The Question

What questions do you get asked over and over again about your practice?

My model of therapy involves having two way conversations.  Like most conversations, there are discussions and questions.  Some of the questions are logistical—payment, appointments etc, others are more therapeutic. The question that comes up more often is actually not directed towards me.  It is a question asked rhetorically by my clients about their right to have their feelings.  These are a few samples:

“Why should I be depressed?  I have everything that anyone would want.”

“Why should I be upset about my bonus?  There are so many people who don’t have jobs? “

“I really shouldn’t be upset about my husband talking to that woman at the party, should I?”

This sample of questions shows that people doubt their self perceptions and right to feel.  Self doubts then lead to self loathing about not only feeling these feelings, but having them in the first place.  Their self perception is that they are weak, shallow, and ungrateful people.  This process of invalidation followed by self loathing becomes a downward spiral of lower self esteem.  What a crappy process!!!

How do we change this process?  Give myself permission. What does that mean? According to thefreedictionary.com, permission means – approval to do something.  When I give myself permission, I am granting myself the approval to have feelings, and feel my feelings.  That is powerful permission!!  Permission also comes with its own self-talk channel.  This “channel” can run in my head at any time and tell me “it’s ok to have these feelings”; “it’s ok to feel these feelings”.  This ongoing permissive self-talk gives me the power to own my feelings.  They are mine after all!!!  Once I start the process of permission, I can then challenge my self doubts and self perceptions and can empower myself to be a more feeling person.  If I can own my feelings without the self doubt, I can then work on changing other bad patterns and cycles.

Remember, change is possible!

 

 

 

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Stuck in a Moment

You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it

                 Bono

 

Royce White is a professional basketball player.  At least he and his current employer, the NBA’s Houston Rockets want him to be one.  Royce has yet to play a minute this season in spite of the fact that he was their number one draft pick.  You may ask why is this?   Royce White is challenging the Rockets and ultimately the NBA’s way of looking at mental illness.  White has both Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obesessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) and wants to have his own mental health Physician to determine if he is fit to play on game days.  White sees mental illness and physical illness as the same and has asked the Rockets to see things his way.  The Rockets just want him on the floor to shoot, rebound and score, the same traits that they saw in him in last year’s NCAA’s basketball tournament.  The conflict between the Rockets and White has led him to be suspended by the team.  Mr. White is stuck in a moment that he cannot get out of.

My definition of anxiety is that people with anxiety issues think way too much about things that most people don’t think about at all.  On HBO’s Real Sports, White showed us his excessive thinking.   He was obsessed with other people’s driving and texting.  He shared about his fear of flying, and showed us his excessive organization of his closet.  It’s very clear, after the Real Sports segment, that although White may be a great basketball player, it’s his anxiety that has placed him in his current position.  This does not make him unique at all.  Many clients that I’ve seen over the years are stuck in their anxiety.  They have irrational thinking, avoid scary places, and feel terribly out of control.  In addition, they are constantly having “what if” thinking about everything.  The amazing part about my anxious  clients is not their disorder, but how they change.  Whether challenging their perceived “safety zone”, changing their thinking, or by taking healthy risks, they manage to step by step feel better and get better.  It’s a fascinating journey from stuck to free.

Although he is stuck in a moment that he can’t get out of with his career, Royce White has great goals.  He said during the interview that he wants to be a good person because he knows that anxiety can lead to alcoholism, drug addiction, homicide and suicide if not properly treated.  I too have seen this  phenomena about untreated illnesses leading to bigger problems.  Perhaps Bono knew this as well since “Stuck in a Moment” is written about the deceased INXS singer Michael Hutchins who committed suicide.   The Royce White’s of the world or any of my clients,  need to know that if you are that stuck there is hope. The last line of the song gives us this-   “It’s just a moment, this time will pass”

 

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Make The Best of What’s Around

Here is the latest episode of Tales From the Office

 

Make the Best of What’s Around

Today’s  show  is a combination of 2 of my loves, music and sports.  The first “make the best of what’s around” tells us about some very courageous folks who seem to know how to get by and get ahead in spite of major obstacles.  The second tale “the daily racing form” is sage advice if you’re looking to get to winner’s circle in the most important race you’ll ever run.

 

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Happy New Year

 

Hope everyone had a safe, healthy, and sober new year.  In 2011, many great things happened to changeispossible.org. :

The website was redone and looks great. 

The Tales from the Office podcast started.

The Tales from the Office sound greatly improved.

and the best part–more great things are on the way–

Podcasts you can expect to hear in 2012 include:

Who Are You– a show about self esteem

Lyin Eyes– a show about infidelity

Prepositions of Communication–there are 3, and boy are they different

the 25 letter alphabet(-guess what letter is missing?).

and others yet to be named

 

In addition, I will making a presentation at the Depression, Bipolar, Support Alliance(DBSA) in Morristown NJ on January 25, 2012.  The topic is : Resentment and Depression.  You can read more about this here.

If you can’t make it to the presentation, (with any luck), highlights will be up on the site in the DBSA  section of the site:

http://www.changeispossible.org/dbsa/

In this section, you will also find 3 of my past DBSA presentations.  Please enjoy them as well.

 

Again Happy New Year, enjoy 2012. 

Feel free to follow me on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/changepossible

Please comment on any of the information of this site, it adds to the social aspect of this blog.

Thanks for reading.

 


 

 

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Faq on Men’s Mental Health

Frequently Asked Questions on Men’s Mental  Health

(from bbrfoundation.org)

 

Is there a connection between sports injuries and mental illness?

Research has shown us that mental illness is often a combination of environment and genetic predisposition. Some Boston University studies on retired athletes found that those who had had three or more concussions had a three-fold higher incidence of depression compared to players with fewer brain injuries.1  While these studies find so much in the physical, there is an important aspect that few are willing to expose: the devastating social stigma that comes with mental illness. This can be even crueler for men than for women, as our society idolizes professional athletes,  as well as men in general some argue, for being tough, resilient and infallible.


Why are men less likely to seek treatment for mental illness than women?

Men may not recognize the primary symptoms of depression and may be reluctant to discuss these symptoms due to stigma, concerns for job security and the societal views associated with emotional self-control in men. There is a growing body of research in the United States that suggests that men are less likely than women to seek help from health professionals for problems  as diverse as depression, substance abuse, physical disabilities and stressful life events.

Is there a connection between depression and testosterone levels in men?

Research has indicated that low testosterone levels have been linked with higher risk for depression in men.2 Approximately 2.5 million men in the U.S. have low testosterone levels, with about half a million new cases each year. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone, such as fatigue, irritability, decreased concentration and decreased libido, overlap with symptoms of major depression.

Do men experience depression differently than women?

Men can experience depression differently than women and have different ways of coping. Men may be more willing to report fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in work or hobbies, and sleep disturbances rather than feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and excessive guilt, which are commonly associated with depression in women.

Do Men Experience Postpartum Depression?

In the past year, research has shown that men are also prone to depression after the birth of a child. The analysis of more than 28,000 fathers determined that up to 14% of dads in the U.S. experience depression after the birth of their child, and that figure escalates to 25% in the period 3 to 6 months after birth.3  Approximately10 percent of new fathers experience post- partum depression, called paternal postnatal depression, or PPND. The strong correlation of paternal postpartum depression with maternal postpartum depression has important implications for family health and well-being. Consideration of postpartum depression in fathers as well as mothers,  and consideration of co-occurrence of depression in couples, is an important next step in research and practice involving childbearing families.4

Is there a substantial difference in the occurrence of suicide for men and women?

Women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide but men are more likely to die by suicide. Four times as many men as women die by suicide, even though women make more suicide attempts during their lives. Those at highest risk for suicide in the U.S. are the elderly, and particularly elderly white men who commit suicide at a rate of approximately 31.1 suicides per 100,000 each year. Among white males 65 and older, risk goes up with age. White men 85 and older have a suicide rate that is six times that of the overall national rate.5

How do body image issues and eating disorders play out in men?

Some men feel a lot of pressure to have a strong, muscular physique and may focus excessively on exercise and dieting. These preoccupations can turn to an obsessive nature, causing harm physically, profession- ally, and personally. People with body image issues may feel unhappy with how they look and feel self-conscious about their bodies.Men and women are affected equally, but may focus on different parts of the body. Men tend to worry more about their skin, hair, nose, muscles and genitals.6 An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male. Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they are “women’s diseases.”7

 

Citations

1       American Association of Neuropathologists, Inc., Volume 68, Number 7

2       NARSAD Young Investigator  Grantee Josee Savard, PhD: The Role of Hormone Therapy and Testoster- one Deficiency in the Development of Depression

in Men with Prostate Cancer

3       Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010

4       Medline.(PMID:14675298 [PubMed – indexed for

MEDLINE]

5       National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

6       Carlat, D.J., Camargo. Review of Bulimia Nervosa in Males. American Journal of Psychiatry

7       National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Eating Disorder Statistics, (American Psyc

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Coping with Stress and Depression During the Holidays

  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day) remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities can be spread out (time-wise) to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.
  • Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them. Leave “yesteryear” in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don’t set yourself up in comparing today with the “good ol’ days.”
  • Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others.
  • Enjoy activities that are free, such as driving around to look at holiday decorations; going window shopping without buying; making a snowperson with children.
  • Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
  • Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
  • Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.
  • Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries! Let others share responsibility of activities.
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