***Disclaimer - I'm sharing a shortened version of my story here, to explain how great this help was for me, when I needed it most**
2020 sucked. I don't think there will be too much argument there. For our family however, we managed in 2020. Besides so much uncertainty and the inability to work, we were doing ok for the most part.
2021 was when things hit hard for us in mutiple ways. From all directions. Relentlessly it seemed.
Personally, I have never been through so much stress and anxiety. I felt out of control of my emotions and definitely didn't feel in control of my present or future. I felt like I was being punished for working hard and trying to provide a good life for my family. I felt like life had attacked me head on.
Ironically, I had begun my Sleep, Stress Management and Recovery Coaching Certification course in late 2021. It was perfect timing in the sense that it was a brand new and incredibily relevant and relatable course, due to the times we were all living.
Within that course, there was a stress questionnaire in one of the chapters. It utilizes an adaptation of the stress inventory created by Holmes & Rahe, which has been used since 1967. This questionnaire has you answer questions and gives you a final score and stress rating. The scoring is as follows:
150 points or less = Relatively low level stress
150-300 points = Moderate amount of stress.
300 points or more = High stress. Odds of having a major health event in the next 2-years from cumulative stress is approximately 80% (without actively working to reduce stress levels / manage stress).
My score in early February 2022 was; 642
Now THAT stressed me even more!! I believed it since I had never experienced this (constant) feeling of anxiety and stress over this amount of time. It just wouldn't let go. Added to that was the fact that I had just turned 40 years old in early February. A new decade. The physiology is changing again. Something different was needed in order to help manage what's going on mentally and emotionally.
But what!? In nearly 2-years, we had worked a total of 1-year due to the pandemic lockdowns/restrictions. How can I (or anyone) afford a therapist at $120+ per hour to help!? I was willing to talk to someone or do what I needed to to help me through these times, but I couldn't afford it. My next step immediately after completing my Holmes & Rahe questionnaire was to Google "Therapy for people who can't afford it". The very first thing that popped up was:
Funded by the Ontario government, this virtual therapy program is a FREE 12-week virtual therapy program. I immediately clicked on it. I proceeded to fill in the extensive questionnaire (about 10-15min). From there, you'll be approved and contacted by a professional therapist who is matched with you based on your struggles. Communication is done via their app/online in messaging format (however they will call if it is necessary). Your therapist will provide not only communication back and forth but also modules/homework for you as well to read, practice and discuss together. For those who type slowly, don't worry, it's not in "real time". Often my therapist, Katy was a day or two to respond. However, this allowed me to feel no pressure to dive into my homework at any specific time. It was a very comfortable process.
Once approved, I could see Katy's professional profile. She sounded like exactly the therapist I needed. What impressed me most was that you knew from her first message that this was not an automated response or robot on the other end. She had clearly read my assessment / questionnaire, and I truly had my own therapist on my team.
Over my 12-weeks, I opened up to Katy about a ton of struggles. The back and forths we had was fantastic. I always felt like she was truly on my team, to help me better understand and work through these internal struggles. Throughout the process, Katy helped me understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling and of course gave me tools to help manage my stress and anxiety. Nothing was ever promised to magically go away. It takes effort, time and understanding. But, the amazing thing is, when you put in the work and have discussions with your therapist, you begin to regain control of your emotions again.
This program helped me understand the massive amount of loss I had suffered over a few years span (going back to my injury that caused me to retire from the sport I love in late 2018). The pandemic brought so much more loss (not just in terms of 'death' of people you know and care about, but the loss of so much more in everyday life). It very quickly helped me realize why I was feeling so out of control and lost.
Without going any deeper into my story (although I'm happy to share with anyone if you have any questions or curiousities);
Do I feel this program is for everyone? No. Not everyone will be ok with the typing idea in this style of therapy. But I highly recommend at the very least looking into it!
Do I feel this program is worth it? 200% yes!
Like anything my clients get in my health coaching, their physio, chiropractor etc... It's a team effort. If you don't put in the time, energy and work into helping yourself get better; you won't. If you DO put in that work that's recommended and you communicate, ask questions and put in your best effort, the program will do wonders for your mental health.
I can't say enough good things about MindBeacon and how it helped me through the toughest time of my first 40 years of life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, anxiety or other facets of mental health, visit www.mindbeacon.com Like anything I work with with my clients the past two decades; You can't wish health upon yourself. You need to take action!