Thoughts From A Psychotherapist Blog2022-08-29T08:53:27+00:00

What Comes After Covid?

  I am writing this post knowing full well Covid is not over. However, it does sometimes appear like we are in a bizarro world where not only is it over but we are acting like it never even happened. This attitude minimizes the trauma most people experienced in the last two years. Many kids had losses from missing in-person school. Many people lost loved ones. Others were ill and are living with the fallout from that. Everyone is living with the effects of having a life-threatening illness hangover their families' heads for over a year and the loss of not being able to be connected with loved ones in the usual manner. In a country that already had a pretty severe mental health crisis, it got worse during the last two years. And while it got worse, there was even less access to care. Unless you could pay out of pocket, many people were out of luck finding a therapist with openings. The other day, I found myself laughing, at a social media post I made in April 2020, about an interaction I had with a loved one about not touching a package without disinfecting it first. Thinking now how silly we were back then believing we had to Lysol everything or leave it in the yard for a week before it came into the house. At a time when we were not even consistently wearing masks. Laughter can be a way of coping with the trauma but it also can be a way of distancing from it or ignoring that it happened. For me, it feels like coping and distancing. This trauma has not just lifted because we can be out and about again. We are all still adjusting to the changes in our lives such as where we work or if we had to reduce work hours to caretake for children or parents. Much of life is still online and will continue to be, for better or worse. We may have some [...]

By |April 5th, 2022|Categories: Thoughts From A Psychotherapist, trauma|0 Comments

It is always okay to ask for help

One of the things I hear often is that someone is reluctant to come to therapy because things are just not bad enough for that. My question is why does it have to be VERY BAD to ask for help. Why not seek help when things are just hard? Our culture sends this pull-up by the bootstraps mentality. The message is it is "weak" to ask for help. We must solve things on our own. Turning to a professional can be looked at as necessary only for a level of distress that is severe and debilitating. My question to that is why? Why would we put ourselves in the position of suffering for a certain length of time rather than reach out for help? The longer we suffer the harder it is to shift the pain. Seeking therapy when things are just hard is the time to do it. Get support as soon as you can. Utilize your other supports systems also. Tell your trusted people what is going on. I suspect when things are hard many of us crawl into ourselves. We don't want to be vulnerable or look weak or feel failed. Part of that is buying into what I call the social media lives of our friends. Meaning most of us don't post about our hard stuff on social media. We post about the happy moments. It can be easy for people who are struggling to think that they are the only ones having any particular struggle. That is never true. I know when I became more vulnerable in telling my closest people my struggles I found most of them had experienced something like them. By a certain age, most of us have experienced grief, depression, and/or anxiety. When we normalize those experiences it validates everyone who has them. I understand it is an act of bravery to be vulnerable when you are overwhelmed and have big feelings. However, if you find the people that validate you it will allow you to [...]

By |February 4th, 2022|Categories: stress management, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

What will 2022 Bring?

  With all of the chaos outside of our homes, it can be hard to visualize what we want to see for ourselves in the New Year. As a person who just moved across the country and still does not have her belongings with her, I feel like there has also been internal chaos for the last 6 months. Self-induced but there nonetheless. One of the many reasons for the move was that I started envisioning the life I wanted and then looked at what needed to happen to get there. Like many of us through the pandemic, my priorities have shifted. I want more time with my family. I want to live a more active lifestyle. I want freedom around my work schedule. I want to be in a connected community. When I looked at what I wanted I realized that my current life was not it. It was not a bad life it just was not what I wanted for myself. Most people won't and shouldn't pick and move across the country but for me, it allows me to have more of the life I want. With the freedom of being able to work from anywhere, I no longer was pinned to living in one place. I encourage everyone to think about what life they want to be living. It is so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day and lose our priorities. What do you want to wake up thinking about? How do you want each day to end? Decide what your top priority is, and then you can evaluate if there are changes you can make to live those priorities. I suspect to survive the last few years, many of us may have checked out. How else do you cope with perpetual political crises and a pandemic that seems like it may never end? You watch a lot of Netflix, or eat a lot of ice cream, or do something else to check out. No judgments, It is a survival [...]

By |January 4th, 2022|Categories: mindfulness, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

The Holidays Are Coming-How Will It Be With Your Family?

The holidays are almost here. This is our second COVID holiday season. For some families, it will be lovely. Being able to be connected to be family that you may have been separated from for a length of time during shelter in place orders. Other families continue to be polarized. Some members are vaccinated and some are not. Many vaccinated people choose to not be around unvaccinated people. If people are not vaccinated they may have very strong feelings about people that are vaccinated. Given this time of a country divided, I am seeing more and more families divided also. I am concerned that some of these estrangements may not ever be reconciled. How do you dialogue with family that you feel like are not listening to facts? How do you avoid confrontations about these issues? Do you just make up an excuse as to why you are not going to Aunt Hilda's for Thanksgiving or do you say you are not comfortable being around unvaccinated people? What about the people caught in the middle? Aunt Hilda wants everyone to come and doesn't understand why you won't eat with Uncle Billy who is not vaccinated and refuses to wear a mask. And both you and Uncle Billy feel like you are right so how do you even have a discussion? I think each of us is and should set our boundaries around what feels safe to us. Some don't feel safe in any crowd regardless of vaccines or masks. That is okay. We have (and are still) been traumatized by this past year and a half of COVID. Over 750 thousand Americans are gone. Many of us had our lives turned upside down not being able to visit friends and family, learning to work at home, or having to work when you did not feel safe doing so. Feeling anger and confusion about what was happening and how it was handled. Many of us are still navigating trauma symptoms. We may have lost family either [...]

It is okay if you are not okay

I have not posted in quite a while. Like you I am getting used to whatever this new "normal" is. One of the topics I hear the most about from people is how hard it still is. The problem is that most people feel like it shouldn't still be hard. There is a culture in the US that does not allow us time to grieve but instead tells us to just pull up our bootstraps and move on. There is a vaccine now. Everything is okay. Move on regardless of whatever grief, loss, sadness, anger, or other feelings you have. This is the American Way! It is so unfortunate because for the last year and a half (and for some of us back to January 2017) we have been going through  multiple traumas. But there has not been an acknowledgment of that fact. People feel a bit crazy if they are still struggling. Or maybe they are on the feelings roller coaster. One day is fine and the next day feels topsy-turvey. The information we are getting seems like it changes every day. Is it safe to go indoors without a mask? Can vaccinated people get the virus and spread it? One day we hear yes and no and a few weeks later it is probably not and probably yes. Again it is enough to make you feel crazy. The risk assessment you did in May has probably changed in July. So how do you manage this all? The first thing is you do the best you can every day. And you understand that some days your best may not be as good as you want it to be. Secondly, you keep up on your self-care your walks or bike rides or Friday night zooms with your friends. It's harder to schedule things now because people are doing things but keep it going! If you have to return to an office it may be harder to keep up the self-care but I strongly encourage you [...]

By |July 26th, 2021|Categories: anxiety, Thoughts From A Psychotherapist|0 Comments

Recovering from the last 4 years-Trump Trauma Disorder

Like many of you, I was super stressed last week. I spent way too much time on social media and particularly Twitter which generally I find very toxic. When the results were finally announced on Saturday I was jumping up and down and yelling at the TV. I later had to go somewhere in the car and I turned on the classic "Celebration" by Kool and The Gang and blasted it. I was ready to celebrate. Instead, I found myself driving and sobbing. When I was able to sit with my feelings a bit later I realized that much of it was mourning the losses of the last four years and part of it was the idea that I had some hope again. I had not realized how my lack of hope for a future had affected me. During the past week, I heard from almost everyone I spoke to about how they felt like they could take a deep breath or felt like a weight had been lifted from their shoulders. For four long years, we have been carrying so much. Fear and rage being some of the top feelings with many layers of complexity on that. For those of us that are a part of a disenfranchised group, many were carrying genuine fear for their safety. This is trauma. It has been a sustained chronic trauma for the past four years. This will take time for all of us to heal from. For people that had PTSD before 2016, it is even worse. Their world already felt unsafe but in recent years there was a real and genuine threat. Not an environment in which people can easily recover from their traumatic past. Now people (and to me they always seem to be white cis straight people) are telling us to move on. To be generous and forgiving. To move forward and not be stuck in the past. This is so invaliding. Four years of substantial trauma and we are being told to get [...]

By |November 13th, 2020|Categories: Thoughts From A Psychotherapist, trauma|0 Comments
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