“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” — John Green
About a decade ago, I had my first panic attack at the age of 23. I had no clue what was going on with my body and my inability to calm my racing thoughts. I was about to graduate college, I was working, and getting married in just a few months. There was a lot of pressure during that time in my life. I was lucky to have family and friends who were able to offer the support I needed when so much change was happening. I immediately got on medication to help me to get chemically balanced again. It was exactly what I needed at the time! Since my last semester of college, I have been on, and off medication as needed to help with my anxiety. The missing piece for me was therapy. For some reason, there was a lot of shame surrounding therapy and it took many years to accept that I truly had anxiety and that the several months of panic attacks was something other than a fluke. It was hard for me to accept.
Fast forward to a few years later, I am a working mom of one in a toxic work environment. It started just the same. I started having panic attacks again. I couldn’t eat. I lost twenty pounds in a span of 2 months from stress not eating. My negative self-talk had gotten out of hand and was very insecure in myself. A loved one suggested I try Better Help. Better Help gives you access to a licensed therapist in your state within 24 hours. You can schedule sessions by phone or video and send them messages throughout the week. What I needed was access to a therapist, and I needed it ASAP. My quality of life was plummeting, and I couldn’t be the wife, mom, daughter, sister, or friend that I wanted to be. Getting connected with a licensed therapist gave me the tools that I needed to cope with the day-to-day stress and unpack what was going on at work. This was the missing piece to help me manage my mental health. Having someone there who can talk me down other than my husband and my mom, was a game changer.
With the stress of the pandemic and several life changes, I am once again using Better Help. When I need extra support unpacking what is going on in my life, I know that I can have access to therapy over the phone on my schedule. I schedule my weekly sessions after I put my youngest to sleep in the evenings. I journal a little bit about the highs and lows of the week and talk about it with my therapist. He has been a godsend on helping me to add tiny practices that bring me back into the present moment and the tools to deal with stress. I no longer stuff my feelings until they explode in the mode of a panic attack. I still struggle with my mental health, but I treat it like a contraction. When life throws a lot at me, I have the support to push through the painful moments of life.