Rumination: How Obsessive Thinking Impacts Depression and Anxiety

Stressed woman in cafe

Some people know rumination — the repetition of the same thought in your head over and over — as obsessive thinking, and for those who experience it, ruminating can be a frustrating state.

Thinking over and over about a missed opportunity, an ex, or when you misspoke — it’s bad enough to live through a negative experience once without beating yourself up in an unvirtuous mental loop. While it can often be beneficial to allow yourself the time and space to think about things that are important, too much of a good thing might actually be a bad thing. And when it comes to dealing with issues like depression or anxiety, allowing too much time to ruminate could keep you stuck in a mental rut. Continue reading Rumination: How Obsessive Thinking Impacts Depression and Anxiety

Why Your Therapist Wants You to Get Angry with Them

Buffalos butting heads

One afternoon last August, I had just had the absolute worst day ever: I had come down with a painful summer cold, I was exhausted from working the last two weekends in a row, and my beloved bike had been stolen while I was at work. I arrived at my therapist’s office ready to vent when she greeted me in the waiting room and told me that she had forgotten that we had switched my appointment time, and so had double-booked herself. She could not, she apologized, see me that day.

“That’s okay,” I told her, “I’ll see you next week,” but I seethed on my way out of the building. How could she have forgotten about my session? Was it just a careless mistake, or did she really care so little about me?

In our next session she could tell that something was wrong just by my demeanor: I was more closed off, more distant, more confrontational, but I was afraid to tell her that I was upset with her. After all, I thought, she’s a person just like me, and all people forget things or make mistakes. My therapist confronted me about it, and I eventually told her what was bothering me. Continue reading Why Your Therapist Wants You to Get Angry with Them

7 Effective Thought-Stopping Techniques for Anxiety

Woman covering her right eye

Anxiety is one of the most common issues I hear about from my clients, one that many people have on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. Of course, anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, and it can be a healthy, biological reaction to environmental stressors.

The problem is when that reaction switches from one of manageable, temporary worry or stress to heightened, intolerable panic. The latter can interfere with work, social activities, and personal relationships. Sometimes anxiety can make it incredibly difficult to function as we normally do, and this is a very scary and uncomfortable feeling.

One of the most effective ways to curb anxiety in the moment is thought-stopping — a strategy that interrupts catastrophic thinking to allow our minds a few moments of clarity to think through the anxiety. Here are seven ways to do it: Continue reading 7 Effective Thought-Stopping Techniques for Anxiety

What Does it Mean to “Get Better?”

Smiling face painted onto tree

For six years I struggled with an eating disorder before making the decision to pursue treatment. After that it still took another year and a half before I considered myself to be in recovery. I didn’t wake up one day and realize that I no longer had an eating disorder anymore; it was a slow abatement of the features of the disorder, which plagued me for so many years, as a result of a combination of nutrition counseling, support groups, psychiatric medication, therapy, and resilience.

Because recovery in mental health is an ongoing process, it can be difficult to recognize what it actually looks like. Sometimes recovery happens so gradually that we’re not even aware that our minds and bodies — because our bodies can also suffer when we are struggling with a mental-health issue — are in the process of healing. That can make it difficult to be able to answer the question: “how will I know when I’m actually better?” Continue reading What Does it Mean to “Get Better?”