Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill Therapist Sara Cole.
You're crying, then laughing, then crying and then angry and then you forget why. You were in the middle of a task at work and you have no idea what it was. You forget how to get to work from your house even though you have done that drive no less than five hundred times.
It is very unlikely that you are truly losing your mind. You feel like your losing it and you may even be able to point out things that you could call evidence of a slow decline into oblivion. But if you are like most people, you are overwhelmed or dealing with big change or stretched way too thin.
This is how we try to cope when everything gets to be too much. I think of it kind of like if your brain was a box and it was full of brain power and once that brain power is used up there isn't any more until later. Sometime just trying to keep going takes more brain power and emotional power than when all is calm. That leaves less of it for other things like remembering an appointment or even emotional regulation. High stress consumes a huge amount of your ability to maintain. So maintain is the best you can do at that point.
Add in sleep loss, life changes, being stretch too far, depression or anxiety, then the shortages of "power" grow even faster. Sleep loss can make you so forgetful. It can make you feel disoriented, depressed and confused. That's a big part of what people call "mommy brain". Consistent sleep deprivation, major life changes, hormonal flip flopping and a new identity all contribute to the "mommy brain". The same is true for people who are dealing with other life situations as well.
So, no your not going crazy, you are actually functioning just like everyone else. This is one of the ways our amazing internal emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical system works to keep you going. This is a way it gives you a sign that you need a little maintenance, like a car lights up when it needs an oil change. The system is starting to be taxed and you are seeing the results in your emotions, your physical health, your memory, etc.
How do you get back to "normal functioning"? Great question. Well you can ask for help. Help with a new baby, help moving, help getting caught up, help feeling supported, help buying groceries, anything. You know that thing called "help" in any form you need. You can also slow down and take a reality check. Are you doing the best you can, with what you have, right now? Well that's pretty good. Sleep. I will say that again SLEEP and get rest. Take a little break. Breath. I mean really breath those deep slow inhales through the nose and exhales through the mouth. Talk to someone neutral. It can be a therapist, priest, close friend. Talking and getting feedback helps. It helps in so many ways. Exercise, even if its some stretches and a walk around the block. Exercise activates good chemicals in the body and brain. It helps to clear your mind. Know that things will get easier, not so foggy and confusing. You will start to feel better soon. You will start to feel like yourself again. Just hang in there and do some of these small things to care for yourself and get through this rough patch!
Sara Cole MFT is a therapist in San DIego who specializes in helping people who find themselves in a "rough patch". To find out how she can help you, visit www.Saracolemft.com to schedule a free consultation and get more info.
Just like there isn’t only one way to solve a problem, there isn't just one reason why people should go to counseling. It's not just for "crazy" people, or the place to turn as a last resort. There are many reasons to seek help from counseling, from traumatic life events to ongoing depression or major life changes.
Here are some of the top reasons people should go to counseling:
Long-term depression or sadness can hold you back. It makes you less motivated, less confident, it can damage relationships and can just reduce the quality of your life overall. If you are experiencing depression or ongoing sadness, a therapist can help you develop ways of coping, feeling better and getting to the root of the problem. A therapist can also also talk with you about whether medication might be useful in your treatment.
Anxiety or nervousness in small amounts can actually be useful as a way of protecting yourself. However, if your anxiety is getting in the way of you living your life, going to work, maintaining friendships- its time to talk with someone that can help.
When you lose a friend, family member or even a pet the sadness can feel like too much. You may feel moments of despair, then feel ok and then feel guilty for feeling okay. Some people also experience anger at the loss of a loved one. The grieving process is a natural one but most people need a lot of support as they navigate the this part of life. Counselor can help you to deal with loss in a way that is safe and healthy.
hen you experience a traumatic event such as a life threatening accident, witness a death, or get attacked, it can be almost impossible to move past the trauma. It may be something that happened recently or many years ago. A therapist can help you learn how to move past the trauma.
5. Life Changes:
Changes in life are inevitable, however that does not make them easy. Starting a new relationship, moving or having a child can be desired change, yet they can still cause stress and confusion. If changes that are undesired, such as divorce, happen a therapist may be even more important as you cope and make new plans.
When you are struggling to communicate with a partner, family member or friend, a therapist can help you to get back on track. In counseling you can learn tools to both communicate and listen in a productive way.
7. Relationships (beginning, ending or repairing):
I think we all know that relationships can be confusing, at any stage. This is even more so if there are problems or questions about the relationship. Therapy can be very helpful to answer some of those questions, make things less confusing or get the relationship back to a happy place.
8. Overwhelming emotions:
Overwhelming feelings can happen for so many various reasons. They may be uncontrollable crying, nervousness or mood swings. Feelings like this get in the way of living and enjoying life. No matter the reason, it is important to address the issue.
Sara Cole is an MFT practicing in Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill. For more tips, tools and articles you can sign up right here.
Life is full of change. Some changes we desire and choose, others are unwanted, overwhelming or even devastating. Having a new baby, getting married or starting a new job are all major life changes that are usually seen as positive. he truth is that even happy and exciting changes in life can be overwhelming, can throw us off balance or result in questioning who we are. Events like the death of a loved one, divorce or the end of a relationship, serious illness or the loss of a job are not changes that we hope for in life and can be extremely difficult to cope with.
Our responses to changes are as unique as we are and can depend on so many factors. Responses to life changes can be joy or relief or they can be depression, anxiety, confusion, anger, fear, feeling overwhelmed or the feeling of being in crisis. Even the natural process of aging can be difficult for some people to cope with. This is especially the case for people entering midlife. Questions of self worth, identity and the reality of our own mortality begin to come up.
When life changes or life transitions happen it is important to be gentle with ourselves and allow time to adjust. Sometimes the changes can be so abrupt, devastating or disruptive that we may need to seek out support or treatment. Leaving serious reactions to change unaddressed can be dangerous, as they may not resolve without some sort of treatment. An example of this is if someone has the symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) they have experienced a traumatic event such as natural disaster, life threatening event or witnessing something scary or disturbing. Symptoms can include anxiety, anger, depression, isolation, even suicidality, drug or alcohol abuse, nightmares, insomnia and more. PTSD does not resolve on its own but can be successfully treated with therapy.
Getting a divorce or ending a relationship can be extremely difficult and is another example of change in life that can be so hard to cope with in the absence of support. Graduating from college is a transition for some people that can be overwhelming and confusing. Questions start like "what is my purpose" or "what do I do know" or " who am now that I am an adult" start to bubble up as young adults move away from friends and the safety bubble of college life and are expected to get jobs and live independently.
No matter the type of change, if you are feeling lost or overwhelmed by it, getting support is an important step toward feeling better. Finding a therapist that you easily connect with will allow you to find peace and energy and to feel proud of who you are.
As most people are aware, addiction is a pervasive problem in our society. It is killing people across generations, races, economic classes and more. It does not discriminate and it is not gentle. It is sneeky, deseptive and leads people to do the unimaginable. People will kill, lie, steal, degrade themselves in horrible ways to feed their addictions, to get their drug, to chase that high. As a person who has addicts in my family, I am speaking from personal experience. An addict in their addiction is not themself. They are the shell of your loved one. That shell can be deceiving and heartbreaking, but just remember. Its not your person, its the drugs that are hurting everyone around them. To see a loved one being sucked into the spiral of addiction is scarey and sad and leaves you feeling so so helpless. Addiction can destroy a person if left untreated and it can destroy the people around the addict if left untreated.
One of the most important things to learn, for anyone who loves an addict, is that you can not control other people. No matter how hard you try, the only person you can control is yourself. You can chose what you do in your life, how you respond to people and situations and what your boundaries are. This is so hard to accept, because as a person watching addiction take hold you want your loved one back. You know what they need to do and how they should do it and you are desperate to force them to somehow stop. But they have to do these things themselves.. They have to find help and ask for help and take the help and learn to help themselves.
Trying to control "your addict" is like banging your head against a wall and will shorten your life and take the joy out of your life. You get to make this choice. Will you let their addiction ruin your life too? I have to make the conscious desicion to live MY life. I still love the addicts in my life and will do anything I can to help them. But here's the thing . I wiil NOT do anything to help their addiction! That means if they want a ride to treatment. I will be there. If they need money to get high. I will not help them. This is confusing at times, but if I go back to this idea, it gets easier to know the right thing to do. It helps me not get furiouse and crazy. I still feel sad because I am loosing those people while they are using. Its normal to feel sad, but it is not healthy to let their addiction take over my life. This is the idea behind not enabling a person in their addiction. I will not enabe them to continue using.
By stopping the enabling behaviors, we are actually doing the most powerful and helpful thing we can for our addict. We cant control them but we can start to limit the power their addiction has over us. We are also allowing them to take responsibility. We are letting them know that we trust that they can get well. That they are strong.
Sara Cole has been providing mental health services in San Diego for 15 years. Sara specializes in working with women and teen girls to overcome trauma and major life changes, including postpartum depression and anxiety. She is also passionate about providing treatment to those whose lives are affected by the addiction of a loved one.