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Time after time, I hear those who are grieving say, “I should be over this by now.” While there is no time limit on grief, this is a common feeling to have. Loss and grief are two of the most challenging things to deal with in life, especially during the holiday season.
Have you ever noticed that showing gratitude feels good? Practicing being grateful is linked with mental well-being, including increased self-esteem, better sleep, higher energy levels, increased optimism, decreased anxiety, and reduced depressive symptoms.
Meltdowns, tantrums, defiance, or aggressive behavior can mask underlying feelings of anxiety. Typically when we see a child being defiant at home or school, our first thought might be, “that child is angry” and “they don’t like to follow rules.” Or we might say “that child is disrespectful.” But, underneath that anger or tantrum, are often feelings of overwhelming anxiety or worry.
About halfway through my tour I was at Bagram to go on leave and another solider, who knew my background as a therapist, shared with me the symptoms of PTSD he was experiencing after a particularly awful experience. The therapist part of me tried to speak up and offer some suggestions, but I couldn’t do it.
I didn’t think of myself as stressed. But when you lined up the pieces next to each other, it seemed obvious that there was a lot on my shoulders. Not to mention the extenuating circumstances of this year — Covid, an inland hurricane in Iowa, election season, and more.
STOP listening to your inner critic. This is the voice that says, “you’re worthless,” “you’re fat,” “why can’t you be like other people?” Challenge these negative thoughts and STAND UP TO YOUR INNER CRITIC. When you recognize the inner critic, you can begin to challenge and defy the inner critic and see yourself for who you really are.
Roughly 1 in 13 teens reported experiencing physical dating violence in the last year alone. Much to the frustration of many parents, teens often look to peers rather than mom or dad to help them navigate changes and challenges they are experiencing in their lives. This includes challenges in their intimate relationships.
Not all repetitive thoughts are obsessions and not all repetitive behaviors are compulsions. Many people worry or have routines… A person with OCD can’t just stop what they are doing because they get tired of it or it’s time to leave. If their obsessive thought was that “stepping on a crack would break their mother’s back,” they would continue to avoid all cracks in any surface walked on.
You may be reading this — now knowing that depression is not as rare as you once thought — and wonder “Do I have depression?” One of the most common misconceptions that I hear is the idea that in order to have depression a person must feel sad all of the time or cry frequently. While this can be a symptom of depression, it is certainly not the only one.
People tend to get particularly defensive when they feel outnumbered by those who do not share their view. In order to have a successful conversation, don’t go into it trying to change anyone’s mind. Rather, make it your goal to understand their view. “Help me understand your beliefs,” is a statement you could try. This might help the other person open up and realize they are not being attacked.
This woman was so filled with shame. If shame were a color it would pour out of her eyes, staining her cheeks. I sat across from her letting my eyes fill as well. I could normalize her experience — not just because I am a trained therapist — but because I have thought those very same things too. If you are reading this, please help me to NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH.
For many men struggling with Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND), the feelings of sadness quickly get entwined with other complicated emotions. In many situations this condition goes untreated. Men are often taught to hide sadness, pain, and other emotions. Expressing the feelings associated with PPND feels like weakness.
When our partner, friend, or loved one does something that “smells” like past wounds, our defenses go up. The fear of repeating the past comes out looking like anger. Even though we are wanting to be close with our loved ones (spouses, children, friends, and neighbors), old wounds — both emotional and physical — often stand in the way.
Adjusting to college is hard enough without adding the curveball of COVID into the mix. You may be someone who welcomed the changes brought on by the pandemic. The reality is some people are ok with or even prefer the “new normal” and others do not. The truth is that it is okay to not be okay AND it’s also okay to be okay.
Ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” This may seem like a difficult question and many fear that asking someone this question will put thoughts of suicide into their minds, but research indicates that asking individuals that are at risk of suicide does not increase the chance of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts.
I can remember that day like it was yesterday, it was July 20, 2017 and my son’s doctor said the words no parent ever wants to hear, “Your child has cancer.” Hearing those words brought me to my knees. My 7-year-old baby, Kameron, had been diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, but preventing suicide is a topic that should never drop out of the conversation — no matter what time of year it is. Suicide can be preventable, and it is important to take seriously. We can all play an important role in preventing suicide.
We place our partners outside of an unbreakable wall of silence when we are not emotionally available. It’s hard to trust the fella on the other side of wall if he refuses to open the door. A lasting and durable trust can only built when both people are inside the walls.
Some stress is necessary to motivate us to act. Think about the stress you might feel while preparing for a test. It can motivate you to study hard do well on the exam. However, too much stress can interfere with our daily life and performance and can lead to long-term health issues.
It is ok and normal to simply start talking with a therapist while you are still trying to determine your child’s mental health diagnosis. It will help your child AND you by simply knowing that you are no longer alone.
For all people, how we handle challenges has a lot to do with our ability to be resilient. Resiliency is like a rubber band, the more resilient you are, the springier your rubber band and the quicker you are able to rebound from a difficult event. As we continue to stretch our rubber band over and over as we go from pandemic to home schooling to natural disaster, the harder it has become for the rubber band to regain its original shape.
It is known that survivors of natural disasters have a 30 to 40 percent chance of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One thing that can be done to counteract the long-term mental health effects of a disaster is to seek help early and to talk about the experience with professionals that are trained to help.
It’s easy to feel lost or disconnected if you don’t understand your identities. As people, we have a strong need to belong, and identities can lead to a higher sense of belonging. Exploring your identities can be hard. Having a safe and comfortable space to do that hard work is so important.
In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we invited local doula and breastfeeding educator Johanna Tomlinson
PhD, MCPCD, MBE, MCE, ISE of Nested Mama to share some words of advice to mothers and expectant mothers about the breastfeeding journey.
There are many people with intense emotions who struggle with feeling lonely, misunderstood, and believe there is something wrong with them. If you feel this way, please consider reaching out for additional support and guidance. You deserve to enjoy life no matter your diagnosis.
Calming nature sounds and views or even the silence of being outdoors creates a more peaceful environment. With less things calling our attention like school or work, your mind has a chance to relax. Being outdoors give us the opportunity to slow down and take a mental break from daily life.
Whatever you’re experiencing be sure to take a moment to name and recognize the emotion, with curiosity, not judgement. The bottom line is that we are all going to have different emotional responses to the current crisis in front of us. As written by author Nicki Peverett, “we are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.”
When we validate our partner’s feelings we acknowledge and accept the way that they feel without judgement or rejection. However, when we respond to feelings with facts we often miss the opportunity to validate our partner’s feelings, in fact, we do just the opposite.
If you are LGBTQ and struggling with a mental health concern, please know that you are not alone, and that your mental health issues are not because you are LGBTQ.
For parents the wonderful aspiration of a memorable summer break often turns into the harsh reality of coordinating multiple events and schedules on top of all of our other responsibilities. It can feel like a whirlwind in which we are simply trying to keep up or too exhausted to actually enjoy.
Your brain is doing what it is wired to do: protect you from life-threatening danger. The brain does a marvelous job helping your body to react quickly and know to fight, run, or freeze when needing to escape a threat. The trick is — how often are we in situations where we need to run for our lives? On a day-to-day basis, probably not very often.
Research demonstrates that people can remedy stress if they laugh more (casual leisure), find a hobby (serious leisure), and engage in meaning-making activities, such a volunteering in community or toward social causes (project-based leisure). So, where do you start?
With bipolar disorder, your mood can change between the extremes of mania and depression, and ruminating thoughts often follow an all-or-nothing pattern. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to convince yourself things will never get better. The good news is you don’t have to believe it.
Mental health and substance abuse struggles are common everywhere. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are or where you live. We often hear from the media about consequences of these struggles and what children can expect in their futures. But, what we don’t hear enough of is the recovery and resiliency of children.
If you have a bad cough or high fever you call your doctor and schedule an appointment. Right? Most likely, you would do so without thinking twice. So, why should you suffer in silence if you are an new or expecting mom and struggling with your mental health? You don’t have to suffer or feel guilty or ashamed.
What I’ve come to realize is that we cannot pause life in good times or bad times. I have heard phrases like “wait it out,” “stay home until this date,” and “we’ll get back to our lives soon”. This creates an unhealthy expectation that we can resume life as normal once COVID-19 ends.
Today, you and many others, are likely telecommuting to work and seeing you family more in one week than perhaps you had in the previous year. If you are in a committed romantic relationship, then this time of self-quarantining has some important considerations.
“It is perfectly normal for people to feel isolated and anxious in the current crisis,” states CFS CEO Dr. Jacob Christenson. “Covenant Family Solutions is grateful to be able to aid in the community response to help people navigate the mental health struggles they are facing during these uncertain times.”
It is important to keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Whether you feel anxious or numb, your emotions and reactions are completely valid. Even those who have never struggled with a clinical mental health issue may experience symptoms of acute stress, anxiety, and depression.
Caregiving is one of the most challenging roles even under regular circumstances. You do not need to be everything to everyone, and there will be times you feel overwhelmed. Try to take a step back and focus on the big picture. You are doing your best and your best may be different day to day, or even minute by minute.
A huge developmental part of being a teen or moving into adulthood is focus on social engagement and fostering sense of independence or autonomy. Try to view things from your teen’s perspective. Virtually overnight, they have gone from having the most freedom they have ever experienced to the least amount. This is hard!
Check in with your children and ask them how they are doing. Children often show us through behaviors, rather than words, when they are struggling. While this can range from isolating behaviors to acting out, children may just be feeling more anxious. Try to find a quiet time to connect one-on-one and ask how your child is doing and what they might need.
Telehealth is extremely convenient and may help patients to feel private and more comfortable in sessions. Hooray, no more awkward feelings about bumping into your neighbor in the waiting room! Telehealth also allows patients in rural and underserved areas to see a provider without an hour or more drive.
Daily life can be a struggle, especially when our brain does not get a break. Day-to-day life is frequently filled with never ending lists (which may or may not get written down and crossed off), as well as perfectly timing and prioritizing those lists, and all those other little essential and non-essential things we think about on a daily basis.