De-stressing with Bente (7)


Learning to relax again: how do you manage to do that? Bente (23) is a freelance journalist and works as an online editor at Flow. Having experienced a near-burn-out, she’s finding her way to a life with less stress. And every Friday, she takes us with her on her journey to get there.

After seven weeks, five sessions of therapy and plenty of moments on the rug, I can honestly say that I am doing a lot better. I remember what it is like to breathe normally, I don’t panic anymore when I step across the threshold of my own door and, according to my therapist, I’ve completely lost the nervousness she first saw in my eyes.

Time for a celebration and the next step. Because at this moment even though I may be far from a new slump, I must continue to defend myself from the possibility. And we do that again on the floor.

When I arrive at my therapist’s place, the red exercise mat is ready. “We’re going to try something new,” she says, as I take off my shoes and lie down. “I want you to start relaxing. Once you are relaxed, I’m going to say four sentences out loud, I want you to choose the one that appeals to you the most and to keep repeating that sentence in your head.” I don’t know what good it’ll do, but I nod and close my eyes.

After five minutes I feel relaxed and she calls out the first sentence: “I feel calm”. Then she is silent for ten seconds and says the second: “I feel completely calm”. The third is even more extensive than the second, and the fourth I cannot even remember, I find it so complicated.

“Choose one of them and keep repeating it. I’ll see you in ten minutes,” she says, and she walks out of the room. Instead of repeating the sentence, I spend the first five minutes stressed out from indecision: no one sentence appeals to me. I decide to spend the last five minutes more efficiently and I opt for the convenience of the first option. I repeat that sentence five times, before I get distracted by thinking why on earth I should be doing this!

“And, are you feeling more relaxed?” my therapist asks when she returns. I have the urge to nod yes. She has probably been treating people for a long time and I’m sure it works for everyone else. What am I doing wrong? Still, I decide to be honest. “I don’t understand any of this.” For a moment there is silence, then she reminds me of our first conversation. Everyone heals in a different way. What works for one does not necessarily work for another. And there you have it. As I cycle home, I erase the four sentences from my head, so that I have room for something that suits me.

  • Bente’s other blogs can be found here.

Fotografie ©Liana Mikah/Unsplash