If I were to sneak inside your head, just for a moment, what would I hear?
At your darkest moment, when you’re all alone with your thoughts and your thoughts are the things of chaos, when you can’t sleep, and you are at your lowest, what words would slip into being?
Is your head full of hate to yourself? Do you chastise and berate your actions of the day? Do you hear anger? Chastisement? Disgust?
If I could magically give you one thing this year, I would give you the gift of self-kindness.
I’ll bet you’re pretty nice to others. I’m fairly certain you would never be as harsh to them as you are to yourself.
When someone makes a mistake or says something that’s wrong, you may smile to yourself, but you don’t jump out of your seat and call them a moron (or worse). You certainly don’t stay up at night thinking about them.
But somehow, you do this to yourself.
Learning to love and accept yourself isn’t something that comes easily for some of us.
When kids are bullied, when teens face pressures they can’t take, when children are taught that their worth is based on what they do or don’t do, say or don’t say, they end up taking on the voices of the people who are cruel to them.
The mean words that are said to them, they say to themselves.
Maybe this is you.
When I work with people who struggle with self-hatred, there are three steps that we work through, often more than once.
STEP ONE: Identify the source of the self-hating thoughts
Can you recognize where each of the self-hating voices comes from? Is it from the hypercritical parent? Or are the words from the bullies from school that made you so sad and scared as a second grader? Maybe it’s the voice of an ex that made you hate your body.
Sometimes the people who are supposed to build us up and help us grow, stomp us down and harm our soul.
It isn’t right; it isn’t fair. But remember that although it may feel true, it isn’t, even if the words come from …
The story goes that if you want to catch a monkey, you put a hole in a coconut, and inside the hole you put some nuts or fruit. You tie the coconut to a tree and wait.
A hungry monkey will put his hand down the hole and grab the fruit or nuts in his fist. When he attempts to take his fist out of the hole, he finds that his fist is too big.
The legend states that the monkey becomes trapped, not because of the coconut, but because of his unwillingness to let go.
The metaphorical coconut trap is something that everyone deals with.
Do you hold on to times people have hurt you in the past? Are your feelings still hurt from painful words that were said to you? Or do you continue to agonize over times when you have messed up? Is letting go of your own mistakes difficult?
There are two people in a row boat, each one with an oar. One person feels hurt or angry, and they stop a rowing, while their partner keeps at it.
The boat moves in a circle, going nowhere.
The anger, frustration, and pain people experience keeps them from working together to move forward.
These tightly kept feelings don’t do any good. They don’t change the past, and when acted upon they do not change anyone else.
They merely keep you stuck.
Another trap that keeps people from feeling free is regret over what they did or didn’t do in life.
It’s like a cage, where they feel like they’re interacting with the world, but they’re being held back. It may feel safe to hide under anger or resentment. But the reality is that this cage keeps a person from participating in and enjoying life.
Most people don’t even realize what it is that’s keeping them from moving forward.
They may blame their unhappiness on their bad luck or how other people treated them. Or perhaps they may understand their own role in the situation. They understand by holding on to their anger and hurt is like poison. …
Teens are bullied over the same thing generation after generation: physical differences such as weight, acne and facial features, speech differences, mental abilities/disabilities.
Teens get bullied verbally, physically (tripping down the hall, book bumping), and through writing.
One significant difference that teens face now is the vast amount of technology available, which has changed the dynamic of bullying behavior.
Teens are attacked through social media such as Facebook, text messages are sent, photos are sent and become viral in seconds. Sexting is not uncommon.
When you were a teenager, pictures were physical. Notes were on paper. And while rumors could get around quickly, they were not recorded forever on the world wide web.
As a parent of a teen, you can make a difference when your child is being bullied.
Here are 5 things that all parents of teens need to know.
For some people, it’s because of a crisis, such as infidelity, job loss, illness or accidents.
Others come in because they feel distant and want to grow closer, or they seek counseling before they marry to sort out any difficulties and ensure that they’re ready for life together.
Some couples simply know that something feels wrong but they don’t know what, and they want to fix it.
But once you and your partner have decided to seek counseling, how do you make the most of it? Here are six things to consider.
“Jessica” (pseudonym) was 18 years old when she enlisted in the Army. She was trained as a mechanic, and enjoyed what she did.
The Army provided her the family she didn’t have at home and a sense of belonging and stability. At the time, the United States was not engaged in a war. A year later, this would change.
Jessica was sent to Afghanistan. While there, she was injured when the truck she was driving hit an IED. After her body healed, and she continued in her unit. Like all service people who serve in a war, Jessica saw and experienced many horrific things.
After her time in Afghanistan ended and she was back in the US, Jessica’s body wasn’t the same. She had an undiagnosed TBI (traumatic brain injury) from the IED. She had intense mood swings. She couldn’t concentrate. She had nightmares nearly every night.
These were all problems that Jessica felt like she could talk about with other veterans, friends and family. Things like TBI and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) have become well known and understood.
What Jessica didn’t feel like she could talk about was the rape by her commanding officer, the very person in the chain of command she was expected to report sexual assault to, and who she looked up to like a father.
It’s fall here in the United States. For much of the country, this means darker skies, shorter days, and colder temperatures. For many people, the change in season can also mean an increase in depressive symptoms.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD)?
SAD is a type of depression that occurs during a change in season, usually fall and winter. People who suffer from SAD have many of the same symptoms as those with depression: lack of energy, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawing from friends and family, weight gain, and not enjoying things that one used to enjoy.
How many people experience SAD?
Many people experience seasonal affective disorder. According to Dr. Norman Rosenthal, 6 percent of the people in the United States suffer from SAD 1. This does not include the number of people who experience a less severe form of seasonal depression – the winter blues. SAD is more common in the northern areas of the United States, and less common in areas of the south where there is more sunshine.
How is SAD treated?
There are several treatments for SAD. Like major depressive disorder, SAD can be treated with psychotherapy and medication. But SAD also responds very well to light therapy. Light therapy uses a full spectrum, intense light to help decrease depressive symptoms.
What is the difference between SAD and clinical depression?
People who experience SAD have the same symptoms as people with major depressive disorder. However, major depressive disorder is not limited to the darker days of fall and winter.
Tips for surviving SAD
Often we think that big problems come from big incidents: your spouse divorces you and you become depressed, your house burns down and you have nightmares for weeks, you fight in a war and have PTSD.
But trauma doesn’t fit so neatly into a box.
Some people experience severe trauma with very few lasting side-effects; others go through what many would consider a minor trauma and it has a significant, life-changing impact. So what’s going on?
Working with a therapist can promote growth and healing, as well as decrease symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
Therapy is also an investment. People spend money, time and energy hoping to make themselves and their relationships healthier and happier.
Each person comes in to therapy with different hopes and expectations, as well as different problems and concerns. Just as every person and therapist is unique, every therapy experience is one of a kind.
Although there is no way to guarantee the exact road that your therapy will take, there are some things that you can do to make the most of your therapy.
Creativity is a characteristic prized in children. Did you ever create forts with sheets and a kitchen table, or play cops and robbers, house, or act out a TV show? Creativity is fun!
Children use their creativity to open up their minds, to learn and to enjoy themselves. Creativity is as basic and natural as breathing, and as useful as intellect.
Children create constantly, both with their hands and with their minds. They can look at a paperclip and imagine hundreds of uses, see dragons in the clouds, or invent invisible cars that fly.
But as people get older, the push for creativity diminishes. Creativity is often relegated to drawing, making music, or writing. People who don’t consider themselves artistic may falsely believe that they are not creative.
But creativity is much more than art. It is a part of nearly everything we do. And the more the creative brain is used, the stronger it becomes.
Before you ever enter a therapist’s office, there are some basic questions you should know the answer to:
Are they licensed to provide counseling or therapy, and is their license up-to-date? Do they take insurance? How long are sessions? What is the cost for each session? What type of payment do they accept? Do they treat the problem you’re seeking help for? What are their hours? What is their cancellation policy?
In addition to these questions, there are more specific things you may want to inquire about that will help you find out if a particular therapist will be a good fit with you: