Necessity of Pain

The necessity of pain {learning to listen when pain talks}

 

Let me start by stating (what I hope is) the obvious, which is that I take no pleasure in the suffering or struggling of others.  As a therapist, I am often called to sit with clients as they experience disappointment, hurt, anxiety, sadness and fear—in short; I have been witness to the full range of human pain. While I am certainly truly grateful for the life that I lead, I am no stranger to emotional pain of my own.

 

What I have noticed in the larger culture is a tendency to turn from these emotions.  Instead of accepting pain as a necessary and inevitable part of the human condition, we medicate with substances, dull ourselves with television, or tell ourselves that we should not feel pain at all.

 

For example, I will often hear of individuals who go to their physician and report that they are struggling with a difficult circumstance, such as a break-up or a failure to get promoted at work, and then they obtain a prescription for an antidepressant (a medication typically used to treat depressive and anxiety disorders).  It is unclear how often the patient goes in seeking this treatment, or if the physician is simply trying to provide a way to ease their suffering. What is clear is that this ‘shortcut’ can inhibit the person from figuring out how to effectively address the problems in their lives.

 

To be clear, I am not against the use of antidepressants. Individuals with clinical anxiety and depression can benefit significantly from these medications to manage overwhelming and even debilitating symptoms that may otherwise consume much of their lives.  However, the normal circumstances that cause us hardship—going through a divorce, financial struggles, parenting a difficult child—are not typically appropriate for medical intervention.

Emotional pain is difficult, and in some

Listen to the Alarm

Pain is a signal.  It asks us to slow down and evaluate our circumstances.  It lets us know that something has gone wrong. Instead of dulling or turning from our pain, we need to be present with it, to listen to what it has to tell us.

I can hear the objections.  Listen to my pain? What kind of therapist mumbo-jumbo is that?Emotional pain happens for a reason. When we dull or remove pain without addressing its underlying causes or triggers, we run the risk of continuing to participate in activities or behaviors that cause us distress. Let’s take Monica, for instance.  Each day, as Monica gets ready to go to work, she has trouble getting out of bed because she feels so exhausted. In the morning and even throughout the day, her heart rate picks up, her hands sweat, and she sometimes finds herself becoming tearful in the bathroom.  She typically feels okay at home during the evening, but dreads going to bed and starting the day all over again.

Monica could ignore or numb herself from these signals.  She could, as a friend of mine did for a period of time, drink a bottle of wine each night to ‘take the edge off’ and help her sleep.  But then, of course, she would not know why she was experiencing this pain or how to effectively address it.  If Monica stops to listen to her body, to hear what it is telling her, then she has a better chance of actually dealing with the problem. (Hint: Giving the nature and timing of her symptoms, if I were Monica’s therapist, I would be particularly curious about her work environment and her feelings about her job).

 

But I already know why I’m in pain. Even if you feel that you have a grasp on why you’re experiencing emotional pain, there is a case to be made for giving it space and consideration instead of shying away from it. For instance, let’s say Monica is able to recognize that she is frustrated and upset with her work as a nurse in a large hospital.  She feels undervalued and overwhelmed.  What is the harm in easing her sorrows with hours of television on the couch?

The biggest problem I see with mindless numbing is that it typically allows us to perpetuate the very behaviors or circumstances that cause us pain in the first place.  We essentially hide from the problem, as opposed to confronting it directly.  Instead of addressing her work situation, by finding new employment or looking for opportunities to improve her current position, Monica ‘vegs out’ in front of the television for hours each night.  Months or even years later, she remains in the same unhappy role.

Cope or Solve?

With any given problem, there are two basic routes of dealing with it.  The first is that we solve the problem.  We leave the job that causes us too much stress, we get couple counseling because we’re constantly fighting with our partner, we sell the car that keeps needing repairs.  The problem has a ready action for us to take, so we take it. The other avenue is that we cope with the problem. Typically, we employ coping when the problem is either unsolvable, such as the death of a family member, or simply cannot be fixed at present, such as having a high amount of student loan debt and a limited income.  When we cope, we look for opportunities to improve the situation as much as possible, such as arranging our finances to allow us to pay our loans more quickly, or finding a way to honor our deceased love one. We may still experience feelings of sadness or frustration, or other types of emotional pain, but we remind ourselves of the steps that we are taking.  We take comfort in our efforts to improve or at least manage the situation.  We acknowledge our pain, which then allows our body to quiet the alarm. We find ways to relax ourselves so that we are able to be fully present, not numb, not haunting our own lives.

 

Here’s the other thing about coping and solving.  Most likely, we are going to take one of these routes at some point anyway. We will become overly weary of the job or the relationship or the car and we will do something.  The problem with numbing and ignoring pain is that allows us to spend too much time doing nothing, hoping the problem will change or fix itself without us giving it time or attention.  By meeting the problem head on, and recognizing that there are really only two basic roads to choose from, we become active, as opposed to standing still in the prison of numbing and hopelessness.

 

Emotional pain is difficult, and in some ways it is natural for us to want to avoid it.  But, if we listen to it, we discover what we truly need, and we find within us the courage to directly confront the challenge.

Check out our guest posts on TheDCLadies.comThis post first appeared on TheDCLadies.com; click here to read more and subscribe.

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growing up isnt easy

Growing isn’t easy… but it’s worth it

With finals being over and graduation right around the corner, it forces me to think about the future and what lies ahead. For some, their next step is clearly lined up. For others, me being part of that, the next step is not so clear. It was a lot easier graduating from high school. It was the general consensus that college follows high school. There is no general consensus for the next step following college. While I am incredibly excited to have reached this milestone, I am also very nervous for the future.

 

I know I am not alone in this situation.

 

Whether you are looking ahead to graduation, like I am, or facing another major milestone- the uncertainty of what’s next  can really be overwhelming.

What should we do?

What will our lives be like?

What if I never figure it out?

 

As much as I wish it weren’t true sometimes, these questions never really disappear from our lives.  There  will always be a new milestone or a new opportunity to consider.  Graduation is just one of many other moments in my life that will leave me wondering about the changes ahead.  But I’ve learned that we don’t have to be so afraid of what’s next, even if we don’t know exactly what that is.

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For those of you who are worried about the next step in your lives, here are some tips for getting through it.

Do not over-think it.

When you are constantly thinking about worrisome situations, you make yourself stress out too much. Take a step back and focus on what you have going on in the moment.

Remember that things have a funny way of working themselves out.

Do not feel like your life is over and that you have no options. Something will come along. Do not settle for things that make you unhappy either. Make sure you make decisions that will brighten up your life.

Think about your resources.

Somewhere along the way, you met people that could change your life, whether you know it at the time or not. Start taking notice of the people you pass along in life. These people could be connections to a great future. Do not forget your friends and family as well. These people are your greatest assets. Do not be afraid to reach out to them for help. They could give advice or open doors to various opportunities and adventures.

Do not be afraid of change.

Life was not meant to be constant. Life was meant to challenge you and take you on an adventure. Do not settle for comfort. Take risks, take chances. Changes in life can be for better or for worse, but you will never know unless you take that leap of faith.

 

As my graduation day approaches, I try to keep these thoughts in mind whenever the future pops into my head. I have no idea what is in store for me. That makes me really nervous, but also very curious.

 

I am excited to see what lies ahead for me. I know the waiting will bring moments of anxiety, but I also am very sure that I will end up somewhere that I want to be.

 

Everything is up to me, and I am excited to see what comes my way.

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who's writing your life story

Who’s writing your life story? {here’s a hint… it ought to be you!}

I’m so excited to share my first post as the newest Wellness Contributor for TheDCLadies.com. Mother-daughter team Shelley  and Sarah have created an amazing community and online publication- for women, by women!  Check out an excerpt from my post below and be sure to subscribe to their blog.

Who's Writing Your Story

I love to write. In fact, in college I contemplated a major in English but quickly found that it wasn’t the right path for me. My love for grammar is more like a lukewarm acceptance, but technique aside, my biggest challenge was in creative writing. I love crafting the bones of a story and I could lose myself for days in character development, but once that was done and it was time to flesh out the final story, I was done.

I lacked the follow through to really create the final story.

The good news is that, while this flaw crushed my dreams of being a novelist or playwright, it makes me a pretty excellent therapist. In graduate school, I found a place for my love of character development and my unwillingness to write the final story.

I use this narrative approach with my clients, guiding them to develop a deeper understanding of who they are and who is in their life, (“the characters”) and we plot out the major themes that they have experienced and hope to experience in life. Then I stop.

It’s not my story to tell.

I’m just the guide to help them understand the players and the themes, but it’s their life to lead.

And the good news is that you don’t have to go to therapy to benefit from this kind of understanding and direction in your life. With some simple new habits, you can take control and start writing your own story- one where you call the shots rather than just waiting on life to throw something your way.

  1. Be the main character.  Too often I see women relegate themselves to the role of supporting actress in their own life. I’m his wife, her daughter, their mother, on and on it goes. You are more than your relationship with others, your job, and education. You are the heroine, the protagonist, and the #1 player in the story that is your life. It’s time to own it. Every morning, remind yourself that the story of the day is all about you and that means you are in charge of it. I love the Mindy Project. It is such a smart and funny show.  What I like best of all is that Mindy narrates her own moments. She is the voice in her own head narrating her story- not the characters story but her own unique perspective. Be Mindy.
  2. Do some character development.  Before you can figure out where the story is going or who else is in it, you have to really know your main character. Make a weekly date with yourself that is all about getting to know more about you. What you like, what you think about when you’re alone, what you dream about for your life. These are the questions to ask yourself. I don’t like the phrase “finding yourself”.  You’re not lost.  You’re right here. The real trick is not to go searching outside somewhere to find yourself, but rather to learn how to tune into what’s inside.

Check out our guest posts on TheDCLadies.comThis post first appeared on The DC Ladies, click here to read the full post…

 

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self help apps

5 Apps You Need in Your Life Right Now

I really enjoy reading self-help books. I think that everyone can get a lot out of making themselves a better person and become happier, healthier people. But with people being so busy on the go, carrying around a stack of books isn’t very ideal. That is why I have compiled a list of fantastic resources that you can use on your phone, laptop, or computer with just the hit of a button.

5 apps you need now

 

 

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  1. Balanced-This is a fantastic app that encourages you to accomplish all of your goals in one easy to access place…your cell phone. Whether you want to go to the gym, take a photo of the beautiful day outside, or say thank you to someone for being a great friend, this app is there every step of the way to make sure you get the most out of life. I started using it the other day and it feels really great to check off things I would like to accomplish and it feels even better having someone acknowledge the hard work you’re doing. Anna, a balanced user had this to say, “Using balanced is like having a little person in my phone that acknowledges what I’m doing-A little record, witnessing and encouraging.” So pick up your phone and start getting the most out of life!

To download the app, click here!

 

 

 

headspace2. Headspace-So you work out your body several times a week, well why not your brain? This app is great for helping you to practice mindfulness and it helped me in particular relax and relieve a lot of stress I have built up. The app begins by having you listen to several videos that had you focus your mind and continues day by day by having you rethinking how you view stress and teaching you how to calm yourself down. I learned a lot from this app and by watching the videos, I have been able to keep my cool a lot better, focus more when need be, and get a lot more sleep.

To download this app, click here!

 

 

 

smiling mind 3. Smiling Mind-Similar to headspace, smiling mind’s focus is a free app that focuses on meditation and rewiring the brain when it comes to how people deal with stress and other life issues. Smiling mind was designed mainly to aid younger people, but anyone can use it. Once you download the app, you will be able to access a whole list of exercises and medication techniques that are designed to help you practice mindfulness and become a happier person. I particularly like the fact that this app focused on keeping an open mind and practicing a non-judgmental attitude because these are areas I can really improve in and make me feel better every day!

To download this app, click here!

 

 

optimism4. Optimism-If you are looking for a self-help guide, then this app is for you! Optimism is another great, free app that allows you to monitor your mood daily in order to look for any signs that your health may be decreasing. If it is apparent that you may have a mental health issue, this site helps you create a wellness plan geared towards the illness you may possess-great for those with depression, bipolar disorder, etc. From there, the site helps you gain a better understanding about the illness and work with you to return you to the healthy, happy person you are. I really liked this app because it showed me areas that I can really work on to improve myself and make me get more out of life than I have before.
To download this app, click here!

 

toxic thinking5. Toxic Thinking-This is another fantastic app that helps you rewire your negative self-talk and improve your thoughts to become a healthier, happier you. Through toxic thinking, you can select a mental illness and learn all about the symptoms associated with it and see what you can do to work on to improve yourself. I was able to see where my self-talk needs improvement and how I can change my thinking to strengthen my outlook on life. This app was my personal favorite because it does an excellent job showing you planned out steps that you can practice every day to become a better person.

To download this app, click here!

 

These resources can be very helpful and change your life. So pick up your phone and download the apps! Comment below and let us know if you have any other fantastic sites that have helped you.

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Imposter Syndrome

Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome?

I think it is safe to say that success in life is a top goal for all of us. We want to look back at our lives when we are old and think to ourselves “I did a good job.” We want to be proud of what we have accomplished. Many of us are able to see when we have succeeded and when we shine.

 

Others, unfortunately, do not.

 

They may be at a top position in a company or hold several prestigious titles, but they may feel that they do not truly deserve what they have. They feel like they are fakes, or impostors. They feel like they might get “caught” or “found out.”

 

Do you feel this way about yourself? Check out this interesting Forbes article. You are not alone!

 

Self-doubt is a normal feeling, but one that should not take over your life. Sometimes it is really easy to feel like you are not good enough, but when those thoughts float into your head, take a deep breath and reflect. Look at the various things you have done and what you have achieved. You didn’t get to this point by simple luck, you’ve worked hard and deserve the success you’ve gotten in life!

 

imposter syndrome quote

The article I mentioned earlier lists really helpful tips for overcoming Impostor Syndrome:

  1. Do not worry about being perfect; focus on your strengths and what you can bring the the table
  2. Do not think that you got to where you are purely on luck; believe in your hard work
  3. Do not compare yourself against others
  4. Do not be afraid of taking chances and putting yourself out there; ambition can lead to further successes

 

Self-love and really believing in yourself can help rid the mindset that comes with Impostor Syndrome. If you can trust in your talents and strengths, the feeling of being inadequate will go away. You have to believe that you got to where you are for a reason. You have to believe that you are doing something right. Do not let those little demon thoughts eat away at you. Remember that you built a solid life for yourself, and it came from hard work, not lucky chances.

 

Want to know more about Imposter Syndrome and how to keep it from dulling your sparkle in the workplace or at school?  Check out the video below

Answers to Teen Questions

Helping teens find answers to their most important questions

One of the things we are often asked about is where to find quality resources for adolescents and teens on health and wellness.  As they spend more and more time talking to peers, and less time talking to parents, adolescence is a time when it really matters.  So here are a few online resources to help teens, and the adults who care about them, find answers to the questions that matter most.

GirlsHealth.gov- This website is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is really a great place for tween girls.  With information on healthy eating, body image, friendship advice, dating, and more, it’s the kind of site you can happily let your daughter explore on her own.  I only wish they offered a boys health companion site.  So often, the boys in this age group get overlooked.

TeensHealth- Another website from HHS, this site is geared toward the older teens (high school-aged).  Similar in content to the GirlsHealth. gov, it does have a sexual health component and an “Ask the Expert” section as well.  If you have (or work with) younger kids, be sure to check out KidsHealth.org too.

TeenHealth FX- This is a pretty informative site from Atlantic Health’s Community Health Education and the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in New Jersey.  This site is chock-full of great information and content developed by teenagers.  There are some cheesy lists, but overall, I think it is laid out in a way that is informative and accessible without being too juvenile.  It also offers an “Ask the Expert” section, and it addresses serious mental health concerns such as depression & suicide, cutting, and dating violence with candor and thoughtfulness.  It’s a really excellent site for teens, parents, educators, and clinicians.  And they have links to other useful resources.

We’re Talking and We’re Talking Too- These sites are from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and offer another source of good information.  The teen site (We’re Talking) is divided into 3 main categories: general health, emotional health, and sexual health, all of which offer reliable information as best as I can tell.  There’s even an article on piercings and tattoos (great way to scare your kid away from the belly ring!) The pre-teen site (We’re Talking Too) is a little more juvenile in its design which might turn some of the 11-12 year olds, but it still has good information. If you get your 9 or 10 year old understanding that there are quality resources on the web with health information, then by the time they reach puberty ,they’ll know how to distinguish good information from urban legend and fake science.

loveisrespect- This site is on dating and relationship basics. It is not geared toward teens specifically, but it has very useful information for teens to know about dating. It has sections that talk about abuse and whether or not your relationship is healthy. There is a Live Chat option for those in crisis, as well as call & text support options. The site is overall about mutual respect in relationships.

Adolescent Wellness, Inc.- This website is a blog that is an overview on how to help adolescents deal with stressful situations and to aid them from falling into depression and anxiety.

 

while we make every effort to review the information on the resources we share, please know that these are independent organizations with a vast amount of information that we simply can’t review it all.  We are in no way affiliated with or responsible for their content.

is superwoman syndrome making you sick

Is Superwoman Syndrome Making You Sick?

I am close and personal friends with a superhero; Superwoman to be exact.  She is one of my dearest friends and I am proud to say that she often blesses me with an ‘s’ of my own when I manage to do the impossible.  Admit it, you know her too.

 

She’s the neighbor who manages to have the impeccable yard, throw the perfect dinner party, and stay involved with all six of her kids.

 

Or the single woman climbing the ranks at her prestigious career while making time to support her friends, take care of her ailing parents, and look fabulous while she does it all.

 

superwoman syndrome-pinI have to confess that it’s kind of exhilarating to have earned superhero status; there is an adrenalin rush that comes with completing the seemingly impossible.

 

Let’s be honest; everyone wants to be Superwoman (or Superman) at some time or another.

 

The drive and perseverance that comes with doing what other people believe they can’t is an impressive quality.  It is something to be proud of and a characteristic that helps many of us achieve things that at one time seemed inconceivable.  But just as in the comic books, there are some very really dangers to being Superwoman.
Often referred to Superwoman Syndrome, many women are subjecting themselves to overwhelming schedules and unreasonable expectations in an effort to live up to some kind of perfectionist standard of womanhood.  While the desire to be our best is not inherently bad, it has many women pushing themselves beyond the brink to be the best in every area of their lives.

 

As someone who has aspired at one time or another to attain Superwoman status myself, I understand the pressure to meet and exceed this ideal of perfectionism.  Women today, married or single, mothers or childless, are faced with pervasive and often conflicting messages about what it means to be a “good woman”.

 

For many it’s the desire to meet these ideals that fuels the Superwoman Syndrome.
Whether it is a desire to be a “good” mom by baking 5 dozen cupcakes and showing up for story time each week or the need to be a “good” worker by staying late and taking on other people’s projects; women are stretching themselves thin with some potentially devastating consequences.  The physical and emotional stress of pushing yourself beyond reason can have some serious repercussions on your health.

 

Sleep deprivation is often a badge of honor among us superwomen, unfortunately the results to our bodies is much more than just needing an extra cup of coffee in the morning.  Lack of sleep can diminish your ability to focus, slow reaction time, and even contribute to weight gain.  Superwoman stress can also contribute to headaches, stomachaches, irritability, mood swings, and even anxiety.

 

These physical and emotional responses can be avoided by changing the definition of “superwoman”.

 

I believe that most women embrace this superhero attitude because we understand our potential to shape and nurture our families and communities.

 

We have a deep desire to use our influence for good.

 

We want to support our children and encourage our spouses.

 

We want to shape communities and corporations for the better and so women push hard…. we lean in.

 

But I want to challenge each of us to begin to not only support others health and happiness but invest in our own as well.  Rather than accepting the current image of superwomen as those willing to be self-sacrificing to the point of exhaustion, let’s start to model a new image that promotes an image of balance and self-care.

 

Instead of patting yourself on the back when you’ve pushed yourself to meet another unreasonable request; practice setting clear boundaries and making time for better self-care.  Teach the people around you that the real key to a better life is learning to care for yourself as much as you care for others.

 

It’s possible to achieve amazing things without burning yourself out.

 

The same determination that once allowed you to work 80 hours a week and still show up for your family and friends, can be applied to things like self care, having fun, and connecting with people you care about.  By turning our superwoman skills inward, women have the opportunity to be the best kind of superhero- a healthy one.

have cake love ur body

4 Ways To Have Your Cake and Love Your Body Too!

Most of us have had these thoughts before…Will I look good in this? Am I too fat for this dress? Do I have to go out in this bathing suit?

 

I know for me after the long winter months indoors I tend to gain weight and loath the idea of showing skin in the spring. I often feel very insecure and want to hide myself in my room so I don’t have to confront my feelings about my body.

 

I’m not the only one who feels this way…

 

“According to an estimate from the National Eating Disorders Association, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are unhappy with the way their bodies look.”

 

These negative thoughts cause women of all ages to take extreme measures to change the way their bodies look. Many resort to anorexia or bulimia to solve their issues.

 

What I find myself asking is if so many women are concerned with how their bodies look, what can we do to feel confident and sexy in our own skin?

 

Here are some helpful tips that I feel every woman needs to remember to start loving your body!

 

have cake love ur body2

It is completely natural to want to look at how others look or act and compare yourself to them. While this sometimes helps people feel better about themselves, there is always someone who might be thinner than you or look prettier than you which leads to negative thoughts about yourself. Instead of making comparisons, focus on what you are doing right for your body. Instead of saying, “why can’t I be skinnier,” say, “look at all the healthy things I’ve done for my body!”

 

 

have cake love ur body3

If you’re like me, you think after a week of eating healthy and a couple of good workouts that you will be looking fit and ready to go. FALSE. Give yourself the time it takes to make changes.  Don’t just change your body, build yourself up on the inside for the good things you are working on and stay away from the negative.  And be sure to have realistic expectations of what a “beautiful” body looks like- forget the photoshopped magazine images and remember that the most beautiful images are real women that look just like you do right now!

 

 

have cake love ur body4

The scale won’t change much in a day! Checking your weight over and over only builds up those negative vibes that won’t make you feel good about yourself. So, just focus on being healthy and living life to the fullest. Losing weight or having slimmer figure is a fine goal but it’s not the most important thing… get out there and enjoy every amazing second of your life, no matter what your size.

 

 

have cake love ur body5

Nothing makes you look better than feeling confident! And what fuels confidence? Looking good! Dress your nicest while you diet and work out. You won’t believe how amazing you’ll feel rocking what you were born with. And don’t forget to build yourself up and compliment yourself!  Positive self-talk is proven to increase your motivation to be healthier and more fit.

 

Check this out for more tips and one sure fire strategy to really change your body. Do you have other tips for how to love  your body and build confidence? Comment below!

Dwelling In Possibility2

Dwelling in Possibility

 

Dwelling in PossibilityAs you may know, March is Women’s History Month.  In recognition, we at Group Therapy Associates are celebrating how women cope with and overcome various hardships to lead healthy, fulfilling, productive lives.

In this post, I highlight Elyn Saks, an accomplished law professor at the University of Southern California Gould Law School and expert in the field of mental health law.  Saks has also been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has lived with the illness for most of her life.  In her book, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, Saks details her struggles with the disorder.

To provide a bit of context, schizophrenia is characterized by disordered thinking, delusions and auditory and/or visual hallucinations.  Symptoms typically appear when a person is in their late teens or early twenties, although earlier or later appearance of symptoms is possible. One of most difficult mental health disorders to manage, it can be hard for persons with the illness to achieve full functionality (i.e. able to work, maintain independent living, etc.), particularly without medication.

In The Center Cannot Hold, Saks discusses how her illness has repeatedly disrupted her life. Particularly while earning her graduate and law degrees, the symptoms of her disorder resulted in multiple hospitalizations, making it difficult for her to maintain her studies.  Saks also details her frequent attempts to discontinue her medication, which would ultimately result in her having delusions and hallucinations; these were not only mentally exhausting and difficult, but sometimes threatened her physical safety as well.  The author illustrates this point quite clearly, depicting an episode in which she climbed out on a roof while at Yale Law School, much to the surprise and concern of her fellow students and professor.

Saks also describes her efforts to ‘protect’ her family, and parents in particular, by not sharing what was happening to her.  She attempted to shield them from the symptoms of her illness, even the fact of her hospitalizations, in order to avoid being a burden.  At some point, of course, she was unable to hide how serious her disorder had become, and once her parents became aware, they were fully supportive of her efforts to achieve recovery.

At any point in her journey, it would have been easier for Saks to abandon her goals.  Some might say that this would have been the safer or more reasonable course. However, Saks persevered, and was ultimately able to find a combination of medication and therapy that allowed her to achieve stability, fully pursue her career goals, and develop a rich life with a partner, family, and friends.

I believe there is much to take from Saks’ story.  To start, I think women often feel that we can and should handle everything on our own, and so we avoid asking for help from those around us until our circumstances have become dire. As I stated above, Saks delayed discussing her illness with her family as long as possible, despite being reasonably assured that they would make every effort to help her (which they did once they knew).  Besides the affection and joy we receive from our family and friends, they can also be our greatest asset in managing the issues we face each day.  These persons are our support network, and we should allow them to help us.

I also believe Saks’ story is a powerful rejoinder to the idea of limiting ourselves and others who struggle with mental health issues.  Many mental health diagnoses, including Schizophrenia, have a powerful stigma attached to them, and, as a society, we often regard persons with these illnesses as incapable of achieving anything noteworthy. Saks demonstrates how important it is that we expand our view of what persons with mental health disorders can accomplish.

And, of course, this lesson applies not only to those with a mental health disorder, but to all of us who struggle with self-limiting mindsets and behaviors. In my work with clients, one of the key goals is often making a space for what is possible.  Not probable, or likely, but possible.  We can easily become overwhelmed with our present circumstances to the point that we fail to see or even look for an opening.  We know only in part, but have misled ourselves into believing we see the whole.

Elyn Saks’ story, then, is a powerful reminder to open ourselves to the whole. To find the possible amid all the improbables and unlikelys. To get a hand from family and friends, even from professionals when needed, for a fuller, more meaningful, and more complete life.

Should we still be friends? Deciding to cut ties with an ex

Should you and your ex still be friends?

Should we still be friends? Deciding to cut ties with an exWe have all experienced it…that heart wrenching break up. You always see in the movies girls eating chocolates and crying for weeks to overcome the loss and pain. What the movies don’t show you is what happens when you try to forget your ex, but you just can’t. Sometimes letting go of an ex, a crush, or a past love is the hardest thing to do.

 

Unfortunately, what tends to happen after a relationship ends is the lingering emotional attachment to that person.  Many people remain friends with their significant other, still have strong feelings with that person, or even have a desire to reconnect and get back together. While this is not uncommon to have these feelings, sometimes it is more important to realize whether or not this thought process is helping or hurting your relationship with yourself.  Sometimes it is necessary to sever ties.

 

When determining if cutting ties is a smart decision or not, I like to ask myself a few basic questions.

How do I feel after seeing him?

Do I still have romantic feelings for him?

Do I like our friendship now or am I just putting up with it?

Why do I still want this person in my life?

 

Should we still be friends? Deciding to cut ties with an ex

These questions can apply to anyone who has their ex as a friend in their lives or if they aren’t in their lives but the thought of their ex consumes them.

If any of these questions leave you feeling upset or uneasy about your ex, then maybe it is time to cut ties for good.

If you have decided to sever ties with your ex, here are some tips to help you succeed!

 

  • Being confident with your decision to cut ties is a must. You need to be committed to separating from your ex significant other in order to better your life and stick to the plan you have decided works best for you.

 

  • Communication with your ex needs to be limited or possibly eliminated in order to help you move on and refrain from constantly thinking about them. Seeing even a text from this person can spark up all sorts of negative emotions and feelings. So try your best to stay away and know that it will pay off in the end

 

  • Having a friend to confide in can help you remain determined and in the right state of mind. Trust me…trying to forget about someone can be tough, but, the input of a friend can offer you a unique perspective that can keep you set on your goal.

 

  • Know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Of course it takes a great deal of time and effort to forget someone you care about. However, through all of the struggle there is a better and happier life waiting for you once you fight through this period of your life.

 

If you know of someone who’s life can be improved by severing ties with their ex, then share this! Do you have any other tips that you think can help forget about a significant other? Comment below!

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