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10 Sober Ideas For Creating Meaningful Traditions

10 Sober Ideas For Creating Meaningful Traditions

While the holidays are a source of joy and excitement for many, for those in recovery, it can feel quite the opposite. So, how do I manage the holidays in recovery? Here’s 10 sober ideas for creating meaningful traditions.

With the holiday season approaching, you may feel more unsettled than usual as you think about potential triggers, mental health struggles, and the overindulgence that comes with the season.

For years the holidays were centered around drugs or alcohol, so it can feel overwhelming to know how or where to begin.

Take heart in knowing that you now have the opportunity to start from scratch. Being in recovery means you have a clean slate to start new, meaningful traditions with family or friends. 

So, let’s talk about how to navigate the holiday season as an individual in recovery, and a few ideas to help spark your inspiration. 

Taking Care of Yourself During The Holidays:

If you’re in active recovery, you’re already well aware of the challenges that can be thrown your way. Most holidays involve alcohol in one way or another, so taking care of yourself during this season is vital. 

Here are a few ways you can make this holiday season a little easier:

Be Proactive:

If you’re new to sobriety, it may not be in your best interest to simply “wing it”. Ask yourself a few proactive questions to ensure you’re not caught off guard:

  • What is my desired outcome for this holiday season?
  • How am I going to handle my triggers?
  • Who can I trust at a social gathering to hold me accountable?

If you have a sponsor, now is a great time to connect with them about your worries. Every person in sobriety struggles around the holidays to some extent. Lean on those who have walked in your shoes so you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. 

Identify Your Triggers:

No, alcohol or drugs may not be the only trigger you come across during the holidays. For example, your emotional and mental state during the holidays can make you feel weaker than normal. 

A few common triggers include:

  • Interactions with certain family members (people)
  • Unexpected schedule changes 
  • Financial pressures 
  • Traveling
  • Certain locations (places)
  • Other objects such as: syringes, tinfoil, or bottle openers (things)

Keep in mind, you may not always know exactly what triggers you have until you’re confronted with them. If you have a therapist or close friend or family member, talk with them – they may be able to pinpoint something you aren’t able to see. 

Make a Plan To Say ‘No’:

Create a boundary, and stick to it. Bring a non-alcoholic beverage to sip on so others won’t offer you a drink. While some people choose to hide their reasons, it’s always better to maintain honesty. 

A few ways to respond may be:

  • “I don’t drink”. 
  • “I’m not drinking anymore”.
  • “I’m in recovery”.

Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation if they attempt to push you further. Alcohol is often the only substance people feel so compelled to have to explain not using. Set your boundaries as you feel comfortable.

Starting New, Meaningful Holiday Traditions In Recovery:

Recovery can be a rocky road and the holiday seasons are sure to bring about old memories of substance use in the past. While you might not feel as cheery and bright as in previous years, your holidays are by no means doomed for gloom!

Making the choice to create fun, wholesome, new holiday traditions can help you cultivate the healthy life you are striving to build. Establishing traditions can not only give you something to look forward to, but it can also serve as a positive experience among feelings of stress and worry. 

So, let’s go over a few sober holiday traditions to try this year:
  • Host a Movie Marathon: When was the last time you let yourself enjoy movies you once loved as a kid? Host a Christmas movie marathon with your closest friends or family members. Have each person write down their favorite childhood movie and draw from a hat! You could even make this a weekly event leading up to the holidays. 
  • Schedule a Game Night: Board games are incredibly underrated. Who doesn’t love a good competitive game of Clue? Or get ruthless with UNO. You can invite family and friends, or make it a night specifically for companions in recovery. Each person can bring their own favorite game to share!
  • Start Baking: Baking cookies, granola bars, pies, and other holiday treats have been around for ages. It’s a fun, holiday-centered tradition that doesn’t require any substances to enjoy. The plus side? Baking can be done as an individual activity for days you don’t feel like socializing, or as a group effort. 

  • Hit The Rink: When’s the last time you laced your skates up and took to the rink? Probably childhood. Whether it’s a community ice rink or wooden floored skate park, skating is a wonderful way to not only get your body moving but enjoy active time. 
  • Decorate Gingerbread Houses: Dedicate an afternoon (or evening) to icing those windows, and plopping gumdrops on your front lawn. Gingerbread house decorating is the equivalent of pumpkin carving during Halloween. You may just be surprised at what architectural skills you have! Entice some sober friends to decorate along with you with peppermint lattes or a new coffee
    1. Try something new. Ever made Turkish Coffee on the stove top? Ever made your own handmade pasta (its not hard) or peppermint bark? Or maybe learn to roll your own spring rolls?
    2. Not a foodie? No, problem – go different. The US Olympian, Tom  Daley has a new book out on knitting – something he learned to do to handle boredom and it became a sort of meditation. Go to a pottery house and paint your own. Drop an language app onto your phone and spend 30 minutes a day on it or YouTube how to play the uke or guitar.
    3. Attend a Light Tour: Many cities around the country have Holiday walk-through light tours. If yours doesn’t, make it a tradition to walk or drive through the neighborhoods that go all out. From string lights to Santa Claus, to the Grinch, the decorations are endless! It’s a fun way to enjoy the spirit of Christmas. 
    4. Caroling is a waning tradition but singing with friends is a great booster for mood and gets the mirth pumping. Print off some easy sing-along sheets from online, grab your coffee and a few of friends.
    5. If you’re stuck – go early to a meeting. Open the door for people as they arrive. Smile, shake hands and greet them – tell them you are glad they came and you hope they keep coming. Not feeling social? Set up chairs, make coffee or bring some cookies to put out. When in doubt – simple acts of service are a good tradition any time of the year.

      Holidays In Recovery Are a Time To Start New:

      Holidays aren’t exactly avoidable. They come and go no matter what. If you’re in recovery, holidays can be particularly triggering. Be proactive about your approach, create a plan and identify your triggers so you feel both empowered, and safe

      Sobriety means creating a new life for yourself. The holidays make look different this year, but creating new, healthy traditions can become an anchor in your journey.

      Recovery gives you an opportunity to make the holiday season what you’ve always wanted it to be.

      Whatever you do, I wish you a healthy and happy holidays –

      Buon Natale’ !

      Resources:

      https://www.victorybayrecovery.com/resources/blog/10-ideas-for-making-sober-holiday-traditions/
       
      https://www.talkspace.com/blog/why-the-holidays-are-difficult-for-people-with-addictions/#:~:text=The%20holidays%20are%20often%20associated%20with%20indulgence%20and%20extravagance.,(and%20even%20those%20without).
       
      https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/teach-me/recovery-during-the-holidays
      https://westcoastrecoverycenters.com/creating-new-and-healthy-holiday-traditions-in-recovery/
      Categories
      Anxiety & Stress Grief Life Transitions Uncategorized

      How Can I Support a Grieving Friend Through The Holidays?

      How Can I Support a Grieving Friend Through The Holidays?

      The holidays are laced with majestic lights, flavorful treats, and smells of cinnamon and evergreen no matter where you go. For some, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. However, for someone grieving, the holidays can pack a punch with such force they may struggle to keep their head above water. 

      When someone special dies, it can make those still living feel like there’s nothing left to celebrate anymore. Combine this with the financial pressures of gift-giving, overthrown schedules, and routines, and the overwhelming message to spend the holidays with loved ones, the perfect storm is created. 

      So, as someone on the outside how can you support those close to you that are grieving? 

      Let’s talk about what grief is, and how to both connect and encourage a grief-stricken friend through the holiday season.

      What Is Grief?

      Grief is the internal pain and sorrow we experience after a significant loss. While we can describe grief in words on paper, it’s a unique feeling only understood by those who have personally endured it. 

      Unlike sadness that disappears over time, many people describe grief as a “lurking” monster right below the surface. While time goes on and people move past the initial state of shock, the deep emptiness of loss still remains. 

      This is why the holidays can be excruciating for someone grieving. It often serves as a painful and stark reminder that their loved one is no longer with them. 

      Another useful analogy is that of the red ball example. Picture a closed square – this represents your life. Inside this box is a red bouncing ball, representing grief, and a small button representing pain. 

      When the loss first happened, the ball was enormous, and hit the pain button multiple times a day. As time wanes on, the bouncing ball of grief gets smaller. It doesn’t hit this button as often, however, when it does, it still hurts just the same. 

      This description is an excellent way to explain how grief may change over time but can be triggered at moments (such as holidays). 

      Ways To Support Your Grieving Friend During The Holiday Season:

      Now that we understand more about grief, let’s talk about what you can do to make the holiday season a little less painful for those you care about. 

      Reach Out:

      First and foremost, make an effort to reach out! It may be uncomfortable if you’re unsure of how they’ll react but holidays can be incredibly lonely for people that have lost a loved one. Reach out whether it’s via text message, phone call, or social media message. Ask them how they’re doing this time of year. 

      It’s a common misconception to believe that you’re magnifying their pain by talking about their loss, but it’s often the opposite. Many grieving individuals want their loved ones to be remembered. 

      Listen:

      Listen more than you talk. It’s much better to admit, “I’m not exactly sure what to say, but I want you to know I’m here for you” rather than attempt to give advice that could potentially be hurtful or judgmental. Sometimes grieving individuals just need a listening ear while they talk about their loss. 

      Be sure to practice active listening:

      • Asking questions 
      • Nodding your head
      • Making eye contact
      • Putting away any distractions (ie turn off your cell phone, etc)
      • Repeating back what the other person said (reflective listening)

      Offer Practical Help:

      Even basic tasks can feel overwhelming around the holidays for a grieving friend. Offer down-to-earth assistance such as wrapping gifts, baking cookies, or helping pick up gifts. 

      For example, your friend may struggle to holiday shop if that was a long-running tradition with their loved one. By helping them out, you relieve them of some of the anxiety and stress involved with facing a trigger. It may be different next year, but for now, support them in the ways they need support. 

      Extend Invitations:

      When someone is struggling through grief they may feel isolated, lonely, or burdensome to others. Extend a welcome if you’re planning on going to a Christmas event. 

      They may not always say yes, but they’ll always appreciate the thought. If they do turn down your offer, don’t push. Don’t try to beg or negotiate them into joining. They likely have a reason for saying no, and it’s best to respect their boundaries. The sincere invitation from you is important all on it’s own – whether they accept or not.

      Including your grieving friend can help take their mind off of the way they’re feeling while you’re right there to support them. 

      Ask Questions:

      We can often become so obsessed with making sure we support a loved one in the right way, we forget to take their own needs into account. 

      Ask your friend something like this:

      • “How can I help you get through the holidays?”
      • “What kinds of things help? What doesn’t?”
      • “Is there anything practical I can help you with?”

      Taking the time to ask not only shows you care but shows you respect their personal needs. No matter what the response may be it’s important to accept it and avoid pushing. You’re not there to “fix them” you’re there to support them. 

      Grief Has No Timeline:

      When heading into the holiday season it’s important to remember that grief is ongoing. It doesn’t heal after the first holiday, or the second, or the third! After time has passed, some individuals are expected to just “get over it”. Keep in mind, this isn’t how grief works. 

      As Oliver Canovas, an artist from the United Kingdom once said, “If you simply cannot understand why someone is grieving so much, for so long, then consider yourself fortunate you do not understand.

      Shower your grieving friend with kindness, support, and patience. It could make a world of a difference this holiday season. 

      Resources:

       
       
      Categories
      Children & Grief Grief Life Transitions Loss Terminal Illness Uncategorized

      Managing the Emotions of Terminal Illness

      How Do I Manage The Emotions of My Terminal Illness?

      Being informed you have either a chronic, or terminal illness is news nobody ever expects to hear. So, what happens when you’re suddenly faced with this life-altering information and you have to start managing the emotions of terminal illness?

      Diagnosis of a terminal illness brings about a wide variety of emotions – whether you’re hit with them immediately, or you take some time to process them. Your priorities are suddenly shifted, and the amount of challenges you now face has doubled. 

      However, hope certainly exists – even in the face of a terminal illness. 

      While it might not seem possible, or even easy, keeping a positive  attitude and practicing peace can not only increase your quality of life in the time you have left, but can actually make the entire process easier for both you and your loved ones. 

      So, how is this done? How can you practice hope and self-compassion while remaining self-aware during a serious medical diagnosis? Let’s talk about it. 

      Your Emotions Post Diagnosis:

      If you’ve just been told you have either a terminal illness or a chronic one, you may be surprised at the way you’re feeling. Some individuals are suddenly bombarded with hysteria, depression, and an overflow of tears. Some, on the other hand, feel quite ‘matter of fact’ about death and dying, to their own surprise. 

      No matter how you’re handling the news, understand that each person’s journey is unique and there is no right or wrong way to feel

      A few emotions you may be going through include:

      • Anger
      • Shock
      • Resentment 
      • Fear
      • Sadness
      • Denial 
      • Frustration 
      • Hopelessness
      • Relief
      • Acceptance

      As time passes you may find you go through waves of different emotions. While at first, you may have felt in denial, after a few months you might come to accept what’s happening. 

      Most people, unless they have an extremely high level of emotional regulation, will be unable to take it all in right away. Hearing you have a terminal illness can be quite surreal, so it’s important to show yourself love and accept the emotions you’re feeling no matter what they are. 

      How To Cope With Your Emotions During a Terminal Illness:

      Knowing that death is near can take a massive toll on your mental health, as well as your loved ones. This is why it’s incredibly important to learn how to cope with these emotions in order to make the time you have a positive experience. 

      Healthily managing your emotions has been proven to influence acceptance levels, increase communication with loved ones, and create a balance of hope and honesty during an extremely difficult process. 

      Here are a few ways to cope with the emotions of a terminal illness:

      Educate Yourself On Fear:

      While almost everyone is afraid of death it can help to pinpoint exactly what part of death you’re afraid of most. Do you wonder if it will hurt? Are you struggling with the unknown of what comes after? Is it the impact on your loved ones after you pass? Or perhaps it’s something else completely? For some of us it is physical, for some it is spiritual and for some it can rest in logistics or relationships or something entirely different.

      Empowering yourself with education on exactly what you’re afraid of can help manage it. Fear can drive emotions such as depression, anxiety, and helplessness so taking time to face it head-on can diffuse such powerful feelings. 

      Channel Your Anger:

      It’s quite rare someone ever feels ‘ready to die. However, these feelings of resentment and anger toward our situation can lead us to take our negative emotions out on those closest to us. 

      A terminal illness is unfair – and your feelings are completely valid! However, it’s not in your own best interest – or the interest of your loved ones – to spend your days angry at them. Try and find an outlet to release your anger directed at your disease, rather than at anyone person or thing in particular. 

      Tackle Guilt and Regret as Quickly as Possible:

      It’s very normal for a person nearing the end of life to feel immense regret about things they did or did not do. You may feel like you should have made different choices, said something you should have said, or taken a risk you should have taken. 

      While this is common to feel, guilt and regret changes nothing. It’s unhelpful to think about the would have / should haves unless you have a time machine. 

      Worrying about your past won’t relieve your burdens, in fact, it may make them much stronger. In this particular instance, it’s extremely helpful to allow yourself a ‘free pass. Guilt and shame have no place in your end-of-life care, and it must stay that way. 

      Nurture Your Grief:

      One of the scariest emotions you may be feeling is the immense grief that comes along with a terminal illness. You may be grieving the loss of a life you had planned, grieving your children or significant other before you’re even gone, or you may be grieving the physical functions you no longer have. 

      Many, many emotional losses come before the loss of life itself so it’s important to take time to nurture that grief. Instead of isolating yourself from others and choosing to deal with grief on your own, talk to someone. 

      A friend, a partner, or even your medical team. It may take a few times, but talking about your grievances will help alleviate the burden they cause. 

      How To Maintain Self-Awareness During The End of Life:

      While it’s likely you have a team of medical professionals by your side day and night, you’re the only one who knows exactly what you’re feeling at exactly the time you feel it. 

      While the thought of your final days can feel overwhelming, it may make it easier to understand what that process may look like. Knowing what to expect can make it less frightening and more prepared.

      There are a few conditions to look out for in order to maintain a more positive level of self-awareness during this time. 

      • Pain
      • Shortness of breath 
      • Decreased appetite and thirst
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting 
      • Constipation 
      • Extreme fatigue 
      • Delirium 
      • Restlessness
      • Seeing loved ones that have passed
      • Cold hands and feet
      • Skin mottling 

      While each person’s death will look different, being on the lookout for these can help you become more aware when death may be near. This can give you time to say goodbye to your loved ones, and have those you care about around you when you pass. 

      Dying Is a Natural Process:

      Everyone will die eventually. If you’re an individual with a terminal illness it just may be that your time has come sooner than others. Once you accept you have limited time left you can begin spending your final days, weeks, or years living each and every day with meaning and fulfillment. 

      It’s common for terminally ill patients to feel as though they’re a burden and to begin to isolate themselves from loved ones. But I want to reassure you this is certainly not the case. In most circumstances, loved ones simply don’t know what to say or how to act, so it’s up to you to keep communication open with them about the way you’re feeling. And yes, there are counselors who specialize in helping people and their families through this transition.

      Whether you feel denial, anger, shock, sadness, grief, or acceptance it’s all normal. The sooner you can embrace your emotions, the sooner you can make your time count. 

      Resources:

      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/coping-with-a-terminal-illness/#:~:text=It%27s%20normal%20to%20feel%20shock,to%20talk%20to%20a%20doctor.

      https://www.verywellhealth.com/dealing-with-terminal-illness-1132513

      https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/during-terminal-illness-hope-can-have-a-dark-side/

      https://www.cancer.org/treatment/end-of-life-care/nearing-the-end-of-life/emotions.html

      Categories
      Addiction Recovery Life Transitions Loss Organ Transplant Pre & Post Surgical

      Quick Look at Kidney Transplants

      The Quick Look at Kidney Transplants

      The kidneys are a fundamental element of our excretory system. The two bean-shaped kidneys play a very critical role in the human body. They are responsible for filtering out the blood and other body fluids. In this way, they ensure the release of waste that we don’t need and that can actually be harmful to hold on to. But when serious problems arise, a kidney transplant may be needed. And that can be a bit scary and overwhelming. You don’t have to go it alone. Below you will find a quick look at kidney transplants and a few ways we end up getting there.

      There are several sorts of kidney problems that can occur. You might experience a kidney stone, swelling or deterioration. All of these kidney problems can halt those “exit” functions. For example, if the kidney becomes unable to filter blood, then the wastes accumulate within different body parts, causing numerous issues like high blood pressure. When approximately 90% of a kidney stops filtering and excreting, it results in kidney failure. 

      Kidney transplantation is a life-saving procedure – and more frequent than you might think. It can be a solution for  kidney failure and other conditions requiring the removal of one or both kidneys.

      In the initial stages, kidney “wash through” machines and dialysis might work. However, in severe kidney failure, the likely option is a kidney transplant. 

      Although a human body can survive on one kidney, more health compromised people need another. And people with other medical ailments or second kidney failure will have to rely on an outsourced kidney; a kidney transplant. 

      Causes of Kidney Failure 

      Despite occurring naturally as we age, a few other factors can also cause kidney failure. Individuals having diabetes are more prone to kidney problems. Chronic or uncontrolled blood pressure levels also add to kidney damage. (the consistent inflammation can affect the filtering process). Unchecked, these all eventually lead you towards severe kidney failure. Increasing the chance that you will end up needing a kidney transplant.

      Dialysis Vs. Kidney Transplant

      With failed kidney, there can be two available options. First, you can go for dialysis, which is a machine-assisted excretion treatment and requires regular treatments for a lifetime. Second, you can seek ti have a kidney transplant. 

      No doubt, a kidney transplant can seem scarier than dialysis. When is surgery not scarier? But it can be effective in the long term and raise the improvement and quality of life. With dialysis, a person has to continue undergoing the same procedure again and again. There is no point at which you recover -it’s an ongoing treatment process. It is because dialysis is a more of a maintenance procedure rather than a fixed point treatment. 

      A kidney transplant, on the other hand, is a distinct and hopefully one-time procedure. Once you have a matched donor, undergone surgery and completed your recovery your health status, ideally, you should be improved. That is why a kidney transplant is often a preferable choice. 

      Some people are afraid of surgery or getting rejected during kidney transplants. And let’s be very clear, you need to be willing to care for the new kidney and the recovery has a lot requirements and continued success depends on your ability to make a lot of lifestyle changes and keep them. Many people are ready to promise anything in the face of a serious medical condition – the reality is, with a transplant you are already very lucky to get a new organ to begin with – you need to be serious in your commitment. It’s rare enough to get a great match, you aren’t likely to get another one. 

      In the end, it’s up to the patient and their physician to determine what is the best path for them.

      Why Choose a Kidney Transplant?

      When compared to dialysis, a kidney transplant can be preferable because of the following reasons;

      • Low Treatment Cost – It is one-time, whereas dialysis will continue to cost for a lifetime. 

      • Better Quality of Life –It gives you the opportunity to live the rest of your life in a better state of health – for many, this means in peace and comfort.

      • Fewer Dietary Restrictions –Unlike dialysis patients, there are fewer limitations on what or what not to eat. 

      • Lesser Health Risk –Unlike dialysis, it enables you to stay healthy in the long run.

      Kidney transplant is not always an option. A few things might restrict you from going for a transplant. It is potentially unsuitable for people with old age, severe heart diseases, cancer, mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, etc. So, everyone needs to consult with the doctor first, and if it comes under any no-go category, the person will have to continue with dialysis. 

      Types of Donors for Kidney Transplant

      For a kidney transplant, there can be two types of kidney donors. They are the following; 

      1) Living Donor

      A human body can rely completely on one healthy kidney for all metabolic activities. That is why a person with two healthy kidneys can donate a kidney to someone else who needs one. However, there are criteria to be met, such as blood group and tissues, to matchto either donate or accept a kidney. 

      A kidney donor can be a family member or someone else. It is always preferable to receive a kidney from a blood relation as it lets you avoid the risk of rejection and is usually beneficial. 

      2) Deceased Donor

      Another way of getting a kidney is from a deceased person. It happens in a way that hospitals usually gather data on people needing a kidney. The hospital is informed immediately whenever a deceased person’s kidney matches the patient. The doctor prepares an instant surgery for a transplant. It is a very time sensitive process because the kidney transplant should take place shortly for a kidney to be valuable. 

      Kidney Transplant Procedure 

      Kidney transplantation is more or less like other surgical treatments. During a kidney transplant surgery, the doctor injects the anesthetic dose within your blood through an intravenous line in your arm. It is basically to make you fall asleep or for a while to undergo the incision. Once unconscious, the doctor makes an incision to open up your abdominal region. He then puts in the donor’s kidney and connects the arteries and veins to your circulatory system. As the blood starts flowing, the new kidneys function within your body.

      Alongside that, your kidneys need a connection to the ureter. It can only then carry on the excretion process smoothly. The doctor connects the newly induced kidney to the ureter and the bladder. 

      As far as your original kidneys are concerned, they usually remain inside the body and aren’t disposed of. However, in some cases, when the failed kidney causes trouble, it is removed too. 

      Risks of Having a Kidney Transplant

      Although a prevailing treatment for severe kidney issues or kidney failure, a kidney transplant is not a full-proof solution. It causes multiple risks either during the transplantation surgery or afterward.

      • Rejection of the Donor Organ – While operating, the donated kidney might not be compatible with your body. It is possible to even after undergoing the matching tests and everything else. So, there is definitely risk, even beyond the ones typical of surgery. 

      • Kidney Diseases –The transplantation, although it eradicates the ailment, for the time being, there are chances of the patient regaining a mild or severe ailment. 

      • Side-effects –Undergoing the surgery can cause you side effects. It will leave an incision mark and temporarily cause redness, swelling, and pain. 

      None of the above three risks is unpreventable. Almost every doctor provides medication to minimize donor rejection, kidney diseases and surgical side effects. And there is a lot that you can do to help or hinder your own success.

      Postoperative Possible Complications of  Kidney Transplant

      • Infection – Minor infections like urinary tract infections, colds, and flu are common after kidney transplants. However, in most severe conditions, pneumonia or CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection may occur.

      • Blood clots –  The most common complication after a kidney transplant is the development of blood clots in the arteries connected to the donated kidney. In some cases, medications can be used to dissolve the blood clots.

      • Urine leakage –  Sometimes, after a kidney transplant, urine may leak through the connection between the ureter and bladder. This usually happens during the first-month post-kidney transplant.

      Conclusion 

      Opting for a kidney transplant requires you to think twice before jumping in. It ultimately, is up to you because you must live with both the benefits, risks and lifestyle changes required of the transplant. You must be brave enough to analyze the situation and make a decision. 

      Facing this decision and the life changes and commitment it requires can be extremely stressful. And not just on you, but also on your loved ones whose life will also change in the process. You both may feel worried about you undergoing surgery, fear of rejection or other complications. It marks a transition period in your life and theirs – and that is stressful all around. Be gracious and kind to yourself and each other. Stress directly impacts health, so consider working with a professional counselor who is experienced at working with transplant patients and their loved ones.

      Do exercise, eat healthy, engage in positive activities, and take good care of yourself before and after the kidney transplant. And obviously, alcohol and other drugs will only damage your chances and your new kidney – you need to leave those behind. Change your lifestyle so you can spend your life in style.

      References

      1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK567755/

      2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553074/

      3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230851/

      4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549004/

      5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716102/

      6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8711553/

      Categories
      Addiction Recovery Alcohol First Responders Life Transitions Opiates (Heroin and Prescription Pain Pills) Terminal Illness Uncategorized

      Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

      Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

      The liver is a large meaty organ in the human body. It is responsible for breaking down the food, fighting infections, and filtering blood. A healthy liver ultimately allows for a more active and engaging life. However, very few people live lives that protect and preserve it. Most likely because we simply dont know the extent of its function or importance. But alcohol-related liver disease is on the rise and the increase in alcohol consumption over the pandemic years hasn’t helped either.

      Liver Problems 

      The liver, like other organs, can also get damaged for different reasons. When we don’t care what goes inside the body, our liver has to pay the price for it. Mostly, liver damage starts with swelling, further leading to fibrosis and scars. People who figure out the damage and seek treatment can reverse the case. But in the other case, fibrosis can turn into cirrhosis, which is terrible. It causes your liver to struggle hard to do an everyday task. With time, it ends at a point where your liver stops functioning, a liver failure. 

      Symptoms of Possible Liver Problems

      There are so many indications that can depict the lousy condition of your liver. Some of them can be following;

      You might have itchy skin that causes bruises easily. 

      Your eyes might turn yellow, which is also a symptom of jaundice. 

      When your liver doesn’t function well, your belly may hurt. It sometimes makes you lose your appetite and feel sick of the stomach. 

      It can also cause your different body parts like legs, arms, and belly to swell. 

      What Causes the Liver Damage?

      Liver damage can either be due to a medical condition, disease, or because of your unhealthy lifestyle.

      Alcohol Addiction

      Excessive drinking is considered bad for health. It is true because it lends up to the liver, which affects the blood filtering process. Meanwhile, it causes the creation of harmful chemicals that damages your liver. When a person continues to drink too much alcohol, the overproduction of chemicals occurs. It deteriorates your liver, causing a ‘fatty alcoholic liver.’ It might not threaten you at this point, but remember, it can turn into hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure in days or weeks. 

      Drug Addiction 

      Liver infections are also prevalent these days. A virus consisting of Hepatitis variants like A, B, or C can also affect your liver badly. Such liver infections are mostly found among people struggling with drug addiction. This is usually because of the use of shared needles and unsanitary processes. Even seemingly minor mistakes and negligence can really harm your liver. 

      Yes, there can be other factors triggering the liver problems like cancer, etc. But alcohol and drug addiction are the major ones.

      Alcohol & Liver 

      Alcohol is a red-labeled product, and its abuse can be threatening for life. It can cause several health complications, from high blood pressure to stroke. And ultimately, liver damage can be one of the potentially terminal effects of excessive alcohol consumption. 

      Individuals addicted to alcohol have a high risk of developing chronic liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, or complete liver failure. It usually happens when a person consumes more than 15 drinks of alcohol over a week or a woman goes above eight glasses. It can be a one-time overdose or habitual abuse. In both cases, the over-drinking results in liver damage. 

      Alcohol Consumption Statistics 

      According to current research, 15%-30% of heavy drinkers are diagnosed with cirrhosis yearly. Most of them recover the damage when they give up on alcohol addicted and get appropriately treated.  It is one of the most common behaviors among adults in the United States. According to National Survey on Drugs, about 86% of adults have consumed alcohol in their lifetime.

      The statistics on drinking are alarming, and many people are trying to find ways to reduce their alcohol consumption. Various factors contribute to drinking, including age, gender, socioeconomic status and culture.

      How Does Alcohol Impact The Liver? 

      The liver functions as the nutrients breaking and filtering organ. In the case of alcohol, when the liver breaks it down, the chemical reaction releases a toxin. It is harmful as it damages your liver cells, causing alcohol-related liver diseases. 

      Do you know? The liver takes around an hour to process one alcoholic drink. It means the duration expands with the number of glasses. If someone does excessive drinks, the liver will take longer. What is more threatening is the point where the liver stops filtering any more alcohol. Rather than filtering, it lets the unprocessed alcohol enter the bloodstream. 

      When unprocessed alcohol, traveling along in the blood, goes into different body organs like the heart and brain, it can have devastating results. 

      Types of Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases 

      Alcohol-Related liver disease; Steahopetatis (ASH)

      It is an early-stage disease. It causes fat to accumulate within liver cells, interfering with liver function. The constant interruption declines liver production and health. 

      Even though there are no particular signs and symptoms at an initial stage, abdominal pain can indicate it, particularly on the right side. Simply, alcohol abstinence can reduce pain and improves liver health. 

      alcohol-related liver disease; Alcoholic Hepatitis 

      It is a more common yet destructive type of alcohol-related liver disease. It occurs due to the killing of liver cells and developing scars or fibrosis. Around 35% of individuals drinking excessive alcohol develop this disease at mild and severe levels. 

      When someone binges on drinking alcohol, it damages liver cells. The common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis are fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. If you experience it, stop drinking and see if things improve. In severe conditions, you must visit a physician and undergo liver treatment. 

      Alcohol-Related Liver Disease; Cirrhosis

      This is the most severe stage of liver deterioration. It becomes prominent when your liver is wholly scarred and damaged. The liver gets hard and shrinks in size. 

      Cirrhosis is common among addicted drinkers. Those who continue drinking alcohol for years end up having this fatal disease. It eventually fails the liver, endangering their lives. 

      How To Ensure A Healthy Liver?

      No matter what put your liver at risk, certain medicines and lifestyle changes can help you recover it. Making wise choices for your life can be difficult and many factors must be considered. Here are some tips for sustaining a healthy liver;

      Stop Feeding Your Addiction

      Limiting substance-abuse related liver damage is possible. It only demands you stop consuming substance; alcohol and/or drugs. Alcohol-related liver diseases can seem to creep up on you unexpectedly – many people wait far too long to see their doctor and get help. For the sake of your health and life, and those who love and care about you – it’s a choice you need to make. And there are lots of resources to help you – start by reaching out to your family, your physician, a seasoned and professional addiction counselor or even a treatment center.

      *Keep in mind that you need to get help – detoxing from alcohol and benzos can be deadly when done on your own.

      Eat Well & Exercise

      Having a healthy diet is always helpful. Eat more greens, fruits, and fibrous foods that are easy to digest. It will allow your liver to process in less time and relax too. Besides that, exercising keeps your body active. It enhances blood circulation, improving liver function.

      Take Care of Your Health 

      Whether be it your general or liver health, it deserves priority. You must take care of your health and opt for things that are good for it. Keep updating your lifestyle to a natural and healthier one to maintain well-being.

      What Happens When You Quit Drinking?

      Improved Sleep

      The benefits of quitting alcohol are not just restricted to the individual but also their family members. The person who is quitting alcohol will see improvements in their sleep quality and will have more energy throughout the day.

      Better Mental Health

      Quitting or cutting down on alcohol can help people feel better mentally and physically. People addicted to alcohol often experience depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Quitting or cutting down on alcohol can help them feel better mentally and physically by improving the quality of their lives.

      Lower Risk of Cancer 

      Alcohol is a huge risk factor for cancer. Alcohol abuse can also have other negative consequences. The cancer risk in people who drink alcohol is significantly lower than in those who don’t drink. Quitting alcohol is the best way to improve your health and reduce the increased risk of cancer.

      Conclusion

      The liver is a crucial organ to care for and substance abuse and/or addiction can put your liver in crisis. If you are an regular drinker or recreational user, you should at the very least have your liver checked out by your physician, routinely. They can run a quick blood test to look at risk of an alcohol-related liver disease. If your use has become routine, increased or even necessary, then opting for a professional and recommended addiction treatment program or center, may serve you even better. Whatever you choose to do, reach out to a professional and get the help you need and get it in time. It can save your liver and prolong life; the quantity and the quality of it. 

      References

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787499/

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6713002/

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5397877/

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860472/

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826827/

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441882/

      Categories
      Addiction Recovery Anxiety & Stress Cancer & Medical Grief Life Transitions Loss Survivors of Suicide Terminal Illness Uncategorized

      Simple Buddhist Concepts for Recovery and Personal Growth

      Many years ago a mentor of mine encouraged me to begin to explore simple Buddhist concepts for recovery and personal growth. That started me on a winding path of self discovery through Buddhist, Taoist and other Eastern philosophies that continue today. Below is a brief review of some simple concepts that aren’t typical in Western thought. Even so, they are growing in influence just as practices such as meditation and mindfulness have become more widely accepted.

      Everyone experiences highs and lows throughout their lives. But not everyone’s story, self-image, or actions are a reflection of our hardest moments. As people, we are only defined by the current narrative we speak about ourselves and how we live it. Each and every day, we’re given the opportunity to grow and expand beyond what we always have been, allowing ourselves to unfold, heal, and release. If you’ve struggled at some point in your life or feel as if your past actions or choices have kept you from being the person you want to be in this world, following you will find a few key Buddhist practices that may help you achieve this. 

      Suffering as Inevitable

      All of us will experience pain and suffering, but ongoing suffering is at least partly, our own doing. One concept within Buddhism is that suffering can be overcome. This concept is the key to many intentions behind personal growth, whether you’re wanting to overcome suffering imposed upon you or suffering you impose upon others.

      Suffering is an attachment to what is no longer wanted or wanted but no longer available. These may be negative experiences, thoughts or even emotions. When you allow yourself to continue to be attached to these experiences, you continue to empower them within your life. 

      Learning to let go of this resistance in your life allows you to view these experiences in neutrality. This means not being swayed or affected by them in a hindering or diminishing way.

      Suffering is also about perspective. If you are able to change your perspective of a painful experience, you may be able to dissolve the suffering surrounding it. Learning to find the positive in a situation, or even just the lesson learned, can help you find value in life’s darkest moments. 

      Nothing Is Permanent

      Life is always changing, flowing, and transforming. The same is true for people. As you move through time, you aren’t the same person as you were ten years ago, a year ago, or even an hour ago. Even if you aren’t aware of the subtle changes happening within you, they’re still happening. This concept can help you learn to release the past, which can sometimes dictate who you believe you are in the present moment. Also, viewing everything in life as temporary teaches you to enjoy the present moment for what it is, a gift. 

      Live each moment as if it’s your last. Ask yourself, “what am I willing to let go of in order to embrace this moment?” How would you treat the people in your life? How would you view the world? Being present and allowing life to flow gives you a sense of freedom and empowerment. Stop allowing the past to dictate who you are and letting the fear of the future influence your present actions. 

      Nothing Is Lost in The Universe

      Everyone’s life has a purpose and experiences a variety of polarizing events. Some are wonderful, magically blissful, and others are painful, draining, and restricting. It’s easy to view these negative experiences as ‘wrong,’ but they are a part of your story, your history at this point. You cannot change them, but you can change from them. What you experience in life is just as important as the sun, the stars, and beyond. It doesn’t matter the life you’ve been dealt – why struggle against history? It matters what you do with it now. Your value is not condemned or diminished because of the failures you’ve experienced, how you’ve suffered or how far you’ve fallen. Your life has purpose. 

      Even when you feel lost, some believe that you’re exactly where you need to be in order to awaken to the life lesson that you’ve been guided towards. Growth and expansion can only happen through change. Oftentimes, real change can only happen when you’re pushed out of your comfort zone or stripped from your attachments. (often resulting in suffering or loss.) Learn to look at life and all of the losses or disadvantages you perceive within your life, and recognize how they can motivate you, inspire you, or initiate a desire for positive change.

      Embrace Your Life’s Journey

      There isn’t a rule book for life and often no true guidance other than what other people have learned from their own experiences. Life isn’t meant to be perfected; there is no competition on who’s life is the greatest. Your life is unique, individual, and expansive. The journey you’ve walked may not look glamorous as someone else’s, but you’ll never truly know what they’ve experienced or gained from the life they’ve dealt with. 

      There is meaning beyond the cycle of life and death. The impact and lessons we learn carry through all the lives we touch. That’s the promise if legacy; “plant the seeds even if you never see the trees they become”. Life isn’t perfect, and the lessons our souls crave can only be gained through experience. Learning to let go, accepting your past, and releasing resistance to any suffering you’ve experienced are achievements that few even choose to pursue. Be the exception! Remember that nothing is permanent; life is always changing and transforming. Rather than try to hold onto things that are changing, try instead to fully embrace the moment. Your life has meaning, you have worth! What you’ve experienced is invaluable and could likely have never been gained any other way than it already has.

      Pain is inevitable, but suffering is, to some extent chosen. This doesn’t mean it’s your fault. It means you have the power within yourself to step out from the suffering and really live. We all need help with this from time to time in our lives. If you are suffering, get help; whether it be your physician, a professional counselor or someone else. To evolve and grow, it really does take a village. You don’t have to do it alone.

      Categories
      Anxiety & Stress Cancer Resilience Children & Grief First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss Survivors of Suicide Terminal Illness

      Emotional Support Animals in Texas

      Emotional Support Animal Laws in Texas

      Emotional Support Animals, sometimes referred to as ESAs, have special privileges in the State of Texas under federal laws; they are not considered pets.; they are assistance animals for people with mental and emotional health issues

      Housing providers have to accommodate owners of emotional support animals free of charge as a necessity for their health condition. And, unlike typical pets, you don’t have to pay any extra deposits or fees for housing. Emotional Support Animals are also exempt from building policies regarding size or breed. 

      These rights are given under the Fair Housing Act and guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and apply to the State of Texas. 

      Any domesticated animals can be kept as an ESA in the home, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and yes…even sugar gliders and turtles! 

      In this article, we’ll explain

      How you can qualify for an emotional support animal in Texas. 

      And, if you qualify,

      How you can apply to receive a valid ESA Letter from a healthcare professional (*licensed in Texas) that you can use to secure accommodation for your emotional support animal.

      Quick Review of Emotional Support Animal Laws in Texas

      Assistance animals have rights under various laws, including the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both are federal laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Texas

      The ADA governs service animals that have highly specialized training to assist people with both physical or mental disabilities. *Emotional support animals, however, are not the same as psychiatric service dogs. ESAs do not need special training and provide comfort for those experiencing mental or emotional distress just by being present around their owners. 

      Emotional support animal owners have rights under the federal Fair Housing Act, which mandates that landlords reasonably accommodate tenants who require an assistance animal. 

      Texas Emotional Support Animal Housing Laws Allow ESAs to Live with Their Owners Without Additional Fees.

      If you own an emotional support animal, have valid documentation and reside in Texas, you do have certain RIGHTS for housing that protect you from discrimination due to your mental or emotional disability-related need for an assistance animal. 

      1. Housing providers such as landlords, condos, co-ops, and HOAs must reasonably accommodate ESAs, even if the building has an outright ban on pets. 
      2. ESAs are exempt from normal pet policies. That means restrictions on size, weight and breed of pets do not apply to emotional support animals. 
      3. ESA owners also do not have to pay any additional fees (including application fees) or deposits to live with their ESA. 

      However, there are LIMITATIONS to these rights

      1. An emotional support animal must be domesticated and well-behaved. This means that you cannot bring a wild or aggressive animal into an apartment, etc. 
      2. Your ESA also can’t pose any health or safety hazard to other residents. 
      3. Some small housing providers are exempt from having to follow ESA rules, such as owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units and single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent. 
      4. In addition, you cannot bring your emotional support animal into your new home unannounced and expect everyone in a no-pet housing complex will comply. You must submit a request for accommodation to your landlord in advance and provide a copy of your ESA letter. 

      It’s important to make sure that you have the right documentation for your emotional support animal. Most landlords in Texas are fully aware of what constitutes a valid proof for an emotional support animal.

      *Landlords have every right to validate if you have a true emotional support animal by requesting an ESA letter from you

      Qualifying for an ESA Letter in Texas

      To have a legally recognized emotional support animal in Texas, you will need an ESA letter from a healthcare professional who is licensed in Texas. 

      1. You can request one from your current healthcare professional who is providing services for your mental health. 

      OR

      1. You can also reach out to this counselor and apply online for an ESA Letter without having to leave your home.

      What Happens Next?

      First, the licensed healthcare professional will determine if you have a mental or emotional health disability that substantially limits a major life activity

      Qualifying conditions include:

      PTSD, anxiety, depression, phobias, autism, and learning disorders. 

      Second, the healthcare professional will assess whether an emotional support animal can help alleviate the symptoms of that particular mental or emotional health disability. 

      Pretty simple, right? (I told you it wouldn’t be as hard as you might think)

      So, How Do I Get Started ?

      Just call our number and leave the following. An application packet will be emailed to you and you will not be charged for the service unless you are approved. If approved, an original copy letter will be mailed to your physical residence.

      Information we need to get started:

      1. your full legal name, 
      2. city in Texas where you live, 
      3. preferred phone number for contact (in case healthcare provider requires) and 
      4. a personal email where the application documents may be sent. 

      (*all info must be that of the owner of the animal/s applied for)

      Just Remember

      If you’re a Texas resident, your ESA rights require that you have a legitimate ESA letter from a healthcare professional that is licensed in Texas.

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      Struggling with Mental/Emotional Health or Addiction in Houston?

      Categories
      Cancer & Medical Cancer Resilience Life Transitions Pre & Post Surgical Terminal Illness

      Chronic Illnesses, Telehealth and the Pandemic

      Chronic Illness, Telehealth and the Pandemic

      The pandemic has impacted the lives of almost everyone in some way. But healthcare has been incredibly impacted. Specifically, in order to keep people safe from contracting the COVID-19 virus, telehealth has become more prominent than ever. And previously neglected chronic illnesses seemed to catch up with many of us during the pandemic. While it’s not necessarily new, the pandemic boosted the practice of telehealth tremendously across the country. And there are many benefits to it for people who might otherwise have accessibility issues. 

      But, if you’re dealing with a chronic illness, telehealth and other changes made in the healthcare industry might not be in your best interest. 

      So, how has the pandemic changed treatment for those who are suffering from chronic illnesses? 

      Chronic Illness; from Frustration to Telehealth

      Whether you’ve been able to hop on to a telehealth session with your doctor or not, the pandemic has caused a lot of frustration in getting deserved treatment. 

      First, if you have been able to meet with your doctor(s) in person, you’ve probably experienced extended wait times. Many clinics and practices are short-staffed. Others are trying to space patients out, so time spent in different waiting areas is longer. 

      When you have a chronic illness, long wait times can be difficult. You might be in pain or discomfort, and sitting there longer than usual will not help. Extended waits between visits have also become prominent, which can be difficult if you need help and relief immediately. 

      At the start of COVID, hospitals were forced to put more resources into treating critical patients with the virus. As a result, patients with chronic illnesses or other cases were seen less frequently. Those depending on consistent treatment suffered, as a result. 

      Telehealth and Managing Your Chronic Illness

      Because the treatment changes brought on by COVID may not be going back to “normal” just yet, learning how to manage your illness at home is crucial. Obviously, that’s another huge change that can cause additional stress and confusion during times of need. 

      For some people, home management techniques simply don’t work. Or, they might for a while, but eventually, medical treatment is necessary. Patients having to wait significantly longer between visits can find themselves on a decline very quickly. 

      No matter what symptoms you’re having, one thing you can do to help manage them is to have an open dialogue with your doctor. One benefit of telehealth is that it often makes healthcare providers more accessible. Consistent communication is important. If you explain what you’re dealing with, your provider may be able to call in a new prescription or recommend something else. 

      Taking Care of Yourself

      The lack of treatment options and availability throughout COVID is, again, extremely frustrating. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’re waiting for your doctor to see you (yet again), you’ve probably felt completely overwhelmed. 

      One of the best things you can do is to take care of yourself and manage your stress. Don’t let yourself get too frustrated by these treatment changes. Instead, find ways to relax and de-stress every day. Doing so can help to lower your blood pressure and may have a pain-reducing effect on your body. 

      Hopefully, now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, normalcy will return to the healthcare industry. In some cases, however, pandemic practices might be here to stay. You may have to get used to longer wait times between visits, distancing, and the expanded and increasing promotion of telehealth. 

      Make sure you’re communicating your issues and concerns with your doctor, no matter what the rest of the pandemic may bring. Doing so may give you peace of mind, and hopefully, some measure of relief. 

      Categories
      Alcohol Anxiety & Stress Grief Life Transitions Loss Survivors of Suicide Terminal Illness Uncategorized

      5 Warning Signs of Depression

      Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. That said, the signs of depression can vary for everyone. Some people might experience more severe symptoms. Others might be “high-functioning” with their depression. Knowing the signs of depression can help you determine when it might be time to get some help.

      Despite some of the differences, there are a few warning signs of depression to be aware of. You may not be experiencing full-fledged symptoms yet, or you might be noticing that you feel a bit “off.”

      Understanding some of these warning signs early on will make it easier to seek out help sooner. As a result, you can take control of your depression and manage your symptoms more effectively.

      Let’s take a look at a few of the most common warning signs of depression.

      1. Your Outlook Has Changed

      One of the most common symptoms of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. If you’ve noticed that you have started to see things in a negative light, or your mood is more “down” than usual, it could be an early sign of depression.

      Keep in mind that everyone feels sad and down from time to time. But, if it’s persistent and those feelings don’t seem to go away, it may be something more.

      2. Physical Signs

      While depression is a mental health condition, there are physical signs to watch for, too.

      Some of the most common symptoms of depression are changes in sleep patterns or eating habits. If you’ve started to notice some of those changes, consider why they might be happening. Are they connected to how you feel?

      3. A Loss of Interest

      Do you find yourself not wanting to do things you usually enjoy? It’s normal to want some alone time or to relax. However, if you’re always backing out of something you typically love, it could be a warning sign of depression. That’s especially true if those things usually bring you happiness.

      4. Pulling Away From Loved Ones

      In addition to losing interest in interests, another potential warning sign is withdrawing from the people in your life.

      Have you said “no” to spending time with family and friends lately? When was the last time you talked to someone you love? Withdrawal is a common sign of depression, often linked with feelings of hopelessness or even fatigue.

      5. Changes in Your Emotions

      It’s not uncommon for emotions to fluctuate throughout the day. But, depression can take those emotions to the extreme. If you feel sad one minute and angry the next, to the point where it causes an irritable outburst, it’s likely more than just your “typical” emotions coming through.

      People with depression also sometimes experience feelings of anxiety. Fear can be overwhelming, and you might feel as though it’s taking over every aspect of your life if you don’t find a way to fight against it.

      If you feel like you are losing control over your emotions, or they’re controlling you, it’s essential to understand why as soon as possible.

      What’s the Next Step?

      Again, the warning signs of depression can be different for everyone. But, the signs listed here are relatively common. If you’re struggling with this condition, you’re likely to display at least one of them.

      Thankfully, depression isn’t only one of the most common mental health conditions; it’s also one of the most manageable. If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, even if you’re not sure why, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment or visit my page about Heart Disease and Depression.

      Together, we can work out the underlying cause(s) of why you might be feeling this way. Once we understand that root cause better, we can work on a management plan to help you control those depressive thoughts and symptoms.

      Categories
      Anxiety & Stress Critical Incidents ESA - Emotional Support Animals Life Transitions

      Counseling for Stress and Anxiety

      Counseling for Stress and Anxiety

      Feeling down? Stressed? Anxious? Maybe you just want to talk to someone who will REALLY listen? Maybe you also want that person to be trained and experienced – someone whose advice you can feel confident of. Counseling for stress and anxiety might be new to you,  and that’s okay. But if you’re struggling with the pressures of life, this may be the perfect time for it.

      Yes, we all live in a stressful world, especially in the past couple of years. It can feel like there is little time to relax, take care of ourselves and even our relationships. No, we can’t change the past but we can certainly learn from it. Most of us do everything we can to make our lives more stable. And many of us have pushed ourselves to extreme limits to weather the challenges of life and the pandemic. That’s too often what we do. When it comes to pushing our limits to the edge, we often disregard the negative impact on our lives. And yes, it is normal for everyone to at some point experience and encounter stressful events and situations along the way and in some cases most of the time.

      So, what can we do? We can learn to train our mind not to be imprisoned by past negative events and even more so, to increase our focus on the positive events in our lives. Some anxiety is absolutely normal – we worry about our relationships going bad, how our children are getting on, how long we will keep our jobs, what will be the results of the medical tests we have just had, how we will do in the exams. This is real life. Short-term anxiety heightens our responses and reactions, helping us to deal with stressful situations. The problem is resolved, the question answered, we have something to work with, and then our anxiety subsides. Pretty normal run of short-term, mild anxiety as a sort of motivator.

      When Is It Too Much?

      Excessive anxiety is all about the “too much” ; too much worry, too much stress, too much adrenaline – leading to shaking, sweating, sleeplessness, a churning stomach, palpitations, even panic attacks and antisocial behavior. The anxiety might have had a real trigger at first, but then we start feeling that we have lost control over that aspect of our lives. When this happens, our anxiety can seem to move out of control, too. This living in a state of hyper-arousal can threaten our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

      Sometimes, this problem hinders the most important things that you used to do. This keeps you from growing, engaging and developing in regards to relationships, works, college and other activities. So what happens when you feel like something isn’t right and you can’t solve it by yourself?

      Maybe that’s a sign that it’s time to reach out and get some help. If you are already stuck and overwhelmed, why waste any more time in that space? Sitting in emotional and cognitive quicksand doesn’t serve you at all. This is your life – you want to spend it well.

      Choosing to reach out and get help is like opening your own personal doorway for change. Yes, there are several ways; joining a support group, adopting a health-focused lifestyle or even seeing if you are a candidate for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).

      Whatever path you take, at your core, you are likely looking to secure a positive and sustainable change for yourself. This means personal growth and learning are a must. And when it comes to learning how to manage your anxiety and stress, working with an ethical, experienced and skilled professional counselor can really help.

      Why not call today and find out how one-to-one counseling could help you narrow down the causes of your anxiety and also help you acquire the skills to tackle it?