This was my first therapy appointment, I came with the following concerns/questions:

  • How do I track my progress as I work to improve my mental health?
  • Why am I not finding enjoyment/purpose in my work anymore?
  • What are some techniques I can use to handle my anger?
  • What do I do to enjoy family time without it feeling like a hassle?
  • My anxiety is getting worse lately, what might be causing it and how do I manage it?
  • What can I do to enjoy the journey instead of always focusing on my next goal?

I was given the following suggestions of free apps to track my mental health progress:

Both my wife and I tried Finch, it seemed similar to Pokémon or Tamagotchi. It was a gamification way to take care of your finch/pet by tracking your mental health, mood and goals. Both my wife and I felt it was created/targeted for people younger than us, we did not really get into it and after about a week we both gave up on it. I have not tried the other apps my therapist recommended yet but I might in the future.

I also was suggested to read “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I put it on hold from my library and I plan to read it when I do. They suggested this book because it talks about ways to find purpose/meaning which is something I have been struggling with. In the course of talking through this in my session I came up with the following nugget:

Purpose does not come from my work, it comes from me.

As an introvert who does coding for my profession I have had a long time belief that I don’t need any friends and that interacting with people socially is too mentally taxing for me. As we talked I was reminded that growing up I had friends built into my environment so I never really had to focus on building or making friends/relationships. I am one of 9 kids so I always had “friends” in my siblings. While growing up my older brother was always really good about including me whenever he was playing with his friends. My mom also ran a daycare so there were always kids at our house to play with. I also had cousins that lived close and went to the same school as me so we would play often as well. I never had to try to make or build friends/relationships. In middle school/ high school I joined the ballroom dance team and my teammates became my friends. So all through high school I had a close knit friend group built in. I then went to college and being the shy/introvert I am I did not reach out or make friends with my classmates. I thought I had my girlfriend to hang out with so I did not need any friends. Once I got married, I continued to build on my belief that my wife could meet all of my social/friend/romantic needs. As my therapist and I talked about this they helped me to realize the following two nuggets:

I need friends, they are not built in anymore so I need to put forth effort to make them.

It is impossible for my spouse to fill all of my needs.

In conclusion I feel like this was a very useful and productive session. I came with questions and was willing to learn and work to improve myself. Having a third party (my therapist) to talk to about to get different perspectives on my situation helped me to see them without my own bias/filter. They were also able to provide me with new information/ resources to help me on my mental health journey. I am excited to make progress and feel better about my mental state.

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