Q&A with Dr. Dorothy: Your tough questions answered
Dorothy Ratusny is a Certified Psychotherapist specializing in Cognitive Therapy.
TOTALLY FEELING THE PRESSURE TO BE PERFECT THESE DAYS. THIS PAST SCHOOL YEAR HAS BEEN SUPER-STRESSFUL, WITH TONS OF PROJECTS, FRIEND DRAMA, THE VOLLEYBALL TEAM AND THEN APPLYING FOR UNIVERSITY ON TOP OF IT ALL. I ACTUALLY HAD A FEW ANXIETY ATTACKS, ‘CAUSE I COULDN’T HANDLE EVERYONE’S EXPECTATIONS: PARENTS, TEACHERS, FRIENDS, EVERYONE. I WANT THIS SUMMER TO BE MORE RELAXING, BUT HOW DO I SLOW DOWN?
Start by sitting STILL somewhere you can be alone and quiet. Follow your breath as you inhale and exhale a few times and feel your mind begin to slow down. Keep breathing deeply as you imagine all of the fun things you want to experience and enjoy this summer. Visualize what you want—clearly. Now, write these ideas or intentions on paper: they become your positive focus for the summer. You may also want to visualize yourself enjoying your summer at a more relaxed and easy pace. Visualization is an important tool for making an imprint in your mind of what you want to create. Throughout your summer, pay close attention to moments when you feel yourself getting anxious or feeling pressure, and remember your calm, fun images. Take slow, deep breaths in those moments to help you relax. Keep doing this: it’s simple, yet it works really well!
ALL RIGHT, SO MY FRIEND (WHO’S A GIRL) CONFESSED TO ME THE OTHER DAY THAT SHE HAS A CRUSH ON ME. NOTHING AGAINST GAY PEOPLE, BUT I DON’T LIKE HER THAT WAY. HOW DO I DEAL WITH THIS WITHOUT HURTING HER? I WANT TO KEEP MY FRIEND.
Being truthful and yet kind is your best strategy. Explain your feelings and how it’s most important that you keep her as your friend. While you can’t prevent her from being hurt, you can be mindful of the delivery of your message. Your friend will likely respect that you are being completely honest with her while still being concerned for her feelings.
WHEN MY MOM WAS OUT GROCERY SHOPPING THE OTHER DAY, I WAS IN THE SHOWER AND MY EX SNUCK INTO THE HOUSE AND INTO MY ROOM (HE’S BEEN TRYING TO GET US BACK TOGETHER). WHEN SHE GOT HOME, SHE WALKED IN TO SEE ME (STILL WEARING ONLY A TOWEL FROM MY SHOWER) PINNED AGAINST MY CLOSET DOOR, TRYING TO FEND HIM OFF. HOW DO I EXPLAIN TO HER THAT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENED BETWEEN US?
There will be certain occasions when your Mom will just have to accept your word without knowing (or seeing) all the facts. This is one of those moments! As for your ex, he needs to know the severity of his actions. Given what you described, he could be charged with a number of very serious criminal offences. It would be important that he acknowledges how wrong his behaviour was and vows that it will never happen again. If you take this situation seriously, your Mom will likely trust your word as truth.
For more on Dorothy check out www.dorothyratusny.com