Understanding Grief, Knowing Change

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Grief is a topic that hits everyone at some point in time.  For some of us, though, those feelings linger. And for still another aspect of our population, grief returns to haunt them. If any of these describe you right now, find comfort in the knowledge that you aren't doing anything wrong. Grief is different for everyone and thus has to be treated on an individual basis. 

  • Triggering Grief: What triggers grief is highly individual to the person, but a common theme as to what triggers it is being taken out of your comfort zone while reminded of your loved one who has passed. While there are a few working theories with graphs and estimated steps (such as the Change Curve, or the 5 stages of grief that are popularly quoted, and misquoted) grief is highly personal and should not be expect to fit in a box of expectations. Your grief is your grief, and it's ok to feel it how you are feeling it.

  • What can be done: If you feel you need help with your grief, it's important to reach and not try to internalize it. Talking to a friend can be useful, or see your counselor or therapist so they can help you through it. Even though it's highly personal, you don't have to feel it alone. If you are still afflicted after what you think is an unreasonable amount of time, you may be suffering from what is called "Complicated Grief" and require a specific regiment of psychotherapy. Sometimes called 'persistent complex bereavement disorder', it's considered if you are grieving for longer than a year with no noticeable progress in or fading of grief. It is important that you don't self diagnose your symptoms and that you allow a professional to determine your diagnosis. There may also be a group sessions near you to share your grief with others going through similar experiences.

Contact our office today for one on one counseling. Remember that you never have to suffer in silence, and to not feel guilty if you need help. You are not alone in your suffering.

If you are in immediate crisis, you can also text home to 741741 and a crisis counselor will help you. 

Clinical Depression Is Much More than a Down Day

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Living with clinical depression is not the same as having a down day. Someone living with clinical depression has a persistent mood disorder. It disrupts feelings, thoughts, and the activities of daily living such as working, studying, and eating. True depression does not go away with the dawn of a new day. A person who is clinically depressed experiences some combination of the condition's symptoms every day for most of the day over the course of at least two weeks. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward recovery.

Recognizing Depression

Each individual living with depression has a unique experience. However, depression includes a low mood and some of the following common symptoms.

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, anxiety, or pessimism

  • Fatigue

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Change in appetite

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Loss of interest in preferred activities

  • Difficulty with concentration, memory, or decision making

  • Irritability or anger

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death

  • Unexplained physical pain or digestive problems

Recovering from Depression

While a down day goes away on its own, depression does not. Usually, it takes a combination of medication and counseling to bring relief from the suffering. Several antidepressants are available. Sometimes it takes a period of trial and error to find the right antidepressant. An antidepressant needs to be taken daily for about four weeks to see if it is effective.

The goal of individual counseling, also called talk therapy, is to improve the emotional state of the person living with depression. A licensed counselor uses evidence-based techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Through CBT, the person living depression learns to replace negative or erroneous thoughts with healthy ones. Someone who has received CBT may stay healthy longer than someone who only took an antidepressant. Patients frequently continue to use the strategies they learned during CBT when they are no longer seeing a counselor.

Remember, if you need any support regarding you as an individual or with your relationship, feel free to contact us today to learn how we can help.

Motivation: Losing It, Finding It, Keeping It

We have all been there – 27 things on the to-do list, baby crying in the high chair with mashed potatoes in their hair, work from the office you had to bring home to get done, your partner asking about dinner, and your head feeling like it might explode if you hear that same Taylor Swift song blasting from your teenager's bedroom one more time. You're exhausted, overwhelmed, and your body just wants to shut down rather than jump up and fly around the room getting everything done.

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So, you do what must get done – make a quick dinner, clean up the baby and put them to bed, confiscate the source of the Taylor Swift track, and slouch onto the couch. You are left with no energy, no motivation to finish that project you brought home from the office or work on the afghan you're knitting your mom for her birthday. What happened to your day?

Losing It

The days at the office are long and filled with little appreciation and unfulfilling tasks. Nights are chaotic and never seem to offer enough alone time. Weekends are packed with chores and errands and before you know it, Monday morning is breaking and the cycle repeats. You never seem to have that spark anymore to do more than the bare minimum, let alone the things you truly enjoy. Where did that feeling go?

Finding It

Motivation can be an elusive beast – something that needs to be nurtured and tamed. The good news is, there are a few lifestyle changes that you can implement that can help coax it back out:

  1. Set Goals – having short-term, specific, and achievable goals helps keep you and your motivation focused. And when you reach a goal, reward yourself – you've earned it!

  2. Sleep & Wake Up Well – before you go to bed at night, have a wind-down routine so that you get a deep, good night's rest. Then, when you wake up, try a simple five-minute meditation to start the day off with a positive vibe. Being out of alignment or exhausted all day from lack of a good night's rest does nothing to help with motivation.

  3. Make a Routine – you may feel like you have a routine now – go to work, come home, manage the chaos, go to bed, repeat – but that isn't the kind of motivation-inducing routine we are looking for. Make sure you have scheduled time for yourself. Keep to set times for bed and wake up and even meals. Keeping to a routine can help not just with motivation but with focus, energy, and even anxiety as well.

Keeping It

No matter what you do, you will still have days where the procrastination monster hits, and motivation is nowhere around to save you. And that's okay. The goal is to have less of those days and more productive days filled with the spark of positive progression in your life. Keep in mind that everyone is different, so be sure to explore different ways to kickstart the motivation flame within you. You may even need to change things up occasionally if you feel like what was working is starting to fall flat. The key is to never give up, never let yourself slouch on the couch and accept defeat, accept that the spark is gone because it is never gone.

Remember, if you need any support regarding you as an individual or with your relationship, feel free to contact us today to learn how we can help.