It’s So Easy to Stay Mad: When You’re So Done With Everything.

When you’re so done with everything.

These days, it’s so easy to get mad, and stay that way.
I was just thinking this after an intense Labor Day weekend. Most of it was fun.    My family and I went hiking to forest preserves and biking around town. Hints of Fall are creeping in, with shadows getting longer and a slight chill in the air in the morning and at dusk.
The weather is getting more tolerable, now that it’s a wee bit cooler. The Pumpkin Spice Latte and those good caramel drinks are back at the coffee places.  
School is on again . In Northern Virginia, kids are mostly going online.  We’re six months into the pandemic and it’s getting old.
Opinions differ on what we should do, how much we should worry, when and how to go back to work and socializing.  Sometimes, we get unsolicited opinions and advice, and we feel invaded or judged.  And, well, tensions build. I was driving down my street on the way home yesterday and passed a neighbor’s house. The guy outside turned toward my car, looked at me, and gestured with his hands flat, pushing downward. I waved at him. A minute later, I realized what he was signaling. It looked like his gesture meant, “slow down”.
And I got VERY annoyed. After I pulled my car into the driveway, I had an urge to storm over there on foot and start lecturing him about who does he think he is, telling me to slow down, when he and his family and friends are always out there without masks, but of course it’s all about them, etc. Words to that effect.
I’m glad I didn’t actually do it. But I did envision it. In that moment I was aware of my anger, accepted it, sat with it for a minute…But thankfully, I didn’t act on it.
So maybe he was being annoying. And maybe I was driving a bit fast for our relatively quiet street. It didn’t hurt me to slow down.  But, still.
 Do you feel sometimes that your moods are swinging more?  Like even if you are overall doing well, having a good day, but then something happens, your mood takes a nose dive? If so, you’re not alone.  Whatever life concerns we already had have been exacerbated by working at home (that is, if our jobs and school even allow us to do that) and being with our families or roommates almost constantly. We are saving lives and health, but it’s hardly ideal for our kids to be learning remotely. And to top it off, it’s an Election Year. Not exactly things that contribute to calm and cool living.
It’s understandable that you feel on edge.
There’s a whole lot of stuff to be charged up about.
So what can you do?

The things you read about with unplugging from news and social media?  They really help. The internet can be a double-edged sword. Right now, we are relying more on these outlets for resources, work, and social connection. But they can also be hotbeds for angry discourse and hurtful statements.  The psychologist

Brene Brown

 once aptly referred to the “comments” section of something she posted,  “the cesspool.”

I find that if I spend too much time scrolling through social media and news, my mood starts to tank. So, its really important to limit screen time and keeping interactions this side of civil. I have a better day if some chunk of it is spent in 3-D.

Here’s a good adage that helps me when it comes to potentially tense interactions: 

Is it kind, necessary, or true?

 

It should ideally be at least 2 out of these 3 things if you engage with someone.  I don’t know who said it. I just find it helpful.  
In the moment, I could really have let off steam by snapping at my neighbor. I could maybe have said things that were true (at least from my point of view), but they wouldn’t have been kind or necessary. And there are times when these folks have done me good turns.  It’s been years since we’ve chatted, but that counts for something.
And even if they hadn’t….What would I have added?
I haven’t always responded mindfully. None of us are perfect, and we get mad and let it out sometimes. The issue is, is it getting to be your modus operandi? Does it help?
But pushing your feelings down only helps for so long. So, what do you do with them? They are still there. They came from somewhere, and they can still take up time and energy.

As I’ve discussed on my videos, it always helps to just step back and observe your thoughts and feelings. 

Tara Brach

describes a nifty process to work through difficult feelings with a technique called R.A.I.N. 

We need to first know what’s there, before we can work on it.  This can be true of just about anything that is causing you anger, hurt or pain.    And sometimes, we want to talk to someone. The main thing is, even now, you don’t have to go at it alone or bottle it up.    
But you also want to talk to someone who won’t judge you. You want to let it out, but be understood. You want change.
This is where therapy can help. Especially if you find yourself with thoughts and feelings that are so powerful that they are getting in the way of your functioning, and they make it that much harder to be in the present. I’m especially big on the kind of work that I am doing, LSR and TIR. We start with what is charged for YOU. It might be something recent, or something from long ago. If your attention is on it, it’s important.
I don’t challenge your viewpoint. I help you look at the stuff that is charged in a way that will bring you relief and resolution. I believe in this method, not only because I’ve been trained in it, but I’ve been on the receiving end of it, too, and I can tell you that it works. It has helped me.
Sometimes, we just get plain tired of pushing things down that are charged. It costs us. We need to work through these things, but in a way that helps. This work gives you an opportunity to bring it up and look at it in a contained, guided way, so you get relief without all the fallout and kickback that can happen of we just react in daily life.
And this can lead to a better, more self-aware existence.   Yes, even during a pandemic and an Election Year!  To me, that’s totally worth it.

What can you do?

Call me

I’ll give you a free, 10-minute consultation.  If we decide to go ahead and schedule, we”ll  work together to bring you relief and resolution for a better quality of life.

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“Sometimes, we want to talk to someone. The main thing is, even now, you don’t have to go at it alone or bottle it up.”

 

Wouldn’t therapy be worth it?

 

 

 

If therapy could…

-help you feel less anxious, more calm

-add a supportive, non-judgmental person to your life

-help you get help with a trying life situation

-and, most importantly, give you tools for you to make some positive changes in your life

So that…

Instead of walking around feeling overwhelmed, alone, rudderless, you can feel calmer, supported, and focused on the here and now…

Wouldn’t it be worth it?

 


I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted doing therapy.

So you’ve been thinking about a particular issue, person, or big life change that may be on the horizon.  It’s weighing on you, occupying your mind, making you question yourself and your decisions.  You are thinking, you could use some help, maybe in the way of therapy, but you’re not sure therapy is the way to go.  Here are some reasons people say they are reluctant:

“I can’t afford therapy.”

Is that what you are thinking?  Most of us have spent money, time, and energy this Holiday season, or at many points throughout the year.  Understandably, you are trying to be watchful of your budget.

If the Holidays were fun and meaningful for you, I’m truly glad. Even if they were, maybe old issues, difficult relationships, or memories resurfaced with one or more people.  Maybe you used tips from my November blog post to get through the holidays, or other techniques to help you get through the tense times.

Maybe a big transition just happened or is on the horizon.  Job change, concerns about a friend, partner or relative?  You are worried about it, and it would really help to talk about it, but you aren’t sure these are concerns you want to lay out with someone in your personal life.

Maybe you did talk to friends, and it helped to get their support.  That’s something! But you may still be confused and this issue is hanging over you. You really don’t have huge amounts of time or energy. So for now, you are just hanging on, going with the flow and seeing what happens.  That can work  — for a while.

But sometimes it is MORE costly to put therapy on the back burner.  Namely, in quality of life and in the frustrating things that never seem to change, so that you lose sleep, or feel irritable, less energetic to deal with what needs dealing with.  This is especially true of trauma and severe stress. We actually spend more energy trying to “push down” our strong feelings. Or, they come out in a way that is not helpful, like temper outbursts, body/headaches, chronic distraction.

If therapy could help you feel less anxious, add a supportive, non-judgmental person to your life, get some ideas for help, and, most importantly, give you tools for you to make some positive changes in your life, so that instead of walking around feeling overwhelmed, alone, having no idea how to proceed, you can feel more calm, mindful, supported, and focused on what you need these days…Wouldn’t it be worth it?

“I’m super busy.  Who has time?”

It’s true.  You, like so many people, have work, parents, kids, school, and any number of responsibilities. 

You may want to try a person close to your home or work (or other place that you frequent often).  I typically see clients once weekly, but may see someone more frequently than that for trauma sessions.  It’s best to find someone close to your comings and goings. I’m in the City of Fairfax, Virginia, not far from George Mason University.

Pick a date and time with your therapist and make it part of a weekly routine. This will actually make it easier to stick with it.  Look at this as part of your “healthcare” routine and as something necessary you are doing for yourself.  And by the way, you send a very good strong message to your loved ones when they see that you are making this time for something important to you and that you stay with it.

For those of you who travel a lot or have health issues that make traveling difficult, teletherapy might be the way to go.  I don’t offer that at this time, but it is out there.  I’d rather you get the help you need and be honest with you about where to get it.

If your schedule needs to change, by the way, discuss this with your therapist. Most of us know that can happen. We try to work with you on this.

“I’ve done therapy.   I already know what my problems are. There are some things I just can’t change, and they are in the past, so I really don’t want to talk about them.”

I am not offering a “magic wand” that will make all your problems go away.  (And if anyone is doing that, they are not being straightforward with you, especially if there is a complex or ongoing life situation like a chronic illness in a loved one, chronic workplace upheaval, and such.  These things happen and I get that they don’t magically disappear.)   But I DO offer methods that will help you deal with these problems in a way that is calm and proactive, instead of dealing with them being terrified and reactive.  And those things that happened and are in the past?  The trauma therapy I do works on changing the memory, so that it does not affect you the same way.  It works.

Imagine having a game plan or a shift in your attitude in dealing with a person in your life who has often caused you stress or worry. Imagine how that would change things.  Instead of feeling like a powerless, out-of-control person, you will begin to feel more centered, deserving of good treatment and respect. (Respect is not fear, by the way.  Many people are in therapy because important people in their lives have confused these concepts.)  And when we believe we are worthy, things often begin to change.

So as you start out into the New Year, bearing the colder temperatures and looking ahead, think about the issues you would like help with.  If you read through this article all the way to this point, odds are, you are seriously considering therapy.  You know what it’s like not to do it. Maybe it’s time to try something different.

When you feel ready, call.

So What Kind of Therapy Do You Do, Anyway?

 “So what Kind of therapy do you do, anyway?”


“So what kind of therapy do you do, anyway?”

Because I am a therapist, people come to me seeking guidance and support on issues that are troubling them.  I work mainly with individual adults coping with trauma, caregiver stress, and life transitions like changing jobs, grief, or job and career changes, or relationship stress, especially with unresolved family issues.    Then they ask me my opinion about what they should do about the issue at hand, and I tell them, “We will come to that, but know that I work a little differently than other therapists.  I don’t evaluate, I help people process whatever is on their mind, and come to a conclusion.”

That is completely true, and yet, it sounds really vague. Or maybe it sounds like I am a slacker who just wants to collect a fee and let you rant, while not really doing anything myself. (I promise you, that is NOT the case!) They scrunch up their foreheads and look at me like I just said I came from the planet Neptune.  They seem really doubtful, worried that talking to me will be a waste of time.  In some ways,  I don’t blame them. What good is a therapist if they don’t weigh in and give you their take on what is going on with you, right? But then, some of them are willing to try a session or two with me, and then they see how it works.

Most people are used to having a therapist interpret or evaluate what they are doing.  This does have its  

benefit, and if that is what you want, I respect that.  But I roll a bit differently these days.

Maybe you have already had therapy, and it helped.  It’s been months or years, though, and your stress is up, conflicts are happening in your life, old triggers are acting up, and you are considering therapy again.  But you aren’t sure if this is the right time, or if the therapist you choose will be the right fit.  You may especially feel this way about me right now, because on top of not knowing me apart from anyone else, I am describing something that sounds kind of unconventional.  You want something a bit more, well, familiar.

Or maybe, it’s the opposite.  You say to yourself,  “I’ve done my therapy!  I already KNOW what my issues are. I don’t need to learn anything else or get any more insights that I don’t already have.  I don’t want to hear yet another person lecture me about what to do to change or feel better.  I just need the problem to go away.”

Well, then, how about a therapist who works a bit differently than most? If you decide to work with me,  we will still work on the issues that are distressing to you, whether you deem them little or big.    And as you do this, you will likely begin to see and feel changes. The most incredible thing is, it’s not because of what I tell you, but because we are peeling away the layers of awareness that are already within you. This is Traumatic Incident Reduction and Life Stress Reduction, all part of Applied Metapsychology, which you can read more about here

Maybe this sounds “out there”. Had I not had a respected colleague tell me a while back about this method and train me in it, I would feel the same way.  This is a SAMHSA-approved method of working through trauma, anxiety, and most types of life stress, and it really helps you unload and get some peace, relief, and resolution.  I know this, because in my training, I had to be on the receiving end of it, and it improved my own distress around some issues.  It wasn’t always easy, but it was effective.

Even if you just do a few sessions, you will likely find it helpful. 

If you want to give it a try, and you are 18 and over, call me, and we can get started. 

Is this month too hectic?  I understand. I’ll be around in January, too.  In the meantime, feel free to subscribe to my monthly newsletter/blog.  And in the meantime, take care of yourself in the ways you know best.