You Should Try Therapy
I was feeling really down recently, not sure what to do with my life. I was sad and felt stuck. Unmotivated on the job, thinking of changing career and apartment. Dreaming of leaving everything and travel away.
In the middle of 2021, I was feeling down, not sure what to do with my life. I was sad and felt stuck. I was unmotivated to do my daily job, and I was spending a lot of time thinking about changing my career, changing my apartment, changing my life. Maybe dreaming of leaving everything and travelling away. Buying a motorbike and travel the world.
I didn't know where this sadness was coming from. I tried to talk with my parents, my friends, and my girlfriend. But I could not open up completely with them, as I didn't really know what was wrong.
I wanted someone who was really impartial and could let me clarify my doubts.
While reading a blog I discovered Betterhelp, a website where you get matched with a professional counselor, to improve your mental health.
Everything happens remotely. You can exchange unlimited chat messages with your therapist and schedule a 45 minutes video session once a week. It costs 80$ per week.
Moved by curiosity, I signed up.
After compiling a questionnaire to described what are my problems, I got matched with Leila, a therapist living in Florida. I could read her description and her preference for a holistic approach, considering also food and activities to improve your life, and I liked the approach.
I wrote her what was going on and she asked me to schedule a video session when possible. In the end, I paid 280$ for 1 month (with a 10% discount).
Thursday 6th July 2021
We had the first video therapy session. I was a bit nervous, I haven't talked with anyone about this, not wanting to be judged. But also being in front of an unknown person that is evaluating your life and problems felt a bit like a job interview.
She started asking me what my problems were. I ended up talking about my job, which I felt was not motivating and stimulating. I was researching this a bit by myself and thought that I was bored out.
She asked me to describe my life, how I arrived in the situation where I am now. I talked studying at university, starting Bolt Motion, moving to Switzerland, finding a job, breaking up with my ex-girlfriend, how I met my current girlfriend, and how I ended up here and now.
She made me notice how many times I mentioned the concepts of "freedom" and "traveling".
That's true: these things have been in my mind a lot. I feel stuck in a job and in a life situation because I don't have the freedom to move where I want, to do whatever I'd like to do.
The job is not flexible, I can't work remotely for more than a couple of days. And the biggest limitation we have is not money but the number of free days we have every year. So we end up spending a lot of our life in the office.
But then she said: “there are people who do not like traveling at all!”. I thought that everyone loved traveling and it was the ultimate goal. This is what I was waiting for. Someone, like Leila, that could tell me something from an external perspective. Something so obvious that was sitting in front of my nose the entire time. I felt unhappy because what I was doing was not aligned with my goals (travel and be free).
For me, as I personally value travel and freedom, I should look for something that is remote, part-time, or has travel incorporated into work. I would like to have my base here in Switzerland but travel periodically. Maybe a small, inexpensive flat. That it’s easy to take care of.
Now everything makes sense, starting a company, buying a van, wanting a motorbike. I always wanted to be free, to be able to move.
If you want to be happy, understand what are your values and act in order to be aligned with them.
This session was already useful. She left me with a form, what are my goals in life.
Thursday 15th July 2021 at 17.00
Before this session, Leila sent me a worksheet to complete, with a list of goals for therapy. Why did you decide to go to therapy? If all your problems would be solved overnight, how would you realize once you woke up? What do you want to work on? How your life would be different, once you have worked on this?
It was quite difficult for me to fill out the worksheet. I don't consider myself in a bad position, I was feeling just a bit stuck and needed advice.
She asked how was it going since the last time we talked. I felt a bit better, I could go away for the weekend to the mountains with friends. That definitely helped after weeks of being locked in the house because of terrible weather. I reported that I've already talked with my boss, to reduce my working time to 90%, so that I have more time to travel. She was happy that I could already take action.
We talked about short-term goals. What I would like to have done in 6 months. A new flat near the city/work/lake, not shared, that I could try as my home and furnish as I would like.
She gave me practical approaches to what to do. Having an exercise routine. So She said I should start now with the gym. The gym is good because I can start now to build a routine. And get out of my head. You will make my head clearer and make me feel good.
Another thing that she noticed that I didn't: I tend to overthink things.
I can create this scenario in your head, where you want everything to be perfect. But without doing anything.
Don't overthink, act.
It's a practice like meditation. Observe your thoughts and step back when you see that you are overthinking things.
I'm making a mistake when I'm thinking too much about future scenarios. I want to find the perfect things that will solve all my problems. But you end up never starting.
And she asked me about long-term goals. Where do you want to see yourself inf 3-4 years?. But I couldn't answer really. I don't know where I want to go and she said to sleep on it.
Knowing your long-term goal is important, so can choose what direction to take. I think that most people live their life this way, without a clear direction, just trying to survive day after day, and they don't do anything with their life.
This is an answer that I came up with:
- I want to build things, have a small company with low pressure. One that I can manage remotely, which allows me to travel and live abroad.
- I want to share my journey through the blog and through videos.
- I want to have a family. Having a wife that I can trust and having with her a house and kids.
3rd and Final session
24th August 2021
In August I had 2 weeks of vacation with no access to the internet, so this session came much later than expected. I paid for one additional month in order to have a closing session with Leila.
We continued the discussion from where we left off. Asked me how was the situation and if I made any progress. She was happy to hear that I started going to the gym and that I talked with my boss about reducing my working hours.
Also, we evaluated what I still wanted to change in my life. Like finding a more fulfilling job or a new place like I would like.
She reassured me that everything takes time and that I should plan properly instead of doing everything at once and feeling overwhelmed.
You need to make plans and take action.
She said I’m in the right direction. Taking action instead of spending time in my head.
What I realized:
If there is something that is constantly in your head, you should act on it. Do something now instead of thinking about it forever.
Another point came up when she asked me how it went on holiday.
I said that it's was great exploring the south of France with my girlfriend in my van, disconnected for a couple of weeks.
But I also noticed that after a while I started to feel a bit useless. I needed to create something to feel realized.
I probably would not like to travel all the time. It's important to have a balance between work and freedom (travel).
I got really positive results from just 3 sessions of therapy.
It helped me realize what was more important for me, in this moment of my life, and focus on those things. And also make changes that move me closer to my target.
If you feel stuck, or you don't know where you are going, I think you could benefit from a few sessions of therapy.
In particular if you are going through a transition phase. For example, if you have recently started living alone or moved abroad.
Consider it like a life assessment or personal coaching.
Having an external person to talk to makes you understand better where you are in your life and where you want to be.