Alice puts the finishing touches on her resume. She will email it along with a cover letter to apply for a position for an early childhood educator. She hits the “send” icon, shuts down the computer and stands to stretch. Her body feels awkward and stiff. Suddenly a wave of regret floats across her mind. She flips open the lap top, reads the email and thinks, “ I should have been more enthusiastic!" Palms sweating, her heart races. She feels at a distance from the world. Alice is creative, bright and compassionate yet she feels lethargic, boring and ignorant.
“I have ADD,” “ I was told I’m borderline,” “My diagnosis is depression.” People may come to therapy with a diagnosis from a physician, psychiatrist, a previous therapist or self-diagnosis through their own research. When it comes to your state of mind, it may be more helpful to understand what factors are contributing to how you feel, the decisions you make, the ways in which you live your life.
By the time we are toddlers we have developed strategies that help us navigate relationships. We learn from interactions with our caregivers that behavior brings forth different responses. A baby cries out, communicating distress: “I’m hungry, my diaper needs changing, I need to be held” - mom responds with reassuring tones: “It’s OK, I’m here, now let’s see what you need.” Mom feels warm and touched as her soothing responses help the child relax. They feel a secure attachment. Both feel joy and comfort in the pleasure of being known for what they experience.