Enjoying Your Age

Life is short. Each one of us goes through its seasons. Childhood. Youth. Adulthood. Old age. And then, we passed on to the next season beyond earthly existence.

Through each season of life that passes by, we’re all called to develop accordingly. Based on age where we find ourselves in. Developmental tasks are a given. We fulfill them, we grow. We find wholeness and happiness.

As author Bo Sanchez says, “Every season requires a response. Don’t mix them up or you’ll have problems. During spring, you plant. During summer, you work. During autumn, you harvest. And during winter, you renew.”

I’m reminded of a 30-year-old single Mom with two young children, ages 3 and 5. Struggling financially to support her self and two kids, she applied for an OFW contract job in a Middle East country. She got the job.

In the days following, she experienced tremendous panic anxiety. Her present moments had been a mental pain for her as she imagined leaving her kids to work overseas. Sleepless and depressed, she sought outside help and comfort.

Shortly, it dawned on her what’s truly more important to her. She realized more and more that she will never get this season of her life back at home with her little kids. She cancelled her trip for overseas work and started a new business instead with close friends.

Most importantly, she’s able to prioritize mothering her kids she called “gifts and blessings.” At this season of her life, she felt much happiness with her little ones at home who want to snuggle and just simply spend time with her.

Enjoy the age where you’re in! Maximize the gifts and blessings of your season of life.

Feelings and Mental Health

Feelings and psychological wellness are closely intertwined.

Sophia began her therapy session extremely raging and throwing tantrums at her husband, Tim. When I asked about the nature of her rage and upset, she reported her husband’s infidelity and sexual addiction. The cause was reasonable, of course.

But we decided to work on Sophia’s out of control emotions first because it was unhealthy, and causing her inability to function and cope with the stress needed to appropriately move forward with her husband.

Observe clearly the difference between “healthy negative feelings” and “unhealthy negative feelings.” Healthy negative feelings are those of sorrow, regret, sadness, annoyance, or disappointment when you don’t get what’s important to you. Unhealthy negative feelings, on the other hand, make you feel unduly depressed, panicky, self-pitying, angry, or even violent.

Realize that you are capable of changing your “unhealthy negative feelings” into “healthy negative feelings.” In my therapy and counseling sessions, I work with counselees to take their depressed feelings, for example, until they only feel sorry and regretful. I encourage them to take their panicky, self-downing feelings into the session until they only feel concerned and apprehensive.

Don’t give up until you actually change your feelings into healthy ones. It’s a key to pressing on in your overall recovery.

Right Diagnosis

Here is a present-day reality: we live in an epidemic of misdiagnoses in the health care field.

Hilda went to a $ 2-billion hospital for treatment. She was suffering from daily dizziness and rotational spinning. It’s an illness that she called a “curse” that had been disabling her personal and family life. After spending over a hundred thousand dollars for tests, medicines, and doctors in the said hospital, she remained unwell.

Then, she decided to go to a natural homeopathy doctor in a little clinic with no secretary and frills. There, Hilda found out that she had vertigo and Vitamin B12 deficiency. Can sound incredible to believe, but these diagnoses were never discovered or mentioned to her in the expensive hospital protocol she underwent. After being given shots of Vitamin B12, Hilda got well and back to normal functioning.

Danny was four years old when his father vanished into a mental hospital with a “nervous breakdown.” After receiving a series of shock treatments and potent drugs in the psychiatric ward, his father returned home a broken man. His memory was gone, his personality had deteriorated, and he could scarcely hold a job.

Danny’s father, a once-vibrant, personable man, never recovered. The family, with 4 children, plummeted into poverty and fell apart. All the children except for Danny ended up in children’s homes. In his adulthood, Danny formed the groundwork for the Safe Harbor Project to help others avoid the tragedy of mental health misdiagnosis he witnessed growing up.

In my own practice, I’ve also heard and witnessed painful specifics from psychiatric patients. When they came to see me, their lives were already being engulfed by pain and confusion due to the treatment they received. Some of them had even become “vegetables.” I don’t know all the reasons. I don’t even know most of the reasons. But I do know one of the reasons: misdiagnosis. The right mental health treatment is hard to come by these days … one which is good at going into the “roots.”

Indeed, we all need harbors to pull into when we feel blasted by the storms and tragedies of life. We all need a refuge and source for true healing.

Teen Gaming Addiction

The other week, I was conversing with a teenager who stopped going to school. Something has “taken over” his life. Such caused him to take less interest in education and less positive parental relations. He got “hooked” and would stay all day long in the internet shop in lieu of school.

Almost anywhere we go, we see children and teenagers hooked on this new addiction. Not drug addiction. Not alcohol, food, or some sport. It’s called “video game addiction.” The psychological cycle of substance addiction can be applied to video game addiction. This led psychiatrists now to propose the inclusion of this modern-day psychological disorder (a “clinical impulse control disorder”) in the next edition of DSM, the manual for mental health disorders.

Psychotherapy and “detox” for video game addiction sounds like a stretch. But it does make sense. The negative, detrimental effects of video game addiction along physical, psychological, social, and spiritual dimensions are fast growing. Parents may need to act well now before it’s too late for our children and teenagers.

Handling Feelings During Crisis

Surviving any trauma or crisis involves the ability to “withstand painful feelings.” I know it can be so difficult to do. That holds true especially when you’re going through deep, wounding emotional experiences, such as betrayal, infidelity, rejection, or abandonment. Yet if you’re to survive, you do need to be a person of this essential ability within you.

I’m reminded of lawyer Wendy, an excellent example of such a person. When she saw me, she was in much pain and humiliation because of her husband’s infidelity and lack of remorse. Yet she endured these painful, uncomfortable feelings. She sought help and counsel, took vacation breaks, enlarged her circle of support, and was able to resume her responsibilities as a working mother to her children.

The ability to “withstand painful feelings” means learning to live with such feelings without being overwhelmed ot immobilized by rage, depression, or anxiety. That involves objectively understanding what happened, facing issues raised, and integrating the event in your life. A survivor puts the trauma or crisis into perspective, think the issues through, and learn to charge neutral or be less emotionally reactive so he can get to the “other side.”

Therapy is usually geared towards helping you through the process of integrating the trauma, crisis, or event in your life. Knowing and developing cognitive skills will lessen the toxicity of emotions produced by thinking distortions. Such is crucial so you can be detached enough to problem solve.