Good cheer, happiness, family and a spirit of giving are a big part of the holiday season. But for many people, stress and loneliness are major players that upset plans to stay positive. If your tension level rises when the decor goes up, you are not alone. It is common for some people to feel more anxious or lonely as the season begins.
Holiday stress can trigger negative thinking that builds on itself. To avoid this cycle, we can take this opportunity to find new comforts and enjoy the holidays differently. We can take simple, meaningful steps for healthy self-care, and put some fun back into our celebrations. Continue reading
Do holiday family gatherings stir up feelings of excitement and dread at the same time? Do you feel a little thrown off your game as your visit gets underway? Maybe you’re like the golfer in this story. Stick with me here — it relates back to holiday stress, I promise:
The tragedy of suicide has struck again, here in Northern Virginia. I am heartbroken to learn of four student deaths in three days, in nearby Prince William County. Each one was ruled a suicide. As we grieve more dreadful losses to mental illness, I must ask, how can we stop this from happening again?
Nobody welcomes feelings of sadness or dejection, but feeling down is sometimes part of life. Sadness is a normal, healthy emotion, and a natural response to loss or disappointment. Depression is a mental health issue, and a treatable illness.
While it may not seem to matter what you call it when you or a loved one is hurting, it is important to understand how these conditions are different.
Survivors of childhood trauma deserve all the peace and security that a loving relationship can provide. But a history of abuse or neglect can make trusting another person feel terrifying. Trying to form an intimate relationship may lead to frightening missteps and confusion.
How can we better understand the impact of trauma, and help survivors find the love, friendship and support they and their partner deserve? Continue reading
Adolescence arrives with a surge of emotional energy. It can empower youth to expand their capabilities, make new friends, depend less on parents, and live more passionately. The influence of parents remains important in a child’s life, and is necessary to support teens in making good choices.
What Causes Substance Abuse and Dependence, and How to Help Break the Cycle
On the day Amy Winehouse died, my whole body caved in. My warped logic was that if Amy’s manager, her family, her doctors, her bodyguard couldn’t keep her alive, then honestly, what hope did we have? Us or any of the families… who reluctantly tag along on an addict’s grand tour, seeing sights we never wanted to see, meeting people we never would have chosen to sit next to at breakfast, in the cockeyed hope that one day our loved one might come home to us. Continue reading
PTSD: Why Does It Happen? How Survivors
A traumatic event is something no one is prepared to deal with. You may feel your mind and body are in a state of shock from the experience. You may have nightmares, feel jumpy, or find yourself re-playing the event in your mind. You may even feel disconnected from the world around you. What happened was traumatic, and any person would feel shaken up. This is natural and human. Continue reading
The journey toward mental wellness and self-care can be especially challenging for trauma survivors. “Trauma literally means ‘wound, injury, or shock,'” according to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). “It refers to extreme stress that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope,” writes Esther Giller of the Sidran Institute. The impact of trauma makes it difficult for survivors to understand their own experiences, and can interfere with their ability to get the help they need.
A trauma-informed therapist develops skills to become mindful of the impact of trauma to aid in working with clients. This awareness is the basis for a therapeutic relationship that is responsive to the needs of trauma survivors. Understanding the trauma-informed approach is important because it can help all of us recognize the challenges trauma survivors face when seeking healing and support. Continue reading