"Comparison always takes. It never gives. It tends to creep up when we least expect it --even when things are going well. Actually, mostly when things are going well."
Comparison is never on the invitation list. We don't welcome it with open arms. We don't want it around. We try to limit our interaction with it as much as possible. Comparison feels like a pit in your stomach. A race in your mind that you can never win. A belief that you can't get rid of. A fear that rests in the front of your mind, like a stranger waiting outside your door, knocking until you gather enough courage to open and see what she wants.
Comparison always takes. It never gives. It tends to creep up when we least expect it --even when things are going well. Actually, mostly when things are going well.
So what can we do with comparison? It's easy to fall in the mind and body trap when you answer Comparison at your door. It's hard to scroll through Instagram without comparing ourselves to the countless people who seem to have it "all" -- or at least seemingly more than you.
Our minds tell us that we aren't good enough in many areas. Not limited to body image, parenting, dating, relationships, work, marriage, finances, cars, friends, and travel. Many categories scroll through our mind faster than our fingers on the news feed. Remember that there are countless opportunities that Comparison will pound down the door to your mind, but there are things we can do to ease the pit of comparison that rests in our stomachs or our chests and the countless thoughts that it brings with it.
When thinking of comparison, please remember it is a HUMAN condition. It is biologically necessary that we compare ourselves (at least, it was mostly important in caveman days) as a mean of survival. What is not necessary is letting comparison lead to shame and by being attentive to your thoughts and actively working to acknowledge and modify them, we can decrease the voice of the inner critic and build higher self-compassion.
Robin Helget, LSCSW, CPT
"It helps her to feel confident, increasing her self-esteem yet continuing to struggle with the underlying self-deprecation." - Allison kidd
What do you picture when you hear the word “depressed”? Often the responses are stereotypical: someone crying all the time, can’t get out of bed, hygiene is lacking, unable to maintain relationships, and the visualization continues. She looks “fine” is what we tell ourselves and each other.
She looks put together. Her hair is done, makeup pristine, outfit polished. She doesn’t show up in sweats, looking a mess. The thing is, she thinks that if she looks the part, she’ll feel it. Sometimes this works. It helps her to feel confident, increasing her self-esteem yet continuing to struggle with the underlying self-deprecation.
She looks social. She goes out with friends, participates in school activities, attends family gatherings, converses with coworkers, goes to community events. She isn’t that girl sitting in her room crying like we might expect. She thinks that if she’s surrounded by others, she’s not left to deal with her own thoughts. Her social engagement helps to distract her from the loneliness and boredom. It can be a way for her to manage her depression, gaining energy from others.
She looks happy. Her Snaps and Instagram pics show her laughing, having fun, and making jokes. She doesn’t allow others to see her raw self, because that isn’t as appealing to others. She shines her smile, portraying to everyone she’s happy. It protects her from people asking questions or worrying about her, causing her to feel more uncomfortable. At times, the flattery she receives from others hitting the button “like” helps her to feel accepted and normal.
Depression isn’t always that obvious. In fact, it often can be referred to as the “invisible illness”. Just because she looks happy on the outside, doesn’t mean she feels that way on the inside, or even all the time. People that experience depression are often very careful to hide their feelings, putting a mask on to protect themselves.
We then tell ourselves, "If she doesn’t look depressed, then she must not really be". How can you recognize if someone is struggling with depression?
Allison Kidd, LSCSW works with teens to help reframe their negative thought processes, increase motivation, and find hope for change. Studies say that 15-20% of teens will experience depression before adulthood and depression can worsen if not treated. Now is the time to start working towards looking and feeling happy.
Expectations can lead to disappointment. What we often fail to do is live life in the middle of it. We are so focused on the end goal that we MISS the life! - ROBIN HELGET
Our realities are formed by the thoughts of how life should be in our head.
The thoughts in our head can make or break us. For years, many of my clients and practically everyone I've had an honest conversation with, have struggled with something I call the “inner critic” or for some, “inner demons”. This critic is the voice that tells you how things could be better, creates expectations of how life or circumstances should be, or tells you that you are consistently missing the mark. It tells you that you can’t yet rest or be happy because you have to get “there” first--wherever “there” may be.
This critic is often a primary player in depression, anxiety, and trauma. If we listen to it long enough, the words of the critic start to become our truth. We believe what the critic tells us so much that we become unsatisfied with our lives and constantly beat ourselves up for making small mistakes, eating the cookie, yelling at our kids, or snapping at our significant others.
Have you ever been really excited about something? Something that you have been looking forward to for a long time? Maybe it was an event, a date, seeing a person or saving and buying an item. Or, maybe it was getting married, buying a house, having a baby. You created so much hype around this particular thing, envisioning what it would be like, how you would feel, and what you maybe would say. However, you quickly found yourself disappointed or frustrated. This was going to make you so happy! So why do you feel worse than you did before?
Expectations can lead to disappointment. What we often fail to do is live life in the middle of it. We are so focused on the end goal: of the event, of the day, of the baby, of the man, of the marriage, of the house, of the job, of the life--that we MISS the life! Focusing on the destination often leads to lack of fulfillment. Why?
Robin Helget, LMSW, CPT
Millennial Therapist & Coach
"The more I begin to know, the more I realize HOW LITTLE I know." - Robin Helget
A few weeks ago, I met with a new colleague who is quickly becoming a good friend, Dr. Michael Brown with Nature's Path. During our existentialist conversation, he told me of this study where a scientist looked at the molecules of water. Now, typically, I would have zoned out at the word "molecules", but as he began explaining, he shared that this Japanese scientist took images of the molecules of water as they were freezing. I know what you're thinking, "Ok, so?"
He explained more in that when the scientist, Masaru Emoto, put words next to the water such as "Love", "Evil", "Grace", "Discomfort", etc., the water molecules photographed completely different. When he played Mozart compared to rap music compared to hip-hop, the molecules looked completely different.
Research suggests that our thoughts are physically impacting the brain. We know these thoughts impact how feel, but Emoto suggests that our thoughts are impacting every single thing in our life, including the water we drink and ingest. I know, I know. Mind. Blown. Need more information? I did too.
To see photographs of these images, please visit www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html
Our world is compromised of 70% water. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60%. Water is all around us. If our words, our thoughts, and our prayers or actions can impact something so complex like a water molecule, wouldn't our brains be impacted? Wouldn't it matter how we think or how we respond to other people?
What does this mean to me?
The more I begin to know, the more I realize how little I know.
Everything interacts with each other. Our words are powerful. This test has been done in multiple languages from multiple water sources, and the results are the same.
We are bigger influences on people and ourselves than we think.
Do good things.
Robin Helget, LMSW, CPT
"Most of life is showing up. you do the best you can, which varies day by day." - regina brett
I want you to know they are not alone. I am here to connect: to hear your story and to help support you through the highs and lows of life.
As a counselor, I have the honor of being present with the hesitations, the fear, the need for answers and guidance in your first session. I also see the bravery, courage and self-belief gained through being vulnerable and sharing your story. I’m full of gratitude each time someone shows up because it means an opportunity to connect and see the world through a new set of eyes. It shows me that my clients believe in themselves, or they wouldn't be brave enough to show up in the first place.
A note to my future client...
Thank you for showing up.
I feel your exhaustion.
Take a breath...in...out. You are not alone. Your courage does not go unnoticed.
I look forward to working together,
Counseling Intern, Level 2
"as a society, we have to shift our perspective when things are rough to 'i am hurting and that's okay' from 'i'm broken and no one will love me'." - Robin helget
For the last week, I have been trying to gather my thoughts into something that would be helpful for the public regarding the recent passing of Kansas City native Kate Spade and soon following, Anthony Bourdain. There are many directions I could take this blog post. As a child therapist, I thought about taking it to what conversations to have with your kids. As an adult therapist, I thought about taking it to talking about mental health and continuing the fight to end mental health stigma by simply being honest about how you're doing within your family and friend groups. However, as a young professional, I decided to take it another way.
We are dying of loneliness.
In a world of connection, we are completely disconnected from the things that bring fulfillment to our lives. We are the richest, strongest and most resourceful we have ever been in America, yet we are the most unhappy group of humans thus far. Everything that we have been told to work for, milestones reached, or the number on our bank statements have been check boxes on a list that our culture has prescribed for us. Though, like many prescriptions, this one prescription doesn't work for everyone. It provides temporary solutions at times but only rids us of symptoms and does nothing to the underlying cause for the symptoms: loneliness, disconnection, and fear of not being accepted.
Depression yields the type of loneliness that you may think of when hearing the word; however, it also yields feeling alone within yourself. We may be surrounded by groups of people and feel like the only person in the room. Disconnection, too, yields this kind of loneliness.
Every human longs for connection. We want to be heard, liked, loved, a part of the group, and in the process of this, we learn scripts on how we should behave, how we should feel, and what we should be doing to fit in, so when we experience something that may threaten this connection to others, we disengage. We may isolate. We may hold secrets. We may be fearful to show what we are experiencing because we are afraid of the response of others.
We have it all together.
At least, that's what we show in public. For example, no one knows that while posting the most recent glamour shot, the working from home picture, the going out on Friday with friends picture, all were posted while underneath the covers finding the perfect filter and forming the perfect caption that would let the world know how awesome my life is and how secure I am.
They have it all together.
At least, that's what we think when scrolling through social media accounts and seeing the person next to us in the stop light in the recently washed Range Rover. That's what everyone said about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. No one was looking at the person underneath the portrayed masks that were shown on their brand or television shows. Did anyone know Kate's attempt at coping with depression with alcohol? Did anyone see the pain between Anthony's jokes and sense of humor?
Like many other people who we deem "have it all", both Kate and Anthony suffered in silence. As powerhouses in their fields, a "boss babe", a mother, a husband, a father, a sister, a magnificent chef, an icon, an entrepreneur, a do-it-aller: Kate and Anthony did what many of us do daily: we wake up, put on our fake clothes and fake smiles, get in the fake cars and go through the motions.
As a society, we have to shift our perspective when things are difficult in our lives from "I'm broken and no one will love me" to "I am hurting, and that's okay." To understand that we are not broken because we have had a string of bad days or can't get out of bed or because we've suffered a gut-wrenching trauma is the biggest power we can have over our lives. When working with people, I believe it's fundamental that we, as humans, are showing others and living our lives to teach the following:
1. It's okay to not be okay.
You know the conversations that go like this:
"Hey! How are you doing?"
"I'm good! How are you?"
"I'm fine! Thanks for asking."
We're all guilty here. Either we've been the culprit of always saying "I'm good" or "I'm fine" or my personal favorite, "I've been good! Just really busy!" or we've accepted the answer from others as truth. Somewhere between the messages we've received and our experiences, we've come to believe that not being okay--not saying "I'm fine" or "good"--makes us a burden to others.
Challenge: Check the facts and your perspective bias. We are the most important people in our worlds. Because of this, we see things only from our lens. If you think you have no friends to talk to because everyone else "has it all together", ask yourself, "Have they really never been through hardship? Are they really incapable of understanding where I'm coming from or is it my fear from stopping me?" Do you generally help people when asked? If your friend came to you with the same problem, would you think they are a burden? Doubtfully. People, in general, like helping each other--like connecting with each other.
2. Real connection is a vital part to the human experience.
It's imperative to our well-being that we have relationships with others. Although we are constantly connected online, this is not real connection. Connection is sitting down with someone to have coffee, to get to know someone else. Connection is sharing beliefs, experiences, hardships, wins, and values. Connection is knowing you are not alone and that you have others to do life with. It's being loved and liked for your authentic self--for who you really are--not just what you show others.
Challenge: Put your phone down. When waiting for a bus, for a doctor's appointment, in the grocery line, make an effort to create a conversation with people. Life is happening all around you. You are more surrounded with people than you think. Make yourself open to communicate with those around you, and you will likely be met with acceptance, not resistance.
3. You are not alone.
No matter who you are or what you are going through, there are always going to be the people who are going to have judgments around it. One of the most vulnerable and brave things we can do is show others our true selves, while the fear of being judged or rejected for these selves lurks in the background like a stranger in the shadows. These judgments are from those who may not understand what you are going through and have no idea how to appropriately respond, from those who have been through it but don't want to show vulnerability themselves, or from those who are incapable of empathy. The judgments are not a direct implication of you--it's of them. Remember that everyone else is doing the same thing as you: walking around with the pretty masks on, pretending, hiding, and faking. They are likely experiencing or going through something you are, but sometimes you have to be the first one to show vulnerability. Often times, you will be met with support..with words of "me too" or "I understand"...with words, more importantly of, "You are not alone."
To the hopeless: there is a way out of the darkness.
To the lonely: someone understands.
To the brokenhearted: it does get better.
To the grieving: it's ok to have happy moments.
To the suicidal: you & your life matter.
To those who've lost a loved one to suicide: it's ok to hurt.
Compassion is not a political thing. It's not a religious thing. It's not an industry thing or mental wellness thing. It's a human thing. Be kind to one another. Have authentic conversations. Tell people how you feel. Be willing to listen. Don't just read this and think "Oh that's a great idea" - do it. And when you do, post on social media about it so that others know they are cared for, loved, and that kindness does exist with the hashtag #dogoodkansascity
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at:
Robin Helget, LMSW, CPT
Millennial Life Coach & Therapist
For more articles written by Robin, click here.
Too often, we wish we would have done something but didn’t make the time. Now is your chance to truly have a rewarding summer, full of purpose and accomplishment.
It’s that time of year again! The weather is warming up, school is winding down, and teens are excitedly awaiting their summer. For many teens, summer plans include sleeping in, going to the pool with friends, less responsibilities, and less stress. Although this can be a great time to relax and recuperate from an overwhelming school year, the decreased structure and social connection can bring a variety of unwanted feelings. Many teens face a real challenge in the summer, especially for those experiencing depression.
Too much free time: When a teen doesn’t have the external expectations and structure that school provides, they have all that time to THINK. For those with depressive symptoms, their negative thoughts lead to distorted beliefs that they “don’t have a purpose”. These thoughts can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, shame, and anger. School provides teens a sense of purpose and opportunity to feel accomplished on a daily basis.
Isolation: With all this free time, teens are more likely to isolate from family and friends. They get in a habit of watching tv, being alone, and closing themselves off from social activities. It’s often easier, and safer, in their minds to be alone. Although the school setting can create conflict and stress with peers, it also provides them the opportunity to check their negative thoughts with reality and make healthy comparisons with their peers.
Lack of stimulation: We all know that the school year can be overstimulating for many teens, especially those with anxiety and depression. The benefit to these social engagements is that it allows their attention and focus to be distracted from their negative thoughts and feelings. They may not always enjoy being stimulated in a classroom but can create healthy stimulation for themselves in the summer.
Structure and social connection are extremely important to continue throughout the summer to combat this. There are many ways that teens can continue to implement what school provides in a healthy and desirable way.
If you need help creating structure or want to focus on combating those negative thoughts during your downtime, I encourage you to reach out. Summer is a great time to work through your anxiety or depression and learn new skills to support you now and in the next school year.
Allison Kidd, LSCSW, LMAC
"IT is helpful for teens to hear from others that they have similar issues and this normalizes the challenges that they face, allowing them to not feel alone, feel more accepted with their peers, and feel a relief in being able to share about their struggles." - allison kidd
Let's start by answering the question I know you have: what is group therapy?
Group therapy is typically a psychoeducational group where skills are taught and then discussed and applied to each group members own life. Psychoeducational groups are where a clinician (therapist, counselor, social worker) brings together a group of individuals who have similar concerns and teaches them skills. This can include coping skills to help them manage difficult situations in a positive, healthy way. They can be social skills to learn about boundaries, communication, and practice them in a safe environment. Some groups focus specifically on anxiety, depression, grief and loss, or life transitions. The overall goal in group therapy is to help individuals better understand their self and have a deeper understanding of feelings, behaviors, and reactions.
Group therapy can be a very rewarding experience for those attending and participating. When teens engage, they practice giving and receiving support from peers. This can lead to hope, inspiration, encouragement, and validation. It also teaches empathy, which is important for this age group! Group therapy provides:
The key to group therapy is regular attendance and participation. In order to get the most from the experience, it’s important to contribute. When you share your thoughts and experiences, others may find this to be meaningful to them. In turn, helping others will help you too.
What’s the difference between group and individual therapy?
Please visit our website here to view a list of groups currently at Resolve.
Allison Kidd, LSCSW, LMAC
We all know the feeling that our furry friends bring us when we come home to them: they rush to the door, smother us in kisses, and suddenly any bad thing that happened in our day is gone simply by their incomparable presence. What you may not know is that your companion may qualify to be registered as an Emotional Support Animal for you! Let me give you the quick 411 on having an “ESA” in your life…
What is an ESA?
Also called an assistance animal, an ESA is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability.
What animals qualify for an ESA?
An emotional support animal can be any type of animal that serves as a companion to you, and can provide comfort or relief to any of your symptoms accompanying your mental disability. Although dogs are the most popular registered emotional support animals, there’s no reason your cat, bird, lizard, etc. cannot serve as your support, as long as you can prove their companionship brings a form of relief to your symptoms.
Who qualifies to have an ESA?
Anyone with an identified and diagnosed mental disability qualifies to have an emotional support animal.
Some of these diagnoses could include, but are not limited to :
Where is your ESA qualified to go?
Unlike a registered service dog, an ESA does not have open access to public places as many would think, however, there are some surprising places that an ESA is appropriate to take. Like an airplane! According to Service Dog Certification, Delta Airlines had over 250,000 emotional support animals fly with them last year! Additional to flying, an ESA qualifies to live within a home or apartment that has a “no pet” policy.
Your ESA is even approved to stay with you in a hotel when they’re officially registered!
How does your companion become an ESA?
You must be certified as emotionally disabled by a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist,
or other duly-licensed and/or certified mental health professional via a formal and appropriately
formatted letter on the professional’s agency letterhead.
Ensure that your letter contains the following:
The use of an ESA is growing substantially as people are learning all of the benefits that come from having a comforting companion by their side. Recently, even Uber has been working to incorporate ESA regulations within the rides that they offer! If after reading this article you feel that you would benefit
from having an ESA, be sure to talk to your mental health provider today! Comfort may be closer than you knew!
How to Qualify for An Emotional Support Animal. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2018, from
https://www.servicedogcertifications.org/how-to- qualify-for- an-emotional- support-animal
Counseling Intern, Level 1
“You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you.”
You’ve had a tough, long day at work. You’re driving home and envisioning walking in the door, leaving the stress of the day at the door, and having dinner ready on the table. But when you walk in, no one has started preparing dinner. Your chest immediately tightens; your patience disappears, and your anger rises.
Expectations are powerful.
We plan out the future in our minds and create viable options for whichever scenario unfolds. Expectations are a method of comforting ourselves and creating a false sense of control over an unknown situation. However, when our expectations aren’t met, we’re often left with disappointment, resentment, sadness, and anger – the infamous feelings that give expectations such a bad reputation.
We’ve all heard the phrases “don’t get your hopes up” and “if you don’t have any expectations, you won’t be disappointed.” Another common one is “should”: “I should have eaten better today” or “I should be able to handle all of this.” Each of these phrases sends the following false messages about expectations:
But what if the problem didn’t lie in the expectation itself, but rather in how we were dealing with it?
We can’t change our brain’s ability to create expectations, but we can change what we do with them and how much power we give them. Instead of avoiding expectations out of fear, we can focus on learning how to better manage our expectations and use them in a positive, constructive, and healthy manner.
Resolve Counseling & Wellness