Saturday, May 30, 2015

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Gaining A Better Understanding

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is when an individual experiences a trauma themselves personally or they were exposed to one. The kind of trauma that I am referring to is something that was very tragic and/ or frightening to an individual.

Specially, PTSD is defined as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence by the following ways:

-Directly

-Witnessing

-Hearing that something tragic has happened to a close friend or  family member

-Experiencing extreme and/ or repeated exposure to details of  traumatic events (such as first responders.) 

Also, someone who is experiencing PTSD has recurrent and involuntarily intrusive symptoms, dissociative reactions such as flashbacks, and intense psychological and physiological distress.

Individuals with PTSD also often have the following symptoms:

Difficulty with concentration

Sleep problems

They are startled easily

Irritability

Reckless and self-destructive behaviors

Experiences persistence negative emotions and beliefs

Diminished interest in activities

Socially withdrawn

Anxiety and depression symptoms

Feelings of helplessness, horror, and fear


Symptoms usually surface during the first 3 months of a trauma but can also be delayed for long periods of time, even years.

There are many treatment options to assist with PTSD recovery. A clinical mental health professional can help someone who has PTSD to recover and heal from the effects of trauma.

There is hope and healing for PTSD. I am a thriving survivor of PTSD.

Reference 

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), (2013). American Psychiatric Association Publishing   


By Diane Gammon M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counselor
                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com


Friday, May 29, 2015

Irrational Beliefs- How to Recognize Them and Change Them

Many of us have had an irrational thought and belief in our lifetime. We might tell ourselves that we cannot succeed, that we are not good enough, and that no one would want us.

Having irrational thoughts and beliefs can stem from feeling down in spirits after being disappointed.

One way to recognize an irrational thought and / or belief is to ask yourself if it is really true or if it just how you feel because you may be in emotional distress. 

When we get hurt or upset we have a tendency to feel so down on ourselves that we exaggerate our irrational beliefs even more.

Once you realize and admit that your irrational thoughts are just how you are feeling and not the truth, then you can work on changing them.

Look at your situation and acknowledge the truths and then list the potential positive outcomes in place of the negative and irrational beliefs.


   
                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com
             By Diane Gammon M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Thursday, May 28, 2015

To Graduates- Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

With graduations happening during this time, I thought that it would be fitting to talk about pursuing your dreams. 

One needs to PURSUE a dream and just not daydream about them. Like anything that you want to achieve in life, you need to work at pursuing your dreams as well.

A good way to do this is to write out your goals, dreams, and passions. Then write down specific goals and small steps that you can take to work toward them. 

However small the first step may be- write it down and start pursing it –with where you are right now and with what you are able to do right now.

I just obtained my “Dream College Degree”- which was work!! I was in college the same time as one of my daughters and we were both interning at the same time. 


Thus, it is never too late to pursue your dreams!! And remember- Dreams don’t work unless you do!! 

Take the first small step toward your goals and keep on walking!  



By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor
                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Eliminating Self-Defeating Attitudes With Changes And Self-Discipline

"Life does not exist- mainly or even largely- of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that are forever blowing through one’s mind." Mark Twain.

We are often our own worse enemy. Our negative thoughts cripple us and paralyze us from living a productive life.

Evaluate your attitude regularly and see if it is self-defeating. Acknowledge if it is and admit that it needs to change.

Get fresh air, sunshine, and regular exercise. This will help you feel better emotionally as well as physically.

Become accountable with how you are doing with trying to be more positive and with living more of a healthy life style physically and mentally. Make a list of things in your life that you need to change and start rebuilding your life one step at a time.

Develop an attitude of gratitude. Become thankful for the blessings in your life.

Learn to implement self- care and to take the time to do things for yourself that you enjoy. Explore your interests and passions.

Work through any anger and hurts that are aiding in your self-defeating attitudes and behaviors.

Discipline yourself to make the needed changes. Writing down positive affirmations on sticky notes and posting them where you can read them daily can help.

Remember- that how you think will affect how you feel and then how you act. 


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor
                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

If I Could Live My Life Again, I’d Begin Today and Then….

If I could live my life again, I'd start today and then.....




I’d chase butterflies under blue skies

I’d make it mandatory to tell more bedtime stories

I’d consider it great wealth to enjoy good health

More cookies I’d dunk in milk………….kerplunk

I’d never miss- a goodbye kiss

I’d pray everyday

I’d swing my pelvis just like Elvis

I’d give more to the poor 

I’d take leaps of faith

I’d worry less and cut down on stress

With a clean slate, I'd forgive my mate

I'd turn a frown upside down

I wouldn't make fun- of anyone

I'd be strong and admit my wrong 

I'd try not to feud when in a bad mood

I'd walk- my talk

By my brothers- Dan and Dave Davidson. Inserts from their first book: If I Could Live My Life Again, I’d Begin Today and Then……….

Rhymeos of Life, By Cyrano De Words-u-lac, a legend in his own rhyme,1995


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor


                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com


Monday, May 25, 2015

Anger Management- Coping Skills Can Help

Anger can be positive or negative. Anger is a useful and necessary emotion that is a sign that something may be troubling. 

Anger can also be misinterpreted by others as coming across as demeaning, disrespectful, and threatening.

Some coping skills that can help to mange anger are deep breathing, positive self-talk, imagery, and walking away until calm. 

Another way to help manage anger is to demonstrate assertiveness instead of aggression when angry. 

Talking in a calm manner and using appropriate communication skills can also be helpful.

Here are some steps to help you when you feel an anger outburst coming on:

a. Self-monitor your feelings 

b. Let others know that it is not a good idea to talk when you are angry

c. Acknowledge that you may need to take a break from others temporarily.   

d. Separate for a cooling down period. Walk, take deep breaths, count, and think of a soothing thought such as waves on the beach.

e. Return to the person(s) and communicate     calmly.

James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.


Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. 


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor


                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Be The Sunshine and Reach Out To Others

When you come in contact with another person, it may be the only contact that they have with another human being for quite awhile.

You do not know what they may be going through. Just a smile could literally make their day. A friendly hello could help them gain hope in their lives.


Be the sunshine in some one's day today!

When you bless others, you will be blessed even more than them!



A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor
                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why Did This Happen To Me And Why Did God Allow It? - Getting Through The Pain and Questions

Many of my clients ask me why a loving God lets horrible and sad things happen to them.

I have also had clients ask me why God did not protect them from getting abused, especially when they were a helpless child.

I answer them all the same. 

We live in a fallen world in which has sin. 

Further, humans have also been given free will.

Although God is loving, the world is full of brokenness with heart aches, disasters, crisis, diseases, and suffering.

Our Hope is in Heaven and we are only passing through.

Try to grow from your suffering and ask God what he wants you to learn from it.

When I am suffering and stretched, I ask the Lord to grow me and use me. I don’t understand. I just trust Him to make good out of my heartaches and messes because He promises that He will.  

We may not understand why terrible things happen to us but God loves us and nothing can separate us from His love.

God allows things to happen to us that are unfortunate but He is also always with us and He will help us to get through the suffering.



 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

When you are hurting, try to talk to someone to help you sort it all out and to help you through your suffering. 

We may not understand the 'whys' but there is always hope .... and you will heal.


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor
                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com



Friday, May 22, 2015

Parenting 101- Reinforcing Good Behavior Helps Them To Continue

As parents, we often set rules and guidelines for our children to follow. When they do not follow through with what we expect of them, there are consequences for their behaviors.

However, how many of us parents take the time to reinforce our children and teens positive behaviors on a consistent basis?

Think of ways in which you can reinforce your children and teens positive behaviors and write them down to help you to implement them.    

Some suggestions are simply to verbally point out good behaviors to them. Let them know that you noticed their good behavior. 

You can reinforce positive behaviors by telling your children that you are proud of them. 

You can acknowledge and reinforce appropriate behaviors by writing a note to your child, renting them a movie, planning a special fun time together, giving them an extra privilege, GIVING THEM MORE OF YOUR TIME, and so on. 

For young children, you can make a chart and have them put on stickers when they do what is expected of them with a great attitude. 

The important thing is to acknowledge that you notice and appreciate your child’s good behaviors which in turn will reinforce it.

I make it a point to tell my teenager multiple times a day that I am proud of her. I tell her face to face. I have a notebook on the kitchen counter and I write it down daily to her in a note. 

I also write it down on an index card along with a positive quote and / or scripture and place it in her lunch daily. 

On this index card, I also tell her that she is my sunshine and for her to be the sunshine for Jesus during her day at school.

Along with telling her how proud I am of her in many ways all day, I also tell her how much that I love her several times a day also.

I also point out specifically what all I am proud of her for and I try and thank her and acknowledge when she is helpful and when I see her trying her best.

Positive Reinforcement Parenting……..It Works!   

 Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor



                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Helping Others- One Way To Help YOUR Pain

One of the best ways to make yourself feel better during or after a difficult time is to reach out and help someone else.

No matter what you are going through, there are others who have it worse.

Further, no matter what you are going through, you can always be a blessing to someone else. It can be something as small and a smile and an encouraging word.

I am not minimizing your pain. I am just pointing out that you can be encouraging to someone else in the midst of your difficulty and that it will bless YOU.



As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 1 Peter 4:10

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor



                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Knowing and Doing Are Two Different Things- Apply Your Knowledge

Knowing and Doing are Two Different ThingsOne of my closest friends has told me this a few times through the years.

When we see others repeat mistakes AFTER they admit that they have learned from them- our thoughts are….....OMG -
Knowing and Doing are two different things!!

So, this is just a reminder to apply the wisdom and knowledge to your life of what you know and what you know has NOT worked in your life.


Thus, what is the definition of insanity..............?
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!

Learn from others and learn from your your own mistakes and apply what you learn to your life. 

If you don't change anything- nothing changes!


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor

                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Having a Positive Mental Attitude Can Help You To Feel Better And Be More Productive

Most of us have heard that it is wise to have a positive mental attitude. It is true that this can be beneficial.

How a person thinks can facilitate how they feel and then how they act and behave. 

So, if you are dwelling on the negative side of things, then this can make you feel worse about things. Further, it can then result in it effecting your actions as well.

So, try your best to think positive and joyful 

thoughts.

Demonstrate and practice saying positive affirmations about yourself and / a situation. If things do not turn out the way that you had desired even after thinking positive, then tell yourself that you will make the best out of the outcome and try to be positive again!

While it can be necessary to acknowledge negative truth, you can make the choice to focus on the positive aspects and blessings! 

It will make yourself feel better and can also help with you carrying yourself more confident! This will help you to be more productive!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Philippians 4:8

By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor


                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Monday, May 18, 2015

Life is a Journey- Enjoy Every Step of the Way

Most of all at some point in our lives strive for things to be different. We strive for things to be better. We look forward to something in our future.

For a teenager- it is possibly turning 18. I worked with a teenager yesterday who was 16. She said that she just couldn’t wait until she was 18 so she could live on her own. Her Father and I told her about the responsibilities that came with this desire and she was oblivious to them. She could not comprehend the concept.

Adults even do this. Many of them think that their life will be just perfect when they find that perfect mate for them and get married. Yes, marriage can be wonderful. However, it is also work. 

Furthermore, we need to be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with someone else.

Dream. Seek. Pursue. Aspire.


Just make sure that you enjoy the journey and the blessings along the way and not just focus on the end pursuit

Also, try and learn from the experiences and life lessons along the way.

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. 
Psalm 118:24



 Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor

                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Domestic Abuse- There is New Life, Hope, and Healing For Victims

Many of us have experienced domestic abuse. This abuse can be mental, emotional, physical, and sexual. Many forms of abuse come in the form of control as well. Many abusers control their victims as a way of demonstrating their power over them.

Most victims of domestic abuse leave their abuser or attempt to leave them around 12 times before they leave for good.

There are many reasons for this. There are barriers for someone who is being abused that makes it difficult to leave their abusive situation.

The main thing that a victim of abuse needs to know is that they do not deserve to be abused and that they are never stuck in staying. It may feel as if they are trapped and unable to leave their abusive situation.

However, if you have been abused, remember that there is ALWAYS a way out! There is always help and there is always hope!




You may feel like people blame you and some may blame you and say that you are not a victim. But you do not need to worry about who believes what.

Hold your head up high and believe in yourself and in the truth. Most importantly, believe that you are worthy of being treated with respect.

Will it be frightening to leave? Yes... but it is possible.

Will it be emotionally and probably financially difficult to leave? Yes....but it is possible.   

Can you fully heal from the abuse and traumatic scars? Yes....yes.... and yes....!

Talk to a trusted friend. 

Talk to a counselor. 

Call a domestic abuse shelter and/ a hotline for help.

Remember that abusers are often manipulative and that they say that they will change. 

They may change for a while but most go back to their abusive behaviors.

Statistically, only near 20% of abusers are able to change their behaviors long -term with professional help.

THERE IS HOPE AND THERE IS HELP!

The national Domestic abuse hotline number is:  1-800-799-7233

No matter your circumstances, you CAN get help!

And- what you have endured DOES NOT HAVE TO DICTATE YOUR FUTURE!

THERE IS LIFE AND HEALING AFTER ABUSE!

If you are being abused, reach out to someone who can help you today. 

I am a thriving survivor of domestic violence, abuse, and trauma and you can be too!




God does not want you to live in abuse.

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. ...2 Timothy 3:1-8


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 


By Diane Gammon M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counselor

                                           Blog Website LivingWithHopeCounseling.com