I was having a conversation with a friend who is successfully recovering from a debilitating episode of depression several months ago. She was floating in a sea of hopelessness. She never imagined she could feel as good as she does today. She was listing all the strategies she continues to implement in order to maintain her progress. Things like, daily exercise, sun exposure, a depression program that includes books and audios, medication compliance, ongoing counseling and psychiatry appointments. She candidly told me with a chuckle, “Being depressed is a lot of work!” This was not only funny but always so true.
Unfortunately, so many people want to find relief from their symptoms without doing the work that it entails. Sometimes that involves tangible tools like programs, or journaling, or homework. Sometimes, it involves being utterly raw and vulnerable with yourself and your therapist. That is hard! But if you want different results you have to step out of your comfort zone and do something different.
Motivation to change will happen when the pain and fear of remaining the same outweighs the fear and pain of changing.
I suppose it is human nature, especially in this day and age, to expect instant results. We want to put in the least amount of effort and get the most results. When has that ever worked? And yet we cling to that mentality when it comes to our physical health as well as our mental health. We want to loose weight and get fit but we struggle to eat right and exercise long term.
Sometimes we can continue to place responsibility outside of ourselves and onto the therapist to say something magical that is finally going to fix everything once and for all, ignoring all the homework that has been assigned or putting in a half-hearted effort inside and outside of session. That approach doesn’t work in dieting and it doesn’t work in therapy.
My friend is investing in herself. Sometimes she has to challenge the thoughts that she is being selfish spending so much taking care of herself. But the truth is without her self-care she wouldn’t be able to take care of and enjoy her family, home, and business. She sees the value in doing the work because she is motivated to stay better. She knows how crippling depression can be and doesn’t ever want to go back to that dark place. She is simply compliant. She does the work. She reaps the benefits.
What about you? Are you ready to reap the long-lasting benefits of counseling? Let’s get started!