Sea Otters & Robin Williams

I'm a slow processor.

Always have been.

It used to bother me big-time. Everyone else would get it and be moving onto the next thing. Then there'd be me, bringing up the rear.

When I heard that Robin Williams killed himself a few weeks ago, I was shocked. Like many of you, I wondered how someone so beloved and who gave so much joy could feel like there was no other option.

I'm in the therapy biz, and I've sat with many individuals who were thinking about going ahead with suicide. Before my time in the biz, I found myself there as well. Like Cancer, depression can be fatal. It's a serious medical condition involving brain chemistry. And like cancer, it can be treated. Left untreated and/or without the right treatment, however, it can lead to substance abuse/overdose and suicide. 

Robin's suicide has been weighing heavily on my mind as I slowly process through it. Then, yesterday, I got a newsletter from someone whose work I like: Miss Alexandra Franzen. In her newsletter, she shared this fact about sea otters: 

They hold hands when they are sleeping so they don't drift away from each other.

otters holding hands from wildlife2.tumblr.com
otters holding hands from wildlife2.tumblr.com

Maybe these Sea Otters are onto something, as it relates to depression. If you know someone who struggles with depression, hold his or her hand so they don't drift away. If you struggle with depression, reach out in any way you can.

Tell me what you think ... about Robin's suicide, depression, sea otters.

Sending love, Maureen

You are not broken

Across the couch, I've been listening for more than a decade.

couch

I've been listening to women and men, young and old, witnessing their unfolding and walking beside them as they take tenuous steps toward feeling better.

I've noticed a few things:

  • You are not broken. Never have been and never will be.
  • Those things you hate about yourself? Those things make you beautiful and unique ( ... and just may be cause for celebration).
  • You can go from I'm not OK because this crappy thing happened to I'm OK, even though this crappy thing happened.
  • There are strong parts of you, no matter how small they feel at times.

Love, Maureen

Image credit: MARYA VIA COMP FIGHT - CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE 

Finding the right therapist: One thing you need to follow

I love this topic because it involves one of my favorite ways to know about something. Before I get to that, I am going to share something with you ....

I’ve been on both sides of the room in therapy. I’m a therapist now, but I also have spent time on the other side of the room as a client.

Home

Andrew Black via Compfight

I know firsthand that finding the right therapist is the most important part of successful therapy. You can go to the most popular, buzzed-about therapist, but if it’s not a good fit, you’ll be less than buzzed.

I went to a few who felt totally wrong.

The first therapist was a guy with a snazzy downtown address. Once I stepped into his office, I immediately felt out of place. He listened silently as I poured out my heart out. At the end, he said “You’re depressed and need medication.” That was all he said. (Check, please.)

I tried a female therapist, thinking that I’d feel more comfortable with a woman. She was OK, but her office had such harsh overhead fluorescent lights that I left with a headache, never to return.

One ate her dinner while she listened to me. And still another wrote his notes while I talked.

None of these therapists felt right. My intuition said no.

Then there were the other 2 -- at separate times for separate issues. C was older with lots of experience, and B was recently out of grad school. Through their words, body language and office environment, I felt safely held. I knew that I’d be able to work on whatever I needed.

My intuition said yes.

So here’s my best advice:

  1. Check out a few therapists.
  2. Call them. If the conversation feels right, go for an initial session.
  3. Then check in with yourself. Trust your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t go back.
  4. Repeat until your intuition says yes.

Love, Maureen