How Therapy Got Me Through the Worst Year of My Life

Woman walking long path leading up to beach

Some years are better than others. Some of the “others” you’ll never forget because they change the course of your life forever. Last year was that year for me, and I’m still paying the price for it.

The year started off hopeful, but quickly dissolved into worry as I dealt with some physical health issues that required tests, follow-ups, and more appointments. As soon as that issue seemed to be under control, my depression, anxiety and OCD — all of which I’ve battled for half of my life — flared to levels I’d never experienced. Many days I could hardly get out bed, and I had a general sense of doom.

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Why Don’t Men Ask for Mental Health Help?

man sitting starting out window over city

On January 17, 2010, Joshua R. Beharry stood on a British Columbia bridge, attempting to end his life.

Luckily, his attempt failed, and today Beharry is a mental health advocate and Project Coordinator of HeadsUpGuys, a British Columbia-based campaign to support men who have depression. He tells his story so that men, and all people with depression, can feel empowered to reach out.

“I didn’t really start out trying to reach men more specifically,” Beharry wrote to Talkspace in an email interview. “But through my work at HeadsUpGuys I’ve come to realize that a lot of guys go through similar issues and face similar barriers to reaching out as I did.”

Beharry is not alone. While more women than men attempt suicide, more men than women — 3.53 times more, in fact — complete it. This contradicts the widespread notion that depression, and other mental illnesses, are women’s diseases — and points to a serious gap in mental health resources for men. Researchers have found that while factors like racial discrimination and cost of mental health care prevent men from reaching out for mental health help, there’s another culprit: toxic masculinity, or harmful stereotypes about what it means to be a man.

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Take Control of Your Emotions with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

control your emotions picture

We often believe we are at the mercy of situations and events. The long line at the bank made us upset. What that person said got us depressed. There are so many situations in our lives that have the power to make us feel happy or sad, angry or calm.

And yet, is that really what is happening? Does the situation actually control our moods and emotions? Continue reading Take Control of Your Emotions with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Right Way to Send Someone a Talkspace E-Gift Card

Talkspace E-Gift Card ribbon

Sending a friend or family member a Talkspace E-Gift Card is a great idea! You need to be tactful, though. If you send it without having a positive conversation with them beforehand, they might take it as you saying they are annoying or need to be “fixed.”

Remember, this gift card is not a way of saying “you need help” to someone. It is an invitation for this person to join you in living a happier and mentally healthier life. Keep reading to learn how to have the right conversation with the one you care about before sending the gift card. Continue reading The Right Way to Send Someone a Talkspace E-Gift Card

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Are You Making A Hell Of Heaven?

cognitive behavioral therapy female hand word web

The poet John Milton, in his epic poem “Paradise Lost” (1667), stated — through the voice of his character Satan — “the Mind is its own place and, in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

I can think of no better or more eloquent statement to summarize the teachings of cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]. CBT operates on the premise that our thinking is the precursor to moods and emotions, which is then the basis for a lot of behaviors, both heavenly and hellish. It is not the outer event that makes us feel any particular way but how we interpret and evaluate that event that makes us feel happy or sad, depressed or joyful, frightened or safe, energized or lethargic.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is not positive thinking. It is more about realistic thinking. Continue reading Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Are You Making A Hell Of Heaven?