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Archive for August, 2013

You are justified in your concerns about “putting strong drugs in my body,”  as many of my  clients put it.  How do you decide if it is the right thing to do?

It depends on how severe the depression, anxiety or bi polar symptoms are; how much it is effecting your life.  Some people with mild to moderate symptoms are sure they are not being effected enough to warrant the use of psychotropic drugs. Other people can get a clearer perspective by talking  with the people they are close to and spend a lot of time with.  The people who live around you can often see changes in you that, subjectively, you can’t see but can recognize  when they are pointed out.

Let’s say that your mood problem is effecting your life enough that you want to do something for relief. You can try the medication, see  how helps, and then decide whether or not to stay on it.  You can also try holistic methods, like daily aerobic exercise (for depression), acupuncture or homeopathy. I’ve had clients stop therapy because one of these methods improved their life so much they didn’t need it any more.

Of course there are people  who stay on a maintenance dose of medication to keep their lives worth living. Many have told me they are  glad the medicine exists, knowing that generations back people just suffered.

I strongly recommend seeing a professional if you think you have one of these mood problems.  Good therapists can often determine if the kind of problem you are struggling with will respond to medication or holistic help. You don’t need to suffer, or function at a lower level than you can.  Take hold of your life, it belongs to you. Make it good.

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In my practice I have met people who have been in therapy for childhood sexual abuse, but have not been able to set it behind them and get fully involved with their lives.

There seems to be 3 stages of healing from this horrific crime against you as a child: (1) Being a Victim,  (2) Experiencing Yourself as a Survivor, and (3) Becoming The Person You Were Meant To Be. Let me explain what I mean:

When you are a Victim, you are reacting and suffering from the effects of the abuse. You may or may not be fully aware of what happened to you as a child.  You are strongly effected by the abuse and it has left you with a myriad of issues. These include problems with relationships and trust, sexual dissatisfaction, substance abuse, low self-esteem and more.  You may or may not have been in therapy, but you haven’t resolved the the pain and effects from the past.

When you are a Survivor you most likely have had a good bit of therapy. You are proud of yourself  and you deserve to be. You have worked courageously to own your  life, you have gained quite a bit of self understanding and confidence.  You have made progress and have a right to be proud of it.  Survivors are  warriors and stand tall.  The truth of your abuse is a fact of life, and a pretty conscious one. You may find yourself telling people about it,  feeling righteously angry that this injustice was done to you. And you have every right to feel this way.

But you are not over the abuse, it is not in your past, yet. It is a present, daily fact of your life and you are conscious of it every day.  “How can I not be?” you might demand, “Don’t you understand  how devastating that all is?” What I am saying, very gently, is there is another place to be with the truth of your abuse. You can get past being enraged and involved in what it did to you.  You  can get on with the rest of your life and be primarily involved with new challenges and self actualization: becoming the person you were meant to be.  At this stage of your healing you are invested in your life now as it unfolds before you.  I find myself saying to others when they ask about my family of origin: ” I didn’t have a normal childhood. But it’s OK, I don’t live there any more.”  You are truly finished with the work of your abuse  when you “don’t live there anymore”.

I wish I could say that the sexual abuse is no longer at the core of your personal growth as you continue on with your life.  It is.  You may wisely recognize that today’s problem or stuck place is stemming from what happened to you in your past. You might go back to a therapist to deal it.  But you don’t identify yourself as  a survivor anymore.  Now you are more involved in things like learning to be more assertive and getting the respect that your deserve at work, or raising your children better, the normal problems and growth areas  of regular life.

Your childhood abuse isn’t a life sentence.  Joyfulness and  deep satisfaction are  out here for you.  If you haven’t found them, keep looking.

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