COLORADO SPRINGS — An emotional roller coaster is one of the many ripple effects the ongoing pandemic is having on our mental health driven by the uncertainty we are all working to cope with.
In several recent Your Healthy Family stories, we have heard from mental health providers about how they can help people navigate these challenging times.
Long before the stress of coping with a global pandemic, Rebeckah Pastorello knew what it was like, struggling with the normal challenges of life but reaching a point where she couldn’t process it all on her own.
Rebekah says, “I was 20 years old. The twenties are hard which everybody knows. There were so many things going on with my family, with relationships, with friendships, with school, I felt very lost. Instead of just having a stressful day here and there, it was a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness. There was no motivation and the stress and anxiety would affect me physically, and I would start shaking.”
A friend recommended seeing a therapist, but Rebekah says, “I was definitely apprehensive. I didn't know a lot about therapy, I didn't know what to expect. In my mind, therapy was only for someone who is severely mentally ill, which I wasn’t. But after the first, second, and third session, you start to feel a lot more comfortable and you start to understand that this therapist is here to help in a very judgment-free zone.”
Nearly 8 years later Rebekah is doing much better and she has stayed close to the industry that helped her personally and works for Thriveworks in Colorado Springs as an administrative assistant.
Rebekah still sees her counselor as needed. “I was going once a week at the start. As I began gaining coping skills that I found helpful, it started to go down to once a week, then every two weeks, then once a month, then once every 3 months. I also found myself switching therapists because I was trying to find one that was a good fit for me, and I was a good fit for them. That can take a lot of time, and it doesn't happen overnight. Thankfully, three years ago I found an amazing therapist and I still see her to this day. It fluctuates - sometimes I'll need her every week and sometimes every few months, it just depends.”
Rebekah says the daily benefits of working through her emotions through counseling are many.
“I'm able to live in a healthy way and cope with the stressors of life that are inevitable in a healthy, manageable way. Therapy was the best decision I think I ever made. It was a hard, hard decision and it's not easy. It's really tough actually to confront yourself in a lot of ways but it's extremely freeing and your daily life can improve in a lot of different areas.”
Who does Rebekah think might need a counselor from time to time? “We all have mental health, it's a universal human trait. Personally, it helps me understand to not be afraid of my anxiety or my depression but to face it head-on. I like to say therapy is like a life vest. It helps you stay afloat and keep your head above water. Also, you have the tools inside of you, we all have these abilities to help ourselves. I just needed some guidance, I needed somebody to help guide me through this path of life, down the stream.”
So if your emotions are running your life at times or you feel out of control and are not sure what to do, Rebekah says, “You don't have to go it alone. I guarantee you there are people out there that are feeling the exact same way that you are. A therapist is a professional who has a heart for helping people but also they have the tools, and they're well-equipped regardless of what you're feeling. If it's because of COVID-19 or what's going on in our nation right now, everybody's having these problems, everybody. Therapy can help with all that and there's no shame in getting help because everybody's feeling this way. You're actually a lot braver if you do reach out. What's the worst that can happen? You spend an hour talking with someone who doesn't know you, and they're there to listen. Give somebody a shot that's really sincerely wanting to help you.”
If you are interested in speaking with a counselor either in person or online or have any questions feel free to reach out to the folks at Thriveworks in Colorado Springs, at (719) 266-3919 or, you can visit their website (https://thriveworks.com/colorado-springs-counseling/)
Thriveworks is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family