I’ve heard so many people talk about how what they’re experiencing is just “insignificant”… that there are “worse” things going on in the world. Yes, it’s true that there are people experiencing significant trauma’s in the world. It’s ALSO true that your experience is real and valid. What you are experiencing is not invalidated because other people are also experiencing some rough times. This isn’t a “trauma competition”… all of our experiences matter. Another interesting thing I learned in my EMDR training… lots of those “small t” traumas (i.e. regular conflict, move, planning activity, financial worries) vs. “big t” traumas (i.e. natural disaster, assault) can even be more impactful on our system… they just keep happening, over and over and over again. Of course, as I write this, I recognize that those “big t” traumas can likely continue to impact us on our daily and be a part of those “small t” trauma’s (i.e. due to a disaster you know have major financial issues, or reliving an assault as if it’s happening every time you’re exposed something that reminds you of that)… but I think you get what I’m saying… which is that the compounding impact of things that we want to brush off as “no big deal” really build up and lead to some profound impacts on us. More on that in a minute.

Also, it’s important to speak to that part about worth. We often put ourselves on the backburner, and when it comes to mental health… oh geez… we try to pretend it’s something that can be ignored. If you had a broken arm, you’d see someone about it, yeah? Well, these “unseen” struggles can have super big impacts on us… and let me tell ya, if we don’t address them, they’ll find a way to push on through to force us to address them. That build up of constantly taking on more and more, letting it pile up without really looking at it, it will have an impact on us… I’ve seen it and experienced it myself… and I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you have too. I’ve talked to people that have seen this poke out via panic attacks, physical pains (i.e. back, hip issues), exhaustion, inability to focus, inability to sit still, irritability, sleeping issues, stomach issues, headaches… and the list goes on! Is it possible to get things done when you’re in this space? Is it possible to help others when you’re in this space? Is it possible to think clearly and do your best when you’re in this space? I think we all know the answer to that… yeah, not really. Also, it pretty much just sucks to feel this way… so why not take that brave step and get some extra support.

Now, if you’re really struggling with doing something for you… then that really points to how important it is to look at why. Lots of us out there are absolutely conditioned to do stuff for others, put everyone before ourselves, and not take care of the body and self that does so much work for us. I really get this on multiple levels. I can guarantee that when you are able to take better care of yourself, start addressing those pieces that keep coming up all sideways for you, and really find ways to meet with that calmness and true energy that exists within you… the people around you will thank you. There may be some push back initially if you start making time for yourself, but you know what, that might kinda tell you something about the relationship, yeah? Once you make time for yourself, you will be more grounded, more centered, more calm… and yes happier… I know, hard to believe, right? When we’re in that better space, we can create more space for others around us and have those true connections, those deep connections. When we’re in a better space, we’re more likely to attract folks in that space too… which is just a win-win.

OK, so, what support is out there? Well, support can look really different for everyone and I don’t want to pretend to fathom that there is a one-size-fits-all approach. Maybe you can find those things that make you feel good and ensure that you make time for those. Maybe this includes connecting with your passions… music, art, writing, reading, movies, volunteering. Connecting with other humans can be incredibly helpful (i.e. call your friend, go to a live show), and if you’re not ready to venture past the couch, you can always find connection through other means (i.e. podcast, chats)… of course ensuring that you’re not doing that social media comparing game where everyone looks like they’re having the time of their lives (let’s be real, we all know what’s behind that) and start thinking about how shitty things are for us (that’s a true black hole of despair and can make things way worse… lots of people I work with actually go on social media breaks for a bit to ensure they don’t go down that rabbit hole). Maybe support includes actually putting something down in your schedule where you ensure that you get some “you” time somewhere in there. Also, I totally get what you’re thinking… “but I don’t have time!” Guess what… when we don’t make time for this stuff, it eventually makes this a “no option” situation. Our bodies will literally FORCE us to stop and start managing these things. It would be real awesome if you start taking a peek at this stuff before it gets to that point, yeah? Of course there are tons of stuff on the interwebs that can get you connected with research and self-help, and then you can always reach out to a therapist… someone who spent lots of time and money specializing in all of this stuff. Lemme tell you something… we’re here because we really do enjoy doing this.

OK, you’re starting to get that you 100% deserve help… so how do you get that help from someone who specializes in this stuff? Alrighty, if you’re here, I hope that I got you on the track of realizing that you are important, your feelings are valid, and you deserve to have space… you deserve to be able to make time for you! There’s truly a ton of different options that are available to you if you’re interested in getting external support from a counselor or therapist. Finding the right therapist is SUPER important… you can “shop” for that right person and don’t be shy about saying someone isn’t a good fit. You deserve to meet with someone that you feel a connection with and you feel like you can open up to… because when you do, you can get some really rad work done. The Google’s are definitely a great place to start your search. You can just type in what you’re looking for. Lots of therapists have great websites and you can check those out. There are also some helpful directories out there that allow you to pinpoint what you’re looking for. You can look at the specific categories (i.e. location, specialties, modalities, gender, gender identity, pay, insurance… lots more) and choose based on that. The popular ones to look at are: Psychology Today, Therapy Den (really like this one!), Open Path (for sliding scale and lower cost), and Good Therapy. These will often have a link to their phone number, website, and location info… and can give you a cool snapshot of what they do.

Welp, hopefully this is helpful to you! If you’re in the Travis County (i.e. Austin, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Georgetown) area and looking for some support, and it looks like I might be a good fit for what you need, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout at 512-553-2054 or go to the contact page on the website (http://counseling-4u.com) if you’d like to send an email.

Author's Bio: 

Hello! My name is Nicole Warren and I’m the owner of Counseling for You located in Austin, TX. I help people struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma and burnout. I pretty much always wanted to work in this area and have been particularly drawn to understanding (or trying to understand) how all of us humans work. I’ve studied a few things related to humans, and got my Masters in Counseling in 2005 and have been licensed since 2010. I’ve got a lot of experience working in crisis environments (i.e. crisis hotline, mobile crisis outreach team (MCOT), homeless shelters, and with first responders. I really enjoy working with helpers and those who are looking for help. I’ve lived in a few different places inside and outside the United States, which gave me some additional good perspectives about people and culture. My current licenses include: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) & Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). I’ve also got a few certifications and training’s under my belt too (i.e. Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), EMDR and more)… I will say this list is going to keep growing because I love learning about new tools that you can use to feel good again (or if you never did, to get you feeling good for the first time in your life!).