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 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.

man sitting at table with hand on face

Struggling with Mental/Emotional Health or Addiction in Houston?

Categories
Anxiety & Stress Cancer & Medical Children & Grief ESA - Emotional Support Animals First Responders Grief Loss Survivors of Suicide Terminal Illness

13 Facts Every ESA Owner in Texas Should Know

13 Facts Every ESA Owner in Texas Should  Know

On January 28th, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued new guidance regarding Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in housing. 

(*This is a very important development for owners of ESAs and it is the first comprehensive update to ESA housing rules made since 2013.)

13 Facts Every Current or Potential Owner of Emotional Support Animals (ESA) in Texas Should Know

  1. Dogs, cats, small birds, rabbits, hamsters, other rodents and even turtles can be ESAs.
  1. Landlords are required to engage in interactive dialogue with tenants about ESA requests.
  1. ESA requests can be made orally or in writing (ESA Letter will still be required for approval)
  1. Tenants can make an ESA request before or after acquiring their ESA Letter
  1. HUD confirms that landlords are not allowed to refuse based on breed/weight restrictions.
  1. Landlords are prevented from being able to charge fees and deposits for ESAs.
  1. Landlords are expected to respond to ESA requests promptly, and at least within 10 days.
  1. Landlords cannot require your healthcare professional to use a specific form for their ESA Letter
  1. Landlords cannot request sensitive details about the tenant’s condition (your privacy protected)
  1. HOAs and Co-Ops are also subject to ESA rules
  1. Tenants can use the help of third-parties to care for their ESAs
  1. Registrations and licenses are NOT legitimate ways to qualify an ESA
  1. ESA letters can come from online health professionals (must be licensed in your State)

All current and prospective owners of ESAs in Texas should become familiar with these new rules which are now in effect and replace the 2013 rules.

 

Need other Emotional Health or Addiction Recovery services? 

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
Terminal Illness

Counseling for Terminal Illness

Counseling for Terminal Illness

Despite its inevitability, most people choose not to think about death until the time comes to face it head on, and would prefer to bow out of this life unexpectedly to avoid the pain of knowing they were dying. Today however, life-limiting illness is gradually replacing unexpected and sudden death as the ‘norm’, and in its place has come a process which starts at terminal illness diagnosis, moves through a period of treatment, and ends eventually in death.

My hope is to provide information and support that will help those with a terminal illness and their loved ones to consider their own mortality, talk openly about death, and explore the issues facing them so that they can live out their personal journey in a way with which they feel comfortable.

Hearing that you have an illness that can’t be cured can be frightening – especially as you may not have previously given much thought to how or when you will die. Counseling for terminal illness provides an objective, seasoned facilitator to help you with the emotions and conflicts that may arise on this part of your life’s journey.

You may feel:

shocked about the diagnosis
fearful of dying
resentful and angry over the injustice of the situation
in denial about what’s happening
helpless because you cannot control what’s going on

Many people find the process of counseling for terminal illness to be open and freeing. In relieving themselves of conflicts, regrets, resentments and tasks while they are still some distance from death, they ensure that as death approaches they can concentrate on love and relationships, and on transforming the process of death into as vital an element of life as any other precious, rare occurrence. Some people find having a professional counselor who specializes in this area can be very helpful, and in some cases for their close friends and family. (Everyone in our closest circle, as well as ourselves will need help dealing with grief, loss, regrets and even restricting the amount of fear and anger that may be involved in our passing.)

image

The antithesis of this however, is that talking honestly with those to whom you are closest can help to lessen any feelings of isolation you may have, and you may find that it comes as a relief to have the subject out in the open. Starting the conversation can be the most difficult part, and even though it’s unavoidable, you may find that friends and family will try to avoid it for as long as possible.
While nobody can provide the answers or make the process easier, there are ways that may offer comfort and a level of relief during this time. Counseling for terminal illness is dedicated specifically to help people cope more effectively with the death of a loved one and also to support the grieving process that occurs in response to a person’s own terminal illness. This can help you to adjust to a new sense of self and settle any outstanding areas of conflicts.

Counseling for terminal illness can also help you understand the real grief stages which can be beneficial for both those living with a life-limiting illness and for those around them – not as a model for how you should feel, but as a guide to help you understand and put into context where you are. This can be a natural buffer from the immediate fears and moves us through the first waves of pain and anxiety. If you or someone you love is facing this end of life transition, I am here and would be honored to help.

Call Now (346)-493-6181

Ben Carrettin is Nationally Board Certified, a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked in the arena of addiction/emotional health and the corporate world for over 20 years. *He is also a lay chaplain with advanced training in pastoral care, grief, serious and terminal illness and cross-cultural communication.