Lori Gottlieb Talks Therapeutic Myths and Avoids Burnout

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When it comes to mental health, the sad truth is that many of us suffer in silence. We feel shame, and even though we want to feel better, the negative thoughts persist, we believe we can handle them on our own, and the cycle continues.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Parade.com interviewed therapist and bestselling author Lori Gottlieb on how to take back control of your mental health and how to be your own health advocate, especially if you are living with a chronic illness. Here is all she had to say.

Be your own health advocate

One of Gottlieb’s missions today is to help people struggling with chronic illnesses or struggling to get a diagnosis. She explains first and foremost that it’s important for people with an illness for which they can’t get a diagnosis to believe themselves.

“A lot of times people walk around with a lot of symptoms and they know something is wrong with their body, but other people tell them ‘no, it’s fine’ and that’s why being your own is key. lawyer,” says Gottlieb. .

And that includes the support of the people around you :OOnce you’ve found your way to a doctor who truly listens to you, is a team member, and works collaboratively with you, it’s important that you let your friends and family know what you’re going through, what your illness is, and what it looks like. Once people understand this, they can learn to support you better, Gottlieb adds.

Related: If You’re Living With A Chronic Illness, These 100 Quotes Will Resonate And Help You Feel A Little Stronger

Gottlieb’s unique perspective on therapy

In his book Maybe you should talk to someoneGottlieb provides insight from both the therapist’s and the patient’s perspective.

“When I was writing this book, it was really important to me to not only follow the lives of four of my patients, but also include a fifth patient in the book,” Gottlieb says. “And that fifth patient was me. I wanted to show what I was going through in my own life and my experience with a therapist.

At the start of the book, she says her biggest reference is that she is “a card-carrying member of the human race”. In other words, she knows what it’s like to struggle and face challenges like everyone else.

“I hope everyone who reads this book sees that the five patients are reflected in all of us and that’s very different from what we see on social media,” Gottlieb says. “I think people have this idea that whatever problems they have in their life, whatever their struggles, other people don’t struggle the same way. But when you read the book, you see your life reflected and how to get through those struggles.

Related: How to set boundaries in every area of ​​your life, because we can all learn from Naomi Osaka’s example

The most common myths about therapy

A common myth about therapy is that you’re constantly going to talk about your childhood, but that’s not what therapy is.

Therapy is a very active process, and it’s not so much past-focused, but more present- and future-focused. So while therapists are looking at how some old narratives you have, or old stories or experiences are influencing the way you interact in the world now, that’s why they are looking at them.

“We’re looking to see, ‘What is this old baggage you’re carrying around? What are these clothes that don’t fit you anymore, that you still wear? I really feel like therapy is like getting a really good second opinion on your life from someone who isn’t already in your life,” Gottlieb says. “And I think that part is crucial because we have the perspective of not already being in your life so that we can see things more objectively than maybe the people who are already in your life.”

Another myth about therapy is that you really have to struggle to go to therapy.

“A lot of people will say, ‘I feel sad’, ‘I feel anxious’, I have trouble sleeping or ‘I have this difficulty in my relationship, but it’s not that bad. And so they don’t go to therapy,” Gottlieb says.

Interestingly, we don’t do this to our physical health. If you experience chest discomfort, for example, you’ll likely see a cardiologist before you have a heart attack. But we don’t do that with our emotional health.

“In some cases, people don’t come to me until they have the equivalent of an emotional heart attack,” Gottlieb says. “And then it’s harder to deal with because now things have gone really bad. But, what’s heartbreaking is that because of this myth, people are suffering unnecessarily, sometimes for months or years, when if they had just arrived when they first thought of it, they might already feel better and wouldn’t have had to struggle so much all this time.

The Bottom Line: If anyone is wondering, “should I go to therapy?” Gottlieb says your inner therapist is telling you that you should go to therapy. There is no stigma around it and no shame.

“We don’t wait to be extremely ill to go to the doctor. We will do a review every year. The same principle applies to therapy. There should be no difference between our emotional health and our physical health,” Gottlieb says.

There is also a hierarchy of pain in our minds.

“If you break your arm, you don’t think, ‘Somebody else has stage four cancer, so it’s not that bad and I’m just going to walk around with my broken arm for a while,’ Gottlieb said. “We don’t do that. We don’t think the doctor is going to laugh at me because I came in with a broken arm. That’s not what’s happening. do with our emotional health,” says Gottlieb.

So we don’t need to file the pain away and say “oh, it was just a breakup, not a divorce” or “I don’t need to go to therapy, even though I really have problems”.

Related: 8 things your therapist wants you to know, according to ‘Dear Therapist’ columnist Lori Gottlieb

Gottlieb’s Top Tips for Avoiding Burnout

In a recent survey conducted by Parade.com in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic, the results revealed that we are dealing with high levels of burnout, especially among mothers. Gottlieb’s best advice for avoiding burnout? Let go of perfectionism.

“There are many times when we feel like we have to do everything perfectly, whether it’s our careers or our parenting, and that just leads to burnout. You have to know your limits,” says Gottlieb.

The truth is that many people have a hard time saying “no” because they have a hard time letting people down. “I always say, ‘please disappoint others so you don’t disappoint yourself.'”

Also, we overestimate how much we are going to disappoint people.

“People who love us will not be disappointed. People who love us will be happy that we take care of ourselves,” says Gottlieb. “People don’t realize that other people are actually part of our team, that the people who really love us want us to take care of ourselves, want us to feel good and focus on our well-being. So it’s the people who will understand.

Also, prioritize self-care and remember that self-care is not selfish. “Taking care of yourself helps you be more present for everyone. So as a mom, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to really be there for your child. The only way you can be there for your child is if you are whole and rested and well fed and exercised and socialized with adults. All of this is going to help you be a better parent,” says Gottlieb.

Next : 30 of the best mental health apps, because we all deserve to feel a little better right now

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