On Being Stuck!

by Catherine DeAngelis

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When you are thinking to yourself you are falling into an emotional abyss and you just don’t know how to stop spiraling downward! Is it that tyrant inside your head controlling your thinking that you don’t know what to do forcing you into a shut-down mode and paralyzing you from living the fullness of life?

Being stuck sucks because it is that silent oppressor that can cause depression, emotional outbursts, insomnia, indecision, procrastination, and addictive behaviors such as smoking, too much sex (not enough), drugs, alcohol, food, and exercise to spending or gambling compulsively!

What is it you use as a conduit to be in control of, or in distraction from, being stuck?

When you get stuck in the negative thought streams, find out what it is you can do. Make yourself accountable. Be responsible! Blaming others for your inaction only fuels the pain and it takes you further into this ineptness and inability to move forward.

The best way to unstuck yourself is to open up to the realization that it is okay to ask for help. Watch the taboo mind-set and avoid “what, me, I don’t need any help – I can help myself!”

Is it the stuff in your head that you think should or could or is not being done to lighten the pressures of having to do everything needed to be done right now at  this moment? The repetitive negative thinking pattern only gets you into a state of nervous agitation.

Think about what is getting in the way.  Stress might just be the first thing that deters you or makes you feel like you are knee-deep in mud. Think about your own stress level, your own health, and help yourself. Think about what are the stressors in your life. If you don’t spend time thinking about how to relieve that kind of stress, you will be stuck and those around you may have no idea what is wrong and then who will give you the love and care that you need?

Many think finding help is a sign of weakness or defeat!  Stay away from the shame or embarrassment. To admit that you are experiencing impact to your emotional and mental well-being is crucial. Seeking guidance and support meets your courage head on and makes self-awareness a start to pulling yourself out the kind of “mental sludge” that’s got you going like Whirling Dervishes!

Do what you can to make sure you are eating well, keeping physically active, and managing your stress ensures your brain will be healthy.  Check out this source if you don’t know where to start eatrightontario.ca.

Getting stuck in negative thought patterns can hinder you in your life in many aspects – don’t go it alone — ask for help. There are all kinds of talk therapies and support services available to explore solutions – if you don’t know where to start read about the resources available to you to get you on track and living life you are responsible for and deserve!

Get out of your way and make YOU matter! Affirm the positives, find ways to reverse the self-deprecation. Tools are available that work to halt the ongoing belittling or undervaluing of yourself.

Resources to Keep You On Track…

There are many sources available, able to give you answers and found within your community from life coach, psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist to group supports, family practitioners or community services in your neighbourhood.

Overall most of us look to trusted family members and close friends or spiritual members of the community to give us the love, support and understanding we need. Take the path of support and lead yourself into being uplifted and out of the state of “going nowhere fast.”

Many communities have information centres that produce lists of available services which you can view at social service agencies or public libraries. Other sources of information include books about specific problems, also available at your public library or local bookstore and films, videos and audio tapes, courses and workshops offered through community centres, secondary schools, colleges and universities..

More Information: Canadian Mental Health AssociationMental Health America or Global Mental Health.

Contact Catherine DeAngelis certified master coach practitioner and founder of Out of Pocket Emotions  to ask about a complimentary offer for individual life coaching session – we promise to answer any specific questions you might have – please write info@catherinedeangelis.com  or call 416 246 0025.

 

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Life Skills and Trauma Stressors

by Catherine DeAngelis

Health professionals may be baffled when survivors of trauma come to them after recovery, on reassessment, find out symptoms have recurred.

Human

Trauma is a serious assault on a human’s life functioning.

What happens to get in the way of a regular day-to-day activity like paying the bills or problem-solving to suddenly make it all seem like a monumental feat?

Could it be a day or two before, or after a holiday gathering that negative emotions or physical symptoms got triggered, and a survivor remembers a traumatic moment that surfaces without a warning?

Trauma happens to people who experienced a psychologically distressing and life-risking event.  A person having survived an accident, injuries, illness, physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, or other crime; a person who is a war veteran, army officer, or settlement refugee who comes from war-torn or a violent country;  it can happen to a search and rescue worker; natural disaster survivor, or a bystander of a traumatic episode.

A survivor can relive moments of terror, feelings of culpability, remorse, rage, or disillusionment about life.

Reliving a traumatic event can arouse emotions that cause fatigue, low energy, weepiness or lack of concentration or impatience with others.  Outbursts of anger happen for no reason.  The memory of trauma comes by flashbacks and nightmares, and it can become so severe it’s difficult to lead a normal life.

Unbeknownst to a survivor of trauma, belief that healing has taken place and recovery is over and done with plays havoc on the mind. Thoughts, feelings and emotions are stirred-up. Without warning, symptoms return to cause grief. The ability to manage simple home or work tasks becomes daunting.

Joint pain or inability to sleep throughout the night can occur during a traumatic flashback. Agitation and self-inquiry like “who am I” and “will I ever feel normal? Or “am I going crazy?”

Disharmony grows in relationships and clouds of doom become a veil over the survivor.

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports this kind of impact can develop into acute anxiety or more commonly “post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

PTSD is one of several conditions known as an anxiety disorder. It affects about 1 in 10 people, characterized by reliving a psychologically traumatic situation, long after any physical danger involved has passed.

Taking care to know and understand disruptive emotions that could arise after flashbacks are vital life skills tools.

Self-awareness and self-care is arsenal for a trauma-episodic memory.

Life can suddenly become crushing because an onset of images, conversations, smells, or sounds, serve to remind something happening now related to a traumatic event back then.

Psychology Today reports PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults. It is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, gambling, eating and anxiety disorders.

When other conditions are appropriately diagnosed and treated, the likelihood of successful treatment increases.

Mayo Clinic oncologist Edward T. Cregan M.D. explains coping with traumatic stress is an ongoing process. He explains we’ll be of more help to our loved one (to ourselves) if we learn about the effects of trauma.

Life skills can help people draw from a broad range of problem-solving behaviours to meet the challenges at work, home or socially.   The extent to which an individual with trauma integrates survival behaviours in their lives after their trauma is in itself a measure of success and deserves much support.

In trauma recovery people learn during their healing it is important to accept feelings of denial, to keep active, seek support, face reality of the triggers, and to ground themselves after a flashback.

Trauma survivors need to take time to process feelings associated with the experience and know how to find quiet time to be alone or find someone in the family or among friends to share the experience. They need to know sharing the experience is accepted without judgment.

The key is to recognize trauma might surface at different times of the year.

Dr. Cregan describes the best way to approach trauma is by finding some ways of normalising it – thinking about not being overwhelmed or frightened by symptoms and difficulties (as opposed to catastophising thoughts like, ‘It’s happening again, I am back to square one’ and emphasising coping strategies like staying active, taking care of yourself, seeking social support).

Family members and friends care deeply, yet hold beliefs healing should be done with quickly. This can hinder a trauma survivor’s healing.  Advocating “life is too short” and “stop focusing on the past – get over it” prolongs the curing period.

healingHealing takes time and it is different for everyone.

Family physicians notably agree it is part of essential life skills for a survivor to understand and express feelings, deal with anger associated with trauma, and safeguard thought processes so as not to undermine the ability to cope day-to-day.

Awareness is essential.

Emotional wounds take time to heal, or some cases may never heal.

Emotions from a traumatic event can take years to show up and when they do, it’s a rude awakening. A realization surfaces to reexamine the memory and the pain associated with it. What can happen is a recall of more memory, adding to the original trauma. Once this happens, it deserves the processing time for the survivor to work through it, and get ready to come out at the other end stronger for it.

Trauma can cause ongoing problems with self-esteem. It affects management of simple life skills.  Overcoming trauma is easier for some than others. Some go on to inspire others who is just entering the dark stage of a life-changing journey.

The impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues are what need to be addressed. Recovery happens when the person is ready to move past the pain of it.

Symptoms come back in bits and pieces, like a flashback in a movie trailer – it can subside.

Dr. Creagan believes we can help a loved one with post-traumatic stress by being willing to listen, but don’t push. Choose a time when you’re both ready to talk.

During the process of recovery from trauma, it can take months, years, even decades.  For some, PTSD never leaves.

Trauma assaults a person’s ability to manage simple life skills. Generally this is needed to help understand the world around or know the tools to allow a fulfilling life. Daily tasks, going to school or work, building relationships, or one’s personal feelings of belongingness or connectedness become visibly exhausting.

Trauma symptoms get in the way of meeting ambitions to live to one’s full potential.

Many treatments are available for PTSD to meet the unique needs of the survivor.

Everyone is different, so a treatment by someone experienced with PTSD may work for one person and may not work for another.

Life coaching is available to give supportive listening — without attempts to repair but help resolve some of the strong feelings such as shame, anger, or guilt.  A life coach can offer strategies to help map out a plan to get beyond PTSD and work at meeting life goals based on a new method of human functioning.

A life skills approach to trauma is about finding a new personal life balance. Breaking through another wall of understanding and self discovery during recovery of trauma, is about learning to live with a new agenda of coping skills. Taking time to find what works best during healing from the effects of trauma is worthy of investment.

Giving up is not an option,  but seeking self-love and understanding, or getting the help needed all bring added successes to an especially brave life of a survivor living with the stresses of a past trauma.

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Live Life Forward

by Catherine DeAngelis

Life can only be understood backwards,
but it must be lived forwards. Kierkegaard ~

A New Year has arrived – a chance for brand new starts.  Many of us may think it’s just another day or for some a time to introduce
life changing events into our world.

If we are the one, over holiday social moments, who listens intently and likely hears snippets of chatter about making New Year’s Resolutions, we may have heard plans that include eating less sugar, cutting out coffee, going vegan, losing weight, visiting the gym (more often) and less of or about time to be quitting smoking and drinking altogether.

Five Easy Steps to Achieve Your New Year’s Goals

Psychologist Richard Wiseman examines the quirky science of everyday life on his website “Quirkology.” Of the 5,000 people he studied, that attempted to make their new year’s resolution, he found most failed, but 10% did meet their aims and ambitions. He learned the 10% who succeeded were working on 5 simple principles that allowed them to achieve their goals. Here’s what the successful group did:

  1. Broke goals into a series of smaller steps.
  2. Told family and friends what they were trying to achieve.
  3. Reminded themselves of the benefit of attaining their goal.
  4. Gave themselves a small reward each time they attained one of their small steps.
  5. Mapped out their progress either in a spreadsheet, on the fridge door or in a journal so they knew exactly where they were.

Behavioral Change Requires Sustained Effort and Commitment

There are many practical steps written to help us make New Year’s resolutions.  Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. in her article How to make New Year’s Resolutions Stick, she explains the reason people abandon their resolutions is that they become discouraged when results don’t come quickly enough, or when they find that they are not necessarily happier because of them. Behavioral change requires sustained effort and commitment.

Healthy Emotional Goals and better Mental Health for the New Year

Rarely do we go after attaining healthy emotional goals and make sure that we have an effective approach to create a goal for better mental health for ourselves or for the roles we partake in our community.

It is integral during the making of New Year’s Resolutions that we include better Mental Health as one of our goals.

Mental Health is the capacity for each of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. We need to promote mental health in the way that we do our caretaking as friends, family, siblings, parenting or work that we do. We can even go further by helping to enhance the capacity of people and communities to take control over their lives and improve their mental health.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions are often thought of as personal, but youth, adults and seniors can work toward making themselves emotionally and mentally healthier.

Emotionally aware people experience greater success in their careers and a greater sense of well-being in their personal lives. Studies have shown that success doesn’t lead to emotional health and happiness, but rather the other way around. The emotionally healthy experience positive moods, feel more confidant, more optimistic, more energetic, and more sociable. These factors lead to greater success in many aspects of life. Source (APA): American Psychological Association

SENIORS – According to The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on The State of Public Health in Canada 2010 positive mental health can help seniors cope with many difficult issues and life events, such as chronic illness or the loss of partners and friends. For seniors who may have poor mental health or mental illness, the negative impacts are far-reaching. Mental health issues can affect physical health, emotional and social well-being, and quality of life.

ADULTS – As we continue with more studies around mind, body and health, we are learning more about the connection between good mental health and good physical health. Psychological studies show that your mind and your body are strongly linked. As your mental health declines, your physical health can wear down, and if your physical health declines, it can make you feel mentally “down.” A positive outlook can help keep you healthy. Studies show 80% of Americans during the past few years have become more aware of how their mental health and emotions can affect their physical health (APA 2005) .

YOUTH – According to The Public Health Agency of Canada, Emotional Health Among Canadian Youth, is a critical part of young people’s  well-being. Research has shown that many youth who experience mental health problems continue to have these problems in adulthood and may suffer personal costs, including limited employment opportunities, reduced access to housing and strained family relationships. If poor emotional health develops into mental illness, personal costs can include poverty, homelessness and social exclusion, which may ultimately be life-threatening. Therefore, it is essential to recognize and respond to early indications of emotional health difficulties.

Remember to include emotional and mental well-being as one of your New Year’s Resolutions.  Read more >> Improving Emotional Health – Strategies & Tips for Good Mental Health.

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