Book Name: Are U Ok?
Author: Katie Morton
Katie Morton answers a lot of questions around seeing a counselor in her book Are U Ok? Many of the questions I had about mental health before dating a Licensed Counselor were addressed. I wish I had found this book sooner. There’s no questioning the stigma surrounding mental health. Most people don’t understand it, don’t understand what it means to have a mental illness, how that might affect someone’s life, or the discrimination they may face as a result of their diagnosis. Katie puts it plainly perfect when she wrote; “You wouldn’t ask someone who had the flu when they were getting up to finish a task. You wouldn’t ask someone who broke their leg to continue working as if there wasn’t an injury.” What if it’s all in their head? Katie addresses this age-old question with a head-on attitude. “Does it matter? If they’re being affected in their day to day life, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.” I agree, it’s an excellent point. The DSM-5 talks about how to be diagnosable, you must have had a significant impairment or distress in one or more areas of your life for a period of time (time differs on disorder, but generally more than 2 weeks).
She gave me an “Ah-ha” moment when she talked about depressive episodes (though it could apply to any episodic disorder), and how the episodes are a major contributing factor to going undiagnosed. You go through an episode, you feel all the things, but have no validation of a diagnosis and care plan. Once you come out of it, you start to feel better, and you convince yourself it’s “all in your head”. Some people might even shame their depressive counter-parts and internally say things like “if you weren’t so lazy...”. Once you feel better, you don’t see a need for help. The next time you enter a depressive episode, you try to pull yourself out of it by saying the shame-based verbiage above.
“Depression is quiet, sneaky, and changes over time.” Some of the more subtle symptoms of depression can look like:
Things are just a little harder to get done. You have to push a little harder, try a little harder, and you might not be as motivated as you’d “normally” be.
You move a little slower. You might sit down between tasks, take more breaks, or hit snooze more often.
Everyone is irritating. People you normally love and cherish seem to grate on you in ways they “normally” don’t.
It feels like you’re walking through water. You know those dreams where you go to punch someone and it feels like it’s in slow-motion? Like that, but a little less dramatic.
You have to reread all the same shit. You have to go over a page 3 or 4 times before you can grasp what it’s about. Sometimes your mind goes elsewhere, but sometimes it’s just nothing.
You start to replay memories. Not all the good/happy memories, but the ones where you were to blame. For me, everything I did wrong comes flooding back.
I rate Are U Ok? 5 out of 5 stars because it can be recommended for anyone interested in counseling or therapy. It answers questions about what to expect out of your counselor, what crosses lines in terms of expectations (like using your counselor 911 line like calling your best friend), and what to do if you think your therapist isn’t right for you.
The need for therapy is important, but so is the need for friends. Katie elaborates on the differences, and how balance is the key to getting the best of both worlds. Friends can hype you up, and sometimes have good advice. With a therapist, you don’t have to worry about them judging you, or what telling them your secrets will do to your relationship outside of session (because if you have a good counselor, there won’t be a relationship outside of session).
<Journal prompts. Is your Therapist Right for You?>
You don’t need to know why uou feel they way you feel, knowing where you’re at is enough.
About the Author
Kati Morton, LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She runs a private practice in Santa Monica, CA. Over the past eight years, Kati has leveraged social media to share mental health information worldwide through video. Her specialties include working with individuals experiencing eating disorders and self-harming behaviors, although she addresses all things related to mental health.
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