Therapist Me vs. Real Me

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.

therapist4

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.

On bedtime…

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).

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36 thoughts on “Therapist Me vs. Real Me

  1. That’s interesting. Sometimes I wonder how therapists use their own theories on themselves. Now I kind of know. Guess this could be applied to the Real Me and the Mommy Me. Like, do I follow the advice I would give my kids? Ha, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I put on lovely classical, beautiful music on my pandora app. Thomas Newman, Howard shore, Vangelis are some of my favorites. It plays until I get to sleep. The small downside is ad interruptions every few songs. Oh well…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Eye mask and pretty night music for me. I have slept with a night mask for almost 15 years or so. Can’t go to sleep without it. And yes, I need low, calming music also

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeaaaaah. I would say that “Intelligent Me” argues with “Emotional Me” all the time. I know what I should do for my health, but I know what I WANT RIGHT NOW for instant gratificationnnnn. Daily struggle. Probably whiny, emotional me wins more than she should. :-/

    My favorite unhealthy habit is staying up late and eating All of the Food, but I’m trying to replace it going to bed at a reasonable hour and exercising.

    Adulting is HARD!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – the rational side is thinking about the future, and the irrational side is thinking about RIGHT NOW.

      Adulting IS hard. Ugh. I thought it’d be great to be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want. Cookies for dinner? Sure! What they don’t tell you is that you kind of wish there were someone around to tell you NOT to eat All The Things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yessss. When I was a kid, I would dream of all the junk I’d eat all day and promise my future self that I could live the life of junky luxury.

        I should probably warn you that if you ever get a dog, they only encourage the STUFF YOUR FACE, MA! behavior with hopes of eating what you drop.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oooh… I haven’t thought of that. Kind of a “One chip for YOU, one for me” sort of thing. I feel more of a peer pressure deal. I like to imagine that if he (um, the dog) wasn’t standing right there with me while I consider a snack that I don’t need, then maybe I wouldn’t grab it. But he looks so hopeful that I go ahead and take it.

        That’s probably not true, though. I’d probably grab it, so yes. In the scheme of things, I’m eating less by sharing. Thanks for the justification!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. momsranting

    I need the calm app!!! I just had an argument with my 15 year old son who decided to play his video game in my bedroom, then complains when I come in to shower the little ones that we are being too loud and disturbing him, and then I’m being selfish for not turning off wifi while my oldest face timing me from college…because it’s somehow affecting his game. He actually tried to lecture me about how selfish I am…. as I cook and clean and buy him everything, and drive him everywhere……. downloading app now…….and cookies….. I need cookies…….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I worked as a mental health professional and am crap at following my own advice. Get exercise outside for Vitamin D, don’t drink so much alcohol, learn to say no and set boundaries. On the plus side I am compliant with medication and am beginning to accept that I am chronically ill. I should be nice to myself just like my psychiatrist is.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post gave me a really good laugh. I see myself doing this all the time. I’m really good at giving advise but taking my own seems just too hard. I told my mum that she should water her plants because they looked a little dehydrated – even though my garden is much worse. I could water the plants or just look up when it’s going to rain. It’s kinda the same thing. I’m so happy I came across your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. perfectionhasapriceblog

    i absolutely love this!! I am studying psychology right now and becoming a mental health advocate, so i very much relate to this!! 🙂 thank you for making me laugh during finals stress ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If only the imperfect human side of us didn’t get in the way of the rational thinking side so often! Then we’d all be using healthy coping skills!

      I’m glad I made you laugh during finals. Have you gotten to that stage yet where you’ve forgotten your own name because your brain is too full of other info? 😀 Good luck on your studies!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. perfectionhasapriceblog

        No….I haven’t forgotten my name but I did recently tell my dad that I was “sick of having to study all 32 hours of the day” :/ And at work I once told a customer I was busy “running around without a chicken on my head” and she said “well isn’t that a good thing” haha so i do very much get brain fog!

        By the way, I love that app that you mentioned! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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