Other Answers

I feel damaged when living with my family

Hi Revenant, Thank you for coming forward and asking this question.  It sounds like you have been navigating many issues within your family system.  Working through issues centered on trust, communication and relationships is not easy.  It sounds like you became cognizant of the issues you have been facing and decided to focus on variables within your control centered on self improvement.  There are multiple facets which make up our identity.  Tending to all facets can make us feel more fulfilled and can help us feel more balanced and correct an inbalance when one facet contains negative variables which feel overwhelming.  While you are a member of a family system, and it sounds like there are many difficulties within your specific family system, you are also an individual, friend, student, worker and partner to your girlfriend.  Investing time in yourself in the form of a physical fitness routine, investing in your social identity in the form of spending time with friends and getting a part time job after classes to invest in your future can help to facilitate a positve mental health outcome.  In life, we can divide things into two categories: the internal and the external.  Internal being things within our control and external being things outside of our control.  Focusing on things within our control can help us to feel empowered.  Worrying about external variables outside of our control is a waste of our time because we cannot effect them; they will occur whether we worry about them or not.  We suffer worrying about them while not being able to affect the outcome.  I hear the pain in your words as you share the personal and family hardships you have faced since you were a 12 year old boy.  As you stated, the feelings you describe of having this sense of being damaged is not a weakness.  Holding in those feelings and pushing them deep inside of you will not make them magically go away.  They will find their way out in an antisocial manner when they are suppressed.  Processing these emotions can be an effective way to move forward and make meaning of what has occurred.  An effective form of therapy research has shown to be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  You can be treated with this therapeutic modality by a licensed therapist who has experience in this treatment model.  I am a licensed therapist who is trained in this therapeutic modality and would be more than happy to assist you in any way I can.  Please let me know if you need anything else, I hope this response has helped.
(LCSW)
Answered on 11/18/2022

I stress out when people sometimes raise their voice at me and I just don't say anything.

Hi Robert,   The question you’re asking is about assertiveness, and it is a worthy subject to discuss. What it is, how to learn it, how to use it, when to use it, and why it may be more complicated than those of us who try to teach it realize and acknowledge.   You are describing an experience of listening to your gut and feeling that something is wrong. In the interaction you are describing and ones like it, where you have let something go, maybe that was at least partly because you didn’t know in that moment exactly what you would have said, how you would have addressed it. That is very valid. We are not born knowing these things.   Your instincts are telling you that you let the moment go by and tolerated a behavior that you should not have had to tolerate. For people who are uncomfortable with conflict, things like this can be a constant struggle. It becomes a question of whether something is important enough to make an issue of or minor enough to let it go. Only you can decide that. Even the most assertive person isn’t obligated to use that assertiveness in every situation. But how wonderful it is to have that skill when you need it.   The important thing is that you have identified something that did not feel right, and you want to handle it differently next time. Now one of the most valuable things you can do is prepare for “next time,” whenever that may come.   I’ve recently been talking to some of my clients about the idea of entitlement. It seems that word is used these days mostly in a negative way – to refer to people who feel too entitled, who present themselves as having rights that they do not extend to others.   My point is that people who have trouble speaking up for themselves need to feel MORE entitled. We’ve got an uneven distribution of entitlement around here, and it would be great to find a way to shift that.   Ask yourself:  What do you believe you are entitled to? Some possible answers might be:  to be treated with respect, to be spoken to in a civil manner, to occupy your own space in the world and take up as much room as you need to. Meaning you are entitled to not have to stifle yourself or hold back your feelings or reactions.   Here is a website with a good description of assertiveness training:   https://www.choosingtherapy.com/assertiveness-training/     I encourage you to scroll down and especially look at the infographics; they provide some concise but thorough descriptions.   There are some tried-and-true communication skills consistent with assertiveness, one of the best and most useful being “I messages.” The rule for using I messages is simple: When confronting someone about something that bothers you (such as when your friend raised his voice to you) you talk about yourself and how you are feeling first, and follow that with a description of the behavior you would like them to change.   So in a situation like the one with your friend, here are some examples of what you would NOT want to say:   “You are raising your voice to me.” “You are yelling at me.” “Stop yelling at me!”   Things like this immediately put the other person on the defensive. They take what could be a discussion and turn it into a conflict.   Here is a formula for using I messages:   “I feel_____________________________ when you ____________________. I would like you to _______________________________________________.”   So you might say to your friend, “I feel uncomfortable when you speak loudly to me. I would like you to please lower your volume a little.”     And now for the piece I feel is often missing: The key to standing up for yourself and what you are entitled to is preparation. And after you have some idea about what you are going to say, prepare once again that you will likely have to summon some courage to say it.   The reason I said earlier that assertiveness skills are more complicated than many of us acknowledge is this:  I know when I was younger and less assertive and was trying to learn these skills, what struck me is that it always felt easy and natural when I was reading the assertiveness book, or in the class, etc. They would give examples, and they often seemed like no-brainers. Of course Person A should tell Person B that their loud music is disrupting their sleep or Person C should tell Person D that they would appreciate if they stopped spreading gossip.   In that moment, it felt like it would be easy to ask others for such reasonable things. But then I would get out in the world and feel entirely unprepared to actually use these skills. Real life situations always felt trickier or more ambiguous. Was I complaining about something unreasonable? Would the person get mad? And what about the moment when I’d actually have to say it? I wasn’t Person A or Person B, I was me and it didn’t seem so simple or logical to stand up for myself.   So the final – but essential! – pieces of assertiveness training are time, practice, and patience with yourself.   Of course you don’t always know what situation is going to come up, so how can you prepare? Well, you can start by looking at past situations and choosing the words that would feel right if you were back there again. That increases the likelihood that when a similar situation comes up you will be more prepared than you have been in the past.   And when the moment comes to actually confront someone, it will probably feel awkward. You probably won’t feel like the people in the books who have every right to say what they’re saying.   But awkward is okay. One of my favorite quotes is: “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” (Attributed to Maggie Kuhn.) The big secret is that it gets easier. The first time you speak up will probably be the hardest. But once you’ve done it, you will be a new person in some small way. That builds you up for the next time and the next time and the next time. It becomes more and more comfortable, and you begin to feel appropriately entitled to express yourself.   I hope this has been helpful.   Julie  
(LCSW)
Answered on 11/13/2022

I need to work on being happier and a better person

Hi Madilyn,  Thanks for your question! I think it is wonderful you have made the commitment to work on being happier and a better person. I hope that my response can provide you with some things to think about as you are working on yourself. Here are some of my thoughts about what you have shared: 1) Are you taking the time to engage in self-care? I do not just mean surface level self-care of things like managing hygiene and manicuring yourself (which are still very important). I mean are you being intentional about meeting all of your different needs in areas like psychological and emotional health, social connectedness, professional growth and boundaries, spirituality, and physical health. All of these are important pieces to the puzzle of what can make us feel happy and content with our lives. If one or a few areas are getting neglected or maybe just not being paid enough attention to, that can make us feel emotionally dysregulated. Take some time to reflect on each of these areas in your life and if you are doing a good job meeting your needs. If not, try making a plan to address them. Think especially about the things that you know make you feel good because those are going to contribute to your happiness. This could sound like "I am lacking social connection, so I am going to reach out to friends at least once a week" or "I have not put energy into my physical health in years. I am going to start by setting a goal to walk twice a week." 2) Expressing yourself emotionally can be difficult, especially when you often find yourself feeling angry and frustrated. A very basic way to work on being more expressive about your emotions (the ones that feel positive and comfortable to express and the ones that feel uncomfortable and difficult) is using "I feel" statements. It is a very simple formula that you can use when you are having difficulty trying to find the best way to communicate what you want. The format is "I feel ---- when ---- because ---. I need ---." An example sounds like "I feel frustrated when I have to repeat myself to you because it makes me feel like you are not paying attention to me. I need you to give me your attention when we are having discussions." This can be used with your partner, friends, family, and even in a professional setting.  3) If you have a difficult time getting in touch with your emotions internally, maybe you can try an activity like journaling. This is a great way to set aside time to connect with yourself and what is going on in your life. Don't put pressure on yourself to have to do it every day or even to have long entries, but try to get into a simple routine of checking in with yourself. If it's not through journaling, you can do mental nightly reflections. Ask yourself things like "What went well today? What made me happy? What did not go well today? Did anything bring me uncomfortable feelings?" Sometimes having time to reflect can allow us to feel good about what is going well and also to figure out how to address what is not so it doesn't continue affecting us.  I hope this response was helpful and gave you some things to reflect on. If you are looking for more personalized or continued support to help you better navigate your mental health, I always recommend working with a mental health professional who can better assist you. I wish you all the best. Take care! Cory Bedtke, LCSW
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 11/06/2022

Will I feel listened to and heard?

Thank you for this question. We as therapists try to remain as impartial as possible with our clients. Plus, we all have various branches to our stories. Family branches. Relationships branches. Work or school branches. Life difficulty branches. And while we may not all have the same branches or even types of branches to our stories, empathy helps clinicians relate to others.  Empathy helps us attentively listen to others without judging others. The way we relate to our clients is by getting down into the dark place with them and acknowledging that "hey, it really is dark down here! I'm going to stay here with you so that you don't have to be down here alone" rather than yelling "it seems bad down there! Good luck with that." By sitting down in the pit with you and listening to your story (regardless of tangents and amount of drama), we can work with you to better create a plan on how to get out of the pit together. Sometimes the plan can be vague and seemingly simple by learning a few new tips and tricks. Sometimes the plan needs to be very detailed and have small steps to measure progress along the way. That's one of the beauties of therapy- you make the change. Therapists are there to only guide and help where needed. While there are many wonderful therapists out there, not everyone will be a perfect personality fit. It's very important to trust and be open with your therapist. If you feel like your therapist isn't listening or really hearing you, please let them know. We aren't perfect people, but we do want you to be successful and achieve the goals you want (even if we aren't the right fit for you personally). One of the biggest predictors of success in therapy is the level of comfort in the therapist/client relationship. You are trusting us with precious, and often hard to share, information. Trusting us to hear you and for the person you tell to hear you is one of the scariest and best steps to make to start your journey. I wish you all the best with your journey to finding the freedom and happiness in your life.
(MS, LPC)
Answered on 11/04/2022

What are the ways / exercises that can heal your inner child?

This can be very hard to tap into, especially with the fear coming from your inner child. The first step would be to acknowledge that inner child and explore where that fear is coming from. What scares that inner child about being seen? What is he/she afraid of will happen if he/she is seen? Being able to understand that can help build security which can lead to bonding, connection and safety. The journey of acknowledging and getting to know your inner child is accepting and recognizing the things that caused you pain or hurt during your childhood. It will be important to listen to what your inner child has to say and is feeling, too. Try to take the approach of curiosity, support, and ongoing conversations including, "How do you feel?" "What do you need from me?" or "How can I support/help you?" Implementing relaxation, playfulness, and fun will also be important to connect to that inner child and be able to grow into your authentic self. Finding your authentic self is finding who you really are deep down. This part is what can help you build meaningful relationships and genuine happiness in your life. Being authentic to yourself also leads to your words, behaviors, and actions matching up with your core identity, beliefs, and values. To get here, you will need to have that believe and trust in yourself. Here are some tips to find your authentic self: 1.) Explore when you feel the most authentic. What makes you feel the happiest and the most alive? What makes you feel upset, triggered, unhappy, or like you have to hide your true self? 2.) Try to be grounded and present. Increase self-awareness and how connected you are in each moment. What are some signs you are being your authentic self and when you are not? 3.) Implement tapping into authenticity daily. Every day set aside time for yourself to address your needs, personal goals, your priorities, hobbies, interests, and self care. 4.) Find and build your support system. Surround yourself with those who are authentic and support you being authentic as well. There are several different steps to get here, but this is what can start the process and then you can build from there. I would also encourage you to watch this Ted Talk video by Brene Brown on vulnerability and authenticity: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability
Answered on 11/04/2022

How should I proceed in life?

Hi Hayden,  It sounds like you are at a crossroads with your studies at the moment. It sounds like you are almost done with a degree and have realized that it is not something that you are passionate about.  This can be a very tricky place to navigate. On one hand there is the option of potentially stopping your studies and going in a different direction or even stopping your studies altogether and trying to get a job to support yourself while you pursue the areas that interest you. On the other hand there is the option of finishing your studies and working in the field that you get your degree in until you are later able to pursue the things that really make you happy. You also mentioned that a big part of this challenge is that your family provides your financial support (and may have had a hand in deciding what you wanted to study as well). What would happen if you approached your family and opened a conversation with them about the doubts you are having about your field of study? As you mentioned, you don't know how they would react and that's a great point. Until you speak with them directly, this will remain an unknown. Perhaps talking to your family about changing directions is simply not possible. Perhaps you live in a place where culturally that would not be an acceptable conversation and this is something that you are trying to come to terms with on your own. Whether that is the case or not, there are several things that you can try to help yourself gain a bit more perspective on the current situation you are facing. One tool that is often helpful when we are faced with a situation and are deciding on the right course of action is to make a pro/con list. To do this take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left had side title the column "Pro" on the right hand side title the column "Con". Then each thing that you can think of that is a reason to do the thing goes in the pro side and each things that is a reason not to do it goes in the con side. For example, a Pro/Con list for "Stay in school and finish my degree" might include "Make my family happy", and "Finish the degree that I started" in the pro side while the Con side may include "I no longer feel passionate about this field of study". Making a pro/con list for each option and then comparing them to one another can help to gain perspective about both sides of the argument. If you do end up staying and finishing your degree try to incorporate other ways that you can honor your interests into your life. Perhaps you could volunteer for organizations that share your vision about the areas that you are passionate about or even connect with people with similar interests online.  The truth is that you and only you can decide what is ultimately the right decision for you as you are the one who is living your life.  You understand all the intricacies that will go into the decision and the potential effects that the decision will have on you and your connection with your family. No matter what you ultimately decide, remember that it does not mean that the rest of your life is locked in. You will have many opportunities to change the path that your life is on throughout your life. 
Answered on 11/02/2022

Is therapy right for me?

Thank you for being willing to explore this concern in your effort to discern how therapy may be beneficial.  Deciding if therapy is right for you is as personal decision as you have indicated and expressed.  Your past experience, support system, beliefs, and concerns are all critical in determining if therapy will be of benefit to you in this specific time in your life.  The real question is what is different about now than the past.  You seem more motivated to manage the circumstance you are facing now versus the past when forced into therapy.  Whether it's a breaking point you are experiencing, a challenge that you have tried, all the options you know how to to overcome aren't working, or the situation is causing more problems than it should; it may be time to consider how you can talk to an objective person who is not biased or too close to home.  Family and friends can be supportive, caring, easy to share our feelings with, and listen.  However, they can also lack objectivity and the ability to challenge the thoughts or feelings we share in order to help us see what we are not seeing in specific situations.   Every personal circumstance, challenge, uncomfortable feeling, or issue is a different and unique entity.  Some we can face alone, some with the help of our most trust individuals in our lives, and others with a person or group that is on the outside looking in.  That outside look allows us to use a lens we may not be willing to try when focused on talking to those people we care the most about.  Those people from family and friends tend to protect us in the long run, even if some are willing to tell you the harsh realities as well.  The reality is we all need help facing tough obstacles in life, and sometimes it takes a third party to help us take a step back to avoid any controversial discussions with personal friends and family we care about.   Hopefully, this answer was able to provide some insight into how you can meet your needs through therapy.  If you believe I can be of assistance please feel free to read my background information and reach out if you would like to discuss your key needs and schedule a session.  
Answered on 10/31/2022

How can I build more self-confidence?

Hi SV Thank you for reaching out to a licensed counselor, it takes strength and courage to do so. In response to your question, confidence and self esteem is something that many people struggle with. It impacts our lives in many ways from romance, career, socialization, and so on. There are various ways to work on confidence and improve your overall self esteem. Some of the ways one can go about doing this is through self compassion. I would recommend going to self-compassion.org and see the wonderful information and resources that the page has to assist you in better understanding how to increase self compassion. Self compassion consists of three areas, self kindness vs self judgment, common humanity vs isolation, and mindfulness vs over-identification. As you explore the various aspect of this site you will find exercises and meditations that are very helpful with learning to be kinder to yourself. In addition to self compassion, there are other ways one can increase confidence as well. One of the most effective ways to do so is through self care. Ensuring you have a positive self care routine will assist you in feeling better about yourself. The way in which you feel on a day to day basis and you will find comfort in your own skin. Self care can look like many things from having a balanced nutritional diet, exercise, taking mental health days to decompress, and engaging in things that bring you joy and meaning. Furthermore, when we as individuals work on increasing our communication skills and using assertive communication language we are able to advocate for our needs more effectively and in turn become more confident in making decisions in life as well as learning to set positive boundaries with individuals in our lives across multiple settings.  In addition to the resource which I provided above I would also invite you to check out the book, the gifts of imperfections by brene brown. This book is a wonderful book aimed at assisting those with lower confidence and self esteem struggles. It assists you at "letting go of who you think you need to be and accepting who you are."  I hope the information above was helpful, if you are interested in connecting to further work on your self esteem please feel free to sign up with BetterHelp and one of our counselors will be happy to assist you through this process. Best Wishes
(MS, LMHC, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/30/2022

How do I let go of anger & resentment towards my parents?

It's so important to note that your experience is a perfectly normal response to a very uncomfortable situation. Being lied to about something so meaningful could be extremely jarring.  Releasing extreme anger, frustration and disappointment takes time. And the hardest first step is to say out loud how absolutely devastated you are. Map out what you feel you lost, what you felt she took from you. To see the alternate universes that could have been. This part takes time, and give it all the time it needs. At LEAST a week, at most..... [each person is different] maybe 6 months?  The next step must come after this one, and it's mapping out the pros and cons of each potential universe. Assuming nothing is perfect, what have you gained by the lie? What are the benefits of the life she did give you? Without erasing at all the first part, since you already spent time mapping out the price and cost of it. This part will feel weird, since it will feel as though you're forgiving her. But you're not, she isn't a part the process. What you're doing is figuring out the complexity of your relationship with the lie.  After you've done both steps, it's worth gauging maybe with a mental health professional where you stand anew with regards to the lie. It wouldn't have gone away completely, but the complexity that's left might be easier to live with.  I know that everything I wrote down is way easier said than done, but give it a fair shot, ok? As a whole, I also invite you to remember that you're you. If I call you Indian/English/Jewish/Ugly/Beautiful/Muslim/Tall/..... it doesn't actually change who you are, it's just noise my mouth made. So spend the time also focussing on who YOU are, because what other people call you... doesn't matter. The fact that I might think you're tall is about me. Only you know if your height helps you live in this world as you'd like, and if you classify it as tall or short.  All the best and growth!
Answered on 10/27/2022

What can I do I am so depressed and things are hard I'm looking for a job I can't seem to find one.

Hello! I am so glad you reached out for guidance by asking your question. It sounds like you are in a hard place right now. Feeling depressed and looking for a job are both really difficult, especially if they're happening at the same time. You also mention a phobia that you have, which definitely makes things hard as well. The fear of death/dying is definitely a common fear for almost everybody, but when it gets to the phobia level, it can absolutely interfere with your daily functioning. It would be really great for you to reach out and connect with a counselor to start therapy. With a therapist's help, you can learn to manage everything that's going on right now and how you are feeling. It sounds like from your question you've also suffered maybe some losses recently, which can also lead to feeling more depressed and increase the symptoms of the phobia that you have. Connecting with somebody and talking about your fears, and finding tools and strategies to help cope with that, as well as to help cope with depression, would be really beneficial. As far as your job search is going I know this is a stressful situation.  Do you have support with this?  Are you reaching out to people you know about any possible leads?  This can be very helpful to do and makes the process a lot easier.   As I mentioned above, it really sounds like there are several factors going on in your life right now that would be helpful to talk to somebody about - whether it's a professional like a counselor or a friend that you trust. It's important for you to have somebody to listen. Depression can be debilitating if you don't reach out for some sort of guidance your help. I am glad to hear that you're on the job search, but like you said that has not been easy as well as your fear and potential losses you have had. I would encourage you to talk to somebody about all of this as I know it will be very helpful. I wish you the best.
(M.Ed, LPC)
Answered on 10/27/2022

Is BetterHelp a good fit for day-to-day support?

Hey, Melanie! Thanks for reaching out to us here at BetterHelp. My name is Stacey Shine and I am a Licensed Professional in Tennessee. It sounds like you have had some great experiences with therapy so far which I am so glad to hear about! I think Better Help sounds like a great next step for you. First, there is the ability to send messages to your therapist 24 hours a day. Now I do warn my clients - I will not respond immediately and especially if it is the middle of the night! I am most likely asleep! :) However, we will get back to you pretty quickly. Each therapist is different but I always get back to my clients within 24 hours. So you can message if you have a bad day or something on your mind and always get a response back which a lot of people enjoy about this particular platform. Secondly, you can have a normal session weekly just as you have had with therapists in the past. It is always good to just have someone to chat with about life and what is going on. You can do video, phone calls or a chat session. I have had many clients do sessions from their car during a lunch break or just from the comfort of their home. It can be moldable to whatever you need it to be. Thirdly, we offer groups too! Some are support groups and are topical based on things you may be struggling with. Others are more like teaching sessions where you can learn but not have to be as involved as a participant. Both have shown to be really helpful for a lot of my clients and I get great feedback from them all of the time! Based on what you sent in with your question, it sounds like they may be a good fit for you as well. I hope this is helpful and you feel confident taking your next step forward. I think you will find that BetterHelp has a lot to offer and you will not be disappointed!
(MS, LPC)
Answered on 10/27/2022

How do I stop my compulsion to lie

It sounds like you want to make a shift in your life and begin to do things differently, namely walking in truth by telling the truth. You have taken the hardest step, and that is being honest with yourself about how lying has negatively impacted your life. Creating new habits takes intentional effort, time, and lots of grace. We are creatures of habit and once we get into a routine of operating in one specific manner, it becomes a default response. It sounds like lying has become a default for you. No worries! You can retrain your brain through repetition by responding in a way that makes you proud of yourself and feels good. If you haven’t already, begin to take a few moments for yourself each day and invest in something that brings you joy and a sense of well-being. The purpose of this self-care practice is to fuel your mind, body and spirit. Oftentimes, when we engage in undesirable behaviors, it is an attempt to meet a need. What do you need? Create a routine that allows you to get quiet so that you can hear what it is that you need (love, praise, validation). Identifying what you need, and creating an environment that meets your need in a healthy manner lessens the inclination to rely on undesired behaviors. We all have the answers to our questions; however, clutter in our lives prevents us from being able to get centered and hear.    A few practical steps to begin the shift into truth: Identify when you are most apt to tell a lie, is it with family, friends or in a work setting? Once you identify when this undesirable behavior is happening and what you need, then you will be in a better position to begin to interrupt this pattern of lying.  Give yourself 10 seconds before responding to questions, allowing for the opportunity to choose how you want to respond and also shifting away from your automatic response to lie.  Each time you tell the truth, use this momentum to tell the truth again, which is creating new circuitry in your brain that will allow telling the truth to be your new consistent response. If you find that you are taking two steps forward and 10 steps backwards, be patient with yourself and don’t give up.   Lastly, trust the process!
Answered on 10/26/2022

How do I begin to move on from trauma and understand myself at the same time?

Hi Lily, Thank you so much for reaching out to address the things that are concerning you. First, this is a very big step towards your healing. So, Congratulations to you. I know how much it has been hurting you not being able to find the answers to your questions. So let me begin by saying that I am very sorry that you suffered trauma in your past. And you're looking to better understand yourself and it's been going on for some time now. Trauma like PTSD can be hard to handle it times. But it is possible to overcome the memories of your past and replace them with some positive thoughts. That's where I would like to start. However, not knowing exactly what type of trauma you suffer I can only begin by letting you know where I would or what I would want to address. Perhaps, looking more into the possibility of some form of abuse that you could have witnessed, suffered, learned, or even possibly faced from your past. This experience of trauma doesn't have to be yours alone as I said you could have witnessed it willingly or unwillingly from childhood or young adulthood- to current.  Next, I would like to address types of abuses that can be viewed as trauma. There is verbal abuse, emotional abuse mental abuse and of course physical abuse. The trauma can also be in the form of seeing something that may have happened to someone you love or even yourself. You could have been a victim of all or some form of abuse or a victim of what it is you saw. This could have been from your childhood or even as an adult I'm not certain. This could also be something you witness on television or in the news (local, state, government, and or abroad).  Again, I am so sorry that you have experienced any of this. You mentioned that you have been impacted by this trauma and it affects the way you think, act, and behave. You question why you do these things or why certain things make you feel alone and as thought you are crazy for thinking this way. Something may be triggering these things to happen. This is a pattern that is triggering you to react as if you are back experiencing the trauma, abuse, abandonment, and or neglect you may had been experiencing before.One way we could begin is by addressing the trauma left behind from your childhood. Acknowledge what happened, understand the feelings of helplessness, loneliness, sadness, being scared, and hurt or scarred by this trauma or abuse. See yourself through the events that may have led up to what may not have had anything to do with you. See yourself as working to heal from hurting, wanting things to go your way and be different than what they were. See where this could be linked to your current feelings, emotions, relationship. Your expectations not being met by family,  friends, and any other person that you feel maybe responsible for the trauma you’ve faced. You said things are being triggered. What are those things that are being triggered. Are you a victim? Are you a Survivor? Are you an Overcomer? Which role are you willing to take? You may have more than one. If so let’s begin to address them. So that this can change your self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Another major important step is forgiveness. Are you ready to forgive? Can you forgive anyone that may have hurt you or be the reason for the trauma you are still dealing with? Forgive yourself as you are the most important person in this process. You may have been hurt or are still being victimized by the trauma of your past. Are you willing to move passed this? Can you write or draft a letter to your address the trauma/hurt/victimization/event? Not saying that you would have to mail this letter, but you do need to put your feelings down in writing to exercise regaining your strength to overcome this traumatic past. Perhaps you were not being heard, not being understood, not being seen, not respected, lonely, and feeling helpless. Some of these things maybe keeping you woke at night with bad, negative, anxious feelings and causing you to feel overwhelmed; or like nothing is going right in your life that you really like. Lilly, remember that you are the most important person, and you need to resolve some things to move on. We could explore what this trauma may be. We can see whether this is your trauma or other’s trauma from their childhood. This will be done to better understand where the negative traits or other reason for trauma have come from. Another question can be, Is this a pattern for others in your family? These are just a few questions we can investigate this as we proceed if you do desire to move forward with me. Repeating again that you are a VIP, the most important person in this process towards healing. You deserve to be well emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, and personally. You must know also that next the main thing is to understand that you are being heard here and respected for the way you feel and have been thinking. This is not to be counted against you as a weakness, but more of an accomplishment, a Victory, and a step towards having forgiveness and healing to take place for you. So that you are no longer feeling lonely, crazy, and speaking any type of negative towards yourself or any others. Do you feel that you deserve this, Lilly? Do you feel that it is important for you to obtain? It is my hope that this information is helpful for you in your journey to better health overall.
(MA, LPC, ACS)
Answered on 10/26/2022

How can trauma from a past relationship affect you and how to be treated in you current relationship

Trauma of any sort can resonate down through our lives with many effects both obvious and subtle. Traumatic experiences tend to have a 3 components for triggering a response, Time, Place and Situation. Traumatic experiences in a relationship will naturally show up in many cases as a lack of trust, or a reluctance to get close or a fear of loss, speaking up etc. in case the trauma is repeated in the present (we flinch away from anything that might cause us hurt). Since relationships tend to have similar Situations, occur in familiar Places and have similar Time components, we are primed to re-experience a trauma from the past as soon as we start to approach any of those elements, an argument over a familiar topic, a decision to be made which might have lead to a row in the past etc. The mind and body are trying to protect the individual from a past threat because of a familiar pattern of circumstances (which are often unavoidable). Physically, this is tied into the primitive areas of the mind where the Fight or Flight responses lives which is why it can be so powerful, these areas are primed to react quickly to a perceived threat and it can easily take you by surprise to the extent that you might (without knowing it) attempt to avoid getting into the situations in the first place. Hence, the fear of speaking up and asking for what you want and need. We prejudge the outcome well in advance of the conversation and "jump to the end" without going through the intervening steps. Talking to a counsellor about the trauma and your situation will be a very useful exercise in helping to work through the past trauma and to defuse its ability to affect your present. The typical methods used by counsellors in working through this are the Rewind Technique where the client is encouraged to deeply relax and watch themselves as they react to watching the events in the "cinema of their own mind" as if rewinding and fast forwarding through the event like an outside observer. The client doesn't actually discuss the events with the counsellor but how they are reacting. This leads to an understanding that the events which happened in the past aren't able to affect the present through removing and replacing the emotional components of the feelings about the event from the present day. It can be likened to refiling the events from an emotionally charged trauma to a set of events which occurred. Other techniques might include: Creative therapies to bring the trauma into a representational physical space in order to create a closure or techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Mindfulness practices such as Cognitive Diffusion which helps to detach from unhelpful thoughts by examining the thoughts and looking at them as a thought rather than seeing the world through the thought.
Answered on 10/25/2022

How to get over past mistakes and trauma?

Hi B,   Thank you for reaching out, I am sorry to hear you are struggling both physically and mentally.  I am glad you have the support of your spouse during this difficult time.  I am hoping some of the information and feedback I can provide is helpful to you.   One thing you may want to explore is not getting over the past but working through it.  I say that because what has happened in the past will shape who you are and will change you.  The changes may not be huge and they may be small over time, however, any past situations (healthy or unhealthy) become part of who you are.  Looking at the past events you experienced, how would you want to get through them?  How would you want to take them and incorporate them into who you are today and who you want to be in the future?  You may want to look at how you want to use the energy from the past events for the future.   I am wondering if you are dwelling and ruminating one the past.  If so, that is not always a healthy thing to do.  Every time we dwell on something from the past, we connect neurons in our brain and the path gets deeper and deeper.  We then think about it without even realizing it and in turn, continue to deepen the path so it becomes a vicious cycle.  Look at those events in a different perspective, you may want to consider reframing them into something that you can use in your life today and the person you want to be.  What type of characteristics are important for you to emulate?   You mention there are things in the past that are tearing you apart.  Are there people you need to forgive in order to move forward or do you need to learn how to forgive yourself for something you did?  Forgiveness is for yourself, not anyone else.  To me, forgiveness means treating someone else (or yourself) the same way or better than before the event happened.  What would help you do this?  Is there a letter that needs to be written but not mailed?  Is there anger, betrayal, disappointment or other feelings that you need to accept in order to move on?   You mentioned you are not where you want to be in life.  I am wondering if the goals you have set for yourself need to be broken down into smaller, more attainable goals to reach the bigger ones.   I realize I have thrown out a lot of questions in this response, they are for your self reflection and I  ask them in hopes they help.  I wish you the best in your journey moving forward.   Best, Erica
(LISW-CP, LCSW-C, LCSW)
Answered on 10/25/2022

Question about EMDR

I'm so glad you reached out for guidance by asking your question. You mentioned EMDR. When you start searching for a therapist, you can search for different criteria with that modality being one. I am trained in EMDR and utilize it with many of my clients on BetterHelp. They have all had great success. It is great that you are aware of the treatment modality that is going to be best for you. This is something you and your counselor will discuss during your intake session. There are several things you could do ahead of time to start preparing. There's a lot of resource building when it comes to utilizing EMDR. One of the big ones is creating a safe space - you can start practicing this by visualizing calm, seeing space in your mind, and utilizing all of your senses. By practicing this activity, it can really help when you start therapy. It is a good resource regardless as well. One more thing: there's a lot of good YouTube videos to get you acquainted with EMDR and what will happen in sessions. Again, I am glad you reached out for guidance by asking your question. I wish you the best of luck. Have a great day! 
(M.Ed, LPC)
Answered on 10/25/2022

What can you do to help someone having commitment issues

I will focus here on your concerns about commitment, either in a relationship or in other aspects of your life. I will also address your question about vulnerability. I hope this will offer you some clarity to continue your personal journey.   Commitment issues can originate in early childhood and result from dysfunctional family concerns resulting from emotional insecurity and anxiety. It can also be related to trauma. For example you may have witnessed something  that caused you to believe relationships don't last, nothing is safe and you cannot trust anyone. This also triggers a fear of being abandoned.  It also highlights the possibility of having experienced insecure attachment in early life with at least one if not both parents.   For more information, look up an easy to read theory by John Bowlby (British Psychologist) who wrote about Attachment Theory. You will find it interesting. He speaks of the importance of having a strong emotional and physical attachment at an early age with at least one caregiver and how this is important to personality development. He speaks of three basic types of development which are Secure, Anxious and Avoidant Attachment. His partner Mary Ainsworth did studies with infants and how they reacted when their parents left the room for a few minutes and then returned. You will begin to see what could have been the origins of your present day concerns.   In considering these issues, it is important to understand that everyone is different, but some children may be more sensitive than others and that although their parents were well intended, they did not get enough of what they needed. It was as though there was an emotional mismatch of which no one was aware.   In regard to vulnerability then, the fear stems from this lack of attunement in not receiving what was needed emotionally.  It causes you to be aware that if the world is not safe you can get hurt. The way you try to avoid such is by avoiding the connections and commitments that would hurt you if they ended. So you stop them from beginning.  Even if this is your perception or experience or both, it can be changed if you want to do so.   You behave the way you do as you have formed an opinion of the world based on your experiences that causes you to try to protect yourself. As a result you cannot/will not commit, and it actually causes more problems in adult life including loneliness and anxiety.   This is a very workable issue and you are talking to yourself to self-soothe and comfort yourself. Perhaps things you never got as a young child or what you certainly need now.   Talk therapy and allowing for a relationship with your therapist is a beginning as trust and feeling safe are key elements of a therapeutic healing relationship that you would benefit from experiencing.   I hope this helps you begin to understand what you are feeling and why you are behaving the way you describe.
Answered on 10/24/2022

How do you know if you truly healed from your family trauma?

Hello,  Thank you for reaching out to BetterHelp.  I'm sorry to hear that you've experienced childhood trauma. It sounds like you're on the right track with your healing journey. Please know that healing is a process and that unlearning and relearning do not proceed in a linear fashion. You will experience steps forward and step backwards as you embrace the journey of healing. This is normal and completely expected. Healing is not a one- size-fits-all process. When you start to understand your trauma, and how it affects you, you can start implementing change-but not before then. Healing trauma starts with understanding it and the vast array of emotions that can come along with it. Please continue to work on self-love and learn to  recognize, label, and dismantle triggers. You will need to learn the true meaning of acceptance and letting go. All acceptance begins with self-knowledge. Accept your emotions and where you are in the moment. If you're feeling sad or low or in pain, take a step back and get to the root of those problems and where they come from. I recommend sitting in a quiet space and allowing yourself to be physically in your body in the present, no matter how painful that might be. Learning how to accept our trauma is an uphill battle that can only get better if we get comfortable with it. Just because you accept something, doesn't mean that you support it. We tend to fight off acceptance because it feels a bit like " giving in". It's important to be clear with yourself that you're not endorsing something by accepting it, you're simply saying " This happened. Let's move on". It's a healthy way of gaining some of our power back over the hurt of the past. When you are able to see yourself wholly and with clarity and are using healthy techniques to manage your emotions, you are on the right journey for healing. Healing is a long and slow process. Remember to be your own cheerleader and to practice self-compassion when you revert to old habits.  I wish you all the best. 
Answered on 10/24/2022

Am I depressed? What do I do?

Hello, Thank you for your message. It sounds like you have been having a very difficult time. This must all be very overwhelming for you. I can see you mentioned that you have just found out that you have ADHD and anxiety disorder which must be challenging for you. I noticed you say that you have been trying for years to figure out who you are? This must be tiring for you. So your emotional state is difficult to deal with which is preventing you from going to work? This must be worrying for you and exhausting on a daily basis. When anxiety is high it is very difficult to maintain our emotions and behaviors. I can see you mention that you are in debt? How does this make you feel? It sounds like this adds to your anxiety. What do you do to take care of your anxiety? Do you have any time where you are experiencing any self care? or activities? It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all of what is happening to you and we forget to take time for ourselves. I can see that your parents are very judgmental and say particularly harsh statements to you. This must be hurtful and hard to deal with whilst you are already feeling down about yourself. How do you feel when this happens? I can see you say it makes you feel like a burden. How do you deal with these situations when they arise? You say you feel like your partners parents look at you like you're crazy, is that what it feels like? this must be difficult to deal with. I see you mentioned that your boyfriend is buying a house and he wants to travel? How do you feel about this? I can see you want to be a good partner, what makes you feel like you're not a good partner? Have you any evidence of this? I can understand how difficult it must be when you're feeling this way. At times we can think we know what others are thinking but we can only predict what we think they are thinking. In reality , really we don't know.  Give yourself time to reflect on what has been mentioned today and possibly give yourself some self care. Meditation is great for when our minds wont stop and anxiety is at a high.   I hope this has helped you. Angela
Answered on 10/24/2022

How to feel alive?

Hello Infinity,    Thank you for your question. I hear your struggle in being able to find happiness after moving. Without it you have struggled feeling alive. It's understandable given that you went through a major life change. You moved to a new country leaving everyone and everything behind. This is quite difficult to do at any age, but even more so in your teenage years. That is the prime time where you solidify friendships that may last you a lifetime.    You mention that the move was not something you wanted to do, but did it because you wanted your family to be happy. The lack of desire to move most likely affects how comfortable you feel living in a new country and feeling like you fit in. Often times when a person makes a decision to make others happy that will lead to the person feeling unhappy and having lots of negative thoughts and feelings about the choice they had to make. This sets you up to enter the new experience with a negative view.    Once your thoughts and feelings are negative it can be hard to see things differently. The focus becomes on those thoughts and feelings that bring you down and lead to feeling sad, alone, and empty. This constant state can lead to depression. Based on some of the things you describe in your message, it is possible that you are depressed or having symptoms of depression. Depression is beyond feeling sad and it can be hard to manage it if you don’t have good ways of coping.  It would help to seek support from a professional that can help you determine if you are depressed and can provide treatment for depression. By working with a therapist, you will be able to understand how the move has affected you. You will have time to talk about your thoughts and feelings, so you can process things that you may be holding back or that you are not completely in touch with. You will learn ways of coping and how to help yourself manage depressive symptoms. You will be able to get back to a place where you feel alive and like you can enjoy life. For now, show compassion towards yourself and try to understand how much moving has affected you. Remind yourself that it is normal to feel how you are feeling and be kind to yourself when you feel down, sad, empty and alone. It can help to reach out to others (friends and family) to share how you are feeling and what you are going through.    I share a link below to an article about depression and relocation. Take a look to read more about how moving can cause depression and how you can help yourself.    Link: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/relocation-depression-when-moving-makes-you-sad/
Answered on 10/24/2022