back. Learn to catch yourself and delete negative messages. Generate some new positive images, memories and messages. If you are hearing negative messages about yourself, answer back. Speak up for yourself to others and to yourself. Be your own best friend.
Remove yourself from ‘dangerous’ situations and people. Detach from cruel, selfish, hurtful people. No one can make you feel badly without your permission. Get away from painful people. This may only need to be temporary, but it will help to salvage your self-esteem.
Don’t put a red flasher on your car for everyone else’s crises. Many of us have learned to ‘give without counting the cost’… It is important to count the cost to yourself and your needs. There are people who thrive on chaos and crisis. You aren’t obligated to bail everyone else out. You don’t have to be the designated emotional ambulance driver.
Stop volunteering to be a victim. Many of us who have chronic low self -esteem, cannot bear for anyone around us to be angry. We are afraid we’ve failed. Low self-esteemers go out of their way to be ultra- nice, patient, forgiving, etc. Let them be angry, if you know you have done nothing hurtful. You don’t have to join everyone in their misery
And let people own their feelings. Let people feel their feelings, but don’t stress out over what is essentially their problem. You can say, ‘I’m sorry that happened’ or something like that but don’t apologize for yourself if you have done nothing wrong. If they can’t move on, you can. And pat yourself on the back for being a good friend.
Discover what you need and get it for yourself. Stop taking such good care of others that you don’t care for yourself. Nourish and comfort your mind, soul, body and spirit.
Vent your frustrations. Don’t just smile and say I’m fine. If someone asks, you can say, no I’m not doing too well just now.’ Be honest most of all with yourself. Don’t cover it. Process it. Listen to yourself. Go to therapy.
Encourage yourself. Progress seems slow sometimes. Give yourself a pat on the back for your hard work.
1) higher confidentiality standards (no insurance accepted)
2) Email support between sessions
3) Coordinate care with your medical provider, if you wish
4) Quality Assessments done periodically
5) Progress updates every 6th session
6) Handouts to reinforce what you’ve learned
8) Testing for depression and anxiety, with actual test numbers reported
9) Reduced fee/sliding scale counseling available with Intern Therapists
10) You will leave the first session with a “Prescription” of immediate, practical suggestions
Every day millions of people search online for help with their problems, wondering if it’s finally time to reach out for direction and support to handle sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, fights with their partner or spouse, and family issues, among others. Here are some of the questions and mistaken beliefs we encounter as therapists every day.
Can’t I just talk to my friends about my problems?
Talking to a friend about mental health or personal issues may bring you temporary relief, but will make the problem more deep seated in the long run because you become more identified with the issue the longer you complain without intervention. Remember, you get what you pay for, and zero-cost advice is pretty much worth zero!
Nobody can change my situation, so why pay to see a professional about it?
There is a saying that “your world changes when YOU change.” A professional, licensed therapist is trained in ways to help you respond to your world differently. We have at least two college degrees and extensive supervised training thereafter. There are thinking patterns, usually formed in childhood, of which you are completely unaware. I can show you how you are holding yourself back and perhaps help you find insight and freedom. It’s often a cage of your own making!
I’ve felt this way so long…
If you had a persistent fever, would you just say “oh well” and live with it? Or would you go to a health care specialist who could evaluate, diagnose, and treat it? The average person doesn’t realize how common mood and relationship problems are to the human condition, and that they can be (and are) identified and studied. Whole systems of therapy are developed for common issues, much as drugs are developed for physical ailments.
What will people think?
The people intelligent and mature enough to seek therapy realize that it doesn’t matter what people think! It matters how you live every day of your limited, precious life, and whether you can enjoy that to a higher degree and love more fully. Besides, you would be surprised how many of those “imaginary people” you think are judging you are actually patients themselves.
Is it time for YOU to feel better? It’s time!
Peggy Drexler, PhD
As social media has mutated into a ravenous, many tentacled time-eater, news from our friends about their families’ triumphs and trials has become omnipresent, and unrelenting. It can be a never-ending vacation slide show from hell. As a result, every day there’s a new complaint from those who follow: too much self-promotion in my feed. Too many photos of other people’s posh vacations. Too many selfies! No one wants to see what you had for lunch/what your baby had for lunch/how cute your cats are. And yet the posts keep coming.
“For the love of God, stop posting 9,000 pictures of your baby on Facebook,” pleads an author on Chicago Now. “You know the type I’m talking about. That mom who genuinely thinks her baby is cuter than all the others. Yo, jackass, we all think our own kid is the cutest.”
Indeed, social media and babies are a particularly dangerous combination. A 2010 study by the Internet security firm AVG Technologies found that 92 percent of American children under the age of two have some kind of digital profile, with images of them posted online. But posts chronicling every adorable move of our friends’ babies and kids certainly aren’t the whole of the online offensiveness: Elite Daily lists the 50 most annoying people you encounter on Instagram, including the Internet Model, the Fashionista and the Rich Kid—and I can certainly list a few more—while others offer endless advice on how to politely ask your connections to be less boastful, less prolific and less, well, annoying. Part of the problem is that social media just makes sharing—oversharing—way too easy. A click of the button on a digital camera, a quick download, and the picture or video clip is flying to your Facebook feed. But there are also plenty of studies supporting the addictive nature of social media, and how obsessive posting works directly on the pleasure centers of the brain.
And yet the real problem here is not that we’re an addiction-addled culture of oversharers, though that may indeed be true. Instead, it’s that we’re a culture of complainers. We use complaints as icebreakers or to bond with others: What’s with this weather? What’s with our boss? We use complaints to establish rapport. Studies have suggested that complaining adds years to your life by helping us release tension. But we also complain because it’s in our nature, and we’re more apt to complain than to do something about it. Complaining about the social media habits makes this ever more clear, and has become a favorite topic of conversation: Who’s most annoying in your feed? Because of course, the solution to dealing with the oversharers clogging our feed is painfully obvious: Unfollow them. Stop engaging. Delete.
But can we? Or have the followers become as obsessed and addicted as the oversharers, the ones who do it for the “Likes”? We tend to issue blame on the people who post, but we’re hooked, too. Obsessive posting, after all, is a result of obsessive following—if there were no audience at the ready, there would be no need or reason to post. Consider as an example the end of relationships that take place over social media, from that of your college friends to that of Representative Mark Sanford, who ended his engagement to María Belén Chapur via public Facebook post. We’re not talking about the change in Relationship Status from “Married” to something else, but long, drawn out, intimate details that we’re shocked and horrified to read—and yet read we do. I followed along as two old friends ended their long-term relationship by posting all the last details of each other’s transgressions. I knew that this was not information I wanted to have. And yet I read it. All of it.
This, of course, is what keeps people over posting. It’s not their inherent flaw, or simply their desire to be heard. It’s our willingness to listen. The only way people will stop oversharing, or badly sharing, is to refuse to be their audience. That’s not something we’re willing to do. So instead we complain, and pretend to wonder what it is we can do about all these selfies filling our feeds. But if you really want your friends, colleagues and the strangers who appear in your feed to stop being so obnoxious, inappropriate and self-promotional, you know what to do. It’s as simple as hitting Unfollow.
- Push for quick involvement: comes on very strong, pressures for an exclusive commitment almost immediately
- Jealousy: Excessively possessive: calls constantly, visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because “you might meet someone:” checks your mileage
- Controlling: Interrogates you intensely, especially if you’re late, about whom you talked to and where you were. Keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
- Unrealistic expectations: Expects you to be the perfect woman and meet his every need.
- Isolation: Tries to cut you off from family and friends; accuses your supporters of “causing trouble;” deprives you of a phone or car.
- Blames others: for his problems and mistakes: The boss, you—it’s always someone else’s’ fault.
- Makes everyone else responsible for his feelings: says, you make me angry” instead of “I AM angry,” or, “you’re hurting me by not doing what I tell you.
- Hypersensitivity: Easily insulted, claiming his feelings are hurt when he is really mad; rants about things that are just part of life.
- Cruel to animals or children: kills or punishes animals brutally; expects children to do things that are beyond their ability, i.e. whips a two year old for wetting a diaper; teases children until they cry. SIXTY FIVE PERCENT OF ABUSERS WHO HIT THEIR PARTNER WILL ALSO HIT CHILDREN.
- “Playful” use of force during sex: enjoys throwing you down, holding you down against your will; says he finds the idea of rape exciting.
- Verbal abuse: constant criticism, says cruel or hurtful things; degrades, curses you, calls you ugly names. This may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse.
- Rigid gender roles: expects you to serve, obey and remain at home.
- Sudden mood swings: switches from sweetly loving to explosive in a matter of minutes.
- Past battering: admits hitting women in the past, but says they made him do it or the situation was to blame.
- Threats of violence: makes statements like “I’ll break your neck” or “I’ll kill you,” then dismisses it with “everybody talks that way, you’re too sensitive” or “I didn’t mean it.” IF IT HAS COME THIS FAR, GET HELP OR GET OUT.
- From the Project for Victims of Family Violence, Lafayette, ARK