By now you have probably heard about the Heartbleed Bug that has the Internet community shorting out its circuits. With headlines, tweets and posts with titles like “Why Heartbleed Is the Ultimate Web Nightmare” its a wonder any of us got any sleep last night. That Heartbleed logo alone is enough to kick up my flight/fight response!
So what can we do to get a grip, calm our bodies down and take action to do what we can to address the problem?
As soon as I saw the “Breaking News” my heart sank. Another shooting. Another gunman. More dead, injured, traumatized.
Then I brace myself for those two little words that always accompany these disastrous gun-related events: “mental illness.”
In a story on NPR, reporter Melissa Block spoke with Counselor Annie Powers, a military veteran herself, who specializes in treating PTSD. Ms. Powers sees military patients at the Adult, Child and Family Counseling Center in Killeen, Texas, the town where Fort Hood is located.
Ms. Block reports, “All the patients [Annie Powers] talked to since the shooting have been talking about it.”
Ms. Powers states, “I can see where they might be concerned about, oh great, everybody thinks that if you have PTSD, anger, anxiety and depression issues that you’re crazy! There’s a lot of people who are afraid to come get the help. They don’t want it on their military record. They don’t want to go on medication because somebody might know, ‘I couldn’t handle it. I wasn’t strong enough.’ I have to explain to them that PTSD is not about strength.”Read More...
Doing the very thing you are afraid of is what reduces anxiety. Somebody said that. Probably Eleanor Roosevelt because she said everything cool, but I digress…
Everyday we are faced with decisions from the seemingly mundane, “Do I get out of bed today?,” (seemingly, because for some that is a major decision, no joke) to the life changers, “Do I take that job? Start a company? Have a baby? Move to a new city?”
Those of us who tend toward anxiety too often find ourselves going around in circles, towards a decision then backing off, only to go towards it again and backing off once more, like a toddler who can’t decide if it wants independence more than it wants to be with mommy.
Why do we get anxious about making decisions and what can we do about it?
This is a True Story.
A couple walked into a therapist’s office. (OK. It was my office…)
“If you would only stop doing what you’re doing we’d be fine!” yelled one.
“If you would only stop telling me what to do we’d be fine!” growled the other.
“Time out!” said the therapist (me), using the universal ‘T’ hand gesture.
The couple, united in intent at last, stared at me, shocked, as if a monkey had suddenly jumped on my head.
I gently continue, “Couples Therapy is not about having the same fight you have at home here in this office. Just because there’s a third party witnessing it, that won’t make the fight, or your relationship, any better. Let me explain what it takes to be in couples therapy. Then you can decide if you want to continue.”
When was that Moment of Truth for you? When you realized there are certain words in our culture used almost exclusively to keep us down. Words like ‘Bossy!’
For me it was when someone I love and trust called me that other word that starts with a ‘B.’
Many, many years ago when I was in graduate school, I took a road trip with my brother. We were driving from Kansas where my parents lived, back to the East Coast. We are only a year apart in age, pretty opinionated and, shall we say, vocal. Being cooped up in a car for over 12 hours can be a dangerous environment for siblings who don’t always see eye to eye no matter how much you love them.
I have no idea what the topic was we were talking so heatedly about. All I remember is we were arguing about something passionately when he said, “Why are you always such a b*#ch!”
Whoa! Talk about conversation stopper!Read More...
“Sit up straight!” “Do not hunch over!” “Shoulders back!”
No, this wasn’t bootcamp. It was my childhood.
My father was a posture Nazi. His constant vigilance at the dinner table was a literal pain in the neck. People would compliment my parents on my posture and inwardly I’d roll my eyes, “You have no idea.”
Now I’m grateful. My spine is grateful, My internal organs are grateful. And today I learned that my self-esteem can be grateful, too!
While I was walking on the treadmill doing my morning mile, I watched the first episode of Life Hacks, a collection of TED talks, on Netflix. A client, who knows my love for Netflix, suggested this series as an alternative to Sherlock episodes.
Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, shares how her research supports the idea that our body language can make a difference in whether we feel powerful or the opposite, small and unworthy. Stand up tall with your hands on your hips for two full minutes and, even though you may not be feeling it totally, it will be easier to act as if you own the room.Read More...
Owning your own business can mean working 24/7. I really felt it last week. Even though I thought I was doing a good job with self-care, last night was the first time I was really able to sleep deeply, well and for as long as I wanted. This morning I woke up so happy, loose and serene I almost talked myself out of it! Almost!
It started with, “Remember the back up of emails you need to get to, that conversation you have to have you’re not looking forward to, that report you have to write…” I could feel the good mood start to dissolve like sugar dropped in boiling water. Thank God I stopped myself.
Instead I stretched and told myself, “Today I am happy. I can get to that stuff and still be happy right now!” And I smiled.
As I sipped my morning coffee, basking in my sleep fulfilled afterglow, I read the front page article in the New York Times Sunday Review section: Goodnight, Sleep Clean and it sighted studies that explained exactly what I had just experienced. That’s pretty cool.
We’ve had a lot of articles here on the EWN blog about the importance of sleep such as “7 Tips to Improve Your Sleep!” and without a doubt we’ll probably have more in the future. Sleep is that important to our mental, emotional and physical health!
So go to bed, relax and remember that sleeping is not a waste of time. It is actually allowing a second shift of biochemical workers to get busy taking out the trash! Wishing you all a refreshing good night’s sleep!
Time for the top ten list! 2013 was a very good year for Explore What’s Next. Nicole Newcomb and Kate Maleski joined our team of wonderful therapists, we settled into our beautiful new office space and expanded our hours and types of service! It makes me just burst with pride at how EWN has grown!
Meanwhile, back at the blog, we have a sweet collection of articles about how to deal with anxiety, how to build better relationships and useful tips to get through those times of stress that can knock us down for the count. Here are ten of the most popular posts for 2013:
Looking forward to an Awesome New Year
filled with peace of mind,
strength of heart and resiliency of spirit!
Peace of mind and heart,
Prosperity throughout the year,
Happiness that multiplies,
Health for you and yours,
Fun around every corner,
Energy to chase your dreams,
Time to rest and savor,
Joy to fill your holidays!
May all your Christmas wishes come true!
Inspired by d.m. dellinger
“Humans, especially men, are notorious at forging ahead until the wheels well and truly fly off the trolley. Why is it that we only start looking after our heart after we’ve had a heart attack? The same can be said for our mental health. Look after it now, for a better future.” ~Matthew Johnstone
Describing what it’s like to be severely depressed to someone who’s never been there can be like describing the color blue to someone who was born without sight. Produced by the World Health Organization, written, illustrated and narrated by Matthew Johnstone, this video uses the metaphore of a Black Dog to help understand and validate what depression can feel like and what it takes to find hope again.
Thanks to my friend Mac MacDonald for sharing this with us! You’re the best, Mac!