Counseling Storytime: How I Survived During My Darkest Year

NOTE: This is the second part of a two-part blog. Please read well and learn.

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In less than a month of marriage, I found out that my new wife, Joan, was a kleptomaniac. She took money from my sister right under our noses and pretended to help us look for it. If not for the CCTV camera in the restaurant we were at, no one would have found out about it.

As the CCTV footage was playing, everyone got so quiet. I was holding my breath myself because I hoped that doing so would make the scene on the screen seem unreal. Even the security personnel did not open his mouth and did not meet anyone’s gaze. After all, we brought the thief with us. brought her with us.

Then, my sister Elle broke the silence.

“All right. I know we all saw the same thing, but perhaps there’s another explanation for it. Maybe Joan thought that was her bag?” Elle uttered carefully.

Hearing that made me want the ground to open under my wheelchair so I could fall into an abyss. I felt ashamed, angry, and guilty at the same time. I could not believe that behind my wife’s gorgeousness was an ugly and unacceptable habit. And neither my family nor I deserved that.

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My wife excused herself during all the commotion because she was apparently getting a call from her parents in Sweden. When we met her at the lobby, she still feigned concern over what happened. I did not know how she could act like that – like she genuinely cared. The rest of my family was so awkward and did not know what to tell Joan, so I felt the need to break the news.

To everyone’s surprise, Joan tried to deny it. She said the CCTV footage must have been edited or that someone must have framed her. Joan kept making excuses, but the more she talked, the more my love and respect for her diminished.

I did not go home that night with Joan. I booked a hotel room for her so I could think about my next steps. My sister was willing to look past the situation and move on as nothing happened, but I could not do that. How could I be happy with someone who broke my family’s trust and showed no remorse over what she did?

Getting Divorced

I contacted a divorce lawyer the following day. I realized I did it with a not-so-heavy heart – one indication that I made the right choice. After that, I visited Joan in her hotel room to break up with her officially.

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I was hurt when Joan acted all confrontational instead of feeling sad or sorry. She said, “You have the nerve to divorce me when I agreed to marry you despite your disability. Is this your way of thanking me for that? If that’s what you want, then you need to give me alimony for life.”

Joan surprised me for the third time in less than 24 hours – and not in a good way. “We have not been married for long, and you already did the unthinkable to my family. I will make sure that you will get a single cent from me ever,” I uttered as calmly as possible.

That was the last time that Joan and I spoke as a couple. The jury initially wanted us to go through marriage counseling to resolve our issues, but I made my case clear, so they did not push it. I also had that CCTV footage ready to show why I could no longer stay married to Joan and why she did not deserve alimony. Our legal battle went on for almost a year, but the heavens must still be looking after me as our divorce was finalized in my favor.

How Did I Survive All That?

It was not on my own, of course. My family supported my decision when I made it clear that I would not stand beside someone who would commit a crime towards them, regardless of how petty it might be. The amount that Joan stole was easy to earn, but my trust would forever be broken.

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I also met a counselor during the divorce process. I felt myself spiraling down, and I did not want to get depressed over what’s happening in my life. The counselor helped me evaluate and organize my emotions to express them in a way that would not harm me or anybody else.

In truth, this two-part blog is the result of my counseling sessions. The counselor encouraged me to express myself through words, but she chose to do it in any form. I decided to write about the darkest year in my life, hoping that my life experience would be a teachable story for anyone who found themselves in the middle of a crossroad.

Final Thoughts

I admire people who choose their spouses over their snooty relatives. We all deserve a shot at true love, and we should not have to give that up because our family members do not support our decision.

However, in my case, it was the other way around. My family welcomed the love of my life and was willing to overlook her petty theft for my sake. If you experience something remotely similar to that, choose your family over your partner because only the former cares for you.

Counseling Storytime: I Married The Wrong Woman

It was a cold, lonely night at the park when I met Joan. She was a tall woman with golden locks, porcelain skin, and a body that others would die to have. I did not pay attention to her too much when I saw her from a distance because… well, I never had any luck with someone that gorgeous before.

I am an amputee, you see. My legs had to be cut off clean when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded during one of my duties as an army soldier in Afghanistan. They could have been saved if I got treated them immediately. Alas, we were hours away from the medics when it happened, so the doctors had no choice but to amputate my legs and send me home.

Had my new situation ever depressed me? Technically, no. It occurred while I was serving my country; it felt like a better way to lose my legs than by having them sawed off due to a disease. At least, I arrived back in the US as a hero, and then I got to get my bachelor’s degree and open my restaurant.

Dating

The only thing that made me sad one too many times was that it became extremely challenging to find a woman who would want to date me. Thus, I’m pulling the topic back to that eventful night.

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I was deep in my thoughts in front of the artificial river when someone fake-coughed behind me. When I looked around, I saw that same gorgeous woman smiling at me. After exchanging names and pleasantries, Joan sat down next to me for a chat.

Joan was funny and insightful, so I did not notice that we had been talking until midnight. We would have stayed there until the morning if the park keepers did not ask us to leave so that they could clean the entire place. On our way out, I took a chance and asked for Joan’s number. She approached me first and did not seem to mind my disability, so I thought – hoped – that I had a shot with her.

Sadly, Joan replied, “As much as I want to continue communicating with you, my work visa will expire in less than a month. I will have to go back to Sweden, so we may not meet again.”

That stumped me. Sweden would be easy to visit, but long travels were a bit troublesome in my current physical state. Still, I insisted on staying in touch with Joan and seeing her again for the remainder of her time in the country.

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So, Joan and I met every day in the next few weeks. We would go on dates everywhere and get to know each other better. Soon enough, I found myself falling in love with her.

On Joan’s last week in the US, we were both sad and quiet because of her impending departure. Then, one night, it just occurred to me to ask for her hand in marriage so she could stay here for good. I was super nervous as I planned my proposal, but I became the happiest man on earth when she said yes. We got married at a chapel and fixed her papers the next day.

Marriage And Family

I honestly believed that Joan and I would live happily ever after. We settled her documentation first, which was a breeze. Once that’s done, I finally brought my new bride to my childhood home so that she could meet my parents and two older sisters.

That’s when things began to unravel. My family was initially shocked about my rash decision, but I explained that I did it out of love, so they forgave me at once. My sisters tried everything to make Joan feel welcomed, and I was glad to see Joan seemingly getting along with them.

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When we went home that night, though, my new wife could not stop talking about my sisters’ gold accessories. She was like, “Did you see that 5-carat diamond on Elle’s finger? Oh, my!” or “I love Cece’s necklace! Where do you think she got that?”

I did not think much about it, but it made me want to buy all those things for Joan. A few days later, though, the entire family was out for lunch because my eldest sister, Elle, wanted to celebrate our wedding. Elle was old-fashioned, so she always brought cash everywhere instead of a credit card.

We were all having fun and making jokes when Elle rummaged in her bag for the money and came up with half the amount she brought. It was enough to cover our bill, but everyone panicked because $1,000 was still too much to lose, no matter how rich you might be.

The entire family began looking everywhere. We eventually informed the staff about it as my sister insisted that she had the money when we all sat down. Luckily for Elle, there was a CCTV camera close to us, and the manager invited us to their security room to see the footage. Unfortunately for me, the video showed my new wife reaching into my sister’s bag while chatting away and then bundling it up and putting it in her back pocket.

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So, as it turned out, I married the wrong person.

 

NOTE: Please be informed that this is the first part of a two-part blog. Stay tuned to know how the matter got resolved.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Online Therapy For Someone With Disability

As someone who has a disability, my everyday life is different from the majority. I have special needs that usual human beings don’t. I deal with life differently.

Most of the time, it’s much harder for me than for everyone else. The regular tasks for others require me some specialized tools and equipment to accomplish. Walking, for one, is a tedious task for me. I can’t do it without my crutches or someone assisting me. It gets even more challenging when I have to climb a flight of stairs or traverse a significant distance. And it’s just one among the long list of things that I find challenging to do.

Living with a disability is not easy. Not to mention that the limitations brought about by the physical disability is a challenge for my mental health. It continually gives me undue stress and anxiety, so I decided to seek professional help.

But with my disability, going to regular therapy is a struggle for me. So I designed a therapy that works for me, which is online therapy. Thankfully, there are numerous options for online therapy nowadays. Each platform provides unique services and payment plans. This article allows me to share with you some useful information about online treatments and how it works.

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Is online therapy legit?

Online therapy is legit and can be similarly effective when compared to face-to-face treatment. This type of therapy works best for treating depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers discovered that the cognitive behavioral therapy conducted online was effective for patients who struggled with an anxiety disorder.

What is the best online therapy site?

BetterHelp is the best in providing a comfortable virtual environment for online therapy. It employs licensed professionals to conduct sessions. A questionnaire helps match you with a compatible therapist to support you. BetterHelp allows you to message your therapist anytime and schedule online live chat sessions at the most convenient time for you.

Is there any free online therapy?

There are support groups and nonprofit organizations that provide free online therapy. You can also find support groups online that include religious groups, teenage forums, and online communities. However, it is essential to note that these may not provide you with the appropriate treatment that your situation requires. For the best results, we suggest seeking help from those who are licensed and professionals.

What is the cheapest online therapy?

BetterHelp offers a weekly subscription of $60-$80 for clients who may not afford their monthly subscription but wants to seek help from a therapist. They provide tailored therapy for your condition. BetterHelp provides a flexible schedule, which means you can have your treatment on a time and day that works best for you.

Which is better, Talkspace or BetterHelp?

Both companies have their benefits. Talkspace has available psychiatry services to refer you to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications immediately if needed. You no longer have to source a psychiatrist on your own.

Meanwhile, BetterHelp’s strength is that they offer unlimited messaging 5x a week and conduct live video calls if they request one. BetterHelp also offers phone therapy for clients who have a weak internet connection. Also, their therapy is best for individuals, teenagers, and couples.

Is BetterHelp worth the money?

BetterHelp is almost like face to face sessions, although it’s virtual. An added advantage is that, compared to face-to-face services, you can opt to maintain your anonymity throughout the therapy. It is also convenient and affordable, and they ensure that the security of their platforms. The therapists are capable of giving valuable insights to help you understand your feelings and yourself better.

In general, therapy and mental health services are worth it. It helps you rewire and retrain your brain’s cognitive responses as it processes your emotional reactions to stimuli regarding your dealings with other people, events, and how you handle situations effectively.

Is Talkspace expensive?

Traditional face to face consultations costs more than online mental health services since they range from $25 up to $250 per appointment. Talkspace only charges $25 a week, with unlimited appointments for five days a week.

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How do I choose an online therapist?

When choosing an online therapist, it is always best to ensure that the service you are going to sign up for is 100% legit. Research and read the reviews online and listen to what your gut tells you. It is also crucial that you feel comfortable with your chosen therapist. If you are feeling any discomfort, you should request a different therapist for your next appointment.

You can also ask your friends and family about online therapists that they have previously worked with. Often, it is easier to trust the recommendations of those that you know.

Is 7 cups therapy free?

The online community of 7 Cups is free for everyone, especially those interested in participating in peer groups. However, if you would like to talk to a licensed therapist, they have available plans suitable for your budget and needs. They have a monthly plan, an annual plan, a two-year plan, and if you think you need an on-call therapist for life, they have a plan for that too.

Are 7 cups of tea safe?

The 7 Cups of Tea online service is not only safe, but it is also legit and highly recommended by its users. The good thing with 7 Cups is that you can choose to be anonymous, and you don’t need to disclose any personal information. You have the option to share only what is comfortable with you.

How much is Talkspace monthly?

Talkspace has subscription plans that can be billed monthly, quarterly, or annually. Their Plus monthly subscription costs $260, Premium monthly subscription at $316, Ultimate monthly subscription at $396. The good thing with Talkspace is that insurance providers now cover it. You may check out their page to know if your provider is covered.

What can I do instead of therapy?

If you are not comfortable engaging with a therapist, whether physical or online, you may do some exercises to improve your mental health. These activities can be yoga, physical and mental exercises, eating a healthy and balanced diet, meditation, etc. If you are diagnosed before and have a psychiatrist’s prescription, ensure that regularly taking your medications will surely help.

What are the 3 types of therapy?

There are more than three types of therapy. There is psychotherapy, wherein it is done by talking to a trained therapist. Pharmacotherapy wherein a psychiatrist prescribes a medication that is suitable for your diagnosis. Psychodynamic therapy wherein you will work with a licensed therapist to explore the connections between your actions and your unconscious mind.

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Can an online therapist diagnose you?

Yes, especially at the moment that there are limited physical consultations that can be done live. They can send in their diagnosis via email, discussion through phone, chat, or other means comfortable with the individual. Some therapists offer telepsychiatry services. Still, you have to be sure that your chosen therapist is licensed since only a licensed therapist can give their diagnosis when it comes to your mental health.

How do Talkspace therapists get paid?

Talkspace therapists get paid once a month. Their pay is based on the clients they took in for the month, and Talkspace also gives bonuses to their therapists depending on their performance monthly.

Online therapy is a truly convenient way for me to receive therapy. For someone with mobility issues, it allows me to talk to my therapist without leaving the comforts of my home. I can even schedule the sessions and choose the means to communicate. Luckily, technology has undoubtedly brought convenience for people like us who have disabilities. Online therapy is indeed a game-changer.

Since I started with online therapy, I noticed significant improvements in myself. My therapist has taught me healthy coping mechanisms that I get to use from time to time. Slowly, I can feel myself getting better. And I know that in time, I will be able to achieve the best quality of life.

At this point, I’m happy and proud of my progress. I would never think that I would ever see myself in such a good place. If you have been struggling with your mental health, see how online therapy can improve your life.

Our disabilities should not define us. We are more than what we can’t do. Instead, we are what we can do. It should not disable us from living our best life possible. Here’s to the best version of you yet!

 

Mental Health And Physical Disability

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Having a disability can be overwhelming in a lot of different ways. It can make us feel like we are not experiencing the world as it is and as we should be. The disabilities we are born with or we accidentally have can limit us and limit how we live our lives, and this can cause a lot of us to feel depressed. A study has shown that people who live with disabilities double their chances of developing mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Dealing With A Physically Disabled Family Member

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Family is the foundation of life and the basic unit of society which is traditionally composed of a parent and their children. It is where people usually experienced “firsts” in their lives – first joy, pain, love, and other kinds of emotions. A family can be the source of strength or weakness of an individual. It can be one’s strength because it gives the motivation to fulfill our dreams and goals in life – or weakness because it makes us down if problems are experienced by any of the family members. And one big hurdle that a family has to experience would be having a family member who has a physical disability.

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PWD, Mental Health, And COVID-19

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The World Health Organization (WHO), which is at the helm of the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, estimated about one billion people of the world’s population of about 15 percent, suffers from some form of disability. This is not an ignorable figure.

Continue reading “PWD, Mental Health, And COVID-19”

Depression And Anxiety Is Difficult Especially During This Pandemic Time

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It took me a while to realize that I have depression, even before this COVID-19 situation happened. What I experienced before was a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. I did not want to move. I did not want to wake up. I did not want to attend to my kids. I did not even like to eat, take a bath, talk to others, or just stand up. No one could talk me into moving, but my grandmother. She lives in another state and would call me – “Deng, what’s happening to you? You have little kids to take care of. C’mon. Get up.”

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Societal Discussion About The View Of Disability

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It was not long ago that people often talk so much about obesity. In some of the years way back, it is a condition that makes individuals different from the rest of the crowd. It is nothing comparable to being special because those years made it sure that being overweight is somehow an issue. However, not long after fast-food chains, junk foods, and processed foods became a hit; nobody talks about obesity as a taboo anymore. A lot of people began to understand that obesity is a lifestyle choice. But after that acceptance, society then shifted its outlook into the subject of disability. Individuals began to see it as something that is widely open to public discourse. “Physical disability reminds the able bodied of our frailty and mortality, and mental disability gives us a glimpse into the invisible yet damaging world of cognitive and emotional distress,” Ryan Howes PhD, ABPP explains.

Stigma

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with the public taking an effort in putting disability on a hot topic. But the problem is, people’s comments about a particular disability issue often cover as either a compliment or an insult. That is the reason why persons with a disability find it hard to decide how to respond and engage in a particular situation. There is no assurance that what the other people are saying is something offensive or not.

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According to Ruth M. H. Peters and co-authors, “Persons affected by leprosy or by disabilities face forms of stigma that have an impact on their lives.”People talking about disability as if it is something that takes over the world is a bit exaggerated. Real talk, society is looking at its condition as something that is unprogressive, pitiful, and burden. People telling how lucky disabled persons are for surviving their situations will never say it without thinking how they wish God forbids the condition will happen to them. See, that is how the public creates this biased concern towards those individuals with a disability. Honestly, the public can genuinely care. However, most of the time, they do it not because they see that person as equally capable as them. But instead, caring for the disabled persons often comes with pity, responsibility, and sometimes the fear of becoming one. Check out BetterHelp‘s articles about how disabled persons are treated indiferently.

Well, persons with disabilities cannot complain, right? Because instead of them trying to disregard the help, it is way much better if they accept it. People who are disabled fully understand that they need help. They understand that they need to be there for themselves because soon, people will eventually pull back from the obligation.  Therefore, the issue of portraying strength and ability is always a different side of the story. But how does the public see it? Well, the truth is, able people can choose to either give a damn or not. They can decide not to care and only talk about it when they want to discuss something related to disability. From there, individuals can get the concept that disability for these people, seems to become a choice, same as obesity. But we all know it is not.

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Society’s unacceptable view of people with disability is not something anyone of us can erase instantly. The judgments, insults, exaggeration, all of these are the growing parts of it. No one will say that they care because they feel like bothering. No one will admit that how they see and treat persons with disabilities is related to their personality. Society care for these disabled people because at the back of their minds, these individuals are and will always be “incapable.” But Elizabeth Mazur, Ph.D. seeks for societal progress, “Let living with a disability be a source of value, meaning, and pride.”

Staying Positive Despite Disability

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Being a disabled person, I always knew I was different. Having no arms and legs, things are quite different from the way I see it. I am fully aware that I cannot do things that ordinary people can because I am without limbs. I cannot run, walk, hold items with my hands, and assist myself for that matter. Regardless of that unfortunate instance, it won’t stop me from believing that life will be better someday. I always knew that the more I picture how good life is, the more I can have a better chance of living happily.

The Struggle

It is not easy to handle things with care. Quite a few times, I feel anxious about things, and I get depressed for being incapable. My emotional aspects seemed triggered because I try to set my mind to accept things exactly to be the way they are, even if it hurts deeply. I often question why things like this happen to me. But since I receive no answer, I quit complaining. Because what for? The emotional and mental torture is nothing but a burden, and I realized that I do not want that anymore. BetterHelp made me realized that I deserve to live life the way I wanted.

“The more distress there is in one’s life, the greater the impact on daily functioning and overall quality of life,” writes Mark Borigini M.D.

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The struggle of not being able to do a lot of things affects my life in a way it affects others as well. I get lonely, sad, and hurt because other people won’t stop staring at me. They believe they have the right to feel sorry for my condition. Should I thank them? Should I feel sorry for myself too? I think not. Although I fully understand that most of them mean no harm, I can help myself but to think what would it be like if things weren’t like this. No, it is not a negative mindset. I am only trying to imagine life in a better view. There are things I believe I can do my way.

“If you let yourself rail against the universe and fall into a virulent case of self-pity—become a victim – you’ll stay depressed,” writes Russell Grieger Ph.D.

You see, the thing that keeps me going is the image I have created in my mind. I have this list of things I want to do that I know I can’t. But it doesn’t matter. I still hold onto those dreams that someday I will be able to accomplish it no matter what. I might not have my arms and legs with me, but I still got my brain and my heart. So, nothing is entirely missing at some point. I can always love the people around me, and I can still manage to laugh and smile. So yes, I am still good with life.

Insight

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Having a disability is not something someone would wish to have. But if in case it happens, the only thing one should remember is how to be himself. The disability should not become him at any cost. A person must stay focused on his ability to communicate and express himself, regardless of the circumstances. As for me, I don’t like it that I am only limited to do stuff. But I don’t complain about it that much either. One thing I learned from my situation is that the less I complain, the happier I become. There are not many emotional and mental issues every time I stay positive.

“If you realize that yes, you do complain a lot and see that it is bringing down those close to you, it may be time for you to drill into the source of your own state of affairs,” writes Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.