Depression

Suicide Prevention Awareness: How to Ask

This month is suicide prevention awareness month. Statistics show that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and for every suicide, there are 25 attempts. There are many myths about suicide, and I believe there is one myth in particular that must be discussed.

Myth:
If I ask someone directly if they are thinking about suicide, I might make them think about it or act on it.
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Anxiety and Panic

4 Hidden Ways Shame Operates

Shame is the painful sense of being flawed or defective. It is so painful to experience this toxic shame that we may find ways to avoid feeling it. Shame is more destructive when it operates secretly.

Here are some common ways that I’ve observed shame operating in many of my psychotherapy clients. Being mindful of the shame that lives inside us is the first step toward healing it and affirming ourselves more deeply.
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Anxiety and Panic

Breaking Up with My PTSD: The Reality of Recovering from Haunting Trauma

My almost life-long companion and I are actually breaking up. I should be more specific. What I’m breaking up with is more exactly known as C-PTSD, a form of PTSD. I think we’re in the final stages of our separation. It’s been a long and drawn-out breakup because that’s how it goes with C-PTSD. Once you get to know it well, you practice breaking up with it every day. Some days require more sorting out and negotiation than others.

It’s been around a long time for me. My children have all become very familiar with it even though they didn’t know what they’re really seeing. Most people outside of our home never even knew it was around.
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Anger

How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

“If I accept that I can never have a real relationship with my father, it feels like I don’t have a father. If I accept that, am I still a son?”

Jack’s Story:

Jack is a 45-year-old architect, recently married for the first time. He came to therapy to deal with long-standing feelings of depression. His wife, ten years younger than Jack, wanted to start a family. Jack had spent years keeping a cool and cordial distance from his critical father. Now, as his wife pressed him to become a father himself, he felt flooded by sadness and insecurity. Could he be a good father? What if he messed it up?
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Bullying

Fighting Depression at Work

“Fighting depression” does not appear on any job description.

Conducting job duties -- no matter how menial or how daunting -- has never been an issue for me. In one job, I faithfully took a former boss’s clothes to and from the cleaners. In another, I had the pleasure of demonstrating a business solution for those who run a global corporation. Due to past traumas that occurred during previous jobs, however, I constantly fight an inner war against depression.
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General

Why We Can’t Accept Ourselves — and Small Steps to Start

There are all sorts of obstacles that stop us from accepting ourselves. For starters, it might be a combination of scarce self-knowledge and wounds from our past, said Alexis Marson, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with individuals, couples, families and children.

We often lack knowledge and awareness about our emotions. And the most damaging past wounds tend to stem from our caregivers. Marson shared this example: You feel angry and interpret your parents as disconnecting from you. You do everything you can to dismiss or ignore your anger so you can maintain the connection. “If we've cut off our ability to feel anger, we aren't aware of that part of our self. You cannot accept something you don't even know is there.”
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General

7 Ways to Honor Yourself Every Day

We can think of honoring ourselves in many different ways. Therapist Lisa Neuweg, LCPC, defines it as “accepting all parts of ourselves: “the good and bad, the perfect and imperfect, the disappointments and triumphs.” According to somatic psychotherapist Lisa McCrohan, MSW, given our current culture, it means living our lives around what’s most sacred or important to us -- instead of based on “the time on the clock.”

For self-acceptance and self-love coach Miri Klements it means being honest with herself and acknowledging what is true for her. It means treating herself with compassion, understanding, gentleness, acceptance and love.
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Family

When You Rely Too Much on What Others Think

Caring what others think is totally normal. It’s also adaptive. “[V]aluing other people’s thoughts and opinions is what helps us build relationships [and] integrate socially into society,” said Ashley Thorn, a LMFT, a psychotherapist who works with individuals, couples, and families on improving their relationships. “[It] keeps us respecting and following rules and pushes us to think and challenge ourselves.”

Caring what others think becomes a problem when we hyperfocus on their opinions -- and let them override our own. When we do this regularly, we send “a message to our brain that says we can’t ‘look out’ for ourselves or self-protect.” Which triggers self-doubt and insecurity.
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Children and Teens

Maintaining Your Sense of Self as a Stay-At-Home Mom

I don’t know who I am other than mom. Even when I have the time and can do whatever I want, I don’t know what I like to do anymore. I feel invisible. I only feel valued for the things I do for others. I have nothing to talk about aside from my kids. I wonder if they’ll think I’m boring.

Clinical psychologist Jessica Michaelson, PsyD, often hears these statements from her clients. It’s not that being a stay-at-home mom is inherently bad or damaging to our sense of self. In fact, if it aligns with your core values, it can absolutely strengthen it, said Michaelson, who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety, stress management and parent coaching.
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Children and Teens

5 More Strategies for Helping Your Teen Strengthen Their Self-Worth

It’s important for teens to have a solid self-worth. It’s important for them to know that they matter and are already lovable and worthy. Because when kids have a shaky sense of worth, they may latch onto toxic people and make poor decisions. They may let people walk all over them. They may try to earn their worth.

Adolescence is already a tricky, tumultuous time. Teens are trying to figure out who they are, what they like, what they stand for, what they need. Having a solid self-worth helps them navigate these questions more effectively.
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Children and Teens

5 Tips for Cultivating Your Teen’s Self-Worth

One of the most powerful things parents can do for their teens is to help them cultivate a strong and solid self-worth. According to Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a therapist who specializes in working with children, teens and families, self-worth is “the value you place on yourself and love for self.”

“It tells us who we are and that we matter,” said Rosy Saenz-Sierzega, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in working with teens. “[W]e know we deserve to be loved, respected, regarded and forgiven; we believe we matter enough to have our needs and desires met.”
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Inspiration & Hope

Childhood Trauma: Focus on Validating Feelings

When you’re a child and you suffer abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual, or emotional, you make it your mission to find out if this is normal. You wonder if other kids experienced the same things.

It’s easier to doubt your perception than it is to accept the fact that you are living in a dangerous situation. If you knew that to be true, you’d have to do something about it. You’d have to talk to a teacher, a school counselor, or a police officer. You’d have to expose something that brings you great shame and pain. You’d have to face your abuser. Even though you’re only a child.
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