We each have a long list of personal responsibilities: our finances, careers, bodies, families, etc. It’s critical to be aware of our lives and our needs. But when does self-awareness become self-obsession? Do we think about ourselves too much? Here’s how to determine if you’re self-aware or self-absorbed:
Are you usually the center of attention? Do you monopolize conversations? Are all your social media updates about yourself? If so, you may be self-absorbed. Try instead to balance the attention you give to yourself and to others. Remember that everyone needs to be recognized, celebrated, and validated.
Q: I saw my grandfather die when I was young, and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me. Ever since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been having trouble maintaining my relationship with others, whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again. I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be, and I feel guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life, and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather die. Whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing. This is ruining my life, and I think I seriously need help.
I have the pleasure to speak at the Uplift Families Parenting Conference on September 13th. Hosted by Utah First Lady Jeanette Herbert, this exciting event will feature several prominent presenters who will help us learn to develop and celebrate meaningful child-parent relationships. Come and be inspired as we discuss ways to uplift Utah families! Dinner is included.
My presentation will be focused on an area that parents (especially mothers) often neglect…yep, you guessed it! I’ll be tackling the topic of self-care for parents.
Chances are that you know a woman who has had a miscarriage. It can be difficult to know how to respond when a friend experiences such a tragedy.
I recently offered my professional insight on the topic to a Woman’s Day article entitled “9 Things Never to Say to a Woman Who’s Had a Miscarriage.” Here’s a quick review of what not to say in this situation:
In light of Robin Williams recent suicide, I wanted to share a colleague’s anonymous story of her own battle with depression and suicidality.
There are two things I’d like you to know about me. The first is that I’m a therapist, a clinical social worker with well over a decade of experience. I run a successful private practice and am very happily married with three children. The second is that for many years in my early twenties, I suffered from severe, treatment-resistant depression.
For close to four years, I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, emergency rooms, and therapy offices. I was voluntarily committed, involuntarily committed, and at one point I escaped from an ER when my police escort thought it safe enough to leave me.
I remember the horrible feeling of my stomach being filled with a thick charcoal and then being emptied out, the stitches that were sewn on my skin. I recall waking up and dreading that I was still alive rather than dead.
No matter what medications they tried or which therapists I was sent to, I remained determined and desperate to end my life. At my lowest point, I called my parents from the psychiatric hospital and told them I was sorry, but I was going to kill myself again once they let me out. As a mother, I cannot fathom getting a phone call like this from my child.
In my mind, there was no future. I had been kicked out of two graduate schools for attempting suicide. I could not imagine how life would ever be tolerable. All I wanted was for the pain to stop.
I rarely think about this time in my life. None of my colleagues and very few of my friends know about it. I haven’t told my children yet, although I know that this time will come.
As I recall those days, I am truly thankful for those who interceded. But this was not always the case: For a long time I was so angry at the roommate who came home early and called 911. I was furious at the paramedics, the police and the therapists, because they didn’t understand that there was nothing left for me on this earth.
I thought it was my right as an adult human to choose if I wanted to die. I knew in my heart that I was not insane or stupid or incompetent. The problem was that I could not think clearly because depression held a vice grip on my entire being. I did not know at the time that I would find a treatment that worked, and that the demons I struggled with would eventually leave.
During my darkest days, I needed people in the world to fight for my life, because I could not.
I do not talk about my own past or current struggles in the therapy room. But when someone comes in who is hurting deeply and considering suicide, this is my message: “I know you cannot see a future for yourself. I know you don’t have the strength right now to hope for something other than what you’re feeling in this moment. So I will be strong for you. I will hope for you, until you are able to hope for yourself. “
For those who have run out of hope, we must hope. For those who have run out of strength, we must be strong. And this is why I am a therapist.
Q: Well I’m 19, but I don’t feel 19. I have so many things going on in my life that it’s hard to keep up with everything. I’m a full time worker, a full time student and a part time gym rat. I’m also in a relationship. There is no time in the day for me to do anything and everything I do always feels rushed. Even though I’m interacting with my coworkers, friends, or girlfriend during the day, I feel empty and numb to it all, like everything is just an act. As far as feelings go, like I said, I’m numb. I feel as if my best friend or mother could die and I wouldn’t care, and I feel as though to a certain extent that I don’t care even for my girlfriend. But on the flip side, I don’t want to be alone. It scares me to think that me and my girlfriend would breakup. I laugh and joke but don’t know why I do. I really want to know what’s wrong with me because I was never like this before. Or if I was, it was deep down and is now just surfacing and I can’t handle it. I WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.
Next month, I have a wonderful opportunity to participate in Affirmation, a conference dedicated to fostering a loving discussion among LGBT Mormons, their friends and family, and the LDS community. The conference is non-political, but is instead focused on providing healing, love, and support for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
Q: I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.
These days, more and more women with children are choosing to work from home. This has many advantages: increased flexibility, spending more time with the kids, and supplementing the family income are all attractive reasons to pursue work opportunities from home. But there are unique challenges as well: these women have constant interruptions and may experience difficulty concentrating with the distractions of home life. Here are 5 survival skills for work-at-home moms:
Do you get very upset or angry easily? Have you ever been accused of being hot-headed? If you respond with intensity and emotion that is disproportionate to the situation at hand, you are overreacting.
I recently had an article published in the August edition of Community Orange Magazine where I discussed strategies to keep calm and appropriately respond to stressful situations. Here are a few basic ways to keep from overreacting.
Click here to read the full article about ways to keep your cool.