'What Are Some Healthy Ways To Stop Feeling Lonely?'

Your Questions ABout Mental health answered by a real therapist

Brandi Redd / Unsplash

Brandi Redd / Unsplash

Our Ask a Therapist series gets answers to your questions about mental health from real therapists. Follow @idontmind on Instagram for more and a chance to ask questions of your own.

Today’s therapist is Lynn. She’s a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in California, and has been featured as a guest expert on numerous TV and radio programs. She also built a “rabbitat” in her backyard for rescued bunnies.

My family would rather pray instead of getting me medication or therapy. What should I do?

You can let them know you appreciate the prayers and respect their belief system, but believe you need some additional, professional help. It might be possible to get faith-based counseling if you would like to start there. 

If you’re 18 or over, you can seek treatment on your own, which will be completely confidential. Otherwise, each state has different rules regarding parental consent. The difficult decision will then be whether or not to let your family know or simply to take that step on your own. 

You can maintain your privacy or say you know they want you to be healthy and happy even if they disagree with the means you’re choosing to help you feel better, so you’d like them to respect your choice as much as you respect theirs.

What are some healthy ways to stop feeling lonely?

Weirdly, it helps us feel more connected to give than it does to receive. (PS – this works for feeling loved as well, but that’s a whole other conversation.) So, if you can offer some time or energy to someone else in need, you feel good about you and they feel better, too.

Another helpful way to feel like you belong is to meditate, which provides a spiritual sense of being connected to everyone and everything.

Lastly, it’s always good to join a group where you have a built-in common interest like hiking, theatre, etc. You’ll be doing something you enjoy and meeting other people  you already have something in common with. 

How do I help a friend living with Bipolar Disorder?

Offer an ear and full-hearted acceptance. Listen if they’d like to talk. It can be difficult to know how to help a friend deal with an issue you’ve never experienced personally, but everyone has felt scared or sad or angry, which is what they’re likely feeling, too. Ask them how you can help and reassure them that you care so they feel supported and you get to feel good about helping your friend.

I feel like I’m drowning and I need to get something off my chest. What do I do?

Talk to someone! Anyone. And if you can’t talk to someone, write it down without censoring. Telling your deepest truth to yourself and anyone else you choose to share it with can help to remind you that your feelings are OK and so are you.

If you’d rather talk to someone you don’t know, try texting Crisis Text Line. It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. This can be a great way to get something off your chest. Text MHA to 741741 for support in the US.

I’m going to a therapist and I don’t feel like she’s helping. What should I do?

Tell her how you feel! It may be scary, but most therapists welcome the opportunity to hear from clients what they need and talk through ways that might be of more help. Since they’re good with feelings but can’t read minds, they’re usually happy to adjust the treatment modality to something that might work better for you. And if they understand what you’d like differently and can’t accommodate your request comfortably, they can usually refer you to a different therapist who might be a better fit.

Follow @idontmind on Instagram for more Ask a Therapist answers and a chance to ask questions of your own.

Content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to serve as medical advice or to replace consultation with your physician or mental health professional.