A Long Term Hiatus

Work life balance is… Suffice to say, my passion for mental health issues will never leave, but other priorities take the top spots at the moment.  Reading and writing are powerful tools – tools for understanding, learning, growing and sharing.  Although we can’t always spend as much time using these tools as we might like, it doesn’t mean surrender.  Just need to hit the pause button for now.  Read, write, share….  Wishing Happy Living and Happy Life to you!

Reading is FUNdamental, writing is hard?

For many of us who enjoy reading, it is a pleasurable, entertaining, and informative pastime! Bits of therapy can be found in reading, but research is showing therapeutic benefits to writing – the problem is actually making the time, sitting down, and doing it!

Research says there is evidence for recovering from trauma, performing better despite anxiety, improved information recall, and physical health benefits all associated with writing! And while we know many of the things that are healthy – home cooking, fresh fruits and veggies, regular exercise – all take time, we still tend to “let things go.” Old habits take precedence and we just keep going, with our complaints, unmet needs, aches and pains. But what if we really want a change?

How do we make time for one more thing? The answer: online therapy! Writing when it is convenient for you, accountability of checking in with a real person, receiving real supportive feedback can help you meet your goals – overcoming a trauma, dealing with transitions, or taking stock of where you are… Ready to give online therapy a try? Click here to get started today!

Depression Notes

Depression Notes

Feeling blue? Down? Feel like not smiling? Not laughing?  Is the joy gone?  Seem like the “walls are closing in” on you?  Sometimes depression is thought of as a “flat line” compared to the zippy peppy beep beep blip on a heart monitor.  And of course, feeling suicidal or hopeless….  These are all signs of depression.  Additionally, extreme fatigue, irritability, even angry outbursts, can be signs of depression.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help.  Research has shown that counseling can be an effective treatment.  Sometimes there are situational elements that contribute to un-well feelings, and learning new coping strategies may help ease transitions.  Sometimes there are long-standing habitual patterns of responding to events that cause down feelings, and learning how to break old habits can help increase positive feelings and motivations.  Sometimes there are incidents in life for which depression is the appropriate response, and talking to a counselor can simply help provide support and reassurance through a normal part of growing, coping, and healing.

Some depressive episodes are too deep for counseling alone – and it is OK to seek further assistance.  Every venture into counseling should be accompanied by a visit to one’s doctor as many physical problems can cause psychological symptoms.  If symptoms interfere with daily functioning such that necessary life tasks cannot be accomplished, medications can provide a temporary aide to lift functioning enough for counseling to be effective.

If you have questions or concerns, talk to a counselor or your family doctor.  Don’t suffer in silence.  Life is short and meant to be lived!  Get help today.

To Trust or Not To Trust, that is the question….

Erik Erikson highlights the importance of trust by naming it first in our stages of development.  The ability to trust – to believe that our needs can and will be met – is the foundation for all of our further growth.  Does that mean that if our childhood was lacking in some way, or perhaps our “genetic heritage” has caused us to lean towards doubt and anxiety, we are doomed to a life of never trusting?  And without trust, are we ever able to have a whole and fulfilling relationship in our adult lives?  It certainly seems we would get more sleep if we knew how to trust – to believe the intentions of others are for our good as well as their own, or that we will be fine despite the intentions of others.  We cannot change the behavior of other people – we can only see, act, re-act, form opinions, test our theories, and try to make sense of it all.  But we can believe and trust in the one entity we can control, or at least hope to try controlling – ourselves.  By trusting in our own selves (note – a faith in a higher power notwithstanding) we can overcome any misfortunes or rejections or perceived slights that any relationship may throw at us – because we trust in our ability and of the world in general to meet our needs; because we know and trust our own selves to be lovable, to do good in the world and to act with love and care. I trust and believe that people can and do change and grow, not only during childhood, but throughout our entire lives — and that trust and self-care can be learned.  Look around and see how many people find new love after betrayal, how people who lose their homes and precious belongings go forward still able to cherish and live, and even when friendships fail millions of people rally and rise again with forgiveness and more.  We need only to decide we want to increase our trust in life – then begin boldly in our new direction!  Are you ready to trust and try a new direction?    

The Balancing Act of 2012

No, not politics, but life, liberty, and the pursuit of sleep! How often do we resolve that this will be the year to: get in shape; eat healtheir; save money; lose weight; spend less; go on a date; don’t go on any dates; stop yelling; start yelling; get a better job; get any job; make life-altering changes to bring life into balance!

Balance is subjective, and subject to the ebb and flow of life. It can be achieved – perhaps not always in the way we want, at the time that we want – but that doesnt mean we can’t take steps to bring more balance to our days in small, meaningful ways, or progress a few steps towards the big changes we hope to enact.

Juggling so many responsibilites, as all moms do, overworked, undervalued, and undernourished, we need to make ourselves a priority. One small item every day. One small piece of enjoyment every day. One small moment of solace and support.

This year, I vote for The Balancing Act of 2012!

Cats Will Never Build Houses

Steve Jobs, rest in peace, has been quoted as saying,”Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” But, what for those of us who are not as focused, intense, and driven as Mr. Jobs seemed to be…

So, what does this have to do with cats?! Well, for cats, our wonderful, live in the moment, live by the whim, sometimes persnickety pets, curiosity and comfort rule their lives.  They seek a beam of sunshine and a nap; treats are a blessing; a warm lap and loving pats make their days purrrrrfect.  Do they worry about the future? Do they seek to improve their living conditions? Do they wonder why no cat has ever done blah and then find a way to do it? Well, not that anyone has noted in recent history….  And will we ever know for certain what they are thinking – not likely.  But they certainly don’t seem to worry, nor contemplate their bucket lists, nor the dreams of their forefathers, or how they don’t have the right car, or the most money – and so far as we know, they have not ever, and will never, build houses.

And what does this have to do with the quote from Mr. Jobs?! Well, this is the difference between humans, and all other living creatures on Earth (again, so far as we know…): that we can choose what we do with our time here, that we have the capacity to understand how fragile life is and that we can direct our lives.  We can direct our lives so thoroughly that we direct ourselves and our relationships into the dirt; we can drive ourselves to maximize our unhealthy habits and feel helpless in our frozen fears; we can direct ourselves to the heights of “success” while expending loved ones and meaning along the way….  But if we can take the directive of Mr. Jobs, and combine it with the attitude of cats – we would be thoroughly able to enjoy each moment in life, and conduct ourselves according to our own morals and ethics and integrity – to live and thrive in harmony with our drives, our happiness, and our meaning in life – healthy, loving relationships, success that matters to us, and days that add to our eternal stores of joy.

Cats will never build houses, but we humans can learn to revel in the simple joys of life as they do. And we can build, and grow, and change – and engage in our futures with the capacity to think, and understand, and focus.  Mr. Jobs reminds us – time is of the essence  – what can we start with, today, that will help us move one step closer to the life we want, we need, and we all can have?  What small choices can we make to increase our joy, and channel our energy into our own lives?

Humanity Is … Potential

That we are capable of so much evil, so much good, so much that is brilliant and bright – and equally capable of doing nothing, doing harm to ourselves and our loved ones, wasting time, and changing the world, sometimes all at once….  what other creatures on Earth can do all of this.  The events of 9/11 bring so many potentials to mind: the potential of one person to motivate others and do great ill; the potential of many to rally and rebuild following great ill; the potential for many to relax and sit back again into comfortable easy chairs of life to idly watch the tv events go by; the potential for great spirituality; the potential for great disbelief; and the potential for some to recognize and take action in the name of the trade offs for each potential pursued in life.  What will we choose – as a nation, as a people, as individuals – to do with our human potential?  What will you choose, today?