Hello Stroke Victim,
I am glad you reached out for support at this time. I am sorry you are struggling in this moment. I would encourage you to start to work with a therapist to help you learn skills to help you overcome your struggles. If we were to meet I would first talk to you about the counseling process through our site and how together we could help you obtain your goals going forward, how I work as a counselor and how I would try to help you through the counseling process. I would also take the first session to get to know you by asking you a few questions to get a better understanding of your struggles, so that I am able to focus on a plan and goals to work on going forward. I want you to know that you are not alone during this time even through you may feel like you are alone at this time. During the therapy process you can have support 100% of the time as you are able to reach out and talk to a therapist 24 hours a day 7 days a week. A few of the questions I would ask would include the following:Can you tell me more about your past history?How long has she been living with you?I am going to send you some skills and tools to help you during this time of struggle you are having. If we were to work together we would be going over these and more tools to help you through our struggles and be able to ask for support from others.
Learn How to Identify and Express your FeelingsIt has been known that feelings are important aspect of our lives but the trouble is many of us have been brought up to ignore and override feelings. Childhood messages have a great role in contributing to this state of mind. We feel guilty if we express our feelings of anger, shame, guilt and annoyance. We are afraid that we will hurt the feelings of others due to being people pleaser. The result of this kind of suppression is often anxiety, phobias, depression and restlessness. People adopt a negative and pessimistic outlook of life. Feelings are often complex and it is hard to identify them. Sometimes, even if we identify them, it becomes hard to express them. It is important to identify feelings and then be able to express them appropriately to avoid the dangers of becoming prone to anxiety and phobias.Before we learn to identify feelings it is important to understand some facts about feelings.1. Feelings involve a total body reaction. They are mediated by a part of brain called limbic system and the involuntary, autonomic nervous system. During moments of emotional stress, you experience bodily reactions such as increased heart rate, respiration, perspiration, trembling and even shaking. These symptoms also occur when you experience panic attacks.2. Feelings are influenced by our thoughts and perceptions. The way you perceive an event or interpret a situation gives rise to corresponding feelings. Feelings are also affected by stress. Automatic thoughts determine our state of mind. If you perceive a person as totally unreasonable, and selfish, you might feel anger towards this person. If you are jealous or envious of the other person, it will give rise to feelings of jealousy and envy and you will be inclined to react accordingly towards this person when you interact.3. Feelings can be simple and complex. Complex feelings may be a combination of more basic emotions and also shaped by thoughts and images. Simple feelings could be anger, grief, sadness, fear, love, excitement, or joy. Complex feelings last longer and are also linked to our thought process. Simple feelings tend to be short lived, more reactive, and tied to involuntary physical reactions mediated by the autonomic nervous system. Fear and panic can be basic emotions while free floating anxiety is an example of a more complex feeling.4. Feelings give you energy. If you are in touch with your feelings and can express them, you will feel more energetic. However, when you are unaware of your feelings, you may feel lethargic, numb, tired, or depressed. Suppressed feelings lead to anxiety.5. It is possible to feel several feelings at the same time. For example it is possible to feel anger and fear at the same time in response to a threat in the environment. It is possible to feel anger, love, and guilt all at the same time.6. Feelings are contagious. If you spend time with a depressed person, you may start to feel sad and even cry. Similarly, you can catch other person’s enthusiasm and excitement. You can be inspired by living and interacting with positive people. When you withhold your feelings of anger and sadness, they can overpower you and make you depressed therefore it is very important to be in touch with your feelings.7. Feelings are never right or wrong. They simply exist. The perception and judgment can be wrong or right, valid or invalid but feelings are simply there. Once you learn how to express them, you will feel better. It is not good to evaluate others or yourself on the basis of feelings because we are all entitled to have feelings. All human beings experience emotions like anger, envy, jealousy, sadness, frustration, and irritation.8. We tend to suppress our feelings. Suppression can be conscious or subtle. As children we are sometimes taught to suppress our feelings and then it becomes a habit. The result is that as adults you tend to be out of touch of your feelings. You begin to ignore and withhold them. You may experience a global feeling of unhappiness but you are not able to pinpoint what is making you unhappy.Therefore it is very important to learn to identify your feelings.Identification of FeelingsWithheld feelings get manifested through several types of bodily and psychological symptoms. For example, free floating anxiety could be caused by uncertainty or due to anticipation of a negative outcome. Worrier type people are always insecure and worry about bad things happening to them. Their self talk is always, “what If?” type and this gives rise to anxiety. Feelings carry a charge of energy but often times we try to hold in that energy and do not express our feelings. Consequently we feel tension and vague anxiety. Likewise we can hold in enthusiasm and excitement and this can also make you anxious. Sometimes when we hang on to our feelings of sadness for a long time without venting it, we get depressed. When we vent our feelings by crying and talking about it, we feel relieved. It has been found that if we hold on to anger too long without expressing it, it can cause depression. We also feel psychosomatic symptoms when we suppress our feelings for a long time. Symptoms such as headaches, ulcers, blood pressure, asthma, cardiac problems could be due to withheld feelings too. When you learn to identify your feelings, you can reduce the symptoms of psychosomatic illnesses.Additionally, it has been found that when we withhold our feelings, it can also lead to tension in our muscle groups, neck, back, shoulder, and jaws. Anger can be held in by tightening many different muscle groups from the eyes to pelvis. In this way we see that tight muscle groups in any region of the body could be caused by bottled up and withheld feelings and it is important to identify your feelings so that you are not holding these feelings by tightening your muscle groups. Fear can be held in by tightening up of muscle group in the stomach and diaphragm area. Anger can be suppressed by tightening the back of your neck and shoulders. In order to relieve the tension in these muscle groups, it is important to use the progressive muscle relaxation technique. This technique has been elaborated in the blog written by the author about Panic disorder. There are sixteen muscle groups in our body and all you have to do is tense each muscle group for 7-10 seconds then relax it for 15-20 seconds. When you systematically do this procedure, it generates the relaxation response and also creates alpha wave activity in the brain. How to Tune In To your Body:As mentioned earlier, we tend to hold on to our feelings in different body parts. It is important to tune in to your body to identify your feelings. Eugine Gendlin has talked about a process called “experiential focusing” to illustrate the process of tuning in to your body. Following are the steps that you need to take in order to do this:1. Physically relax your body for five to ten minutes doing progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, to slow down your mind.2. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?”3. Tune in to that place in your body where you feel emotional sensations such as anger, fear, or sadness. This is your inner place of feelings.4. Wait and listen to whatever you can sense in your place of feelings. Do not analyze or judge but become just an observer. If you begin to evaluate then you may not be able to get a sense of your real feeling.5. Once you have obtained a general sense of what you are feeling, and then ask the following questions: where is this feeling in my body? What is the shape of this feeling? If I have to give a color to this feeling, what would it be? In this way, we see that it is important to give a concrete form to feelings then it becomes easier to identify them. Once you have identified your feeling, it is important to express them appropriately in good communication.Expression of Feelings:1. Talk it Out: It is very therapeutic to share your feelings with a trustworthy person, like a friend, counselor, or a support person. They should be the person who are willing to listen to your feelings without evaluating you and who encourage you to let you express feelings and not just share them. By getting an outlet to your feelings, you might feel relieved and lighter. Agencies like Compeer and Big Brothers and Big Sisters serve this purpose. Depressed person, who does not have a family member to talk to, gets linked with a friend and they do activities together and establish friendly relationship by developing trust and this helps the person to open up eventually and share what is bothering them. 2. Write it out: Sometimes it is helpful to make a feeling journal and vent your feelings in a written manner. It is good to periodically review this journal and see if there is a pattern emerging. This is a very healthy outlet of your feelings. Creative art work, writing poems, and songs also allow you to be able to express your feelings in a healthy manner. These are healthy outlets to feelings and that is why children suffering from depression receive play therapy which gives them an outlet to express their feelings through symbolic play. Story writing, storytelling are also very healthy and useful therapeutic tools which facilitate expression of feelings in an indirect and subtle manner.3. Discharging Sadness: When you are withholding your sadness, it can cause a heavy load on your body and mind. It is relevant to ask questions such as :Do I ever cry?, Underwhat circumstances do I cry?, Do I cry because someone hurt me, or I am lonely or scared?, Do I cry for no apparent reason? Do I cry alone or do I allow others to see me crying? Sometimes, we feel sad but we have trouble shedding tears. It is advisable to listen to some evocative music, watch an emotional movie or read literature to surface the feelings of sadness and be able to shed tears. It is important to vent your sadness and not hold it in because the result will be more sadness and anger towards who has hurt you.4. Discharging Anger: Anger is the most pervasive emotion that leads to anxiety. Anger has a range from mild irritation on one end to extreme rage, on the other side of the continuum. Withheld anger can cause a person to become anxiety prone and also cause symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When you are frustrated and angry, you become more preoccupied with your obsessions and phobias but often you are unaware of these angry feelings. Those who are, by nature, people pleaser, are prone to having anxiety disorders. They always want to present themselves as pleasant and nice. They are also dependent on relationships with significant others. Outward expression of feelings can risk the relationship of phobic people so they tend to suppress their anger. Also, it is important to note that people who are prone to anxiety have a strong need to control so when they feel threatened by a sense of loss of control, they give in to their anger and it frightens them. In addition, self defeating behaviors, such as excessive criticism, discounting the positives and focusing on the negative aspects of the situation, passive aggressive behaviors , blaming others, and worries about the future instead of enjoying life could also be signs of withholding anger.Dealing with Anger in a Constructive MannerIt is very important to stop being controlled by a desire to be a people pleaser. When you remain passive in the face of other people exploiting you, after a while, it becomes unbearable and you end up getting hurt. It is important to become more assertive in your interpersonal style. Using a feeling script like: “ I feel——(angry, sad, frustrated), when you——-(behavior: like put me down) because—–( reason: it hurts my feelings). I would appreciate it if you —-( treat me with respect), is a good idea to be able to express your feelings versus withholding them altogether. This way the other person will be hear you out and hopefully make a change in how he deals with you. Most of the time we expect people to read our minds and behave according to our expectations. However, they are not able to read our minds and end up letting us down by showing insensitivity to our needs and wants. However, when you are able to assert yourself and express your needs, you are more likely to get desired results.It is also important to get rid of the “what if” thinking because it stops you from being rational and you begin to hide and mask your feelings. Anger, withheld for a long time can become very intense, when you begin to express it first, but the intensity will reduce with time. Sometimes it is constructive to express your anger on inanimate objects before you confront the person who makes you angry. There is a lot of research on the value of this practice and there is some controversy also that too much expression of anger can lead to aggressive behaviors therefore, it is important to exercise caution.It is also important to note that people are afraid to express their feelings for the fear of becoming alienated from the people. Think about expressing your angry feelings to significant others because you care about them. If you did not care about them, you would probably withdraw and withhold your true feelings. By communicating, you open the door for good communication and chances for change.When you are angry, you are likely to express your feelings aggressively. However, if you become assertive in your style, you are more likely to get desired results. If you become aggressive and demand a change, you are likely to put the other person on defensive because he will feel attacked. When you respect the dignity of others in your expression of anger, it gives a feeling that you care and you are not degrading them. They do not feel attacked and are more likely to show sensitivity to your needs and wants.Sometimes, it is healthy to engage in vigorous work out to vent some of the stress you feel when you are withholding anger. Pounding on the pillow, screaming into a pillow can also help if your anger is really intense and you need to let go of the energy before you confront the person who is making you angry.Deep breathing and meditation techniques also help reduce the intensity of your anger. Meditation has a calming effect and it reduces your agitation.Cognitive restructuring of dysfunctional thought patterns also helps. We have already discussed how our cognitive errors influence our feelings and mood in other blogs written by the author. I would recommend the readers to refer to the blog written on automatic self talk to learn more about cognitive distortions and how to dispute them with Socratic questions, which put the irrational self talk to rational scrutiny. Try to find the errors in your thinking before you draw conclusions about others. When you hang on to mistaken beliefs and negative self talk, they seem to color your attitude, behavior, and your reactions to these events and persons. When you become aware of your errors, try to challenge and dispute them with rational counterstatements and this will reduce the intensity of your anger. People resort to sarcasm, and belittling statements when they are angry. Instead, try to be honest with your feelings and express them assertively with openness and willingness. This will ensure better results.It is also crucial to identify the needs behind your feelings. For example you could be anxious because you are afraid that people will notice your anxiety when you speak and they will judge you. Here the need for acceptance is behind your fear. When you have experienced a loss, you feel sad because you will be lonely after the departure of your loved one. The need behind your grief is for love, affection and companionship. When you are angry with your spouse because he broke his promise, the need behind this anger is respect and consideration. When you are able to identify the need behind your feelings, you give a new meaning to your feelings and can do something about meeting these needs in a better way. In this way when you uncover the unmet need, you will be able to address these needs in a healthier manner. If you fail to address these needs, they are more likely to come and grip you over and over. For example, an unmet need for anger could persist and make you angry all the time. This is a sure sign that you need to do something about your anger.In summary, it is important to pay attention to your needs and wants. Do not try to hold your feelings but identify and express them in the manner discussed above. Withheld feelings are not healthy and they can cause serious health related problems.
I am also going to send you a reading and skills to share with you daughter as well
Creating Positive habits for yourself in your daily life:I started to think about personal habits we set up for ourselves on a daily basis. I have found that some of my personal habits are not what I would like them to be and that had me thinking about how there are so many of us that have habits that we would like to change in our lives. This reading today will be long and please take some time to read it over and even download and print out for your review later, as personal habits affect each and everyone of us in different ways. Some of us may have personal habits we Love and want to keep and some of us may have personal habits that we do not like and want to change. The good news is that each of you have the power to make that change for yourself. We make choices each day to either keep or change a habit. I hope this will help you to identify habits you not only want to change but also habits you would like to keep.So the first question that I will ask is, What personal habits would you like to change? Be they home, work or health related, I’ll bet you would see value in instilling some automatic practices that help you reach your goals.The key to creating positive habits is to reduce your personal choices—the little excuses you make to allow yourself to wiggle out of exercise, for example, or ignore that gratitude journal you’ve been meaning to keep, going to your phone instead of a book you have been wanting to read. The simple workaround is to set rules for yourself, taking your own capacity to make bad decisions out of your hands. You already do this all the time, probably without realizing it. Maybe your rule is that, if you’ve had two drinks, you don’t drive. Or that you don’t even look at your emails before 11 a.m. The results speak for themselves: In the former, you avoid making yourself a danger on the road. In the latter, you’re more productive in the mornings.If we don’t learn good habits, life becomes more difficult. We have a choice: Get hard on ourselves so life becomes easier, or get easy on ourselves resulting in life getting harder.Successful people choose good habits over a stagnant life. At first it might not seem like you are accomplishing much, but don’t be fooled. “Small hinges open big doors.”Not all good habits are created equal. Some are more powerful than others. Here are four powerful habits that will strengthen your confidence, help you get what you want and result in a satisfying journey.Habits are everywhere“Your beliefs become your thoughts,Your thoughts become your words,Your words become your actions,Your actions become your habits,Your habits become your values,Your values become your destiny.”― Mahatma GandhiHabits can be your thoughts.What are you saying to yourself on a daily basis? Are you talking nicely to yourself or are you constantly berating and being tough on yourself (I did this for years)?Do you use positive affirmations to build up your self-esteem and confidence or do you use words and phrases to belittle yourself?Are you asking yourself the right empowering questions to help you find the answers you truly want? Or do you ask questions that are presupposed with negative answers?What we think about and focus on determines how we feel, our behaviors and actions, and our results in life.Habits can be your emotions.One can choose to live in a state of happiness, joy, abundance or one can choose to live in a state of anger, stress, and worry. Living in a certain state daily is a habit that can be conditioned over time.Most people don’t grow up as young children living a negative state. Most are joyful, playful, and happy. But through conditioning and certain circumstances, one may start to live in negativity, fear, or sadness as they learn to interpret their experiences in certain ways.Our states and emotions are often learned from the people closest to us. Have parents that are constantly pissed off or stressed out about everything? Chances are pretty good that you’ll pick up on that during childhood and be the same as an adult.The good news is that this conditioning can be altered and isn’t permanent. You don’t have to stay angry or stressed for the rest of your life. You can change for the better.Habits can be what you eat on a daily basis.Are you consistently and routinely consuming unhealthy, processed foods that have little or no nutritional value? Or are you choosing whole natural foods that will help fuel, heal, and nourish your body?It becomes apparent what one’s habits are because your physical state is a result of the foods you are consuming. Consume healthy foods and you will feel vital and energetic. Consume unhealthy foods all the time and you’ll feel tired and lethargic.Habits are also choosing to exercise or skipping a workout on a consistent basis. Do you have a habit of going to the gym even when you don’t want to? Or do you routinely skip workouts and justify not going with a made-up excuse?Habits are what you do when you wake up in the morning. Do you have a powerful morning ritual that stimulates you to be happier, more productive, and less stressful? Or are you waking up stressed, reactive, and frustrated before you even walk out of the door or had your morning coffee? 1. Embrace life, don’t resist it.When things aren’t working, our first action is often resistance. Instead of resisting, take a moment to consider what isn’t working and why. This kind of information is valuable.Tough times can be used to disrupt stagnant patterns in thinking. If we embrace the disruption, it can have a purifying effect that knocks off the rust and barnacles we naturally collect on our daily voyage. Embracing life is resisting stagnation.Life might wreck your plans when your plans are about to wreck you. So pay close attention.2. Affirm yourself, don’t degrade yourself.One of the most common ways to degrade ourselves is to ask the wrong questions. Wrong questions are disempowering. They immediately change our subconscious thought patterns from positive to negative, or vice versa. They are powerful.Question: Why can’t I lose weight? Answer: Because you’re a pig! Question: Why can’t I do things right? Answer: Because you’re not smart! Question: Why am I so broke? Answer: Because you’re a loser!Ask a bad question and you’ll get a bad answer. This is how our subconscious mind works. Because the conscious mind programs the subconscious, take charge. Good questions lead to productive answers.What are the top two things I can do to lose weight? What is a better way to do this? What are three things I can do to increase my cash flow?Asking the right question is empowering.3. Brainstorm, don’t blame-storm.Blame-storming is using our creative abilities to come up with reasons why something is not our fault. This creates an emotional roadblock to healthy living called resentment. It comes from the Latin words “re” and “sentire,” which means “to feel over and over again.” It’s almost exclusively internalized, which makes it different from anger even though it can accompany the emotion.It’s tempting to wallow in resentment because it provides a feeling of control. But that is an illusion. The past is no more. There is no control. How can we disempower the past from stealing the present? Through brainstorming, you come to the realization that your past deepens you but does not define you, deter you or defeat you.It is a part of your maturity but not your identity. Your past has made you stronger for today. You are not a prisoner of your past. You are a pioneer of your future. And you have power in the present.4. Do something, not everything.It’s good to be resilient—to a point. Sometimes quitting is the smartest thing to do. There are times when I look at my to-do list and complete one or two of the items quickly, just by eliminating them. The secret of concentration is elimination. This leads to productive living and has health benefits as well—a needed message for a society of high achievers.It’s a matter of control. You can do anything when you quit trying to do everything.I just went over habits that you can do, now I am going to go over how to put those habits in place in your life. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.List your current habitsMake a list of all of your daily habits which include your thoughts, your behaviors, your emotions, how you wake up in the morning, what you eat, how you treat others, what you do when you drive, how you interact with your spouse/partner, what you do before bed, etc.The first part and arguably the most vital part in changing your life is awareness. You need to know where you are and assess what isn’t working for you before you can start making the necessary changes.Create a list of goalsDetermine what you want to achieve or what outcomes you’d like to experience. This can be in areas of happiness, relationships, school, your career, your health and wellness, etc.Once you know where you currently are and where you want to go, the next task if to fill in the gap and find the best route to get there.Assess your habitsGo through your daily habits to see if what you are thinking, feeling, and doing are in line with the goals or desires that you have set for yourself. Often times, there is a disconnect between what we want and what we actually do.For example, someone may constantly think or talk about how they want to eat healthier foods and have a certain physique so they can feel and look great. But their daily habits involve junk food and skipping workouts consistently — that‘s a major disconnect.Go through each of your habits and assess whether or not they are moving you towards your goals or away from your goals.Replace bad habitsOnce you have recognized the bad habits that are actually moving you away from your goals, it’s time to determine what you need to start doing to replace those habits with positive ones.For each negative habit, write a positive one that you can replace it with. Using the previous example, that person may want to replace the junk food they eat every day with a healthy salad or fruits. They may also want to avoid buying any junk food to avoid the temptation.Eliminating habits is much more difficult so replacing them will increase the likelihood that you won’t revert back to old patterns. Start with small changes and gradually add in new habits with time as you progress.Trying to implement 10 new habits at the same time can be overwhelming to handle and may even be discouraging — it takes a lot of conscious effort and energy in the beginning. But over time, it’ll become second nature.So, start with a handful of habits that would make the biggest impact in your overall quality of life.Create your why’sWith your list of new habits to implement, come up with compelling reasons why you MUST replace your old habits with new ones. You have to associate pain with how you’ll feel in the next 1, 3, 5 years down the road if you continue with those non-productive or negative habits.But you must also associate pleasure with how you’ll feel when you replace the negative habit with positive ones and stay consistent with it.Execute and take actionTake action and be consistent. Now that you have a blueprint, it’s time to execute. This is the key ingredient because without it, all the work that has been done up until this point will have been for nothing.Action in itself is not enough. Consistent action over a long period of time is what is needed to really anchor in a new positive habit and rid yourself of the old, negative habit.Be easy and understanding with yourselfIf you happen to revert back to an old habit, the last thing you’d want to do is be hard on yourself and get discouraged. Habits are hard to break because we’ve been performing them subconsciously for weeks, months and even years.But it won’t take the same amount of time to replace it. As mentioned before, a study showed that the average time needed to replace a habit was about 2 months.Time to implement new habits varies from person to person and also depends on the habit itself, the action taken, and the mindset of the individual.But the point is that replacing habits can be done in a fairly short amount of time given a strong enough reason and consistent action.That’s why it’s important to associate powerful emotions of both pain and pleasure.Think long-termOften, when we are changing habits, it’s because we’re looking for a different result than what we’ve experienced in the past. Results typically don’t occur quickly and may even take weeks or months to see any noticeable change in your thoughts, attitudes, business, health, etc.Focus on the process and understand that if you continue to perform the correct steps over time, the results will show.We all live by our habits which involve our daily thoughts, beliefs, and actions. They ultimately affect the results in our lives and whether or not we are fulfilling what it is we desire. We all have our share of good habits and bad habits but what we really need to focus on is replacing bad habits with better ones that will actually move us closer to achieving what we want. Whether that be better health, happiness, wealth, or fulfillment. I hope this reading has been helpful for you and will allow for you to start to think and maybe even implement new habits for yourself going forward.
I hope that these skills have been helpful for you in your struggles you have been facing at this time. I am going to give you my information if you are wanting to start to process through and work on your struggles going forward, please reach out to Betterhelp and ask to be matched with Crystal Westman. If we were to work together we would work on more skills and tools to help you when you are struggling and get back to a positive space. I encourage you to reach out for support at this time to help you get to the best version of yourself.