Anxiety & Panic
Anxiety can be both a psychological and physical experience. Symptoms like stomach pain and a racing heartbeat are confusing when there is no medical explanation.
It's not all in your head.
The central nervous system runs through every inch of your body. When anxiety takes hold, it can be a full body experience. It shows up in that ruminating voice that keeps us awake at night and physical symptoms. While everyone experiences some degree of anxiety, for some it creates illness, despair or leaves us feeling afraid to move forward in our lives.
We tell ourselves it will get better when life is less stressful. It doesn’t. We put it off because we feel anxious about reaching out for help. Meanwhile, the anxiety we experience impacts our physical health, our relationships, and even our professional capabilities. Even high-achievers can be held back by anxiety.
Anxiety tethers us and sets our limitations too low at times. It doesn't have to. If you're struggling with anxiety and ready to take it on, contact me. It doesn't have to be so hard.
Sometimes when people have a history of trauma, they view it as 'in the past' and think they've dealt with it. Sometimes, that's the case. But sometimes these same people struggle with anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, or strange flashbacks or nightmares, and they don't know where it's coming from. That's a sign that the trauma is not as resolved as they would like. However, that instinct to avoid exploring the trauma in gross detail makes perfect sense -- research suggests that going over the details of trauma can re-traumatize and deepen the neural pathways to that trauma. This is why I am very careful when working with trauma.
People often don’t realize how trauma impacts them — there’s a reason for this. When something traumatic happens, the rational reasoning part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) goes offline to leave room for the survival part of our brain to take over (the amygdala). This is why our trauma memories are often not as clear and coherent as other memories. For this reason, we may not even realize when a trauma memory is being triggered. Trauma memories can be stored in negative beliefs we form about ourselves about our self-worth or safety, sensations in the body, emotions, even images. Often when trauma is triggered, our trauma reaction is confusing because we don’t know where it’s coming from -- we are just reacting strongly when perhaps the current situation doesn't warrant it.
Helping clients understand the impact of trauma on their lives and processing unresolved trauma can be life changing for clients with a history of trauma. I am extremely mindful when working with trauma and I often utilize EMDR which studies indicate can be very effective in treating symptoms of trauma .
When we feel we need to manage another person’s unmanageable behaviors, we often create a web of codependency in an effort to manage the unmanageable. If we grow up seeing codependency as healthy normal functioning, we take on codependency with pride. However, codependency can lead to unhealthy relationships and keep us from feeling fulfilled or happy in our own lives.
Common symptoms of codependency may include persistent anxiety and stress about what other people think or feel, people pleasing, caretaking for others when it is not necessarily beneficial, feelings of resentment for others as a result of what we have sacrificed for them, a disconnection from our own wants, needs or feelings, low self-esteem, control issues, and mood disruptions such as anxiety and depression.
Codependency can be exhausting and difficult to let go of. However, letting go of codependent behavior opens the door to healthier relationships and increased fulfillment and happiness.
If you think you have issues with codependency and are wanting to let go of codependency and its web, I want to help you.
Partners of Sex Addicts
The compassion I have for people struggling through this is huge. I am committed to helping partners of sex addicts get the help and support they need. Reach out.
Finding a safe place to process a partner’s sexual acting out behaviors is a challenge. You may worry that friends won’t understand or will gossip about your partner’s behavior. You may have concerns that you will be judged for your partner’s acting out behaviors or your decision of whether or not to stay in the relationship in light of them. Your concerns are real and valid — if you are struggling with a loved one’s sexual acting out behaviors, it helps to have someone who understands the complexity of these issues to help you navigate your way through it. I get it. I understand it. I know it’s painful.
Everything from your view of your relationship to your view of yourself may have taken a huge hit. Trying to make sense of it all when you may not even be clear on what it all is or what’s been going on is overwhelming, especially when you don’t know who you can trust with it. And unlike other addictions or mental health issues, people don’t talk about this when it comes up in their lives so it’s especially hard to make sense of and get support.
But you are not alone. Others have been through it. Others have survived it. You can too. I provide individual therapy to Partners of Sex Addicts and I am also excited to be offering a Support Group for women struggling with these issues.
Clients who are first responders have told me that they had a hard time finding me. They were afraid of going to a therapist who didn’t get what it means to be a cop, a firefighter or a paramedic. The fear of seeing a therapist who didn’t get it held them back from getting help.
Years ago, before I was a therapist, I was a researcher and writer on a TV show called Third Watch about paramedics, police officers and firefighters in New York. My job was to immerse myself in the lives of first responders and listen to their stories and experiences on the job as potential storylines for the show. I did ride-alongs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Florida. I talked to and got to know hundreds of first responders from all over the country. I heard them tell their stories and got to know them and what the job meant to them. In the days and weeks following September 11, 2001, I became a safe place for a number of those first responders to download. Several of the first responders at the WTC that day were people I had met, interviewed, and spent time with. I wasn’t trained as a therapist at the time, but I listened the best I could as they struggled after their world was upended. I felt helpless, sad and scared with them -- I got a small glimpse of the very real trauma first responders face and have to manage in their work and at home.
My respect for first responders and the way they adapt physically and psychologically to the demands of the job is enormous. I know how difficult it is for many first responders to reach out for help. For some, disconnecting emotionally has been a survival skill that keeps them functioning at work yet creates walls in their relationships with loved ones. Others may feel traumatized by experiences on the job and struggle with how to go on. While everybody’s experience is different, I am grateful when I have the opportunity to work with first responders and get to learn and understand their struggles. I want to help.