Christian counseling Murrieta

Could you have separation anxiety?

If you've been watching the news lately, there has been a lot of spotlight on the thousands of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. Whatever your political ideology is, we can safely agree that no child wants to be away from her caregivers for a long amount of time. Many of these kids might go on to develop something called Separation Anxiety Disorder.

To put it in simple terms, Separation Anxiety Disorder occurs when an individual experiences excessive feelings of anxiety when he or she has been separated from a caregiver. Now it's quite normal for a little child to cry when she is dropped off in a strange environment or to be nervous on her first day of school-everyone is nervous in a new environment. But when a child younger than 18, has been experiencing extreme anxiety-and sometimes even panic attacks, when he or she has to be separated from a caregiver, then that child might be diagnosed with Separation Anxiety Disorder.

With Separation Anxiety comes a fear of being left alone, a recurrent fear that one's caregiver will be harmed, constant and extreme worry that one will be separated from a caregiver or loved one. Sometimes the child will have nightmares regarding separation from her loved one, and these nightmares are so terrifying that the child cannot sleep separately from the caregiver. So you'll see kids wanting to sleep on their parents' beds or in their parents' rooms.

Often times, kids with Separation Anxiety are pretty much attached at their caregiver's hip. They'll follow mom, dad, grandma, around the house, they carefully watch to ensure that their caregiver isn't going to leave them and they have painful anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety gets so bad that the child could fall ill.

Although Separation Anxiety is much more common in children, sometimes, adults experience Separation Anxiety. Sometimes an adult is overly attached to another person (it could be another adult or a child). They worry when the person leaves their sight, they ask tons of questions about the person's whereabouts, they might insist that they go everywhere with the loved one. To the person who is on the receiving end, he or she might tag the person as "Controlling, nosey or needy." There is a constant worry that something bad will happen to their loved one, which is why they want to know so much information about the person.

Now remember, we aren't talking about normal concern. I'm talking about concern so big that the person is worried sick all the time. There is an overarching fear that something bad will happen to their loved one. This might have been triggered by having lost a loved one in the past or some other traumatic experience.

Do you ever find yourself worrying constantly about a loved one? Are your friends or loved ones always complaining that you keep tabs on them all the time? Do you find that you can't go to bed alone? Perhaps you might have some symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder. Although more common in kids, it could happen with adults. If you're tired of experiencing anxiety, worry and you're always sick to your stomach, give me a call.

I provide counseling services for women in the Murrieta area who experience various forms of anxiety. The first step is calling me on 951-905-3181 for a free 15 minute consultation call. During this call we'll talk about what you've been experiencing and how we can work together to help you find your calm. I also provide online counseling and therapy to women who live in California. You don't have to feel stuck. Help is a phone call away.

Anxiety: Is your worrying normal?

Let me just start by saying, it is not normal to be worried ALL THE TIME. Sure we all get concerned about different things throughout the day- traffic, getting the kids to school on time, completing your to do list and what you're going to eat for lunch. But when these worrisome thoughts become a lifestyle, then you might have crossed into the anxiety zone.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Previously, I've broken down the different types of anxiety disorders, and I've also written about panic attacks and Social Anxiety. You can click the links to read about them. Today I'm focusing on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

So what's GAD? To put it simply, it's the presence of constant, daily, excessive worry over a period of 6 months or more. The worry becomes so much that it actually disrupts your lifestyle. Perhaps you worry so much that your friends begin to be concerned about you. Or you worry so much that your performance at work begins to slip. Or you're so worried that you become a lot less social. 

In some cases, you know that your worry is excessive, however you feel like you have no power over it. This could cause a dip in your self confidence and leave you feeling demoralized. Your mind races from one topic to the other and sometimes it affects your sleep. You lay in bed, but your mind refuses to shut off. You think about all the possible things that could go wrong tomorrow and you just can't get a grip on your mind. Your thoughts constantly shift from one thing to the next. Because you're worried all the time, you lose concentration, you're excessively tired, irritable, you might get headaches or other pains in your neck, shoulders or back. So it isn't just a mental game, it's also physical. 

You see, your mind and your body are deeply connected, and usually, when your mind is not at peace, it sends a signal to your body, which will then stop being at peace. So I always say "Listen to your body. Know what it's telling you." If you're experiencing tension in your muscles, it could be a warning sign that you're anxious.

If you think you might be struggling with GAD, the first step (as I always advice) is to go to your primary care physician to ensure that it isn't being caused by a physical health condition. Once he or she rules that out, then step two is to contact a mental health professional such as a counselor or a therapist. There are lots and lots of therapists throughout the Murrieta and Temecula area. 

I happen to really love working with individuals who are struggling with anxiety disorders. I'll ask you a series of questions to determine if indeed you are struggling with anxiety. Then we will begin to dig in to figure out what triggers your anxiety, what's maintaining it and how to gain better control over it. GAD and other anxiety disorders (don't be scared by that word) are totally treatable. If you're ready for some relief, you can call me at 951-905-3181 to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation so we can talk about how we can work together to get you some relief. You can also email me here.

So are you ready to get help?

Are you shy or do you have Social Anxiety Disorder?

When you go into a public place, do your stomach muscles tighten up? Do you just want to crawl into a ball or take off running as fast as you can? Do you make excuses when people ask you to go out? When you finally summon up the courage to step out, are you constantly worried that others will judge or embarrass you? Sometimes what you think is shyness is actually something called Social Anxiety Disorder. It’s an unbearable fear that happens when you interact with others in a public space. While some people might go out to unwind after a long day, you just want to go home and relax in front of the TV or cuddle up with a good book.

 Social Anxiety creates fear when you have to be in certain social situations where you could possibly be observed, noticed or scrutinized by others. Some of these situations could include eating out at a restaurant, going to a party, going on a date, speaking in front of a crowd or even just going to the grocery store.

 While these situations appear like normal everyday social situations to others, to you, they create a deep sense of fear, anxiety and worry. Before you are about to go to a restaurant, you practice walking through the door, you visualize all the people who will be staring at you and you even wonder if you'll have to escape from the emergency exit.

Usually when you are in social situations, you feel an increased sense of anxiety, you might have difficulty interacting with others because you believe they are judging you or scrutinizing your every move. You find it difficult to stay calm when you're with others, because you can't shut your mind off. The entire time, you might be thinking "Will they think I'm weird? Are they judging me? I know I'm going to embarrass myself. What id I fall? Will they laugh?" Although the situation might seem harmless to others, it fills you with such distress that you have to leave. Sometimes you get so nervous that you might embarrass yourself, that you’re not able to truly enjoy the company of others.

If this sounds like you, the good news is that Social Anxiety Disorder is treatable. All you need to do is contact a mental health professional who is experienced in treating Social Anxiety so that you can work on changing your thoughts, you can be slowly introduced to social situations and you can get your happy back. It doesn’t have to ruin your life.

You can work on it and be released from the constant anxiety you experience. If you are in the Murrieta area and you are in need of a counselor or therapist, contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation (951-905-3181) so that we can decide if you’re ready to begin the healing process.

Have you ever experienced social anxiety?

Fears About Therapy

Your life has been in turmoil for a while. Maybe you and your spouse have been yelling daily or you're getting increasingly frustrated with the kids. You know you are unhappy. You've struggled for months and you can't seem to reach out for the help that you need. You've looked up therapy or counseling online, but you haven't had the courage to actually call a therapist.

 Here are the reasons why some people hesitate to call a therapist:

 1) Therapy means I'm crazy: Well not really. No one ever said that counseling was for "Crazy people." Therapy actually works great for people who are coherent enough to understand what the therapist is saying and can actually follow through with some of the homework given. Therapy isn't for the "Crazy," just like going to the doctor isn't for the comatose. Therapy is helpful for people who are willing to look at a different perspective and try something new. When you're stuck in old patterns, it much the time to call someone to help you get unstuck.

 2) People are going to laugh if they know I'm in therapy: Your therapist will definitely not be telling people about you. It's the law. Actually, if I see you at the store, I will walk right by you- that is unless you address me first. Now it's not because I'm ashamed of you, it's because I'm protecting your confidentiality. I do not tell anyone about you, that is of course unless you sign a form giving me permission to do so. So if your friend walks into my office and asks about you, I'll be saying to him or her "I cannot confirm or deny that I know her."

 Please note that in some instances California law actually mandates that we make a report. These instances are child abuse, dependent adult abuse and elder abuse. We also have to report if you are a danger to yourself or others. Plus you don't have to tell anyone that you're in therapy. It's YOUR business and you reserve the right to keep it to yourself.

 3) A therapist can't help me: Well, you wouldn't know unless you tried. Unless you actually picked up the phone to talk to a therapist, you'll never know if there is hope. A therapist might be able to help you, but if you don't call, they'll definitely not be able to do anything for you.

 4) Therapy will bring up painful memories: Well sometimes therapy does bring up memories we thought we had long forgotten. That is very true. But not always. Sometimes we need to dig up the dirt in order to lay the foundation. For a plant to bloom, its seed has to be buried in the soil for a while. After some time spent in the darkness, it springs out of the soil and makes its way up to become a beautiful flower. If this is a concern for you, definitely address it with your therapist. Don't let this stop you from seeking help. When we ignore our pain, it'll affect us negatively.

 5) The therapist will judge me: Well, let me speak for myself. I've had so many people come in to see me for literally thousands of hours that I really have no desire to judge you. Judging you will actually stand in the way of me doing my job. When I'm sitting across from you, I listen, I highlight patterns of behavior, I look for strengths, and then I try to challenge you to come up with solutions. If I spent my time judging you, I'd be completely useless to you. I serve as your guide, not your critic.

 6) Therapy is too expensive: Many people don't see therapy as an investment in themselves, rather, they see it as a luxury. Sometimes you might have to forgo other things in order to save up for therapy. If you spend time getting your nails and hair done regularly, you might be able to afford therapy. But think about it this way- just like you invest in a home to make memories forever, or a vacation to spend amazing family time, your mental health is super important and might take some sacrifices on your part so that you can shed the unhealthy, anxious parts of you. Would you rather spend money to heal old wounds or scrimp and continue to carry the baggage around?

And if saving and sacrificing is completely out of the picture for you, then contact your health insurance company to see if you could find a therapist who will take your insurance. Please note that when your therapist bills your insurance, your insurance company will have some of your information and your therapist will also be giving you a mental health diagnosis. So your information doesn't just stay between you and your therapist- it'll be shared with a third party. 

Are there any other fears you've had that have stopped you from seeking counseling? 

If you are searching for a therapist or counselor in Murrieta or somewhere nearby, and you'd like a free 15 minute phone consultation, call me on 951-905-3181. It's time to stop the anxiety and finally find your calm.

How do you know when you're drowning in overwhelm?

So often I hear people say, "I'm overwhelmed." In the moment it might feel like a quick avalanche that just sneaked up on you. But in reality, overwhelm is more like slow moving lava. It inches closer and closer and closer until you are knee deep in hot, fiery flames and you have nowhere to run. You get stuck and you have no clue how this happened.

 To avoid the hot trap, it's important to realize the warning signs that point to the fact that you are indeed overwhelmed. Take a closer look at your life. How does your appearance change when it starts to creep in? Maybe you stop wearing lipstick or mascara. Maybe you start to pull your hair in a bun instead of combing it out.

How does overwhelm creep in at work? Does your desk get messy? Do you stop socializing with coworkers? Do you yawn more or do you slack off? Or maybe you cram in every single task possible without taking lunch breaks.

How does overwhelm show up in your relationships? Do you pick fights with your partner or do you isolate yourself? Are you snapping at your kids for pouring milk on the floor or chewing too loudly?

 Are your relationships changing? Are you isolating yourself? Are you yelling more or are you becoming more cranky? Do you not feel like going to dinners? Ask your spouse or partner what he notices when things are getting difficult for you.

It's important to notice how overwhelm sneaks in-the gentle warning signs. Once you notice your hair going up in a bun, its time to start letting go of the things that might lead you to overwhelm. Take a break, do some yoga, talk to a friend- or a therapist. Pause so you can take a detour before the lava sucks you in. If you don't slow down, the lava it will sneakily creep its way into your life until you're burned into ashes. 

How will you stop overwhelm in its tracks today? To schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with me, call 951-905-3181. During this consultation, we will talk about what's going on with you, what my therapy style is and how I may be able to help you find your calm and avoid the lava.

Can a therapist help you?

You've felt lost and confused for years. Even though you put on a brave face for the people around you, your life feels miserable. You've lost your voice snd you're not sure how to find it again. You pour all the energy you have into your family, but at the end of the night, you feel like you're left with nothing.

 This is where therapy comes in. The first step is to find a therapist you trust. Finding a therapist is very much like learning to ride a bike. You fall a few times until you finally get it right. Don't be afraid to ask the therapist a million questions. "Do you take my insurance?" "How many years have you practiced for?" "What's your specialty?" "Tell me how you work." "What's your cancellation policy?""Can you help me with my goal?" "How long will our sessions be?"

 A therapist will help you sort through your thoughts and feelings and get you to your goal. I always encourage people to have a specific goal when they start therapy. This goal will ensure that both you and the therapist are clear on what exactly you're trying to accomplish. That way you can decide if you are on the right track and you can measure your progress.

Therapy can be uncomfortable as you might end up remembering painful memories or uncomfortable feelings, however a flower cannot grow without being buried in dirt. Sometimes it takes some discomfort to get you to your desired place. Also realize that during your first few sessions, you're only trying to see if you're a good fit with this therapist. Don't be afraid to let the therapist know if something isn't working for you-openness leads to great results. Also don't feel bad if you don't click with the therapist. Keep searching until you find your person. 

 So could therapy be right for you? Call today at 951-905-3181 or email me for a complimentary phone consultation and let's talk about achieving your goals. In this free 15 minute phone call, we will talk about what issues are bothering you, when they started, and you can also ask me whatever questions you need to know me better. It's your time to interview me as see if I'm a good fit for you.