Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 / Unsplash

Author: Lori Gottlieb

Genre: Memoir

I read a decent amount of books, and I love bonding with people over our shared reading experiences. Last year, while I was seeing a physical therapist for my shoulder, we got to chatting about what we were reading. She mentioned this book she found fascinating called 'Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.' Intrigued by the title, I decided to check it out when I got home. A book by a therapist about therapy and her own experiences? I was hooked right away. I even recommended this book to my book club, and we all started reading and discussing it together. By the end of the year, it had become one of our top reads of 2023. So, you get what I am trying to say, right? I recommend this for y’all too.

In this book, Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist, takes readers through the journeys of her four patients, as well as her own experiences with her therapist, Wendall. Through the stories of John, Julie, Rita, and Charlotte, Lori provides insights into the therapy process and its impact on individuals. While she supports these patients, she also grapples with her own heartbreak. Seeking help from Wendall to cope with her emotions, Lori discovers deeper underlying issues in her life, including concerns about her health, mortality, and purpose.

One thing I really appreciated about this book was the author's honesty and vulnerability because it made me realize that we all struggle in our own ways. Despite being an expert in helping others navigate their lives and deal with their issues, she, too, faces challenges. This served as a reminder that no one has it all figured out. People may appear perfectly happy and sorted in life, but everyone is fighting their own battles. It's okay to not have everything figured out; it's okay to struggle because we all do.

I read this book on Kindle, and while I have many notes from it, the following has been a true game-changer for me. It has stuck with me ever since I read the book.

“Why would we choose a profession that requires us to meet unhappy, distressed, abrasive, or unaware people and sit with them, one after the other, alone in a room? The answer is this: Because therapists know that at first, each patient is simply a snapshot, a person captured in a particular moment. It’s like a photo of you taken from an unfortunate angle and with a sour expression on your face. There might also be a photo in which you’re glowing, caught opening a present or mid-laugh with a lover. Both are you in that fraction of time, and neither is you in your entirety.”

This analogy of snapshots has helped me tremendously, especially on my bad days, to simply accept my thoughts, feelings, and emotions without self-sabotaging, because that’s not the entirety of me. It’s just a snapshot of me in that particularly unpleasant moment. And there are also snapshots of me in other moments that might be beautiful and pleasing. There is no absolute ‘this’ or ‘that’ in life, and I have been able to embrace both my positive and negative sides as snapshots taken from different angles and move forward with acceptance.

This next one, I want you to mull over this as it relates to your own life as well because I think most of us tend to do this.

“There’s a difference between pain and suffering,” Wendell says. “You’re going to have to feel pain—everyone feels pain at times—but you don’t have to suffer so much. You’re not choosing the pain, but you’re choosing the suffering."

Often, we tend to cling to suffering on our own. Let me explain: if you are an overthinker (like me), sometimes we add suffering to our lives by dwelling on thoughts that we know are not beneficial. We stay in our heads, replaying scenarios and imagining the worst possible outcomes, even though they may never come to pass. We create fictional scenarios in our minds, repeatedly revisiting negative thoughts and focusing more on problems than solutions. These above lines have had a profound impact on my life, prompting me to check myself if I am choosing to suffer unnecessarily. It's wonderful how something you read can stick with you, and you begin to analyze your life choices and rethink constructively. Can I say again how much I loved reading this book?

I revisited my notes while writing this, and there's so much I could share, but I've decided to let you all read the book and savor it in your way. Of course, I'm more than happy to discuss it with anyone interested. However, I highlighted something about impermanence in the book, which I believe is relevant to all of us.

“Sometimes in their pain, people believe the agony will last forever. But feelings are actually more like weather systems—they blow in and they blow out. Just because you feel sad this minute or this hour or this day doesn’t mean you’ll feel that way in ten minutes or this afternoon or next week. Everything you feel—anxiety, elation, anguish—blows in and out again.”

How true is that? I feel this all the time. Just recently, I spent some time with some "energy-drainers" and came home feeling low and drained, believing that I would continue to feel that way for a while. I had given myself a week or so to recharge. However, I went for a run yesterday, and let me tell you, that run worked its magic. The dopamine rush washed over all the negativity, and now I feel good! It's true—everything we feel blows in and out. I've experienced this with feelings of peace and happiness too. They come and go in cycles, and accepting this truth makes our journey much easier.

Well, I think I am going to stop here. I hope this gave you a sneak peek of the book. If you are looking for a good read, this certainly can be one. If you have already read it, feel free to share your thoughts. If not, I hope you find some time to go over this book and uncover some nuggets of wisdom like I did!

Happy Reading!

I will see you in the next blog post! 😊

If you want to check out my other book reviews, HERE they are!