Adapting To The Unexpected

If I had run here instead of on a trail closer to home, I wouldn’t have an infected dog bite. Life’s unexpected moments happen. Are you prepared to handle them? Photo credit: Imei Hsu, iPhone 7 Plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergencies | Unexpected Events | Assessment |Anxiety

The morning sunlight hit the red-tinged leaves that signal Fall’s inevitable approach. Trail running along one of the paths nearby my home, I listened to the sound of my footfalls and my breath cycle, deeply immersed in the joy of running.

After the first fifteen minutes or so,  the effort of running changes from the initial discomfort of ramping up the pace from a standstill to the zen-like quality of meditation in motion.  Running has often been a place of solace and rejuvenation for me, a place to deposit myself before I return to the real world: responding to crisis and employing my skills and attention to the privilege of helping others.

As I began to run up a short embankment with a neighborhood access point to a street, I passed a dog owner walking three dogs. As it is my custom, if a dog is not on a tight leash, I give dogs a very wide berth to avoid startling them or giving them reason to attack. As I moved far to the right of the owner and the dogs, the dog furthest on the dog owner’s right lunged towards the back of my leg and bit me.

After the owner saw blood running down my leg, the dog owner asked if I needed her help: a ride home, bandages, etc. My first response was to tell her I would just walk home, that I was “OK” but it hurt, that I only had five more miles to go.

But that was ridiculous. The wounds  gaped, the torn fascia hung outside of the broken skin, blood was filling my shoe, and the pain was so bad that tears were involuntarily shedding and rolling down my face. I sat down on a rock nearby, and then told the dog owner that I needed a ride home to pick up my car and my ID for the Urgent Care facility nearest to me.

I needed  help. And I needed to be flexible to handle the very real emergency that had just occurred.

Does this sound familiar to you? Do you find if difficult to ask for and receive help, even when it is clearly needed? Do you find yourself frozen or rigid, trying to keep to a schedule or a plan instead of adapting to the circumstances you find yourself in during an unexpected moment.

Read on for what you can do when you encounter the unexpected. Continue reading “Adapting To The Unexpected”

Mental Health and Gut Health

Mental Health | Gut Health | Microbiome | Immunity

Scientific data is beginning to show an elaborate connection between gut health and brain function. Learn more about how you can positively influence both.

Is there a connection between mental health and gut health? And if so, is the connection in one direction, or in both directions? That is, can your brain’s health influence your gut function, and can your gut health have an influence on your  brain, and thus, mental health?

Last month, I arrived two minutes before a six-hour continuing education lecture on the subjects of immunity, inflammation, and the gut microbiota was slated to begin, and there were but a few seats left in the crowded hotel conference room. Apparently, I picked a hot topic! The majority of the participants were nurses and doctors, and based on the speed of the note-taking I witnessed, there was great interest in the topic. However, I wouldn’t expect the average person to care, even though I think everyone should.

For you, I will disseminate those six hours of lecture into the best takeaways for you regarding the connection between your gut and your mental health. For our purposes here, I’ll try to keep the medical terminology simple and on point about its connection to brain health and mental health.

Continue reading “Mental Health and Gut Health”

Election Anxiety

Election Anxiety

Seattle Direct Counseling | Presidential Election Anxiety Fears

Blue and white box with slit for ballots on a sidewalk.
An official ballot box for the Nov 8 elections stands ready to receive ballots on a Seattle street.

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about Election Anxiety, or ‘Election Distress Disorder’ (not a real DSM-V disorder).

Because of the ethics of my profession, I consider it a solemn duty in this season to listen to all my clients in a non-judgmental manner; to do anything less dishonors our profession and the work we each do to hear ourselves and apply ourselves at whatever level of free agency that we can.

After nearly 17 years of doing therapy in the Seattle area, I have concluded that the current presidential election campaign is the most talked about campaign of my career. It’s also the most controversial, and the topics that have been stirred up have affected all peoples on either side of the political aisle, as well as those who have chosen to depart from the mainstream political parties.

Yet, I am not here to talk about the particulars of the campaigns. I want to talk about what the campaign has done to us, what it has forced upon the table. It is being called collectively, “Election Anxiety”, an anxious reaction to the fears, racism, misogyny, and verbal bullying that our nation has witnessed on our television screen, computer monitors, and smart devices in the form of video, news articles, audio sound bytes, and Social Media response.

It’s not that any of these topics are new. The sheer volume, however, is new. For example, I have been called the derogatory term, “chink,” many times in my adult lifetime. Yet, the number of derogatory terms directed at my fellow Latino and Latina friends has exponentially exploded this year.

A year ago, we weren’t even using that terminology, “Election Anxiety.” Now, it’s a ‘thing’. A real thing.

I am not alone in naming this ‘thing’. In an article from the New York Times,  Social Workers and Licensed Mental Counselors across the country are reporting an increase of clients asking to talk about the elections during therapy in the form of anxious and fearful thoughts.

And now, Election Anxiety has come to my office is in the form of requests about how thoughts regarding bullying, misogyny, racism, and micro aggressions in the workplace might be handled.

Read on for more about Election Anxiety.

Continue reading “Election Anxiety”