Meet Our Therapists: Matt Lawson

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Therapists are as unique as the clients who seek their help. Talkspace’s “Meet Our Therapists” series offers intimate access to the mental health professionals who provide care. It’s a view of their passion for making therapy more accessible. Check out our latest interview below!

Name: Matt Lawson

Licensing Info: Licensed Professional Counselor in Illinois

Where You Live: Chicago, Illinois

Time Working With Talkspace: 4 years

Time Working as a Therapist: 7 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I got into therapy as a second career and went back to school in my early 30s. I had my own personal training business at the time and was seeing more and more people with eating disorders, body image issues, and a lot of other problems they were using exercise to escape from. To provide a deeper level of service, I needed more education and insight. Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Matt Lawson

How I Knew I Had Bipolar Disorder, Not Depression

mentally ill young woman double exposure

In 1997 I was a happy person. I had recently moved to a new city with my then-boyfriend, gotten a little distance from my family, and started attending university. I was working toward a bachelor’s of computer science. It was challenging, but I was handling it and feeling uplifted by the challenge.

I was used to a roller-coaster of moods through my earlier teenage years, but I thought that turbulence was behind me. I had no idea anything was brewing in my brain.

Unfortunately, by the end of 1998, my mental health had reached its breaking point. I had slid, little by little, into the vortex of a severe depression. By that time I was wishing for death every day, could barely get out of bed, and had turned to self-harm for some small measure of relief. I had no idea why these things were happening to me as nothing notable had preceded them, but they were obviously happening — brutally.

Continue reading How I Knew I Had Bipolar Disorder, Not Depression

Lying About Your Depression Will Make It Worse

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In high school I lied to my doctor. My mother had long suspected I was dealing with depression. She talked to our family doctor about it and then scheduled an appointment for me.

When I went in for my check up, my doctor asked me if I was depressed. I lied. I told him that I was not depressed.

Continue reading Lying About Your Depression Will Make It Worse

Meet Our Therapists: Alicia Winkle

Alicia Winkle talkspace therapist headshot

Therapists are as unique as the clients who seek their help. Talkspace’s “Meet Our Therapists” series offers intimate access to the mental health professionals who provide care. It’s a view of their passion for making therapy more accessible. Check out our latest interview below!

Name: Alicia Winkle

Licensing Info: Licensed Professional Counselor [LPC #3290] in Alabama

Time Working With Talkspace: 2 years

Time Working as a Therapist: 5 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I’ve always wanted to be in the helping field. Originally, I was in school to be a nurse practitioner. After having anxiety issues myself and dropping out of nursing school and college for a semester, I changed my major to psychology. From there I decided I wanted to help people overcome their own obstacles and make changes in their lives by working as a therapist. I went back to school at the University of North Alabama and got my master’s degree in Community Counseling. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Continue reading Meet Our Therapists: Alicia Winkle

The Stigma of Depression

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The stigma of depression is alive.

When we have depression, we are “lesser people.” We are incapable of living a “normal” life, holding down a job, or keeping a relationship. We are the ones that “normal” people don’t know how to deal with. They keep away, because we are contagious. They don’t want to contract the “crazy.”

At least, this is what many people think. None of it is true, of course. This is the stigma that follows us around daily when we suffer from depression — like a mosquito we keep swatting away that keeps coming back to bite us.

On whom can we place the blame for the creation and longevity of the stigma? Our friends and family who don’t fully understand depression? The media? Society as a whole? Continue reading The Stigma of Depression

Divorcing A Sociopath

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It’s been nearly four years since I left my ex-husband. When I think back to that time, I think about how naive I was, how foggy and confused. I had never heard of a personality disorder. I still believed that dangerous people would be easy to spot, that they came wielding chain saws and screaming, “I’m a dangerous person!”

Sigh. There was so much I did not know.

Continue reading Divorcing A Sociopath

How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships

black and white masks on stairs

Ben learns he is not allowed to take personal calls during business hours at his new job at a strict government agency. His supervisor gives him an emergency number so family members can reach him when absolutely necessary.

The news immediately fills him with dread. Ben’s daughter, Lisa, has borderline personality disorder. She calls him a few times a week, often while he’s at work. A supportive and understanding father, Ben was happy to chat with her at his old office where there were no limitations on phone calls.

Now he has to inform his daughter that their mid-week check ins will need to be less frequent and occur only in the evening. With noticeable reluctance, he provides the emergency number to Lisa.

Continue reading How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships

Traveling With Anxiety

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Mental illnesses like anxiety disorders often hold us back from living life to its full potential. For many people, traveling is a dream. Who doesn’t want to see the world, explore new arts and cultures, and try native foods?

Anxiety is a naggy voice in our heads that loves to tell us what we can’t do. It creates scenarios in our mind, generating “what-ifs” that make us scared to live our daily lives, let alone venture out of our comfort zone.

Once your own voice overpowers the nagging, anxious one and you decide to take the plunge and travel, well, it’s expected that a little anxiety will kick in. Even people without anxiety often feel anxious when they’ve got a flight approaching.

As a very anxious person who just returned from a month-long Euro-trip, I have a lot of knowledge to share that can help, no matter where you’re traveling to, or for how long. Never in a million years did I think that I could travel successfully without having a nervous breakdown. These tips will help calm your nerves weeks before departure through the day you land back home. Continue reading Traveling With Anxiety

How You Can Help People With Depression

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More than 300 million people in the world are living with depression, according to the World Health Organization. Chances are you know someone who has struggled to cope with this often debilitating mental health condition. They might be a friend, co-worker, family member, even your significant other.

If you want to support them, the first step is ensuring they actually have the illness. A classic mistake is confusing normal sadness or grief with clinical depression. People need support in both situations, but helping someone with depression requires different methods. Continue reading How You Can Help People With Depression

How Online Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Goals

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John was having trouble managing his impulses. Whether it was blurting out vulgar language during a dinner with his girlfriend’s parents or crossing a line and insulting his boss in the middle of a meeting, he was constantly getting in trouble. To advance in his career and maintain a healthy relationship, he needed to change. Eventually he decided to set a goal: control what was coming out of his mouth.

This strategy failed miserably. John realized that the goal was vague and there was no one to help him reach it. It did not seem fair to burden his girlfriend and co-workers with his behavior. He needed the help of a neutral party but wasn’t sure where to find one.

One of the biggest benefits of therapy is working with a professional you are paying to help set goals that are realistic and measurable. A therapist keeps clients accountable and pushes them to pursue what they want. Continue reading How Online Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Goals