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Understanding & Coping with the Christmas Blues

Understanding & Coping with the Christmas Blues



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The stress of the holidays triggers sadness and depression for many people. This time of year is especially difficult because there’s an expectation of feeling merry and generous. People compare their emotions to what they assume others are experiencing or what they’re supposed to feel. Then they think that they alone fall short. They judge themselves and feel like an outsider.

There’re a host of things that add to stress and difficult emotions during the holidays.

  • Finances. Not enough money or the fear of not having enough to buy gifts leads to sadness and guilt. The stress of financial hardship during this economic downturn is often compounded by shame. When you can’t afford to celebrate, it can feel devastating.
  • Stress. For example, there is the stress of shopping and planning family dinners when you’re already overworked and tired.
  • Loneliness. A whopping 43 percent of Americans are single, and 27 percent of Americans live alone. When others are with their families, it can be very painful for those who are alone. Seventeen percent of singles are over 65, when health, age, and mobility can make it more difficult to enjoy yourself.
  • Grief. Missing a deceased loved one. Seniors have more reasons to grieve.
  • Estrangement. When you’re not speaking to a relative, family get-togethers can usher in feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, or inner conflict about whether to communicate.
  • Divorce. If you’re newly divorced, the holidays may remind you of happier times and accentuate your grief. It’s especially difficult for adult children of divorce who have to balance seeing two sets of parents. The stress is multiplied for married children who have three or even four sets of parents to visit.
  • Pleasing. Trying to please all of your relatives – deciding what to get, whom to see, and what to do – can make you feel guilty, which leads to depression.
  • SAD. Many people experience the blues during gloomy weather due to decreased sunlight, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Much of the planning, shopping, and cooking is done by women, so they carry the greater burden in preparing for family gatherings. Women are at greater risk for depression than men. They’re twice as likely to experience depression. After heart disease, depression is the most debilitating illness for women, while it’s tenth for men.

Some measures you can take to cope with the holiday blues include:

  • Make plans in advance, so you know how and with whom your holidays will be spent. Uncertainty and putting off decision-making add enormous stress.
  • Shop early and allow time to wrap and mail packages to avoid the shopping crunch.
  • Ask for help from your family and children. Women tend to think they have to do everything, when a team effort can be more fun.
  • Don’t buy things you can’t afford. Shame prevents people from being open about gift-giving when they can’t afford it. Instead of struggling to buy a gift, let your loved ones know how much you care and would like to, but can’t afford it. That intimate moment will relieve your stress and nourish you both.
  • Don’t allow perfectionism to wear you down. Remember it’s being together and goodwill that matters.
  • Make time to rest and rejuvenate even amidst the pressure of getting things done. This will give you more energy.
  • Spend time alone to reflect and grieve, if necessary. Pushing down feelings leads to depression. Let yourself feel. Then do something nice for yourself and socialize.
  • Don’t isolate. Reach out to others who also may be lonely. If you don’t have someone to be with, volunteer to help those in need. It can be very uplifting and gratifying.

The signs of depression are feelings of sadness, worthlessness or guilt, crying, loss of interest in usual activities, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, social withdrawal, and changes in sleep, weight, or appetite. If these symptoms are severe or continue for a few weeks, more than the holidays may be the cause. Seek professional help.


Coping With Office Party Anxiety

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Image Bank / Britt Erlanson / Getty Images

Office party anxiety is a problem for everyone not just those who suffer from social anxiety. Handled well, an office party is a chance to get to know your coworkers better and potentially present yourself in a good light to your boss. Unfortunately, if you live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), the annual office holiday party may fill you with dread.

What is it about office parties that cause so much distress? For those with SAD, it may be the fear of embarrassment, being judged by others, not knowing what to say during the small talk—all of these factors can come into play when you put 100 of your colleagues in a room together.

While it's easy to say, just relax and be yourself, for those with SAD this may not do the trick. If you've not yet got a handle on your anxiety, plan to stay only for a short time. Don't apologize about leaving be glad you've made an appearance despite your anxiety.

On the other hand, if you're working on your anxiety but still are weak in your social skills, this is your chance to prove to yourself that you can do it. Get out there an have some fun.


Many people experience the blues during gloomy weather due to decreased sunlight, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Much of the planning, shopping, and cooking is done by women, so they carry the greater burden in preparing for family gatherings.

Women are at greater risk for depression than men. They’re twice as likely to experience depression. After heart disease, depression is the most debilitating illness for women, while it’s tenth for men. To read more on this, see Depression in Women.


Understanding and Coping with Emotional Flashbacks

What is an emotional flashback?

Posttraumatic emotional flashbacks go by several different names including: emotional “triggers”, flashbacks or simply “triggered.” Emotional flashbacks are intrusive thoughts or mental images of a lived traumatic experience where it may feel like a replay button is causing you to relive the trauma over and over.

Certain scents, noises, tastes, images, places, situations or people may create a flashback of the emotional or psychological trauma, making it feel as if it were happening all over again. For example, if you were at an airport awaiting your flight and witnessed an active shooter situation, you may experience mental or emotional flashbacks of that event if traveling to another airport or when hearing loud noises (i.e. fireworks, explosions in movies, or a clap of thunder). Similarly, if you experienced a traumatic death of a loved one, certain people, songs, scents or places can trigger those painful memories.

Oftentimes, the feelings associated with an emotional flashback leave a person feeling anxious, scared, overwhelmed, angry or with an intense feeling of dread or sadness. Feelings of shame can also accompany those who are re-experiencing emotional flashbacks as they may struggle to control their thoughts or emotions while reliving the memory. Perhaps most distressing for the person experiencing an emotional flashback is that they often do not know when or if a flashback will happen until it does, leaving them ill-prepared to proactively handle it.

Emotional flashbacks are considered part of the re-experiencing symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in which recurrent or significantly intrusive thoughts, dreams, or mental images of a traumatic event cause a person significant psychological and emotional distress. With re-experiencing symptoms, a person often feels as if they are repeatedly reliving the traumatic event on a loop. Other common symptoms of PTSD include hyperarousal (angry outbursts, difficulty falling or staying asleep, exaggerated startle responses, agitation, and inability to stay still) and avoidance symptoms which include avoiding conversations, people, places or things that can remind them of traumatic memories.

Symptoms of Emotional Flashbacks

Symptoms can differ for everyone and are often correlated with many factors including the type of traumatic event experienced such as whether it was an isolated event like a car accident or natural disaster, or the result of chronic abuse. Individual resiliency, whether that person has an active support system, prior history of trauma/PTSD and how often flashbacks are experienced are also important in assessing symptoms and in creating coping strategies.

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Nervousness
  • Dissociation or “under water” feeling
  • Anger
  • Emotional detachment
  • Avoidance of activities, people or places
  • Physical tremors
  • Racing heart
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • Stomach upset
  • Fear of abandonment or rejection

Coping with Traumatic Flashbacks

Coping with the thoughts, feelings and physical sensations experienced from an emotional flashback can be challenging. First, an important distinction is whether the flashbacks are internal or external to you in better understanding them and in learning how to cope. For example, internal flashbacks often surround your personal feelings, behaviors or thoughts such as loneliness, dissociation, nervousness or a racing heart. External flashbacks usually involve other people, places or situations where a traumatic event may have happened. For example, an external flashback may include going to the store and seeing someone who reminds you of a person connected to your trauma, which may then cause you to relive the traumatic event.

If each time you go to the store you’re having an emotional flashback, this can provide insight and awareness into your situation so you can create goals that are functional for your healing. For example, journaling where you are as you are experiencing an emotional flashback, whether it is internal or external to you, and what you are feeling as you are experiencing the flashback can give you a better understanding of them.

Mindfulness and Grounding Exercises

The practice of mindfulness is about staying in the present, whether this is achieved one minute at a time or even a couple seconds at a time. The goal is to remain actively involved in what is going on around you while being able to keep your space separate from your environment. Through breath-work and refocusing your attention away from intrusive thoughts or experiences, it may help in coping with emotional flashbacks.

Similarly, grounding techniques are often used for helping cope with flashbacks or dissociation. Common grounding techniques include learning awareness of the flashback as it is occurring and then choosing a grounding strategy to help redirect and refocus awareness. Grounding strategies often use the five senses to help redirect attention, such as holding an ice cube in your hand, turning on sounds of nature, sitting in a warm bath, lighting scented candles, or chewing mint or cinnamon gum. Since the effects of PTSD can differ for everyone, it is important to speak with a trained professional who can help with what works best for you.

Chessell, Z. J., et al. (2019). A protocol for managing dissociative symptoms in refugee populations. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 12( 27), 1 – 6.

Powers, A., et al. (2019). The differential effects of PTSD, MDD, and dissociation on CRP in trauma- exposed women. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 93, 33 – 40.

Schaur, M., & Elbert, T. (2010). Dissociation following traumatic stress. Journal of Psychology, 218 (2), 109 – 127.

Walser, R. D., & Westrup, D. (2007). Acceptance & Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder & Trauma-Related Problems : A Practitioner’s Guide to Using Mindfulness & Acceptance Strategies. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.


Understanding and Coping with the Holiday Blues

When I was a child, I was obsessed with Christmas, like I suppose most kids are. But, I knew that when the song, &ldquoI&rsquoll Be Home for Christmas&rdquo came on, things would get sad very quickly. As a first generation American, all I knew were small celebrations around the Christmas tree with my five person family. But, my mother remembered raucous holidays with a house full of siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. While I dreamed of sugar plum fairies and Santa squeezing down a chimney, my mother was just trying to power through.

During the holiday season, it is very common for people to experience depression and/or anxiety. Local anxiety counselor Amanda Morris shares, &ldquoFor those who&rsquove experienced major life stressors such as the death of a loved one a breakup addiction or financial hardship, the holiday season can be almost unbearable. The nonstop Christmas music, store decorations, TV commercials, and movies tell us how we &lsquoshould&rsquo be full of joy and anticipation, so if you&rsquore hurting, it may worsen feelings of loneliness, depression and despair. Family visits can often be a pressure cooker full of unrealistic expectations and unfinished emotional business that many people start stressing about weeks or months before Thanksgiving. Seeing other peoples&rsquo holiday &lsquohighlight reel&rsquo on social media can paint a distorted perception that everyone else has the perfect family, and you don&rsquot.&rdquo

Common Holiday Blues
While many are sharing their joyous celebrations, there are several people who experience sadness during this time of year. This could be due to previous unhappy holidays, loss of loved ones, and instances where families are separated for the special day.

Thomas W., a local dad, shares, &ldquoMy brother-in-law committed suicide the day after Christmas. Christmas is never merry or bright, but we try. Later, we adopted two older children, at ages 11 and 13. Both were victims of abuse. Their pasts haunted them. Our Christmas became something to endure, similar to tooth extraction. You know what&rsquos coming, you know it&rsquos going to hurt, so you get it over with, try to heal, and see what happens next year.&rdquo Thomas credits his loving wife for the reason he gets through the season.

Joan B. shares that she often experiences unmerriness around the holidays. &ldquoI used to dread Christmas as a young adult because it seemed that my dad went extra off the rails every year. Later, as a wife and mom, there was a lot of stress about trying to figure out how to juggle the grandmas. Now they are deceased, and I&rsquove been consciously building our own family traditions, incorporating spirituality and removing stress as much as possible,&rdquo she says.

Whether it&rsquos losing a loved one, a traumatic moment, or even work keeping you away from your family, many moms and dads in our area experience the holiday blues. And for some parents, choosing between paying bills or making sure their children have something to open on Christmas morning also becomes a concern.

What to Look For
As a person who does not struggle with holiday blues, I have another role: to look out for the signs of holiday depression and or anxiety in my friends and loved ones. Morris shares these common signs to look for: isolating or withdrawing from family and friends avoiding social functions feelings and expressions of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness or failure poor hygiene or self-neglect sleeping too much or too little eating too much or too little crying spells loss of motivation lack of interest in activities once enjoyed sighing avoiding eye contact negative self-talk or excessive self criticism irritability excessive drinking or drug use thoughts of wanting to die feeling like a burden to others and many urges to self harm.
Local therapist Star Marks adds, &ldquoNot putting up a tree or decorating as they normally would. Not dressing up for Christmas pictures or attending the usual social engagements of the holiday season,&rdquo as other signs to look for.

How to Help
If you are wanting to help your loved one who may be experiencing the holiday blues, Marks and Morris offer the following tips.

  1. Don&rsquot be afraid to ask how someone is doing, trust your instincts.
  2. Don&rsquot pressure the person to change how he or she is feeling, just listen and offer support without judgment.
  3. Ask the person what you can do to help him or her, and follow up regularly.
  4. Offer to visit him or her since a person who is depressed may not have the energy, or want, to attend a party or family function. The person might appreciate a brief visit.
  5. Drop off the person&rsquos favorite food, send him or her a nice note, and remind him or her that you care.
  6. Offer to run errands for them. If you are concerned that they may be suicidal, seek professional assistance.
  7. And most importantly, avoid trite expressions like &ldquoThis too shall pass&rdquo and &ldquoEverything happens for a reason.&rdquo Instead, try &ldquoI can&rsquot imagine how you are feeling, but I&rsquom here for you no matter what.&rdquo Marks also suggests, &ldquoStart with what we call a &lsquosoft&rsquo start up like, &lsquoYou seem a little unlike yourself this holiday season. Is something going on? I would love to hear about how you are really doing.&rsquo&rdquo

The holiday season isn&rsquot happy for everyone. Knowing the signs of what to look for and then offering your support to those who are experiencing the blues could help them return to a place of cheer. ■


Make-Your-Own Movie Therapy

In what may be the Sundance festival of the cinema therapy world, the Chicago Institute for the Moving Image (CIMI) helps people seeking therapy for depression or other serious psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia or amnesia, to write, produce, and direct their own movies.

"We work with patients who tend to have personal interests in making a movie or a screenplay and are already working with a therapist," says Joshua Flanders, CIMI's executive director.

"We will be brought in as a consultant to work with the patient and therapist to edit screenplays, rehearse scenes, and try out people," he says.

"The process of filmmaking provides a certain amount of therapy, organization, and order that people with psychological diseases need, and it helps the therapist see what the conflicts are within their patients lives," Flanders explains.

In a sense, making a movie or creating a screenplay enables the therapist or loved ones to see the world through this person's eyes.

In the past, Flanders has seen people make "enormous breakthroughs" with this form of cinema therapy.


Understanding Feelings

Today I&rsquom going to talk about the importance of understanding feelings. If you want to read more about ways to better understand your emotions, I have included a link.

So there I was. I was in so much emotional pain. I was just crying. I had my hands like just covering my face and I was just being asked one question and all I had to do was answer the question. But again, it was so difficult for me. When I was covering my face, it wasn&rsquot that I was trying to hide the tears. It was that I was so embarrassed and I hated myself so much. There was no way I was going to answer this question.

My mom was standing next to me and she was being supportive. She was saying, &ldquojust answer the question.&rdquo The question was not a difficult one to answer. This was back when I was seven years old. It was a plastic surgeon who was asking me the question. The question he kept asking me was, &ldquowhat do they call you?&rdquo

Just so you know, this session with the doctor was being tape recorded. The reason why he was asking is that the insurance company was trying to determine if it was medically necessary or was my mom was requesting something that was considered to be an elective surgery.

Here was the issue. When I was born, my ears stuck straight out. I was constantly bullied and teased every day. I don&rsquot remember what age that started. But, it got so bad, that by the age of seven, I was getting in fights. Multiple times per day. I was having to leave school. My older sister was getting in fights because she was trying to protect me. I hated myself so much. I didn&rsquot like who I was. No one else liked me. They just continued to make fun of me.

So when the doctor was asking these questions, the amount of pain I felt was enormous. I can share this with you now because I&rsquove worked through it. I&rsquove experienced stuff much worse than that since then. But, at the time, they were calling me monkey and Dumbo. While it&rsquos not hard for me now to repeat those words now. Back then, it was so distressing, I could never say those words. I really thought that&rsquos who I was.

You might be thinking, well Jerry, why are you telling us this story? I&rsquom an emotional person just like you and just like the people around you. I&rsquove experienced depression and anxiety like many others.

For those of you that think, oh, well, he got into this field to resolve his issues. Yeah, that&rsquos not the case. But I will tell you that experiencing what I have, emotionally, makes me extremely sensitive to other people. So I&rsquom not trying to resolve my issues as much as it makes me very good at what I do. Helping other people.

On top of that, I have a bachelor&rsquos degree, a master&rsquos degree, and a doctorate degree in clinical psychology. I&rsquove done thousands of training hours plus the past 30 years of experience. I&rsquom a licensed mental health professional therapist here in California.

I have treated patients and work with patients at all different levels of care. Inpatient, psychiatric, people that are psychotic, chronically suicidal or suicidal, or try and hurt themselves or someone else. Residential treatment, people suffering from self-destructive behaviors like addiction, alcoholism, self-harm, like cutting, chronic suicidality. I worked a lot in outpatient therapy with people that you know, they&rsquore kind of stuck. They&rsquore not functioning. It&rsquos impairing the way they are working, or their life goes and their relationships and so forth. I&rsquove worked in community mental health. So my goal is just to put out material to help you guys understand One that you&rsquore not alone. Two, that everybody has experienced these things. If you guys have seen my videos before, you know that depression and anxiety we all get, it&rsquos again the common cold of mental illness.

I really want to focus here on emotional health. The reason why I come to you, to try to get you guys to understand this stuff and teach you this stuff, is because if I can change one life if I can help one person get over their depression or specific events in their past or current self-destructive behavior if I can help change that life, it changes many lives. It&rsquos not just that person. It&rsquos all the people that surround them.

So here&rsquos the issue when it comes up. Well, let me identify who I am for those that you don&rsquot know. I&rsquom Dr. Jerry Grosso from Nsight Psychology & Addiction in Newport Beach, California. We treat mental health related issues. But I&rsquoll tell you, really what we&rsquore treating is the person.

The Importance of Understanding Feelings

People come in with a lot of different stories. You know, things way worse than what I&rsquove struggled with. I never compare someone else&rsquos illness with anybody else&rsquos. I want you to think about it this way. If I was in the emergency room with a broken arm, you know, I&rsquom in a lot of pain. If someone comes in and let&rsquos say, they were a way worse accident and they have multiple broken bones, or anything else that&rsquos extremely painful, because their pain may be more severe or worse than mine. That doesn&rsquot help me to feel any better. So we&rsquore not in this field to compare someone&rsquos pain with anyone else and dismiss it by saying, you should just, be fine with it. There&rsquos people that have it worse.

The issue is I&rsquom struggling. I have these issues and how do I get over them? Or I have a loved one that has these issues. They&rsquore struggling with depression, they&rsquore struggling with anxiety. They&rsquove got a history of trauma. How do I help that person get out of suffering?

That&rsquos why I do what I do and why Nsight is there to help other people get through their stuff. So, one of the things that you&rsquore going to hear in treatment, and people will tell you this all the time, whether it comes to depression, alcoholism, addiction, self-destructive behavior, the first thing they&rsquore going to tell you to do is stop. Don&rsquot do that anymore. They&rsquoll tell you, hey, you can stop by going to meetings or understanding coping skills. You need to build your coping skills or use your coping skills. So, first they&rsquore gonna tell you, don&rsquot feel depressed. Don&rsquot be sad, don&rsquot be anxious, don&rsquot worry, don&rsquot drink, don&rsquot use drugs.

That&rsquos not what I&rsquom going to tell you. Okay? I want to look at this from a totally different approach. So instead of telling people to stop, I want to be able to find out why. Why is it that someone is using, why is it that someone feels depressed? Why is it that someone&rsquos angry? Because when you can find out why, you can solve the problem, right?

So one of the things that, when it comes to feelings, people have a tendency to avoid, and we&rsquore kind of socialized that way. I&rsquoll use a quick example. Think about a little kid who&rsquos running across the room, maybe two or three years old. They trip and fall and they start crying. First thing we say to them is, oh, don&rsquot cry. Well, if you think about it, they&rsquore supposed to cry.

What happened to them was either scary or painful, right? Maybe a lot of unknowns and they&rsquore looking for help. It was a natural response. So why is it that as adults, we tell them, don&rsquot cry? We can say, well, I don&rsquot want them to hurt. Well, telling them not to cry is not going to stop them from hurting. What it&rsquos going to tell them do is don&rsquot pay attention to your feelings. And could it be that we&rsquore telling them don&rsquot cry because we&rsquore more uncomfortable with what they&rsquore feeling. Like, I feel bad that they&rsquore hurt and I kind of feel helpless that I can&rsquot do anything to resolve the pain. You know, I could give them a hug, I can give them comfort and support, maybe put ice on it or Bandaid, but I can&rsquot stop it.

I&rsquom not saying this is the only reason why we do this as humans, but you know, are we socialized to a certain extent to tell people, hey, don&rsquot feel, but it&rsquos because of our discomfort, not because they&rsquore not expressing what it is they&rsquore supposed to express.

So, what I want to say is if you&rsquore focusing on, hey, I&rsquom so depressed, I can&rsquot get out of bed, or I can&rsquot go to work or I can&rsquot function. My drinking has got out of control. I&rsquom intoxicated all the time where I&rsquom dependent on medications or pills and things like that. You know, then people are going to focus on that. So typical treatment, what they&rsquore going to say is, let me get rid of that pain.

So recently I was working with a woman and she was struggling with very poor concentration. She was impulsive, she was depressed, she was anxious and she had a difficult time just kind of getting through the day. Had to drop out of school, couldn&rsquot work.

And the doctor, she went and saw a prescribed her Adderall, which is a stimulant. So here&rsquos an amphetamine, because this will help you with your inattention. This will help you focus, this will help you get up and get around and stuff. Well if you think about it, it does work as far as treating the symptom, but never looking at what was the cause. It&rsquod be kind of like going back to my broken arm. I have a broken arm and they give me an aspirin. So yeah, maybe I don&rsquot feel the pain as much, but it didn&rsquot fix my arm. So what she was coming to treatment for was not only am I still depressed and I can&rsquot concentrate and I can&rsquot focus, I&rsquom dependent on this medication that I think is working, but when I look at my whole life, I&rsquom still not functioning.

So this is the difference between symptom-focused treatment and problem-focused treatment. So what I&rsquom trying to get you guys to understand, and there&rsquoll be more videos like this where I can kind of go through steps to teach you, what kind of treatment is out there? Different levels of care, how you would determine what type of treatment you would need and what to expect in treatment. How treatment should, on the most part, proceed. Things that you can look for. How you establish goals and know what you can accomplish in a specific time-frame.

When we&rsquore talking about treatment, there&rsquos a few things that I want you to be able to do.

  1. Be able to slow down enough to acknowledge&hellipwhat is it that I&rsquom feeling at a specific time?
  2. I&rsquove gotta be able to identify that feeling. And you&rsquoll be surprised how many adults that cannot identify what you&rsquoll ask them. Like, what are you feeling? Well, I don&rsquot really know. I just don&rsquot feel good. I don&rsquot feel comfortable. Well, we can ask them for a little bit more detailed information and maybe they start to identify, yeah, actually I&rsquom feeling depressed or I&rsquom feeling sad and it&rsquos beyond sad. Maybe I&rsquom frustrated and angry.

By identifying your feelings, you&rsquore, you&rsquore able to eye to start to close in on maybe what is causing it. So think about it like this, you know, it&rsquos because people ask me, Jerry, well, what, what does the purpose of, you know, being able to identify my feelings if I have my hand in a fire, right? What do I feel? Well, I&rsquom going to feel pain.

And so people may judge say, hey, that&rsquos bad. You know, technically it&rsquos not good or bad. What it is, it&rsquos an indication from my environment to me, hey, you better pay attention to something. So if I, if I don&rsquot feel anything, you know, I don&rsquot feel pain in my hands in the fire, I&rsquom gonna lose my hand. The pain is not bad. It actually says, hey, Jerry, move your, move your hand out of the fire before something else happens. It&rsquos the same thing. If I&rsquom sad, if I&rsquom anxious, if I&rsquom fearful, if I&rsquom depressed, if I&rsquom struggling, if I&rsquom frustrated or I&rsquom angry. These are all indications from my environment, letting me know, pay attention to something.

Now we can have a tendency to self-medicate, right? So one, I try not to feel. One I look for a distraction. A third thing, you know, I could find some way to self-medicate.

I could, distractions could be self-destruction. I could get in bad relationships, I could do risky things. I could make poor choices. You know, I&rsquom feeling kind of depressed. I think I&rsquom going to go shopping. I ended up, that&rsquoll make me feel better. But then I find out I don&rsquot have the financial resources, which then creates another problem. So when you guys look at this, it doesn&rsquot have to be a specific addiction. It could be things that we engage in. Like for example, a lot of kids, you know, they&rsquoll play video games. You know, my mood&rsquos not the greatest. If I sit down and play video games, I feel a little bit happier and so forth. But here&rsquos the thing, my focus on the video game now, all&rsquos it did was get me to not focus on what was bothering me.

And when I&rsquom done with the video game, I could have two issues. One, I wasted my entire day, let&rsquos say your hours, engaged in this. And I still didn&rsquot resolve the issue. So my brain may say, let&rsquos go back, let&rsquos go play the game again. Now I&rsquom starting to engage in behaviors over and over again as a way to cope, but it&rsquos self-destructive.

So, you know, I want to be able to identify and acknowledge my feelings. I want to understand why it is that I&rsquom feeling. What&rsquos happening in, my environment? What&rsquos causing it? Is it a specific thing from the past, you know, traumatic events, things I experienced before, you know, you know, maybe for you it was different. So mine, let&rsquos say it started out with bullying. For you, it could have been, let&rsquos say a divorce. It could be the loss or death of a loved one. It could be the end of a relationship.

It could be, you know, some type of traumatic experience, abuse or, or something negative that&rsquos happened in your life. All of those things could kind of build into stuff and, and maybe it starts to impact how you feel about yourself or your environment. So I don&rsquot notice at the time, but you know, things can happen and happen and happen over the years. My mood continues to get worse. Maybe I get into to relationships that are self-destructive. They make me feel worse about myself and then I get another one that&rsquos, I don&rsquot feel good about myself. I get into another bad one.

So again, what I&rsquom trying to get you guys to understand is identify what is, I&rsquom what I&rsquom feeling. I understand why, why is it that I&rsquom feeling the way that I&rsquom doing nor the way I feel, that way I could move to some sort of resolution. Okay.

And these are kind of the things that go on in therapy. So I want to wrap this one up with and if you guys have questions for me or you know, please feel free to reach out to us at Nsight. So our, our website is a www.nsightrecovery.com. You can email us with any questions at [email protected]

Or call us. Like if you&rsquore if for you or someone else, hey, I don&rsquot know really what it is I need as far as treatment or this is the issue that&rsquos bothering me. What suggestion might you have? We&rsquore not the right treatment facility for everybody. I would never say that we were and we have our niche of what we deal with, but that doesn&rsquot mean we can&rsquot help you find what it is that, that you&rsquore looking for. Okay.

So the way I want to wrap this up, I want to kind of just give you an example. You know, cause people will say, well, hey Jerry, you know, tell me how this works, you know, or at least show me what you&rsquore talking about. So I was working with this guy 58 year old guy, accomplished. So he had gone to college. Was a good athlete, college athlete, good student, got his MBA, worked as a CFO for a big company. Had his degree in accounting as well. Also had a problem with alcoholism and he eventually lost his wife, lost his job. His kids wanted to have nothing to do with them so he could no longer see his grandkids. And he would tell me like I would go to work and I&rsquom a productive guy, get stuff done and I would just drink until I fell down, face down on my desk.

And people would find me like that. So he said, I ended up losing everything. I went to treatment a number of times and he says, when I went to treatment, you know, they get, they told me that. And usually when you go to most treatment facilities, they&rsquoll tell you, okay, we got to give you education about alcoholism. We&rsquove got to focus on relapse prevention and we want to get you connected into the 12 step world. Okay. And I&rsquom not saying that&rsquos bad, but if you, if you look at it, why is it that he continued to struggle? And people will say, well, addiction is a disease and you&rsquoll continue to struggle with the rest of your life. And I&rsquom going to say maybe, you know, that can be true for some. That&rsquos what a lot of people saying, but what I&rsquom gonna tell you, it can be different if you could do what it is that I&rsquom talking about.

So when we started working, he didn&rsquot need me to tell him, hey, stop drinking. And he didn&rsquot need me to educate him about all the bad things that happens if he does. He knew about support systems and so forth because he had already been exposed to them. The question was why did he continue to use?

So when we started working together, it&rsquos really looking at what is it that you feel. It&rsquos kind of a look at your environment and let&rsquos not just start with today because, and I&rsquom going to back up real quick. People that struggle with addiction or alcoholism, they quit in their head everyday. They don&rsquot need anyone to tell them to quit. They know. The problem is they don&rsquot know how. And I&rsquom going to tell you one of the biggest problems is they don&rsquot know what the problem is.

I&rsquom giving you an example of one thing, this could have to do with depression, it could have do with anxiety, it could do with self-destructive relationships, self-destructive behavior. So anyways, he started looking at what is it that he felt and not just at 58, but we went all the way back. And I&rsquoll tell you at around 12 years old, both of his parents died tragically. So he was then being raised by his aunt and uncle and as he&rsquos trying to manage the emotions of losing his parents, he&rsquos also trying to fit in with his cousins and his aunt and uncle. And because of the losses he just experienced, he wanted to make sure, hey, I gotta be a good enough kid that I don&rsquot experience a loss again because I don&rsquot know what&rsquos going to happen to me. I don&rsquot want to be without a family.

So he worked very hard at being a good kid. Performed well in school, became an athlete, performed well as an athlete. Well, the better he got, the more envious his cousins got. And remember, he&rsquos in the house with these kids. And so his fear started to grow that if I end up being too good, if I do too well, they&rsquore gonna kick me out because my cousins aren&rsquot gonna like me cause I&rsquom getting the attention and the recognition from my aunt and uncle and they&rsquore not getting it. And my life&rsquos going to get difficult.

So unconsciously, and I don&rsquot want to get overly psychological here, but he started to develop this pattern that I can be good, but I&rsquom never going to be too good because if I do I&rsquoll alienate other people. And so he started drinking because one of the things he could do is if he was starting to get anxious about his performance, like, hey, I&rsquom doing really good and I&rsquom afraid I&rsquom going to lose people or you know, my success is going to alienate other people. He starts drinking to cope.

But really what&rsquos happening is the more he drinks, the more he&rsquos sabotaging his growth because he&rsquos no longer engaging in productive activities. So we started to expand this and we look at this throughout the rest of his life and he starts to see this pattern. I can&rsquot be too good of a husband, I can&rsquot be too good of a father. I can&rsquot be too good of a worker. And it&rsquos not that he&rsquos repeating this in his mind, but it&rsquos as brain has gotten this pattern where you start to succeed and then you start to self-destruct and then you succeed and then you self-destruct.

So this was very eye-opening for him as he&rsquos starting to notice it. Cause I&rsquom not telling him&hellipthis is what he did. This is what he&rsquos telling me. He tells me, Jerry, I&rsquom looking at the pattern I developed over my life and I can see where alcohol took me where it actually was solving a problem for me until it created another problem.

You can kind of see where this goes. So what happened was, his quitting drinking had a whole different impact for him at this time. Not because he thought, oh I need to stop because you know, people want me to. But he looked at it like I see where I&rsquom getting in my own way. This was a pattern that happened. He need to grieve the loss of his parents. He need to look and feel secure with himself, like who he is as a person and know that people are going to like him or they&rsquore not going to like him. But either way he&rsquos going to like himself and he&rsquos not going to sabotage his own success just because he&rsquos afraid of what someone else is going to say. And so that was a shift for him.

So I&rsquom not saying he didn&rsquot continue to go get support from other people. But I will tell you where it did change his life. As he started to show time after time after time again, he can succeed back in the business world that he was there with his kids, they actually started letting him see his grandkids again. He had some contact with his ex-wife where it started to be at least a friendly relationship as he was working through this stuff. The key part was this wasn&rsquot just like one and done. Really what happened was consistency. He developed consistency over time. This is the new person, it wasn&rsquot the person that was self-destructive. That was what he did and he figured out why he was doing what he was doing. And when he did that, he made all these changes.

So I&rsquom going to wrap up with this. Again, I&rsquom Dr. Jerry Grosso from Nsight Psychology & Addiction. If you, if you like these videos, let us know. Share them with somebody else. If you don&rsquot like them, tell me what you don&rsquot like. Again, my goal is to be here for you guys and to help you not be afraid to look at these issues.

There&rsquos a lot of people that out there struggle. We all struggle with something. We&rsquore not comparing who is more severe. What we&rsquore looking at is &ldquohow do I get good treatment&rdquo? How do I grow constantly? How do I not let negative things from the past impact me and get strong enough that when adversity hits me, I bounce back. Because life is a test, we all get depressed, we get anxious. There&rsquos a lot of factors out there stressing us out. How do I make sure I can move through those and have a successful and happy life? So until next time, you guys have a terrific day and looking forward to speaking to you guys again.


BEATING THE CHRISTMAS BLUES

1. There are a lot of things Dads don't typically do much of around Christmas -- like shopping.

2. A little girl noticed this and asked, "Is it true that Santa Claus brings us our Christmas presents?" Her Mother said, "Yes, that's true."

3. The Daughter said, "And the stork brings us babies?" The Mother responded, "Yes, that's true."

4. The Daughter asked, "And the Police Department protects us?" Her Mother said, "That's right." The Daughter asked in consternation, "Then what do we need daddy for?"

5. We need dad to help pay the bills!

B. “BIBLE DAYS! HOW WONDERFUL!”

1. SONG: THE 12 PAINS OF CHRISTMAS, BOB RIVERS

The first thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me

Is finding a Christmas tree

The second thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me:

And finding a Christmas tree

The third thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me

2. ALL 12 PAINS IN REVERSE ORDER:

And finding a Christmas tree. Is Christmas really just a pain?

C. “IS THIS REALLY CHRISTMAS?”

1. Joe Bunting, a writer, asked people to write about Christmas. He expected to hear the Andy Williams version, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

2. But what he mainly got were stories about growing old, comparisons with happier Christmases, stories about cancer, etc.

3. 7 MAJOR PROBLEMS PEOPLE HAVE AT CHRISTMAS

a. Finances. Not enough money.

b. Stress…shopping, planning, dinners, decorations, etc.

c. Loneliness. A whopping 43 percent of Americans are single, and 27 percent of Americans live alone. Tough.

d. Grief. Missing a deceased loved one. Christmas is made 2X as sad when we’re missing one who made it good.

e. Estrangement. When you’re not speaking to a relative, family get-togethers can usher in feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, or inner conflict about whether to communicate.

f. Divorce. If you’re newly divorced, the holidays may remind you of happier times and accentuate your grief.

g. Pleasing others. We try to meet everyone’s expectations & prob. fail. [Understanding & Coping with the Christmas Blues, By DARLENE LANCER]

4. We’re going to read about a Bible couple who also had a difficult Christmas season.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:18-21,24.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem𔆁 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” Luke 2:4-7.

1. Luke 1:26-46 records how Mary's part in the Christmas account begins with angelic visitations to tell her of the birth of the child and Spirit-inspired Prophecies (Elizabeth, her cousin).

2. God sends angels, fills people with the Holy Spirit, and performs miracles.

3. But this was followed by a time when circumstances seem to contradict God's great purposes for this Child.

4. Did God have a prescription to help them (and us) with their Christmas blues? Title: “Beating the Christmas Blues.”

1. Poor Joseph! He & Mary’s marriage got off to a bad start -- Mary turned up pregnant during the engagement and Joseph knew that the child was not his they had never been intimate.

2. What must have been Joseph's feelings?

a. ANGER? Yes. Anger at her unfaithfulness and at whomever had defiled their marriage bed.


Watch the video: Dealing with the Post Christmas Blues (August 2022).