With the infiltration of technology in our daily lives, especially social media, anxiety and other mental illness are also becoming more prevalent.
I recently developed a case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It overtook my life within weeks and left me debilitated, sleepless, unable to work and reeling from one moment to another. These are pretty strong words for a therapist to write, yet there is a healing power in being able to express what ails me. And there is a healing power in being able to create a connection with clients who suffer from the same disorder.
One of the pillars of any therapeutic intervention is the ability of the human beings present in both chairs to build a relationship based on a common understanding and perspective. No one is immune to the ravages of a mental health crisis. And as a therapist, I find a non-hierarchical approach to treatment has greater potential for successful outcomes. The therapeutic alliance should be just that: a partnership.
With the infiltration of technology in our daily lives, especially social media, anxiety and other mental illness are also becoming more prevalent. The similarity of these trend lines is disturbing. It is important for therapists to normalize the struggle in maintaining mental health and to educate and thereby empower clients to feel that they are not alone, that there is hope for recovery and that they themselves play a critical part in recovering and maintaining healthy cognitive functioning.
I read an essay last week by Nina K Moore in The Globe and Mail entitled “My On-again, Off-again Relationship With Anxiety Has Taught Me a Lot.” In the article, the author writes a letter to her “partner” characterizing her struggle with anxiety as akin to being in a relationship with another person. “Dear Anxiety,” she writes, “We’ve been together a long time now.” It’s the perfect metaphor for the condition and well worth the read for those of us who are dealing with this disorder. It helps to hear how someone else copes with anxiety and how misunderstood she feels by others. At the same time, Ms. Moore is hopeful and proactive as she struggles and copes. She demonstrably structures her daily activities to keep her anxiety at bay. She “unplugs” from social media, meditates, practices yoga and creates intention around her cognitive processes to create resilience. In the end, the author is thankful for her “darling.” Despite its negative elements, her anxiety has brought her clarity and helped her appreciate the sacredness of life.
“La vie est une lutte éternelle” a wise man once told me. “Life is a constant struggle.” Let us focus on the small victories, the pathway and the process in maintaining our mental health and the beauty to be found on this journey.
Nadworny, Jaqueline et al. (2019, May 23). Anxiety Symptoms, Signs, Disorders, Causes, Treatments.Retrieved from www.anxietycentre.com
Moore, Nina K. (2019, May 24). My On-again, Offagain Relationship With Anxiety Has Taught Me a Lot. The Globe and Mail, Retrieved from www.theglobeandmail.com
About the Author
Peter Persad, B.A., B.Ed., M.A.C., C.C.C.
Peter is an educator and counsellor with nearly three decades of experience helping individuals and families overcome obstacles and realize their potential.