Conventionally, most people understand the concept of how our bodies operate. The brain, as the central processor, conjures up the command for an action, then, via the nervous system, sends the signal to the body part that needs moving or to the gland that will produce the hormones to signal the response that is needed.
K.D. Holmes Blog
This is a question parents often ask when they call to set up an appointment for their teen. Teenagers are often emotional, "difficult" to be around, isolate in their rooms, and with today's social media epidemic - they tend to "always" be on their phones. Some of these are normal developmental issues, ie teen angst, however some are indicators that your child is struggling with a mental health issue.
I wish I could say that in all my inner wisdom I just knew I had to stop my overachieving and so I stopped...smh...that's how my perfectionistic brain expects things to go. But the truth is much more brutal. All real change is.
Well this is one complicated question, but I will attempt to sum it up as best as I can. Overachieving is made up of habits, personality traits, mental health symptoms, our history, and social networks -- which makes for a complicated way through this issue.
Overachieving is comprised of emotional urges, habits, and so much lost time. I was constantly consumed by the urge to achieve, while outwardly it appeared like I was thriving. Ultimately the internal costs far outweighed any of my successes.
This specific type of anxiety and depression is difficult to change because most individuals don't want to change something that brings them accolades in the world, positive feelings within, and intense fear that they are avoiding catastrophes with these overachieving habits.
I see so many clients who have no idea that overachieving is a part of their mental health problem. They come to me with so many achievements, yet they are consumed with anxiety and/or depression, thinking that their inner overachiever god is "good", necessary, and "essential" for life.
So in addition to holiday stress, some of us can add in our own internal struggles that don’t stop simply because it’s the holidays or a Zombie Apocalypse.
Stress is common during the holidays, but imagine the holidays with a Zombie Apocalypse, we would all be affected by such an extreme crisis. Now the reality of 2020 with all its extras can seem very similar to a Zombie Apocalypse. Add in the holiday season and it's bound to create stress overload.
In my office and in my personal life, I am reminded of how difficult holidays are for most humans, without the 2020 extras. Thrown into the mix now is a more emotional ups and downs, sadness, anger, frustration, and anxiety that 2020 has brought on.
Gratitude is an oldy-but-goody thought practice that can change your mental focus from the glass is half-empty to half-full. It's an example of one of my favorite DBT skills -- acting opposite. I am reminded of it weekly when clients start to feel better by resistantly practicing acting opposite.
I have been called "nervous" since I was a child. I would venture to say that large doses of caffeine and chocolate probably did not help my "nervousness". As a small child, I would drink a coke and eat a bag of Hershey's chocolates and literally run in circles at family functions. We still laugh at these memories.
One of my favorite memories of my grandfather was when all of us were breakdancing, even my grandmother. As a child my grandfather was patient, kind, and full of laughter.
As the Hurricanes creeps closer, I allow myself to accept the facts that it will (according to the facts of the forecast),affect us. With so much social media exposure and news forecasting on this impending doom, I feel overwhelmed.
Noticing your victories can have a profound affect on your mental health. I know many of you say that sounds too easy... but, when your brain is full of all the things you did not do, all of your inadequacies, all your cant's and should's, noticing your victories begins the positive inner snowball needed for change to occur.
Part two of my gratitude blog: let's take this day to thank and notice the fathers and father figures in our lives. It does not have to be your own, but notice someone who inspires you and heals your soul.
Can a daily practice of gratitude grow "good" feelings in ourselves and in others? Gratitude is an old practice that nurtures and deepens relationships with others and within ourselves.
Coming out of the COVID-19 quarantine experience and wearing my mask around town, sparks some sort of surreal feeling that this is actually happening. As I have moved past the terror of getting others sick, now I am facing news reports of more suffering.
A fascinating new therapeutic technique that I’d like to share with you is Image Transformation Therapy. This is a technique that I trained in during the quarantine.
During quarantine I started to feel bogged down with the monotony of this situation. Wake up... eat… work… exercise…house project 2,534… lol… take care of dogs... clean house... etc...
Many people envision meditation as 30 minutes of quiet inner reflection. They think that it is a practice only for those disciplined folks who like self-torture. I say NO, not so! Meditations are used frequently in counseling and they basically consist of sitting quietly for just ONE minute to regroup, relax, or "center".
This quarantine has presented me with more time than I normally have. And of course I want to make the best of it. Instead of obsessively watching the news and growing anxiety, I am using my time to start some much needed daily habits!
The COVID-19 world crisis can be traumatic, especially since it has impacted the entire globe. The terror, powerlessness, and shock can leave us with bothersome symptoms related to the “exposure to this event”. This is a common trauma verbiage used in therapy… exposure to the event. If you have a pulse you have been exposed to this event.
"How can I help?" I am not a doctor and I cannot assist medically with COVID-19 but I do work with individuals’ reactions to crises every day. That, I would say, makes me an expert in managing various crises one may face -- specifically in managing our reactions to crises.
So much of my practice centers around anxiety, trauma, phobias, panic disorder, obsessions, compulsions, and unhealthy coping patterns related to anxiety. The COVID-19 is scary for many people, and it is a crisis.
It appears that most people think that they can come to therapy whenever they want and return when they feel like it. As if therapy is an as-needed type of attendance when...
Because all I write about is therapy, I’d like to share my ebook with you. It covers what you should know before coming to therapy.
Recently I began attending a consultation group and the leader happened to have written a book that I use in my office daily, The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD.
It's hard to imagine that a man that looked like this, could die. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the death of a parent. Whether distant or close, it leaves a mark within.
1. Looking at the Consequences of Living this Way
Most individuals do not even think it is a problem to be an overachiever. They attribute their problems to procrastination, a lack of intellect, depression, or anxiety.
Am I an Overachiever?
A significant part of my practice caters to adults and teens who suffer from anxiety and depression rooted in being an overachiever.
Being Human = Life + Acceptance + Meaning
I continue to struggle with actually reading a book and so recently I got into the audiobook scene. I began with two health books followed by, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed.
Treatment of trauma rests on the foundation that trauma brain or trauma-based body chemistry can be changed first through skill-based techniques to “stabilize” clients, and then to reprocess the trauma.
Many people have what I call Trauma Brain and have no idea that it is the cause of their current symptoms.
A Question Fraught with So Much Misunderstanding
1. What are reasonable therapeutic expectations?
Most clients have no idea how long it will take to change reactions to symptoms or habits that are part of how they live their lives. Changing our reactions to symptoms depends on several factors such as how long we have been experiencing symptoms and maladaptive reactions. Are they connected to other habits or symptoms?
People come to therapy for various reasons. The symptoms of individuals I see are self-reported or observable and consist of anxiety, phobia, exposure to traumatic events, symptoms of depression, obsessions, compulsions, and experiencing significant life events.
Not one size fits all
Generally speaking, individuals who have been in therapy before “know” what they are looking for in a therapist, more so than a newbie would. They have learned through experience that therapy is not one size fits all.
Treatment for Depression
I know that it sounds so formal … TREATMENT… but depression is indeed a medical condition. We misquote the term at times by saying things like, “I’m depressed”, or “I am so depressed that my Netflix series has ended.”
ERP + Mindfulness = Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Working Through Anxiety
Anxiety can be so debilitating that it interferes with daily tasks, moods, presence with loved ones, and ultimately, quality of life. It slowly erodes who a person is with physical and mental nagging.
Do I have an anxious Mind?
Anyone who has a mind, that works like the above title, knows exactly what I am talking about.
Many of the individuals I work with are plagued by an obsessive brain. Obsessive brains are repetitive and stuck, living in a rabbit hole of thinking that leads to nowhere but feels so real to the sufferer.
Major Depressive Disorder is one of the major reasons people come to therapy. It is safe to say that we have all had a depressive period at some point in our lives. It is part of being human. Perhaps it was a bad breakup, difficulty with pregnancy, health issues, death of someone, or difficulty transitioning into new phases of life.
Following up on my last blog, I’d like to discuss the book that my physician suggested for me to read, Mark Sisson's Primal Endurance.
Updated: Aug 3
Depression, Anxiety, or Medical Issue?
1.Have your body checked by a physician for any underlying medical issues and treat those first and/or at the same time as therapy. I love Functional Medicine!
Updated: Aug 3
Therapy helps you find your path to happiness, your recipe for joy, and solutions for your life.
Updated: Aug 3
Have you ever had something you really wanted but concluded, “That’s impossible!”? Something that you just pushed so deep within you that now it’s buried and you can’t even remember what it is? Well, if so, welcome to Possibility Training 101. Most of us have something we really want. We all have a persistent urge or desire that we can’t shake. Sometimes life values (or society’s) have made it even more “impossible” for us.
Every day I instruct people on the importance of meditation, yoga, journaling, walking, art….you name it. Helping my clients develop a practice to center themselves, calm their inner storm, and live a whole life is a big part of what I facilitate in my office. When it comes to myself, however, there are definitely some struggles.
- Parts Of Self -
A Part of Me Is Sad, it is not all of me. It is just a part. When it is present it shades my whole view.