the healing journey counseling fl

healing, anxiety, loss, grief, depression, ptsd, self-care, suicide prevention, post partum depression


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Depression and Loss

In honor of suicide prevention awareness month, I wanted to share about Depression and how it affects us all. Yes, there are several people who are suffering in silence due to not wanting to burden their loved ones which their problems. But, I wanted you to know that you are not alone and together we can cope and live a better life.

Did you know that “suicide is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. among young people and the there are a variety of mental health conditions that affect people who are very vulnerable” (NAMI, 2015).

Lets review some of the warning signs of suicide

  • Mood swings
  • talking, writing or thinking about death
  • increase in alcohol and drug use
  • aggressive behavior
  • isolate from friends, family and community
  • impulsive behavior

Let’s review if there is an imminent danger?

  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Mood shifts from despair to calm
  • planning to borrow, steal or buy tools to commit suicide

Mental health professionals such as your primary care physician, psychiatrists,psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners are trained to assess if you are at risk. The first step is to acknowledge that you cannot do this by yourself and give yourself permission to get the help that you need. We may believe that we can handle this, but a therapist will be able to help you understand so that you can cope with your thoughts and feelings.

This blog was inspired after reading a guest post on a blog that you can find here at this link http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/blog/ . A husband (Brandon) shared a story about his wife Naomi who had a long history of troubles. In any marriage there are good times as well as bad times and Brandon got engaged to his wife after knowing her for 3 to 4 months. The story begins with the loss of their baby boy who had down syndrome. This loss was very devastating for his wife and Brandon wanted to share the story of his wife so that it can help others.  Patience is not easily acquired, but with persistence we need to encourage one another to talk to someone if they are experiencing depression. Yes, it’s easy to say, I don’t feel like they understand. But,  know that you haven’t given yourselves the chance to let someone hear your story. Yes, it may be painful, but when we hold unto our thoughts this will do nothing for us but bring us downhill. My plea as Brandon mentioned in his blog post is for you to talk to someone about whatever is going on with you. If you are depressed, grieving, sad, lonely….please call someone. There is hope for you and me so ask and you shall receive it.

If you need to talk to someone please call  the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Here’s a link to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention where I am a field advocate in the state of Kansas.

https://www.afsp.org/. This organization has a variety of events and I will be participating in a Community walk in Kansas to raise funds for suicide prevention.

References:

Hibbert, C. (2015). Depression, Loss & A Grieving Husband’s Plea:  “Too Short a Fairy Tale, by Brandon Gerdes.” Retrieved on September 20, 2015 from http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/blog/

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).(2015). Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Retrieved on September 20, 2015 from https://www.nami.org/suicideawarenessmonth/hp

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June is Post- Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month

Each year we recognize PTSD in the month of June and as we enter a new month, I would like to focus on understanding PTSD.

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs provides a definition of PTSD  that occurs “when a person experience a traumatic event such as combat, assault or disaster which most people have some stress reactions after trauma that lingers for some time” (U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015).  There are several types of trauma that includes war, terrorism,violence and abuse and disasters.

Effects of PTSD and the Family

It can be very difficult to live with someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD and often your daily life is disrupted  by nightmares, avoiding crowds, and  difficulty driving. The children at times have a lot of trouble in schools and PTSD affects the relationship with their spouse, family members and friends. There is also a list of common reactions of family members of a person with PTSD that includes sympathy, negative feelings, avoidance, depression, anger and guilt, variety of health problems.

At times family members neglect themselves and spend a lot of time taking care of their loved ones with PTSD which is a set up for failure.  It is important to seek help and surround yourself with others who understand what you are going through.

What can providers do to support family members?

Family members often neglect themselves and are confused about what to do when they find out that their loved one has PTSD.  As a clinician, we must educate the family members and let them learn more about trauma and its effects. It will take some time to learn about PTSD which can be overwhelming, but if you are not aware of what PTSD is and its effects then you will be lost. It also takes a lot of patience to help someone who is affected by PTSD and in time they will heal.  There also various classes that are offered to help the family which includes stress and anger management, addiction, couples communication or parenting (Carlson,E & Ruzek, J,2014).

Help to spread the awareness of PTSD by printing this PDF flyer: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/RaisePTSD_Awareness.pdf

Follow this link for a About Face PTSD videos on Youtube: 

Follow this link provided by the Defense Centers for Excellence – PTSD Fact Sheet. http://www.dcoe.mil/Libraries/Documents/DCoE_PTSDFactSheet_20140410.pdf

References

Carlson,E.B (PhD), & Ruzek, J.(PhD). (2014) PTSD and The Family. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treatment/family/ptsd-and-the-family.asp

Defense Centers of Excellence. (2015) PTSD Treatment Options.  Retrieved from http://www.dcoe.mil/PsychologicalHealth/PTSD_Treatment_Options.aspx

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.(2015). Promotional Materials and Tips to Raise Awareness. Retrieved from http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/promo_materials_awareness.asp


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Stress Awareness- Meditation

Mediation helps you to relax and focus on your mind, body and spirit. Here are some tips on getting started with mediation.

  1. Relaxed yourself and bring yourself to a comfortable position which can include sitting in a chair, on the floor or lying on your back.
  2. Release – Exhale completely. Please mentally be aware that you are releasing your frustration, anger, etc.
  3. Release- Make sure to inhale slowly and you can mentally say ” one” while doing this. Allow yourself a slight pause then begin to exhale again. Mentally know that you are allowing peace back into your body.
  4. Exhale and release- Continue to do this cycle for about 5 mins and continue to say inhale “peace” exhale “frustration”.
  5. Added bonus ~ Music can also help you as well as listening to nature. For example, you can go outside and sit and listen to the wind blowing, the birds chirping etc. It is also beneficial when you can go to the beach and listen to the waves.

inner peace

Here are a list of activities that you can do for self-care:

Outdoors-  hiking, running, biking, bonfires, walking, camping, canoeing, visit a park with trails, roller skating, painting, swinging on the porch, listening to the wind, listening to the wind chimes, pulling weeds, gardening,

Fire- smores and bonfire with ice cream, light some  vanilla and lavender candles at the end of the day to balance yourself.  getting a massage with candles, bubble bath with candles.

Bubbles or feathers  bubble bath, blowing bubbles,  deep breathing while using bubbles, running fingers over the feathers

Wood-  Listening to the crackling of the fire, playing jenga, rocking in a rocking chair, creating things with blocks. sauna, tree hugging, play a guitar, walking on a trail and noticing the trees all around you, sitting on the porch and making inspirational signs from wood.

Water- Listening to the ocean, swimming, exercise in the water, drinking at least 64 oz of water, kayaking, going to the beach, shower mediation, small water fountain for home or office,  fish tank, water balloon fight, snorkeling, water-color painting, water massage,  dance in the rain, scuba diving,  and a warm Jacuzzi.

My final thoughts

I love to mediate at times, paint, pull weeds, go for long walks, visit the ocean, listen to nature. But most of all, I love to mediate on God’s words and remind myself of how grateful I am because God loves us unconditionally and we must learn to trust him. When stress takes over, we are not trusting God and we end up feeling sad, upset, worried, troubled etc. It takes time, patience and practice to begin to trust God. Be gentle with yourself and begin to let go of all the frustrations that comes our way.

“Never Give up or Give In” ~ Trust God to work it out.

 

 

 

 

National Stress Awareness Month Flyer


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Interview with Dr. Christina Hibbert, Author of Who Am I Without You? 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup

WhoAmIWIthoutYouCFX

I have been reading several of Dr. Christina Hibbert’s books and her writing is valuable for all women both young and old. She is a clinical psychologist who has a vast amount of experience on Women’s Mental Health, Grief & Loss, Motherhood, Parenting, Perinatal Mental Health, Self-Esteem, & Personal Growth. Link to purchase book and learn more about the author: http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/

I am so thrilled to share my interview with the Award Winning Author of This is How We Grow. The following questions were asked:

Annmarie: Question 1. What do you fun?

Christina:   Answer:  I love to write, read, love outdoors activities and travel a lot with my family. I  also loves music and currently working on a new song. I play the guitar and piano.

Annmarie: Question 2. Do you experience writers block?

Christina:  Answer:  Yes, I do experience writers block. For instance, while writing “This is How We Grow” this was a long process. I had to rewrite it and I was stuck for months. In addition, life got the best of me due to loss of a dear friend and son heading to college for the first time. I wrote the 3rd book within two months though I don’t recommend doing this.

Annmarie: Question 3. Where do you get your ideas?

Christina:  Answer:  Most of my ideas comes from personal experiences and I am always reading and sharing with others through my books. For instance, “Who Am I Without You?” was written to exam yourself and how to get through hard time.

Annmarie: Question 4. What’s the favorite part of this book?

Christina:  Answer: My favorite part is the 2nd part of the book that talks about “Building Unwavering Self-Esteem, Moving On and Uncovering The Real You.

Annmarie: Question 5. Any advice to give aspiring writers?

Christina: Answer:  I attend writing conferences which has helped me a lot. It’s hard to write a book when it is a personal story, but one advice I would like to tell you is that writing is a long process. For example, I started in 2008 and some of my writings comes from my journals. I also set a timer for 10 min after the kids are asleep and write. I also increase this to 20 minutes a night and I develop a writing process.

Annmarie: Question 6. Anything you would like to say to readers and fans?

Christina: Answer:  I am truly grateful for everyone that reads and does the work in the books. I like to share what I learn and I am a real person who goes through stuff too. I am grateful to you can flourish and its a gradual process.  Finally, know that “you are not alone.”

 

 

Enjoy a book trailer created by the author’s daughter Kennedy and see what this book is all about. Here is the link :


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Review of Tokens of Affection:Reclaiming your Marriage after Postpartum Depression

Tokens of Affection Amazing contribution by Karen Kleiman and Amy Wenzel who wrote “Tokens of Affection: Reclaiming Your Marriage after Postpartum Depression”. As a clinician, I am particularly impressed with the emphasis on giving one partner permission to use the tokens of affection to work on their marriage, even if one partner is not ready. We mostly see women in therapy who benefit from the skills mentioned in this book, but it will enlighten their perspective on their marriage. It is so important to note that the author addressed the fact that working on your marriage is not easy, but there is hope and with the right support and commitment your marriage will be much better. The tokens mentioned in the book included Esteem, Compromise, Selflessness, Sanctuary, Expression, Tolerance and Loyalty which provides guidance for couples to work on forgiveness, resentment and frustrations. As couples, we must be gentle with ourselves and each other. Each person’s perspective will mislead us into a turmoil of frustrations. We all have a choice to be mindful of our thoughts and behaviors. We must protect ourselves and our significant others. The ripple effect of life and the unknown circumstances that creeps up on our lives are never-ending. However, we must adapt to the changes that comes our way. I would definitely recommend this book for couples who are simply recovering from the aftermath of postpartum depression and need to reconnect their relationship. Annmarie Wilson L.P.C-IT https://thehealingjourneycounselingfl.com/


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Emotional Overreactions and Depression

At times we do not feel as if the day is going well and we don’t feel like getting up. We don’t feel like doing anything. What is really happening to me? It’s cloudy and dreary and I just don’t feel like doing anything today. Have you ever felt this way before?  It’s just a feeling that we can’t seem to shake. We know that this affects many of us on a daily basis, but we need to fight to get up and move around. It may seem as if its the end of the world, but don’t never give in.

 

Depression

Here we go again with that dreaded word “depression”. Lately, many people have been affected with this disorder that tricks our minds to think about things that are not true. At times, we feel lonely, unloved, disliked and the list continues which simply tears you down. It’s unfortunate how much when life events seems to distracts us and we begin to conform to these false beliefs.

 

It’s about me?

We blame ourselves for so many things and begin to sink in misery. It’s our fault. It’s true that you are crazy and no one loves you now or in the future.

 

Well, it’s not really about me.

You can be the most loveable person in the world, but still bad things happen. Indeed, bad things do happen to everyone. We simply must be mindful of how we react to situations that gets us so angry. It can be a simple little thing that sets us off and instead of walking away, we explode.

 

Emotional Overreactions and Depression

 

We find ourselves overreacting so much that affects our entire week and at times we drag it out to several months. You find yourself tearing up for several days upon weeks and your energy is not there. You are not sleeping well and you have not drive to do anything. Your self-confidence has vanish and self-doubt lingers. It takes a toll on your body and it takes a while to get back on track.


Avoiding Depression and Overreaction

It’s time for us to realize that this is a vicious cycle that continues every day. It takes a lot of practice and patience to stop overreacting. First, we need to become aware of what you are doing and put a stop to it.

 

Here are some suggestions for avoiding an emotional overreactions thanks to depression.

 

  • Life events comes and goes.
  • Stop overreacting!
  • Practice a lot of self-talk. Watch your breathing and inhale (peace) exhale (frustration).
  • Do a reality check? Check in with someone who knows you.
  • Distract yourself and do something else.
  • Believe in yourself and know that you are not alone.
  • Quiet your thoughts and mediate.