Get Better Today

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That’s me in a session, at my old office.

A little background: At this point, I’ve been specializing in clearing trauma for over a decade. I studied psychology for my entire 7-year college education. Point is: I’ve been at this awhile and am trained in making people well; but, I’m also trained in making people well, whole, happy, and doing it FAST!

I’m a Certified Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Treatment (RRT), which means that I have the ability to brush up my skills every few weeks, am always learning new techniques, and twice a year I attend an intensive training to get even more polished. RRT allows me to have a client talk about horribly painful events with no tears, no retraumatization, and be talking, laughing, and healing all the while. In a single visit, you feel better. Not just a little better like “oh, now that I talked about it, I kinda feel better”; that’s crap. Better like “I feel like all my problems are solvable and I can go live my happy life.” That’s the goal, and it’s easy – and it’s fun!

0Tissues1 (1)Let me get on an ego trip for a second and tell you that seeing a client’s problems resolved in a session or two is good for me. What used to take 6-9 months of weekly visits, or pouring through pain, of talking about it until it doesn’t hurt anymore, is done in about 5 hours, about 3 visits. Sometimes even less. And that’s just the trauma part. RRT is great for grief over a death or ended relationship, for anxiety and panic attack, depression, weight loss, changing bad habits, addiction, motivation, self-esteem, and nearly anything you come in with. And if it’s that good for me, imagine how good that is for you! You come less often, feel better faster, and we bankrupt the tissue industry that traditional therapy has been supporting.

0Koolaid man Oh yeahI hear you thinking, “oh, but surely you’re blowing this out of proportion. People don’t get ‘cured’ by this, do they? They don’t stay well?” Oh, yeah, Kool Aid!Lasting results from a visit or two. People are getting better through RRT and staying well. They’re coming back and saying “you know, I have this friend…” and referring people they love. That’s my hope for the future, that everyone will feel good, be well, and if they know someone who needs to get better, they’ll say “you know what worked for me? It’s good. Come get some!” And we’ll all be talking and laughing together. Isn’t that the whole point of this crazy life, anyhow?

For further proof, check out a testimonial of mine that was featured at Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Depression: Common NOT Normal

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Q. What causes clinical depression?
A. Chemical imbalance.

Surprised by the simplicity of the answer? Were you expecting a list of things like: death of a loved one, change of circumstances, lack of resources, inability to participate in previously enjoyable activities, illness, and so forth? Certainly, a feeling of sadness or (more severely) depression could be common after any of those items, but would it be necessary? No. You could be ill but not sad. You could even have terminal illness and not be sad. Perhaps it changes your entire outlook on living and you relish each hour, doing new and profoundly significant things you’d never attempted before. The perception that sadness and depression, are caused by these events are just plain wrong. Is it common for people to feel sad in the face of that stuff? Yes. But is is normal? No. Depression is not normal, especially clinical depression, or diagnosable depression. However, according to the Mental Health Association, 43% of people think depression is normal. They’re wrong. Let’s educate those 43% to the truth.

If you get nothing else out of this, understand that: While a clinical-grade depression after a precipitating event can be considered common, it is not ever considered normal.

Okay, so now everyone who’s depressed is abnormal? No, of course not. But the depression itself, as a severe reaction (severe enough to be considered diagnosable, to be more than “sad”), is abnormal, yes.

Depression is caused by chemical imbalance. When a person reacts to stressors, there is an increase in cortical fluid. This increase effects the entire body. It can cause an increase in cholesterol, an increase in heart rate and respiration, an increase in blood pressure, a thickening of the blood, and so forth in persons with medical conditions or medical predispositions. This is your perfectly normal person, now with possibly blood pressure and cholesterol issues, and a general crummy feeling from the cortisone, just because of stress. This is why managing daily stress is important. The brain is a part of the body and as such needs to be treated appropriately and medically at times.

What happens in the body of a person with medical conditions?

  • A person who has a heart attack and is given a good prognosis and sent home will be 3-4% more likely to die in 6 months if they also have clinical depression.
  • A person who has a stroke can have personality changes if they also have depression at the time of the stroke.
  • A stroke victim who also has depression generally takes 10 extra months in rehabilitation (closer to a year, than the non-depressed person who takes an average of 2 months to rehabilitate).
  • Some medications, like cancer medications can cause the kind of cortical imbalance that leads to depression. Extra caution must be taken with these patients.
  • Similarly, diabetes causes changes in the body that can cause clinical depression, and vice versa. Depressed people are more likely to develop the lifelong diagnosis of diabetes, and all the lifestyle changes that come with it.
  • Dementia may be over-diagnosed in the elderly because there is a such thing as delusional depression, and it may be under-diagnosed as a result of dementia diagnoses.
  • People with Parkinson’s Disorder are more likely to have increased problems with movement and decreased concentration or ability to make decisions if they also have clinical depression.
  • People with clinical depression are more likely to have comorbid back ache and gastrointestinal problems, which may or may not be psychosomatic.
  • Fibromyalgia shares the same symptoms and treatments as clinical depression.

Q. Okay, so what can I do with this information?
A. Manage your daily stress in ways that keep your cortical levels…level.

  • Exercise daily; even a 10-minute walk helps.
  • Do something fun; again, 10 minutes of a puzzle book or reading or talking to a friend on the phone or petting an animal.
  • Eat well with lots of fresh foods like veggies and fruits and limit the junky stuff.
  • Sleep properly on a steady routine.
  • Work toward goals; even little stuff like learning something new or finishing up a project. Looking forward has tremendous effects whereas looking behind you generally is detrimental.
  • Connect with something beyond yourself, whether that’s spirituality, religion, or community involvement through volunteer work.
  • Seek help. If you need help getting/staying on track, I can do that. If you need help reaching out, I’m happy to do that with you, hooking you up with volunteer organizations, and so forth. If you want to correct any sadness that you’re having, we can get that done, too; quickly and painlessly!
  • If you see someone who seems to have some sadness or depressive symptoms, refer them for help and a good daily regiment to keep their cortical levels in tact. You may just be saving a life.

Which of these tips did you find most practical for you life?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

SPD in Adults

Am I Normal?I was never diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) as a child. Although Sensory Integration Dysfunction (it’s predecessor) was coined in 1972, I didn’t learn about it until 2013, while having dinner with two colleagues who work with children. Upon hearing about the symptoms, I identified with many of them, asked my colleagues many questions, and took a quiz to self-diagnose. Fascinating stuff. It explained many things about my childhood and adult life.

You can watch a video on what SPD is by clicking HERE.

Of the 4 types of SPD, I show symptoms of only one. Others may have symptoms from another cluster, or many, or all of the clusters. The 4 subsets are: Sensory modulation disorder, Sensory discrimination disorder, Postural ocular disorder, and Dyspraxia.

Sensory modulation disorder: I have the kind that causes an over-reaction (as opposed to an under-reaction) to stimuli. I hated having my hair brushed as a child, but am happy to brush my own hair. It would have been best to have taught me to take control of that behavior as soon as possible as I can control the pressure. I am sensitive to textures and only wear certain kinds of fabric (linen, cotton, rayon, silk), and am bothered by tags or seams inside my clothes. I am sensitive to light and sound: I experience loud sounds as pain and cannot tolerate bright lights. As an adult, of course, I brush my own hair, buy my own clothes, and can generally adjust the lighting and sounds in my home. However, I cannot control the volume of the outside world and do avoid certain situations (hockey playoffs, concerts). I can excuse myself from certain situations, like when the sound quality is poor on a training video, but not others, like being in a florescent-lit room in the workplace. I have learned to tolerate these experiences, probably by being repeatedly exposed to them throughout my life, and understanding that I need to make concessions to live in the world with others.

SPD is often linked to certain populations and disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), premature babies (throughout their lives, not just during infancy), schizophrenia (perhaps as a constant annoyance that is intolerable, perhaps as a dysfunction of the vestibular system which may be linked to temporal disturbance), and anxiety (correlated to the vestibular system making the person hyper-alert). But think, also, of how other disorders may be impacted, such as PTSD or depression. Or what is it like for a toddler who is diagnosed with ASD, who is constantly lacking control of the temperature of their bathwater and unable to communicate that desire? Could it be that the toddler is having a tantrum at bath time each day because that is their only way of communicating the desire to change the water temperature and they are misdiagnosed?

SPD needs to be taught in the broader learning environment. In graduate school, we should be talking about SPD as a differential diagnosis, potentially ruling out certain clusters of symptoms. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and occupational therapists need to be working together to teach children, and adults, to tolerate and work around the symptoms of SPD to have the most functional life possible.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

 

Being Calm in Depression or Anxiety

DandelionI’ve been going through a depressive episode for some months now. I’m taking antidepressants because it feels chemical, like PMS, as symptoms come on in waves. I’ve been steadily seeing my doctor and we have upped my dosage once, about a month ago. It feels relatively stable, or it did, until the election, which put me into somewhat of a tailspin.

This morning, I was watching Netflix, and began to feel as if I could not get enough breath. I knew, logically, that I was breathing and was fine. But the underlying feeling of despondency was giving me that physical feeling. It felt different than anxiety (and I’ve had just 2 panic attacks in my life time), but had similar features.

Ever the scientific-minded me, I said, “What would you tell a client who came in with this item?” Continue reading “Being Calm in Depression or Anxiety”

Entrepreneurs face Anxiety, Fear

0plateIn September, 2013, Inc. Magazine‘s Jessica Bruder discusses the issues that entrepreneurs face with regard to mental illness. They often suffer from depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or bipolar disorder. Entrepreneurs are often swept up in new ideas and bouts of creativity that are actually mania or can mirror the symptoms of mania or hypomania. When followed by doubt in their business or product, failure to see growth, failure to make certain incomes, or not achieving certain markers of success, there can be depressive feelings. If these phases cycle, it can mimic bipolar disorder, or be an expression of bipolar disorder. Anxiety is often found in the entrepreneur as he/she worries about product launch, deadlines, and if the business is “good enough” to be a hit. The tendency to jump form one part of the project to the next is often a marker for ADHD and adults with ADHD will gravitate toward work that allows them to function in time with their brain chemistry. Continue reading “Entrepreneurs face Anxiety, Fear”

The Chiropractic Model of Therapy

0brainTherapy is best served in a model like that of chiropractors.

Imagine you’ve strained your neck.

  1. When you are in acute physical pain, you come in for several sessions close together until relief is gained, usually over a week or two. Let’s say this is 3 times the first week and 2 times the second week.
  2. Now that your pain is moderate, but no longer limiting your range of movement, you come once a week for a few weeks until the pain is minimal. Let’s say this is 3 sessions over 3 weeks.
  3. Once that neck pain is minimal, but still present, you come less often until it is gone. Maybe this is a visit every 2 weeks twice and then every 3 weeks once.
  4. Once the pain is gone, the injury may still be present in the form of swelling or a ligament out of place or some misalignment in the vertebrae, so you come once a month twice and then every 3 months twice to finish the adjustment.
  5. The body is adjusted, and you follow up every 6-12 months just to check that all is well, provided nothing new is hurting the neck. Of course, if you have a new injury, you begin again on that area of the body.

Continue reading “The Chiropractic Model of Therapy”

Speak about your Depression, part 2

0haI told you last week, that I’ve been in a funk. As a mental health counselor, it’s my responsibility to be a good example, to shake off any stigma, and do what needs to be done to get well. That is why I’m sharing this with you, despite being fairly private about my personal life to clients.

These are the things I’m doing Continue reading “Speak about your Depression, part 2”

Speak about your Depression, part 1

0muggleClinical depression is categorized in a number of ways and the ways it effects you may be different from the ways it effects others. There may be no preceding event and no “good reason” for feeling so sad, but you may feel the weight of sadness just the same. It can come on in waves, or suddenly, or gradually – and all of that is perfectly normal.

Our bodies are a delicate balance of chemicals and our brains are connected to our bodies in all of these same ways, so becoming out of balance is not as difficult as we might like to think it is. Continue reading “Speak about your Depression, part 1”