Seasonal Depression

What is Seasonal Depression?

What is Seasonal Depression?

 

Seasonal depression, officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, is a kind of depression that happens when the seasons change. Usually, this happens during fall or winter and tends to be the same time of year consistently for each patient.

Seasonal depression can make it difficult to complete work, take exams, or feel like you are living your life with energy and purpose.

 

Symptoms

It is important to note that a lot of the symptoms for seasonal depression are similar to the symptoms of depression in general, with a distinctive difference: the depressive episode appears and disappears around the same time each year. Major depression’s symptoms will not appear and disappear according to a seasonal schedule or seasonal factors, though it may be amplified due to certain seasonal factors at times.

The symptoms for seasonal depression can include:

  •   Feeling sad, despairing for a period of more than two weeks
  •   Impedes your ability to function properly at work, school or in relationships
  •   Losing/gaining weight
  •   Insomnia/irregular sleep
  •   Low self esteem
  •   Fatigue
  •   Pessimism
  •   Irritability
  •   Hopelessness
  •   Feeling slowed down
  •   Feeling agitated
  •   Memory problems
  •   Difficulty Concentrating
  •   Crying without concrete reason (or feeling like you want to but can’t)
  •   Excessive guilt
  •   Loss of interest in work, hobbies
  •   Loss of libido
  •   Hallucinations or strange ideas (delusions)

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self harm, it is important to find help right away. Either go to the hospital or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273- TALK(8255).

You may find that you experience a handful of these symptoms on occasion: this is normal! We all feel sad, uncertain and exhausted at times. What makes these symptoms a sign of seasonal depression is when it is ongoing for two or more weeks and seems to appear the same time of year or with the changing of the seasons.

 

Who Can Get Seasonal Depression?

Anyone can get seasonal depression, regardless of gender, race or social class, however some factors may increase your risk of seasonal depression.

Risk factors include:

  •   Being female/AFAB. Women are far more likely to be diagnosed with seasonal depression, though it is unclear if this is due to biological factors, social factors or both.
  •   Seasonal depression is more common amongst people who live either far north or far south of the equator, where the seasonal changes are most drastic.
  •   The younger you are, the more at risk you are for seasonal depression. Thankfully, the risk decreases with age.
  •   A family history of seasonal depression may increase your chances of experiencing seasonal depression yourself.

 

What Causes Seasonal Depression?

There is still some mystery surrounding depression in general as well as seasonal depression. Some prevailing theories believe that seasonal depression is triggered by the changes in daylight that occur with the changing of the seasons, particularly in the fall and winter when daylight hours are significantly reduced.

The thought is that the amount of daylight affects your biological clock, your circadian rhythm, and therefore disrupts your sleeping and waking patterns. It is also possible that the change in light affects your neurotransmitter functions.

Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are chemical signals that send messages from a nerve cell to a target cell to accomplish specific functions. For example, serotonin regulates functions like sleep, learning, appetite, and mood and may play a part in depression. This is of course a simplification for the purposes of this article, just know that certain neurological functions can be deeply affected by either too much or too little of specific neurotransmitters.

While we may not fully understand what causes seasonal depression (yet!), there are many treatments available with the help of a therapist, self care and perhaps even medication.

 

How Your Therapist Can Help

A therapist can help you find ways to cope with your seasonal depression by giving you techniques and tricks to break negative thought patterns, identify issues and learn to cope with your symptoms. Many find that talk therapy can help them eliminate symptoms altogether.  

Booking an appointment with a therapist is a great way to start your journey to feeling better. You don’t need to suffer alone or feel like your problem is unimportant, there is always something that can be done and your therapist can help you create an action plan.

If your symptoms are quite debilitating and severe, a psychiatrist can determine if medication is a good way to treat your seasonal depression in conjunction with other methods.

 

What You Can Do

In addition to talking with a therapist, there are some things you can do that may help ease your symptoms.

  •   Light therapy. There are many lamps on the market that are created to help people with seasonal depression get more light exposure. It mimics daylight, and typically you use the light for 30 minutes to a couple hours during the day. Many people find this relieves their symptoms or improves their quality of life.
  •   Exercise can be a great way to increase circulation, get a boost of energy and get more light exposure if you choose to exercise outdoors.
  •   Meditation. Simple mind meditations can help you identify your feelings and better cope with the ebb and flow of emotions that can feel debilitating at times. Learning to acknowledge feelings without feeling victim to them can help with depression and anxiety.
  •   Try to cover the basics and celebrate small victories. Do whatever you can to ensure you have meals, maintain hygiene, and get to bed at a decent time. Covering your basic needs is a huge accomplishment when you are suffering from seasonal depression, so be kind to yourself and celebrate small victories. A therapist can help you create an action plan to make it easier to accomplish these basic tasks to suit your needs.

It is also important (and easier said than done) to try and maintain some sort of social connection. This can be done by a simple phone call, texting, or a video chat if you can’t or don’t feel like leaving home.

Seasonal depression is nothing to be ashamed of and is actually quite common, especially if you are in one of the high risk groups mentioned above. Book an appointment with a therapist and you can start to take steps towards curing your seasonal depression and increasing your quality of life during the cold, dreary months.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do


Conflict and COVID-19

Conflict and COVID-19 - The Bubble System 

Conflict and COVID-19 - The Bubble System 

 

Conflict and covid-19 seem to go hand-in-hand in our mental health practice. 

Something that is a pattern is the conflict surrounding people’s COVID-19 “bubbles” (and how to manage those boundaries). Many a session, I have spent speaking with couple’s, families, and individuals about negotiating boundaries around COVID-19 and how to do so appropriately. 

The biggest challenge has seemed to be various people's understanding of what is okay and what is not okay around COVID safety. As well as people’s understanding of what being in “their bubble” means. 

As we are aware people have different standards surrounding what feels safe with COVID. Some people prefer masks 100% of the time, some people are okay without masks if people are socially distant, some people will interact with others not in their households without masks, and some do not wish to interact with any outside of their household unless it is utilizing technology. 

Many have begun to utilize this idea of “the bubble” which includes people that you may have less restrictions with while you are around one another. This can include people outside someone's household, feeling okay being inside their home, and wearing or not wearing a mask. 

 

“The Bubble” 

The biggest issue is the bubble and consent. This is when people who share a bubble are feeling unclear or have different expectations of what is okay for them within their bubbles. This can look like one piece of the bubble believing that another is taking unnecessary risks or not providing adequate communication surrounding the decisions they are making. 

As a result of these decisions parts of the bubble are in conflict because there is a disagreement between the levels of risk they are engaging in and therefore creating that much risk for the “bubble system.” 

Because COVID is so easily transmitted, the actions you take pose a risk to others around you who you may have less restrictions with. This can be particularly challenging for people who are at higher risk from dying from COVID or around those who have a higher chance of dying from COVID. 

In therapy, we have spent many conversations discussing consent, communication,  and boundaries. 

 

How to Navigate This

This issue really comes down to communication and consent. If you are choosing to be in someone’s bubble you have to be able to agree on what is reasonable and feasible for your group. 

If you are not willing to engage in the rules or disregard them, it takes trust out of the “bubble system". This may mean that you have to create a different bubble or be willing to engage in communication with those for you to be able to come to agreements. 

In relationships, trust and respect are vital to the success of the relationship. If you find yourself being dishonest, omitting, or not able to have conversations with one another… THIS IS A PROBLEM.  

Breaking consent or boundaries in a relationship is also problematic! If you are doing something without the knowledge of someone else and creating a higher level of risk for them without their knowledge… that is a consent issue… and that is a pretty big deal. 

I have had many clients talk about it “not being a big deal” and invalidating one another’s experiences.. Also not helpful! In these sessions, if we are not able to have the conversations and people are not willing to change boundaries or behaviors, I recommend dis-engtangling their bubble. 

The most important thing is to keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy. We need to respect that we all may have differences as to how that may look and if it is so different than we are no longer comfortable… then we make different decisions around how to move forward. 

If you do not think it is a big deal, that is your prerogative. HOWEVER, your actions have an impact on those around you… so it's important to be mindful that no one can control you. 

Yet others have the right to set boundaries as they see fit around their comfort. And if you do not like it, you may consider shifting your behaviors. Yet, if you are unwilling to do that, then you have to come towards a radical acceptance of this current outcome for the time being. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do


Grief and COVID

Grief During Quarantining and COVID

Grief During Quarantining and COVID

 

During the last 10 months something that has been clearer in my clinical practice is grief and the intersection of COVID-19.  During this pandemic there are varying levels of grief that my clients are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. 

 

What is Grief?

Grief is the experience of loss, usually associated with death. But we can experience it in a variety of different ways. Grief is typically experienced as high levels of emotional suffering and struggle. Following a loss (extreme sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.).

Although, less talked about grief also comes with physical symptoms such as sleep difficulties, eating difficulties, changing in weight, fatigue, nauseous, aches and pains.

There are a variety of different processes of grief. One of the most well known is Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).

Although a foundational in the concept of grieving, it does not necessarily mean that it is a step by step process (as described) or that everyone will engage in every stage. Also, these 5 stages were identified after researching the Holocaust (a genocide). 

 

Types of Grief

Grief is not a one size fits all way to grief or one type of grief. Below are a list of different types of grief that people can experience: 

  • Anticipatory grief 
  • Complicated grief
  • Traumatic grief
  • Ambiguous loss
  • Delayed grief
  • Secondary Loss

There may be several various types of grief, these are the ones I see most clearly in my practice. 

 

Grief and COVID

Frief is a complicated and broad topic. The amount of grief experienced collectively in our families, communities, country, and world is unique as a result of this pandemic. 

COVID-19 has struck our world in massive proportions resulting in high levels of loss be it human life, jobs, access to friends and family, change in cultural norms, etc. 

 

Death

Obviously, the death of people as a result of contracting COVID-19 is a horrendous experience for anyone and would be considered “traumatic grief.” 

Many of my clients who have experienced the loss of someone to COVID-19 have had a difficult time. Many of my clients were not able to be with their loved one when they were hospitalized and then died. They were not able to hold celebrations or services for their loved ones. They were not able to access the support of others because of quarantine. Being isolated and not able to be with the loved one has been extremely difficult. 

If the death was of a person who was not someone you are close to, you may be experiencing “secondary” or “vicarious” grief which is the loss of someone you knew. But may not have as significant daily impact. Although it might not have been your spouse, your parent, your child, OR your best friend, does not minimize the grief you may be experiencing. 

 

Life in Quarantine

Life in Quarantine has created its own version of loss for our communities. People are social creatures and require connection so being in quarantine for as long as we have is not something healthy for us. Life in Quarantine has resulted in social isolation and connection via technology. People’s worlds have been turned upside down and have created high levels of struggle for many. 

As a therapist, I am seeing higher levels of depression, trauma, and anxiety across the board. Clients are finding it hard to manage their symptoms because their is a lack of resources and connection. Isolation has become easier, self care has become more difficulty, and conflict is on the rise. People are stuck in the same environment 24/7. 

People are needing to do everything from one space and as the weather gets colder. Options dwindle for being able to engage in some level of safe connection with others outside their household.

This dramatic change in the way we live our day to day lives is causing grief, a loss for life pre-covid. 

 

Loss of Job and Resources

Businesses are struggling or shutting down. Thousands of people are losing their jobs. Resources are becoming more expensive as a way for some businesses to stay afloat. More and more continues to changes as COVID continues to be a predominant issue in our life. 

The above stated losses are hard enough, add in the loss of jobs people have been experiencing, loss of financial stability and resources. And the ability to feel certainty is creating high levels of grief and stress culturally. 

 

How do we Cope with Grief

On a variety of levels we are all struggling with grief right now. The best that we can do is try to facilitate support, connection, validation, love.

Ask for help or offering help to those we love and our communities. Noticing the privileges we have and areas that we can help those around us and our communities can be an important part of collective healing. Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a global trauma and in order to heal and survive this we need to work together to collectively grief, support, and heal. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.


Break Up Therapy

What Is Breakup Therapy?

What Is Breakup Therapy?

 

Breakup therapy is often a solution to ensure that you aren’t left with adverse emotional and mental health going forward. 

Surviving a breakup is not easy.

A few factors may determine the emotional effect a “breakup” or separation can have on your health: 

  • The duration of the relationship
  • The willingness of both individuals to stay in the relationship
  • How happy you were before the breakup
  • The cause of the breakup, which may include emotional or physical abuse, infidelity, or other issues
  • The commitment level of all involved

break up therapy

Many people often grieve relationship loss. Just like they grieve other losses, and the time it takes to heal varies from person to person.

For instance, a short-term relationship might take only a few days to heal for one partner. But long-term relationships may take a longer period of time for that same person to heal.

If both partners were cohabiting before the breakup, recovering from this separation might take years, as this is similar to getting divorced.

It may result in serious emotional turmoil as you fight for custody (if there are kids involved) and the division of the belongings and finances that you share.

Sometimes, a breakup may even be the primary cause of depression, resulting in thoughts of self-harm when not addressed as soon as possible. At such a point where a breakup results in depression and harmful thoughts, breakup therapy becomes essential.

Other mental health professionals can also help you deal with unresolved feelings you may be having after a breakup is happening in your life. 

 

How to Cope With A Breakup

There is no one size fits all in coping with a breakup yet discussing breakups and considering what you need to move on will be helpful.

Reflecting on the past situations will help you regain a new sense of self, possibly making it easier for you to move on from the situation. Although it may not seem like it now… there are steps you can take to put yourself back together.

Before you take the road to recovery after a breakup, keep in mind that healing may not be instant – and will require time.

  • Stitching your heart back in place may not happen in a week or two and may require you to do more than four months of mourning if necessary. So, don't rush it by forcing yourself to heal quickly.
  • Let those you trust – friends and family – know what you're going through if they are often helpful.. They can “hold your hand” as you journey into a conscious completion or relationship recovery period.
  • Acknowledging that your relationship was an important part of your life, and that the pain and loss are part of the process in uncoupling.
  • Place importance on self-care after a breakup as this will help you in the recovery process. Eat balanced meals, plan snacks ahead, stay active and try to move your body in positive ways. Get the appropriate amount of sleep, and avoid harmful behaviors like drug use and drinking to cope.
  • It will also help if you accept support and care from friends and family to help improve your outlook and speed up the healing process. After all, the feeling of guilt and inadequacies that you feel after a breakup is very normal, and the only people that can help you feel better are your close ones.
  • Blaming yourself for a breakup will slow down the healing process. Instead, consider looking inward to take accountability for what you contributed - positively and negatively - to that relationship.
  • A painful breakup can result in positive personal growth as the period you spend in loneliness and reflection can be the best time to reflect on your needs.

Break Up Therapy

Your life goals, values, and priorities may have changed during your relationship, and you may have even developed new interests.

You may find it hard to embrace interests or go to places that you shared with your former partner. Therefore, start developing new passions or exploring new adventures. 

However, accepting that shared interests isn't a bad idea even when your relationship is over will help you recover.

 

Breakup Therapy is For You If...

Breakup therapy becomes highly important when a serious relationship breaks up and leads to depression, stress, anxiety, and hopelessness. 

Regardless of the breakup situation, you may feel sad, confused, angry, or experience emotional turmoil after a breakup, even if you're the one that initiated the breakup.

When you become overwhelmed by your feelings and find it hard to cope with your daily activities. A breakup therapist or counselor can provide support and help make your helping process much faster.

Breakup therapy becomes essential when you experience conditions like post-traumatic stress, depression, grief, and low self-esteem.

When you meet a therapist, you can easily discuss exactly how you feel and the difficulties you face every day. Your therapist will then create a treatment plan that best helps you deal with these negative feelings with coping skills.

A therapist will help you see why you do not have to blame yourself for a breakup and how to move on with experience from the situation.

Speaking with a therapist will not only help you heal faster. It can also improve your general well-being and personal development.

Break Up Therapy

 

In Conclusion

Romantic relationships are beautiful and can form a significant part of one's life when clearly defined. The bonds developed within romantic partners can sometimes be strong enough to create a life-long influential force.

As a result, partners commit time, emotions, and resources towards the relationship.

When circumstances bring a partnership to an end, breakups are involved. 

A separation is rarely a pleasant experience, yet it can be one where we need additional assistance. If you need breakup therapy, reach out to us today. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do


PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

Systemic Impact of Coronavirus - PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

Systemic Impact of Coronavirus - PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

 

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in our medical system. And the systemic effect of PTSD for nurses and doctors is being overlooked. 

In addition to the “normal” exposure of trauma that first responders “sign up for,”. We must consider that since the pandemic began, first responders have witnessed more loss, fear, and / or vicarious trauma than they have ever prepared for in their training. 

For those of you who live with and love doctors, nurses, CNAs, mental health workers, military, firefighters, EMS workers, etc. We thank you for being here to gather information on how to support the ones you love.   

 

What does Trauma Look Like for First Responders: 

I work with many people in the medical field (as do my colleagues) who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things I focus on in my practice is trauma - and it is really clear to me that this population is undergoing trauma.

  • lack of self care
  • hypervigilance (on edge, jumpy)
  • irritable
  • constantly tired
  • perseverating or not being able to let something go 
  • depression
  • anger
  • responses that appear more intense (something is mild and it is seen as highly stressful)
  • not engaging in taking care of basic needs
  • sleep issues (too much or too little)

 

The Trauma of Treating in the Age of COVID-19

Some of my clients do not see their families due to safety concerns. Some have watched patients dying and needing to sit with them as their families are not able to be with them, being inundated with cases without support, resources, and enough gear. 

One of the biggest struggles I have heard from my clients is the level of uncertainty experienced when this pandemic hit. 

Various medical professionals were scared of transmitting the illness and having more suffer the same fate of many. Seeing the lack of resources (beds, PPE, equipment, and information) lead to high levels of uncertainty and fear resulting in many medical professionals experiencing high levels of trauma.

As the statistics reduced in New York and Connecticut, and its surrounding areas, many first responders finally began to feel the up tick in stress.

When someone is going through trauma and in survival mode, it can be VERY difficult to be able to notice the level of stress. This pandemic and the impact on the medical field is an example of this because it is a chronic trauma. 

 

How Can We All Help?

As we begin to see the numbers climbing again, I imagine our medical field will be re-traumatized. If you are a medical professional, first responder, or love someone who is here are some ways to consider supporting them:

  • Allow time to vent
  • Complete acts of service for the first responders (bringing them food or something to drink, running errands, etc)
  • Meditate 
  • Reduce stimulation at home
  • Focus on basic needs such as sleep, eating, and hydration
  • Hold compassion for the first responders
  • Focus on recharging and building a set of tools and resources to help
  • Try to be flexible and adaptive to allow your love one to check in with themselves and their needs
  • Ask for what you need and/or how you can support them
  • Do not bombard them with lots of information, try to slow things down 
  • Take care of yourselves!

These skills are important for everyone because if you are a first responder and experiencing trauma these tips will be useful for you. For those of you who support first responders, you are at risk of “vicarious” trauma or “secondary” trauma from hearing stories or experiences from your loved one. 

Please make sure you take care of yourself, knowing your limits, and communicating. Many client are seeking our support at LCAT to help learn ways to cope through this time. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do


Why Am I Depressed?

Why Am I Depressed?

Why Am I Depressed?

 

If you have been asking yourself “why am I depressed?” you should know that with all of the curveballs 2020 has thrown at us, you are definitely not alone! 

When you ask yourself “why am I depressed?”, that is a strong sign that it is time to seek professional help from a therapist. Luckily, telehealth therapy during COVID19 has made access to counseling easier for individuals who need it. 

Don’t blame yourself if you are feeling depressed: you are not lazy, you are not a failure, and there is nothing “broken” about you that can’t be rebuilt. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you might be feeling depressed. 

 

The Pandemic

The pandemic has been a trigger for many circumstances that can cause depression. 

  • Isolation: if you are unable to see anyone in your social circle or family because they do not live with you, this quarantine will have been especially difficult. Feeling isolated from those you love can increase feelings of depression, and can make you feel far away from any support systems you had in place. 
  • The death toll: the COVID19 virus has resulted in a huge loss of life, and it is a sobering and depressing thought. Grief, fear, pessimism and rage may be some of the feelings you are experiencing around the sheer numbers of those affected by the virus. 
  • The nature of the news cycle: while it is important to stay informed, the news cycle can wreak havoc on your mental health. The constant changes, the bombardment of bad news and zero focus on positive stories can paint a bleak picture and make you feel hopeless. 
  • Losing your job: many businesses large and small have had to furlough their workforce or lay them off, or they’ve gone out of business entirely. If you have lost your job, you aren’t just losing income, you are potentially losing security, opportunities, plans and feel like your ability to survive and provide is at risk. You may also feel unimportant if you were laid off and other staff weren’t, or like your sense of self is pretty shaky when you aren’t working. 
  • Losing a loved one: grief is a natural response to the death of a loved one, and the circumstances around deaths by any cause during the pandemic have made it difficult to have closure. The inability to mourn with loved ones or pay respects at funerals or the inability to hold your loved one’s hand as they pass can be difficult to process. 
  • Cancelling plans: if you had a wedding, event or special trip that was meaningful it can be devastating to cancel plans. Non refundable deposits or constant rescheduling can make you feel stressed and depressed.Why Am I Depressed?

 

Physical Factors 

If you have been ill it can be a trigger for depression, either physically or due to having a new, foreign relationship with your body and its limitations. 

If you have gained or lost weight you may be feeling depressed based on how you perceive yourself and how your body has changed in quarantine. 

There are hormonal and neurochemical factors that can trigger depression in some individuals. These factors can be controlled with medication and therapy, so it is important to seek help if you are feeling off. 

 

World Events

On top of the immediate effects of the pandemic, there have been many world events that may make you feel depressed. 

  • Racial injustice: feeling like your life doesn’t have value because of the color of your skin or feeling helpless to change the injustices of the world. Viewing disturbing footage of violence, protests and riots, wanting to attend protests but can’t for health reasons. Feeling guilty about past or present actions.  
  • The election: no matter which party you plan to vote for, the constant rhetoric and worries about trying to get your vote counted and in on time can be overwhelming. Feeling like the world hangs in the balance if your candidate does or does not get elected or re-elected, or even just having arguments with family about politics can leave you feeling isolated, frustrated and sad. 
  • International tensions: China, Russia, Iran, sanctions, threats, Armenia, the explosions in Beirut, the mass shooting in Canada, the violence happening in Nigeria- the world has been a very busy place and it is easy to feel helpless. Why Am I Depressed?

 

What Should I Do?

It can be tempting to try to battle depression on your own and without outside intervention, however you deserve to have guidance and support! 

If you are feeling depressed to the point of suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can put you in touch with someone immediately by calling 1-800-273-8255, or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. 

If you are feeling depressed and you are not in immediate danger, book an appointment with a therapist. They can assess you and help you create a plan to tackle depression, and can refer you to other mental health professionals if needed. Finding a therapist is more convenient and accessible than ever as most are offering telehealth options. You can even find a therapist outside of your own state! 

By asking yourself “why am I depressed?” you have already taken an important first step, so take some time to care for yourself and open up to a loved one and a professional. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication

Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication 

 

If you haven’t read part 1 of our post election stress series, please click here

Post election stress is here to stay as we transition administrations. 

In the meantime, we will give you our specific examples on how to communicate during this time. 

 

Use Compassionate and Non Violent Communication

If you work with me or others at our practice, you have probably heard about Non-Violent (or Compassionate) Communication (NVC). If you have not, look it up! 

Great resources on ways to learn to communicate differently and in a way that our culture has not done a great job developing. Marshall Rosenberg wrote books on it and there is a website

The premise of NVC is to be able to communicate more compassionately, kindly, and effectively. 

This is recommended in being able to take accountability for our role, acknowledge our feelings, be respectful, and set boundaries or make requests. 

So the “I feel ______________ when (insert experience or concern of behavior) and am wondering if you would be willing to ______________ (needs, boundary or request).” 

post election stress

Using NVC focuses on using “I statements” to reduce blame, acknowledge our role, and build ways to understand through identifying our own needs. 

This helps us communicate with those around us and be able to slow conversations down through engaging in validation and reflective listening. 

Again, this is NOT about agreeing with someone, it is about being able to sit in discomfort and still hear another person.

Does this mean that if someone is sharing something harmful and is continuing to cause harm that I keep having the conversation or the relationship? NO. 

If you are in a conversation and you are doing suggestions from Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog, and there is a lack of respect, kindness, or compassion - you have a clear right to set a boundary using NVC and remove yourself, if necessary. 

There are times where we do everything we can to facilitate and engage appropriately and it is just not okay for us to continue. This is where you can request space, time, or boundaries around the conversation. 

 

Real Examples of How You Can Apply This:

Some of my clients have set boundaries around not speaking about politics. 

Some have a system in place where they say a code word when things become heated and take 20-30 minutes to de-escalate alone and then return and try to continue the conversation and then rinse and repeat until they get through it. 

Some of my clients set timers and engage in an activity called “active listening” where one person speaks, the other listens, when the speaker is done they validate through reflecting back what the speaker said, then the speaker identifies if they felt heard, then if they do they reverse roles, and if they don't, then they clarify what they were missing. 

Some of my clients have chosen to stop having relationships indefinitely or for a set amount of time (space) from the relationship. Some have ended relationships completely. 

Whatever you decide to do, I think it is important that you are responding rather than reacting. Responding is thoughtful, conscious choices vs reacting which is acting abruptly or without conscious thought. I usually encourage people to engage in these tips before making such a decision, unless there is an issue of safety or abuse or significant harm being done. 

Unsurprisingly, I also recommend engaging in therapy if that feels right for you, as a way to figure out what you might need so that your decision is indeed coming from a responsive vs. reactive place.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


Trauma Informed Care

What is Trauma Informed Care?

What is Trauma Informed Care?

 

Trauma informed care is a type of treatment that focuses on helping clients, customers, or patients heal from traumatic events that have happened in their life. Trauma informed care does not mean just “talking” about trauma; rather, it means sitting with and feeling through the parts that you often may run from, hide from, or fight with. 

There are a variety of trauma informed care that have been shown to help people heal from trauma. So how can you find a therapist that can help me with trauma? 

I am sure you don’t want to feel this way anymore, what do you do?

 

What is Trauma Informed Care?

What does it mean to have trauma informed care? Trauma informed care has the health care provider focus on providing safety in the space, allowing for choice, and asking for consent.

Health care providers that are trauma informed show ways that they are mindful of how trauma may be impacting the individual in their relationships and other various contexts.

Trauma informed health care providers are vital to the health care system because for those who have experienced trauma, it is necessary for them to have providers that are trauma informed. 

This process allows for collaboration and self-advocacy, which is important to people who have when you have experienced trauma. The thing is that many in the medical field are not trained, like psychotherapists (LMFT, LCSW, LPC, PsyD, PhD). 

As a practitioner in behavioral health, much of what we learn is through a lens of systemic thinking. We realize that individuals heal through safety, choice, and consent. 

In the past medical model, often medical practitioners are seen as the expert. Patients are not able to advocate and speak up for themselves, and thus, the patient ends up perpetrating themselves by being with someone who may remind them of their trauma.  

Similarly, the medical model is: 

  • Confusingly diagnosis based
  • Secretive and changes yearly
  • Racist and ableist
  • Cisgender and heteronormative (therefore, it is homophobic and transphobic)
  • Shaming and denigrating

The healthcare industry in the United States is the only system that I actually know.

I know it as a client, and I know it as a behavioral health provider, and a group practice owner. 

What I know is that there are many mental health providers who want to take insurance, yet cannot because they cannot understand how to get reimbursed for their services. 

As a trauma informed care provider, I know that we have multiple calls a day coming in looking to schedule with our clinicians. It is a blessing, and also the fact that there are so few places that are trauma informed is startling. 

Please, be mindful of where you go for your medical services. Trauma Informed Care

Ask questions and set up a first appointment as a “meeting,” yet don’t force yourself to stay with a provider that is not meeting your needs. 

See a trauma informed care provider today at Life Coaching and Therapy. 

We are a group practice and we can help you get to where you need, if we can’t help you ourselves. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


High Functioning Anxiety

All Your Questions About High Functioning Anxiety

All Your Questions About High Functioning Anxiety

 

Did you know that high functioning anxiety isn’t officially a diagnosable condition? This is because it can be so subtle, and yet not as debilitating as anxiety disorders. As such, there is very little research on the subject compared to general anxiety disorders.

High functioning anxiety is also different from diagnosed anxiety disorders because there is very little acute biological response. Their palms aren’t getting sweaty, no significant increase in heart rate, no dizziness, and yet the chronic stress can definitely make a physical impact through lack of sleep and overworking. 

High functioning anxiety refers to the fact that people with this condition usually appear outwardly successful, calm or put together, though inside they are suffering. They are “functioning” at a “high level” despite how they feel inside.

 

What Does It Look Like?

To someone on the outside, people with high functioning anxiety are hyper successful, driven and organized. They may be perceived as being stoic or unemotional, even cold, or abrupt. On the flipside, they can be very outgoing and passionate about what they do. 

When people have diagnosed anxiety disorders, they are frozen by fear. This is the more typical media representation of anxiety. People who can’t leave their homes because they are so afraid, or break down and have panic attacks when triggered, or who even need medication in order to cope with day to day life. 

The high achievement, organization and attention to detail with the elusive high functioning anxiety makes it hard to see that anything is wrong at all. In fact, the high functioning anxiety sufferer may appear to be thriving. 

 

What Does It Feel Like?

For the person dealing with high functioning anxiety, it’s a different story. On the inside, they feel a constant churning of anxiety, usually related to feelings of perfectionism, overthinking and need for approval. 

  • Fear of failure
  • Need to be liked
  • Need for approval
  • Rumination, racing thoughts
  • Obsession over the most minor details
  • Unwilling to be vulnerable, a fear of vulnerability
  • Fear of seeming stupid or uneducated
  • Inability to enjoy the present moment
  • Insomnia

 

What Causes Anxiety?

Even with diagnosable anxiety disorders, uncovering the cause can be a long, mysterious process. Sometimes, there may not even be an obvious cause, rather a complex synergy of many factors. 

Factors could be environmental, genetic, the result of a trauma or brain injury: there are so many potential factors even for diagnosable anxiety disorders, so the elusiveness of high functioning anxiety is even tougher to pin down. It may be possible to identify triggers for your anxiety, even if you never uncover how it began in the first place. 

 

The Downside of High Functioning Anxiety

High functioning anxiety can have numerous adverse effects in your life and on your health. Including:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Chronic stress
  • You may avoid eye contact
  • You may be a people pleaser 
  • A cycle of procrastination
  • The inability to say “no” even when you’re too busy or overwhelmed
  • Loyal to a fault
  • Never go beyond your comfort zone
  • Never show your feelings
  • May think your feelings are normal and never seek help because outwardly you’re successful
  • Living a life of denial, simply labeling yourself as a “workaholic” or “list-maker”
  • A reliance on substances to cope, such as alcohol, weed, caffeine or sleeping pills.

 

The Benefits of High Functioning Anxiety

Having high functioning anxiety isn’t all doom and gloo m however. Many studies have proven that those with a livable amount of anxiety are more driven, more organized and even have less accidents causing injury. Other benefits include:

  • Punctuality
  • Outgoing
  • Detail oriented
  • Helpful
  • Loyal
  • A good leader
  • A person of action
  • Focused 
  • Incredibly driven
  • More successful than non anxious peers

While these are all excellent qualities that clearly great for achieving success in your career and following your dreams, there are ways to find a healthier balance so you don’t have to put up with the negative aspects of your high functioning anxiety. 

 

How to Cope

It is worth noting that even if you feel like you have an undiagnosable condition like high functioning anxiety, if you feel overwhelmed or need help figuring out how to make your life easier you should seek out a therapist. 

We’re not just for crises, we can help you overcome anxiety, depression, and anything that is making life difficult by giving you the tools for coping and thriving. 

Some steps you can begin to take on your own include meditation to encourage stillness and stopping the cycle of rumination. 

Channeling anxious energy through exercise can be helpful, and avoiding caffeine may help with insomnia and feelings of anxiety. 

Proper sleep hygiene can increase your quality of life drastically. This means taking time to wind down at the end of the day, avoiding caffeine after lunch and no screen time an hour or two before bed. Try reading a fiction book, soothing yoga or sleep meditations to prepare your mind for rest. If you find you can’t fall asleep, try leaving your bedroom and reading somewhere else until tired again. 

 

If It Isn’t a Real Disorder, Is It All In My Head?

When your thoughts, habits and behaviors are impacting your quality of life negatively, then it doesn’t matter if there is an official definition or diagnosis. Something can still be done, and there is no need to suffer that deeply for success. 

 

Can a Therapist Still Help Me? 

Therapists don’t just deal with diagnoses, we help you uncover the root of your high functioning anxiety and build a plan for coping with it to make your life as enjoyable as possible. We can help you harness the positive benefits of high functioning anxiety and minimize the negative aspects in a healthy way. 

If you think you are living with high functioning anxiety, know that you don’t need to struggle and can find help! It may be hard to admit you need help or aren’t “fine”, and overcoming your high functioning anxiety will certainly be worth it! 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.


Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational Trauma

 

TRIGGER WARNING: Transgenerational Trauma and Can Trauma get Passed Down in the DNA? 

There is a new body of research which is talking about how trauma can be passed down generationally (including through biology). 

I first learned about this over the last several years in specializing trauma and noticing that my clients often had parents or caregivers with significant trauma histories. 

I began to do my own informal research through completing genograms (a family tree that indicates relationships, health, etc), having conversations with colleagues, and eventually being led to the research that showed this very phenomenon. 

So… does trauma get passed down in the DNA? 

 

What does Transgenerational Trauma Mean? 

Transgenerational trauma is trauma that is inherited from generation to generation. 

There is no doubt in my mind as a relational and systems therapist that trauma can be inherited. 

From what I know about families and relationships, it is clear that nurture certainly plays a role in how we see ourselves and experience the world and people around us. 

If we were raised in abusive or toxic circumstances, it is clear that as children we would pick up on some of those patterns of behavior and then use those patterns of behavior or “habits” in future relationships in that way as well. 

For example: a child who was raised in a household where their parents engaged in excessive drinking, drug use, and violence would likely be traumatized by that. 

As they grew up, they may learn to engage in some of those same behaviors or strategies to manage emotions or conflict. Say this individual then begins has children and as a parent engages in strategies that engage in emotional numbing and explosions of conflict. 

These behaviors may not be the same exact things as drugs and violence, yet now they are parenting utilizing the same addictive strategies (gambling, eating disorders, drug use, sex, fights, shaming, blaming, etc.), and you can see how the pattern continues as unconsciously as the environment continues to utilize various strategies to maintain until it is brought to consciousness and the system works to change. 

In the example of transgenerational trauma above, you may see how the environment creates trauma and continues from one generation to the next, as those who experienced high levels of trauma parented and continued to parent within the context and knowledge of what they knew. 

As children, we learn from our environment and how that translates into the future can depend on a variety of factors outside our control as well as some that are within our control. 

This made sense to me. I get this and believe that what we learn from our relationships throughout our lives impacts us on a conscious and unconscious basis. 

We can consider finding ways to become more conscious and aware of these impacts so we can shift the pattern.

 

Inherited Transgenerational Trauma and Biology

There seems to be some research indicating that this may not just be true just through nurture, yet through nature as well. 

What I found was that it was not just something that was being researched relationally within the family, yet also being studied genetically and biologically. This was OVERWHELMING to consider. 

People who experience trauma are possibly passing down these patterns via their relationships and dynamics with others AND through their biological genes as well!

Much of what I read focused specifically on survivors of genocide (such as the Holocaust). 

Some research focused specifically on tests run on animals. It seems that the evidence has begun to show how adverse experiences of children at early ages (and throughout life) can change someone’s brain and perhaps even the way trauma is passed down genetically across generations. 

To me, this is a fascinating area and concept to consider especially as a way to place more value on preventative measures to help with trauma generally speaking (especially in childhood). 

As this body of research continues to grow my hope is that there will be more resources placed to help treat trauma (and it’s many forms) and ways to prevent it. 

In some states (like California), they look at the “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) as a public health issue (which it is!) and focus on ways to work with children and families to help prevent and intervene as soon as possible to reduce the long term impacts.

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where Amanda Pasciucco, Founder of LCAT provides free information at The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.