As I am trying to unpack a person's struggle I often think...What is it like to be you? What is it like to have your upbringing, to have your brain, and to manage all of that in your own way? For better or worse we are a culmination of genetics, social factors, and how we cope with both of these.
K.D. Holmes Blog
Sometimes in my office people are curious about me. Some ask what do I struggle with? There is an assumption that therapists do not struggle because of what they know. Knowing and doing are two different types of learning. I had an anxiety disorder for most of my life. I suffered from depression and anxiety when I was a child and young adult.
Have you ever had a thought that just keeps popping up in your head? These kinds of thoughts can be images, phrases, even feelings that intrude upon an otherwise perfect moment. These intrusions are not hidden desires or even thoughts the sufferer wants to think. They just pop on in your head and terrify you. In Obsessive Compulsive Disorder they get stuck, and play on repeat in your mind. Because once isn't terrifying enough, let's play that thought again and again, and compulsively check if it is still there.
I began working with individuals who have OCD about 10 to 12 years ago. I was taught about OCD in my graduate program, but did not have an accurate understanding of its symptoms and treatment at that time because more specific training and education is required. When someone came to me with OCD symptoms and needed treatment, I was stumped, and anything that baffles me sparks my curiosity.
During my first session with a client (also known as “the intake session”) I always ask no matter what the mental health issue—
I am told by my clients I am soft, easy to talk to, and silly. But objectively it's hard to gauge when you work alone in a room with one other person. Therapists are trained to be soft, warm, and do no harm. When we only do that, we create an environment for people to stay stuck, avoid, and ultimately not improve.
Many of the individuals I work with (myself included) are plagued by an obsessive brain. Obsessive brains are repetitive and stuck, living in a rabbit hole of thinking that leads to nowhere but feels real to the sufferer. These individuals are often diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is composed of obsessions followed by compulsions.
It’s been a long time since I had an adventure. I have been consumed by my day-to-day responsibilities of my relationship, work, family. I try to fit in all the important things. This is what I call having an intentional life that is driven by my values. No pressure? SMH... Its actually the complete opposite. I live with lots of internal pressure and too much movement.
Many of my clients would never guess that I have social anxiety. If you watch my videos, it would seem highly unlikely that I become overwhelmed when I am around a group of people I don't know. There is a big misnomer that if we know better we do better...but knowing is not learning. The two are completely different concepts. You can read a book about brain surgery, but doing it is a learning process based on lots of actions.
Conventionally, most people understand the concept of how our bodies operate. The brain, as the central processor, conjures up the command for an action, then, via the nervous system, sends the signal to the body part that needs moving or to the gland that will produce the hormones to signal the response that is needed.