Psychology

How I Found a “New Me” Instead of a “New Normal”

I was always a social person. I like being around people.

When the lockdown started and I was suddenly alone in my apartment all day, every day – it was a huge challenge. 

I really didn’t know how to tackle it.

Zoom meetings weren’t an adequate substitute for socializing in the office, and it was difficult to stay focused when I was in the same space from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep.

There were days I got sick of doing the same things. There were days I really wanted to be in someplace new. There were days I just wanted someone to hug me.

But I coped, and I managed to make it through. 

When things were finally opening up, I was looking forward to meeting my friends again, spending my working hours with my colleagues, and having a vacation somewhere far away.

Everything seemed to have come back to normal. 

Everything except me.

Woman Portrait

The night before I was going to work from the office again, I felt a weird pressure in my chest.

I felt… anxious.

I opened up about it to a few friends, and to varying degrees, they all felt a little bit like me.

They felt nervous about going back because they had gotten used to something else and weren’t quite ready for another big change.

But there was one difference: they were nervous about it, but I was afraid.

When I got to the office, I couldn’t concentrate. I felt stressed, stiff, and my breathing was heavy. I would go to the bathroom and just sit there for a few minutes just so I could be by myself. 

Every day that I couldn’t be by myself, I felt more and more anxious. Like there was a magnet inside my chest that constantly pressured and pulled me away from people and public spaces. 

It felt like there was something wrong with me, and I felt ashamed of it. What would people think of me?

Woman sitting in the park

I had to do something about it.

I started researching. Turns out there’s more information about anxiety online than there is time to read it all, and more than enough strategies, coping mechanisms, tricks, and hoops to jump through.

I tried a lot of them, but the more my anxiety stayed, the more I realized this wasn’t something I could deal with on my own. 

If I wanted to be at peace again, it was probably time to reach out to a professional.

But therapy… It’s kind of a big deal, isn’t it? 

What would people say when they found out I have a therapist? Will they think I‘m crazy or weak? 

I was on the fence for quite a while. 

A few weeks later, I was on the phone with my sister. Just catching up and chatting. She told me about a friend of hers who was going through a divorce. 

I knew that friend – she was a very kind, intelligent, and strong woman. 

I was surprised to hear that she got depressed and even more surprised to hear that she started feeling better after signing up for online therapy.

If she did… Why can’t I?

“What’s that like?” I asked nonchalantly, feeling a drop of sweat going down my back.

Apparently, you download an app called DoMental and text with a therapist on a daily basis – anonymously. 

After the talk, I got on the website and had a look. There was a part on the home page asking what I needed help with. 

“Anxiety” was there.

I had to give it a try. I had nothing to lose.

That same night, from the safety of my comfy couch and armed with a reassuring cup of tea and plate of cookies, I started taking a quiz on the website that asked me about my symptoms. 

A couple of minutes later, it was all done – I signed up, purchased a plan, downloaded the app, and was ready to start.

So what was it like?

I’ll be honest: writing the first message was really difficult for me. 

For the first time since I started feeling anxious, I felt compelled to write down what it is that I’ve actually been struggling with. 

And to a stranger, no less. It felt kind of unnatural.

But I did, and I sent the first message. 

When I woke up the next morning, I checked to see if I got a reply. 

I had a message waiting for me from the therapist I was matched with, Melissa. It was a very warm and reassuring message, telling me that she understands what I am going through.

That lots of people do, and that it’s quite normal to feel this way.

The beginning was very much about her trying to get as accurate a picture of me and my anxiety and uncovering the root of the problem. 

But the root was not the only thing that needed to be tackled – there was a trunk, and branches, and a whole bunch of leaves. 

Little by little, those were tackled too. 

And tackling them wasn’t easy. A lot of shame and insecurity were brought to the surface, like the sap coming out. 

It took me a while to get used to it and feel comfortable being completely honest with her. But over time, I did. 

I have been chatting with Melissa about once a day, nearly every day, for about a month and a half.

We chat at around the same time each day, which we agreed about early in the process, so that I wouldn’t have to keep checking if she has replied. 

She taught me simple coping strategies that I could implement on a daily basis. 

Not the cognitive behavior therapy basics you can find online, but ones tailored for my situation and the kind of person I am. 

She made sure I got continuous feedback about the homework we agreed I do, a lot of which had to do with being mindful of and tracking what I am experiencing and in what situations. 

I could see that certain patterns were beginning to emerge – ones that I had never even realized before.

I was learning a lot about myself.

But did all of this really help me?

A month and a half of therapy didn’t make my anxiety go away, but it did make a difference. I feel like I’m on the right path toward being the kind of person I want to be and enjoy life again.

I am coping with my anxiety.

And I don’t want to go back to being who I was. 

That person was oblivious of the hidden fears and insecurities that lurked behind her thoughts and decisions. 

I’ve discovered a new me. A better, healthier me. And I am cultivating her growth every day thanks to Melissa’s guidance and support on DoMental.

woman at the pool

Here’s why I think you should try it:

Therapy is, by itself, invaluable. I can’t stress this point enough: if you would go see a doctor when you feel sick, you should definitely see a therapist when your pain isn’t physical.

Daily therapy means faster progress. If I had only 1 session per week, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made as much progress as I did. The daily nature of therapy on DoMental allowed me to take smaller steps more frequently.

It’s more affordable than other therapy options I ended up looking at. Therapy, like any health service, is not exactly cheap, so every cent counts. 

You can always change your therapist for free if your first match is not a good fit.

I honestly don’t believe I would have done this without Melissa or if I didn’t find out about DoMental. 

I was afraid I would be seen  as “someone who needs a therapist.” 

But the more my therapy continued, the more I realized that it wasn’t like that at all and that I should have done this a long time ago. 

Having a therapist helping you deal with life’s problems, big or small as they may be, is nothing to be ashamed of. 

In fact, I would go as far as to say that everyone should try therapy because there is so much to be gained just by understanding yourself better.

Mental health is just that important. 

Take a 2-minute quiz and start taking care of yourself alongside your new therapist on DoMental.

Always consult a professional for medical advice

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