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So this one is close to my heart. I just realized I hadn't posted a new blog since the end of December, which is indicative of my sense that my life had taken on--well, a life of its own. I've been in survival mode, just trying to keep my head above water. If you're in the same boat, this one's for you!
I have to confess: It's been a wild ride of a year for me, and not all of it's been positive. So I'm writing this for myself as well as for all of you out there who are still catching your breath and wanting to go into 2017 with the best mindset you can.
Tis the season, and all that jazz. But many find themselves shorter on patience and lower in tolerance just when we're supposed to be feeling the most thankful and giving. People have all sorts of reaction to stress, and one of the most under-recognized is irritability. So once you realize it, what do you do about it?
None of us know what's ahead. The country feels unsettled. Regardless of how you voted, or if you didn't vote at all, we're all in this together. We're all facing a degree of uncertainty about the future. This is not a political blog; it's a mental health blog. These are anxiety-provoking times, and there are no easy answers. But here's my best prescription, and it is a simple one.
People have all sorts of reactions to stress. One that is often under-recognized is irritability. You might think that other people have just become more annoying lately, but nope. It's you. The good news is, if it's you, then there are things you can do about it. Here's a good place to start.
One of the biggest problems with bad therapists is that you often fail to recognize their professional ineptitude. Instead, you wind up thinking it's you, your partner, or your relationship. So here are some ways to tell when it's not you; it's your therapist.
Are you looking for more emotional support? More connection? More intimacy? More personal space? More expressions of concern, validation, love? The first step to getting is knowing; the second step is asking (or insisting.) My last blog post was How to Know What You Need in Relationships, and now it's time for Step 2.
Let me just say, this isn't going to be a hearts-and-flowers sugarcoated sort of a blog. The fact is, we're living in deeply troubled times. Every day it seems like we're hearing about a new terrorist attack somewhere in the world and another shooting in our own country; the Republican presidential nominee tells us we're unsafe and only he can fix it but meanwhile, the Democrats are getting hacked left and right. Yep, these are troubling times. And I'm not one for false uplift. But I am a believer in searching for optimism and locating your sources of hope as a way to combat mental health symptoms. So here are some true reasons for optimism.
What with July 4th so recently behind us, I've been thinking a lot about what freedom means. From a therapeutic perspective, it involves personal agency--to have the space to figure out what you really think and feel, and for the process to be respected. You don't need to always know; you need to be surrounded by people who want you to find out, and support you in that. Does that describe your partner? If not, read on.