I am a 23 and currently going through pre-quarter-life-crisis, or at least I think I am. On the outside everything seems fine, I have my shit together, learned how to say no to people who I gain nothing from, stopped being married into my job and reduced my stress, eating reasonably healthy, started university this year, travelled in the past and lived interstate, and still learning each day to be more comfortable in my own skin. It would seem on that I am on the right track in this marathon we call our 20’s.
But I still feel like I am only 95% of where I want to be, I’m know I am making the effort to change things physically, which have dramatically improved my life, but I still have that little voice in my head that overthinks every situation, over analyses my social interactions which is limiting the ability for me to be in the moment. It seems I have jumped on the fast train of working towards my future yet missing all the stops that involve enjoying the present.
I have read countless articles, taken personality tests, and stayed up almost every night, analysing these thoughts eventually identifying the problem, right down to its triggers, yet with no strategy to manage my negative thoughts for the long term.
I saw my GP this week, told him what was going and was referred to a psychologist. Many people do not understand the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist prescribes medication for you to fix or provide ease your pain, a psychologist works with you to provide strategies to manage your pain, using cognitive behaviour therapy. “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – cognitive behaviour therapy is just that, changing your perception of how you view the world and everything in it. It is important to note that many cases, the pain will never truly go away. My insecure thoughts will always be there, as will most, but I realised that staying up thinking about them for the last ten years hasn’t worked, making physical changes in my life has given me self-worth, purpose, and goals but nothing I have done besides identifying them has helped me properly manage these thoughts.
Before I could divulge into my thoughts, he gave me a brief overview of his job description, which, as noted in the above paragraph, made me realise there are a lot of false assumptions about what psychologists actually do. Psychologists can provide you with an unbiased view of your thoughts and tell you straight whether you’re thinking in the right direction or the wrong one. They can be blunt and don’t need to adhere to your feelings if they find you are being unrealistic, they are there to tell you the things you don’t want to hear. It’s not all a series of repeated questions of ‘how does it make you feel’ to make you feel better, but rather, using the facts of your situation, psychologists develop a personalised plan of action for your emotional and mental health; think of it as like a personal trainer for your brain. For many of us, we need this, we find it impossible to find someone who can help us as we likely tell our thoughts to our close friends when we are pissed off or sad, usually leaving you more disappointed and misunderstood than when you were before you told especially when you’re told not to worry about it.
You don’t have to be emotionally unstable to see a psychologist. You don’t have to be insanely depressed or have anxiety to be eligible. There should be no shame in seeing a psychologist, it may not be something you to tell people about, I myself haven’t told anyone because I don’t want to explain myself to anyone, and I have no time to play twenty-one questions. But those who are strive to be the best version of themselves are not afraid of asking for help when needed, our minds are no different, just because our brain does most of the thinking and feeling doesn’t mean we can’t give it a boost in the right direction from time to time. The world is constantly changing around us and we as humans are constantly adapting to our new environment, uncertain of where it will lead. Sometimes our world and our thoughts change faster than we can process and fully understand it. Psychologists are there for the public, use them and take the shackles off. One session could change your life.