There Is Always Hope

 

Fill Your Life with Hopefulness

“The lonely become either thoughtful or empty.” Mason Cooley

 

Dealing with the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of the treatment can have an intense impact on both your emotional and physical wellbeing. Trying to deal with the mixture of emotions you are feeling can be exhausting, even more so if you are trying to do it alone. Often, people with cancer choose to hide their feelings of fear and about feeling empty and sad in an attempt to lessen the burden of their disease on their loved ones.

“Hope almost always involves a leap of faith, as we move toward a future that even our best efforts can’t guarantee.” says psychologist Shane J. Lopez Ph.D.

 

You Are Allowed To Feel Overwhelmed

Being diagnosed is scary. When hearing the word ‘cancer’, feeling overwhelmed, scared or afraid is not uncommon. Being diagnosed can evoke a number of emotions and feelings. There are a number of reasons that can give rise to the emotions, anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness you might be feeling, which can include:

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  • Fear of the unknown, especially when doctors use medical terms that you don’t understand
  • Your routine and what you consider normal is disrupted by treatments and doctors’ appointments
  • You feel like life the way you know it has ended

“The urge to know what your life is all about and to know your life’s direction leaves you feeling uncertain about the future and discontent with the present.” says Marcia Reynolds Psy.D.

There are a number of ways you can change the feeling of being out of control. Start with the most important – find out everything you can about your cancer. Do not be afraid to ask the doctors and nurses questions or speak to a social worker. Seek out the support of other cancer survivors. Seek out help from a therapist. It helps to voice your emotions and learn ways to cope with them. Regardless of what you decide, it is important that you do what’s right for you. Most importantly, remember that you do not have to do this alone.

 

Hold on to Hope

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It is important that you always remember to hold on to hope. Having a hopeful outlook and holding on to a positive attitude will support your healing. “Acceptance is the foundation of holding space and hope, because space and hope must be grounded in what is and not on what should be or could be.” According to Dr. Ili Rivera Walter, PhD, LMFT. Find the positive. Read books by survivors and take hope and encouragement from their experiences. Speak to other cancer patients. Ask questions and voice your own fears. Knowing that you are not alone in this can make a big difference. There are a number of ways to deal with the emotions or feelings of hopefulness you might be feeling. These can include:

 

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  • Speak to others and express your feelings.
  • Be positive, do not think of the worst. Focus on your wellness and getting healthy.
  • Find ways to relax. Look into meditation or relaxation exercises.
  • Try to stay as active as possible. Get out of the house and focus on other things.
  • Find ways to occupy your mind. Look into hobbies such as photography or creative art.
  • Focus on the things that you can control.
  • Be involved in your treatment and health care. Ask questions and speak to others about dealing with the side effects and symptoms.

 

You Are Only Human

“Dealing with it is the operative word. I found myself at seven years not battling it. Not struggling with it. Not suffering from it. Not breaking under the burden of it, but dealing with it.” Michael J. Fox

 

There is always hope. You are allowed to be afraid. You are allowed to feel emotions. What you are not allowed to do is lose hope. Find ways to take control of your life. Seek out support. Find what works for you and meets your needs. Take time to understand. Research your cancer, speak to your health care providers and ask questions. Speak to other cancer patients and survivors. It helps to know that you are not alone in what you are going through.

I Care!

 

When You Think No One Cares

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The process that follows being diagnosed with cancer can be a very emotionally draining one. It is not uncommon that during and after treatment, people may find themselves overcome with a variety of overwhelming emotions.  They are filled with loneliness and feel that no one cares. Being afraid is also not an uncommon emotion during a life-changing phenomenon such as cancer.

Many cancer patients also think that others such as family members have no idea how they feel or are in no position to give advice because it is not them that have cancer. The truth of the matter is that a cancer diagnosis also affects loved ones, family members, and friends. The fear, anxiety, and dread are emotions that loved ones and friends have in common with the patient. The fear of the unknown can be a very powerful thing. So simply put, you need to remember, you are not alone!

 

How Cancer Affects Families

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“Relational dynamics are part of the family system, which often includes old baggage and unfinished business such as wounds or secrets from the past,” says Dr. Kerin Groves, PhD., LPC “It is imperative that therapists ask each [person] about that individual relationship.” she added.

Why You Are Feeling Lonely

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Feeling alone or that no one cares is not an uncommon emotion for people with cancer. Relationships can seem different and even distant for various reasons, which include:

 

  • People close to the patient sometimes have difficulty dealing with cancer and may avoid having to face their emotions.
  • It is also possible that with the treatment, you might not be feeling well enough to participate in the hobbies, social activities, etc as you previously had done. This generally also means that your contact with the outside world is less active than before.
  • Sometimes, even if you are around people that are close to you, you can still feel alone. This is more so the case when people are unsure how to speak to you or know what topics are safe to talk about.
  • Sometimes, other people may want to help and be there for you but do not know-how.

 

 

Finding Support

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Annually, 12.7 million people discover they have cancer. There are millions of people around the world that share the same fears and anxieties. Finding support is a healthy way to deal with what you might be feeling. Communicating with others might not be easy, which is why more recently, online forums and communities have become more popular. These forums offer you a number of support options. These include:

  • Group Discussions/Chat Rooms
  • Support Buddies for one-on-one support

Talking can be easier when it is with people you can relate to. Not only does it enable you to speak out about your own emotions but it will also help you manage the challenges cancer may bring. “Social connection improves health, well-being, and longevity.” says psychologist Emma Seppala, Ph.D

 

The Benefits of Connecting With People You Can Relate To

Cancer patients and survivors have invaluable information to share. Talking with others about the experiences, emotions, and challenges that they faced can help you better deal with what you are going through. By talking to others that have endured the same challenges and emotions when dealing with cancer, you can:

 

  • Gain more insight and information about your specific cancer and the treatment side effects
  • Have someone that will listen and offer encouragement
  • Help you solve problems and offer advice on how to deal with the challenges and emotions you might be feeling
  • Be inspired
  • Deal with the fears and anxieties you might have about the future

“Having a positive peer group provides individuals with a balanced perspective by serving as a sounding board. It can become very easy to become isolated with one’s own thoughts and feelings and connecting with others can offer objective feedback and support.” as explained by Dr. Dana Avey, LMFT.

There are a number of discussion groups and forums that are mediated by medical staff who volunteer their time to manage the online forums and communities. There are also a few social media groups and pages that offer inspiration, Q & A sessions with professional medical staff and up to date news on research and advocacy. It helps to stay connected, even if only in a small way, it keeps you connected with reality.

Dealing With Antisocial Personality Disorder Child

 

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Children with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) often disregard and violate the rights of other children around them. As observed, they can be charming and fun to be around at times, but they usually exploit others and break the conventional rules for their own needs or wants. ASPD makes them act destructively without feeling guilty about their actions that can hurt other people. The disorder usually starts in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood. Continue reading “Dealing With Antisocial Personality Disorder Child” »

How To Help Bullies Through School Counseling

A person who bullies is a typical type of person who has low self-esteem and uses a defense mechanism of projection. In psychology, it refers to a kind of behavior wherein negative feelings are thrown or displaced on a less threatening object or person. Usually, the person has a little understanding of oneself and inability to communicate. They tend to cover up their weaknesses by putting up a “cool guy kick-ass” type of attitude that usually deviates from the usual norms of society.  “No one consciously chooses or enjoys being a victim. But we can claim our power.” says Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT.

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Despite our prejudice we have on bullieS, we should also take note that they are emotionally unstable. This may sound indifferent to some; nonetheless, there is a need to change our dealings with bullies. A lot of times, we find it hard to deal with them because we only focus on their rude behaviors and the victims that they bully.  “Bullies often target individuals who are perceived to be “different” in race, national origin, color, religion, appearance or gender expression.” says Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD. Continue reading “How To Help Bullies Through School Counseling” »

The Downside Of Being There For Your Kids Too Much

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People say that parents experience love at first sight all over again the first time they meet every child they produce. Some folks are afraid that they will not be able to give as much love to the second- or third-born as they have given to the firstborn, but that’s not true. It is only as if the more kids you have, the more your heart becomes fuller. This is the reason why a lot of moms and dads want to become hands-on parents.

Over the years, though, I have realized that there are a couple of downsides to being there for your children too much.

They Become Extremely Dependent On You

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We have a family friend who doted so much on her only daughter. When she was having a hard time with maths at school, they got her a private tutor. Since the girl said she gets tired after walking for five minutes to school, her parents would drive her there. At home, they would not assign chores to her — not even fixing her bed in the morning — because they wanted her to keep on studying. This routine went on until the daughter had to go to another state to attend a university there. That’s when my friend saw the fault in their parenting style.

Of course, whether you stay in the dormitory or have an apartment of your own, you have to clean after yourself. The girl, however, did not know how to do the laundry, fold her clothes, cook simple dishes, or even use a vacuum cleaner. Her place became too messy, and she begged for her parents to come to help her tidy things up. Since it was their doing, though, the mom and dad had no choice but to do that.

You Can’t Take A Break Even When The Kids Are Older

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Overly loved kids are not used to making decisions for themselves. They grew up with the idea that mommy or daddy would know what’s best for them. They perhaps allowed their parents to decide for everything, from what sports to play to what field of study to focus on. When the time comes that they want to stand on their own, because of that, things can get whacky. “Most importantly your children want to be seen and heard, so even though it may be difficult to hear them out without interrupting or finding counter arguments, it is the first step in the right direction,” says Dr. Viola Drancoli, PsyD, a clinical psychologist.

The same girl in the example above insisted that she could make decisions for herself after graduating from the university. She worked at a hotel for a year, and then she told her parents that her job’s too complicated and that she wants to find a new one. Hearing that their child is having a hard time, the mom and dad agreed to foot her bills at the apartment while she is looking for another job. One year after being at the new workplace, she said that her dream was to become a flight attendant. Despite being in the workforce for a couple of years, though, she did not think of saving money, she practically obliged her parents to support her financially again. If this job doesn’t stick still, there’s no doubt that the girl would pull the same trick, and her parents will never be able to take a break.

Final Thoughts

I know it is not easy to see your kids failing or getting hurt. Dea Dean, LMFT, states that while it may be difficult to acknowledge your child’s negative perception of you, especially when you never intended to cause harm, “listening without defending shows respect for the reality of your child’s experience and leads to resolution.” However, loving them too much increases your chances of raising spoiled brats. As you have already seen in the movies and TV shows, no one appreciates overprivileged individuals. You don’t want your children to end up being hated by their colleagues in the future, do you? Hence, you need to show a bit of tough love and let your children do things for themselves before it’s too late. According to Judith Belmont, a psychotherapist, “Parents need to be reminded that they did the best with the mental health and abilities they had at the time. Some parents remain a prisoner of their past and take too much responsibility for their kids’ problems.”

Therapist’s Advice In Helping Someone With Mental Illness

Mental illness is a condition that affects your life. “Mental health affects your heart, mental health effects your sleep. It’s all interconnected.” according to Tracy Cohn, professor of psychology at Radford University. It is one of the reasons why you tend to feel different most of the times. It is very complicated even to understand it as a whole. There are moments that no one can create an apparent assumption as to what is happening to you. With that, people, such as friends and family, try and do their best to make you feel better. But what if the situation is different? What if instead of you experiencing a psychological problem, someone dear to you gets to suffer from it? Will you be able to know what to do to assist them? Here is some of a therapist’s advice in helping those people in your life with mental health issues.

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Just Be A Good Friend

It doesn’t matter whether it is a close friend, relatives, or co-worker. Being a friend to these people in times of need is exceptional. By calling, texting, and checking they if they are okay will mean so much to them. “Sometimes the friends that need us most don’t reach out, feeling ashamed that they’re having a hard time. Don’t assume your friend will reach out if they need you, and make a point of checking on them,” says Alicia H. Clark, PsyD. You don’t necessarily have to do anything extreme or overboard only to let them know you care. You don’t need to remind them to take their medicines and attend their therapy session. Of course, they already know that. You don’t have to force your loved ones to do anything to allow themselves to feel better. A simple way of showing that your friends and family can count on you is more than enough. In some cases, just being there and listening to what they want to say means everything.

Let Them Feel Comfortable

You see, one of the biggest mistakes you may unnoticingly do when trying to help someone with mental illness is trying to assist them without their consent. Yes, you are concerned, and perhaps you want to do something to make them feel better. But if they are not asking and unwilling, it may create a gap. Understandably, your intentions are good, but that will not secure a healthy communication. Instead of being pushy, allow these people to feel comfortable with you. Give them time to open things up. Because even if you think they are stubborn and unwilling to get better, eventually they will crack and will need your help.

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Never Assume

It is vital to remember that every individual’s mental condition is different, and so as their needs. You cannot apply the same rule and method from one person to another. Everybody needs different attention, care, and assistance. According to Erika Wight, PsyD, “I believe that everyone is different. No treatment experience is exactly the same.” Everyone experience various depressive symptoms. Some may get super irritable, and some feel exhausted and sluggish. Just do your best to understand what they are going through. But if the situation is still challenging, learn to ask politely. Never assume that you know how these people feel so you won’t make a couple of wrong decision in trying to help them. Because you will never know what they are going through unless things are well-explained.

Educate Yourself   

When family or friends are going through depression, expect that their behavior is something you might be able to handle. That is because their way of thinking will more likely become different from the usual. You might complain and say that “they’re not the same person anymore.” But instead of thinking that way, you need to educate yourself about their condition. Avoid judging their actions just because you don’t find them responding to you. Know how they feel, and find out what makes them sad, angry, irritable, or whatever emotions they may have. That way, you can make the right adjustments that both you and your loved ones need.

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Help As Much As You Can

There are endless ways to help someone with mental health. There is no specific thing to do, aside from understanding the situation. Because when you know the right words to say, these people can feel comfortable.  When you educate yourself with different mental illnesses, you can identify the symptoms quickly. And when you do not assume to know how people think, you can be a great asset in for their recovery path. Every little thing you will do will become valued and appreciated. But always be mindful not to allow yourself become unprepared. You need to get ready for the emotional and mental altercation you might experience as well.

Your role as a friend, co-worker, and a family member means so much to those people who are mentally and emotionally unstable. So always make sure you give your best in helping them in whatever circumstances there may be.

When You’re Anxious And You Know It – What To Do

 

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When anxiety starts to creep in, you might feel baffled and unsure about what to do to make you feel better. “Your body could react to both stress and anxiety in similar ways, with mood swings, feelings of worthlessness, rapid heartbeat, and changes in appetite,” Aarti Gupta, PsyD, says. Instead of finding ways to alleviate yourself from being anxious, you might even add more anxiety than what you already have. You’ll tend to over-concentrate get caught up with all the what-ifs inside your head. But what if you’re in the middle of a crowd that you’re just starting to know or you’re at a great party where you’re crush is standing a few feet apart from you? How do you tell yourself to calm down and get rid of the anxiety right here right now?

A lot of questions will run through your mind that will make your armpits sweat, and your eyes feel hot and watery. What if I look pale and creepy? Will my knees wiggle if I attempt to walk towards him?

Your mind and body will be loaded with all the negativity that you can think of at the moment, and if you don’t try to get rid of it, it’ll consume you, and you’ll feel worse than ever.

Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can do to handle anxiety effectively. These are a collection of ways that were gathered from experts and individuals who have claimed to find these strategies work for them.

Reducing Your Anxious Symptoms Right Now

  • Acknowledge That You’re Anxious. Anxiety is a feeling, just like any other emotion that you feel when you’re worried or scared of something or someone. You can simply accept it, and that is the first step to reducing the anxious feeling. It doesn’t mean that you give in to it. You just accept and believe that it is a tolerable feeling that you can overcome. According to Asha Bauer, PsyD, “For those who experience significant anxiety, the idea of being mindful when in the middle of a panic attack may seem a little absurd, and there is good reason for this. When we become severely anxious, our brain goes offline as a means of protecting itself. This is why people sometimes don’t remember details of traumatic events or dissociate when overwhelmed.”
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  • Learn Deep Breathing. When you get the feeling that you’re anxious, take one deep breath, and then another, and another. Continue taking slow, deep breaths and notice how your heartbeat slows down and you feel calmer. The diaphragmatic breathing technique is very potent in reducing stress and anxiety, as it stimulates the body’s relaxation responses. The anxiety arises from the sympathetic nervous system and then goes to the parasympathetic nervous system by way of calming technique. You can try it by inhaling and counting 1 to 4, holding your breath for a few seconds, and then slowly breathing out to a count of 1 to 4.
  • Remember That Your Mind Is Tricking You. Psychiatrists are the professionals who can testify that a person’s brain can make you think that you are in the brink of death due to heart attack instead of just having a bout of panic attack. It’s because panic symptoms are similar to those having a heart attack. An experienced psychiatrist will comfort her patient and gently tell her that he is not dying and that her mind is only tricking her – that’s how powerful the mind can be. This almost always produces positive results, calming the patient and eliminating the panic attack. 
  • Create A Visualization That You Can Visit. Visualize yourself on a clean, flowing river or the clear blue sky. Then choose a favorite positive emotion that you can assign for each picture. Finally, just wait for the effect – the feeling of freedom from the anxiety and the happiness from the beautiful visions.
  • Try To Talk Positive Sense Into Yourself. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, saying something good to yourself. For instance, convince yourself that you can get rid of the debilitating feeling that’s tagging along with your life right at this moment. You can say, “I feel bad because of my anxiety, but I’ll overcome this after a few minutes. I am armed with effective strategies.” 
  • Concentrate On Doing Worthwhile Activities. When you have anxiety, think about doing an activity that is goal-directed and worth doing – activities that you would be doing when you are not anxious. According to Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, “Science shows us that anxiety can stimulate a drive to do something with it. Because anxiety tends to be an uncomfortable physical state of restlessness and unused energy, channeling its energy into solutions immediately relieves it. Use anxiety’s energy to fuel productive action, and you will find yourself using anxiety to be your best self.” If you were planning to watch a movie, go ahead. If you were about to do the laundry, do it still. Don’t sit around and nurture your anxiety. You’ll feel much better if you do things that will help you forget about your negative feelings – plus, you’ll get things done.
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Bottom Line

Anxiety is part of anyone’s life – whether you’re a kid or an adult. There’s always something to be worried or nervous about. But once you get to learn these simple yet effective strategies, you’ll cope better, and you’ll know how to get busy with promoting productivity and positivity.

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Child Depression, Therapy and Treatment

Major depressive disorder among children is a disorder that could affect a child’s daily functioning. “Depression and its worst risk, suicide, are serious and common problems in children and teens. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in U.S. teens, resulting in more deaths than from cancer or any other disease or illness.”, according to Michael Shapiro, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. It’s a mental illness that can affect the way the child thinks about things, the way he thinks about himself, his moods, and even affect his daily activities such as sleeping and eating patterns. To understand the underpinnings of child depression, this article will tackle the cause of the disorder and possible treatment modalities such as undergoing therapy.

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Continue reading “Understanding Child Depression, Therapy and Treatment” »

Depression And Genetics: When It’s In The Family

 

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While your friend who’s going through a terrible divorce may feel a lot of devastating emotions that may stay for weeks or months, you may be sinking into a major depressive disorder – and family history may be able to explain why. “Depression is a disorder that develops from environmental and biological issues that are unique to each person.”, according to Deborah Serani, PsyD.

Perhaps your dad had it, or your sister, or your aunt. Seeing a family member go through depression can be really hard, but does it mean you, too, will suffer from it sooner or later?

Continue reading “Depression And Genetics: When It’s In The Family” »