For those of you who don’t know, I have a day job as a mental health professional. One of the interesting things about this career path is that it sometimes feels like there’s a difference between the version of you that acts as a therapist, and the version of you that is just…you.
In other words, while “Therapist Me” is an educated professional who spends a great deal of time encouraging self-care and guiding clients toward healthy coping skills, “Real Me” is a human being who is just as prone to flawed coping mechanisms as everyone else.
Sometimes, Therapist Me gets into heated arguments with Real Me. Therapist Me is compassionate and understanding with clients, but she’s a bit judgey with Real Me.
Therapist Me: “You need to go to bed at a decent hour. Sleeping is important for your mental and physical health.”
Real Me: “But I wanna watch another episode of Golden Girls!”
On healthy habits…
Therapist Me: “Go to your yoga class tonight. Sometimes you think you don’t want to, but you always feel better afterward.”
Real Me: “OR………I could just eat Chinese food in my yoga pants. It’s almost the same thing.”
Therapist Me: “No. Yoga will help relax you.”
Real Me: “So will Chinese food.”
Therapist Me: “Will the Chinese food make you feel more limber?”
Real Me: “MAYBE! YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.”
On feeling frazzled…
Therapist Me: “You seem stressed. Why don’t you use your Calm app?”
Real Me: “Nah. Chocolate.”
Therapist Me: “Amanda…”
Real Me: “What’s that, chocolate? You’re lonely in that dark drawer all by yourself? I have just the solution….”
On navigating work relationships…
Therapist Me: “You encourage clients to advocate for themselves all the time. Go to your supervisor and ask for what you need.”
Real Me: *Makes unintelligible noise of discomfort*
Therapist Me: “Stop it. You are confident and assertive and you can do this!”
Real Me: *Makes panicked face. Slithers out of the chair and onto the ground.*
As much as I’d like to say that Therapist Me usually wins out, the truth is that Therapist Me and Real Me are probably about tied. But sometimes they compromise with each other: I’ll go to my yoga class, and then pick up Chinese food on the way home.
(Or maybe that’s not compromising so much as just canceling each other out.)
Does anyone else feel like the more grownup, rational part of your brain gets into quarrels with the whiny, poor-decision-making part? Which part usually wins out? What are your favorite healthy (or unhealthy) ways to cope with stress?
ALSO – on a side note, you should definitely check out the Calm app. It has lots of soothing scenes and sounds, like waves crashing on the beach, or a crackling fire place. It also has guided meditations – even ones as short as two minutes if you don’t have much time. This thing really does help me get grounded and calm when I’m stressed or anxious. AND IT’S FREE! (except for the fancier stuff, but who needs that).