Almost There

By Cherry Northern

Recently, I did something that I thought was going to be helpful for me. I actually booked a therapy appointment with a licensed social worker and the interaction would have been wholly online. It would have been a live chat room session. I would have discussed . . . things. Topics that float around in my head on the daily. Issues that have been keeping me stuck in life.

And one day before this appointment, I canceled the chat. I canceled my membership. I left a brief message to my would-be therapist. I was honest and told her that I wasn’t ready. To me, therapy through this method felt like exploring a dark cave with very little light. There was no way to know what to expect. Questions like, “Where do I even start?” filled my mind with dread and anxiety. So, I did what I do most of the time. I gave up and let fear win.

I feel so ashamed of myself. It’s a whole mix of emotions. There’s anger and low self-esteem. There’s hopelessness to keep me company. There’s fear that I’ve pissed my would-be therapist off. Then there’s the scary question of “Would this have truly helped me anyway?” I mean, how willing would I be to change my life for the better? Because, certainly, I feel like I would have had to do some homework, some deep drilling into my head to figure out the nature of my predicaments. To me, therapy is a great mystery. And that frightens me.

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Psychotherapy work in Ukraine


As the Russian invasion of Ukraine passed its 100th day, with little sign of an end, I interviewed Kateryna by text, a woman from eastern Ukraine who is currently volunteering to provide psychotherapy support to her countrymen and women. Her words are a reminder of the people of Ukraine, amongst whom some 14 million have been displaced and thousands killed and injured. It also reminds me of my responsibility to do what I can to try and promote peace in a war that even risks global famines and, also, nuclear escalation.

(i) You mentioned that you’re learning English to help with your next job and you had to leave your last role due to the war. Can you explain why you had to leave your job? Did the war force you to move away?

The war affected every Ukrainian without exception. The company I worked for was badly damaged, almost half of the stores destroyed by rockets and bombs. The company lost any opportunities to provide employees with jobs and pay salaries.

I became a volunteer of psychological care in 2020, when the world learned about Covid and it turned out that people are not ready mentally for social isolation. The war is a severe test for my psyche also. And I understood perfectly well how all Ukrainians suffer. At the same time, the war has united our nation like never before, we all want the same thing now. And we all are thinking in terms of categories: What can I do to be useful for our victory ?! So I decided that my knowledge, skills and experience should work for a single purpose now. And this is Save my country from the enemy!!!

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Structured Journaling for Health

By Megan

Battling an eating disorder as well as general anxiety has been difficult through the winter months. I’m not ashamed to admit that I needed professional help to get myself on the right path but I was also willing to try any method to help myself feel better.

I’ve always been a bit of a sceptic when it comes to journaling and the whole idea of writing down my gratitude. What is the point of physically writing down the thoughts in my head?

Journaling is ‘simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly’. It was recommended to me that I give journaling a go as a form of self care so I thought I would give it a shot and see if it really made a difference.

I was gifted a beautiful Wellness Journal for Christmas that had a double page spread to fill out each day. I set out to write in my journal as often as I could in order to test whether journaling and writing down my gratitude could really improve my mental health.

My journal begins with a space for my daily intentions so I usually fill this out the night before. This helps me plan my day, meaning I start my day on a positive and productive note. My aims and goals are clearly set out in writing and it is satisfying to be able to physically tick off and cross out my tasks once they’re complete. It’s safe to say that this section has really kept my mind focused rather than allowing myself to float through each day in a cloud of anxiety and negative thoughts.

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There is always a reason to keep going – Finding Room to Fail

By Davey; https://daveycobb.com/

I have struggled with mental health issues my whole life. Varying degrees of sporadic anxiety and depression have prevented me from achieving past goals, helping others, taking care of my physical health, enjoying a good social life, pursuing several career paths. I look back at most of my life and realise that these two dark clouds – depression and anxiety – have covered me wherever I have been.

The key, I have found, is to not blame myself for any moments that may have occurred when mental health has prevented me from doing something. It took me many, many years to overcome the habit of laying heaps of blame at my own door, bemoaning my past actions, telling myself I should have pushed myself more. I found that such a way of thinking added many more layers to my already poor self-image. By blaming myself in such a harsh, direct way, I convinced myself that I was useless, powerless, and would never amount to anything. I held myself back, told myself that there was no point in applying for such and such a job, or pursuing a particular flight of fancy. I pitied myself. I bullied myself. Deep down, I hated myself.

I was wrong.

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