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What is OCD, and What Can You Do About It?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

We’ve all heard the term: OCD, but what does it mean, exactly? And if we, or someone we care about, is suffering from it, what can we do to treat it, or help them with it?

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder marked by increased anxiety, which includes invasive and frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsions to repeat certain habits, beyond what is necessary or healthy.

What Does It Look Like?

Someone suffering from OCD will often feel compelled to repeat certain habits, in an attempt to alleviate stress. It is very difficult to resist these urges. When giving into these urges, there is a temporary relief experienced but the obsessions and compulsions return with greater frequency. 

A common OCD behavior stems from a fear of disease and germs, where the sufferer may wash their hands, repeatedly, and even to the point of doing damage to their skin. They may also realize they are overdoing the ritual, to the point of feeling shame and embarrassment.

OCD can lead to problems at work, in school, and put undue strain upon relationships with family and friends.

Obsessions

The obsessive thoughts cause people to make a catastrophic assumption about the thought, which leads to increased fear and anxiety.

Some common obsessions include, but are not limited to:

  • An abnormal need for order and tidiness
  • Fear of uncleanliness
  • Anxiety about important tasks: forgetting to lock the door or leaving the stove on
  • Fear of uncontrolled thoughts: anger, sexual, or religious
  • Anxiety over thoughts of causing harm to one’s self or others
  • Fear of inappropriate behavior in public
  • Perfectionism: especially an obsession with objects in the home or office (making sure they face the right way or are symmetrical)
  • Fear of germs or contamination, usually manifesting as avoiding contact with others, or unclean surfaces

Compulsions

Then there are the compulsions: the attempt to control the anxiety or fear through ritualistic actions.

 

Some common compulsions are:

  • Repeatedly checking to make sure the stove is off, returning home to check the door locks, or that the windows are closed and locked
  • Manic, repetitive washing of the hands
  • Repetition of certain words, phrases, prayers, or mantras
  • Internal mental rituals and thoughts
  • Constant cleaning of one’s living space
  • Excessive time spent rearranging things, or putting them into a precise order

While giving into the obsession and compulsion sometimes offers temporary relief, in the end, this only reinforces the OCD, and makes it stronger.

How can spouses or parents help someone with OCD without enabling the disorder? 

It is difficult to watch someone we care about suffer from any mental disorder. It’s frustrating and can make us feel helpless. You may feel compelled to help them, but what is actually helpful is often counterintuitive.

That being said, there are some things you can do, and not do, that are helpful.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t tell them to “not think about it.”
    • It isn’t helpful, because thinking is the problem. You can be assured they’ve already attempted to ‘not think about it.’ The more they attempt to suppress a thought, the stronger it becomes.
  • Trying to relate doesn’t help.
    • It’s natural to try to find a connection with them and their disorder. You might even suffer from it yourself, maybe to a lesser degree. But often, what you feel is OCD, may only be a surface level obsession. Many OCD obsessions are deep seated and can be extremely distressing. Sufferers often feel embarrassed. Offering up your mild obsession in an attempt to relate, might make them feel you are downplaying the seriousness of their OCD.
  • Avoid attempting to reassure them.
    • This is a very difficult one to avoid, because many OCD sufferers will seek reassurance. They may be worried they’ll hurt someone else and look to you to reassure them they won’t. But reassuring them will only give them temporary relief, and the obsession will return.

What CAN you do?

  • Educate yourself.
    • You’re doing that right now! The more you know about the disorder, how it manifests, and the common pitfalls, the better equipped you’ll be to help.
  • Encourage them to accept uncertainty.
    • Most obsessions come from a fear of uncertainty. The more they can embrace ’not knowing all the answers,’ the lower their anxiety will be. This is one of those counterintuitive mental tricks. When they seek reassurance, as mentioned above, instead of giving it to them, say, “Who knows?” or “Perhaps not?” Even ask if they think this may be their OCD seeking reassurance. They may not be happy with your answer, but it will go further to helping them than reassurance.

The best antidote is recognizing OCD and interrupting it: not doing what it says

Encourage them to engage in their normal activities, even when they are afraid to do so. The best remedy for many mental disorders is to face them and do the thing we fear the most, anyway. This is difficult, but effective. Encourage them to do the things they enjoy doing, even if they feel anxious about it. 

“How about calling your friend and go to hang out with them?”

“You like walking in the park. How about that?”

Continuing to avoid these things, will only reinforce their fears and obsessions further. This only allows their OCD to control them.

Find a Therapist!

If someone’s OCD is deep seated, there may be little you can do to help yourself, or your loved one. They may very well need professional help. That’s why we’re here.

At RDU Counseling for Change, we have the specialists and experience to help with a wide range of mental health issues and disorders, including OCD. We offer services for individuals, couples, and families. We have options for Telehealth visits, as well as in house. If you live in the RDU/Wake County area, give us a call today and get on track to great mental health!

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How Does Trauma Affect the Brain?

Trauma affect the BrainHave you experienced trauma in the past? 

Was it the result of an accident? Have you been the victim of violence and abuse: sexual, psychological, or physical, or all of them? Were you traumatized by a natural disaster? Have you ever experienced the high stresses of combat and war?

All of these traumatic experiences cause actual damage to our brain, especially if we don’t receive proper help to aid us in dealing and processing these experiences.

The Parts of the Brain and Their Functions

Our brain exists primarily to protect us, by storing our past experiences as memories. These memories serve as guides to positive actions in the future, or as warnings to protect us from potentially harmful situations we may encounter.

The brain consists of basically three areas, or parts:

  • The amygdala, or lizard brain, at the base of the skull. It is the most primitive section of our brain, and deals solely with basic survival instincts. It controls our body’s reactions to fear: our breathing, hunger, and thirst. The amygdala takes control of the mind during traumatic events, and triggers our fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reactions
  • The hippocampus, or mammalian brain (sometimes called the monkey brain) aids us in processing emotions. It also helps us to distinguish between past and present experiences.
  • The prefrontal cortex or neomammalian brain is the part of the brain responsible for sensory processing, learning, memory, decision making, and complex problem solving.

How Trauma Affects the Brain

Traumatic events trigger the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn releases stress hormones to activate our fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reactions. These reactions are natural and nearly automatic.

As the threat passes, the parasympathetic system takes over again and we can relax into our normal mental and physical stasis. But too much trauma, especially if it is sustained over time, can trap us in survival mode where the sympathetic nervous system runs all, or nearly all, the time.

This can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a result, we may feel intense anxiety, fear, and find it difficult to manage our emotions. We may experience altered moods such as blame, shame, negativity. We may become hyper-vigilant, always being on alert for dangers and threats. Or we might avoid all possible trauma-related input.

Repeated or extreme trauma activates the amygdala. Fear reactions become stronger. When this happens too often, it becomes difficult to distinguish between past threats and present threats, or real threats and imagined ones.

We may feel all or a mix of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to sleep well
  • Unable to calm down
  • Chronic stress
  • Find ourselves more irritable with others and ourselves
  • Elevated fear and anxiety

Damage to the Brain Itself

Trauma’s effects aren’t simply psychological. It can cause physical changes to the brain itself. If trauma is not treated, it can actually shrink the hippocampus. As it shrinks, we become unable to discern the past from the present. We may suffer from increased panic attacks and live in a constant state of fear, anxiety and hypervigilance.

Trauma also can affect the function of our prefrontal cortex. If this happens, we become less able to learn new things, manage our emotions, or solve problems. Logical thought becomes more difficult. This means we have even more trouble controlling our fear.

As our brain struggles to function normally, the symptoms increase. Along with the symptoms above, we may also suffer from flashbacks to traumatic events in the past. Nightmares can be more frequent and more intense. We might suffer from loss of memory. It may become harder to concentrate on our work and duties at home. It can become very difficult to make good decisions. We might suffer from physical fatigue. All of this may lead to increased difficulty in communicating with those around us. This can put a strain on our relationships, precisely when we need them the most.

Can We Heal Our Brains?

The good news is, yes, we can. The brain is surprisingly resilient to trauma, even to physical injury. It has an uncanny ability to rewire itself over time, once we give it the healing it needs. But in order to do that, we need to address the trauma we’ve experienced, and realize that it takes time and patience to accomplish it. 

For more information on this topic, here are some good articles:

3 Ways Emotional Trauma Physically Changes the Brain

How Trauma Changes the Brain 

Traumatic Stress: Effects on the Brain

How Does Trauma Affect the Brain? 

Seek Professional Help

No matter the trauma you’ve experienced in your life, the counselors and therapists at RDU Counseling for Change have the expertise and experience to help you work through it and get you on the right track again.

We offer all kinds of mental health counseling, for individuals, couples, and families either in person or via a telehealth appointment.

Contact us today and let’s get started!

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The Cycle of Change

Stages of Change - RDU Counseling for ChangeTo make lasting change, you need to be prepared and anticipate challenges. People benefit from mental health counseling only when they are willing to make a change in their lives and recognize that their current behaviors are not conducive to healthy living. The challenge of taking the first step pales in comparison to the challenges you may experience if you do not change.

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How to Conquer Avoidance Behavior

Steps for Conquering AvoidanceDo you find yourself often canceling plans with friends or family? 

Are you avoiding a conversation with your boss about a raise? 

Are there certain places you won’t go? Phone calls you know you should answer, but let go to voicemail?

Does your kid make up excuses to stay home from school? 

Avoidance is a real problem. And it’s common. No one really wants to be in uncomfortable situations, but unfortunately, discomfort is part of growth and success in life. If we avoid too many situations, we suffer.

Why do we avoid things?

Quite simply, we’re afraid. Our brains perceive a threat and try to protect us through avoidance. This, in turn, keeps us from doing what we want to do, or need to do to move ahead with our lives. Where these fears originate is not always obvious, even to ourselves, but even more so when we observe someone else avoiding things. 

We never really know what’s going on in other’s minds.

For example, if your kid is avoiding going to school, there are reasons why. Is he ashamed because he’s struggling academically? Is your daughter being bullied at school? Are they shy and afraid to speak out in class for fear of being teased by classmates?

Maybe it’s not about them at all. They may be afraid to leave a parent at home who’s suffering from depression, alcoholism, or a serious illness.

The Brain and Fear

Fear is a normal emotion. We all have to deal with it. The deepest parts of our brain, the amygdala, the so-called ‘lizard brain,’ exists to protect us from dangers. If we see a bee, it will alert the hypothalamus to release adrenaline, dopamine, and other chemicals needed for fight or flight. 

While amygdala does a great job of that, it isn’t adept at discerning between real threats, and imagined ones. 

Just because we see a bee doesn’t mean it will attack us, but the amygdala triggers the body to react as if you are already under attack. As a result, you will experience physiological reactions, such as heart palpitations, stomachache, headache, nausea, and sweating. 

Because of this reaction, we believe we need to avoid the perceived threat altogether. That’s where the problem arises. It can create a feedback loop of avoidance. These loops can play out in a couple different ways.

Complete Avoidance

One way it plays out is when we feel anxiety rising due to some situation in the near or distant future, and we avoid the situation completely. We start to think, “What if x happens?,” X, being an anticipated negative outcome. Instead of risking X, we decide to avoid the situation altogether, to cancel the dinner date, or the meeting with our boss, or getting on the bus to go to school. 

We have listened to our fear, our Lizard Brain, and heeded its advice. We avoid the fear-causing situation, and we feel better, for a short time.

The problem with this strategy is that it reinforces our fear. Our fear grows with every avoidance. And as our fear grows, our self-esteem takes a hit, making it even more difficult to face the situation the next time it arises. And it will always arise, again and again.

Attempt, then Avoid

The second way this plays out is when we make an attempt to face the fear, but fail. 

We decide to walk into the boss’s office, fully intent upon demanding a raise. But as we step into the room, our heart races, the sweat runs down the back of our neck, and we chicken out. 

Instead of speaking up for what we want, a raise, we may ask a benign question, “How ‘bout that game last night?,” or “I think the printer needs toner,” and we make our exit. 

We run from the fear in front of us.

Again, every time we do this, the fear wins. It grows stronger, making it more and more difficult to overcome it, and our self esteem drops further into the basement.

The only thing we can change in this cycle is avoidance.

How can we break the pattern?

Facing our fear is the only way to break this negative feedback loop. We all wish there was a magic pill to make fear go away. But there isn’t. It’s even simpler than swallowing a pill, simple, yet difficult to do. But here’s a tip to help you face your fears.

Feel the Fear and Stay in It

Feel the fear, but instead of running away to avoid it, just tell yourself, “This is just anxiety. It’s my amygdala misfiring again.” 

Feel the emotions, but don’t try to fight them, or run away. Just let them do their thing. The fear is real, but it will be real even if you avoid it. You will give it more power if you do.

The only way to conquer a fear is to feel it and remain in the situation until it passes

Don’t leave the boss’s office. Stand there and feel the fear. It might be awkward, but do it. Then dig deep to find the courage to speak up. If you do, the fear loses its stronghold. You win. Your confidence and self-esteem will soar. 

And it doesn’t matter whether or not you got the raise. You faced your fear and it retreated. Doing that once is a major boost. Doing it again will only give you more confidence. It is the only way out of fear and anxiety: through it.

We cannot change fear. We have little control over the things other people do or say. The only thing we can control is our response. We can avoid fear completely, run away, or face it head on. Fear will always be there, but it can be faced, and when we do, fear runs away.

Professional Counseling Can Help!

If you’re still struggling to overcome avoidance, don’t hesitate to call for professional counseling.

If you live in the Raleigh or greater RDU-Wake County area, give us a call. 

We’re RDU Counseling for Change.

We offer mental health counseling for individuals, couples, and families, in person, or via Telehealth. 

 

If you’d like to read more about Avoidance, here are a couple resources:

The Anxiety Cure: An Eight-Step Program for Getting Well, by Robert L. DuPont, M.D., and Elizabeth DuPont Spence, M.S.W., and Caroline DuPont, M.D.

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Emotions Aren’t Facts — In Depth

Emotions Aren't FactsEmotions are potent and vital. Together with the ability to think clearly and rationally, the ability to experience and express emotions is part of what makes you human. Identifying your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them can be quite therapeutic. 

Generally, your emotions are triggers that convey important information about events or situations in your life. Fear is reasonable if a man brandishing a gun approaches you. It alerts you that you are in danger and must take appropriate action. What people forget from time to time, however, is that their emotions do not always tell them the truth. 

Yes, our minds often deceive us. At its most fundamental level, the function of emotions is to keep us safe from danger — either by flight or fight. However, not all of the information our brain gives us is valuable or even true. It is a difficult concept to grasp, yet it is true. Not all of the emotions we feel are accurate or even helpful. The more you can acknowledge this, the better you will be at recognizing when you are not being true to yourself.

You may believe that because you feel something, it must be true. However, your emotions might occasionally be out of touch with reality. Consider this — have you ever taken a test and thought you blew it, just to find out afterward that you actually did pretty good?

When your emotions are especially intense, they might lead you to believe things not founded on facts. When you get swept up in a surge of emotions, your thinking becomes warped, and you struggle to stay anchored in the reality of the situation. This is why it is critical to organize your emotions.

How to organize your feelings?

Our emotions rarely hang neatly on beautiful, carefully spaced hangers. Instead, we tend to keep a mishmash of new and old emotions in our closets. But you can ‘Marie Kondo’ your emotions and deal with or eliminate those not serving you right. Comb through your emotions daily, and you will more effectively deal with situations where you end up being anxious, depressed, lonely, or sad. 

Here’s how to separate emotions from facts and start winning in life: 

Step one: Identify how you are feeling.

The first step in organizing your emotions is to make a list of your worries or fears. That may sound like a bad idea, but writing your feelings down can often provide greater clarity. It can be effective to understand the underlying thought or belief, assess its value and truth, and then change it if it does not serve you well.

How can you discover the underlying feeling that is troubling you?

List your problems and assign them an emotion. If you are not sure what those emotions are, try a “so what does that mean?” exercise. Ask yourself “so what does that mean” until it reveals something about you, uncover what you believe, and ask, “is it true?”

Here’s an example: 

Problem: Everyone expects me to change my schedule to accommodate theirs.

Emotions: Frustration, resentment, and hurt

What is going on?: ...so does that mean that I will be on my own and they will inevitably forget about me? I am scared I will be forgotten or that nobody will care about me.

The message we uncover through the process can feel harsh and unfair. But here is where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or organizing your emotions, comes into effect.

Look for outliers. Ask yourself, “Is it true?” or “Can I find evidence to refute that belief?” In the example given, the individual may recall occasions when people went out of their way to hang out with them or expressed how much fun they had with them. They will soon realize that the conclusion they reached is not a fact. 

Step two: Identify whether or not this is a recurring theme.

Sometimes you have to evaluate if an emotion is real or whether it is just your brain working a game controller. It is worth remembering that our emotions dictate our actions. Therefore, you stay on top of your emotions since they can easily become exaggerated. Exaggerated or irrational emotions eventually create hurdles to achieving your objectives and connecting with people. 

Are you feeling stuck in negative emotions? You might be dealing with a cognitive distortion — your brain lying to you based on past thought patterns. 

If you are anxious about a date you are on, for example, you could overindulge. But your anxieties may be a byproduct of a date gone wrong in the past. This might trigger a cascade of anxiety-filled dates, leading you to believe that you need to be a little drunk to be a good date or that you are not interesting when sober.

You can change your patterns when you are aware of the reasons for your behaviors and have a good handle on your emotions. You can keep anxiety, fear, or anger from dominating and leading you to behave in ways you do not want.

Related Blog: Are you ready for change?

Step three: Watch out for cognitive distortions.

These cognitive distortions (or thinking errors) can have a detrimental impact on how you approach situations: 

  • All-or-nothing thinking
  • Overgeneralization
  • Mental filter
  • Discounting the facts
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Magnification and minimization 
  • Emotional reasoning
  • Should statements 
  • Labeling
  • Blame

The first step is to recognize cognitive distortions or a behavior pattern proving to be problematic in your life. Once you have recognized the thought or behavior, you can start to change it. It may be more difficult than throwing out an old hoodie, but being able to challenge these thoughts may be the most positive change in your life so far.

Consider therapy.

Your emotions have a big role in how you process events and situations in your daily life. However, it is also critical to evaluate everything using a filter that can distinguish between facts and reality. Separating your emotions from facts can help you eliminate undue stressors while also improving your relationships with others.

It is worth mentioning that many seemingly straightforward issues can turn out to be extraordinarily challenging and perplexing. So, if things are still not working out for you, you should seek mental health counseling. Our expert counselors at RDU Counseling for Change can help you find ways to be more mindful of why you are feeling certain emotions and alert you to any potential hurdles you may encounter in the way.

Call us today at (919) 713-0260 or email at to speak with our expert RDU Counseling for Change counselors or book your individual, couples, or family therapy. We now provide telehealth or online therapy sessions to make mental health counseling more accessible to those who are pressed for time, stay home, or live in remote areas.

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How Do We Respect Others’ Boundaries When We Don’t Like Them?

Respecting BoundariesIt’s natural to resist boundaries when we experience them, especially when coming from someone close: a spouse, family member, or friend. 

“Why are they rejecting me?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Surely their boundary doesn’t apply to me!”

But if we want strong relationships, we have to respect boundaries.

 

Respecting Boundaries is Crucial

The fact you’re reading this article means you care about your relationships. That’s a very good place to begin, because the first step in building and maintaining relationships is to show care and respect for others’ autonomy as fellow human beings. They have a right to their own feelings and boundaries, same as you. But when you do run into someone’s boundary, you may feel rejected, sad, or even depressed. 

It’s time to pause.

Resist Reaction and Negative Self Talk

It’s natural to feel fear, anxiety, rejection, sadness, even depression in this situation. Emotions are real and valid. You may not understand why all of a sudden they’ve drawn a boundary. 

Be Curious, and Breathe…

It’s important to pause, breathe, and make note of your own feelings and emotions. This is difficult to do when negative emotions arise. But if you don’t pause and take a breath they can quickly spin out of control. They may do so anyway.

It’s never easy to check our emotions. It takes practice to catch them as they arise. The earlier we catch them, the better.

Say to yourself, “Hey! I’m feeling afraid and anxious. What’s that all about?” 

Then take some deep breaths and feel the emotion. Don’t fight it or try to get rid of it, just feel it and accept it as a natural, normal experience. 

Tell yourself, “It’s okay that I feel sad, rejected, or depressed.” 

Don’t Assume Stuff

 Don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking! 

You don’t. 

Assumptions allow negative emotions to run rampant. 

When someone says, “NO,” it’s not about you; it’s about them. 

Tell yourself, “This is about their boundaries, not about me.”

They aren’t rejecting you as a person. It doesn’t mean you are bad or inadequate. It just means they’re experiencing a negative reaction to something you’ve done or said.

Take another breath and ask yourself, “What is this person really trying to tell me about themself?”

Apologize and Ask Questions

If you can let go of your negative emotions, even momentarily, the next step is to apologize for breaching their boundary and ask them to clarify what happened. 

“I’m so sorry. I did not intend to upset you. Clearly I have. You are important to me. Can you explain what I did or said so I won’t do that again?”

Again, don’t assume you already know the answer. Actually listen for it.

Communication Begins with Silence: Listen and Pay Attention

Whatever you do, don’t interrupt. 

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to learn anything while talking. Once you’ve asked them to explain their boundaries, let them! Actually listen to the words they use and observe how they say them. 

Listen Not to Respond, But to Understand 

Let me repeat: listen not to respond, but to understand. You might want to repeat that phrase to yourself, now, a few hundred times. The goal is to remember it when conflicts arise. You want to form a habit of listening. It’s not easy to do. Work on it. 

Forget what you want to say about their boundaries. It doesn’t matter. What is important in this moment is to understand the boundary. 

Pay Attention to Body Language

While you’re listening, also watch for visual clues. This might be in their body language. 

Do they fold their arms in front of them or step back away from you? It might not have been something you said, but something you did without knowing it. You might have accidentally invaded their personal space. You might have interrupted them or used a trigger word. Did they suddenly clam up during a conversation?

Accept Boundaries Without Judgement

If they’re willing to communicate their boundaries to you, accept them outright. DO NOT question the boundary, and do not ask them WHY they have a boundary. It is none of your business.

It’s unlikely to be about you anyway. Even if it is, their boundary is their boundary. If you seek to build and maintain good relationships, you must accept other people’s boundaries without question or judgement.

They may explain why. If they feel like sharing, great. Listen to understand, not to respond. Keep that phrase in your head. It’s magical. But do not expect them to share the why. Do not ask why their boundary exists. 

Their ‘why’ is their business and their struggle. Instead of asking them for their why, ask yourself the same question.

Work on Yourself and Your Own Boundaries

If you’ve read this far, you’re already asking yourself important questions. Awesome! Keep working on your own feelings and emotions. Take note of them. Become more aware when they arise. 

Ask yourself, “Why do I feel this? What do their boundaries mean to me? And why do they cause such a reaction in my own mind?”

Give yourself time to find the answers. It takes time to work on your emotional health. Try not to let your emotions drag you down. If they do, that’s okay. Just give awareness to the experience. 

Say to yourself, “I’m being dragged down by negative emotions. I wonder why?” 

This is how awareness comes: little by little, with curiosity and practice. 

There is no silver bullet to deal with your emotions of fear, abandonment, anxiety, depression, or rejection. It takes time and work. You’ve already begun. You read this article! Keep working on it, but don’t feel you have to do it alone.

Mental Health Counseling Can Help!

We at RDU Counseling for Change have the tools and expertise to help you. We promise to listen to understand, not just to respond. We offer mental health counseling and therapy for individuals, couples, and families. If you live in the Wake County, NC area, come see us. Can’t come into the office? We have Telehealth options, too! 

Contact us by email at or call us at (919) 713-0260.

Do it, now! There’s no better time to begin than now.

 

If you’d like to read more on boundaries, here are a couple of good articles:

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Social Situations?

Social anxiety Some people find that their anxiety is debilitating when they are in social situations. They may anticipate others judgment and want to avoid placing themselves in situations where this may occur. Recommended treatments for Social Anxiety Disorder are CBT, EMDR, DBT, and Exposure therapies.

  184 Hits

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by individuals experiencing problems of inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. There are three types of ADHD: predominantly hyperactive, predominantly inattentive, and combined type. To receive a diagnosis of ADHD, you must undergo a psychological evaluation by a Licensed Psychologist. Recommended treatments are CBT and DBT therapies. Some find it helpful to use medications to help with attention and focus.

  152 Hits

International Survivors of Suicide Day 2021

 International Survivors of Suicide Day Nov 20 2021International Survivors of Suicide Day was designated by the United States Congress as a day when the friends and family of those who have died by suicide can join together for healing and support. This day always falls on the Saturday before American Thanksgiving.

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Tips for Improving Your Self Care

5 self care tips for stress 5 Self-Care Tips When You’re Always In A State of Stress   

1) Eat a blanced diet.  First, eat healthy foods.

2) ZzZzZzZ... Next, make sure to get enough sleep. 

3) Find your stress reliever.  I.E. walking, hobbies.

4) Spend time with family and friends. 

5) Give yourself a break. Take time to recharge.

 

 

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International Stress Awareness Day 2021


International Stress Awareness Day November 2021International Stress Awareness Day, also known as National Stress Awareness Day (UK), has been observed the first Wednesday in November since 1998.

  289 Hits

OCD Awareness Week 2021

b2ap3 small RDU OCD Awareness Week Oct 2021OCD Awareness Week is an international effort taking place during the second week in October each year to raise awareness and understanding about obsessive compulsive disorder and related disorders, with the goal of helping more people to get timely access to appropriate and effective treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

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National Depression Screening Day

b2ap3 small RDU National Depression Screening Day Oct 7 2021

For more than two decades, Screening for Mental Health has developed programs to educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common behavioral and mental health disorders and suicide. We envision a world where mental health is viewed and treated with the same gravity as physical health, and the public’s participation in National Depression Screening Day helps make that vision a reality.

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World Mental Health Day

b2ap3 small RDU World Mental Health Day Oct 10 2021

 

World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues by providing programs to educate, raise awareness, and screen individuals for common behavioral and mental health disorders and suicide.

  261 Hits

National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) 2021

RDU National Suicide Prevention Week Sept 2021National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is an annual week-long campaign in the United States to inform and engage health professionals and the general public about suicide prevention and warning signs of suicide. By drawing attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the campaign also strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance and support people who have attempted suicide.

As part of the campaign, health organizations conduct depression screenings—including self-administrated and online tests—and refer interested individuals to a national toll-free telephone number. Since 1975, NSPW awareness events are held throughout the week corresponding to World Suicide Prevention Day, which is recognized annually on the 10th of September.

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National Health Center Week Treatment Education

National Health Center Week Aug 2021

National Health Center Week is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

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5 Steps to Diaphragmatic Breathing

 5 Steps to Diaphragmatic Breathing Start by sitting down and getting comfortable. 

#1 Begin to slow down and deepen your breath

#2 When you inhale, stomach goes out, as you exchale, stomach goes in 

#3 Inhale through the nose, exhale through the nose or mouth

#4 Lengthen the breath out

#5 Pair the breath with a postivie memory or calming word you prefer 

Ultimately, the breath should feel natural and calming. 

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COVID Fatigue: How to cope with pandemic exhaustion

COVID Fatigue - What you can do We were on high alert at the onset of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)—we stocked up, cooped up, quarantined, and tried to adapt to the ‘new normals.’ Bleak 2020 overwhelmed us with a slew of distressing emotions—we felt nervous, depressed, lonely, and sad all at once.

“When things look black, there is always a silver lining to look for.”

Indeed, there was a silver lining to the dark of 2020. We learned to step out with face masks on, carrying hand sanitizer in our pockets. We also began to adjust to new modes of communication, such as Zoom video conferencing. We adjusted pretty well, considering our initial reservation with these new normals. As the virus’s hold started weakening, several fast-food chains, retail outlets, offices, educational institutions, and other public places reopened. During this period, we also adhered to the social distancing norms quite well. Shouldn’t we give ourselves a pat on the back already?

Then fast forward to today, when COVID cases still abound despite vaccinations and restrictions, many of us are feeling exhausted by this seemingly never-ending pandemic. We use the word “exhausted” with caution because “COVID-19 fatigue” is a real thing. Let’s find out what it is.

What is pandemic exhaustion?

COVID-19 Fatigue—also known as Pandemic Exhaustion or Pandemic Fatigue—is a phenomenon in which people become tired of taking day-to-day preventative steps, such as washing their hands, wearing face masks, disinfecting their homes, and being socially isolated. This exhaustion leads to them becoming sloppy towards these must-dos, and thus, they fail to adhere to these public health practices. This [unsurprisingly] results in an increase in COVID cases.

COVID Burnout occurs because people have been trying very hard to stick to pandemic precautions for a little too long. Isolation from friends and family takes a toll on their mental health. And whatever they were doing well in the early stages of the pandemic seems almost bothersome at this point.

Pandemic Fatigue is considered to affect teenagers and young adults more severely than people of other ages. The reason is that young people’s social circles are not yet well established, so they socialize more to create or extend their relationships. That also means that they find it much more challenging to stay within their immediate social group—their families—and are tempted to break the rules to go out and “hang out” with their friends.

Symptoms of pandemic exhaustion

Aside from feelings of depression, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness, here are some additional signs of pandemic exhaustion:

  • Feeling excessively tired despite having adequate rest.
  • Feeling anxious when passing someone who is not wearing a mask.
  • Feeling a general lack of motivation.
  • Feeling as though there is no sense of purpose in life.
  • Excessively consuming unhealthy foods.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling paranoid.
  • Getting angry at family members.
  • Being unable to put a stop to racing thoughts.
  • Indulging in substance abuse or excessive alcohol consumption.

Coping with pandemic exhaustion

You are probably wondering how to beat pandemic fatigue, now that you have learned what it is and how it manifests. It is indeed important to have a few tried-and-true techniques in place to deal with pandemic fatigue. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some self-care tips for combating COVID exhaustion and getting back to enjoying life, rather than just being.

First things first, find a healthy way to meet your basic social needs. Whether it is a “socially distanced” rendezvous with your friends in your backyard or a virtual game night, it is crucial that you find a way to combat the feelings of loneliness. That being said, you need a group of friends who share similar ideals of safety for this coping mechanism to work.

Work out! Make it a point to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three to four days a week. The good thing is that gyms and fitness centers can re-open now, so long as they are COVID-compliant and take all protective measures to ensure their clients’ and staff’s safety. Hitting a gym is an excellent way to release endorphins—chemicals created by our bodies to relieve stress and pain—while catching up with friends.

Understand that this will end at some point. We have no idea when, but the days of social isolation and mask-wearing will be behind us sooner or later. So, whenever you are troubled by the thoughts related to the uncertainty of life and precariousness of the ongoing pandemic, try to bring optimistic thoughts into your mind.

Plan for the future. Looking forward to something is always a good idea. If not a fancy holiday, plan a weekend getaway to Pinehurst or Goldsboro, or even a hike in the William B. Umstead State Park. The anticipation of the trip will keep you excited and cut down the noise surrounding the pandemic.

Related blog: How You Can Use Nature for a Brilliant Self-Care Routine

Practice gratitude. Be grateful for the extra time you have been blessed with to spend with your family or friends. And, do not forget to be thankful for your health.

Pray. It always helps to turn over your fears and worries to God almighty. Your faith will provide you with an anchor to hold onto; if everything fails—you will always have someone to turn to for comfort and support.

If nothing seems to work out, consider therapy.

If you are feeling extremely depressed or lonely, you can seek professional counseling from RDU counselors in Wake County. Due to the current COVID situation, RDU Counseling for Change is offering online therapy in Raleigh, NC. From individuals and couples to family therapy, our expert counselors are offering help to everyone suffering from COVID fatigue. These telehealth mental health counseling sessions would be highly beneficial if the pandemic has rendered you emotionally-spent and depressed.

If you have any questions or want to book your Raleigh therapy session, feel free to contact us at (919) 713 0260.

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National Eatinig Disorders Awareness Week

 

National Eating Disorders Awareness WeekFebruary 22 - February 28 marks National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. So often eating disorders are overlooked and not talked about until it's too late. This year, why not make a change and do your part to help spread the word and raise awareness?

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

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Our Team of Professionals

  • Kelly Harrison

    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
  • Kelley Baughman

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA)
  • Whitney Chambers

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA)
  • Christy Douglas

    MA, LCMHC
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Hugo Izzo

    LCMHC
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Bryon Lawrence

    LCMHC
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Breanna Linn

    LCMHCA
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
  • Sallie Ratcliffe

    LCMHCA
    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate