What to Expect When You’re Reflecting
The prospect of sitting down with a stranger to investigate the innermost workings of your psyche, and of your diet can be a daunting, and intimidating idea. However, if you’re considering coming in to do this work, chances are high that you’ve identified a motivating force that is driving you in this direction; be it a specific diagnosis of anything from ADHD, Bipolar disorder, PTSD, or an auto-immune condition. Whatever your motivation for beginning this process, this list might be useful to keep in mind and keep that anxiety in check (especially if that’s why you’re coming in!)
1. There are a hundred reasons to seek guidance in healthy living, and not one of them is a better reason than any other. YOUR reason is valid, and very important. Have a general idea of your trajectory in this process of finding, gaining, or recovering health. Keep in mind: a) where you’ve been, perhaps at a very challenging point, b) where you are now, and c) where you’d like to be. If this is hard, imagine that you’re telling a story and give yourself full permission to be imaginative with the possibilities of where you could go!
2. Be your own post-it-note! Write down the things that you want to be sure to address as reminders to yourself. Details that might be forgotten, or are perhaps embarassing, use a small notebook or post-it pad to remind yourself to be honest. Therapists and nutritionists are trained to ask poignant questions, but they are not passing judgment.
3. Out-Loud! If you’re nervous about describing a problem, a very useful way to begin to build comfort around honesty, is practicing! Write down what you want to share, or what you’re afraid to share (this is a good support for #2) and read it out-loud to yourself, perhaps in front of a mirror.
4. Process: Just as you grow and change, your reflections on your health will develop. You may have a very concrete goal, or you may not, but either way, this introspection is a continual process of self-awareness and gaining health. You may not notice drastic change right away (though you may), so keep trust in the process of discovery.
5. Curiosity! When we embark on any kind of journey, curiosity is a great carry-on. Though much of the subject matter you may be diving into in this reflection process may be sensitive, frightening, or unexpected, having a sense of curiosity of your own self can help to mitigate the anxiety or self-judgment that may come up. If you notice yourself reacting strongly to something in your own history, or to suggestions or responses from the professional, bring it up with them and look at your own reaction with curiosity. There is always something to gain from having an open attitude. If nothing else, you may find yourself with less anxiety.
6. As a follow-up to #5, you may expect to be asked questions that you’ve never thought about, or are surprising. You may find yourself taking closer examination of your own habits and patterns- this is a good thing! This gives you the CHOICE to change; and that’s why you’ve come, right?
Do you have any other questions about seeing a professional for mental health and nutritional guidance? Or do you have any advice for others? Leave comments below, and we’ll be sure to address them!