help for women with anxiety Murrieta

Do you need a parenting class?

Being a parent is hard-but I bet I don't have to tell you that. Kids are so cute and cuddly, but after a while they begin to drive you nuts. They never seem to listen to what you have to say, they throw tantrums all the time, they sometimes don't want to follow a convenient schedule and sometimes, all you want to do is scream at them.

There is a myth out there that mothers are supposed to intuitively know how to take care of their kids. When the baby cries, you're supposed to know why she's crying and you're supposed to be able to fix it immediately. And when you're in public and she throws herself on the floor in the middle of the Murrieta Target? Well everyone immediately stares at you like you're a horrible person. The feeling of shame suddenly overwhelms you and you either leave the store quickly or give her the candy she's begging for. You begin to judge yourself and wonder if you're cut out for this parenting gig.

And as she gets older, she'll start talking back and it sure won't be pretty. You wonder what you'll do then. In your heart, you just want to raise a child who has structure, who is self disciplined and who listens to you from time to time. You know your daughter isn't perfect, but you want her to not give you headaches. You don't want to be screaming at her or spanking her like your mom or grandma did. You dream of going with her to the nail salon and having girl time when she's all grown up. But the problem is you don't know how to get from point A to point B- from strong willed toddler to happy teenager.

Some people think that parenting classes or parent support groups are only for moms with CPS cases. Or that these groups are for moms who use substances or who abuse their children. Well this is quite false. A parenting class is simply an avenue where parents (yes, dads too) or caregivers (and grandmas are welcome as well) go to learn more about their goals for their kids, their family values, how to instill self discipline in their kids and how to help children to be assertive, while still knowing how to follow rules. It's not a group for mom shaming or a group where you learn that you're bad. Actually, in my group, my goal is to help you understand your child so well that at the end of the class you'll be pretty confident as a parent.

So if you're a parent who loves your child, wants her to accomplish great success in the future, wants her to learn empathy, wants her to learn independence, wants her to learn how to share and play well with others, and wants to know how to strengthen your parent-child bond, then a parenting class is just for you.

Let's face it- there is no such thing as a parent who knows it all, so why not spend some time learning about the developmental needs of your child and how to strengthen your relationship with her so that she wouldn't have to throw herself on the floor of Target in order to communicate her needs with you.

If you're interested in enrolling in my 8 week Toddlers to Tweens class, you can call me on 951-905-3181 or you can email me here. We'll talk about if the class is a great fit for you, what goals you're looking to accomplish and how you can become a much more confident parent. Remember, parenting is hard, but it doesn't have to be totally painful. With some new tools in hand, you can learn how to make your journey a lot smoother. Call today-don't be shy.

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?

Faith and anxiety

You go to church every single week. You pray every day and you have a strong faith that God can take away whatever pain you've been carrying. You consider yourself to be a good Christian. But you ask yourself, "If I'm a good Christian, why do I still have anxiety? Why does worry seem to follow me wherever I go?"

Well, as a Christian therapist, I understand that sometimes although we are following God and doing all the right things to feed our souls, anxiety still creeps in. We still worry about our future, we worry about our friends, we worry about our families and we worry about ourselves. We wonder if our prayers will get answered, if our sickness will be healed, if our kids will grow up right and if our spouses will stay forever faithful. You might still have old wounds from the way you were raised or you might have hurts from things that have happened to you in the past. No one ever said that a Christian will not have worries-you definitely will.

As a therapist in Murrieta who understands this, I give my Christian clients the space to include prayer and scriptures into the work that we do. I understand that faith cannot be separated from the heart of a Christian. I also understand that Christians are also humans who have real hurts and real troubles. Counseling and faith can work hand in hand. God can use counseling to heal past hurts while you continue to pray. We can work together to help you to use your faith as a balm to soothe your anxiety.

So can a Christian go to therapy? Absolutely. Look at it this way- if your arm was broken, would you still go to a doctor to get it fixed? Yup. But would you also pray after the doctor has treated your arm? Absolutely. I believe God can use counselors and therapists to heal broken hearts, the same way he can use doctors to heal broken bodies. 

When last have you used your faith to soothe your anxiety? If you'd like to reach out to me for a free 15 minute phone consultation so we can talk about how we can merge faith and counseling together in order to reduce the worrisome thoughts in your head, click here to email me or call me at 951-905-3181. You don't have to put your Christian faith aside when you go to therapy or counseling.

What is anxiety?

You've felt funny for a while but you have no idea who to talk to or what to call it. Sometimes you feel odd butterflies in your stomach and other times you sweat. Maybe you get the odd feeling before stepping in front of a crowd, or just before you go outside in the morning. Your thoughts are constantly racing and you don't know how to slow them down.

You try to shake it off, but the feeling seems to be spreading from your mind to your body too. Your neck and back are always tight, you find it hard to sleep at night and you feel like you can't talk to anyone about it, because they'll think you're being dramatic. Sometimes it feels like the world is closing in on you.

Your feeling might just be anxiety. Anxiety is the thoughts and feelings of unease that sweep through a person's mind or body. Sometimes you might get anxious because there's an important event coming up, and other times you don't have any clue why you feel this way. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, which I'll talk about in another blog post coming up soon.

But the most common anxiety disorder I see in my practice is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This means the person isn't necessarily worrying about something specific, but there are many worries about many different things swimming through your mind all day long. For example, you could be worried about your weight, your kids' grades, your marriage, your long to do list as well as your career. Even when things seem to be going well on the home front, you might have this impending feeling of doom like something bad is about to happen.

So how do we treat anxiety?

Well there are many different ways. Some people choose to see a psychiatrist and get on anti anxiety medication. Others find more holistic treatments such as yoga, exercise, meditation and prayer. And still others choose to speak to a counselor or therapist and learn different ways to train their minds on how to not be so focused on situations, but think more realistically. Different therapists work from different approaches. Some focus on thought patterns, others focus on the emotional component, still some use approaches such as mindfulness among others.

Some people choose to use a hybrid method such as by taking meds and going to yoga. Or through prayer and therapy.

It really doesn't matter which route you take, or if you use a combination of treatments, all that matters is that you seek help if you feel that your anxiety is not under control. As I am not a doctor, I cannot prescribe medications. I also am not a yoga instructor or a certified physical trainer, so I cannot advise you on exercise or diet.

My approach to treating anxiety

My approach as a therapist, is to use a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Simply put, CBT looks at how to reduce anxiety by focusing on irrational thoughts. We work on shifting those thoughts, which will in turn shift your feelings and then your behavior. We know that your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all linked. If you change one, you''ll change the other two.

DBT works mainly on helping you focus on the present. So instead of thinking about what you're going to do when you get back home, all the tasks on your to do list, how you're going to fix your marriage, how your life is falling apart, you'll learn how to focus on one thing at a time-living moment by moment.

So there you have it. If you've ever experienced anxiety, what helps you reduce it?

And if you're in the Murrieta area or you live anywhere in California, and you're tired of battling anxiety and worry all on your own, give me a call at 951-905-3181. I'll give you a free 15 minute consultation in which we'll talk about your worries and ways in which I might be able to help you find your calm. I believe that before you schedule an appointment with a therapist or counselor, you should have the opportunity to talk to him or her first.