In the intricate tapestry of the human mind, there are moments when threads of mental illness, negative self talk, and self-doubt weave together, creating a complex pattern that can be challenging to untangle. These elements often coexist and influence one another, leaving individuals feeling trapped in a cycle of despair. However, it’s crucial to understand that there is hope, and with the right support and strategies, these chains can be broken.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 25, 2023 cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, negative self talk, negative thinking, negative thoughts, self compassion0 comments
The Interplay of Mental Illness and Negative Self Talk
Mental illness and negative self talk are intertwined in a way that can exacerbate each other. For individuals grappling with conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, negative thoughts often become a pervasive and distressing companion. These thoughts can take various forms, such as self-criticism, self-blame, or catastrophic thinking.
Negative self talk in mental illness often follows a pattern:
- Distorted Beliefs: Individuals may hold distorted beliefs about themselves, their worth, or their abilities. These beliefs are often irrational and not based on reality.
- Automatic Thoughts: Negative thoughts can pop into one’s mind automatically, triggered by specific situations or emotions. They often reinforce existing negative beliefs.
- Emotional Impact: Negative thoughts can intensify emotional distress, leading to feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or anxiety.
- Behavioral Consequences: The emotional impact of negative self talk can influence one’s behavior, leading to avoidance, social withdrawal, or self-destructive actions.
The Vicious Cycle: Mental Illness and Self-Doubt
Self-doubt is a common and distressing aspect of mental illness. It’s the persistent feeling that you are incapable, inadequate, or unworthy. Mental health challenges can magnify self-doubt, creating a destructive feedback loop:
- Mental Illness Triggers Self-Doubt: When mental illness symptoms flare up, individuals often question their ability to cope, manage daily life, or recover. This self-doubt can intensify feelings of vulnerability.
- Self-Doubt Magnifies Mental Illness: The more one doubts their abilities, the harder it becomes to confront and manage their mental health challenges. This self-defeating attitude can impede recovery.
- Avoidance and Isolation: Self-doubt can lead to avoidance behaviors, where individuals withdraw from social interactions or situations that trigger their self-doubt. This isolation can worsen mental health symptoms.
Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Healing
Breaking free from the chains of mental illness, negative self talk, and self-doubt is a journey that requires courage, patience, and support. Here are some strategies to help individuals navigate this challenging path:
- Seek Professional Help: The first and most crucial step is seeking professional support. Therapists, counselors, and psychiatric proivders can provide guidance, therapy, and medication if necessary.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is an evidence-based therapy that helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns. It teaches practical skills to reframe negative self talk.
- Medication: For some individuals, medication prescribed by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner can help alleviate symptoms of mental illness, making it easier to manage negative self talk and self-doubt.
- Self-Compassion: Learning to be kind and compassionate to oneself is essential. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same warmth and understanding you would offer to a friend in a similar situation.
- Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can reduce the grip of negative self talk.
- Support Networks: Building a support network of friends and loved ones who understand and provide empathy is crucial. Support groups can also offer a sense of belonging and validation.
- Set Realistic Goals: Setting achievable goals, no matter how small, can boost self-esteem and confidence. Celebrating even minor successes can counter self-doubt.
- Patience: Healing takes time, and setbacks are part of the journey. It’s essential to be patient with oneself and recognize that progress may be gradual.
Mental illness, negative self talk, and self-doubt can form a powerful and stifling alliance. However, it’s crucial to remember that recovery is possible. With the right support, therapy, and self-compassion, individuals can break free from these chains and regain their sense of self-worth and purpose. Mental health is a journey, and each step toward healing is a courageous act of self-empowerment.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghOctober 17, 2022 adult therapy, anxiety therapy pittsburgh, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, counseling, counseling for anxiety, counseling for depression, counseling for depression pittsburgh, counseling monroeville, counseling near me, counseling pittsburgh, counseling south hills, counseling wellness, counseling wexford, depression counseling, depression therapy, generalized anxiety disorder therapy pittsburgh, greensburg counseling, how to get the most out of therapy, how to reach your goal, mental health, online counseling, psychotherapist, searching for a therapist in monroeville, searching for a therapist pittsburgh, south hills counseling, stress management, therapist in murrysville, therapists, therapists for depression, therapy for anxiety, therapy in wexford, therapy pittsburgh0 comments
If you’re here, congratulations on taking the first step and beginning therapy! Deciding to go to therapy is a major step in overcoming issues like anxiety or depression, healing trauma, getting support to cope with difficult life transitions, managing stress or working on developing healthier relationships. We asked the therapists at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh to share their suggestions for how to get the most out of therapy.
- Be consistent with your appointments. When we go to physical therapy after an injury, it is only by being consistent in our treatment that we get better in a timely way. Mental Health Therapy is the same.
- Have an accurate perspective on the role your counselor has. They are a facilitator, helping you identify goals, steps for reaching these goals, and barriers that may get in the way. The therapist is not there to ‘fix’ you, the work is on your part.
- Timing is important and change happens over time. We may not be ready to address every concern or goal at the same time. As long as we keep working on what is important at the time, we are making progress and moving forward. To get an accurate perspective on your growth, don’t just look ahead at where you are not, look back at where you were and how far you’ve come.
- Put in the work. The therapy hour is once per week. While therapy offers skills, opportunities for discovery and ways to challenge your thought patterns and beliefs, it works best when these tools are applied outside of the therapy office and in between sessions.
- Keep a therapy journal to take notes during your therapy session as well as notes throughout the week to be addressed during your next session. This helps keep treatment productive and makes sure that clients are reminded of things important from their sessions during the week.
- Therapy is about change. Be eager for change in your life. Be willing to challenge yourself.
- Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away. Therapy is a process, and mental health is an ongoing journey.
Ready to Get Started With Therapy?
Call 412-322-2129 to get scheduled with a therapist or fill out the form below.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 2, 2022 adult therapy, anxiety, CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive distortions, coping skills, counseling, depression, Emotional Health, emotional intelligence, emotional iq, exercise for gratitude, goals, gratitude, mental health, personal growth, therapists0 comments
Our therapists are here to offer mental wellness support with specific interventions to treat all major mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, grief and trauma as well as relationship issues or any life stressors that you are dealing with. We teach you new coping skills for a variety of relational, emotional, and psychological issues so that you can enjoy your life.
While each counselor has their own specialties and approaches to therapy, there are several key things that most therapists want you to know.
Read on for 10 things your therapist wants you to know.
- Talking to a friend is not a replacement for therapy—therapy is strategic, focused, and an application of scientific methods to heal. Friends can offer support and connection but can’t replace therapy.
- Therapy is a safe place where you can be yourself without feeling judged. We won’t judge your story.
- Healing doesn’t happen from attending a weekly appointment. You heal by applying the skills, solutions and methods that you discuss in therapy during all of the hours in between sessions.
- It is ok to tell us anything and everything you are experiencing or have experienced: feelings, thoughts, intentions, behaviors etc. You’d be surprised that what you are sharing is something we have most likely heard many times before and it is not shocking.
- We’re not irritated by reviewing the same information over and over. Change takes time and practice.
- Setbacks are just learning opportunities — we won’t be disappointed in you.
- It may get worse before it gets better. Talking about tough emotions, situations and past traumatic experiences may be painful at first but is necessary in order to process them and change.
- The opposite of depression isn’t happiness. Often times folks who experience clinical depression make an assumption that they continue to be depressed or are not getting better even after symptoms decrease because they are “not happy” (with life/career/partner). The marker they use to determine depression is happiness vs unhappiness. When people learn that happiness takes work, it can be freeing for them and they have an easier time accepting their progress.
- Therapy can be challenging. It is not easy. But first work on developing a therapeutic relationship with your therapist. Once you have a solid foundation, you are able to work through so much. Be patient with the process.
- We won’t say hello in public unless you do first.
It is an honor and privilege to be a part of this life journey with each and every client we see.
Interested in Starting Therapy?
If you are ready to start therapy, you can call us a 412-322-2129 or fill out the form below.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghNovember 24, 2021 anticipatory grief, anxiety, boundaries, cell phone anxiety, coping skills, depression, digital detox, family estrangement, family loss, holiday traditions, holidays, holidays stress reduction, personal growth, rituals for self care, self care, Unhealthy relationships, validation, yoga0 comments
Holidays are steeped in traditions that are centered around the family and there is a hallmark sentiment that everyone is rejoicing in love with their near and dear during this most festive time of the year. The truth looks a bit different though. Family conflict, tension and even estrangement are more common than you may think. One study found more than 40% of participants had experienced family estrangement at some point.
But knowing you are not alone doesn’t make things happier or easier. The holidays are still hard and may bring up feelings of sadness, loneliness, jealousy, anger, shame or worthlessness.
To help combat these feelings, here are therapist-verified tips to help beat the holiday blues:
- Validate Your Feelings. If you fight the thoughts and feelings or judge yourself for having them, then you increase your emotional upset. Acknowledge that you feel sad and allow yourself to feel that sadness. This builds resiliency that you can be present with the uncomfortable feeling of sadness. It also increases self-trust that you can name and acknowledge the feelings you are having—this is especially helpful if your feelings were dismissed or not seen as a child. For example, “I’m feeling really sad and lonely that I am not on good terms with my family. This feeling is valid. I don’t have to pretend it’s not there. I can feel this sadness and use my coping skills to get through it.”
- Pick a Coping Skill or Self Care Tool That is Most Useful for You. There are myriad coping strategies to deal with feelings of sadness, disappointment and loneliness. Pick a tool that best supports you and be sure to practice it throughout the holidays. Tools include journaling, focusing on what is right in your life and practicing gratitude for that, meditation, yoga, running, watching a funny show or movie, noticing your negative thoughts and reframing them. There is no one right tool so just pick one and try it out.
- Set Boundaries for Topics of Conversation. To maintain your peace of mind during the holidays, set boundaries with your family on what you are and are not comfortable discussing. If your older brother always comments on your weight, simply tell him, “I am not interested in discussing my weight. I’d rather hear about my nephew’s soccer game.” If your grandmother always nags you about being single and childless, share that this isn’t something that you are open to discussing with her but you’d love to share about your lovely foster cat. Setting and keeping your boundaries will help you to feel empowered over your situation instead of feeling like you have no say in the conversations happening around the dinner table.
- Temporarily Delete Social Media from Your Phone. For many people social media can be triggering. This is especially true during the holidays when your feed is filled with photos of other people connecting with their family around the dinner table or unwrapping presents in matching pajamas. This may make a person who is excluded from such family gatherings melancholy or jealous they aren’t having the same experience. Allow yourself to take a break from this type of content so you’re not adding on to your emotional burden. It can be as easy as deleting the app from your phone and reinstalling after the New Year.
- Make a Plan for How You’ll Tackle the Day. Schedule a FaceTime check in with a friend. Enjoy a free yoga session on YouTube. Whatever you decide, make a plan ahead of time and stick with it. Literally put each activity in your calendar. This will keep you accountable and prevent you from having nothing to do and slipping into worsening feelings of loneliness or engaging in poor habits.
- Schedule a Therapy Appointment. If you’re currently working with a therapist, be sure to schedule a session during this time. If you’re not in therapy yet, consider reaching out and getting additional professional support during the holidays.
- Be of Service to Others. You can always be a support to others who are less fortunate than you by reaching out and volunteering. Clean out your coat closet and take your old coats to a local shelter, choose a child’s name off of a local Giving Tree program and go shopping for the gift, foster a homeless cat or dog through a local rescue group. You could even host a holiday dinner for others who are also alone. Be of service to others while being in service to yourself.
Only you can decide what is the best direction for you to maintain peace, mental wellness, and happiness during the holidays and the rest of the year and it is your sole job to protect your peace and wellbeing.