I Need Help! Can Someone Get Me A Counselor, Please?

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Okay, say it with me…
THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING HELP!

Now that you’ve said that, let’s dig into my topic above. March in my mind is Mental Health Awareness month, now before you get all technical with me, I know there’s a mental health awareness day somewhere during the year but if you ask me? It can be anytime you realize or come to grips that you seriously need to talk to someone.

That’s the realization I came to last month. I’m always there for other people, I always take out time to listen to them, their problems, issues, hurts, habits and hang-ups and I really do listen. Once their through talking, I give my two cents on the matter, in most cases I’ve prayed with them or include them in my prayers once the convo is over and they go on their merry way. NOW, how does this all play out when I need someone to talk too???

Do you hear the crickets??..

Yes, that’s usually what I hear OR if I do talk to someone, it’ll start out being about my issue and somehow it reverts to their issue and I end up helping them through theirs without getting my issue dissected. I once was friends with someone who did this on MORE than one occasion. I’d always love seeing them and hanging out, they’ll ask me about my day and how things have been going with me and I’ll respond and the next thing you know, there on themselves, their life, their goals, their family, their business and their this and their that and the list goes on and on and on. Most times by the time they’d work their way back around to what I had to say, I’d be too exhausted to answer them and all I can get out is…

“Everything’s Just Fine” but in my head, that was a LIE!

Anywho, that’s been my life with friendships and unfortunately personal relationships as well. I’ve always put others before “ME” and last month I found myself doing that yet again and decided that enough was enough. I have to talk to someone and if I can’t find people around me that’s willing to listen, I’d find a counselor that will.

Here’s what I found out with my insurance plan in regards to mental health and some tips on how you can put yourself FIRST starting now in 2020. Because It’s never too late…

Check your insurance plan

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Mental health is on the rise and I’m so happy that more and more people are discussing it, the more we talk about it the less taboo it’ll feel. It’s nothing to be ashamed of either, hey – we can ALL use a mental check. In pursuing a counselor, I googled my insurance to see what counselors/offices accept it. Once I went through the list provided, I then called my insurance company to see if these doctors were in-network or out of network. Luckily the one I chose was in-network. Out-of-network is okay just know that you’ll be paying a little more in co-pay. I also found out that my co-pay was $25 and that my plan came with unlimited visits for that amount. Now that’s a win-win, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your insurance carrier, after all – that’s what you’re paying for every month. Might as well take advantage of it.

Realize Your Limits

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Maybe seeing a therapist is NOT on your to-do list at the moment and that’s okay. However, you need to realize when you’ve reached your limit in a conversation. In the past, I’ve talked to people and have gotten the worst headache/migraine afterward or just felt like – BLAH!! We have to realize and I totally believe in this, people transfer their energy onto you. While you want to help a friend, you have to think about your sanity and your Feng sui as well. It can be thrown completely off if your friend is going on and on and on again about the same old drama you gave her or him pointers on months ago. Self-care is the best care. Sometimes you just have to say, “Look I gotta go” or “I just had something to come up – can I call you back?” learn to give yourself a BREAK even in the midst of a convo. And you better believe, your sanity is awaiting to applaud you.

You Better Get Selfish

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This goes into the “Self-Care” regimen. I’m learning this even now, you don’t have to respond to every text or answer every call (unless it’s life or death) at the drop of a hat because someone needs you. You need you, your body and mind need you to be able to think clearly and focus on you and your needs. If you give EVERYONE in the world your time or what little you have after a long day of work. Then what’s left for you? Oh, my bad – THE BED! because that’s exactly where you’ll be going and nobody has time to work, do family, put out fires with your friends and etc and NOT be able to stay awake for at least 2 hours to do something for yourself. Life wasn’t set up for you to be that way, but you know how life works – it goes in the direction you lead it. Think about it.

Truth brings — CHANGE

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I’ve had my share of toxic friendships and relationships, the thing is I didn’t really know they were toxic until they left me broke, dry and questioning my own sanity. Our life lets in what we put out – if you keep talking to people that just don’t get it or that keeps you in a box, everything else that comes your way will be the same way. We have to learn to speak up and I’m preaching to the choir on this one, I don’t speak up enough. I let things go on and I accept people’s “ish” because I either don’t want to lose them or afraid I’m being too pushy with my standards, so I digress. The one thing I have to constantly drill in my head is, to be honest with myself as well as the people around me. If it means they’ll leave me, then let them. It just means they were out of place in my life anyway. If it makes me uncomfortable, say it. If I feel as though I’m giving 100% and only getting 20% in return? then leave! And you know what? you don’t have to give ANYONE an explanation for doing so.

** ** ** ** **

Life is ALL about making the right choices that will push us forward into being the GREAT and AMAZING beings we were created to be in the first place and if that means being a little selfish and/or getting a little help along the way to accomplish that? Then, by all means, DO IT!

Do you have a counselor or go to therapy sessions? How do you handle a convo that pushes you past your mental limit? Sound off in the comments!

Your Body Is Here BUT Your Mind Is Somewhere Else!

Featured Picture Courtesy of The Pursuit of Mindfulness

Have you ever heard that statement before? As sure as we live and breathe I’m sure we’ve ALL heard it or unfortunately have been there and done it ourselves!

I’ve often found myself in meetings or even talking with someone and have been somewhere else. The mind is a tricky thing and a terrible thing to waste as per the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). And it’s true! The mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste but while the UNCF was referring to an education, I’m particularly talking about the mind and it’s capability of filling up with SO many ideas, schedules, goals, relationships, what someone said and how you’d wished you had said this instead; all the way to what you want to eat later that day or even two days from now – type of stuff.

The “stuff” that keeps us from being “present and available” at the moment. We miss most great moments because our mind wants to take us on a vacay of “what to do next or after” and it’s bout time to put it to rest – just for a little while.

Do you find yourself being “unavailable” due to your mind traveling west when you’re trying to go east? Here’s a couple of tips to put the mind at ease so you can focus a little clearer, literally.

#1. Cut Down That List – Like NOW!

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Listen, there are only 24 hours in a day and if you put EVERYTHING you have to get done on that crazy “to-do” list. You’ll be extremely exhausted, I mean you probably already are, right? If we allow our minds to do it, it’ll make us think that everything in the world is important and has to be done right now and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s okay to schedule that oven cleaning to Thursday, it’s not like it’s going anywhere and you DON’T have to do it today.

Try to figure out what’s truly a priority vs. non priority…..what’s really important vs. not important today. Spread out the work and give yourself something to do everyday instead of all in one day!

#2. Schedule “Me” Time

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I’m bad at this tip but it’s so needed. Have you ever scheduled “me time” on your to-do list? My mom would always tell us that Mondays were her “me days” – that meant, no calls and no coming over during a specific time frame on Mondays. She valued her alone times and while I didn’t always understand it because I was being the energizer bunny. Now that she’s gone, I totally get it. You need that time away from other people’s voices and faces, it truly makes you appreciate seeing them when you do. Now what she did during that time, I have no idea but “me time” is whatever you want to do without doing work or even thinking about the things you need to do. It’s a little moment to be selfish and only think about you!

#3. Put It “ALL” Away & Focus!

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This one is going to take a little practice, however, remember when I said earlier that my body would be in meetings and my mind would be elsewhere? unfortunately this also happens with my children! They’d be talking to me and I’d be thinking about work, church, getting back to someone, email and etc. Not really focusing on their dilemma – in which to them, everything’s a dilemma!

Now, don’t get me wrong, tuning them out is sometimes therapy for me but when it comes to a failing grade or them having concerns in regards to a friend or teacher or themselves, those things need my undivided attention. So when cases like this happen, I’ve learned to put my phone away, sit with them and totally give them eye-to-eye attention. This way, I can provide feedback if necessary and it gives me insight as to what’s going on with them. We can easily miss serious moments when we allow our minds to time travel. Realize where you are and tell your mind that you’re going to focus on the matter at hand because, in reality, we can train our minds to do whatever we want it to do.

#4. You Need A Sleep Schedule

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This definitely may sound crazy but you really do need to “schedule sleep” – if you don’t, you won’t get it and while your mind is on the go the body will shut completely down! Ever been restless at night because your mind was wondering about things you should be thinking about in the morning? I’ve been here too, more often than I’d like to admit. Most times I get up and work and others I just lay there and talk to God or just look…lol.

If you find your mind wrestling with you while you’re trying to go to sleep, try drinking some hot chamomile tea or sleepy time tea before bed (decaf of course). I also like listening to peaceful sounds such as thunder (I know this is not so peaceful but it’s calming for me). I love listening to rain sounds or ABIDE – which has sleep meditations for the nighttime. It’s also wise to put your phone on silent, so you won’t awake to every notification known to man. 30 min before bedtime, get these things in order so by sleep time – you’ll be all set to ZzZzzzzZZ.

All of these tips will not only help you be more present but more focused on what’s really important. Train that mind and don’t allow it to train you, remember YOU have control over it and not it over you.

Sanity is everything! & So is Being in the Moment! – Life’s too short not too.