PANDEMIC STRESS, COVID STRESS
COVID has plunged us into a unique time in history. We have not had a pandemic sweep the globe like this since the Spanish Flu in 1918. So, in our lifetime, we have never had to deal with lockdown, quarantine, shelter in place on this scale in our lifetime. As a result, we have limited experience and not enough skills to deal with all the time we have on our hands or the stress of a worldwide disaster of this type. Rather, we have time to think and no help, or we’re working at maximum and burning out. So, if you’re feeling stressed or worried, or if something happened to you and you want to deal with it now, I’m available.
STRESS RELIEF, STRESS MANAGEMENT
Using a blood pressure cuff, I can show you how to reduce high blood pressure in 3 minutes. Once you get the idea, it will become easier to recognize stress triggers and bring your stress level down in minutes. After integrating this stress management skill, we can address the sources of stress in your life and develop ways to deal with stress, pressure at work and in life.
Worrying too much, worrying about too many things…
TRAUMA, BAD EXPERIENCES, MORAL INJURY
Trauma causes a surprising range of problems, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mood problems, depression and mania. I’ve helped people who had anxiety, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, poor concentration, felt detached, depressed, or guilty. Until they talked about their past with me, some of them did not even realize that their symptoms were caused by traumatic experiences. Some had a car accident. Others had been raped or traumatized in adulthood. Some had their lives threatened. Some witnessed domestic violence perpetrated on a parent, or child abuse perpetrated on a sibling or other child. Others experienced rape, punishment, beatings, constant criticism or insults in childhood. Some had unpredictable parents, parents whose alcoholism or drug use made them unreliable, undependable caregivers. Others felt guilty for what they had not prevented or for what happened to people around them. These are all traumas.
FEELING GOOD AND RESILIENT
I have helped many clients with PTSD to travel an empowering arc from realization, to anger at the perpetrator, to compassion for themselves, to understanding and making peace with their past. They came to a place of strength and resilience. At the end, they felt that they were beautiful human beings with a life-story of triumph.
MEDICAL PROBLEMS, MEDICAL OR HOSPITAL TRAUMA
Medical problems earlier in their lives led some clients to have current problems with anxiety, worry or anger. The experience of being hospitalized or being treated differently due to medical problems can be traumatizing as well.
BIG T TRAUMA, LITTLE T TRAUMA
Big T trauma can occur when someone’s life is threatened or when a person witnesses someone’s life being threatened. Little t trauma is not life threatening but can result in the symptoms of PTSD (nightmares, sleep problems, hyper vigilance, feeling disconnected or detached from what is going on around you). Some examples of little t trauma include discrimination, poverty and bullying.
TRAUMA AND APPROPRIATE TREATMENT
Healing from trauma is a delicate process. If we decide we’re a good fit, we would proceed step-by-step and check in every step of the way to determine whether it would be appropriate to continue the healing process in online therapy. If you are emotionally stable, do not dissociate, show signs of resilience such as steady employment, support from family and friends, and the ability to cope with the challenge of processing your trauma history via online therapy, you are probably a good candidate to process the trauma online. We will talk about your preferences and background, talk about some useful concepts, practice some coping skills, develop some resources, all in preparation for processing the trauma. If that goes well, we can reprocess bad experiences and trauma. As we do so, your brain will literally heal. It will build new neural networks, new sequences of thought and new emotions.
If, on the other hand, you experienced childhood trauma and as a result have unstable emotions or severe dissociation, online therapy is not the best way to help you heal from it. It is likely that it would be more helpful for you to do therapy / counseling with an experienced trauma therapist / counselor in person. In the US, EMDRIA.com is a good source for referrals. Most countries have a national EMDR Association which provides referrals as well.
Do you have panic attacks? Do you feel like you can’t breathe even though your lungs are fine? Feel like you’re having a heart attack even though you know your heart is healthy and it’s not the problem? Like the world is going to end? Or like you are going insane? That’s a panic attack, also known as an anxiety attack.
DEALING WITH PANIC ATTACKS
Panic attacks are actually a body-mind problem. The best way to deal with them is to work with a therapist who understands the psychology of panic. (That’s me.) Panic attacks are the easiest psychological issue to bring under control. I’ve helped people who could not leave their homes learn to manage and ultimately prevent panic, and even learn to drive. People who thought they had heart problems or experienced moments when they felt they were going insane learned, through therapy with me, that they had panic attacks. They learned how to stave off panic attacks. If they hadn’t yet learned to stop panic attacks completely and triggers added up too high to be able to prevent a panic attack from starting in the first place, they learned how to stop one and how to reduce the intensity of a panic attack.
CONFUSING A PANIC ATTACK WITH A HEART ATTACK
Some people with heart problems also have panic attacks. I’ve helped clients to resolve the confusion, to learn to feel the difference and learn to stop having panic attacks. One client saved over $10,000 in Emergency Room visits during the year they worked with me and never needed to go the Emergency Room again for panic attacks.
LOW SELF-ESTEEM, LOW SELF-WORTH, FEELING BAD ABOUT YOURSELF
Low self-esteem, feeling you are not enough, or not good enough usually arise from negative messages that you received during childhood and internalized.
Internalization is the process by which we take what we hear and learn to say it to ourselves. It’s useful, because this is how we learn about the world. For example, we learn to say to ourselves, “Walking in the street is dangerous. I need to be careful to stay on the sidewalk.” Thus, internal knowledge becomes so obvious to us that it becomes automatic and we stop needing to say remind ourselves. Instead, we simply incorporate this self-talk into our behavior.
SOME MESSAGES ARE NOT HEALTHY
Unfortunately, internalizing negative messages can be harmful. Sometimes, we internalize “I am bad.” “I am not enough.” “It’s my fault.” “I have no control.” “I’m not safe.” “Life is scary.” Some negative messages come from parents who were intentionally demeaning. Others come from internalizing negative messages that were unintentional or based on a misunderstanding in childhood.
FREE YOURSELF FROM YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT YOURSELF
It doesn’t matter where your negative thoughts originated. We can process them and you can reverse negative beliefs that you have internalized. You can change your ways of thinking and your feelings about yourself through therapy. It is an amazing process… You feel like a burden has been lifted. You reconceptualize who you are, where and what you come from and who you can be in life. It frees you to be the you that you want to be.
INTERNATIONALS, NOMADS, EXPATS
The challenges of living in a foreign country, being a nomad, an expatriate, returning from a foreign country, or moving to yet another are many. And even though your head knows that what you’re experiencing is normal, it is still hard to deal with the feelings. For example, you know you have to deal with cultural differences, and maybe different languages. And you know about cross-cultural communication. And yet, you still feel homesick, frustrated, and never feel at home, whether you’re in your native country or not.
Making friends is different. Often, people in your new country already have all the friends they need and their family commitments on weekends don’t leave them room for anyone new. You feel guilty about the family you left behind, and guilty about bringing the rest of the family abroad. You are a Third Culture Kid (TCK) or your children are: You grew up in one culture, the kids grew up in another, and you’ve transitioned yet again.
Maybe you work for the State Department, a multinational corporation, or an international agency, like Unicef or you contract with them. Or you’re called an accompanying or trailing spouse. Or you’re in the military. Maybe you thrive on the life, and yet, it has its challenges. If moving is part of your life, changing posts every 2-3 years is stressful.
Retirees transitioning to a new country have to integrate lifestyle and income changes as well. What does one do with all that free time? It’s an adventure, and it’s fun, but it can also be lonely, disorienting, and fatiguing.
I’M AN EXPERIENCED EXPAT
When being an expat or retirement causes distress, stress, anxiety, panic and trauma can resurface. That’s what I’m here for. As a teen, I went to high school in England and took Advanced (A) Levels, including French. In college I studied Spanish and went to live in Mexico. As an adult, I lived in Italy for two years, learned Italian, managed all the concomitant tasks of running a household and working in Italy. And in Poland, I lived the life of an international / expat for two years. Since then, I’ve worked as a digital nomad months at a time and I can help you adjust to the life as well.
LET’S DEAL WITH IT!
If I sound like someone you’d like to work with, set up a free 20-minute appointment by clicking on the schedule button.