Do We Really Need Friends?

By Raymond Navarro MS LMHC 8/15/2021

What is a friend anyway? As a therapist I am constantly telling my clients how important it is to have friends and the positive effects of spending time with them. I tell them how everyone needs a strong support system and that we all need people we can confide in. Friends are someone we can trust, someone that has our best interests at heart, someone that wants us to be happy and progress in life. But what if we’re wrong? What if we choose the wrong people to be our friends? What if someone tells them lies about us? Will they believe us? Do they know that we would never hurt them? Unfortunately, when we bring people in, when we show them our deepest secrets and our worst fears, they sometimes use them against us.

As a child I went to 11 different schools. Whether it’s because we were moving around all the time, because we couldn’t afford the rent, or me doing something stupid and getting kicked out of my school, it seems that I was continuously being thrown into a group of strangers and being forced to create new relationships. As kids we tend to have way less knowledge and experience as our adult counterparts but we still have the same urge to connect, in many cases that urge is even stronger as a child because we have yet to truly feel the pain of being betrayed by a friend. We haven’t learned to be numb yet.

There is one thing that every friend good or bad gives us every time. A lesson. When I was a kid I learned betrayal, I learned the power of envy, I learned that there were levels of trust, and I learned that friends required constant work.  When you’re in elementary school friends betray you by saying small lies or making fun of you when you’re not looking. Some will even “rat” on you to the bullies just to keep themselves from being bullied. In middle school it becomes more about hormones and trying to impress someone from the opposite sex. In high school it starts to become more diabolical.  It can still be about the opposite sex but now there’s rage, hatred, and physical violence. As an adult we leave the confines of a school building and enter the open world of real life, that’s when the gloves come off but that’s also when you get good at selecting the few that GET to be a part of your life.

By the time I reached High school I had already been bullied for years. I was well versed in the dangers of talking to the wrong people. The problem is that to escape one evil I accidently threw myself into another. The gang life is not for everyone but it is an attractive option for a young man looking for safety. My freshman year of High school I was forced to move across the country and restart my life, the reason why is a story in itself. Moving wasn’t new to me but I had no idea the culture shock I was about to walk into.  The move from Miami Florida to Portland Oregon might as well have been from here to the moon.

One of the first people I met in Portland was a kid named Jeremy. I didn’t know it at the time but under that disguise of a person lay a monster at rest. Jeremy introduced me to his friends. He told me his secrets, he introduced me to girls, and he took me to parties. I was instantly happy but more importantly I was safe. Or so I thought. Jeremy also taught me how to rob, he taught me how to break into homes, hotwire cars, and take what I wanted, regardless of the circumstances. I developed a “us against the world” philosophy. He taught me how to be tough. I thought our loyalty was unbreakable. For the most part our loyalty was never challenged, at least in the face of authority. It wasn’t until his own safety was challenged that Jeremy turned on me like I was nothing. One night we messed with the wrong people and I was accused of taking from them. They found me, they held me against my will and they beat me. The bruises are gone and I can barely remember the event itself but the one thing I remember clearly is when they brought Jeremy in the room. I remember clearly as the lies about me just spewed out of his face. I remember clearly how he sat there and watched them hurt me. I also remember the strength that he gave me and how angry I was at him for his part. I never admitted to the accusations. Till this day I believe the only reason I am alive is because no matter what they did, I denied any part. It was Jeremy that gave me that strength and it was Jeremy that taught me loyalty has a limit and that most people will put themselves first, always. I also learned that I didn’t want to be like Jeremy, that I would never put my needs ahead of the ones I care about.

I ended up having to leave Portland out of concerns for my life. Coming back to Miami I felt as if Portland had converted me into a modern day gangster. I was angry, I knew how to fight, and I wasn’t scared of anyone. The next few years I spent on a rampage. I went from bad group of friends to even worse group of friends, but eventually I started hanging out with “nicer” people. I started realizing that I didn’t want to hurt people anymore. And that my own anger was fueled by the same people I thought were my friends. This is about the time that Jose entered my life.

Jose was the nicest person I knew at the time. I remember looking at him sometimes and just thinking “is this guy full of shit”. His kindness and desire to do the right thing when he didn’t have to was mindboggling to me. I wanted to be like Jose. He was kind, he was loved, and he was a good friend. I would stay at his house whenever I couldn’t go home (which was a lot). His mom treated me like I was family and was always asking me how I was and what my plans were. I liked being at his house, more than I liked being at my own, if I’m being honest. Jose was the type of guy that not only kept me out of trouble but helped me realize why I didn’t want to get in trouble in the first place.

Our friendship went on for nearly a decade. I brought him home and introduced to my father which in turn gave him the career he has to this day. We let him work in our office and showed him everything we knew about the business. I had never done anything like that before, and I haven’t done it since. Then he got a girlfriend.

Little by little we started seeing less and less of Jose. I figured this was normal but how could a girl ever get between us? I wasn’t worried about it at all. Then one day I got a phone call from a guy telling me how Jose’s girl had been talking about my girl at the time. Again I knew I would have to handle this delicately, but nothing could come between us. I went to Jose’s house later that day and I informed him about what I had heard and explained to him that I wasn’t mad but could he ask her to stop spreading rumors or at least ask her about it. He agreed. After all she called my girl a coke head and a lesbian, which was news to me (I think they were lies but who knows and who cares at this point). Thinking everything was cleared up we hung out for the rest of the day and then I went home. It wasn’t until weeks later of not answering my calls that I realized that for the first time in my life I had been ghosted. For the decade that came after that I questioned my own actions and I even thought that he, this kind and loving man, had decided that I wasn’t good enough to be his friend. I later found out that his girl, future wife, had told him that he could no longer be my friend. It broke my heart but Jose taught me a few valuable lessons. He taught me that some people will avoid conflict at all costs, even at the price of losing a friend. He taught me that to have good friends you needed to be one yourself. He taught me relationships are complicated and that it’s not that hard for outside forces to influence your friend’s perspective.  Finally, Jose taught me that I didn’t want my friendships to be influenced by my relationships. I decided that whoever I make my partner in life, she would want me to have friends, because good friends make life better, and she would want me to be happy.

I’ve had so many experiences with “friends” that hurt me or made me feel some sort of way but the last one I want to talk about is my friend Pickle (yes that’s his nickname, no he doesn’t look like a pickle).  Pickle was my “ride or die” friend. This guy was down for anything. Nicest guy, always trying to be tougher than he was, and I loved him for it. He wasn’t concerned with getting hurt and he called me brother. If anyone messed with me they were going to have a hard life. Pickle was relentless and would do anything for his friends. Pickle was the second person to ghost me. I was supposed to get married about a month later. I wanted pickle to walk my wedding. It was important to me that he be a part of my life moving forward but he was gone. Heading up to my wedding I called him multiple times a day and reached out to all of our mutual friends to see if I could find him but nothing. It’s as if he fell off the face of the earth.  My wedding came and went and nothing. I had a child, years later I had another child, and still nothing.

After a decade I had convinced myself that it must be me. I had already lost one friend because I wasn’t good enough, didn’t it make sense that I would lose pickle because I’m a bad person too? I thought I had learned to be a better friend. I reminisced for years wondering if I had done something to hurt him but I couldn’t think of anything. I ended up giving up on the idea that we would ever talk again.

I’m not even sure how it happened, I think it was a Facebook message but I could be wrong, but we started talking again. Ten years! It felt as if not a day had passed, but there was always that elephant in the room. He told me that he had to cut me off because his dad was sick and dying. He said he didn’t know how to handle it and I called him an idiot and told him that’s what friends are for. It wasn’t till I got divorced years later that he told me about some things my wife had said about him before I married her. He went on to say that she had made him look like a fool and that he didn’t want to be the reason my soon to be marriage would end. We spoke at length that day cracking jokes about how he could’ve saved me wasted time. While I was devastated and still think it was a dumb reason, I forgave him and we’re still friends to this day. In fact, I spoke to him this morning.

That experience with pickle taught me the importance of patience. He taught me that there is always a bigger picture, that things aren’t always so simple. More importantly he taught me to never give up on good friendships. Rarely do we find people in our lives that make our lives better but not because people are mostly bad but because we are so unique. It’s not easy to find people that mix well with our personality types but they are out there.

So what is a friend again exactly? Growing up I had a lot of them, but is that because my definition of the word was so broad? With my experiences I learned what I want from a friend but more importantly I learned what type of friend I wanted to be.

So do we really need friends? Is it about the support and counsel that I mentioned in the intro, or is it deeper than that? Yes, our friends are there when we need them but our friends also teach us. They teach us who we want to be and what we should value most in life. If there’s one thing to take away from this is that even our bad relationships help us grow. Even our bad friendships make our “good” ones stronger. We need friends because without them life is incomplete.

The Overwhelming Sound of Pain

by Ray Navarro MS

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more”  (C.S. Lewis). When you think of pain do you think physical or mental? When I was growing up there was a constant debate about nurture vs nature. People argued their point vigorously to only, a few years later, accept that there is no separation among the two. Is it the same for pain?

I have been dealing with pain for over 22 years. Each year it gets a little worse. This year I had an episode that almost destroyed me, it put me in a very dark place. The pain itself kept me from walking or even laying down. Hunched over in a chair was the only place I could find relief. In a matter of two weeks I probably got 6 hours of sleep.  My appetite was nonexistent. I couldn’t pick up my children or play with them. I couldn’t even brush my teeth or wipe my own ass. I thought life was over. I went from being on top of the world to not knowing if I’d get to hold my daughters again.

It wasn’t the physical pain that got me, it was the mental. The lack of sleep made me paranoid. Made me think my best friends were out to get me, that my girlfriend wanted me for money (I’m broke  FYI), I “knew” for sure that I was going to get fired, which of course didn’t happen. I even considered ending it the selfish way. What bothered me most is that I was attacking everyone. I literally made people cry and I’m still trying to mend relationships to this day. I told myself I deserved the pain and that god was punishing me for something I did.

I could go on for hours on the paranoia and delusion caused by constant pain and sleep deprivation but this is about understanding and then finding solutions. I wasn’t acting like a therapist, like a father of two, like a martial arts expert, like an adult, or like the man that I am, I was being a victim and with good reason, but it was still my choice to sit there and suffer or get up and do something about. But how do you step up when you feel alone and helpless?

I have friends and loved ones. Some of which didn’t hear about my issues till recently but there were 3 that were there at the exact time I needed them, even though I kept my pain silent. They had no idea how bad the suffering was. They had no idea the dark place I was stuck in. Somehow, on my worst day, I received a phone call. A friend calling to say hello. Later that day a friend told me she loved me. The next day I spent an hour and half on the phone with a friend and she assured me that they would always be there for me. That’s when I said I’ve had enough. I will not be miserable, I will not hurt the people I love.

I put my therapist hat on and I got to work. When someone is in horrific pain it feels like someone is screaming into a speaker right into your ear and even if the pain is muffled for a few moments the negative self-talk creeps in to tell you how useless you are. I was aware of it but I had never felt it. A speaker so loud that your memory is nonexistent, your ability to hear is cut in half, you can forget normal conversations. But you know what is louder than subconscious thoughts? Conscious ones. Every time my over thinking brain started ramping up with its BS, I didn’t just say stop (which is an actual therapeutic intervention). I would repeat the same positive affirmations over and over till the negative thoughts were completely drowned. It took one day to change my mindset. Maybe not 100% but enough to get the ball rolling. I paid for that app headspace for a year and got to meditating again. The next day I started walking, getting fresh air and letting the sun hit my face. I realized that I had suffered, but more importantly I overcame the suffering.

I’m not a therapist because I love psychology, even though I do, I’m a therapist because I know suffering. I know what you’re feeling and I want to help you stop it. The question is do you? If you change nothing than nothing will change.

           

My Stalker and Me

By

Raymond Navarro MS

A couple of years ago I was put in a difficult situation and I had to hurt someone. I did not want to hurt that person, but I will always choose my kids first, I am getting ahead of myself. You should know that I get along with most people, after all I would be a horrible counselor if I did not know how to make nice. That being said when people do not like me, they really don’t like me. I get it though. My ex-wife till this day thinks I cheated on her and my stalker, lets call him Jim, thinks that I wanted his kid to be taken from him by DCF. I would be super mad too if I thought one of my oldest friends was trying to keep me from my baby. The only issue that I have is that both of those accusations are insane. To the point that I have even started thinking there might be some bipolar-ish behavior going on.

I don’t think my ex is bipolar, super depressed and refuses to take responsibility for anything maybe, but bipolar is doubtful. Now Jim on the other hand, let’s just say one night I overheard him yelling at his mom saying that “black people are trying to take over the government so that they can put white people in concentration camps”. Just FYI, I overheard this after he already hated me, so it could have just been theatre to freak me out, but not sure. Did I mention that I was roommates with Jim?

So about two years ago I had the opportunity to move in with one of my best friends. I have known this guy since high school, a “ride or die” type friend. I put my ass on the line a few times and in fairness he did so for me to. The countless fights we have been in together could have set a record on its own if I am being honest. I jumped at the chance, I knew it would be an hour drive and pretty damn expensive, but how could I lose out on the chance to live with a brother?

Fasts forward a few months and even though things are not going as well as expected it did have its moments. Then one day I’m talking to my ex about the kids and she agrees that she will give me 50/50 custody, without a fight I might add, but that I had to provide them with their own room. Which unfortunately I did not have at the time. However, it’s an amazing goal and something that I was ecstatic to tell my brother Jim. At first, he was happy for me, we even had a drink together and toasted to better times. I’m not sure what or how the next thing happened but Jim decided to call what was my biggest foe at the moment, my ex-wife, the woman that still hated me and thought I cheated on her.  

You may have guessed that that particular conversation did not go well. When Jim confronted her on my happy news, she of course denied it and said that the only reason I was moving out is so that I could screw him with the lease and move in with my new, young and hot, girlfriend. Exactly what a 20-year-old friend would do (insert sarcasm here). When I heard this my little therapist brain just started spinning.

I couldn’t understand why Jim would think I would do that to him but at the same time I could empathize with him due to the struggle I had just laid at his feet. I knew that no matter what he believed I had just made his future much harder. Either way I had to go. I told him the paperwork had not been signed, I told him I had not found a place to live in yet, and he knew that I did not have the down payment for a home, and yet he acted as if it had already occurred. The truth is that had I wanted to I probably could have waited or stalled a couple of extra months just so that he wouldn’t have gotten screwed in the lease. The thing is once he turned on me, I had no choice but to get out as quickly as possible. Every night I had to lock myself in the room worried he might finally snap. Now mind you at this point I already had 20 years of martial arts under my belt and I carried a .38 on me every day, but the last thing I wanted to do was hurt my “brother”. That is how naïve I was at that time.

I’m not sure why I didn’t see it. He had already turned on the people at his job, he had already turned on his sister, and whenever something bad happened to him he would point the finger and go on a “revenge run”. He even asked me to be involved at times, but that was too much, and I said no. Which of course upset him but that s not important right now.

Long story short, or shorter, is that I eventually got out of the dungeon I had made for myself and I have been happily reunited with my children very far away from my hometown of Miami. At times I have had to go back to Miami for family or friend parties and Jim’s name has been brought up. He kept spreading the lie he so easily accepted . I even lost a good friend because of him, a friend Jim hated, which is insane to me. But even with all that I stayed quiet, I made it clear that I thought Jim was ill and that I have no hatred or anger for him. Was I upset that a friend, a man, would call another man’s wife and spread lies? Sure, who wouldn’t be? But I chalked it up to insanity and moved on.

Fast forward to this morning at 2am and I get a call from an old friend. I could already tell it was going to be one of these come to Jesus moments, it wasn’t my first time after all, and then this old friend drops a bomb. Not only has Jim not gotten over me leaving two years ago but that he is on a mission to “hurt” me. My friend goes on to say that Jim has developed a plan to infiltrate my family and destroy me from the inside. That his plan to do this starts with formulating a relationship with a relative of mine. My friend tells me the name of the relative and then there was a moment of silence between us. When the silence broke all I noticed is that I was laughing so hard that my cheeks were starting to hurt.

I know that laughing about a stalker infiltrating my family by taking advantage of my sick cousin sexually isn’t supposed to be funny but if you ever needed proof of karma, there it is. My “relative”, which will remain nameless because the poor girl really does have enough issues, is the type of person that will drive poor Jim to the next level. Its like if he’s punishing himself at this point. Not only that, I stopped talking to that relative almost a decade ago because I didn’t want her around my kids.

Its been a few hours since I found out and I started thinking maybe there was some danger involved for my family members. Anybody that would do that to some poor girl wouldn’t have any issues robbing the house she lives in, my grandmother’s house by the way. I called a couple relatives including my mother to just warn her about the possible incursion. Every person I called, hysterical laughter. I’m starting to feel really bad for Jim.

With all that said we are now in the present. Part of me wants to make some popcorn and watch the show but the overthinker in me is concerned this guy is never going to stop. Its quite possible this nutjob will blame me for his failed relationship with my “relative” or even worse he may be stuck with her forever. Either way my writers block is now officially over, and I expect there to be at least one more update on this topic. My question to all the amazing readers is, what should I do? Should I set off the alarms and let everyone know? Or should I just sit back and watch what happens next? Either way we will find out soon.

Fighting Paralysis

By Ray Navarro MS

I know I probably should’ve told some of you about this earlier but sometimes a blessing can appear to be a curse. This is a good thing for me, be happy for me. We learn from suffering, it is the ultimate teacher and I am looking forward to evolving…

We defy Foundation Veterans Day event

Hey guys as an abassador at the We Defy Foundation Im proud to invite you to join us this Veterans Day in celebrating and honoring those that risk their lives everyday for us. Whether you want to sign up you and your friends for a 5k run or your a dojo that is willing to commit to a veterans day open mat now is your chance to show support for a great cause. For more info click on The links below or go to http://www.wedefyfoundation.org or go to my bio on ig @navarro_counseling and We Defy Foundation

What is Boredom?

By Ray Navarro MS

What’s that quote “an idle mind is the devils playground”? I don’t know, I’ll have to look that one up later. I’m sitting here, my girlfriends is in front of me working on her crafts business, her kids are running around the house making noise and doing God knows what, I’m watching TV, my favorite thing FYI Jiu Jitsu, and yet here I am so bored that I feel like I’m going to explode at any second. Luckily I’m aware enough to understand that the thoughts telling me to yell at the kids are just a creation of my stress. My desire to start an argument with my girl is just some subconscious way of coping with my boredom. Sounds like self-sabotage if you ask me.

As a therapist and suffering over thinker, I couldn’t just let go of how my brain was influencing my behavior, it felt irresponsible. Is it possible I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin? Or maybe this was another way of my subconscious warning me that my anxiety is really high? Have I been using my coping skills…? Have I been doing my breathing exercises? Have I been exercising as much as possible? Have I been reaching out to my support system? No I haven’t. It seems like such a burden and life is so “impossible sometimes”, getting off the couch seems like an Indiana jones mission.

I have this weird feeling that most people that are bored are bored because of their perspective and their expectations. As a therapist I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids with every video game system, a loving family, involved in sports, and plenty of friends, yet they’re bored and want more. Should we try to lower their expectations? Is it okay to be satisfied with what you have? Most people will tell you yes, even most therapists, but what happens with ambition when you lower someone’s expectations, does that disappear?

How about learning to live with your boredom? Living in the moment and doing a gratitude list? What about watching a movie with the family or playing some “bored” games? As soon as I wrote that they started crying, so I’ll take that as a no. As you can see I don’t have many answers to helping you with your boredom because the truth is boredom is usually relative. What I can tell you is that by processing and “playing out the tape” on it I was able to find one thing to put a dent on my boredom, I wrote this letter. Maybe your one thing was reading it? The bottom line is If you’re bored, distract yourself till you’re not.

Boise’s Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Boise, Idaho | KTVB.com | ktvb.com

Boise’s Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Boise, Idaho | KTVB.com | ktvb.com
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.ktvb.com/amp/article/news/health/coronavirus/fear-of-coronavirus-long-term-quarantine-negatively-affects-mental-health-university-of-idaho-study-finds/277-6c63cd8a-8dac-4ad7-b18d-2e2b559f7b47

I usually don’t post news articles on this site But it’s important to understand where we are in the battle with mental health and the effect that the coronavirus is having on it. While we’ve been battling the virus for some time now the battle against the mental health consequences are just beginning. If you or someone you know needs counseling services please do not hesitate to reach out. Even if we can’t help you we will do our best to find someone that can.

Ray

The True Social Distancing…

By Ray Navarro MS

When most people think of social distancing they think of masks and 6 feet. Is that what you think of? Because I don’t. I think of my daughters. What’s happening to my fourteen year old terrifies me of the present, and looking at my 8 year old scares me of what the future might bring. I’m talking about social media.  When I was younger I was the first to have everything in my group. A TV in my car, Bluetooth at the time when everyone assumed I was talking to myself, the first flat screen TV (that cost me 3k), hell I was even the first of my friends to have a CD player in his car. Even with all that I am still just an old man trying to catch up to what is happening.

As a therapist I’m more sensitive to behavior than most. As an empath I’m more sensitive to emotions than most. But when all is said and done I’m just a father trying to guide my children and frankly I’m at a loss. If they were my clients I could just turn down my emotions and turn up the logic but when you truly love someone, the way a parent loves a child, emotions will always be prevalent.

So why am I so concerned? Social media and electronics in general have been creating a rift in what we know as traditional “socializing” for over a decade now but its influence is increasing rapidly. Is it that I have been indoctrinated by years of my mother telling me that the TV and video games would rot my brain? Was it years of urban legends telling us sitting to close to the TV would make us go blind? Who knows why but the fear is still there and in my mind it is still justified.

As a professional counselor and an amateur philosopher I tell myself that you cannot fight change but God I want to so bad. All I see as a father is my daughter isolated in her room and the lights are off except for a glow reflecting off her face. When she wakes up her eyes are blood shot and she clearly hasn’t been sleeping. Her anxiety is up, her depression symptoms are up, and we barely talk anymore. Covid 19 was the ultimate alarm. Kind of like the light of a lighthouse finally shining through the parting clouds, but this is not relief for parents as it is for so many sailors that see the “light”. As parents we have been forced to “understand” that our children can’t go outside. Our children can’t see their friends. Our children can’t play in the sun and breathe in the fresh air. This is not human. This is torture for an entire generation that isn’t even old enough to have the awareness to know what is happening to them.

And then I hear hope, not from my daughter, but from my clients. Children tend to make an assumption that every adult will somehow tell their parents anything they tell them. Therapists are different though. As a therapist I am not allowed to say anything to anyone about what is said in session unless there is an immediate threat to themselves or others. I won’t lie, many of the kids take weeks to build this trust in a therapist, if it’s a good therapist, and some will take years. However the kids that do speak openly tell me a different story of social media and electronics.

The kids I talk to tell me how the internet is the only way they can talk to their friends. Some tell me that FaceTime is the only way they can see their friends. So as parents how do we take that from them? Are we being asked to pick the lesser of the two evils once again? Is this what life is about, having to choose what would cause the least damage to our children? As parents, stuck at home as well I might add, how many times have we pushed the electronics on them because we needed them quiet? Does this make us bad parents or are we accepting the situation that we are in? I don’t know.

So what do I tell the parents of my clients? I tell them moderation. I tell them to allow it but to have structure. Give them a couple hours a day as long as their responsibilities have been met. Make sure when they go to sleep their phones are not left in their rooms. Make sure they wake up and go to sleep at the same times every day. Make sure you spend time with them every day. Most importantly, and unfortunately the most difficult, is to make sure they feel the sun and breathe the fresh air every single day. Some of these can obviously be combined, and should be if possible, but all are necessary. With all that said, everything nowadays appears easier said than done and this is no different. We are being challenged, every single one of us. Life is full of tests. Will we pass this one? When I first asked myself that question I didn’t have an answer, but then I looked at my children. There is no choice here. We will pass this test, and you know how I know that? Because I can’t tell you how were going to make it, but I can tell you that if you’re reading this than you’ve already past every test that life has thrown at you. Why would this test be any different?

I’ll leave you with this. There’s an old proverb that says “it takes a village to raise a child”. As parents, as humans, we must adapt. Reach out for help. Set up those zoom play dates, go for a walk with your children, find a good counselor, but don’t give up. Maybe the village, at least for the moment, is online.

Everyone needs a passion, this is just a few reasons jiu jitsu is mine…

https://www.jiujitsutimes.com/why-jiu-jitsu-people-never-shut-up-about-jiu-jitsu/?fbclid=IwAR0prAzzzmgbh7QdH2_5U5DeBgeqhDqBTngNkI7AJUGViEAG8ah9D0JM5e8

Researchers Doubt That Certain Mental Disorders Are Disorders At All

What if mental disorders like anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder aren’t mental disorders at all?
— Read on www.forbes.com/sites/alisonescalante/2020/08/11/researchers-doubt-that-certain-mental-disorders-are-disorders-at-all/amp/

Just wanted to share this interesting perspective on mental disorders. Comments?

6 Trauma Sensitive yoga and mindfulness tools to support youth

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17MXTJbzC087CIwVkrKfgkPXHkoa31h0T/view?usp=sharing

Every day that we wake up we are struggling with the trauma of living in a pandemic. Maybe some of us adults can get through it but our kids, most of them, have not developed the skills they need to move forward. The resource I found for yoga and mindfulness tools is a great way of not just relieving stress but bringing the family together. Check out what other resources I have for you and your family, free of course, at http://www.navarrotherapy.com under the resources tab.

How an anxious person might act vs What they’re thinking and feeling

As someone who deals with anxiety, something I’m commonly aware of is that how I might act towards someone may not provide a clear indication of how …

How an anxious person might act vs What they’re thinking and feeling

Identifying Narcissistic Triangulation

Written by Dr. Eric Perry What does it take to have a healthy relationship? Whether it is in love, friendship, work relationships or family …

Identifying Narcissistic Triangulation

Really interesting points. If you’re going in for couples therapy you should always make sure you get that one on one time that you need.

The Power of Anxiety…

By Ray Navarro MS

I always say that every good therapist’s first client is themselves. We’re just like everyone else we’ve just learned more coping skills than most and went to school for a long time. However it was in that gauntlet of colleges, universities and grad school in which I learned the tools I needed to combat my own anxiety. I can even claim that part of the reason I became a counselor was so that I could get a better understanding of how and why anxiety occurs. Problem is it’s one thing to read about anxiety it’s another to be overwhelmed by it, how can you even function when you feel like you’re drowning in thoughts?

I like two say that anxiety usually comes in two forms, the kind where you can’t get a certain worry out of your head to the point it consumes you, and the second in which it feels like you have a thousand thoughts but you can’t identify or focus on even one. Some people don’t even realize they have anxiety because the mind is so good at defending us that it’ll bury our worries until they manifest physically, as in biting finger nails, irritability, lack of sleep, loss or increase in appetite, ticks, muscle tension, and my favorite the famous leg shake (just to name a few). Have you ever seen someone that was clearly worried about something, acknowledged they were anxious but couldn’t give you a reason why? The mind is a powerful thing.

However this article is not about the living hell that anxiety can create it’s about the power. You see life is about perspective, but to have a clear perspective you can’t be clouded by things like irrational thoughts and negative self-talk. In the world of addiction they say that a person must reach rock bottom before they can begin to recover, the same can be said for many mental health issues, including anxiety. When I was in my early twenties I had my first panic attack, anxiety attack, whatever you want to call it. The hyperventilation from the attack zapped my energy so much that I laid on the floor, not moving, and I couldn’t even open my eyes. A good friend even thought I was dying, called the paramedics, and almost gave me mouth to mouth (which thank God he didn’t). But I’ll never forget when the paramedics get there they knew right away what was going on and I heard this one hero’s voice say “take a deep breath, open your eyes or we’re taking your ass to the hospital, you just had a panic attack”.  Besides the horrible bedside manner it was as if he had hit a switch in my head and I was instantly aware that there was nothing physically wrong with me. I opened my eyes, sat up, and with my tail between my legs I apologized.

I was embarrassed, but looking back I shouldn’t have been. I was just ignorant to what was happening. So I began to educate myself in everything anxiety related. I have to admit the issue with panic attacks is once you have one they seem to come back easier and faster. I had them for two years, I was prescribed Xanax which thank god I was only on for a month before my dad confiscated them for the evil they are. Instead I learned the order of my symptoms, many people feel them differently, but for me it starts with heart palpitations, sweaty hands, shaky leg, than tears out of nowhere for some reason and finally hyperventilation.

The more time that passed the better I got at identifying when my anxiety was ramping up. I began to understand that I could use preventive measures like exercise, hobbies, structure, scheduling, and sleep. The savior of the coping skills, for me at least, was always progressive muscle relaxation. No matter where I was I could implement them without people even knowing I was doing it. Another big one is that I wouldn’t run from issues anymore, I would address them immediately. I noticed procrastination just made it worse, so I stopped doing it. If that little voice in my head told me I should be scared I would tell it to shut up.

Now it’s been over two decades since my last panic attack but every once in a while I feel it coming out. The thing is I’ve gotten so good at understanding it that the minute I feel it I’ll go for a walk or just start breathing deeply till it stops (yes that works amazing well). More often than not though it’s become a motivator. If I’m working on something and I get anxious it’s probably because I’m not comfortable with it so I change it up. If the kids are driving me crazy and I feel myself getting irritable I go out for a walk. The thing with anxiety is to not accept it and just sit in it, its energy. And how do you burn energy? You get off your ass and do something.

I’ve provided some resources on my page that you can have for free but please feel free to comment on your journey with anxiety and if you need help you can always contact me so we can talk it out. We are all given challenges in life it is how we cope with those challenges that define us as human beings, don’t ever forget that.

How to recover from depression….

“Depression loves me”….. You may have said this to yourself many times… You are not alone…. Most of us have depression issues…. And we can’t blame …

How to recover from depression….

Really interesting article. But I like the most is that all of the suggestions can be done right now, today, from your home. With all the depression and anxiety running rampant we need to focus on the little things

Therapy fundraiser

@simplystephcreations can make basically whatever you want but if you buy anything jiu jitsu related a portion of the proceeds will go to @navarro_counseling to help pay for therapy for low income families. Make sure it’s okay with your dojo first. Remember to visit and follow http://www.navarrotherapy.com for anything mental health related #fundraiser #bjj #wedefyfoundation #anxiety #depression #love

World Suicide Prevention Day: A Look at Suicide Attempt Survivors

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s also National Suicide Prevention Week and National Suicide Prevention Month (that’s a lot of awareness!).…

World Suicide Prevention Day: A Look at Suicide Attempt Survivors

Blog responses

Virus vs Quarantine? Mental vs physical health?