When I was a teenager I had a bad experience with a psychiatrist that forever troubled my battle with mental health. My mother scheduled the appointment against my will because I had been skipping school and my grades were plummeting. She suspected ADD was the culprit, though the real culprit was a combination of THC and BAD teachers.
On my first visit he talked to me for about 5 minutes. Was I having trouble concentrating? Yes. Did my thoughts often wander? Duh, I was a teenager, all my thoughts did was wander. Did I lose interest in things very quickly? Yes, especially in conversations like these. The doctor made a hasty diagnosis and sent me on my way with a prescription. Whenever I visited later he would ask me things like what kind of cars I thought teenagers liked.
I would later learn that this doctor was notorious for over-prescribing his patients. One of those patients being my mother, who would later go through several rounds of rehab. Today, thankfully, he’s no longer allowed to practice.
Because of this experience, for a long time I found it impossible to take therapists seriously. So I fought my own war with depression myself, and continued to lose battle after battle. I relied a lot on the help of friends who were willing to lend an ear, but they didn’t have the tools I needed to help me heal.
I wish something like Sholder existed back then. Sholder fills a much needed middle-ground between the emotional help you get from a friend and the tools and techniques you can learn from a therapist. When I tried Sholder I was amazed at how easy it was to sign up for a session. What usually takes weeks to set up with a formal mental health practice took me 10 minutes with Sholder.
The sholder I was connected with had experience in somatic therapy, but she allowed me to direct the session. She was quick to remind me that we could use the somatic practices if I wanted, but if I just needed someone to talk to then she could do that as well. It was just another tool that she wanted me to know I could use. Having that sense of agency affirmed during a session like this was reassuring for me, and helped me quickly find a comfort zone where I could open up and find help.
For someone like me, who needed the barrier-of-entry to mental health and wellness lowered way way down, Sholder was a perfect fit. It’s a powerful tool, a tool-of-tools, and one that can be accessed as quickly as ordering a pizza.