Hi! I’m Ellie/Suzie Q, whatever you want to call me, and I am the creator of Her Sound Mind. Starting this community has been such a wonderful and rewarding experience, however it is a vulnerable experience as well. I created the pseudonym of Suzie Q because honestly, it was an extra protection layer separating my reality from this community. However, the deeper I thought about that, the more it irked me. If I am creating a community where people can feel free to be their authentic selves, shouldn’t I be participating in that? I came to the conclusion that yes, I should.

So again, Hi I’m Ellie, lover Star Wars, Psychological Thriller books and movies, positive quotes, fast food, coffee, and pretty much anything sweet! I have struggled with my mental health “officially” since middle school, however I could make a case that it has been longer. I officially started therapy when I was about 12 years old. Unfortunately, my therapist has recently needed personal time off, but I saw her until I was about 23, so about 11 years total. I began going to therapy because I had a deep fear of going to sleep at night. I was anxious something would happen (burglars, murderers, kidnappers, etc.). When I stop to think about that anxiety, it is not surprising because when you turn on the news – it can seem like that is all you hear about. It almost felt like my ears perked up when I heard about news like that, because then I could be on the lookout for my family. However, it caused my family more harm than good. I would keep them up for hours with anxiety. I would not sleepover anywhere in fear of being in a house I did not know as well.

I was lucky to have such attentive parents who saw this was a problem and addressed it. Cue, the wonderful therapist who walked in to my life. As a 12 year old, I was a bit apprehensive about starting therapy. I mean, how was that going to help me sleep better? Well lo and behold, it did . My therapist specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). For those who are unaware, Psychology Today defines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as:

A form of psychotherapy that focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts by interrogating and uprooting negative or irrational beliefs. Considered a “solutions-oriented” form of talk therapy, CBT rests on the idea that thoughts and perceptions influence behavior.

Once these thoughts or perceptions are identified as negatively influencing your life, the work to rewire your brain and change your behavior(s) begins. This is not easy, but it can be done. Little by little, we created steps to change my sleeping behavior, and the thought patterns that created my anxiety. It helped to familiarize myself with the true facts – how likely is it that someone will break in? I began to logically challenge my anxious thoughts. After the hard work was through, I was able to get better sleep and have sleepovers, which at 12 is a big deal!

What is my point? That you should all go to therapy to sleep better? No, my point is if there is something in your life that is bringing you down or a habit you cannot seem to kick, whatever it is – therapy can help! We live in an age where getting help is OKAY and in fact, healthy. It is admirable to see people working to better themselves. I have always thought if everyone in the world went to therapy, it would be a much more loving and peaceful world. It wouldn’t be perfect, but I think a lot of animosity, anger, pain, etc. would be dealt with, which can change how you feel about yourself and how you treat others. You realize you are human too. You make mistakes and that is okay, even part of the process, but what are you going to do to rectify the mistake? Work through it! It’s kind of like a knot in your back, it might not come out right away, but eventually with time, if you keep working on it, it shrinks, and voilà, it is gone! Have a great week friends!