It Starts With Fear

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Your heart pounds. Your thoughts race to the next worst-case scenario. You try to calm your thoughts but they continue to run loose, unfiltered and full of dread. It starts with fear and, left untreated, it can affect every area of your life.

Anxiety manifests itself in the lives of many. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”

While this is a staggering statistic, less than half of those dealing with anxiety decide to reach out for help. The ADAA explains that “Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.”

Although my anxiety went undiagnosed and untreated for much of my life, eventually, I realized that my frequent and intense stomachaches were not related to food intolerance or allergy. Instead, they were a symptom of anxiety that I have since learned to manage through therapy.

You, too, can obtain the tools you need to successfully manage your anxiety. If you find yourself experiencing frequent and overwhelming feelings of worry and fear, reach out to us for a free consultation. We would love to help you! 

Written by Lauren Smith Stevenson
Instagram: @laurensmithstevenson

Signs of Depression in Adults

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PLEASE NOTE: this list is NOT intended to diagnose or treat you. See a licensed mental health provider or medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Most people get “the blues” sometimes that last a day or two. However, Major Depressive Disorder is a SERIOUS and often FATAL illness that occurs in approximately 6.7 percent of US adults. Medications can be helpful, but come with side effects that many people cannot tolerate. Medications will NOT cure the mistaken belief system causing the depression.

Without talk therapy to both uncover the root cause of the depression and learn ways to manage it, depression can persist despite medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, can help you uncover the beliefs you carry about life without even knowing it. These beliefs often contribute to depression below your level of awareness. Once uncovered, I can help you face and refute the irrational thoughts and replace them with healthy, logical thoughts.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a frequent or daily basis, please contact me for a full professional evaluation:

  1. sadness

  2. pessimism

  3. feeling like a failure

  4. loss of pleasure

  5. guilty feelings

  6. punishment feelings

  7. self-dislike

  8. self-criticalness

  9. suicidal thoughts or a sense of, It would be better if I  weren’t here*

  10. crying, or unable to cry anymore

  11. feeling agitated

  12. no interest

  13. hard to decide things

  14. feeling worthless

  15. no energy

  16. sleep issues

  17. irritable

  18. appetite changes, up or down

  19. can’t concentrate

  20. fatigue

  21. no sexual interest

(Adapted from the Beck Depression Inventory)

Taking that step to call me for an appointment is hard, but can be the best decision you ever make.


When the Holidays Aren't So Merry

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Oftentimes we find ourselves feeling down this time of year. The time changed, it’s getting dark earlier, and you’re feeling a little more isolated than you were just a few months earlier during the summer.

You are not alone. When you think of all of the people who are grieving and/or going through their first holiday season after divorce, widowhood, or the loss of a loved one, you realize that the memories can make the holidays more painful than happy at this time of year. Add to that the additional stress the season brings in the form of activities, shopping, and school events—well, you can see the problem. It’s like adding that last too-much drop of water to an already overflowing bucket.

What to do? If you are experiencing loss this time of year, your goal is this: to make it through. This is not the time to fill your chore list with handmade gifts (or gifts at all—who’s going to blame you this year?) or high stress dinners. If ever there was a time in your life to put you (and your children, if any) first, this is it. Exercise your “say-no” muscle with a firm and assertive smile and pass on committees, obligations, and entertaining. The people who might judge you—and believe me, there are fewer than you imagine—are simply not worth a second thought.

When the memories and tears come, allow them. What we resist, grows stronger, so don’t fight the feelings that arise. Tears actually expel cortisol, a stress hormone that is damaging to the body and needs to come out in order for you to be healthy.

Ask your friends and family for what you need this year, specifically. Do you need help making decisions on the children’s Christmas list? You probably have at least one friend who would love to help you. Do you need people to just listen to your grief without advising you? Tell them that you really just need an ear, not a response, from them.

These are just a few ideas; you know best what helps you stay strong. Just remember that you WILL make it through. Rest, heal, and wait for better days.