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…
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
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￼.
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.
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
@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
“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.
By Arlin Cuncic / Reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW (From Very Well Mind Website) Are you interested in learning whether online therapy can help with stress? Whether you are currently receiving in-person therapy and looking to transition or wanting to start therapy for the first time through an online platform, this form of treatment is ideally suited to stress-related […]
When I was a kid, I was an angry one. I was bullied, picked on, and at times I was even chased from school all the way home. I grew up hating people. I used my anger as a way of not just protecting myself but also as a way of getting respect. I felt if people were afraid of me then they wouldn’t mess with me. Nothing could have been farther from the truth, people just avoided me. They didn’t see the hurt kid that was lashing out because he was sad, they saw an asshole that was making everyone else’s life a living hell.
As a therapist I’ve come to learn that anger is a secondary emotion. What does that mean? That means that anger can’t come from itself. You don’t automatically become angry, there is always a trigger, whether you see it or not. Cause guess what, anger also clouds the mind. There are many reasons to get angry but over the years of working in mental health I’ve broken it down to just a few. 1. Sadness. Anger is a defense mechanism for sadness because most of us perceive sadness as weak and how dare we be sad because of what someone else did to us, “they deserve to pay”. 2. Ignorance. This one usually evolves into hate. Many people are confused by what they don’t understand. And confusion can cause a whole mess of issues with self-esteem and self-confidence, so what does the brain do? It defends you. “I’ve never seen blue people like that, they must be different than me, they must want to use me or hurt me, they’re gonna mess up our country, they’re going to steal and hurt our women and children” complete idiocy through ignorance. 3. Fear. This is one that strikes home for many people. How many time have you been scared to do something but you got that nagging friend or parent that keeps insisting you do it? What eventually happens? “Leave me the hell alone I already told you I’m not doing it and I’m tired of your BS” or maybe you even blame the other person for your fear so that you can deflect your own fear without even knowing!
The last one on my list of anger triggers was given to me by another therapist, “the fear that an injustice has been committed”. Maybe you see veterans getting yelled at in the airport; or an old lady being pushed to the floor by some young delinquent; or maybe you thought you did better on that evaluation than your boss gave you credit for. All of these are good reasons to be angry, the problem is in how we react to that anger. Anger is normal. Its human nature, but it’s something that needs to be managed not controlled. We can’t hold anger forever we’ll eventually blow up. You have to let it out little by little. Use introspection, why am I angry? Use a ten second rule before responding when you’re angry, it’ll give you time to bypass the emotion and use logic. Exercise is my favorite coping skill, just run it out or go to Jiu Jitsu. The one thing I know for sure is that if you’re not using your anger to fight injustice than your anger has no point. Anger is perspective, stress is the number one killer in our country, add them together and your angry perspective will literally kill you. Or at the very least cut some years off your life.
Next time you get angry ask yourself two things, “is this worth my health” and “is this going to improve my situation”. If the answer is yes than rage away, but if it’s not, take a breath and give me a call. You are never alone.
As adults most of us are struggling to make sense of what we should do in these insane times. Depending on what channel you watch, it has a direct effect on how you’re handling this crisis, at least for a lot of us. But this rant isn’t about a conspiracy theory or an attack on science, it’s about our children. Right now kids are being left at home alone because their parents, people like me and you, are having to choose between watching their kids or putting food on the table. On top of that kids are starting elementary, middle, and even high school online. This shouldn’t seem like a big deal but in just a couple of weeks we’ve seen multiple system failures, a hack on an entire county school system, and that’s not even considering the technical issues with the ten year old computers that were given out and have no volume! And that’s if your child was even lucky enough to get a computer. Some are sitting at home, with no parents, just staring at the ceiling. For the kids that are lucky enough to have the materials they need, god bless and I hope you show the gratitude to not block your screen and mic so you can play fortnite.
What about the teachers? I know a teacher that has had to learn 3 different platforms in as many days because they all failed while she was giving class. Mind you shes 65, and up until recently thought zoom was to magnify her desktop screen. I’m not an administrator, i’m not a politician, and i’m not an MD, but what I am is a clinical counselor with close to ten years experience in mental health. What is happening to our kids is something we will be coping with way after the virus has left us.
So what can we do? It seems that most school boards, at least the ones down here in south Florida, appear as if they’re about to give up on their plans. They tried, they’ve adjusted, but nothing has worked. So has the time come? Are we giving up and taking our chances with the virus? Do we risk the lives of millions? I don’t know, but as a counselor and parent I know that I need to provide balance for my children. They keep the same bed times, guaranteeing at least 8 to 9 hours. At least 30- 60 minutes of exercise everyday, they need to feel the sun on their faces and the fresh air in their lungs. Find a new hobby, learn the piano, learn coding, learn how to draw, all easily found and inexpensive on the internet. Lastly try to set up face-time play dates or some movie nights with their friends. Education is crucial but so is friendship, family, sleep, and exercise. When we lack in one, the others will always suffer. Finally, and im clearly biased, but therapy and support groups are always a plus.
I’m here to help, if you have a question or just need some advice, reach out. lets talk.