In a room of people I love, I’ve felt completely alone.
I’ve felt crushing feelings of sadness, complimented by the frustration of not knowing quite what I could do to fix it. After trying various types of therapy, I slowly started to find ways to ground myself and reconnect to the world around me, in ways that worked uniquely for me.
Everyone regulates their emotions differently, whether that’s by talking to a therapist or going for a walk with a friend. The way we therapize ourselves is completely personal, so different techniques work for different people. It all comes down to which works best for you.
For some, talking to therapists is extremely beneficial. Therapists offer confidentiality practices, so you can fully discuss your struggles without judgment or exposure. Because of this, the largest piece of advice I can provide when attending therapy is to be honest with your therapist.
The first thing that comes to mind is Sabrina Carpenter’s song “Tornado Warnings.” She sings about the obstacles she faces in getting over heartbreak and the errors she makes along the way, which result in her lying to her therapist. Consequently, she negates the fact that these issues still exist.
There’s no reason to hold back with your therapist; their job is to listen and console you without judgment. They’re qualified professionals who know how to help your situation.
Honesty is the first step in acknowledging an upsetting situation, recognizing your feelings, and working toward healing—and what’s more honest than telling a complete stranger about a personally traumatic event?
Normalizing therapy is essential. In doing so, we aid in de-stigmatizing conversations around mental health and develop an environment in which individuals struggling and working to feel better do not feel like outliers.
Whether you feel you need therapy or not, I’ve always believed that everyone and anyone can benefit from such practices. We all need a bit of help sometimes, and if we recognize that, we can begin to normalize therapeutic practices without fear of judgment.
If this is something you’re looking for, Queen’s offers outlets like Empower Me, a 24/7 crisis hotline you can call for any issue—never too big or too small. It’s completely confidential and run by trained professionals. Student Wellness Services in Mitchell Hall also offer counselling services and other health-related services.
However, if therapy isn’t for you, that’s okay too.
Some turn to friends and family to talk about the mental obstacles they may be facing. Confiding in someone you’re comfortable with and trust is a great way to really put your thoughts out, gain new perspectives, and clear your mind.
At times, you may not see the full picture, and getting clarity from friends and family can be an excellent way to see your problem from a new angle—and often see it’s smaller than what you had made it in your head.
For some, speaking to others isn’t helpful. Personally, I know that no matter whom I speak to, or what they have to say—as helpful as it may be—I need to work through problems on my own. I need to understand my problems for myself and no matter what’s said to help, how I deal with it needs to be completely my call.
For that reason, I turn to exercise to help me get through my struggles. Whether that’s going on a two-hour walk around campus with a friend and not discussing the matter or putting my AirPods in and going for a run, moving my body makes me feel better.
It may not give me the answers I need, but for that time, I’m focused on myself, have a clearer head, and can ground myself to take my next steps.
The last form of self-therapy—arguably not a desirable one, but one many people choose to deal with their problems is retail therapy.
Retail therapy is helpful to an extent. Yes, buying that cute top will make you feel better, but in doing so, you avoid the actual problem, you make no progress in finding a solution, and your wallet faces the consequences.
However, sometimes material things—whether that’s a new sweater, a new pair of shoes, or something else—do make you feel better overall, because you have new things to focus on. If that’s what works for you, then that’s great too.
At the end of the day, everyone deals with their emotions differently. What may work for one person doesn’t for another—and that’s okay. All that matters is that you find what works for you and use that to push through any obstacles you may be facing.
Finding what works for you will help you reconnect with yourself, your emotions, and with others. It will help you stand in the room of people and start to feel their presence once again.
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