Finally! They are considering having Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) accept Medicare!
Finally! They are considering having Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) accept Medicare!
Teens today are having less sex! But are researchers asking the right questions?
Some experts, such as Amanda Pasciucco, a certified sex therapist with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and author, argue that something far more insidious is driving a decline in sexual intercourse: easy access to free porn. “Now you can just go on your phones,” she says. “It’s very easy to just Google something, and it’s much easier to have sex with yourself than go through the anxiety of having sex with someone else.”
Story by Meaghan:
I want to tell you about this guy that I met. I’m not going to use any names because I feel it could really ruin someones reputation. Him and I met about ten years ago. You could say that our relationship has been pretty serious, always ups and downs but when push comes to shove he really has always been there for me. I was a freshman when we met, he has taught me so much about life, love and happiness. He taught me about strength and persistence. He taught me how to love myself, even when I wasn’t very lovable. He taught me self-care, taking time for myself. Throughout high school we had lunch together almost every single day. Once we went to college, things got kind of complicated you could say. I wanted to be alone and figure myself out, and he wanted to support me. I’d push him away and then call him back whenever I needed him. He comforted me when I was scared. He guided me when I felt I couldn’t make decisions and always gave me the greatest advice. He’d constantly show me who my real friends are and push away every negative person that got in my way.
He’s great, he’d go shopping with me, out to eat, parties and even take me on little vacations. He’s perfect right? The only thing is he insisted that we kept our relationship top secret. However I was treated like a princess, so it was worth it. Wouldn’t you kill for a relationship like that? Having a man that stands by your side for ten years even if it’s just in the role of a friend. Someone who is honest, who fights for you, who is patient and waits for you to discover yourself? Someone who is willing to wait for you and as soon as you are ready, he’s back, like nothing ever changed.
How lucky am I? I’d say very. I found my Prince Charming at such a young age and the best part is I knew he’d never, ever leave me. No matter how poorly I treated him. No matter how stubborn I was. No matter how many other relationships I got into, I always knew he’d be there. He would never let me be lonely. It’s a dream come true.
There’s a flip side though. This guy, as much of a dream that he is also did some pretty terrible stuff to me. Do I keep him or do I let him go? That’s where I need your help.
When I say he taught me how to love myself, I mean- he told me what I needed to do to be beautiful. Make-up, hair-dye, tanning, gym memberships, and the latest ‘diet’ trends. When I was scared he’d teach me control, like “If you ever want to get anywhere in you life you have to learn to punish yourself when you do wrong.” When I was getting dressed he’d tell me I’m ugly, and that clothes will never ever fit me. If I had a friend or a significant other he’d find ways to push them away because the only love I needed was his. He’d help my avoid awkward social gatherings and fight with my loved ones so I could ensure keeping him around. He HATED seeing me in dresses, it just wasn’t a pretty site. He’d comment on how my calves were too big and my thighs shouldn’t touch. He’d convince me that no one loved me, no one cared. Whenever I was alone he’d keep me company. Whenever I was with people he would always be right.there.
He made me sick. I never wanted to leave my house, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t sleep. I was scared and nervous, I couldn’t make a move without him noticing. I wasn’t allowed to cry, or be angry, or be anything but “happy.” If I felt anything else, he’d become enraged, he wouldn’t leave me alone. he convinced me that I’m not worthy. I was fat. I was ugly and he always had to be number one in my life. He gave me what I wanted, attention. He was manipulative, he made me cling to love. He was intimidating, constantly reminding me that I had to earn the body image I longed for. He was always there for me, he loved me despite my longing to be beautiful, despite always failing him.
Does this still sound like a fairytale? Is love like that worth it? If love means something different to everyone shouldn’t I accept this man? I should love him back. Here’s the scary thing though, I don’t. I’d be lying to you if I told you I even wanted him around. Honestly I want him to leave forever.
Don’t you want to help me get away from this man? Once we break up would you want to watch chick flicks and eat ice cream out of the carton with me? Why could I so easily tell a friend to get away from a relationship like that but I’m stuck? Can people really convince you of all that? How many second chances do I have to give someone?
Now, what if I told you this man doesn’t really exist. What if I told you I completely made him up? Would you get me a one way ticket for the crazy train? Here’s the thing. He does actually exist. His name is Ed. He lives in my brain and everything I just told you is very true. When I told you we met for lunch every day, I meant in the bathroom. Ed is an eating disorder. It’s a mental illness. My body isn’t perfect, and I rarely go to the gym. But if I was dealing with a break up and you showed up with ice cream, I’d have to refuse because it’s just not worth the extra calories. It’s always there. I’ve been fighting this for months, you could even say years.
Eating disorders are the cancer of the mental health world. The only difference is there isn’t a chemo or radiation. It’s just as deadly. For an eating disorder I am the chemo, the radiation, the strength and the cancer. It effects your muscles, slows your heart rate down, reduces your bone density and can even cause heart disease. Anorexia nervosa has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness. Eating disorders are a daily struggle for ten million females and one million males in the United States.
You see, I’m far from alone. This IS serious. Anyone can struggle. This “relationship” I’m in is just as serious as an abusive relationship, it’s similar to having an addiction to heroin. Except I’m addicted to the feeling of having an empty stomach. I physically can’t JUST have one more bite. I can’t just STOP my desire to be a size 0.
I can’t just call the police and say I’m in danger. I have to become smarter than my own mind. I have to face challenges every day because I can’t just run away from food. You can’t escape your own mind, or your heart.
I’m okay and I’m surviving. Every day brings new struggles and new accomplishments.It’s not easy- but the moment you realize that recovery is worth it everything changes. The fight becomes worth it, the exhaustion becomes worth it. And in the end, you gave up a relationship and you may feel lonely. What you gain is irreplaceable though.
You gain a clear mind, an adventurous spirit. You gain love- maybe not from others but for yourself, and the others will follow suit. Loving yourself means happiness, confidence, strength, courage and compassion. You gain pride, you gain insight, you learn how to actually fight.
This doesn’t mean Ed won’t call, or text, or show up in a commercial, or even knock on your door he may even barge in. However he will find someone happy to be eating ice cream out of a carton because they can finally enjoy good company. Because that’s my decision and getting rid of him, gives me back control of my life and after all isn’t that what I wanted from the beginning?
Be brave, take chances. Talk about your struggles with loved ones. Seek help, because being able to think and make decisions for yourself is worth far more than fearing life. I’m 24 years old, I’m no longer claiming to “have” an eating disorder, because I am far too busy recovering from one.
The Joy of Sunshine
By Amanda Pasciucco, LMFT, CST
As soon as the sun starts shining, the world gets happier. Recently, it hit 60 degrees in New England, and it seemed like everyone was more cheerful. I noticed more people smiling, individuals being friendly and courteous, and a diminished sense of “rushing” or “urgency” around me. I appreciated the sudden shift in energy and decided to delve into understanding this sunshine shift.
My recent experience. I was blessed with the privilege of retreating to the beach recently. I decided to go on a solo excursion to enjoy the peace of the water and basking in the glorious sunlight. I had my apprehensions before going: the cost of getting in, the crowds who would have the same idea, and my fear of bees swarming. I decided to forget about that and just take time to appreciate the opportunity.
I arrived (there was no cost to enter), I made my way to the beach (there were barely any people around), and I relaxed (only flies… no bees). I looked around and truly appreciated the moment that I was in. I felt so thankful for that moment where the sun was beating on me, I had nothing to do, and I could just enjoy the sights, sounds, and feeling of that moment. This sense of peace stayed with me throughout the entire rest of the day. I never felt so calm and at ease as I did when I made a conscious effort to be mindful and present within the sunlight.
Note to self: get out in the sun more often!
The science behind it. In earlier times, people spent most of their time outdoors and in the sunlight. We know that, now, we spend much more time indoors, thus we refrain from getting the necessary amount of Vitamin D. The importance of this vitamin is to keep our immune systems working hard to fight off infections and to support bone growth. In addition to providing us with Vitamin D, sunlight triggers the circadian rhythms (our awake-to-sleep cycles). When sunlight hits our optic nerves, the brain slows down on its release of melatonin (the hormone responsible for sleep) and increases our serotonin (which is responsible for wakefulness and feelings of happiness). After the sun sets, this cycle reverses. The more sun we get, the more serotonin the brain produces.
Sunlight = Happiness. In addition to the scientific part of it, there is also a psychological factor. We tend to associate sunlight with vacations and tanning with days off from work. This mental state leads to a happier self. Due to both the psychological and scientific aspects, I believe I have my answer as to why the world just seems happier when the sun comes out. Look forward to a summer of friendlier faces.
This trend must stop.
Numerous acquaintances come to me with their complaints and problems, and when they find the solutions, instead of solving them, they just keep complaining. Nothing is more frustrating than people who are negative, complain, and refuse to stand up for themselves to change the current pattern of their lives.
In the beginning, I would sit and listen. I would offer my services to listen or give them my perspective on the issue. After months of realizing people are complaining about the same issue and not doing anything about it, I have finally decided I am not going to use my time to enable constant complaining.
I feel blessed to have been raised in a family where complaining without action towards a solution was unacceptable. I have yet to meet anyone whose constant complaining has done anything positive to resolve the situation. I realize that having bitterness and aggravation towards life problems never gets anything done.
If someone tries to talk to you about his or her problems but refuse to make any changes, then you should refuse to listen to their complaining. It takes too much mental energy to try helping people who are not willing to help themselves.
If you have friends, co-workers, or family like this, it is time to stop the pattern. You must recognize that people who are chronic complainers are not going to take your advice, because they are stuck in the pattern of complaining. Let these people deal with their own stress and refuse to take it on as part of your life. You will be a much happier person if you keep yourself out of that dynamic.
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Did I get your attention? Probably….
Seriously… Stop buying things!
We all want more stuff… more new things bring us joy. How long does this joy last? Probably not that long. Research shows that happiness from purchases are fleeting. At first, I am really happy with my purchases. Then I get bored of them, they burden me, they no longer are new and pleasant, and I replace them, toss them away, donate them, or throw them back into the dresser until they are in style again.
Sometimes I clean to find that I have a brand new designer shirt crumpled in the corner of my closet. This irks me because in the store, this shirt was so exciting and called out to me. While handing my credit card over to the cashier, I didn’t realize the future of this shirt was to collect dust in the bottom corner of my closet and wrinkle itself into oblivion. What is even more unfortunate is that this has happened to me numerous times.
My college professor in my “Consumer Society” course would cringe if she read this article. I got an A in the course, and I can’t even manage to stop buying things. I was literally trained in college not to prioritize material possessions. If I “know better” than how can I ever convince teenager girls or those around me to put their consumer ideas aside and stop purchasing unnecessarily? It’s going to be tough, but I am going to try… stay with me.
Remember that saying “less is more?” Let’s try to apply it here. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to keep track of it. The more you bring into your house, the harder it will be to organize. All of this “stuff” becomes a burden… to clean, to wash, to organize, and to take up your time that you would utilize differently if you didn’t have so much stuff.
Easier said than done, I know. However, I found a way to curb the rush of the purchase. While doing a seasonal house cleanse, I realized that I get a rush out of getting rid of things. As I donated 10 bags of items, I felt the burden of these belongings lifting off my shoulders. I felt light and carefree. All of the sudden, I had a rush from the new space I had gained. I could dance around in my room if I wanted to. If you don’t want to donate your things, you could always sell them too. There definitely is a rush from selling belongings and getting money back from the consignment shop.
I don’t want to sell or donate. I just don’t want to purchase more. Okay, if this describes you… you need to use your shopping time wisely. Instead of spending an afternoon alone in a store or with a friend at the mall, take some time and plan ahead. Research shows that people have much longer lasting happiness from doing things! Doing things, rather than buying things, will give you memories to reminisce about and create longer lasting feelings of happiness. So use your money wisely and plan an event. Don’t have money? Look at the event calendar in your town… there are plenty of things to do!