Archives for Caregivers
Have you ever thought of suicide? Have you ever considered what life might be like if you were not around anymore? What about having thoughts of dying after the loss of something important to you, such as a child, a spouse, a possession that meant a lot, or some kind of relationship that contributed positively to your life? If so, that is absolutely okay, as many people have "flirted" with the idea of ending the emotional and psychological (and sometimes physical) pain that feels imprisoning. Thankfully, we are living in an educated culture that seems to be more understanding of the topic of suicide. Sadly, for many years people have looked negatively upon those who bring up the topic of suicide and who have attempted it. But it is important to educate ourselves to what causes a person to feel so helpless that death appears to be the only remedy for the pain. Unfortunately, this topic is be far too entailed to write about here, but we will certainly discuss what signs and symptoms to look for, what six questions you should ask someone who is talking about suicide, and who to seek for help and why.
What comes to mind when you hear the term Borderline Personality Disorder? For many people who are unfamiliar with the disorder, split personality is often a common misconception. Split personality refers to a personality that is not always one way, but often changes in intensity and duration in such a way that it is impossible to predict when the person will switch up. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is best described to the families of many of my child and adolescent clients as an emotional disorder characterized by impulsivity, intense emotions, intermittent anger outbursts, severe bouts with depression or anxiety, repeated suicidal ideation, and self-injurious or risky behaviors. As a therapist, I am often challenged with the duty of educating families, properly, to the symptoms most indicative of BPD. This article will discuss some of the most common symptoms and the symptoms you should aim to identify in someone you suspect might need therapeutic intervention.
How many signs would you need from an adolescent to convince you that he or she could develop into a sociopathic adult? What specific incident or incidents would cause you to identify a teenager as a developing sociopath? For many of the parents I see in my office struggling with adolescent behavior, the number one predictor of sociopathic personality traits is often an indifferent and cold disregard for the rights, personal space, and privacy of others. Explaining sociopathy to parents is one of the most difficult things I have to do as a child and adolescent therapist. Why? Because teenagers are not only a "work in progress," but also a conglomerate of genes/biology, social environment/peer influence, and nurture. It is also very difficult to convince a parent that their highly intelligent, charming, and manipulative adolescent is likely to become a highly intelligent, charming, and manipulative (and possibly dangerous) adult. For these parents, reality is too much to handle and many retreat into denial or succumb to the manipulative behaviors of their teen. When this occurs, the adolescent gains control of not only the household but also the parent(s). It is a very sad cycle of confusion. This article will briefly discuss traits often identified in adolescence as sociopathic. This article will also list five signs of sociopathic behavior to watch for in teens.
Have you ever had a therapist? Do you know someone who does (or did)? How long did it last? If it ended, why did it end? Sadly, for many of my clients, their therapy ended because they either lost interest, did not feel they were growing and learning, did not see any changes in their behaviors, thoughts, or emotions, and/or felt the therapist was not benefiting them in any way. Finding a good therapist who upholds ethical practices and who is able to provide clients with competent therapy is difficult. It is even more difficult to find a therapist who is naturally nurturing and caring. It may take multiple rounds of therapy before a client is able to determine if the kind of therapy they are receiving is either good or bad. By the time a client notices that their therapy is useless, it is too late and much money, time, and energy has been spent. After a bad experience like this, many clients walk away from therapy and never turn back. This article will discuss 8 reasons for why clients refuse to return to therapy after bad experiences. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the common challenges of therapy and when it is time to say you've had enough.
Do you care for someone with a mental health condition? What about someone with several mental health conditions? Perhaps you also care for someone with behavioral problems as well. Either way, it is very easy to begin to feel burned out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. For many parents, families, caregivers, and friends of individuals with mental health or behavioral health conditions, the road can seem almost endless. The road can also be emotionally draining, primarily when a loved one is frequently admitted to psychiatric hospitals, needing multiple safety precautions in the home if there are suicide attempts or cutting behaviors, and multiple calls to the police for protection. As a child and adolescent therapist who works with many families, I have seen my fair share of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burn-out. Unfortunately, many caregivers (friends, family, spouses, children, etc) are uninformed about these things and neglect to care for themselves. This article will discuss burn-out, secondary trauma, and compassion fatigue and ways to examine if you are a sufferer.
For most of us, we've had a few rainy days that felt endless. But for the remainder of society, rainy days happen all the time. A lot of people tend to believe that depression is a fleeting emotion and something that cannot destroy the natural flow of one's life. Sadly, some families tend to make depression taboo and refuse to acknowledge it or discuss it. The use of medication further stigmatizes families and causes barriers for open discussion. For fear of appearing "helpless" or "needy," some people suffer in silence all alone until one day their illness becomes so apparent that it's almost impossible to hide.
Trauma is a complex, but necessary subject. For the month of June and July I spent the majority of time writing articles on childhood trauma. It's a known fact that many people fail to recognize how common and pervasive it is. Our society tends to believe that trauma is only for those individuals who have experienced a terrible life event. But that is not all trauma is. Trauma, as noted in previous articles, can be secondary or vicarious. You only need to listen to a host of detailed stories to feel the effects of trauma. In fact, research suggests that trauma can affect all of us and it doesn't have to be us experiencing the event ourselves. For example, imagine that you are being told about a close friend's sexual and physical abuse as a child. Every detail, every emotion, and every sensory experience (smell, sounds, sights, tactile, etc.) are being described to you at great length. You might find yourself feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or even stressed. Perhaps you went to bed that night and had a dream about it. Or maybe you become hypervigilant in your own relationships to ensure that you avoid being abused. In a sense, you are becoming just as emotionally vulnerable as your friend. This is called secondary trauma, or, as in the previous article, compassion fatigue. Secondary trauma occurs when you have empathy and concern for the person who is sharing their traumatizing story with you. This article will explore a trauma-based model known as the SELF model and provide tips on how you can engage in introspection about the trauma you may have experienced in your life.
Are you the father of a son who struggles with mental and behavioral problems? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the emotional and mental health needs of your son? Are you are mother or wife in a household almost completely destroyed, on a daily basis, with family conflict and emotional chaos? If so, E Martyn Ramsey has written a book just for you. He the father of a son who, following an intense family conflict, decided to commit suicide by going into their basement and hanging himself. Life for Joe, Ramsey's son, was characterized by internal pain that he could not sooth in this world. No drug, no friend, no occupation, no event, no thought, or success could heal the internalized pain that Joe carried with him until the day of his suicide. Lets welcome E Martyn Ramsey as he shares his story with us today.
Are you a mental health professional or work in the field of mental health? Are you a caregiver? What are some of your most vivid experiences? There is always at least one experience that made some kind of impact on you emotionally, psychologically, or even physically (, injuries during restraints, etc.). The experience could be positive or even negative. Either way, the experience will probably always be apart of your existence. It's difficult to...
How would you describe your parent(s) growing up? Were the parents who used corporal punishment (spanking), "time out," or some other form of punishment? Despite years of controversy surrounding what parenting "techniques" are good and what are bad, the topic of child abuse rarely gets discussed. It's a taboo topic. This week, during Personal Stories Week, we will be discussing a variety of topics relating to attachment, parenting, mental illness, and mental health in general. Today I have Ginger Kadlec, an advocate for children, sharing her knowledge about child abuse with us.