I Tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and This is What Happened

Online therapy can be a great tool for busy moms.

For the past few months, I’ve been dealing with depression, despite being on anti-depressants.  I assumed it was triggered by the chronic pain I have been experiencing since developing scar tissue adhesions following my hysterectomy for endometriosis. Having suffered from depression off and on since being diagnosed with postpartum depression many years ago, I didn’t want to let it get out of control.  So I thought it was time to try out cognitive behavioral therapy via Online-Therapy.com.

Here’s a look at what my experience was like with online therapy.
I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
*This is NOT a sponsored post but it does contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy


How Does Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy Work?

I have tried online therapy before, in the form of online talk therapy.  That means that I’ve video chatted with a licensed therapist to discuss my thoughts and feelings.  I’ve also done talk therapy in person, so online talk therapy wasn’t much different from that, aside from the convenience of it. 

But cognitive behavior therapy at online-therapy.com is a completely different world.  First of all, it’s not talk therapy.  It’s a series of activities that you do in order to help reprogram your brain.  The idea being that if you can change your way of thinking, you can change your behaviors and ultimately, your mood.

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Secondly, you do it all at your own pace.  I decided to be more aggressive and try to complete all the sections in 30 days.  This meant that I was logging on and completing at least one worksheet every couple of days.  But there is no timeline, no deadlines, no schedules, no specific hours of availability.  You can complete a worksheet in the middle of the night if you want to! 

And finally, while you’re doing it all on your own, you’re never actually alone.  You’re assigned one therapist to work with you throughout the entire process.  As you complete sections and worksheets, your therapist will leave comments about what you’ve written.  You can schedule a weekly live chat and you can email your therapist whenever you need to. Over the 30 days, I really did develop a bond with my therapist and looked forward to connecting with her during the weekly chats.

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The Benefits of Working Solo

I’ve always been better working at my own pace.  Some days I would complete an entire section with it’s corresponding worksheets, and other days I would just do part of a section and one worksheet.  And while the worksheets are designed for self-reflection, I always looked forward to getting that notification that my therapist had responded to my answers.  When it was time for our live chat session, I couldn’t wait to talk to her about some of the things we had worked on.  She always had great input and feedback about the things I’d written in my worksheets.

While it was reassuring that my therapist was always there for me, I also felt empowered that I was taking control of my own thoughts and emotions.  The worksheets really made me think.  I was responsible for examining my own negative behaviors and how I responded to certain triggers.  Taking ownership of my reactions to common situations made me want to change my behaviors even more. 

Towards the last few sections, I became much more efficient at recognizing my negative thoughts and behaviors and how to replace them with positive ones, or healthier negative ones.  At the time, I found some of the worksheets to be repetitive, but now I see that was done on purpose.  Having to recall certain thoughts and behaviors over and over meant finding out which ones affected me the most. 

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The Online Therapy Toolbox

The sections and worksheets are just one part of the cognitive behavior therapy process.  In order to get the most out of therapy, I needed to make some life changes. 

Yoga and meditation was something I have been wanting to incorporate into my daily life for a while now.  In the online therapy toolbox, there are a series of yoga videos that I can access at any time, and they include both short workouts and longer ones.  

The online journal was another great tool available 24/7.  As a writer, journaling has been something I’ve started and stopped several times throughout my life.  But the online therapy journal isn’t just a blank page for me to write in all my thoughts, instead there were specific questions I needed to answer each day to get me thinking about how I wanted to feel. This made it easy for me to set goals each morning and be accountable for achieving those goals each evening.  

The action plan was a place where I was really accountable for making progress.  As I went through the online therapy course, I scheduled specific activities to help me get better.  Things like yoga, exercise, socializing events and health appointments.  As I completed each activity on my action plan, I checked off that it was done and it was added to my “ta-da” list (instead of a to-do list).  Seeing all the actions I had completed towards improving my mental health gave me a sense of accomplishment. 

7 Days of Self Care
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Getting a Diagnosis

As I go through and complete the worksheets, my therapist reads all of my answers.  She leaves a comment within 24 hours and I can reply if I want to.  She was able to divulge certain things from my answers that I didn’t immediately see.  Together, we came to the conclusion that I was suffering from some trauma related to my hysterectomy.  I realized that I hadn’t grieved for the loss of my uterus in the right way and therefore, every time I felt pelvic pain, I was reminded of that loss. 

Following that revelation, I began to work on activities to help me grieve.  I started to write about the loss and allow myself to feel the emptiness, even cry about it.  I now have an answer as to why the pain causes me to be depressed, and I have an action plan in place on how to replace that depression with something more positive. 

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Was 30 Days of Therapy Enough?

The thing about cognitive behavior therapy is that it’s not something someone else does for you.  It’s something you learn to do yourself.  It’s not like getting a massage, it’s more like learning how to drive.  Once you learn how to change your thinking, it’s something you need to continue to do regularly.  And the more you practice, the better and more confident you will get. 

Online-therapy.com offers a course in cognitive behavior therapy.  How long it takes you to complete the course is up to you. I managed to complete the entire course in 30 days but that doesn’t signal the end of my therapy.  I now need to take everything I’ve learned and put into practice in my every day life. 

Others may need longer than 30 days to complete the course and may want additional therapist support along the way.  Thankfully, sessions are billed monthly and you can stop at any time with the click of one button. And you’ll still have access to your toolbox even after the subscription ends, so you can continue with the yoga and meditation, journal entries and action plan. 

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In Conclusion

This was the right form of therapy for me because I find it easier to write out my emotions than to voice them.  I was also in a place where I wanted to get better, and I wanted to take ownership of my own mind and moods.  Those things were key to getting the most out of the online therapy experience. 

If you’re not quite ready to do it on your own, consider the package that allows two live chats a week instead of one, so that you have that additional support.  Online-therapy.com costs less than traditional talk therapy because you’re not paying for someone else’s time by the hour.  I put off doing it for a long time because of the cost associated with it.  But eventually I needed to prioritize my own mental health, no matter the cost. 

So whatever your struggle is, I urge you to consider this option.  You may not find a diagnosis or the root cause of your mental health issues in just 30 days, and you definitely don’t need to.  For many people, mental health disorders are a lifelong battle.  You may need to do multiple rounds of therapy or try a combination of treatment options to find relief.  But if you’re interested in learning how to take control of your own mind and moods, then cognitive behavior therapy might be for you. 

Click here to sign up for Online-Therapy.com and get 20% off your first month.

The Danger of the “Fake it ‘Till You Make it” Advice for Postpartum Depression

Moms have to deal with all kinds of advice when it comes to being a parent.

Many mothers with postpartum depression are told to “fake it ’till you make it” which is a common psychotherapy practice.  And in many cases, it’s a great way of building up a person’s confidence and self esteem.  But it’s not always the best course of action and can actually be more dangerous than good.  There’s a reason why this advice is best given by a licensed therapist and not just anyone on the street.  

Here’s some more information about why the “fake it ’till you make it” advice isn’t always best for managing postpartum depression. 
The Danger of the Fake It Till You Make It Advice for Postpartum Depression
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

What does “fake it ’till you make it” really mean?

It’s all about pretending.  Let’s say a new mother is struggling to bond with her baby or feel any emotions other than sadness and despair.  She may be given the advice to “fake it ’till you make it.”  What it means is that she should pretend to be happy.  She should smile and cuddle with her baby as often as possible.  The theory is that acting happy will convince her brain that she actually is happy until eventually she’s not depressed anymore. 

I know, right?  It sounds ridiculous.

But believe it or not, there is some merit behind this advice.  It falls into the same category of things like positive affirmations, self help books, pep talks, or other self esteem building activities.  They all work by building up our confidence and helping us to feel positive, empowered and worthy.  The “fake it ’till you make it” advice basically says that if you want to be happy, you have to do what happy people do. 

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Why it’s not the best advice for postpartum depression.

While the practice of “faking it ’till you make it” does work for many people, it’s not the best thing to say to a woman suffering from postpartum depression.  First of all, it’s dismissive. Telling a new mother simply to “fake it ’till you make it” is kind of like a slap in the face.  It can leave her feeling ignored and neglected and makes light of her suffering.  Postpartum depression is a major mental health disorder and being told to “fake it till you make it” treats it as no big deal.

The “fake it ’till you make it” advice is often misunderstood. 

It’s not at all about faking a state of happiness in front of other people.  But this happens too often, especially among mothers.  When someone asks us how we feel following the birth of our child, we hide all of our pain and suffering and fake a smile. 

Instead, the “fake it ’till you make it” advice should be focused inwards. 

The idea is for mothers to act happy in order to train their own minds and not to convince anyone else.  Smiling in the mirror or dancing and singing to music when no one else is around are ways that we can fake a state of happiness for ourselves and no one else. 

“Faking it” can also make it difficult to gauge whether or not your condition is getting better or worse. 

The lines between real and fake can start to become blurred.  This makes it difficult to tell whether the symptoms of postpartum depression are truly improving or not.  If you’re planning to “fake it ’till you make it” you still need to be honest about how you are feeling in order to determine if it’s working.

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What to try instead.

Boosting your confidence and re-training your brain to focus on the positive are both very important for healing from postpartum depression.  But there are lots of ways to do it.

I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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Without the help of a trained therapist, it can be all too easy for a mother to get stuck in this “fake” world.  Postpartum depression already has a way of isolating us from the outside world and keeping us apart from our loved ones.  When it comes to mental illness, things can get out of control without warning if left untreated.  If you’re considering using the “fake it ’till you make it” method for boosting your confidence, do so with caution and preferably with the help and support of a medical professional.


6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Too many mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety put off seeking help or getting the care they need. 

One reason for this is because they just don’t know where to go or who to talk to.  And even if they did know, the idea of leaving the house for appointments can be both inconvenient and terrifying.  The good news is that, thanks to modern technology, there are many ways for a mother to get online help for postpartum depression from the comfort of her own home.  Not only is it convenient, but it makes it easier to find the right person to speak to.  Instead of having to rely on resources available locally, women now have access to an international panel of experts.

Here are a few different ways that mothers can access online help for postpartum depression.
6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Try Online Therapy

One of the best ways for moms to get help for postpartum depression is by speaking to a therapist.  But it’s also something that many women avoid doing for several reasons:

  • It’s tough to arrange for childcare during appointments, especially with a brand new or exclusively breastfed baby. 
  • There is a lot of stigma around “going to therapy” that may deter a mother from choosing to do it in public.  
  • With so many horror stories of mothers being treated like criminals, they may avoid speaking to someone without knowing how that person will react first.
  • Finding the right therapist can be difficult.  It sometimes requires a referral from a doctor, which can delay the process.
  • Having to make phone calls to set up appointments, get dressed to go out, interact with others socially and feel judged by everyone along the way is an exhausting task for mothers with postpartum depression.
  • Mothers don’t always feel at their worst between 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.  Some therapists might offer an emergency number to call but that would mean inconveniencing someone and mothers aren’t usually down for doing that, no matter how bad it gets.

Signing up for online therapy can solve so many of these problems.  Online therapy is convenient, affordable and private.  There are several different companies that offer online therapy, ranging from traditional therapy sessions to something more interactive.  Here’s a review of some of the best online therapy apps and sites from Consumers Advocate.  Or check out my recommendations below.

Online-Therapy allows you to work on cognitive behavior therapy at your own pace.  You complete various reading sections and worksheets, like chapters in a text book.  Your therapist guides you along the way, providing feedback on your answers and offers support via live chat or e-mail.  You also get a variety of other tools and resources at your disposal, 24/7.  You can access an online forum for therapy members, yoga and meditation videos, workbooks and more.  You get so much more than just a therapy session, and you can do it all right from home. [Read more about my experience here]

BetterHelp is a popular online therapy company that works hard to match you with the right counselor.  You can complete the online questionnaire as the very first step so that your therapist will have some information about your condition ahead of time.

eVideo Counselor is another great option for moms suffering from postpartum depression.  Through their sessions, you can video chat directly with a licensed and HIPAA compliant therapist.  You schedule your appointments just like any other therapist office but speak to your therapist using your computer or cell phone.  The sessions are much more like traditional therapy sessions and your therapist can send their notes to your doctor for followup. 

I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
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2. Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, when you are having a really bad day, you just need to talk to someone who understands.  A helpline is designed specifically for that purpose.  While not technically considered online help for postpartum depression, it’s still something that you can do from the comfort of your own home and have access to 24/7.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to speak to someone urgently:

In the US: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8225

In Canada: 

Call the National Crisis Services Canada Number 1-833-456-4566 and you will be connected with the closest provincial crisis center to your location.

Internationally:

On the Befrienders Worldwide website, you can search for suicide helplines by country.  The website is also available in different languages and provides resources and information about mental health.

For general information, support and resources:

Call the Postpartum Support International’s Helpline 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) It’s a messaging system so you would have to leave a message and then someone would get back to you as soon as possible.  It is NOT meant for emergencies, but rather, to find out where and how to get help.

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3. Send a Text Message

Texting is a newer way that moms can get online help for postpartum depression and many support groups are making this an option.  It is so much easier for a mother battling a mental illness to send a text message when she’s overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings, rather than speak to someone over the phone or face to face.

In the US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

In Canada:

Text HOME to 686868 to access the Crisis Text Line in Canada.  This text line is managed by volunteers and is a division of the Kids Help Phone.

Text Crisis Services Canada at 45645 anytime between 5 pm and 1 am and get a response from someone at the crisis center.  A live chat option is also available on their website (also between 5 pm and 1 am).

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

Many local support groups also offer their own text line, so make sure to find out what they are and store them in your phone for emergencies.

Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

4. Join a Facebook Support Group

Facebook support groups are a great way to get online help for postpartum depression.  Not only will you be able to find some posts that you relate to, but you’ll see that you’re not alone in your struggles.

If you’re not big on communicating with strangers, it helps just to read some of the posts and comments.  If you have a particular question, you can search for it in the group and see if someone else has already asked about it.  It’s a great resource to get peer support and advice for postpartum depression and anxiety.

Some of the groups that I’m in and would recommend:

Postpartum Support International – Group Size: Large (8,000 + Members).

If you have a question about treatment options, symptoms, previous experiences – this is the place to go to get your questions answered.  PSI’s support group is a mix of health care professionals, therapists, sufferers and survivors.  If you have a question about anything related to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, you will find it here.

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group – Group Size: Medium (4,000 + Members).

This group is a very supportive one and the perfect place to go and vent about what you’re feeling.  If you just need someone to talk to or share your story with someone who will understand, then the women in this group are here for you.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group – Group Size: Small (3,000 + Members).

What I love about this smaller group is that you really get the chance to connect with other members.  If you’re seeking more than just a sounding board, and hoping to make friends and build a support system to help you through this difficult time, then consider joining this group.

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5. Hire a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is someone who comes to your house after you have a baby specifically to help you out.  They are not like a nanny, in that, they are there to support you and not simply to take care of the baby and the house.  They are trained to recognize the early symptoms of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and can direct you where to get help.  Most can be hired to work a night shift so that you can get the sleep you desperately need.  I consider this a form of online help for postpartum depression because searching various websites is generally the best way to find the right doula for you.

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There are several websites you can use to find a doula in your area:

DONA International

One of the most widely recognized doula certification organizations – you can search their database for a postpartum doula near you!

ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association)

A non-profit organization that supports doulas and other professional childbirth educators.  Their list includes both certified and non-certified doulas.

Doula Match 

You can search a database of over 10,000 doulas in Canada and the US and the best part is that you can enter the dates when you would need their services to make sure that they are available before contacting them.

Postpartum Doula
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6. Download an App

There are so many apps available to help with almost any kind of problem you’re experiencing.  Online help for postpartum depression in the form of an app is so convenient and always at your fingertips.  Instead of scrolling through social media on your phone, download a meditation or self care app to use regularly instead.

Mom Genes Fight PPD

This is part of an important research study but the app provides resources for women with postpartum depression.  Read more about it on the Mom Genes Fight PPD website.

MGHPDS (Massachusetts General Hospital Perinatal Depression Scale)

This is a good one for new moms who are concerned about developing postpartum depression or anxiety.  It contains questionnaires to assess your mood and stress level and will remind you to take them again every few weeks so that you can document any changes.  The questions are similar to those used by medical professionals to check for maternal mood disorders.

Virtual Hope Box 

This app was originally designed by the military to help patients coping with PTSD.  It’s recommended by therapists as a supplement to treatment for stress and anxiety disorders, but it can be a great tool for a mother battling postpartum depression.  You have the ability to add happy photos or video memories, favorite songs and quotes and access tools for coping with stress and anxiety.

Headspace 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help with postpartum depression and anxiety. This popular meditation app is easy to use and has sessions ranging from 1 minute up to 10 minutes.  It’s perfect for a busy mom with only a few minutes to spare.

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Online help for postpartum depression should never be a replacement for help from a medical professional.  Always make sure that your doctor knows what you are feeling.

But also, get educated.  Know who to call and how to take care of yourself.

When my battle with postpartum depression began, 6 years ago, I didn’t even have a smartphone.  Aside from a few brochures that I was given in my doctor’s office, I had very little information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  Now, almost anyone can access online help for postpartum depression.  There is so much more information for struggling mothers, that it would be a shame to let it all go to waste.


6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression 6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression 6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression