Phobias Answers

Why I feel like I have something stuck in my throat when nothing is inside my throat

Hello Wiz,  Many causes can cause you to feel like you lump in your throat. They can be physical, linked to pathology, as well as psychological, following an emotional shock. The feeling of lumping in the throat, like a lump, is relatively standard. Multiple causes can explain this unpleasant sensation.  If there is a feeling of a lump in the throat, the main symptom is difficulty in swallowing, swallowing. Sometimes this lump can cause a sore throat. This discomfort can also give a natural feeling of strangulation. You have already ruled out physical explanations by consulting doctors and getting an endoscopy. If the lump is just emotional, sometimes relaxing can be enough. I am therefore going to support you with ways to address it through therapeutic techniques.  The sensation of globus is often described as the sensation that there is a ball of peanut butter stuck in the throat. This is an exclusionary diagnosis, which is a fancy way of saying that the symptoms are not due to some other cause, such as an obstruction, motor disorder, or acid reflux.  The cause of globus sensation is not fully understood; perhaps the most interesting proposed reason, however, is what doctors call "psychological abnormalities." In the late 80s and early 90s, several studies linked the sensation of globus to neuroticism, introversion, anxiety, and depression. Recent studies have supported the earlier work and have attached the success of globus to other psychological disorders and high-stress situations, such as living in an urban area. It has also been reported that being assessed for globus sensation can improve symptoms by reducing patient anxiety. Although these studies do not necessarily prove a cause and effect relationship between globus sensation and affective disorders (association ≠ causation), they provide a reason to suspect that the two are related. Have you consulted a psychiatrist? Antidepressants are believed to be helpful, particularly in patients who have psychiatric disorders, such as panic disorder, somatization, major depression, or agoraphobia. However, data supporting antidepressants for globus sensation is mainly limited to case reports and retrospective studies.  Relaxation therapy can also offer benefits. Current evidence supporting its use for globus sensation is minimal. However, relaxation therapy is effective for people with anxiety disorders in general. This makes it a good option, especially compared to medications, which can have unwanted side effects. To recap, the globus sensation causes extremely annoying, misunderstood, and long-lasting discomfort that does not have simple treatment. If you're someone who is actively showing symptoms, this probably isn't the most reassuring news. Globus sensation is a mild disorder and often resolves on its own. However, if you do have symptoms, don't assume they are mild. Many genuine and hazardous illnesses can cause similar symptoms. If you are diagnosed with globus sensation, it is crucial to understand that just because the symptoms are "psychological" does not mean they are less accurate or valid. At the very least, a diagnosis could be an opportunity to take a step back and look inward. Another disorder I would like to discuss is phagophobia. It manifests as the overwhelming and irrational fear of swallowing and choking.  Those affected fear more than anything the suffering that could cause suffocation and what would follow, that is to say, death. Often confused with anorexia nervosa, phagophobia is not manifested by the fear of putting on weight. In milder cases, the person will eat solid food but spend a significant amount of time chewing to make tiny pieces before eating. They fear being ridiculous in the eyes of others and will progressively separate themselves to avoid any situation presenting the slightest risk. In many cases, the fear is triggered by a harmful event such as food swallowed the wrong way or unloved food that elicits terrible feelings. Like many phobias, many patients speak of an irrational fear without explanation. Phagophobia triggers several psychic and bodily manifestations: Anxiety Weightloss Vertigo Excessive sweating Nausea Dry mouth Tremors Tachycardia Fear of dying Agoraphobia As the name suggests, phagophobia is a phobia, therefore a fear. The most suitable treatment is a psychological follow-up, based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, the objective of which is to support the patient in modifying his thoughts and behaviors. You have to put yourself in a situation gradually. For instance, you have first to eat things that are moderately easy to consume, then eat something that is a little harder little by little. This helps to desensitize, much like allergies. There needs to be gradual desensitization. In people with pain, the throat muscles contract during times of anxiety. Some patients report that seeing an osteopath helps a lot with their muscles. Once individuals become aware of their illness and begin a care process, the food diary and the feel at application can be a valuable tool to support them throughout their healing journey. In the short or long-term objectives section, patients will list the foods they wish to reintroduce as and when they see their progress. I hope that my answer is helpful. If you want additional clarification or if you have another question, don't hesitate to reach back. Also, I am available for therapy, and Betterhelp has many great providers available.     
Answered on 01/21/2022

Needle phobia

Hello, Thank you for reaching out with your question. Yes, online therapy can be very helpful with a wide range of issues, including phobias, fears and anxiety. What comes to mind for treating a fear of needles would be techniques such as exposure therapy and desensitization strategies.    Exposure therapy involves exposing you to the stimulus (in your case, needles) in a safe and controlled environment. For example, you would first look at a picture of a small needle, then look at a small needle directly, handle it, hold it, touch it. During all of this, your comfort would be checked throughout. If, at any time, you become anxious or scared, relaxation techniques would be taught and utilized. You would not at any time be forced beyond your comfort level. We would discuss the increased level of discomfort, as it was happening and look for triggers and causes of the fear.   The concern for your situation, in particular, is that you say you are avoiding needed medical care and treatment. If we were working together in therapy, I would want to know whether you have spoken with your medical professional/physician about your fear. Is this fear rooted in any one particular incident or situation? If there is a specific event that led to this fear, we would explore that in more detail to figure out the root of the fear. Do you or any of your family member have a history of previous medical treatments which were painful or traumatic, possibly a death? What specifically are you fearful of, discomfort, pain, finding out you have a specific diagnosis?    I wish you all the best in this journey and applaud for taking the time to ask this question and look for guidance. Oftentimes, once someone is able to conquer their specific fear or worry, they often report that it was not as bad as they thought it would be. We often exaggerate events in our minds that you are fearful of, only to realize later than it was not so bad. This could very well be the case for you. Reach out to your physician/nurse and be open and upfront with your fear and worry about the needles. They should also be able to help you with this. Take care.    
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to get over a fear/phobia of blood and injury

The fear you describe is common and it is completely understandable that you developed this as a reaction to the trauma you witnessed.  It completely changed your brain chemistry and now your brain overreacts to blood of any kind and even to situations that are not unsafe.  Cognitive-Behavioral therapy would be the best choice to focus on this specific fear.  It’s good that you want to face the issue rather than avoid it.  There are many reasons to address this issue in your life.  There are many occasions in our regular life that require you to have a calmer reaction to seeing blood.  Even in your own self-care and health, it is necessary for you to be able to give blood and participate in supporting others in their medical procedures.  First and foremost, I want you to know that you are not alone.  This is a common problem for many people.  Doc Martin is a popular BBC show that created a comedy out of a surgeon’s sudden inability to deal with blood.  However, in  the reality that you live with, it is not a laughing matter. The fact that you have been able to identify the triggering event is very helpful.  Some have this problem without trauma—just in their unique brain chemistry.  I believe that you would respond very well to therapy in processing through the trauma and addressing the unrealistic fears that you have developed regarding blood and fear of potential injury. Recovery involves going back to the place of your pain.  You would re-live the incident where you witnessed the horrific scene.  This seems the opposite of what you would think is appropriate for dealing with the situation.  Most of your life you think you have been trying to escape the horror of that one event.  Yet the opposite is true.  It is through going back to that event and identifying the lies that you have come to believe that makes you uncomfortable when someone in a completely different situation is using a sharp object in an appropriate way.  You will be led to think through this event in a new and freeing way.  I can’t say that it won’t be hard.  Everything in you tells you not to think about that event.  However, it is that event that has trapped you in this way of thinking.  It’s important for you to face this fear so that you are free to be there for your loved ones and for yourself as you never know when you are going to be faced with another not dangerous incident that involves blood and does need your ability to respond well.  I’m sure that there are many ways that you have learned to avoid the situations that involve blood and that is okay.  However, you don’t want to become paralyzed by fear in the future if there is a situation that you could not plan for or have known would happen.  The therapy work that you do will prepare you to be ready to face life and the reality of blood.  I’m glad you asked this question and I hope you follow through in therapy.
(D., Phil., LPC, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

how do i handle rejection or the fear of being rejected. how do get over someone

Thank you for having teh courage to ask this question! I know it is not easy to put yourself out there in that way, and I hope that I can provide some insight. After reading the context you described when addressing your emotional distress, I kept going back into choice theory and how it may help you with the decision-making process that you seem to be struggling with when it comes to handling rejection. The choice theory emphasizes the individual’s control over his or her feelings and actions and teaches the concept that all behavior is chosen. It was created by Dr. William Glasser. The theory states that all human behavior is driven by the desire to satisfy five basic human needs: the need to be loved and accepted, the need to be powerful, the need to be free, the need to have fun, and the need to survive. Conflict arises because humans can only control their behavior. The Ten Axioms: We have already seen the first axiom: humans can only control their behavior. The second is that all we give or get from others is information. Number three is that all long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems. Axiom four is that we must have at least one satisfying relationship. The others are: • The past has a lot to do with who we are, but it does not hold us, prisoners. • We are driven by five genetic needs. • We satisfy these needs by building “quality worlds.” • All behavior consists of four components: acting, feeling, thinking, and physiology. • Recognizing that we all control our behavior brings us freedom. • We only have “direct control” overacting and thinking, but we can gain indirect control over feeling and physiology through these. How it Works: Patients who are frustrated over their inability to conquer certain concepts and gain specific skills may be taught to reframe their thinking about what constitutes a quality world for them. Other therapies concentrate on past behaviors and ask the clients to work through “triggers for the behavior so that they can avoid them in the future. Choice Theory and its component, Reality Therapy, do not spend time on the past. They ask clients to concentrate on the present ( the reality) and ask them to envision changes they might make in their behavior that would help them get what they want out of their lives ( or the perception they have of their quality worlds). The concept of Total Behavior is also involved. That is the concept that people can do little to directly change their physiology (such as anxiety attacks) or their feelings, but direct changes to thoughts and actions cause indirect alterations in those areas. Choice Theory encourages people to build relationships that create “quality worlds” to build cooperation and connection with others. Reality Therapy: Reality therapy was created using the principles of choice theory. Its main objective is to have the client make adaptive decisions that will help them meet their basic human needs. Glasser did not believe in mental illness, per se. Instead, problems were the result of unfulfilled goals. Because choice theory deals in the here and now, the client is asked to focus on the present rather than rehashing past experiences. Reality therapy emphasizes the client-therapist relationship. It is thought that the therapeutic relationship serves as a model for other relationships in the client’s life. Indeed, Glasser believed that many problems were due to the disconnection between people. It is the therapist’s job to guide the client toward making the choices that will yield the most positive interpersonal outcomes. It is very much a problem-solving approach. A client must assess how their current behavior is ineffective and then work on changing it to better realize their objectives. The successful client will learn to take responsibility for their actions and make a commitment to enacting more adaptive behavior. With its focus on problem-solving, reality therapy is effective with numerous problems, including addiction and other behavioral disorders. However, it possibly has shown the most success in helping adolescents address behavior problems in school and the community. Rational Choice Theory: Another offshoot of choice theory, the rational choice theory states that people make decisions based on analyzing the pros and cons of a situation. This means that people weigh the costs and benefits of potential choices before settling on a course of action. Originally conceived as an economic theory, it was a way to understand how people make decisions to maximize their money. As time has passed, however, the rational choice theory has evolved to include all areas of human decision-making, including sociology and political science. Under this assumption, all human behavior can be seen as a way to meet individual needs. For example, relationships are assessed by the benefits they provide a person. According to rational choice theory, human interaction is a transactional process where the perceived gain is emphasized over other motivations.   I hope that this could help address some of your questions, and if you want more information please let me know, and have a blessed day!
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why am I scared if darkness

Thanks reaching out for help, Easa. Your fear of the dark sounds like it is bringing you quite a deal of distress. I can imagine having this fear could have severe implications on your quality of life. It sounds like you have had a lifetime long fear of the dark. Child development experts would agree that some degree of fear of the dark would be considered appropriate and normal for younger children to experience. However, it would seem that your fear of the dark has persisted into adulthood. It would be helpful to know where you could trace back the origins of your fear of the dark. I wonder if your fear is rooted in something traumatic that happened to you in the dark or if it is based on messages you received during childhood.  Despite the origins, the fact remains that your fear remains and it does not appear to be abating. Not surprisingly, your fear has not only continued, but your fear has intensified. You also mentioned not only being afraid of the dark, but you are also afraid of ghosts. I wonder if your fear of the dark is linked to your fear of ghosts and their connection to darkness. Nevertheless,  your fear is so intense that you experience physiological responses with your insomnia, shortness of breath,  and racing heart. What you described is your body's fight vs flight response. When we feel threatened,  our sympathetic nervous system revs up and our bodies essentially respond as though they are in a life vs death scenario. To exacerbate the matter,  it appears you use distractions to avoid facing your fear of the dark. When you turn on the lights, for example, to avoid confronting your fear of the dark your fear of the dark only continues to flourish. Avoidance is a typical fear response and while it does offer temporary relief, it actually makes your fear loom larger than ever before! The more you avoid, the more the fear grows as you are not acquiring  memories (or evidence) that counter the fear.  Perhaps there is a message you are telling yourself (i.e. "Bad things happen in the dark") that has no opportunity to be challenged because you are not permitting yourself an opportunity to actually spend time in the dark free of all the avoidance mechanisms. Lastly, I encourage you to address your fear in therapy. Therapy provides an invitation for you to uncover the origins of your fear and learn how to overcome this fear. The hardest part often times is getting over our own fear of fear. You took a courageous step today by reaching out for help. Your next step will bring you closer to a solution in transcending your fear of the dark. 
(LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can i get over and make my life better

Hello, and thank you for your question. Fear of heights, or acrophobia, is a specific type of phobia that usually involves severe anxiety and may include panic attacks. Typically, phobias develop after a situation involving the stimuli (in this case heights) causes a person to fear for their life or wellbeing of someone else's life or wellbeing. The threat can be real or just be perceived as real by the individual. For example, a child can see someone fall from a building and develop a fear of heights. Every time the child is somewhere high up they may experience anxiety and can even suffer a panic attack even though there is no threat of actual harm present. A common situation could be walking up a flight of stairs  and experiencing a panic attack     The most common practice to work on and improve specific phobias is exposure therapy.  Exposure therapy is a therapeutic technique where the individual is exposed to anxiety-inducing stimuli without any danger is present. Depending on the level of the anxiety and the specific phobia exposure therapy can be done in several ways.  Before actually exposing an individual to the stimuli (heights) it is important to create a scale where they can measure their current level of anxiety. I like using a 0-10 scale where 10 is having a panic attack and 0 is no anxiety being present. Before exposing yourself to the stimuli, it is important to be able to differentiate what each number is. Maybe a 1 might be going up a small set of stairs, and a four is looking out the window of a two-story house. Creating distinctions between the numbers will help you measure your growth and push yourself to overcome your fear.   Before exposing yourself to the stimuli, you also want to make sure you have appropriate coping skills in place. Exposure therapy is about being uncomfortable and you need to have skills to manage that discomfort. Before exposure therapy, I would recommend exploring grounding techniques that can help you feel safe and calm down during situations of anxiety or panic.  Once you have developed a scale and have appropriate coping skills, you can slowly put yourself in anxiety-inducing situations that have no threat present. A common one is to imagine yourself in the situation and visualize the experience. Sometimes looking at photos or videos can help visualize and start to challenge the phobia as well. With each new step, you should also use your scale to record where your anxiety is.  The concept behind exposure therapy is that over time your response to the stimuli gets less and less until it is appropriate. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Is it normal to obsess over a traumatic event?

Hello Zeze,    I'm sorry you have been experiencing so many losses and keep having intrusive thoughts about death. An obsession with death is often linked to intrusive thinking and anxiety, which places them are at risk of developing specific anxiety known as thanatophobia.  It is a phobia characterized by persistent ideas and fears related to death in general and especially to death itself. Symptoms vary from case to case and may include obsessive thoughts about death to avoiding any situation considered risky or even not leaving the house. Before talking about a phobia, it's important to face your obsessions and try to contain them. I would like to invite you to not avoid thinking about death, but rather to think correctly about it by reframing your thinking. Instead of thinking about death or fearing it, admit that death is an inevitable end and that, in the meantime, you must live your life to the fullest. Death can be scary to most but in many people, obsessive thoughts can impact daily life preventing them from fully appreciating their existence. Death is a subject that people, in general, don't like to talk about but that they often think about a lot. And while thinking about it is quite normal, becoming obsessed with death, your own or other people’s death is problematic. Death has always been a sensitive, uncomfortable, and avoided the subject. No one wants to think about the day when a loved one dies, or about their own death, which will cause family suffering. And yet, these thoughts happen from time to time because death is part of our reality. Thousands of people die around the world every day for different reasons, and the media are here to remind us. Added to this are our own experiences with the death of a loved one, friend, or neighbor. People recognize that death exists and that it is close to them. Worse yet: you never know when it will be your turn. Suddenly death becomes some kind of predator that could attack at any time. Death is unpredictable, even for a person with a fatal illness. We can only think about it, try to understand, and prepare for it. These realizations about death stress people on different levels. There are those who are afraid of leaving those they love and think about the pain they will feel, those who are afraid of no longer existing, those who are afraid of the process of death (illness, suffering, loneliness, etc. .,) and those who are afraid of what will happen after death. Fears of death vary depending on a person's development, experiences with death, religious and cultural beliefs, etc. One could try to rationalize the fear of death for an elderly person or a seriously ill person. But the truth is, these people often accept death better than others who (logically) have no reason to worry. Death is no longer a mystery to them (at least not as much as before) and they reach a certain level of acceptance. On the other hand, someone who has no reason to worry finds it more difficult to accept death. If you are young, healthy and in all likelihood should live a long time. And yet, you know that anyone can die anytime. This idea alone is enough to create a series of negative and obsessive thoughts. Also, try to discuss the topic with an elderly person. You will see things from their perspective, those who are approaching death and do not see this as a bad thing. Obsessions with death are not to be taken lightly. They can cause real physical symptoms and prevent you from living your life normally. If this is the case, it is necessary to seek professional help in order to obtain adequate psychological treatment. I wish you a great evening and I hope that my answer will help you. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Can someone help my husband to get his driving anxiety under control?

Good Evening Driving Anxiety, I am so very sorry to learn of your husband's issues related to a potential phobia surrounding driving. It can be rather heartbreaking to watch as someone you love is crippled by fear, especially when you feel you do not have any tools to help them. I am not sure how long you have both had to cope with this problem but I imagine it is too long and I am deeply sympathetic. That said, yes, a BetterHelp therapist/psychologist could certainly help your husband through his phobia related to driving on parkways, bridges, and traveling via planes. They would first have to identify the origin of the fear. They would likely ask the following questions in an initial assessment of the problem: 1. When did the problem of becoming afraid of driving on parkways, bridges, and traveling on planes begin? 2. When did the problem intensify to the point of you feeling like it is necessary to avoid these scenarios altogether? 3. When is the last time you attempted to engage in driving or flying? 4. What symptoms do you experience when trying - sweating, heart racing, crying spells, etc? 5. What was the history of your treatment for these issues - when did you begin treatment, when did it end, what was helpful in relieving the symptoms that may have arisen when you were driving on parkways, bridges when you were flying? They will take a full inventory and likely settle on exposure therapy to help treat your husband. This is likely but it is not the only treatment modality that could be helpful to him. In fact, there are plenty of others and they can be highly effective in helping people work through the thoughts, feelings, etc. that are creating barriers to them interacting in their lives with the quality that they deserve. It seems your husband has lot some of that quality and you have lost as well as a result. I hope this answers your question and allows you to think about the next steps for your husband and your family. It certainly is highly important that he is able to take his life back and reclaim the road. Please feel free to come back to us here on the BetterHelp platform should you have any further questions and need some help taking on life's very tough hardships! We are here and rooting for you always. Be well and safe! 
(MSSW, LCSW, LICSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

how I can not longer strangely with phonephobia ...?

  For one thing the problem that you are struggling with is fairly common. A very good treatment option is exposure therapy. It consists of several elements that I will lay out for you. I also suggest you work with a therapist. Applying these principles on your own will unlikely be successful as it is difficult to overcome the logical reasoning that developed this problem in the first place. Since you state that this is especially when dealing with males a male therapist would be a good choice. It may be difficult at first but you could begin your exposure treatment with a challenging aspect.  The there are two important elements to construct before beginning to expose yourself to what you dread. The first is to construct and practice using a reliable method to measure and determine the level of distress you are experiencing. This is named a SUDS. That stands for Subjective units of Distress Scale. Once you build this, it pays to practice using it until you can obtain a relatively accurate measure of the distress you are experiencing in the moment. The reasoning for this is so that you can see that by repeated exposing yourself to stressful situations, you can see it becomes less distressing. Having this information will compel you to continue and move forward.   Secondly, it is well to develop and practice distress tolerance skills. There are many choices here, many of them are mindfulness based. You may obtain and practice these on your own, but it is well to have someone outside of yourself monitoring their effectiveness. Our perspective from the inside might be biased, whereas an outside observer whom you trust, can provide a more accurate appraisal. This is another good reason to employ a therapist. They could be well versed on providing your skill set and seeing how well they work. Once you have these skills developed, you can begin the exposure treatment. Here the job is to create a hierarchy of activities that relate to using the phone. These could range from simply holding the phone and pretend you are using it, through calling a number you know only a machine would answer, all the way to calling a male whom you do not know. Here again a trained therapist would be helpful in created a list of activities that would start at the low end of distress and work you up to successfully facing this daunting task. I wish you the best, in going forward with exposing yourself to accomplishing this goal.  
(LMHC, LCMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I become more confident in myself and in social situations?

It can be so challenging to find our confidence, especially in situations where other people are involved! Add in the pandemic and isolation over the past year and a half, and it's okay to feel uncomfortable with the idea of being out and about again. I think that working on one's own self confidence is the long term goal, but in social situations, prepping ahead of time can be really effective as well. Think about it - when you give a presentation or a talk, you prep ahead of time, don't you? (And, if you don't, I want your tips on how to do this!). So, why not do this for those scary or anxiety provoking social situations as well?   This can look like practicing greetings and interactions in the mirror with your reflection, identifying a few conversation starters to take the pressure off in the moment, and learning and utilizing coping skills in the moment or right before walking in to decrease anxiety. It can also be really helpful to envision the entire situation, from getting ready to leaving to arriving to walking in. These visualization exercises help us rewire our brain to think of best case scenarios, rather than worst case! This is something that is super useful to talk about and focus on in therapy, and therapy is a great place to do this work and find ways to help you feel more comfortable!   Focusing on those immediate practice steps and coping skills will help you in the moment, but therapy is also a great place to delve deeper - where does the social anxiety come from? What triggers it? How long have you been feeling this way? By addressing the root of the issue, we can treat it fully from the inside out, so that instead of just being reactive and applying a bandaid of solutions in the moment, we cna be proactive and create a long term healing salve instead.  Having a multi-pronged approach is key to addressing fears and worries - and, is something that can be worked on at your own pace and when you're ready. BetterHelp has some great counselors that can help you in your journey!
Answered on 01/21/2022

How can i stop my repititive thoughts?

Dear Lily,   Thank you for your message.   I understand how difficult it is to try stopping your thoughts. I could imagine how hard you have been trying and how frustrating to feel that nothing is working. You have done so well in noticing your worries, and make strategies to focus on what would be the likely outcome over what our imagined outcome is. Yet no matter how spiritually and mindfully mature we are, it is still inevitable that we experience feelings of fear, anxiety and grief at times. That is unfortunately what life brings us, however just as how you have noticed before, sufferings do make us wiser and stronger, and sometimes allow us to discover things that we would have never discover without sufferings.   We can't stop our thoughts, but the more we practice being mindful of the present, the better we can catch ourselves with our thoughts and develop an alternative response to them, and learn to let go.   During moments like this I remind myself the teachings of the Buddha regarding worries, it is consisted with a 2 part questions:   1. Is this problem within my control? If so, then this problem will be solved given time and the right intervention. 2. Would worrying about it make any difference? If not, then is it worth it to sacrifice our time and mental health worrying over something that (1. can't be solved anyway / 2. will be solved anyway)?   This is definitely easier said than done, therefore as a fellow human being, I am working with you to pay attention to what is good, what is kind rather than our worries.   Obsessive or consuming thoughts can make living miserable when you are plagued by them, but this very situation can become the invitation to transcend mind and be free of suffering forever.   Can you stop obsessive thoughts? - If you could, it would be great, but the truth is that it's slightly more complicated than just suppressing your thoughts which at-most you can do for a few seconds. Plus suppressing thoughts is even worse than enduring thoughts. It builds up a lot of negative energy inside.   So how to stop these stops thoughts? The secret to stopping these thoughts is to detach from the mind because You cannot fight mind with the mind. Let's look at this in more detail.   What Causes Obsessive Thoughts?   If you generated the thoughts, you could've controlled them too.   The truth is that you don't generate thoughts, the mind does. And the mind is on auto-mode most of the time.   You can see this for yourself; can you predict what you will think 30 seconds from now? If you can't how can you assume that you are generating the thoughts?   If you believe that you are your mind, that's a false notion again.   If you are your mind then how can you observe the thoughts? So you must be separate from the mind to see what the mind is doing.   The mind generates thoughts, which are mostly just energy forms. These thoughts pass through like clouds. We identify with some of these thoughts and obsess over them.   So in truth, all thoughts are just neutral energy forms; it's your interest or association with the thoughts that makes them obsessive. If you can understand this truth, you have taken the first step towards getting rid of obsessive thoughts.   How to Stop Obsessive Negative Thoughts?   If you are asking this question, ask yourself another question - "is this question not another thought? It's a thought about killing thoughts".   All your attempts at suppressing and stopping thoughts fail because you are using the mind to stop the mind. The police man and thief are both the mind; so how can the police man catch the thief?   So you cannot kill the mind by force. The mind dies its own death by the poison of disassociation.   What gives power to a thought? - Your interest. If you have no interest in a particular thought then it loses its hold over you.   You can try this out now. Let the thoughts flow through your mind but don't take interest in them. Just stay as a bystander or a watcher and let the thoughts float.   Initially you might have a hard time watching thoughts because of your inherent habit of associating with each thought that arises.   It helps to know that you are not your thoughts, that thoughts are just energy forms created in the mind. Why does the mind create thoughts? No one knows - it's just something it does, why bother. Do you ever ask why does the heart beat?   With a little practice you will get really good at watching thoughts and not involving yourself with them.   You will stop giving power to thoughts by not giving them your interest. Thoughts die immediately when they are deprived of this fuel of interest. If you don't associate with the thought or give power to the thought, it will wither away quickly.   What Are Thoughts?   Past events get stored as memories. Your mind conditioning and beliefs are also stored as memories. All this is unconscious storage; the mind does all this in auto mode.   Perceptions and interpretations are created in the mind based on its past "external" conditioning and also its natural conditioning (genetics). These interpretations, perceptions and judgments come up as thoughts in the mind, and they can be positive or negative depending on the mind's conditioning.   Thoughts are generated based on the past incidents/memories, future projections and interpretations on the present life situation. It's like a computer trying to predict or conjure up projection based on the data it has collected so far.   When thoughts are negative in nature (thoughts of worry, anxiety, stress, lack, resentment, guilt etc.) they produce resistance to the movement of your life, and this resistance is felt as suffering. Negative thoughts will always stand in resistance to the movement of your life, like blocks of stone in the midst of a swift current of water.   Life is a stream of pure positive energy and hence any negative thought will stand in opposition to it, causing friction which is felt as suffering in the body.   The thoughts in your mind gain power from your attention and interest. Your attention is the fuel for your mind. So when you give attention to consuming thoughts in the mind, you are unconsciously fueling it and thus attracting more momentum for these negative thoughts.   The momentum of negative thoughts in your mind will slow down, and ebb away, automatically when you stop feeding your attention to it. Stay as an open space of awareness without focusing your attention on the negative thoughts of the mind, and soon they will lose their momentum.   You can focus on the positive thoughts generated in the mind, and thus develop a positive momentum in your mind. Every time your mind produces some positive thoughts, e.g thoughts of love, joy, excitement, abundance, beauty, appreciation, passion, peace etc, focus on it, milk it, and give attention to it.   This will cause your mind to attract more positive thoughts and thus build a positive momentum.   Whenever the mind thinks negatively, don't give it attention or interest, this will cause the ebbing away of the momentum of negative thinking. It's really that simple. Once you understand the mechanics of how thoughts gain momentum in the mind, you will be in total control of your state of being.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to talking with you more :) Jono  
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Is there a cure for extreme emetophobia?

Hello, Most counselors will tell you yes. Any fear based phobia of any type can usually be overcome by a number of different types of counseling methods depending on what that phobia is. With this particular issue I would first like to know; what is it about vomiting that you fear the most? Is it that you may choke on it? Is it the feeling of it coming up? What is the fear exactly? My next question to you would be; what is the worst thing that could happen to you if you did vomit? You throw upright. No one as far as I am aware of, has ever died from vomiting. It is an automatic response from the body to try to get out something that does not agree with it. A way of releasing what it feels is poison or toxic to it.  I am also curious because you said it causes you a lot of anxiety. What about it makes you anxious? Is it more so when you are out and around town and less when you are at home? That would make more sense because of the fear of having to worry about having the feeling to vomit while in public. I get that. That's fair. Again, I would still ask you; what is the worst that can happen? Everyone and I mean everyone on the planet has vomited at least once in their life and they are still here. It's ok to have fears don't get me wrong. We all have fears and some make absolutely no sense as to why we have them. Our job is to figure out why and then concur that fear. That's what makes you stronger right. :-)  My approach to most fear based issues is to tell my client to confront the fear. It is an amazing feeling when you can confront the thing that scares you the most and you concur it. You feel like you can concur anything; most times.  I would also help the client to figure out where this fear came from because fear is just an emotion, it's not real, it's a feeling. An important one yes but still just a feeling. I hope this answers your question for you. Good luck! You can do this! I have faith in you!
(LCSW, MSW, MA)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What are ways to help get over phobias, specifically bugs for me and high anxiety/paranoia

Hello! I am glad that you reached out! I am sorry that you have been experiencing this phobia. Your phobia would be best treated by seeing a Mental Health Professional who specializes in phobias. You would need to meet with a therapist and have a thorough evaluation to know exactly what you are experiencing and to get the proper treatment. Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems, including anxiety and phobias. 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 phobia. 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. I recommend that you seek a therapist that specializes in phobias. I wish you the best as you seek out proper treatment for your specific situation.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to overcome agoraphobia? In order to live life naturally. It became from epileptic seizure

How to overcome agoraphobia? In order to live life naturally. It became from epileptic seizure Based on your question, I would highly recommend that you see a professional counselor and or therapist to be assessed for an official diagnosis. A professional counselor and or therapist can support you in assessing your specific mental health needs in regards to your treatment goals. While there are great advantages of doing counseling online, such as ease of access, there are also some limitations. Once, you have been assessed properly and you would have received a thorough and full evaluation/assessment from a local professional counselor and or professional therapist. A professional counselor and or professional therapist in your local area can assess your current mental health concerns with you to see what triggers your symptoms of agoraphobia and assess what it looks like in your own words.  If your symptoms of agoraphobia are severe, a professional counselor and or professional therapist can provide you with a referral to a professional psychiatrist and or medical provider for a medication evaluation based on the medications that you are already taking. After you are assessed by a professional psychiatrist or medical provider your current prescription for medication in regards to your specific mental health needs may be altered in an effort to decrease or alleviate your current symptoms of agoraphobia. Medication can work quickly to begin relieving some of your symptoms of agoraphobia within around 14 days. Therapy and medication together can help minimize the severity of your symptoms of agoraphobia once you receive an updated assessment of your current symptoms. 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 the medication in regards to dealing with agoraphobia.   Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in treating individuals who have struggled with symptoms of agoraphobia.  A professional counselor and or professional therapist can assist you in learning how to effectively implement coping skills to decrease your symptoms of agoraphobia. A professional counselor and or professional 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 symptoms of agoraphobia.   In an effort to decrease your symptoms of agoraphobia 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 obsessive-compulsive 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 having stressing out, feeling depressed, experiencing specific phobias, and or crying 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 at 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 symptoms of agoraphobia in an effort to help you experience an overall healthier mental well-being.   Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a professional counselor and or professional therapist, medical provider, and or psychiatrist to continue to assess your medication management routine at this time. The help of a mental health professional counselor and or professional therapist can be quite beneficial in helping you to properly get a better understanding of your current symptoms of agoraphobia, as it can look different for everyone. Please remember that mental health is not one-size-fits-all, so it is very important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs in reference to your symptoms of agoraphobia. Best regards to you!  
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Why am I being paranoid

Dear Elisse,   Thank you for your message and for sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Fear of loss is what I might think about when it comes to anxiety in relation to loss or change, especially failures. We are scared of losing the ones that we love, losing our health, losing what we treasure, losing our relationships, losing our success and potential. Being scared of losing make us feel anxious and often we would act impulsively on these fear.   "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~Norman Cousins   Of all the things that scare us, the loss can seem like the most terrifying. At times, I've thought about it with such dread that it's felt overwhelming.   Whenever I quit a job I hated in that past, I felt stuck between two loss-related fears: the fear of losing my passion by staying, and the fear of losing my financial security if I walked away and didn't find something else.   Whenever I considered leaving a bad relationship, I felt paralyzed by two similar fears: the fear of losing my chance at fulfillment by staying, and the fear of losing the comfort of companionship if I walked away and didn't find someone else.   I haven't only worried about the potential for loss as it pertains to big decisions. I've worried about losing people I love, pleasures I enjoy, and circumstances that feel comfortable. I've dreaded losing my youth, my health, and my sense of identity.   And then there are the everyday losses: If I don't do this, will I lose someone's respect? If I don't do that, will I lose my own? If I don't go, will I lose some of yet unknown opportunities? If I don't stay, will I lose my sense of comfort and security?   I might even go so far as to say that whenever I fear something, loss is at the root of it. I suspect I'm not alone.   We buy things we don't need (or groupons we won't use) because a sale's ending soon. We grab an item of clothing because there's only one left and someone else might take it-even if we aren't really sure we want it. We keep gym memberships we aren't actively using if we know we won't be able to get that same rate again.   And then there are the bigger things.   We turn down opportunities that could be rewarding to avoid the risk of losing something else that feels good enough. We use our time in ways that feel unfulfilling because we fear losing time on a decision that might be wrong. And we fail to invest in ourselves, even though we're aching to expand, because it can feel painful to part with our money.   We can't ever know for certain that a risk will payoff, but we can choose to recognize when the fear of loss motivates our actions, and make a conscious effort to overcome it. If we don't, it can severely limit our potential for growth, happiness, and fulfillment.   Overcoming the Fear of Loss   I first recognized this fear, and it's associated irrational thoughts and behaviors, when I felt devastated after someone I wanted to break up with broke up with me first.   I realized I didn't make the decision myself because I preferred a bad (even abusive) relationship to being single. I also understood that I would have been far less affected if I'd made the choice to walk away, and that my feelings completely transformed because I felt out of control-like I lost something, and it wasn't my choice.   Since then, I've developed a little system for identifying this fear when it takes hold-and a few practices for overcoming it so that it doesn't overcome me.   1. Ask yourself, "What am I scared of losing?"   This may seem like an obvious question, but I've learned that it's all too easy to go through our days, making choices, without recognizing the underlying feelings that motivate them.   Whenever you have a choice to make, recognize in what way you're motivated by the fear of losing something, whether it's comfort, security, control, money, companionship, or something else.   Once you understand what you're scared of losing, you can…   2. Ascertain if you're seeing the whole picture.   There was a time when I worked 60+ hours/week to hold onto a job I didn't even want. I was the last remaining employee after a massive layoff, but I didn't feel ready to lose that job.   After several months of working long hours from home, I realized I'd never feel ready. It wasn't until I finally got laid off that I started planning for this site.   My logic was faulty-that it was best to stay with the sure thing, because I wasn't ready to do something else-because the reality was that I needed the time and space to figure out that something else.   In other words, loss was necessary to set me up for gain; it wasn't the other way around.   If you're making a decision, or avoiding making a decision, based on the fear of what you might lose, ask yourself if you're losing more by not doing what you really want to do.   When you attempt to see beyond the fear, you're better able to recognize if you're keeping yourself stuck-and if you'd benefit from letting go of what you think you need.   3. Use loss aversion as motivation to pursue what you really want.   My mentor once suggested that we can benefit from the fear of loss by charting our progress toward a goal. Just as we don't want to lose time and money, we don't want to lose momentum.   If you hang a large calendar on your wall, and put a star on every day when you do something positive-like exercise, practice a new hobby, or send out a resume for a new job-you'll create a psychological need to keep that streak going.   She said to me, "Your disappointment in seeing a day without a gold star is greater than your happiness at any single day's work."   Of course, you have to know what you really want first. That takes time and patience for us to reflect and think with our imagination, not logics.   4. Regularly assess your intentions and motivations.   This ties into the last one. Sometimes we think we want something because we've wanted it for years-and then we feel scared to lose that dream and all its related rewards.   But sometimes, as we grow and learn about ourselves and the world, our wants change.   A friend of mine racked up massive debt studying law, only to realize a couple years into her career that it didn't fulfill her as she hoped it would. She'd built her whole life around this possibility-and she had close to $100,000 in student loans.   She could easily have felt stuck, as if she'd lose too much if she walked away. But she did anyways. She moved to Chile and became a Pilates teacher, and though she ultimately realized she'd need to return to law for a while longer to pay off her debt, she's released the emotional fears associated with pursuing a different path.   And because she's experienced the joy of doing something else, she now has a compelling motivation to do it again: She knows what she stands to gain is greater than what she stands to lose.   If you're forcing yourself to do something and a part of you feels it isn't right, ask yourself, "Do I actually want this right now?" There's a chance you do, and you're just feeling frustrated and discouraged-but there's also a chance you don't anymore. Only you can know for sure what you really want.   5. Change how you see the inevitability of loss.   The reality is that loss is inevitable.   We will all lose relationships, situations, and states of being that we enjoy and love. Even if we practice non-attachment, on some level we will get comfortable with people and circumstances.   You could say that this is what makes life beautiful and meaningful-since nothing lasts forever, each moment presents unique possibilities worth fully appreciating and savoring.   Or you could say this is what makes life tragic-that everything is fleeting, and eventually it all slips away.   How we choose to see things dictates how we'll experience them. Would you rather see everything as precious or pointless?   If we can choose the former, we can recognize that every loss provides opportunities for future gains-new relationships, experiences, and ways of being that may fulfill us in ways we can't possibly predict.   Of course, this can only happen if we trust in our ability to recognize and create these new connections and situations. We all have the potential to do it.   Some losses feel devastating when we experience them-and sometimes, the gain isn't proportionate to the loss.   But somehow, we survive in the wake of almost every storm. Whether we thrive is up to us. That's a choice we need to make proactively, not in response to what we fear, but in response to what we genuinely want to feel and do in this life.   So I leave you with this question: Why are you afraid of losing? And are you ready to trust in yourself and your abilities so that you can get unstuck?   The answer could be no to this question. It is absolutely acceptable to acknowledge our fears and be honest with ourselves if we don’t feel ready to change. We are all humans and that means we have a right to not be perfect. There is no judgement. We are all in this together.   Looking forward to learn your thoughts, thank you for your trust. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do i overcome fear especially fear of death and getting old?

Dear Pretty,   Thank you for your sharing. As humans we are all not as strong as we think we could be, and there are times we face situations like this that on one hand we are not satisfied with where we are, yet the thought of changing this situation also scares us. We don’t want to be abused, yet we fear more about being lonely.   Fear of loss is what I might think about when it comes to anxiety in relation with loss or change, especially failures. We are scared of losing the ones that we love, losing our health, losing what we treasure, losing our relationships, losing our success and potential. Being scared of losing make us feel anxious and often we would act impulsively on these fear.   "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." ~Norman Cousins   Of all the things that scare us, loss can seem like the most terrifying. At times, I've thought about it with such dread that it's felt overwhelming.   Whenever I quit a job I hated in that past, I felt stuck between two loss-related fears: the fear of losing my passion by staying, and the fear of losing my financial security if I walked away and didn't find something else.   Whenever I considered leaving a bad relationship, I felt paralyzed by two similar fears: the fear of losing my chance at fulfillment by staying, and the fear of losing the comfort of companionship if I walked away and didn't find someone else.   I haven't only worried about the potential for loss as it pertains to big decisions. I've worried about losing people I love, pleasures I enjoy, and circumstances that feel comfortable. I've dreaded losing my youth, my health, and my sense of identity.   And then there are the everyday losses: If I don't do this, will I lose someone's respect? If I don't do that, will I lose my own? If I don't go, will I lose some as of yet unknown opportunity? If I don't stay, will I lose my sense of comfort and security?   I might even go so far to say that whenever I fear something, loss is at the root of it. I suspect I'm not alone.   Loss Aversion   Economists have identified loss aversion as a major factor in financial decision-making, in that most people would rather avoid losing money than acquire more. The psychological impact of losing is thought to be twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.   According to Ori and Ram Brafman, authors of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, we often make poor decisions simply to avoid loss.   One example they offer involves Captain Jacob van Zanten, once a well-established and respected pilot who headed the safety program for KLM-a Dutch airline marketed as "the people who make punctuality possible."   In the spring of 1977, on a flight from Amsterdam to the Canary Islands, van Zanten learned that a terrorist bomb had exploded at Las Palmas airport, where he was supposed to land. Along with a number of other flights, his was diverted to a smaller airport 50 miles away.   After landing the plane safely, he started worrying about a number of problems that would result from failing to take off soon.   The government had instituted a mandated rest period between flights for pilots, which meant he could be imprisoned if he took off after a certain hour. Staying overnight meant putting the passengers up in a hotel, which would be costly for the airline.   Waiting much longer meant losing time, money, and his reputation for punctuality.   Ultimately, van Zanten took off in a thick fog-despite knowing the risks, and not receiving take off clearance-because it seemed like a now-or-never moment. He didn't see the Pan Am 747 across the runway until it was too late-and 584 people died as a result.   The pressures and potential consequences of lost time piled up, and van Zanten acted against his better judgment, hoping to evade them.   Loss Aversion in Everyday Life   We all make irrational decisions everyday simply to avoid losing.   We buy things we don't need (or groupons we won't use) because a sale's ending soon. We grab an item of clothing because there's only one left and someone else might take it-even if we aren't really sure we want it. We keep gym memberships we aren't actively using if we know we won't be able to get that same rate again.   And then there are the bigger things.   We turn down opportunities that could be rewarding to avoid the risk of losing something else that feels good enough. We use our time in ways that feel unfulfilling because we fear losing time on a decision that might be wrong. And we fail to invest in ourselves, even though we're aching to expand, because it can feel painful to part with our money.   We can't ever know for certain that a risk will payoff, but we can choose to recognize when the fear of loss motivates our actions, and make a conscious effort to overcome it. If we don't, it can severely limit our potential for growth, happiness, and fulfillment.   Overcoming the Fear of Loss   I first recognized this fear, and it's associated irrational thoughts and behaviors, when I felt devastated after someone I wanted to break up with broke up with me first.   I realized I didn't make the decision myself because I preferred a bad (even abusive) relationship to being single. I also understood that I would have been far less affected if I'd made the choice to walk away, and that my feelings completely transformed because I felt out of control-like I lost something, and it wasn't my choice.   Since then, I've developed a little system for identifying this fear when it takes hold-and a few practices for overcoming it so that it doesn't overcome me.   1. Ask yourself, "What am I scared of losing?"   This may seem like an obvious question, but I've learned that it's all too easy to go through our days, making choices, without recognizing the underlying feelings that motivate them.   Whenever you have a choice to make, recognize in what way you're motivated by the fear of losing something, whether it's comfort, security, control, money, companionship, or something else.   Once you understand what you're scared of losing, you can…   2. Ascertain if you're seeing the whole picture.   There was a time when I worked 60+ hours/week to hold onto a job I didn't even want. I was the last remaining employee after a massive layoff, but I didn't feel ready to lose that job.   After several months of working long hours from home, I realized I'd never feel ready. It wasn't until I finally got laid off that I started planning for this site.   My logic was faulty-that it was best to stay with the sure thing, because I wasn't ready to do something else-because the reality was that I needed the time and space to figure out that something else.   In other words, loss was necessary to set me up for gain; it wasn't the other way around.   If you're making a decision, or avoiding making a decision, based on the fear of what you might lose, ask yourself if you're losing more by not doing what you really want to do.   When you attempt to see beyond the fear, you're better able to recognize if you're keeping yourself stuck-and if you'd benefit from letting go of what you think you need.   3. Use loss aversion as motivation to pursue what you really want.   My mentor once suggested that we can benefit from the fear of loss by charting our progress toward a goal. Just as we don't want to lose time and money, we don't want to lose momentum.   If you hang a large calendar on your wall, and put a star on every day when you do something positive-like exercise, practice a new hobby, or send out a resume for a new job-you'll create a psychological need to keep that streak going.   She said to me, "Your disappointment in seeing a day without a gold star is greater than your happiness at any single day's work."   Of course, you have to know what you really want first. That takes time and patience for us to reflect and think with our imagination, not logics.   4. Regularly assess your intentions and motivations.   This ties into the last one. Sometimes we think we want something because we've wanted it for years-and then we feel scared to lose that dream and all its related rewards.   But sometimes, as we grow and learn about ourselves and the world, our wants change.   A friend of mine racked up massive debt studying law, only to realize a couple years into her career that it didn't fulfill her as she hoped it would. She'd built her whole life around this possibility-and she had close to $100,000 in student loans.   She could easily have felt stuck, as if she'd lose too much if she walked away. But she did anyways. She moved to Chile and became a Pilates teacher, and though she ultimately realized she'd need to return to law for a while longer to pay off her debt, she's released the emotional fears associated with pursuing a different path.   And because she's experienced the joy of doing something else, she now has a compelling motivation to do it again: She knows what she stands to gain is greater than what she stands to lose.   If you're forcing yourself to do something and a part of you feels it isn't right, ask yourself, "Do I actually want this right now?" There's a chance you do, and you're just feeling frustrated and discouraged-but there's also a chance you don't anymore. Only you can know for sure what you really want.   5. Change how you see the inevitability of loss.   The reality is that loss is inevitable.   We will all lose relationships, situations, and states of being that we enjoy and love. Even if we practice non-attachment, on some level we will get comfortable with people and circumstances.   You could say that this is what makes life beautiful and meaningful-since nothing lasts forever, each moment presents unique possibilities worth fully appreciating and savoring.   Or you could say this is what makes life tragic-that everything is fleeting, and eventually it all slips away.   How we choose to see things dictates how we'll experience them. Would you rather see everything as precious or pointless?   If we can choose the former, we can recognize that every loss provides opportunities for future gains-new relationships, experiences, and ways of being that may fulfill us in ways we can't possibly predict.   Of course, this can only happen if we trust in our ability to recognize and create these new connections and situations. We all have the potential to do it.   Some losses feel devastating when we experience them-and sometimes, the gain isn't proportionate to the loss.   But somehow, we survive in the wake of almost every storm. Whether we thrive is up to us. That's a choice we need to make proactively, not in response to what we fear, but in response to what we genuinely want to feel and do in this life.   So I leave you with this question: Why are you afraid of losing? And are you ready to trust in yourself and your abilities so that you can get unstuck?   The answer could be no to this question. It is absolutely acceptable to acknowledge our fears and be honest with ourselves if we don’t feel ready to change. We are all humans and that means we have a right to not be perfect. There is no judgement. We are all in this together.   Looking forward to learn your thoughts, thank you for your trust. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

From getting up in the morning I clean constantly , certain obsessive personality ruins relation.

Dear CJ,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially on how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions through these obsessive behaviors. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Often the experience we've had about anxiety (or any strong emotion such as stress / depression) was so terrible (even physically) that our body sort of become traumatized to it. We naturally become nervous about these unpleasant feelings because we don't like these sensations and experiences. As a result we would do everything we can to avoid / fight these anxious feelings, often using numbing techniques such as using substances or distracting ourselves. Yet only to find that the anxiety gets stronger over time because we have never been able to make peace with it.   Therefore rather than trying to "change" / "fight" / "get rid of" these unpleasant sensations, perhaps the best thing that we can do is to make room for these feelings and even sensations, while staying on track to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment. Floating without judging / blaming ourselves through the anxiety experience, while focusing on making room for anxiety can be helpful.   Here is a short video put up by the author of the book "The Happiness Trap" which does a good job explaining this concept:   Please take some time to watch this and share your thoughts later :) I also highly recommend picking that book as well to supplement this therapy process.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCp1l16GCXI    We as human beings do not like sufferings, therefore often times we would be doing our best to fight it. However just like the analogy of swimming vs floating that we have talked about before, the more we fight it, the faster we sink. While if we can learn to float with these waves, we will realize that we won't sink.   Radical acceptance / Expansion is about accepting of life on life's terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life and all that life brings (including all sorts of emotions such as joy, sadness, peace and pain), just as it is without forcing our ways into our lives.   Why do we want to accept life as it is? Because with anything that we do in life that brings us meaning and fulfillment, it always accompany a wide range of emotions, we can't possibly just choose the ones that we like and fight / avoid those that we don't like. Learning to experience all emotions as they are, is a sign that we are living our lives to the fullest.   To do so we must learn to accept (and make room for) any unpleasant sensations, feelings or thoughts that we experience.   We don't want to fight it because the more we fight, the stronger they will come back.   We don't want to avoid it either because the more we avoid, the more we'll be afraid of it.   So the key here is to make room for these sensations, feelings and thoughts, while continue to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment in life.    Learning to "co-exist" with these feelings will naturally reduce the intensity of them.   Floating, is a form of learning to accept these feelings and make room for it.   Let me give you some practical guidelines on what I mean by accepting these feelings and make room for it.   You can look up "expansion technique" under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for more information as well.   How to accept our emotions (and make room for them):   1. OBSERVE. Bring awareness to the feelings in your body.   2. BREATHE. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe into and around them.   3. EXPAND. Make room for these feelings. Create some space for them.   4. ALLOW. Allow them to be there. Make peace with them   Some people find it helpful to silently say to themselves, 'I don't like this feeling, but I have room for it,' or 'It's unpleasant, but I can accept it.'   • When you're feeling an unpleasant emotion, the first step is to take a few slow, deep breaths, and quickly scan your body from head to toe.   • You will probably notice several uncomfortable sensations. Look for the strongest sensation - the one that bothers you the most. For example, it may be a lump in your throat, or a knot in your stomach, or an ache in your chest.   • Focus your attention on that sensation. Observe it curiously, as if you are a friendly scientist, discovering some interesting new phenomenon.   • Observe the sensation carefully. Notice where it starts and where it ends. Learn as much about it as you can. If you had to draw a line around the sensation, what would the outline look like? Is it on the surface of the body, or inside you, or both? How far inside you does it go? Where is the sensation most intense? Where is it weakest? How is it different in the center than around the edges? Is there any pulsation, or vibration within it? Is it light or heavy? Moving or still? What is its temperature?   • Take a few more deep breaths, and let go of the struggle with that sensation. Breathe into it. Imagine your breath flowing in and around it.   • Make room for it. Loosen up around it. Allow it to be there. You don't have to like it or want it. Simply let it be.   • The idea is to observe the sensation - not to think about it. So when your mind starts commenting on what's happening, just say 'Thanks, mind!' and come back to observing.   • You may find this difficult. You may feel a strong urge to fight with it or push it away. If so, just acknowledge this urge, without giving in to it. (Acknowledging is rather like nodding your head in recognition, as if to say 'There you are. I see you.') Once you've acknowledged that urge, bring your attention back to the sensation itself.   • Don't try to get rid of the sensation or alter it. If it changes by itself, that's okay. If it doesn't change, that's okay too. Changing or getting rid of it is not the goal.   • You may need to focus on this sensation for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, until you completely give up the struggle with it. Be patient. Take as long as you need. You're learning a valuable skill.   • Once you've done this, scan your body again, and see if there's another strong sensation that's bothering you. If so, repeat the procedure with that one.   • You can do this with as many different sensations as you want to. Keep going until you have a sense of no longer struggling with your feelings.   • As you do this exercise one of two things will happen: either your feelings will change - or they won't. It doesn't matter either way. This exercise is not about changing your feelings. It's about accepting them.   Does this make sense so far?   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

what is the effective practical method to overcome social enxiety ?

Mira Mimi,   I read your passage where you discussed social anxiety since age 5.  I understand you experience inability to interact with others and fear being touched or conversing with males.  You also identified lack of confidence in yourself attempting to be perfect or put on a persona for others.  Social anxiety coincides with anxiety as it is defined as one inability to engage and communicate during social interactions.  Social anxiety is irrational and subconscious thoughts often living in a bubble or isolating to avoid rejection and disappointment.  Social Anxiety and Anxiety correlates together as one worry excessively of being judged, making mistakes, not feeling purposeful or embarrassed due to own self-perception.  Anxiety can be triggered by trauma or inability to process or cope with negative feelings or thoughts.  If you are experiencing self-doubt and excessive worrying you began to over generalize and create narratives of negative thoughts that falls in the category of social anxiety and anxiety category.  Anxiety is inability to stop worrying and control the negative thoughts resulting in a decline in daily activities and fear.  I suggest you work through therapy utilizing Cognitive Behavioral therapy to identify, challenge and replace distorted thoughts.  Your therapist can also work through exposure therapy to confront negative thoughts by engaging and decreasing fears.    Low self and lack of confidence is correlates with social anxiety an anxiety as you question your worth and capabilities.  It appears you are affected physically as your thoughts are overpowering your ability to put on a persona and be in control of your actions creating some frustration and confusion.  It appears you need to work on calming your thoughts through Dialectal Behavioral therapy and creating a self-care plan thought behavior modification technique.  I suggest you work with a therapist to help assist you with your automatic thoughts identifying patterns and roots of behavior. I believe there is some underlying issue that you have experienced as you specified men that creates social anxiety and shivering when approached.  Therapy will help with identifying factors to your behavior to achieve productive ways to cope without isolating or avoiding the problem.  Therapy will assist you in identification, self-exploration of the problems, problem solving effectively as well as well as support during difficult movement of recollections of past and present difficulties.  I mention earlier Cognitive Behavior Therapy to aid in identification and replacing negative thoughts of yourself as well as negative perception socially to increase healthy coping skills.  Dialectal Therapy will help reduce the intensity by learning to regulate your emotions, defuse situations, and set boundaries by challenging isolation and expressing feelings with confidence.
Answered on 01/21/2022

What can I do about having severe fear of getting bugs from peoples homes, traveling, or boxes?

Hello! Thank you for reaching out - as this is often one of the hardest things to do. That is, express that you are feeling vulnerable! _____________________ What a difficult experience this fear has undoubtedly been. Let's see if I can provide some general feedback on the information you provided, try to explain what you might be experiencing, clinically, and also offer some considerations and options for moving forward. Firstly, it sounds like what you are contending with is a very pesky "phobia." It is a very specific type of anxiety that people experience differing physiological and emotions as a result of. Phobias, like other anxiety disorders, can be influenced by genetics, environmental exposure or medical/health conditions. It is a type that is best-described as a persistent and excessive (in your words, "severe") fear reaction directed at a certain situation (e.g., "getting bugs" from traveling) or object (bugs, themselves). This often causes impairment or interferences in life, and in your case has even limited your social life! This is painful, and can lead to a great deal of dread - which can lead to other impairments you might experience in adjunct to anxiety - including depressed mood and sleep disturbances. There are a range of effects of anxiety such as this. The idea would be to reduce the impact of your symptoms, and there are some ways to combine forces in doing that:   Medication: SSRI's, sedatives and other anti-anxiety medications may be helpful can help tone down physical and emotional symptoms of both acute and chronic experiences of anxiety. See you physician, psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner for this discussion and evaluation, as there are many tried-and-true regimens that may provide some benefit. But, this should alway be done in concert with... Psychotherapy - Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Exposure therapy, Others: The problem has become that you are aware your fear may be irrational or over-the-top, but you feel as if you can't stop. Now that you've done that, we can start to address these thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, re-gain some control! There are various intereventions that many people respond well to, and the name of the game is to expose your emotions to a source of fear in a supportive, controlled, safe setting. In short, the idea is to identify and change negative thoughts, core belief systems that may not be adaptive and also unhelpful reactions in behaviors based on these.  _____________________ Please know that there is hope, and that more than 19 million others contend with anxiety experiences like this. Meaning, you aren't alone, there are many known treatments and considerations and that you've likely completed one of the hardest facets of conquering your fear - by giving you gift and your story to a professional. 
(LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

should i stay or should i go?

I think the biggest question is does your spouse want to alter the behavior with the OCD? If she does I think setting boundaries would be incredibly important in order to hold her accountable for her recovery and help her with the process of overcoming her beliefs, and help adjust them to become because more realistic within your living environment. Also I think it is important to identify if your spouse had a clinically diagnosised form of OCD or if she has a different clinical diagnosis. With the initial presentation you provided it appears there may potentially be some psychotic presentation with her symptoms as well which would require significantly different treatment methods, and likely medication to manage the condition.    If your spouse is unwilling to obtain treatment for her mental health condition I think it is important for you to identify what your boundaries are with also understanding that the person you are married to has a mental health condition that is going to take time, and patience to work through.   I dont think completely accepting her condition and learning to live with it seems very attainable at the moment because it sounds like she is impacting your ability to be an effective parent, and partner with her making accusations about you poisoning your family. However if the diagnosis truly is OCD keep in mind this is an anxiety disorder that is generally derived from trauma and intense fear that makes an individual believe that they and their loved ones are in imminent danger. OCD can take years of therapy to treat, and some of the obsessions may still linger. If the clinical diagnostic impression indicates potential psychotic features this can be even more difficult to treat because there is a lot more complexities to the condition.    With individual therapy therapist have one primary focus and work based off the context of what the individual says in the session and provides treatment based on this. Couples therapy has a much different dynamic and the primary goal is to ensure balance and harmony in the relationship and work within compromising based on 2 individuals needs. It sounds like the individual therapist is likely picking up on the frustration you are having with this and recommending you else boundaries for your own mental health. Where the couples therapist is seeing your spouses fear, and resistance towards change, combined with your frustration and trying to find a balance for your spouse to be supported during this transition while working with minimizing your frustration. 
(Licensed, professional, clinical, counselor, Certified, rehabilitation, counselor)
Answered on 01/21/2022