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Avoiding Therapy Won’t Help You Avoid Pain

Most of us seek comfort and reward over pain and punishment. When our mood has been anxious or depressed for too long, our body begins to feel inflammation and exhaustion. For some of you, your mood might lead you to struggle to sleep or take care of yourself. Part of taking care of yourself is knowing when you need to speak to someone. You might be isolating yourself so that you do not burden others. This isolation can lead to further emotional and psychological pain.  

Not Asking for Help Leads to More Pain

You might struggle to ask for help because you feel like you aren’t worth it. You might also struggle because of the stigma you or others place on mental health support. There is a lot of talk in the media these days about mental health.   Some of it is helpful, and some of it is stigmatising.  

The media does not always mention that mental illness includes mood disorders. Mood disorders are common. According to an article in SCMP, one in seven people in Hong Kong suffer from mood disorder symptoms. Mood disorders are feeling depressed, anxious, hypervigilant, or unsafe for extended periods. Mood disorders are highly treatable. Not treating your mood disorder might lead to your pain and suffering lasting for a more extended period.  

Another study found that one in ten Hong Kong residents suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. Some of you might be having nightmares or flashbacks. Flashbacks are when you have sudden visual traumatic memories or distressing body sensations. Flashbacks are intrusive and happen when your nervous system is too tired or overwhelmed. Processing these nightmares, flashbacks, and events can help you to regain control of your life.  

Some of you might also fear speaking to someone will open old wounds. Those who have been through a loss, trauma, or abuse might be nervous about what therapy includes. Some of you might be afraid that you have repressed memories.  

Dissociation

Repressed memories and dissociation are two different things. You may have trouble remembering things because of dissociation. Dissociation is your brain’s ability to allow the survival part of your body to take over in a time of stress. When we dissociate, we might feel out of our body, spaced out, or disconnected from our body and reality. When we dissociate, we might only remember some details that happened during the stressful event. However, we might have somatic memories. Therefore, in trauma processing, you will not have repressed memories come out. Instead, you might have visual or bodily memories of the event. Somatic memories can feel like a physical sensation, an emotion, or a mood. Reliving these memories in a safe place makes your body feel secure again.  

Trauma, Abuse, and Grief Processing 

A research study found that EMDR, Brainspotting, and Body scans reduce the pain of trauma processing by focusing more on the body. We feel more pain and anxiety when we overthink things or get caught in a loop of negative thoughts. In addition, inflammation can be a result of our moods.  

Grief is a natural process. However, it can be a painful process that can leave us feeling lost and empty. You might feel like your body and mind are moving slower than you would like them to. You might even wonder if you are going crazy because you think you see, smell, or feel the person you lost. Processing your loss with someone can help you to feel back on track. A therapist can also help you rebuild your life and identity after a loss.  

What will you get out of all this effort?

When was the last time you felt peace, happiness, or safety? Therapy can help you address your feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth, and relationship difficulties and guide you toward living healthier and happier lives. In treatment, you can learn how to set boundaries, reduce conflict, and have happy relationships with yourself and others. Self-compassion develops when you speak to yourself in a way that you would talk to someone you love.  Therapy does require effort, but so does getting out of bed when you are depressed or anxious. Treatment becomes easier with time as you start to find your old self and energy again.

Written by Dr Monica Borschel. 

To find out more how therapy can help you achieve your full potential and improve your mental health, please book a consultation on (852) 2521 4668 or info@mindnlife.com.

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