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.
Bad, how deep the pain is
Oh, you just couldn’t believe
And yes, I’m good on the surface
But I’m a mess, I’m a mess underneath.
See Winter took most of my heart
And Spring punched me right in the stomach
Summer came looking for blood
And by Autumn, I was left with nothing
It took a whole damn year to repair my body…
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 Can Heal
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
You have an important deadline at work, and you need take the car to the repair shop. You skip breakfast, drop off the car, and get a ride to your job. By noon your stomach is growling. Just before lunch, your boss walks up and asks you to take care of something urgent. What do you do?
We depend on our boundaries help us cope with challenges every day. They are a necessary part of life, but they can be hard to define exactly. What does it mean to have healthy boundaries, and how do you put them in place?