Loneliness Answers

1. How I get through with my emotion? 2 And is there any possibility that I have a Anxiety disorder?

1. How I get through with my emotion? 2 And is there any possibility that I have an Anxiety Disorder? I read where you shared that because you easily get the emotions of others specifically an anger emotion and you shared that you cannot control your emotions. You shared that you always get mad easily when others get mad. You also shared that you always think that you are always alone and that no one will be there for you. You also shared that you always feel sad. Based on your questions, I would highly suggest that you try to seek help for your specific mental health needs from a local licensed professional counselor and or a local licensed professional mental health therapist. A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can properly assess you for an official diagnosis to see if you actually have Anxiety Disorder. Along with an official diagnosis, a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can support you in assessing your specific mental health needs in regards creating a treatment plan specifically for you in regards to you experiencing anger, loneliness, and or sadness. Licensed professional counselors and or licensed professional mental health therapists on the Betterhelp platform are not able to diagnosis you because we cannot see you in person to get a thorough assessment. Therefore, I highly encourage you to continue or to begin to search for a local licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist in your local area who can properly diagnosis you at this time. Once you have been properly assessed and diagnosed by a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist you can both then discuss and process what your current symptoms of Anxiety Disorder look like at this time. If your symptoms Anxiety Disorder are severe, a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can provide you with a referral to a professional psychiatrist and or medical provider for medication after they assess what your specific mental health needs are in regards to your symptoms of Anxiety Disorder. Therapy and medication together can help minimize the severity of your Anxiety Disorder if needed. Individuals who receive therapy and medication often see quicker improvements and overall better outcomes than those who only receive therapy or those individuals who only take medication. Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in treating individuals who have struggle with Anxiety Disorder.  A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can assist you in learning how to effectively implement coping skills to decease Anxiety Disorder. A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can introduce you to deep breathing techniques, calming techniques, grounding techniques, stress management techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and imagery as a means of decreasing your current symptoms of anger, loneliness and or sadness that you are currently experiencing at this time. In an effort to decrease your current symptoms you can also try to commit to changing the way you think. It will take a lot of practice, dedication and determination to alleviate your symptoms of Anxiety Disorder. However, trying to do this will help you feel better and it can lead to your feeling much better and becoming more productive. You can recognize when it is happening and when you find it happening you can choose to think about something more productive. You can also look for solutions by committing to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can productively move forward, set aside time to think when you notice you are feeling like you want to engaged in emotional distress outside of that scheduled time, remind yourself that you will think about it later, distract yourself with a self care activity and you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the key to living in the "here and now." When you become mindful, you will be completely present in the moment. It can be like a form of meditation that takes a lot of practice, but over time and with consistency, it can be very beneficial in decreasing emotional distress in an effort to help you experience an overall healthier mental well being. Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a local licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist and a medical provider if needed to properly assess and diagnose your symptoms of Anxiety Disorder as it can look different for everyone. Please remember that mental health is not a one size fits all, so it is very important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs at this time. I highly recommend that you contact the Betterhelp team to discuss what specific payment options and payment plans are available for you to access counseling services at this time. Betterhelp does offer financial aid and various other options for individuals who are seeking counseling for their personal and or emotional well-being through the use of affordable therapy sessions. The Betterhelp Platform is designed to be able to assist you better if you contact them directly. Contacting Betterhelp directly is the best way for them to verify your identity and securely help you with your specific account information and needs. When it comes to questions, issues or concerns in regards to the cost of using the Betterhelp platform please contact the Betterhelp team. You can reach out to the Betterhelp team for issues including but not limited to the following: billing issues, account questions and or concerns, and or subscription questions and or concerns. The Betterhelp members are there to help answer your questions, concerns and or issues, so if you have a question in regards to what the cost would be to begin using the Bettehelp platform you can contact the Beterhelp team members directly to gain accurate information in regards to what payment options are available for you if you decide to join the Betterhelp platform in regards to possibly talking to a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist. Please feel free to reach out to the Member Success Team directly by emailing contact@betterhelp.com to discuss what payment options are available for you to use the Betterhelp platform for you counseling needs and or therapy needs at this time. Best regards to you!      
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 01/20/2022

Just empty and want to be alone

Constant feelings of emptiness and isolation are often felt together. The combination of these feelings can make you feel alone in a world full of happy people. Have you explored what may be causing your feeling of emptiness? One reason may be lack of fulfillment with your current situations.  Here are some ways to try to overcome those feelings of emptiness and pushing others away: try to reflect inward to try to identify what you feel is missing in your life currenlty, once you identify it see if you can come up with ways to change or aquire what you feel is missing. Journaling can be a great way to accomplish this. Secondly, find an activity that you have interest in and try to do some of those things either alone or together with others. Thirdly, have you tried to confide in those that are close to you about what you are currently feeling? Often times it can be helpful to talk through what you are currenlty going through.  Lastly, if these feelings persist you may have fallen into a depressive state and would need seek ongoing counseling.  As far as not being able to hold a relationship, may be due to those you are trying to hold on to. Relationships have to be reciprocal and if they are not they usually dont work out the way that we want them to.  One way to overcome this is to try to meet potential suitors that are like minded and that are looking for the same things you are. It can be difficult to meet new people if you push others away and feel emptiness. Focus on yourself and how to overcome what you feel and in time you will meet the one that you cant live without. I have this motto that I use quite often to encourage myself and others: " Surround yourself with people who appreciate you and encourage you to be the best version of yourself, you only get one life to live so live it to the fullest. I hope this helps and that you find the answers that you are currently seeking. 
(M.A, LPC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

How do you get over childhood trauma? And how do you keep it from affecting your relationships?

Hello Lilac, Thank you for your question. I am glad you have reached out. It sounds like you are experieincing a very anxious attachment in your current and past relationships as a result of abandonment as a child. An anxious attachment as an adult makes sense when as a child you experienced repeatedly from those what were “supposed" to be there for you as constantly being disengaged or absent in your life on a daily basis. When we experience that abandonment young, we tend to develop a negative critic that makes decisions about the self that says things like, “I’m not wanted" or "I must be flawed in some way that my family wasn't even there for me” or similar thoughts. Without you directly indicating what happens to sabotage your relationships (other than mentioning you are considering leaving) I am going to make some assumptions that, given your anxious attachment, you might be experiencing. I imagine that you might be fighting in and for the relationship. There is likely in your relationships this feeling that you are incapable of calming until the other person meets your need for assurance and support. This constant push for validation, despite continued reassurances, often leads to the long term deterioration of the relationship. The reason for this is that your partner learns to distance and withdraw to avoid conflict which is the opposite of what you are trying to get from them. This withdrawal by your partner I imagine perpetuates those negative beliefs I mentioned above which then causes you to push even harder for assurances. This is the pattern that must be broken. In moments of interpersonal conflict, it is also quite common for us to switch to a much younger state of thinking and relating to others. We disconnect from the present and begin reacting not to our partners/friends/etc., but instead to our parents, and in your case your siblings, during those moments. When we are in conflict today, as an adult, we return to perceptions, expectations, and strategies learned at an early age. We become the child experiencing that deep loneliness again.  Invariably, in order to heal and decrease dependence on others, those on the anxious end of the attachment spectrum need to explore ways to build an internal support structure- a part of yourself that can remain strong, dependable, and unthreatened by intense emotions. This is better understood as learning to self soothe or to self-validate. There are tools and strategies you can develop to help you be able to challenge the negative beliefs and anxieties that make you feel your partner is going to abandon you and that will help you to be able to self assure so that you do not need the constant assurances from your partner/relationships. I highly recommend connecting with a trained professional, either here on the BetterHelp platform or in a more traditional setting to learn and develop those internal tools. You do not have to continue to be imapacted by the wounds of the past; it is possible to heal and learn healthier ways of relating and it is helpful to not have to go it alone. I do wish you well and hope that you are able to find more stability in your future relationships.  Again, thank you so much for your question. I wish you well going forward. Best Wishes!  
(MSW, LCSW, CADC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

What can I do to help me self feel better

Dear Ghost,   Thank you very much for your message.   I understand that we are going through some fluctuations with our emotions and often it can feel like we are going backwards. However the reality is that the night is always darkest before the dawn. The reason you are feeling discouraged is because you are trying to move forward in this healing process, therefore when you do experience any kind of anxiety or depression you begin to doubt yourself in this process.   Meanwhile, as a human being we will always have times when we feel anxious or depressed. That is normal and natural. Just like there are days that it rains, there are also days that the sun shines. This isn't a problem to be fixed.    We will only feel more depressed if we constantly compare ourselves with our old selves in the past that seemed to be happier, while we forget that back then we did not have this much on our plate to worry and we did not experience what we have experienced recently that gave us hurts and pain. Therefore it isn't fair to our current self if we always think about how to go back in time, that isn't possible anyways.   To further recover from feelings of depression and anxiety, we must constantly be thinking about how to develop a healthy, positive interaction with ourselves.   Happy relationships all depend on how happy we are with ourselves. So how happy are we?   If you feel like you're on a constant quest for inner bliss, you might be asking yourself: If there was one secret on how to be happy in your relationship or marriage, workplace, home life and family wouldn't you have learned it by now?   Are you constantly searching, asking people who seem happy, reading articles and watching videos on how to be happy? If so, you're certainly not alone. Online search engines get millions of people asking this question, and the internet is full of promises that this strategy or that formula will deliver you to a place of lasting happiness. Yet, many miss the main point: they never even touch on the fact that the real key to happiness with others is happiness with yourself.   If you haven't noticed or been here yourself (most of us have), an insecure person's need for constant approval is exhausting. Those who are happy and love themselves don't hang around with that kind of negative energy. Since we can't change other people, lead by example and others will follow in your footsteps, becoming good role models themselves. Here are 5 lessons that I learned (still learning) to find peace within ourselves and enjoy true happiness that does not depend on others.   1. Forgive Yourself   Forgive yourself for anything and everything you think you caused that was bad in your or someone else's life. You can't go back for a do-over, so learn the lesson and move forward, promising to better handle any similar situation that may arise. Now you're freed up to relax more and have greater peace of mind without beating yourself up over guilt and resentment.   2. Understand That You Are Complete   And understand that, "You complete me," was just a cheesy line in a Tom Cruise movie. (I loved that line at first too... for a few seconds, until I realized how inaccurate it was. Keep reading to learn why!) The reason most of us don't feel complete, and latched onto that line like it was the end-all be-all relationship concept is because we're waiting for someone else to be or do something that makes us feel whole.   First of all, as mentioned, we are already complete. But even if we weren't, no one else would be able to complete us anyway - it's impossible. When we put our happiness in someone else's hands we set them up for failure. Why would we do that to someone we care about? Because we don't realize we are the only ones who control our happiness.   Does this mean if you're unhappy it's your fault? Yes. Does this also put you in a position of power in your life? Absolutely. You want your relationships to be the joining of two complete individuals to create a third, larger entity so that you're a part of something, not just half of something. The whole "my other half" thing just breeds insecurity, which leads to the most painful relationship challenges like jealousy, abuse and infidelity. Why on earth would you want your happiness to be determined by someone or something outside of yourself?   3. Get To Know Yourself   When do you feel you're at your best when you're alone? Are you reading your favorite book overlooking a beautiful view? Enjoying your favorite tea, watching a movie? Shopping outside at the farmers market? Listening to your favorite music? How does your body feel? Healthy? Need some work? No one will be happier than you when your body looks good and functions well. This is a good confidence builder and when you have more confidence, you look better and healthier, and carry yourself in a completely different way that attracts confident people to you.   Here's a personal example: I had a spider vein on my lower leg and didn't feel comfortable in shorts for years. I finally had it removed and couldn't believe how much better I felt. My posture and confidence in shorts was much improved. Some things are easily fixable and for the others we may need to adjust our perspective a bit.   What are your favorite parts of yourself - your appearance, your character traits, your values or your personality? Do you get a kick out of your great sense of humor? I get a kick out of mine. I laugh to myself quite often! Are you really excited that you value honesty, which has attracted honest, genuine people to you? Are your eyes or hands or knees your favorite part of your body? Get to know your favorite parts and love them all.   4. Take A Good Look At Yourself   Take a look and notice how amazing you are. Keep your self-talk positive. There are things supermodels hate about themselves, so don't go thinking you're the only one who has dislikes. You can be happy with yourself even if there are things you'd like to change. I've always been shorter than most other people and would have given anything to be "normal" height. It took me 27 years of hating my height when many other people always wanted to be taller and would have traded me in an instant. Look how many years I experienced self-induced suffering. (This describes all suffering by the way. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.)   What are you good at, best at and want to improve at? What are your talents and what skills have you developed? What would you like to do in your life that you haven't done yet? What is the best thing you've ever done? Are you noticing that you might ask some of these questions on a date to get to know someone and determine if you like them or not? We get to know people by asking questions although we rarely ask them of ourselves. And when someone else asks, we sometimes answer differently than when we're asking ourselves.   5. Ask Yourself Questions   To find out more about yourself, ask yourself the questions you would ask on a date. The quality of your relationships is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions and lots of them (more than you would ask on a date; it's OK to be a chatterbox with yourself) to build that strong, healthy relationship with yourself.   Take time away from other people and be happily alone. At first, it might feel weird choosing to be alone but being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." I went from being scared to sit alone in Starbucks for fear some stranger would think I didn't have any friends to loving going places alone. I have attracted wonderful friends by learning how to like myself and since like attracts like (energy), they happily do things on their own too. Yes, we do enjoy each other's company as well; we don't just talk about all the things we did by ourselves (although that would be funny).   Welcome to your inner power. You are qualified, capable and worthy of being happy with yourself regardless of anyone else on the planet so lead by example and show others how it's done. You will see that you can have much more fulfilling relationships without putting the responsibility of your happiness on someone else.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

Does it ever get better ?

As you regard the current state of your family, I can hear that you may be feeling something that resembles hopelessness, among many other emotions. This is a time in your life when it helps to have a soft place to go with those feelings. And, I hear your disappointment and frustration about the many prayers that things would be different.   May I encourage you, during this time, to be extra gentle with yourself? That could look like wrapping yourself in a nice warm blanket when you are feeling sad and needing comfort. Or, maybe having a special pillow to hug, or giving yourself a butterfly hug (arms crossed in front of you, with your hands on the opposite shoulder).    I imagine this troubling time is full of questions you don't have answers to, and lots of decisions to make. When these things start to feel overwhelming, this can trigger the sadness feelings again. I encourage you to allow yourself to pause often for some form of gentleness towards yourself, even just for a moment. Questions and decisions will continue to linger. Your opportunity to show kindness to yourself is something only you can prioritize, and it will make a difference as you go through each day.   May I encourage you to consider local resources for the concern you mentioned about having no where to go? Your therapist may be able to help you come up with potential agencies and services to contact that would fit your situation and unique needs best.    Taking care of yourself will help you with caring for your daughter during this trying time. Although I don't know her age, children of all ages need comfort during times where everything in their life has changed. You will find it easier to care for her when you are in an emotional place of feeling balanced and cared for.   Does it ever get better? That is an important, layered question. While there are no guarantees about tomorrow, there is hope that if we stay on a path towards healing and don't give up, we may reach a place where we are asking different questions.
Answered on 01/20/2022

How do you overcome feelings of disconnect and disengagement?

Hello Sandra and thank you for reaching out for help with regards to the unease you are experiencing as a result of feeling disconnected and disengaged. Let’s first discuss the loneliness that you mention experiencing. Simply put, loneliness has been defined as “the discrepancy between what you have and what you want from your relationships." It’s not necessarily about being physically surrounded by people, because you might feel especially lonely in a crowd, but about your mentality. When you feel lonely, it’s usually because you aren’t quite satisfied with what you have, whether it’s in that moment or throughout your life. And until you're able to pinpoint and then address what you're dissatisfied with, you'll feel isolated, left out, and in need of companionship. The upside: Feeling lonely isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a reminder that something's off about your social environment and that you need to prioritize your happiness, as it appears you have done by reaching out for help in this matter. Chances are, though, you're not too grateful for loneliness while you're experiencing it. In fact, the feeling makes you more likely to interpret reality negatively, which can bring on a ton of self-loathing and self-criticism. The key to turning your mood around? Adjusting your social lens to one that’s more positive. Easier said than done, right? I mean, if it were so easy you might have figured it out by now and wouldn’t be feeling the way you are feeling. But that’s ok, we all need help sometimes and while I do not personally know you, I am sure that you have the capacity to work through this issue with some things you can actually do to feel a little less lonely, a little more confident, and way more connected.   Though there are things you can do to help yourself feel less lonely, they're not all foolproof. Sometimes you won't succeed. People won't want to make connections with you, they'll be too busy, or you'll still end up feeling lonely. It happens. Those moments will be tough, but the key is to persevere anyway. You won't want to at the time, but if you set out to tackle your loneliness knowing it's a win-some-lose-some game, you won't be so quick to give up.   Don't deny or distance yourself from people in your life, specifically potentially healthy people. Because of all the shameful and self-critical feelings that accompany loneliness, a common reaction is to kid yourself into thinking you don't actually need anyone, things are better this way, and you'll do just fine on your own. You might actually believe that for a while, too. Down the line, however, this response will be harmful, to your mental and physical health. People need people, and everyone needs to feel loved. So, as soon as you can put a label to your loneliness, it's time to try and do something about it.   One thing you can do to start with addressing the negative feelings you are having is to write down positive memories. This is one of those pieces of advice you've perhaps been given before, but never actually committed to. Now's the time to give it a real shot. Just dedicating 15 minutes per day to jotting down special moments you've shared with friends and family can be enough to overcome negative feelings. The process will remind you you're not alone, and the memories are bound to improve your mood.   Smile. Smiling at yourself in the mirror is an unusual ask. I recommend closing your eyes and thinking of the last time you made someone smile or laugh and let your body do the rest. Will it feel strange? Yes. But, will it help? Also yes. Just thinking of a time when you were feeling giddy will automatically bring a smile to your face, a move that will set off all those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain and trick you into feeling happier than you were just a few secs before. Once you're feeling a little better, hold onto that feeling by leaning into something that makes you feel really good, such as cracking open your favorite book or going for a run.   Take note of all the things you're grateful for. When you're lonely, you'll bury yourself in your thoughts, usually bummer ones, but, as they say, "gratitude turns what we have into enough." To get yourself out of that headspace, write down a few things you're grateful for (think: your job, a roof over your head, and a supportive family). Doing this will shift your thoughts from ones about you and your slump, to those about other people you care about and positive factors in your life.   Volunteer. Loneliness isn't dangerous by itself, it's what we do with it and how we recover that can be dangerous for our physical and mental health. To make sure you're letting loneliness drive you toward the right thing, consider signing up to volunteer. Dedicating a day to working with the elderly or making meals at a soup kitchen will fulfill your desire to feel needed and draw you away from the self-centered mindset that loneliness brings on. Plus, the time you spend getting to know the people you're serving will bring out some of the intimacy and connection you've been craving.   Join a club or take advantage of the time you spend in class. It might make you uncomfortable at first, but it might also be totally worth it. Being in a school environment is one of the best places to meet people with similar interests, and most schools have extracurricular activities and groups with more specialized interests that you can engage in. If the club you’d want doesn't exist, start one. Interacting with people with whom you share a common interest makes for a better chance at forming meaningful connections, which is usually what lonely people are missing from life.   Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Yeah, you probably already have waking up, working, eating, and exercising down pat, but maybe your life's in need of a little more structure. Feelings of loneliness often feel like they'll last forever and there's nothing you can do to escape the dark cloud hanging over your head, but that's not true. It can be hard to remind yourself that loneliness is usually temporary, so I recommend a strict schedule. It's harder to feel alone when you have a plan and a purpose. So, set alarms for an early-morning meditation, a phone call with your sister, and an evening face mask. Pre-planning them will instill you with a sense of control, too. Once you've come up with a schedule, stick to it as much as you can. It'll be tough sometimes, but as long as you take it one day at a time, the structured routine will feel more and more natural.   Go for a walk. It gets your body moving, gives you a chance to clear your mind, and even offers opportunities to run into a neighbor for a quick chat. Even if you don't interact with anyone, studies show walks have significant effects on mood. Just a few minutes outside can stop your mood from worsening and can help combat feelings of dread that loneliness brings on.   Pick up the phone and call someone you love and who cares about you. It sounds like you are doing this as evidenced by your report of having good friends abroad that you speak to regularly, but rather than exchanging the same old how are yous and fines, actively listen to and really engage with the person on the other line. When they mention something about their lives, ask them for the backstory and let them talk. People are thirsty for this kind of interaction. Everyone wants to be heard, so give someone in your life the gift of really listening to them, and let their stories take you out of your lonely headspace for a while. Perhaps this additional tip for your conversations with your good friends abroad can aide in alleviating any discontentment and/or feelings of being disconnected or disengaged, because you are actively engaging with them.   Talk to a mental health professional. A psychologist won't be able to bring you out of your loneliness, only you can do that, but they can help you come to terms with the situation. They'll remind you of how much power you have to move forward from this by helping you pinpoint what in your life might be off-kilter and contributing to your loneliness. Once you isolate the cause, a therapist will help you come up with a game plan to address it.   Take a social risk. If you're feeling lonely because you don't believe any of your relationships are substantive, now's your chance to do something about it. Yeah, you might get rejected, but eventually you'll find a someone or even a whole tribe who ~gets~ you. Start off somewhere you feel comfortable. Take your workout class, for example: Approach the person who high fives you after each segment or notices when you miss a class. Strike up a conversation as best you can, and you may just hit it off. (Yes, new friends!) Stuck at home? Try reaching out to an old friend via Instagram DM to see what's new with them.   Turn your loneliness into solitude. While they might sound the same, solitude is different because it's a choice. You could let your loneliness consume you (let's face it, sometimes you can't help it), or you can turn your loneliness into solitude, time spent alone doing something that's meaningful to you. Maybe you express how you're feeling by painting, writing a short story, doing a puzzle, learning a dance routine, or recording a cover of that song you can't get out of your head. Since loneliness can stick around for a while, it helps to have an outlet. At-home workouts are an excellent outlet for solitude, too.   And finally, don't busy yourself. Many people try to run away from loneliness. They'll busy themselves with needless things like second jobs or extra hours at work when they don't need the money as a way to stifle loneliness. That's not the right move. It might help you forget you're lonely for a bit, but you'll only end up feeling worse in the end. The key is to slow down for a bit and focus on something you really love or something you've always wanted to do but never did because sticking to the mundane won't help much.   I hope you found this information helpful, and should there be anything else I can do to help or support you through this process please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can do this!
(LMHC, MCAP, TIRF)
Answered on 01/20/2022

How to unlove someone? How to forget everything? How to move on? How to live again?

Hello! I am glad that you reached out. Sorry to hear that you have been feeling this way. It can be frustrating when the timing is off in a relationship. It sounds like you are experiencing many emotions all at the same time. I highly recommend and encourage you to seek professional support, in order to best deal with all the various emotions that you are going through. Therapy can assist you with addressing your feelings of lonliness and gaining clarity in relationships. In addition, therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as a divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time at the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to shop around and ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. The good thing about Betterhelp is that you have so many qualified therapist to choose from. As you start to resolve your past and current issues you are more likely to reduce negative emotions and be on a path to a healthier future. I wish you the best on finding the root issues and the best treatment!
Answered on 01/20/2022

How could I be better?

Firstly, I am really sorry that you’ve been feeling this way lately and having a difficult time with your mental health and wellbeing.  It can be really difficult to deal with those thoughts and feelings on a daily basis and feel even more difficult when we are experiencing them alone.   There isn’t a ‘quick fix’ for these feelings, especially since they have stemmed since childhood and have carried through into your other relationships.  Overall change takes time but small actions add up and can help you work towards making those bigger changes in your mood.  However, attending therapy regularly and working with a therapist on changing core beliefs, increasing coping skills to deal with isolation and depressive feelings, and doing assigned exercises outside of therapy will be the best way to work through this time in your life.  Also seeing your primary care doctor to discuss if medication would be an appropriate avenue would be another step to take.   If you aren’t quite ready to begin therapy, there some things you can do on your own such as starting guided meditations to work on staying in the present moment.  It can be really easy for us to either get stuck in the past or worried about the future and both of those take us out of being in the present moment.  Not being present is one of the biggest reasons we experience depressive symptoms and anxiety.  It’s a struggle but starting with guided meditations (either through apps such as Balance, Headspace, Calm, etc. or through Apple Podcasts or YouTube) is a great way to begin rooting ourselves back in the present.  There are also some grounding techniques to assist with this as well, such as deep breathing or the 5-4-3-2-1 method (5 things you can see around you, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste).  These are especially helpful when we start feeling detached or getting stuck in our thoughts and having difficulty pulling ourselves out of them.  These are just a couple of ways to deal with your current feelings but there are certainly more coping skills to explore to help reduce symptoms and make them more manageable. There are also sites such as Therapistaid.com that will give you lots of different skills, worksheets, articles and videos that can be really helpful tools.  I know it is hard to open up and tell people how we are feeling or what we are going through but it’s also really important that we share those feelings with people that we trust so they can be aware of our mental health.  When we are feeling depressed, we often feel like a burden to others or that they don’t want to hear about our problems but often times that is the opposite and it can help clarify why you’ve been acting in the ways you have lately.  People are often able to have empathy when they have some understanding of what’s going on and it can also help you feel more connected and less isolated as well.  If talking to them face to face is too difficult, then texting or emailing them would be the next best option and may be easier for you to explain yourself to them and describe what you’ve been going through lately.  Importantly, I wanted to note that if you feel you are ever a danger to yourself, having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or feel you are in a mental health crisis to please get help by going to your local emergency department, calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or texting HELLO to 741741 for help.  I hope this gives you some idea of where to get started so that you're able to take care of yourself and begin your healing process. We are all worthy of wellbeing and sometimes it takes someone else to help us with that realization and it's always okay to ask for help. 
Answered on 01/20/2022

how to deal with feelings of worthlessness and plummeting self esteem and overall sadness

Hello, Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your question: How to deal with feelings of worthlessness and plummeting self esteem and overall sadness? I am so glad you reached out for some much needed support with all what you are going through at this time in your life.   I will share some information and self-help tools about what you can do to address these strong emotions.   I urge you to consider reaching out for some professional mental health support and guidance at this time.   Strong negative emotions like this can take a toll on anyone. When you’re experiencing toxic shame, it can paralyze you and keep you from achieving life goals. You might feel incapable of moving forward in life due to the toxic shame that you’re feeling. If left unchecked, this toxic shame could cause you to develop worse mental health problems over time. It’s essential to learn how to cope with toxic shame properly so that you can get your life back on track.   The Dangers Of Toxic Shame Toxic shame is so dangerous because it can create feelings of unworthiness and humiliation. When someone has been put in such a humiliating position by others, it can cause them to lose faith in themselves. They might feel wholly inadequate, and like they can never do anything right. Toxic shame is often something that happens to kids when they’re young or to us in relationships as we get older.  Verbal and even nonverbal cues can cause us to feel intense toxic shame. These issues can percolate and become very hard to deal with alone. When left untreated, toxic shame has been known to turn into full-blown depression. It has also caused some people to develop eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety problems, and general self-esteem issues. The dangers of toxic shame are apparent, but you want to know how to cope with it. Toxic shame is not unlike other mental illnesses, and it can be treated. There are many common-sense ways that you can cope with toxic shame, and it can also be beneficial to get professional help for your problems. Realize That Toxic Shame Stems From Other People When it comes to coping with toxic shame, it’s important to try to realize that your feelings of shame don’t stem from you. These toxic shame feelings actually come from other people. Situations like this occur when others place their own feelings of inadequacy onto other people. They treat others poorly and do things to humiliate them to try to make themselves feel better. Most of the time, those who treat others this way do it in an attempt to make themselves feel powerful or because they’re simply cruel. You didn’t actually do anything wrong, and the toxic shame that you’re experiencing is simply because of what another person did to you. Once you accept that your feelings aren’t because of anything negative that you did, it’s going to be easier to feel better about things. It can still take time to come to terms with feelings of toxic shame. Regardless, just knowing that you aren’t to blame for what is going on is going to be helpful. You can’t blame yourself for toxic shame and the impact that it has had on your life. It’s going to be possible to take control of toxic shame and release it once you feel strong enough. This isn’t something that you need to do by yourself, and you should look for the support of mental health professionals. Understand That Reality Is Different From The Toxic Shame That You Feel Generally, people are going to feel toxic shame-based on some type of traumatic event that they experienced. Someone said mean things to them or did something terrible to them at some point in time. These feelings that you have involve thinking you’re unworthy of love or that you’re a worthless human being. Some people with toxic shame issues even wish they were never born in the first place. This is a horrible way to feel about yourself, and you shouldn’t have to keep feeling this way. It’s going to be important to examine the reality of the situation and compare it to your toxic shame. You’ll find that your toxic shame isn’t based on logic or reality. It’s just a warped perception that you have due to what happened to you in the past. The fact that your toxic shame doesn’t come from anything that is true about you doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, though. For instance, someone could be told they’re fat growing up even if they aren’t overweight. This can lead to body image issues, and that can eventually develop into a full-blown eating disorder.  This is terrible, but it happens to people more often than some realize. You can try to understand that these things people used to insult you aren’t necessarily true, and sometimes this will help you to cope. Learning to let go of toxic shame takes time, and you might need professional assistance to be able to do it correctly. Turn To Your Support System For Help It’s also going to be crucial to ensure that you have a  good support system in place. You shouldn’t feel like you have to face the world alone when you’re dealing with toxic shame. Sometimes those feelings of shame are going to be very strong, and you will want to reach out for help. Having good friends to turn to that have your best interests in mind will be perfect. They can lift you up when you’re feeling low. You’re going to benefit from having a good support system, and you should try to find people that you can trust if at all possible. Some people are fortunate enough to have great families that support them during trying times. There are people who suffer from feelings of toxic shame that can’t do this, though. Sometimes a person’s family is the source of their toxic shame issue, and they might not have enough friends either. It’s good to try to find people that care about you and love you in life. Focus on the people that treat you well and want to lift you up. If you do this, then it’ll be easier to overcome toxic shame and become the person that you want to be. Self-Love And Self-Care Will Be Important Self-love and self-care will be an essential weapon when you’re trying to battle toxic shame as well. You can use self-care to make yourself feel more confident overall. Treat yourself right and work on making positive life changes. This can push you to be the best version of yourself while helping you to overcome self-esteem issues that stem from the toxic shame. Many people have found solace in physical fitness routines and educating themselves. Doing positive things and being able to feel proud of your accomplishments will make you feel better about the world. If you can learn to love yourself for who you are and stop the cycle of toxic shame, then you’ll be able to move forward with full confidence. Toxic shame is something that has plagued many people for years, but it doesn’t have to get the best of you. You can learn to recognize your self-worth again, and you can feel happiness. Your feelings of shame can return to normal levels, and you will be able to look in the mirror proudly. You are good enough, and you can get through this tumultuous time in your life. You can learn to experience shame in normal ways again and to not let toxic shame harm your self-image. Get Help By Seeking Therapy Getting help by seeking therapy is also going to be extremely helpful when it comes to overcoming toxic shame. Experiencing shame is normal, but toxic shame takes things to a dangerous place. A therapist can help you to differentiate toxic shame from normal feelings of shame. They will work to help you let go of the toxic shame that is holding you back so that you can move on toward more positive things in life once more. Therapists understand toxic shame to a fine degree and have helped many people to cope with their feelings while recognizing their own self-worth. You’re going to be able to turn to your therapist whenever you’re having a tough time, too. Some days are going to be worse than others when you’re coping with toxic shame. Feelings of shame will come and go, but you might need extra assistance during intensely emotional moments. Having a therapist that you can call to get advice and comfort will make a huge difference. Seeking out a licensed therapist is going to be worthwhile for anyone who is struggling with toxic shame. Remember that online therapy is a convenient option that is available to you. Some people wind up preferring online therapy due to how easy it is to take advantage of it. Being able to work with a therapist without having to leave the house is great and online therapy is also quite affordable. There are those who respond better to having an in-person therapy session, so just choose whichever option is going to work out best for you. You’ll be able to get help with your toxic shame problem, and everything will feel better as you work with a therapist to resolve your issues. There is hope.  Recovery is possible and you do not have to go through this alone, help is available to you.   I wish you much luck!   In Kindness, Gaynor 
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/20/2022

How can I get to a better place emotionally and mentally

Hello and thank you for your questions.   I hope you can acknowledge the strength and wisdom it has taken to reach out for support and guidance...and that is certainly the first and very biggest step toward your goal of getting to a place of more peace and calm in your life.  And understand that you are not alone - this has been a difficult time for many if not all of us in some way.  Yet, ironically, it's through these difficulties that we have an opportunity to further understand ourselves and find the motivation to make changes that will enable us to be overall happier. Your work with a therapist will enable you to more fully understand what is leading to your feelings of sadness.  Granted, the pandemic in and of itself is a stressful and sad situation.  And life can be challenging with many obstacles that might be thrown our way.  However, with these situations that are out of our control, what is highlighted is our ability to react in ways that are helpful to ourselves versus unhealthy.  Have acceptance of those things that are fully out of our control and then being able to think and behave in ways where we fully accept that reality is another step in your path toward greater calm and happiness. Through the process of therapy, you will have the opportunity to understand where you are getting stuck and why -  where the way you might view yourself, other people and world is not helpful and why you might be thinking this way.  You will have the opportunity to respond to how you feel in a way that enables you to feel better, find ways of stopping yourself from going down a path of sadness and lift that low feeling, and in doing so, be able to identify some positive ways of handling the realities that life throws your way.  By understanding and adopting these methods, you will eventually see how you have the tools to lift your mood and make the very best of your day.   And with that, good luck in your journey.  You will find your way, just stay the course and believe in the process.  :)
Answered on 01/20/2022

How to know if he 's right for being your life partner ?

Dear Neat,   Thank you for your message and allowing me to understand more on perhaps how our boundaries have been violated by others, and that we have been not receiving the credits / compliments that we deserved.     Through your words I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving / helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable, so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggle is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others'. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hear your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

Divorce at 51 years old

Thank you for your question. I can understand why you would feel afraid and alone during this time. Before considering how you might move on, it is important for you to process your feelings associated with the loss as painful as that is. It is important for you to recognize that it is not your fault that the relationship ended, even if you feel it is. If you beat yourself up, you will have a much harder time working through your feelings. Much like the actual grief of losing a person to death, you will experience a ton of different feelings during this time. I encourage you to recognize the memories that shaped you into the person you are today and how you have grown as a person inside and outside of the relationship. If you can recognize there was value from the relationship that will set you up to move forward and develop healthy relationships moving forward, you will move towards empowerment. When we experience loss, we often focus exclusively upon our negative feelings. Of course we need to reflect upon what we will miss, but also consider what you do not miss about being outside of the relationship. Perhaps there were many nights of sadness and despair that you are glad to not have to experience related to how you were treated. This is just one example of what you might consider. When we think about what we will not miss, we can begin to realize the relationship may not have been as appealing as you might have thought it would be and may have an easier time moving forward. I would also encourage you to spend time getting to know yourself now as you separate from your joint identity with your partner. Try to remain connected to others and to engage in hobbies or try new things you have always wanted to try that you did not have the time to engage in while in your relationship. Also, I encourage you to focus upon your identity as a mother that remains unchanged. Consider how you can strengthen your ability to be present for your children. The more you feel fulfilled and a sense of purpose unrelated to the relationship, the more likely you will be able to move forward. Your feelings of depression will get less intense overtime, but this will happen more readily if you actively seek out ways to improve your mood and remain involved in getting to know yourself and your interests and preferences. I encourage you to consider if anything excites you about being single. Perhaps it is that you do not have to consider how anyone else feels when you make plans to engage in activities you want to participate in. This list will help you to seek opportunities and motivate you to see the positive of the situation, which is often necessary to unhook yourself from a cycle of depression. It is recommended you remain gentle on yourself and remind yourself that no feeling lasts forever, so allow your emotions around the situation to ebb and flow. You do not have to date before you feel ready if and when you do. I would recommend you have a clear structure and routine outside of a relationship prior to pursuing a relationship, so you do not run the risk of dependency upon someone else to meet your emotional needs, which often results in greater difficulty moving forward if and when a relationship does come to an end. The key is to develop balance between grieving the loss and finding reasons to have hope for your future that will support the greatest process of success in moving forward in your life. You may consider engaging in therapy if you have the opportunity to do so and are not already doing so, as this feedback is general without knowing the specifics around your feelings and the divorce itself. We often need the support of an outside party to normalize our feelings and help us see our difficulties in a new light, which is what I see the value of therapy to be for you at this time in your life. 
Answered on 01/20/2022

How can I let my spouse know that I am in need of me time & need space away from the home.

Hello! I am glad that you reached out. It sounds like you feel la combination of feelings, lonely, isolated and in a way trapped. It is important for your mental health that you have a balance. Is there a way for you to get involved in mom groups in the community?  Are you able to express to your husband the necessity and urgency for you to get out? You may want to consider therapy in order to find healthy ways to cope during this challenging time and also find the best way to effectively communicate with your husband. Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time in the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to shop around and ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. The good thing about Betterhelp is that you have so many qualified therapists to choose from. As you start to process and deal with your concerns you are more likely to better manage your emotions and be on a path to a healthier future. I wish you the best on your path to finding support!
Answered on 01/20/2022

My wife asked to separate, moved out of state with my kid. Any advice on pushing through?

Thank you for your question. I can understand why you would feel lonely, especially if your relationship with your family gave you such a strong sense of purpose and you are not in the driver's seat regarding the decision to separate. We always struggle more when we feel we are out of control. I encourage you to consider what is in your control, which would be your thoughts, emotions, and behavior, although it can feel at times that even those things are out of your control. I encourage you to try to find strength during this time and your own self-identity, as often once we are in a relationship for a long period of time, we can lose a sense of ourselves. Did you sole sense of purpose come from being a partner and father? Is there a way you can continue to feel purpose at least as a father whether it be visiting your child or speaking to your child frequently on the phone? The constant that will remain regardless of if the marriage works out is that you are a parent. What gives you a sense of joy as a parent? See if you can continue to focus upon that aspect of your identity. I also hear that you are lonely, which is a normal feeling to have after a separation. There is a fine balance between of course processing your feelings about a potential extended separation and moving through those feelings by remaining connected to others. What aspects of your life were in place, even while you were in the same state as your wife and child? Perhaps you went to the gym often or engaged in a hobby. It is important to continue to engage in those activities and not allow your life to stop with this separation. Also, while it will not fill the void, you might consider joining a group to meet new people to make connections and reduce loneliness. Meetup.com is a great site with a group available for virtually any hobby or social need or desire you might have. If you feel connected to others, you might be less preoccupied with loneliness as the opposite of loneliness is connection. There are also sports league options or church group options, among many other ways you can seek out connections depending upon your interests. It is important you do not blame yourself for the relationship not being what you want it to be. Differences in relationships and separations happen as what once satisfied us in relationships may not always fulfill us in the same way. Having others to speak about your feelings of grief with would also likely help you reduce shame and embarassment and feel understood, which is often a necessary component of rebuilding your sense of self and worth at this point in your life. If you blame yourself less, your embarrassment will be reduced and you will have greater courage to receive the support you need from others. Keeping your feelings secret will contribute even further to your lack of a sense of belonging. Perhaps you can also seek out a therapist as a starting point in speaking about your feelings and how to move forward. There are some low cost therapy options available. Try to focus upon the good of each day and perhaps begin engaging in a daily gratitude practice. This will help you also not stay stuck in feelings of sadness and wishing your life was different than it is. Your healing all starts with your belief that you can move through these feelings and they will not last forever. If you believe the rebuilding of your life with or without the support of your wife is possible, then you will seek opportunities to find how this is possible. If you want to understand if the rebuilding of your relationship with your wife is possible, you might also consider asking what needs to change in order to be able to work through this situation and work on the repair in the relationship. If your wife feels you are putting forth effort, it may change the trajectory of the relationship if the feelings are not mutual regarding ending the relationship. You took the first step in reaching out for support, and while I cannot give you specific advice without knowing more about your situation, I hope these tips will help you to begin working through your feelings and getting the support you need to get through this time and move forward. 
Answered on 01/20/2022

How should I navigate tough times when my partner has issues?

Dear Pynk2508,   Thank you for your message and allowing me to understand more on the dynamics between you and your partner.   Through your words I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving / helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable, so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggle is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others'. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hear your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

w/ little stress, I scream hurt myself, 2 the point that I scare myself wat can I do to avoid this?

Dear Self-diagnosed bitch,   Thank you very much for your message.   I understand that we are going through some fluctuations with our emotions and often it can feel like we are going backwards. However the reality is that the night is always darkest before the dawn. The reason you are feeling discouraged is because you are trying to move forward in this healing process, therefore when you do experience any kind of anxiety or depression you begin to doubt yourself in this process.   Meanwhile, as a human being we will always have times when we feel anxious or depressed. That is normal and natural. Just like there are days that it rains, there are also days that the sun shines. This isn't a problem to be fixed.    We will only feel more depressed if we constantly compare ourselves with our old selves in the past that seemed to be happier, while we forget that back then we did not have this much on our plate to worry and we did not experience what we have experienced recently that gave us hurts and pain. Therefore it isn't fair to our current self if we always think about how to go back in time, that isn't possible anyways.   To further recover from feelings of depression and anxiety, we must constantly be thinking about how to develop a healthy, positive interaction with ourselves.   Happy relationships all depend on how happy we are with ourselves. So how happy are we?   If you feel like you're on a constant quest for inner bliss, you might be asking yourself: If there was one secret on how to be happy in your relationship or marriage, workplace, home life and family wouldn't you have learned it by now?   Are you constantly searching, asking people who seem happy, reading articles and watching videos on how to be happy? If so, you're certainly not alone. Online search engines get millions of people asking this question, and the internet is full of promises that this strategy or that formula will deliver you to a place of lasting happiness. Yet, many miss the main point: they never even touch on the fact that the real key to happiness with others is happiness with yourself.   If you haven't noticed or been here yourself (most of us have), an insecure person's need for constant approval is exhausting. Those who are happy and love themselves don't hang around with that kind of negative energy. Since we can't change other people, lead by example and others will follow in your footsteps, becoming good role models themselves. Here are 5 lessons that I learned (still learning) to find peace within ourselves and enjoy true happiness that does not depend on others.   1. Forgive Yourself   Forgive yourself for anything and everything you think you caused that was bad in your or someone else's life. You can't go back for a do-over, so learn the lesson and move forward, promising to better handle any similar situation that may arise. Now you're freed up to relax more and have greater peace of mind without beating yourself up over guilt and resentment.   2. Understand That You Are Complete   And understand that, "You complete me," was just a cheesy line in a Tom Cruise movie. (I loved that line at first too... for a few seconds, until I realized how inaccurate it was. Keep reading to learn why!) The reason most of us don't feel complete, and latched onto that line like it was the end-all be-all relationship concept is because we're waiting for someone else to be or do something that makes us feel whole.   First of all, as mentioned, we are already complete. But even if we weren't, no one else would be able to complete us anyway - it's impossible. When we put our happiness in someone else's hands we set them up for failure. Why would we do that to someone we care about? Because we don't realize we are the only ones who control our happiness.   Does this mean if you're unhappy it's your fault? Yes. Does this also put you in a position of power in your life? Absolutely. You want your relationships to be the joining of two complete individuals to create a third, larger entity so that you're a part of something, not just half of something. The whole "my other half" thing just breeds insecurity, which leads to the most painful relationship challenges like jealousy, abuse and infidelity. Why on earth would you want your happiness to be determined by someone or something outside of yourself?   3. Get To Know Yourself   When do you feel you're at your best when you're alone? Are you reading your favorite book overlooking a beautiful view? Enjoying your favorite tea, watching a movie? Shopping outside at the farmers market? Listening to your favorite music? How does your body feel? Healthy? Need some work? No one will be happier than you when your body looks good and functions well. This is a good confidence builder and when you have more confidence, you look better and healthier, and carry yourself in a completely different way that attracts confident people to you.   Here's a personal example: I had a spider vein on my lower leg and didn't feel comfortable in shorts for years. I finally had it removed and couldn't believe how much better I felt. My posture and confidence in shorts was much improved. Some things are easily fixable and for the others we may need to adjust our perspective a bit.   What are your favorite parts of yourself - your appearance, your character traits, your values or your personality? Do you get a kick out of your great sense of humor? I get a kick out of mine. I laugh to myself quite often! Are you really excited that you value honesty, which has attracted honest, genuine people to you? Are your eyes or hands or knees your favorite part of your body? Get to know your favorite parts and love them all.   4. Take A Good Look At Yourself   Take a look and notice how amazing you are. Keep your self-talk positive. There are things supermodels hate about themselves, so don't go thinking you're the only one who has dislikes. You can be happy with yourself even if there are things you'd like to change. I've always been shorter than most other people and would have given anything to be "normal" height. It took me 27 years of hating my height when many other people always wanted to be taller and would have traded me in an instant. Look how many years I experienced self-induced suffering. (This describes all suffering by the way. Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.)   What are you good at, best at and want to improve at? What are your talents and what skills have you developed? What would you like to do in your life that you haven't done yet? What is the best thing you've ever done? Are you noticing that you might ask some of these questions on a date to get to know someone and determine if you like them or not? We get to know people by asking questions although we rarely ask them of ourselves. And when someone else asks, we sometimes answer differently than when we're asking ourselves.   5. Ask Yourself Questions   To find out more about yourself, ask yourself the questions you would ask on a date. The quality of your relationships is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Ask good questions and lots of them (more than you would ask on a date; it's OK to be a chatterbox with yourself) to build that strong, healthy relationship with yourself.   Take time away from other people and be happily alone. At first, it might feel weird choosing to be alone but being alone and being lonely are two very different things. Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with." I went from being scared to sit alone in Starbucks for fear some stranger would think I didn't have any friends to loving going places alone. I have attracted wonderful friends by learning how to like myself and since like attracts like (energy), they happily do things on their own too. Yes, we do enjoy each other's company as well; we don't just talk about all the things we did by ourselves (although that would be funny).   Welcome to your inner power. You are qualified, capable and worthy of being happy with yourself regardless of anyone else on the planet so lead by example and show others how it's done. You will see that you can have much more fulfilling relationships without putting the responsibility of your happiness on someone else.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

How can I avoid the woman who broke my heart coz she keeps on calling me? That we should talk

Dear U,   Thank you for your message and allowing me to understand more on the current situation you have with your relationship.   I'm glad to hear that you've been practicing self-compassion more and beginning to treat yourself with the kindness, compassion and respect that you'd give to others.   Setting up good boundaries definitely is a display of self-compassion and self-respect.   Through your words I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving / helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable, so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggle is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others'. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hear your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

why is my head always focused on the idea that someone i love (and who loves me) will leave me?

Dear helens,   Thank you for your message and sharing your thoughts regarding your insecurity. I can hear the pain behind your words of constantly battling these insecurities.   Through your words I think we have built a common understanding that we have this insecurity about ourselves that we are not good enough. We tend to overly-focus on our weakness and mistakes, as a result we feel inferior compare to others and we never give ourselves the validations that we deserve.   Meanwhile it seems that we look for validations through us being needed / wanted by others, does that mean that we don't know our values if we are not getting feedback from others?   Despite being extremely difficult, admitting your weaknesses can pay dividends in the end. Once you admit to your lack of confidence and overcome these insecurities, these aspects of your life will turn from monsters in your closet to facts that you’ve acknowledged and beaten.   Overcoming insecurities is no easy battle, as there are many factors that cause them, and they’re constantly reinforced by daily events. However the more we challenge these core beliefs that we have and the thoughts that generated from it, the more our self-image will change.   Here are some thoughts I have about how to approach insecurity and things that we don't like about ourselves. Please let me know if they make sense to you.    I'll try to be as practical as I can, maybe this approach can help us put something into practice and begin making some changes.   1- Find the root Think about where you are lacking confidence: Do you think you dislike yourself when you look into the mirror? Are you the last to talk to someone because you think you look bad? Do we feel awkward about ourselves because of the response from others after we have said something?   Consider where these thoughts come from. There may have been certain occurrences in your life that made you think less of yourself. Once you’ve found the root of the problem, it’s much easier to get a handle on the insecurity, because it was most likely created by one or two isolated instances that have no real importance on your current life. Recognize where that insecurity started, and it’ll seem more manageable.   2- Invalidate the problem Once you’ve pinpointed the specific incident that created the crater in your self-image, consider why that occurrence doesn’t prove anything about your life as a whole, and think about the times in your life that prove the opposite. We are often too quick to forget the compliments or positive reinforcements that we’ve received from friends or colleagues, dismissing the kind words as pity or politeness.   Don’t focus on your lack of achievement when your cube mate scores a big account at work. Instead, remember when your boss complimented your own work or just how far you’ve come since you were a bottom-feeder at your company. Recognizing your successes will remind you of how great you are and how lucky your company is to have you. This will help you celebrate your coworkers' successes — and remember that it can only be so long before your next big break.   3- Stop comparing yourself to others It’s easy to become insecure when you constantly compare yourself to seemingly strong, flawless people. For example, if you compare yourself to the person who seems to have a grip on socializing with others and appearing confident, you may come out feeling clumsy and awkward in your encounters with others. But, what you’re likely unaware of is that this person has his/her own set of problems that they have to deal with. Maybe they are covering up their fears of being abandoned therefore they need to keep seeking attention? Instead of focusing on how you stack up against them, focus on what you can do and your skills.   If you can’t measure up to your buddy, maybe you should measure up to your own strengths…   It can be equally as treacherous to compare yourself to your friends. For example, when you see your friend — whose downfalls and ineptitude you are familiar with — succeed, you might end up feeling threatened and insecure about your own abilities.    4- Consider your known strengths A lot of your insecurities come from focusing on the things that you have trouble with. The truth is that everybody has strong and weak points, but successful individuals have learned how to play up their good points — a skill that has helped them flourish. Despite your insecurities, you have achieved a certain level of success in your life because you have great qualities. It's your job to pinpoint and foster those qualities and build a successful life.   Take those qualities, learn to focus on them and remember that there are more ways to use your set of skills than you think. Perhaps you’re nervous about giving a presentation to clients because you’re not very good at making anecdotes or using metaphors. What you seem to forget is that you know the project inside and out; focus on that and answer all of your clients' questions before they ask them. Remembering what you can do will give you the confidence not to choke under pressure.   5- Put your insecurities behind you Once you’re aware that your strengths and weaknesses will balance out in the end, forget about what you lack and draw on where you rock the competition. If you fumbled today at the office meeting, remind yourself of your performance for the past three months. You can always enhance your weaker points at a later date.   If you find that you’re focusing on your insecurities, think of the faults that other people have and how they’re able to get around them or just remind yourself of all the things that you’ve achieved in life. The more you focus on your strengths, the more they’ll be visible to others. In the end you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll be more successful.   The bottom line for beating your insecurities is this: Everyone has them and the key to success is to identify them, invalidate them and move past them. Focus on your accomplishments and recognize that insecurities are usually irrational fears of inadequacy.   Your faults are no more visible or detrimental to your success than anyone else’s, unless you let them get the better of you. Failure tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you worry that you will fail, your performance will lack and turn your ruminations into a reality.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/20/2022

Is this normal? Am I just very bad at socializing?

Hello Eevee, I really appreciate this question you've asked and the picture you've painted here of your experiences in relation with others. This can be a really vexing problem for a lot of people, and it's my experience that many people struggle with different versions of what you're describing - feeling uncomfortable in conversation with others, or like they are somehow "coming up short" in social situations. So to your first question - "is this normal?" - I would say yes, assuming we're defining "normal" in this case to mean "common" or "something that many others experience." That said, I know this makes it no less frustrating or confounding to deal with. It seems to me from what you say here that part of what you're wanting out of social situations is to feel able to connect with people in meaningful ways, beyond just being seen by others as "a good person" or someone who "means well." And you're wanting to be able to forge relationships with people that last. I'd be curious, if we were in conversation, to know what trips you up in these interactions - as specifically as you can, what does it mean to "flop?" What are the thoughts that go through your mind before, during, and after these kinds of interactions? What are the bodily sensations you experience? For most people who struggle in social situations, their experience early in life in relation with their primary caregiver(s) was imbalanced or deficient in some way or ways - their emotional needs were not sufficiently attended to, and their attachment with these primary caregivers became characterized by insecurity, anxiety, and fear rather than security, safety, and comfort. Here I'm not meaning to make assumptions about your early life experiences with the adults in your life; I am speaking based on my familiarity with attachment theory, my experience with a number of clients, and my own life experience. If any of what I've said here resonates with you, the good news is that these kinds of social anxieties can be alleviated, through different forms of "talk therapy" including cognitive-behavioral therapy (among other approaches), as well as through body-based or somatic work. Were we in conversation, I would also be curious to know if you do have any lasting relationships in your life - for instance with friends, or with a significant other. If so, I'd also be curious what has helped you to feel connected in those relationships and has helped them to be developed and sustained over time. How did these relationships start? What kinds of things have helped you to feel comfortable in this person's or these people's presence? If you can't think of such a relationship, then I'd ask you to imagine the kind of relationship(s) you want - you might even be able to find a guided visualization exercise for this - and to identify as specifically as you can what you're wanting your interactions with people to look like. How do you want to feel as you're talking with someone, or responding to something they're saying or asking you? How do you want to feel after the fact, when you're in your head and replaying a conversation (or do you want to be doing this at all)? One thing you can do in these situations, to the extent that anxiety is what you're experiencing here, is, as basic as it sounds, to slow down your heart rate by reminding yourself to breathe. Oftentimes when we get anxious - in social situations, in professional or academic settings - the first thing we do is swallow our breath - it's the first thing to go. We do this unconsciously of course. So, the next time you're in any kind of situation that gives you anxiety - it doesn't have to be a social situation, but it could be - I would encourage you to remind yourself to take a conscious breath. It doesn't have to be the deepest breath you've ever taken, but just take a second to breathe in slowly, and let it out slowly. This has the benefit of calming your nervous system, and slowing your heart rate, which allows blood and oxygen to flow more easily to your brain, making it easier to avoid freezing up and not knowing what to say. (And by the way, another good thing to remember is you can always ask people questions. People usually love talking about themselves. You might even develop 1-3 questions you can fall back on when you do freeze up - "How do you like your job?" or "What brought you to __(X city or state)__?" or "What kinds of things do you do for fun?" And if you don't remember them, it's okay. Maybe you will next time. Like most things, this all takes practice and repetition.) I hope what I've shared here has been helpful in some way. I wish you well in your efforts to form stronger and more meaningful connections with people. And try to remember that you are enough just as you are.   My best to you, Chris
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/20/2022

What can I do to better my life ?

What can I do to better my life ? Based on your question, I would highly suggest that you first start with seeking mental health therapy from a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist to discuss your thoughts and feelings in regards to what you can do to better your life at this time. You will need to effectively start working on how to heal from past emotional trauma that you experienced. With various types of emotional trauma and or mood swings, there is no right or wrong answer on how to cope or heal from with emotional trauma. It specifically depends on the individual and what specifically happened in your personal life that continues to cause you emotional distress as an adult at this time.  A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can be very beneficial in supporting you with discussing and processing what happened in the past that continues to cause you to experience emotional distress. Traumatic experiences can cause psychological trauma which can cause damage to an individual's mind as a result of one or more distressing event. The distressing event can cause overwhelming amounts of stress that can surpass the individual's ability to cope or understand their emotions which can lead to serious long term negative consequences. With the help of a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist, you can receive adequate help in regards to your licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist providing you with effective and or appropriate skills and techniques to learn how to develop and implement effective skills and strategies for you to effectively deal with the traumatic experience that you experienced as a child that continues to cause problems and or concerns for you as an adult. Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in helping people to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions in regards to a traumatic experience that you experienced in your personal life that continues to affect your relationships as an adult. A licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist can introduce you to deep breathing techniques, stress relaxation techniques, calming techniques, grounding techniques, social skills, positive interpersonal relationships techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and imagery as a means of decreasing your emotional distress at this time. In an effort to feel less emotional distress that manifests from your traumatic experiences you can try to commit to changing the way you think. It will take a lot of practice, dedication and determination to work on decreasing triggers of your past traumatic experienced. However, trying to do this will help you feel better and it can lead to your feeling much better and becoming more productive. You can recognize when it is happening and when you find it happening you can choose to think about something more productive. You can also look for solutions by committing to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can productively move forward, set aside time to think when you notice that you are beginning to feel triggered by your past childhood trauma, distract yourself with a self-care activity and you can practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the key to living in the "here and now." When you become mindful, you will be completely present in the moment. It can be like a form of meditation that takes a lot of practice, but over time and with consistency, it can be very beneficial in decreasing your thoughts and feelings regarding your past traumatic experience. Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist to properly discuss your thoughts, feelings and emotions in regards to your past traumatic experience that continues to interfere with your relationships as an adult due to you experiencing some triggers about your past traumatic experiences that affect your self confidence, self worth, and motivation. It is very important to remember that mental health is not a one size fits all, so it is important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs at this time. Seeking help from a licensed professional counselor and or a licensed mental health therapist could be very helpful to you at this time. I also highly recommend that you contact the Betterhelp team to discuss what specific payment options and payment plans are available for you to access counseling services at this time. Betterhelp does offer financial aid and various other options for individuals who are seeking counseling for their personal and or emotional well-being through the use of affordable therapy sessions. The Betterhelp Platform is designed to be able to assist you better if you contact them directly. Contacting Betterhelp directly is the best way for them to verify your identity and securely help you with your specific account information and needs. When it comes to questions, issues or concerns in regards to the cost of using the Betterhelp platform please contact the Betterhelp team. You can reach out to the Betterhelp team for issues including but not limited to the following: billing issues, account questions and or concerns, and or subscription questions and or concern at this time. The Betterhelp members are there to help answer your questions, concerns and or issues, so if you have a question in regards to what the cost would be to begin using the Bettehelp platform you can contact the Beterhelp team members directly to gain accurate information in regards to what payment options are available for you if you decide to join the Betterhelp platform in regards to possibly talking to a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist. Please feel free to reach out to the Member Success Team directly by emailing contact@betterhelp.com to discuss what payment options are available for you to use the Betterhelp platform for you counseling needs and or therapy needs at this time. Best regards to you!
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 01/20/2022