Yep, therapy hangovers are a thing – here’s how to deal with yours

Do you tend to feel exhausted and drained after a therapy session? Read this.

It’s only when my therapy sessions come to an end that I realise how exhausting they are. Despite having been in therapy on and off for five years now, I’m still surprised by how floored I feel after most of my appointments. Often, the only thing I can face doing for the next few hours is lying on the sofa – almost as if all my daily energy has been used up over the course of one hour.

It was only when I started following more mental health influencers online, however, that I realised this was a pretty common experience. Also known as a ‘therapy hangover’, this dip in energy after a therapy session has been the subject of numerous viral tweets and Instagram posts over the last couple of years; you only need to search the words “therapy hangover” on Twitter to see what I’m talking about. 

But what is it about therapy that makes you feel so exhausted? Chance Marshall, a therapist and founding partner of the high street therapy service Self Space, says it’s all to do with the barriers we have to overcome while navigating the ups and downs of a therapy session.

“I call this sense of fatigue a kind of psychological growing pain,” he explains. “Growth is hard. Going through painful experiences is hard. Facing enormous change and adversity is hard. And going to therapy and attending to all this stuff is, unsurprisingly, hard.” 

He continues: “When we start psychotherapy, we often do it to know more about ourselves. But knowing more about ourselves is not always a comfortable process. When we discover new things about ourselves – either positive or negative – it can often feel a little bit uncomfortable and often draining. The person we knew ourselves to be is now expanded, and we have to do some mental adjustments to accommodate this new expanded view of ourselves.” 

While these side effects of therapy may sound undesirable, they’re a small price to pay for the benefits that therapy can offer – so you shouldn’t let the prospect of a therapy hangover stop you from seeking the support you need. Because taking a couple of hours out to lie on the sofa isn’t necessarily a bad thing – especially because it allows you to sit back and process the session.

Marshall says that another way to deal with a therapy hangover is to take time to reconnect with yourself and the world around you. “During a therapy hangover, you should look after yourself more than you might otherwise do. Seek out understanding rather than advice, go and stare at a tree or the sky and make time for being idle. You could even write, sing, dance, make marks on a page or journal.

“It can take time, but before long, this adjustment to the new, expanded self becomes a lot more familiar and we start to integrate that. Truth, no matter how difficult, is better than ignorance – especially when it comes to ourselves.” 

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’s list of mental health helplines and services.

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can also ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer.

For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email [email protected] In a crisis, call 999.

Image: Getty

Source: Read Full Article