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?” Here’s my answer, and what worked to walk me through it:

  • Sensations in the body are completely normal.
  • Noticing them is completely normal.
  • The mind is working perfectly when it brings to awareness that which is potentially dangerous. That sensation seemed potentially dangerous.
  • The body is not meant to live in a state of crisis. That sensation is not dangerous. Responding to it is making you freak out. Let’s kill the response to get body out of crisis mode.
  • Right now, I am aware of a sensation in my body right now. So what?
  • Right now, I am aware of a feeling in my lungs…heart…chest…right now. So what?

Despite that the sensation exists, even at this moment, I am not longer responding to it. I am no longer freaking out. I am breathing. I am fine. I am chill. Back to Netflix.

To learn this process and self-calm during anxiety or depression, call for an apopintment at 954-612-9553.

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 TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

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.

lionInc. Magazine‘s article uses the metaphor of a man riding a lion. Everyone looks at the man and says, “Wow, he’s so brave,” while the man is thinking “How did I get on this lion and how do I keep it from eating me?”

I can speak to many of these feelings as I’m the owner of one business, the co-owner of another business, and a published author. As someone with my hands in many pots, I understand the struggle to want to see a project to fruition while at the same time spinning all the plates on broom handles and letting none of them fall, giving proper care to each one. This is no easy task on the best of days, and some days are not the best.

To be a successful entrepreneur:

  1. Balance your life. Find time for everything. I know, I know, but there’s so much to do already! Do it anyway. Work, play, relax, exercise, eat well, drink only in moderation, feed the business monster all that it needs, and spend time with friends.
  2. Be honest. Tell your friends and family what is going on with your business. Tell them where you are struggling. Ask for support and for help when needed. Maybe one of your friends is fantastic with spreadsheets and would be willing to spend 30 minutes getting part of your project organized for you so you can be freed up for innovation. Maybe hiring a temp for a day would get your marketing caught up so fliers can go out on time. If people don’t know where you are with things, they can’t be there for you in the ways you need and may see your struggles as less than (or more than) you feel them to be.
  3. Set goals. Studies have shown that people who have realistic goals and are marking progress toward them are the happiest people. Set a long term goal and break that down into many short term goals with due dates or markers. Break those down even further so you know what needs to be done this month, this week, and today to get those goals met. Cross them off; mark your progress. Even if a deadline slips because life gets in the way, you know exactly where you are and nothing is “ruined”, just delayed. With this kind of organization, sometimes you can anticipate delays and make up time.
  4. Seek help. If you have a chemical imbalance or feel that the amount of anxiety or depression you are facing is due to an insurmountable stressor, ask for help. There are many good therapists and psychiatrists out there who can get you back on track.

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 Twitter and Facebook.

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.

Imagine you’ve experienced a trauma, been depressed, had anxiety, or someone close to you had died. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health!

  1. When you are in acute psychological 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. Sessions can also be longer instead of more frequent, or both.
  2. Now that your pain is moderate, but no longer limiting your daily functioning, you come once a week for a few weeks until the pain is minimal. Let’s say this is 3 sessions over 3 weeks. Again, session length is flexible to accommodate your specific needs.
  3. Once that internal 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 you feel you are coping well, there may be some additional items that come up as you work through the one you came in for, so you come once a month twice and then every 3 months twice to get you back to optimal mental health.
  5. The mind is well, and you follow up every 6-12 months just to check that all is going the way you want it to, provided nothing new has happened that is upsetting. Of course, if you have a new circumstance, you begin again on that area of treatment, targeting the therapy to only what is necessary.

Proper follow up and routine mental health care could eliminate certain problems from becoming large or provide additional tools to get through stressful times as preventative care.

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 TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

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, and also the things I suggest to you:

  • Change your music. Your brain needs the math in the patterns of music. It doesn’t matter from what to what, just something you like, but change up the patterns. If you’re not listening to any music (I was listening to comedy radio and podcasts instead of music), get listening.
  • Monitor your symptoms. What is different? How different is it? Are you working, sleeping, socializing less/more? Make efforts to get back to the routine that is healthiest for you. For me, one of those changes meant no naps on weekdays.
  • Consider your diet as a contributing factor.
  • Get more exercise and sunshine. Take a walk in the park, get in the pool, anything.
  • Shrug it off. Know that this is temporary and laugh with yourself at the “dumb” things that make you cry.
  • Forgive yourself for being unable to get everything done. This is hard for me because I’m an entrepreneur and do so much each day. One of my friends said “your depressed amount of work looks my normal amount of work because you’re so high functioning.” Say “I got some stuff done today and I release what needs to get done to tomorrow.”
  • Reach out and be honest. Tell the people who care about you that you’re going through something. I don’t mean to be dramatic and blab to Facebook that you’re in the dumps, but say you’re sad lately and you’d appreciate…whatever you need – more phone calls, less phone calls, plans for this weekend, your friend’s special banana bread – whatever it really is that you need, if you can figure it out. If you can’t figure it out, say that. Tell them “just check in on me” without making it an obligation.
  • Do something creative at least weekly. It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it or if you ever show anyone. Model clay or Play Doh, draw, dance, anything.
  • Get help. Seek therapy sooner than later. Know that you may need to try a few therapists on for a good fit and that’s fine.
  • See your doctor to check that your body is in alignment and your hormone levels are correct.
  • Consider antidepressants. There’s no shame in fixing a medical condition with medication.

Break the stigma.

What’s working for you?

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 TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

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.

I’ve been going through what I’m calling “a funk” for a few weeks. It doesn’t effect my life in any way that others can see. In fact, when I’ve shared this with close friends, even those who see me weekly and talk to me more often, they were surprised to hear it, though I never lied or covered up my feelings. They’re just not aware that I was sleeping so much, or feeling unexcited even though I have exciting things coming up in my life.

I’m normally very private, but I feel this needs to be said, so I’m sharing. Please reach out and share if you’re going through things.

Things that made me cry recently:

  • I watched a video of a couple of vloggers I follow on YouTube, Simon & Martina. They had moved from South Korea to Japan and their cat and dog were in quarantine with friends for a few months due to Japan’s strict laws. They were picking up their pets and were so excited and emotional. And then, again, when Simon got licked by bunnies.
  • I was watching House of Cards with my husband and (no spoilers) I mentioned that a certain character would not like what was happening, when my husband reminded me that that character was dead.
  • My cat was having a nap with me and as he got up to leave, he refused to press his forehead against mine when I asked him to “give love.”
  • I was watching a TED Talk by a woman who overcame childhood sexual trauma and is now an advocate for children.
  • Anticipated calling dormant clients to offer new groups and the fact that they may not be interested.
  • Learning that Prince died and conspiracy-theory suspecting that George R.R. Martin must have a hand in scripting 2016.
  • Preparing items for posting on social media, looked at photos of recently adopted children holding signs about how long they’d been in foster care reminded me of all the kids still in foster care.
  • That gum commercial with the proposal and the one with the cranes.
  • Also, the photo in this blog.

So what am I doing about it? I’ll talk about that in next week’s blog.

For now, if you are experiencing depression – or any mental health issues – be honest with people around you and say something. Your story may just help someone else, and yourself.

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 TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.