All posts by Dr. Natha

Grief: An emotional outrage

Introduction

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss. The death of a loved one is one of the most challenging experiences a person can go through. Emotions like sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness are entirely normal. These emotions are all part of the grieving process. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. However, most people go through similar stages of grief. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s vital to allow yourself to experience all of these emotions. Don’t try to bottle them up. Allow yourself to cry, to be angry, and to feel depressed. These emotions are all part of the healing process. Grief is a troublesome experience, and several resources can help you cope. You can talk to your doctor, a therapist, or a grief counselor. You can also join a support group. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Allow yourself to experience all of your emotions. Seek out help if you need it. And eventually, you will heal. 

The purpose of this blog post is to inform you about the five stages of grief, what types there are, and how one can recover from them.

The 5 Stages of Grief

  1. Denial: The first stage of grief is denial. This is when we try to convince ourselves that the loss has not really occurred or is not as bad as it seems. We may try to deny our feelings of sadness and disbelief.
  2. Anger: The second stage of grief is anger. We may be angry at the person who died or the situation that caused their death. We may lash out at those around us or withdraw from them entirely.
  3. Bargaining: The third stage of grief is bargaining. We may try to make deals with God or with the person who died in order to bring them back. We may also try to find ways to avoid dealing with our grief, such as occupying our time with work or other activities.
  4. Depression: The fourth stage of grief is depression. We may feel hopeless and helpless and may lose interest in activities. We may also have difficulty sleeping and may feel tired all the time.
  5. Acceptance: The fifth and final stage of grief is acceptance. This is when we come to terms with the loss and begin to heal. We may still feel sadness and pain, but we know that the person is gone, and we must go on.

Getting over Grief: Tips for recovery

  1.  Allow yourself to grieve: Don’t try to bottle up your emotions. It’s okay to cry, to be angry, and to feel sadness. These are all part of the grieving process.
  2. Reach out to your support system: Whether its friends, family, or a therapist, talking about your grief can be helpful.
  3. Take care of yourself: Grief can be draining, both emotionally and physically. Make sure to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest.
  4. Give yourself time: Grief is a process and can take weeks, months, or even years to work through it. Don’t expect to “get over” your grief overnight.
  5. Be patient with yourself: Grief can be unpredictable. You may have good days and bad days. Some days you may feel like you’re making progress, and other days you may feel like you’re taking two steps back. Just go easy on yourself and allow yourself to go through the ups and downs.

Types of Griefs

  1. Anticipatory: Grieving before a loss is called anticipatory grief. This type of grief can be helpful because it allows you to start to process your feelings and say your goodbyes.
  2. Complicated: Grief that is more intense after a loss is referred to as complicated grief. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues accompany this type of grief.
  3. Disenfranchised: Disenfranchised grief is experienced when you lose someone but don’t have the support of others. This type of grief can be experienced by people who have lost a loved one to suicide or addiction.
  4. Normal: Normal grief is the type of grief that most people experience after a loss. This type of grief is characterized by sadness, anger, and guilt. 
  5. Abnormal: Abnormal grief is a rare type of grief that can be experienced after a loss. This type of grief can be accompanied by hallucinations, delusions, and suicidal thoughts.

Conclusion  It is important to remember that grieving is a process. There is no one right way to grieve, and no timeline for healing. However, understanding the five stages of grief can help you to identify where you are in the process, and to understand what you may need to do to continue moving forward.

Read More

Post-Partum Depression: Do Not Suffer in Silence

The perinatal period and transition to motherhood is a vulnerable time for a mother’s mental health. Women are likely to experience postpartum depression and anxiety if they are socially isolated and perceive themselves as having low social support. It’s natural to feel a jumble of powerful emotions after giving birth, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety but for some women, those feelings can be so intense that they lead to postpartum depression. PPD can be incredibly isolating and frightening. This condition affects one in seven women.

 It is possible to overcome PPD. Some prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and reclaim your life.

In the blog post, we’ll discuss the truth about postpartum depression: what it is, how it feels, and how to get help. We’ll also dispel some of the myths about PPD that can make it difficult for women to seek help. If you think you might be suffering from PPD, please seek help.

 Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a medical condition that many women get after having a baby. Despite its seriousness, it is often misunderstood. Some people think that postpartum depression is just a case of the “baby blues”—that it’s just a passing feeling that goes away after a few weeks. But postpartum depression is much more than that. 

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

In order to avoid serious health consequences for yourself and your baby, it’s essential to identify the symptoms of postpartum depression early on.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Thoughts of harming yourself and your baby
  • Severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Having trouble bonding with your baby
  • Experiencing intrusive thoughts or flashbacks about the birth experience
  • Feeling like you’re not good enough as a mom
  • Hopelessness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Causes of Postpartum Depression

So what causes postpartum depression? It’s different for everyone, but some of the most common factors include sleep deprivation, hormone fluctuations, and feeling overwhelmed.

It is also important to note that postpartum depression can occur during pregnancy or months after delivery. So if you’re feeling down and like you can’t shake it, please talk to your doctor. You’re not alone.

How Is Postpartum Depression Treated?

Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can cause distress for both the mother and the baby. But the good news is that it is treatable. There are several ways to treat postpartum depression, and the treatment depends on severity. Some common treatments include:

  • Counseling
  • Antidepressants
  • Hormone therapy
  • Relaxation techniques

Whatever treatment plan you choose, it’s important to stick with it and get the support you need. Remember, you’re not alone. There are lots of people who can help you through this tough time.  

 Tips for Coping with Postpartum Depression

Several lifestyle changes may relieve your symptoms

Here are a few tips:

1. Keep yourself as a priority

In order to cope with PPD, it is imperative to love yourself. Make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Relax with a book, take a walk, or take a bath.

2. Set realistic goals

The dishes and toys on the floor can wait. Do not expect yourself to be perfect. Set some realistic expectations, and stick with getting those things crossed off your to-do list.

3. Enjoy some ‘Me Time’

When you have a baby, it can be easy to forget you need time for yourself. Make a habit of getting dressed, leaving the house and running an errand, or visiting a friend on your own.

4. Connect with other moms

 There’s nothing like talking to someone who’s been through it all to make you feel better. Talk therapy is another excellent option. It can allow you to sort out your thoughts and feelings. Find a support group or chat with other moms online.

5. Get plenty of rest

Sleep when you can find the time and take naps to fill the gaps, this is especially important in the early days after giving birth. Make sure that you’re taking breaks and getting as much sleep as possible.

6. Eat healthy foods

 Pick up healthy food items that will help keep your energy up and your mood stable.

Conclusion

You’re not alone.

One in seven women will experience postpartum depression after giving birth. It can feel like you’re the only one going through it, but that’s not the case.  An untreated postpartum mental health condition can negatively impact your ability to care for your new baby and yourself. If you think you might be experiencing postpartum depression, please talk to your doctor. There is always a help available, and you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Read More

How to Develop a Healthy Self-Esteem

Do you constantly compare yourself to others and feel like you fall short? Do you put yourself down frequently or allow others to treat you poorly without standing up for yourself? Are you afraid to take risks or put yourself out there lest you be rejected? Do you find yourself second-guessing your decisions or questioning your ability to succeed? If yes, then these are some telltale signs that may indicate that your self-esteem needs some work.

The first step in repairing self-esteem is to understand what self-esteem is. Self-esteem or self-confidence is the self-opinion and beliefs about oneself. Generally speaking, it refers to one’s sense of overall worth and is branched into: low, healthy, and excessive. Healthy self-esteem acts as a catalyst for your mental well-being. However, having self-esteem that is either too high or too low can lead to depression and anxiety.

Self-esteem is hard to regain when it is damaged. But it is possible to rebuild our self-esteem, and here, we’ll explore some ways to do that.

Tips for rebuilding self-esteem after it’s damaged:

1. Accept your feelings: We go through a range of emotions that cannot be reduced but can give rise to another. It’s normal to feel down. Make time for yourself to process your feelings and talk to someone you trust.

2. Positive self-talk: Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself about your strengths and capabilities that can overcome any challenges that come your way. Get engaged in positive self-talk, which means talking to yourself in a supportive, affirming, and encouraging tone. It may sound simple, but it can make a big difference.

3. Seek professional help: If you’re struggling to overcome low self-esteem on your own, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist can help you identify the root of the problem and work on developing healthy coping mechanisms.

4. Invest in yourself: To feel good about yourself, you must invest in yourself. Make sure you’re eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Taking care of your physical health will boost your self-esteem.

5. Dodge escape mechanisms: Low self-esteem often leads to hiding away from social situations, escaping from doing new things, and avoiding challenges. An escape mechanism might make you feel safe for a short period but later can backfire because it reinforces your underlying doubts and fears. Thus, face the current situation.

6. Self-Gratitude:  Self-gratitude is a practice of expressing gratitude to oneself. Be appreciative of yourself by recognizing your personality traits, abilities, skills and talents, knowledge, style, choices, and physical appearance.

7. Be Patient: It takes time to build up self-esteem. Be patient with yourself, and don’t expect things to change overnight. Just keep working on it, and eventually, you’ll start feeling better about yourself.

8. Take one step at a time: Trying to make too many changes at once can be mind-boggling. Break things down into smaller steps, set a short-to-mid-term goal, and focus on taking things one at a time, which will help you feel a sense of accomplishment once you have done what you have set out to do. It is possible to rebuild self-esteem after it’s damaged. This process requires self-awareness, willingness to change, and seeking outside support. With these steps, it is possible to improve self-esteem and create a more positive self-image.

Read More

Anxiety: Declutter Your Thoughts.

Introduction

Anxiety disorders are more common than most people think. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety disorders. That is a significant portion of the population, and it only includes those with anxiety disorders. It does not comprise people who experience anxiety due to everyday stress. The number would be much higher if it did. 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a debilitating condition that interferes with day-to-day activities. Anxiety can have different forms for different people and manifest in different ways. For some, it is unambiguous as constant worry and racing thoughts, while others may experience physical symptoms like insomnia, irritability, shortness of breath, or dizziness. Anxiety can take a toll on your physical health too. You may not realize it, but those long worrying periods can damage your heart as well. However, there are things that you can do to help reduce anxiety and manage it more effectively. The purpose of this blog post is to explore different ways to reduce anxiety through relaxation techniques.

Remember, you are not alone!

Here are some relaxation techniques you can use to cope with anxiety:

  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Breathing deeply and focusing on the breath is an effective relaxation technique. The technique involves breathing from the stomach instead of the chest. Being mindful of each breath helps you take your mind away from distractions and is a great way of calming the mind.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This involves first tensing, and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. The technique helps to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation. 
  • Visualization: This involves picturing a peaceful and calming scene in your mind which helps to relax the mind and body. When you’re anxious, close your eyes and visualize a calm and quiet place. It can be somewhere you’ve been before or somewhere you’ve imagined. In conjunction with other anxiety management techniques, mental imagery can be an effective tool for managing anxiety.

4. Meditation: Meditation is the body’s natural self-healing ability. It involves focusing on your breath and letting go of thoughts and worries, thus experiencing states of inner peace and higher states of awareness.

5. Yoga: One form of complementary and integrative medicine is yoga. Practicing yoga can help you achieve a state of peacefulness in your body and mind.

6. Tai chi: It is a gentle way to fight anxiety. Tai chi has been called the art of meditation in motion. It is slow, flowing martial art that can help to improve balance and flexibility and helps to calm the mind and reduce stress. 

7. Massage: This involves using pressure and strokes on the body. It helps to relax the muscles and promote overall relaxation.

One of the most important things to deal with when trying to achieve relaxation is that it takes time. There is no ‘quick fix’ when it comes to relaxation. To achieve a state of relaxation, it is necessary to be patient and allow yourself the time you need to achieve it. Another significant thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it is imperative to experiment with distinctive techniques and find the ones that work best for you. Lastly, relaxation is a process. It is not something that you can achieve overnight. It takes time, effort, and practice to achieve a state of relaxation. Once you attain that state, the action is well worth it.

Conclusion: These relaxation techniques are powerful tools that can help reduce anxiety. It is necessary to take time out of your busy schedule to relax so that your body and mind can unwind from the stresses of everyday life, so find what works best for you and make it a part of your daily routine. 

Read More

Advantages and Disadvantages of Video Sessions in the Therapy World

Video Sessions

During Covid-19, video sessions Telehealth has become a convenient method in providing services for both practitioners and clients. What advantages are there to this form of treatment when it comes to counseling and therapy? The obvious factor is time. This method helps those with busy schedules save valuable time in traffic getting to the appointment. This form of treatment also expands care to those who would otherwise not be able to make it to the session, such as women with babies or young children or people with physical/emotional disabilities that prevent them from leaving the home regularly.

In order to increase safety during Covid-19, video sessions have also become popular. On one hand, this method provides ease and removes barriers. This major advantage allows underserved populations to gain the support during critical times. On the other hand, what are the implications of video sessions on the therapeutic relationship?

There is something about the in-person connection that appears to be very healing for those struggling with certain issues, especially depression. The basis of psychotherapy is the therapeutic relationship and how technology affects that relationship is important to discuss. In my experience, it’s been easier to work with clients who may have already started the therapy process in person and then transitioned to some form of tele-therapy that works for their schedule and lifestyle. The initial connection has been formed and then the therapy process is able to sustain the issues that technology poses. I have found it much more difficult to begin the therapy process using technology initially with clients. Those who were already in therapy prior to COVID-19 already established that supportive relationship with their psychologist or therapist, making it easier to adapt to the changes that have come along with COVID-19. Another disadvantage is that there is no way to completely guarantee privacy or confidentiality with the use of tablets and computers for video sessions.

From a clinical perspective, video sessions can easily create interruptions that are not part of traditional therapy. As a therapist, it’s pertinent to pay attention to the non-verbal communications that occur that can easily go unnoticed with video sessions. Clarifying and slowing down the therapy process may help clinicians and therapists within a session recognize the non-verbal cues that can often times go unnoticed with video sessions. Utilizing the advantages while minimizing the disadvantages of video sessions is key in approaching therapeutic work using technology.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Read More

What Questions Should I Ask My Health Insurance Company Regarding Mental Health Benefits?

Health Insurance

Read Other Blogs | Facebook | Twitter

Read Other Blogs | Facebook | Twitter

  1. Is mental health coverage included and what services? The most common CPT code that can be provided when calling to verify benefits for a 60-minute therapy session is 90837.
  2. Do I met my deductible yet? If not, what portion of the sessions am I responsible for until the deductible is met? What portion of my sessions am I responsible for once my deductible has been met?
  3. Is there a limit to the number of sessions per week, month, or year?
  4. What conditions qualify for treatment?

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Read More

Compassionate Ways of Responding to Abuse and Trauma Memories of Loved Ones

Love ones

Healing from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse is an ongoing journey. For those who go on to develop trauma symptoms as a result of these experiences, relationships become difficult to master. There are a host of concerns with feeling safe in relationships in general with their loved ones due to the fact that the abuse is generally perpetrated by a close relationship or acquaintance.

Whether you are a friend, spouse, or a family member of someone who has endured abuse, tapping into your own discomfort in hearing about the traumatic experiences of your loved one may help you avoid unhelpful responses. Responses should foster safety, intimacy, and trust so that your loved one can begin feeling the support he or she may need in order to heal. If your loved one is having trauma symptoms, your responses need to support the recovery for your loved one rather than hinder it.

The following general tips can help you respond in a compassionate manner when a loved one share’s these difficult memories with you:

  • Allow for him or her to decide how much to share and what to share.
  • Allow him or her to express feelings including sadness, anger, or even shame around the trauma.
  • Do not pressure him or her to share details or aspects of their trauma he or she is not willing or ready to share.
  • Do not invalidate your loved one’s experiences by denying the memories of abuse your loved one is sharing or by asking if he or she is sure the trauma occurred.
  • Be sure that your response does not relay blame to the victim for the abuse. For example, by giving advice of what he or she could have done differently to avoid the abuse from happening.
  • Validate their emotions by making supportive statements that show you have been listening. “I can see the sadness you’re experiencing as your share this with me.”
  • Learn to respect boundaries that he or she is setting when saying yes or no to requests. This helps your loved one feel safe or more in control over their environment.
  • Understand that at times your loved one may need space and at other times closeness.
  • Physical contact may be difficult for some time, if your loved one is having active symptoms.
  • Show a gesture of support, such as holding their hand or giving a hug if he or she is open to it.
  • Lastly, recognize that your loved one may be feeling vulnerable by sharing such memories. Your response can be an opportunity to foster emotional connectedness and closeness.

Taking the brave step of approaching these memories and sharing them with you is probably difficult enough for your loved one. This crucial step in another step toward recovery. Your response can foster love and acceptance, which can lead to feeling supported in a way that can help your loved one heal and recover in a healthy way.

Follow us on Facebook | Twitter

Read More

What Price Are You Paying for Your Secrets

As a topic expert, I submit writing to goodtherapy.org. Here’s a brief summary and link to my most recent article regarding releasing the secret nature of traumatic memories if these memories are causing distress in your day-to-day life.

Everyone has secrets hidden away, often out of embarrassment or shame. Secrets can come at a great cost, however. Liberation and healing can happen in therapy.

http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/what-price-are-you-paying-for-your-secrets-0427175

 

Read More
Treating Your Depression

Holistic Ways of Treating Your Depression

With Western methods where by now there is a pill for just about every feeling and sensation that is distressful, the concept of working out of negative states naturally is an important one to discuss. Medication is not negative as long as it’s utilized with caution and in a way that does not make a person feel numb to their own emotions so that people can continue to learn how to manage negative feelings and sensations.  Utilizing medication to the least extent necessary helps your body from becoming tolerant to different pills, which can only benefit you long-term for both mind and body wellness. Also, medication is indicated when your symptoms are more severe or if you are experiencing any safety concerns such as suicidal thoughts. Speak to your medical doctor regarding such concerns. Here are some tips to naturally help fight your depression, along with the symptoms that are targeted by these actions. You can create your own individualized holistic plan to getting better by incorporating the elements listed below:

  1. Structure Your Time: In order to reduce isolation, and increase your energy and activity levels, it’s important to have your time structured. This is easily done by creating a weekly schedule that includes the tips included below, along with your work and home life obligations and tasks. The structure is not meant to be rigid, but a guide to keep you from withdrawing.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Individual therapy once or twice a week can help address thinking patterns and other underlying issues that may be exacerbating your depression. It also provides support, increases your social interactions, and helps you stay on track behaviorally. Therapy can naturally help address mild to moderate levels of depression.
  3. Weekly Yoga & Daily Meditation: Hatha Yoga is a lighter yoga that will help with relaxation, energy, and improvement in mood. Meditation will naturally help you manage or reduce negative thoughts as you learn to redirect your thoughts. Repeating a positive affirmation can help block out the negative thoughts from taking over the mind. With continued practice, you will learn to naturally still your mind so that you are not experiencing sadness that arises from negative thoughts.
  4. Regular Exercise (Gym, Hikes, Biking, etc.): Exercise will again naturally fight lethargy and isolation and improve mood naturally. Find physical activities that speak to you or that you truly enjoy. Having an hour of exercise at the beginning of your day that you schedule in can help you throughout the day.
  5. Social Activities or Surround Yourself in Public Environments: It’s likely you have been isolating through the depression, which will only keep it going. Therefore, consider at the very least surrounding yourself in public places such as parks, beach, malls, gyms, church or temple, and other places that will help you feel more connected to the outside world and people. Plan activities with persons that you feel connected to and feel supported by. If you have a limited number of these people in your life, consider networking events, meet-ups, and support groups to get you to begin socializing again.
  6. Good Nutrition and Diet: It’s important to track that you are not skipping meals. Your appetite can increase or decrease drastically during depression. Having fixed times in your schedule for lunch and dinner throughout the week will help you form a routine around this. Also, be sure you are staying hydrated. Nourish your body as it is going through this difficult time with fruits, salads, juices, and organic or raw foods. Avoid snacking on junk foods beyond your occasional treats. It can be easy to substitute junk foods as meals when you have a reduced appetite.
  7. Spiritual Practice: If you have a religious or spiritual practice, having regular activities such as praying, meditating, attending service, or volunteering can help with mood, feelings of hope and peace, and encourage a more positive outlook that is needed when depression hits. If you do not have a religious or spiritual practice, find what provides hope for you in your life and remain connected with this throughout your depression.
  8. Supplements: Begin taking natural supplements for increased energy such as a multivitamin and melatonin for relaxed and restful sleep.
  9. Support Group: Find a support group for depression to again help you gain more tools, feel supported/connected, and reduce isolation.
  10. Self-Care: Treat yourself to a massage, get a pedicure, get a facial, consider acupuncture, or use the steam room or jacuzzi at your gym on a regular basis.

Follow US | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin

Read More