What is self-care?  Is it doing whatever I want; whenver I want; however I want?  I don't think so.  I believe that it involves knowing your limits and not allowing those limits to be passed most of the time.  There are however times when it is important to do something a little past your limits i.e. pushing yourself to get something done, going above and beyond at times with your career, supporting your spouse at times.  However I believe that life is an attempt at balance and when we go too far either direction by helping others to the detriment of ourselves or my not helping others in any way we do ourselves an injustice as well as our families, coworkers, spouses, and friends.  However how do we fit in self care into a full time careers, family obligations, time with significant others, time with friends, commuting, cleaning the house and cooking dinner.  I think the crux is the idea of "fitting in" self-care, if we try to fit something in it implies that it is not important, I believe that everything else needs to surround self-care.  This is beautifully illustrated in an airplane, when the stewardess is explaining the oxygen mask procedure, it is said to put the mask on yourself first and then put the mask on another person in this case a baby.  At first this seems selfish to think of yourself when a baby is not able to do it for themselves, however when one takes a step back and thinsk, if a person don't have enough oxygen they won't even make it to the baby.  The same thing can be said for self care, if we don't put the mask of self care as a priority, how can we expect others to know that this is a priority in our lives?    
 
 
So a new year brings about the possibility of new beginnings and a clean slate. In our hopes of doing things differently we zealously make new resolutions in an attempt to do things differently.  Oftentimes this "resolutions" last nary as long as it takes to make them.  Although this is not for lack of willpower or willingness it is more often than not a lack of realistic expectations for ourselves and others.  
 
 
So I have moved offices and it is exciting to have my very own office.  For those of you who did not know I was sharing an office with another therapist.  Now I have my very own office, that I have been able to decorate and make into MY office. It is a great experience to be able to create a space to do the work that I love.  It has also been very interesting to hear the comments from my clients. Most like the office space however most like it!
 
 
    "Did you ever stop to think that everything you are or ever will be is completely up to you? Just imagine." states Bryan Tracy  This statement is terrifying and freeing at the same time.   I believe that in todays world personal responsibility is something that is not focused on and or taught.  I believe that many times people have been taught to look for a "reason" oftentimes outside themselves as to why "they are the way they are?"  What if the reason is ta combination of not taking personal responsibility and eperiences and thought patterns that are not conducive to a healthy way of living or thinking. 
    I see many people who choose to not take responsibility for their role in a situations success or failure both of which contribute to depression and anxiety.  I do believe that our families contribute to what we learn and the environment that we learn things about ourselves and others.  However at a certain point we become adults and learn to take responsibility for our actions, expectations, thoughts and beliefs
 
 
Cultivating our souls is a lot like gardening there are materials that are needed such as a good foundation, the right tools, hard work and tenacity.  I believe that it takes effort to keep our souls full.  If we don't feed our "garden" or quench our "gardens" thirst it becomes arid and it is difficult to grow or to help others.   I found this cute poem I did not write it and thought I would pass it along as
This is something I found that I thought I would pass along... If we could all remember this for our personal soul garden.

My Garden
Directions for my garden

Plant three rows of peas:
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul

Plant four rows of squash:
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of lettuce
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another

No garden without turnips
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help for one another

To conclude our garden we must have thyme:
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

WATER FREELY with PATIENCE and cultivate with LOVE

"Cultivating gratitude, nurtures hope" Crystal King-Sadler LPC
 
 
     When we hear the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the first thing people think of is veterans, those that have served in the military, coming home after being deployed.  This term was coined after the term "shell shock" from the Vietnam era.  Many soldiers came home experiencing, nightmares, flashbacks, exaggerated startle response and other symptoms of PTSD.  The response to trauma is often fear, helplessness and/or horror. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur in a person of any age who has experienced ANY trauma.
      There are four main symptoms of PTSD reliving the event, avoidance; numbing, and increased arousal.  Reliving the event often involves flashbacks and or nightmares, avoidance of any stimuli that might bring up the traumatic event, numbing of the emotions involved with reliving the event and increased arousal  to things such as loud noises.   Between 25 and 30% of victims of traumatic events develop PTSD.  There really is no way to predict who will develop PTSD and who will not; even after experiencing the same traumatic event.  Severity, length, age of experiencing trauma, and amount of support after trauma has occurred all effect a persons experience of trauma.  
     Many treatment options are available to someone experiencing symptoms of PTSD.  These treatment options include psycho-education, medication, and psychotherapy.  Often times psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy, problem solving skills and coping strategies. Whatever symptoms you are experiencing, depression, anxiety, poor sleep or many others help is available; just ask
 
 
     What is a boundary?  A boundary can be described as many things; a limit, the edge, and or a stopping point.  I like to define a boundary as where one person/thing ends and where another person/thing begins.  I like to think of a boundary as a beginning and an end.  Often times we are not explicitly taught boundaries unless crossing over this limit will harm us or others.  This is seen when a very young child attempts to touch something hot, a parent quickly sets a limit for the child not to touch the object that is hot.
     Boundaries or their lack are especially prevalent in relationships.  All relationships have assumption built into them based on society values.  These assumptions are rarely if ever discussed and usually come to the surface.  These assumptions may vary about certain relationships and their boundaries.  There two main types of boundaries; physical, and emotional.  Physical boundaries include your body, your sense of personal space, sexual orientation and privacy.  Emotional boundaries protect your sense of self, and your ability to separate your feelings from the feelings of others.
     I believe that one of the most easily crossed boundary is our physical boundaries.  This happens in line at a store, in crowds and via social networking.  Emotionally our boundaries are crossed when someone tells us how to feel, or when we take responsibility for another persons feelings and not taking personal responsibility for ourselves and our choices
 
 
     Is living in the city "making" you depressed or anxious.  According to an international study two distinct brain areas that regulate emotions and stress are affected by urban living.  According to this study an urban address increases the risk of anxiety by 21% and the risk for mood disorders by 39%.  This was shown by heightened activity in the amygdala which regulates emotions and mood.  Another area of the brain that activity was heightened in was the cingulate cortex which regulates negative affect.  This is a fancy way of saying that the brain is affected by the environment in which we live.  If that environment is stressful i.e. then the brain will be effected negatively and over time has the ability to affect a persons brain chemistry. 
     So what can we do to combat these effects if we live in the city.  I think the first step is to become aware that our environment can contribute to our mood and stress.  Oftentimes we can be so immersed in our environments that we are unaware of the consequences of such an environment. These consequences i.e. high stress and mood disorders happen gradually.  The second step is to monitor and track our stress levels and mood.  This can be done simply by writing down what is happening throughout the day when we feel stressed or down etc...  Next comes finding what helps us get away from the urban, stressful environment.  Sometimes this is a walk in a park, meandering through a museum, or unplugging from our cell phones, laptops and televisions.  The final step is to make it a practice to include one
 
 
     I am reading an article in Mental Health News (www.mentalhealthnews.org) regarding women and depression and thought that I would address some of the findings here.  Depression is most prevalent among women although depression affects men and women women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression.  I attribute this to women being more likely to get help due to societies acceptance of such behavior, social norms and being taught to ask for help from a young age.  It is important to distinguish between the different forms of depression i.e. Major depressive disorder, Dysthymic disorder, Psychotic depression, Seasonal affective disorder and Bipolar disorder. Not everyone has the same symptoms although they may have the same "disorder". 
     Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a combination of symptoms that interfere with a persons ability to function in daily life, such as at work, home, school and or in social arenas.  Dysthymic Disorder is the term used to describe depressive symptoms that have existed for at least two years although the symptoms are less severe than those of MDD.  Psychotic depression is severe depression along with some form of psychosis such as auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations or delusions.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is when depression occurs only during the months or times with little sunlight.  Bipolar Disorder is a depressive disorder that also has at least one period of mania and is cyclical in nature.  Mania is a state of extreme energy followed or preceded by extreme depression.
     Many factors contribute to depression in women these factors include genetic, biological, chemical, hormonal, environmental, psychological and social factors.  Brain chemistry is a significant contributor to depression in women.  This chemistry can be viewed using MRI technology and has discovered that brains with depression look different than those brains without depression.  Often there are coexisting disorders such as eating disorder, anxiety disorder, Post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder that sometimes precede, accompany or follow depression.  Substance abuse disorders also co-occur with depression at a very high rate.
    Treatment for depression and other disorders may include medication, exercise, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga, solution focused therapy and electroconvulsive therapy to name a few.  The important thing is to find something that works for you and to stick with it
 

    Crystal King-Sadler LPC

    Mental health therapist with 10 years of experience working with depression, trauma, PTSD, and womens issues.  The past 3 years I have worked with co-occurring disorders of mental illness and substance abuse.

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