Addiction comes in many forms and may seem impossible to overcome. Over time, addiction spirals out of control and becomes and an all-consuming dark cloud that taints everything and everyone in our lives. The thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that define our addictions are complicated and interconnected and are almost impossible to untangle without help. Addictions include, but are not limited to: alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medication, pornography, gambling, shopping, video/online gaming, exercise, food, sex, and work. Addiction often begins in an effort to self-medicate but then spirals out of control, destroying one’s quality of life, and replacing joy and fulfillment with sorrow, emptiness, and meaninglessness. Addictions are isolating, scary, and overwhelming, but unhealthy habits can be changed, one at a time. What has been learned can be unlearned, and what is broken can be healed!
Some common symptoms of addiction:
1. Hiding, being secretive, or concealing a behavior from others
2. Feeling the need to engage in a certain behavior when you have had a challenging day or week
3. Distancing or isolating yourself from friends and/or family
4. Finding that your thoughts keep returning to when you will get to enjoy a specific behavior
5. Feeling the need to participate in the behavior just in order to feel like yourself or “normal”
6. Experiencing agitation or anger when you are not able to participate in a behavior
7. Denying, justifying, or being defensive regarding your behavior to others and even yourself
8. Continuing to engage in behavior despite negative consequences
9. Functioning less adequately at work and in other areas of your life as a result of your addictive behavior
10. Finding yourself spending a lot of time thinking and planning the behavior
11. Neglecting or spending less time on activities that used to be important to you
12. Feeling a sense of loss of control over the behavior and needing more and more of the addictive behavior over time in order to get the same initial result
If you recognize these signs in your own life, it is time to seek help and begin a journey to a better and healthier you. The hardest part is reaching out and taking the first step. The fact that you have searched out this website and are still reading this passage marks a first step in the right direction. We will work together to create a plan that is right for you and that is individually tailored to your unique needs. This is your life and you deserve to live it fully. I will guide, support, and encourage you along every step of the way.
Trauma refers to a disabling emotional response to an extremely stressful or traumatic event. Even though the response itself is a normal reaction to an abnormal, threatening situation, a traumatic event in one’s life can have a long-lasting, negative impact on their psychological and physical well-being. The effects of trauma include unpredictable emotional reactions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, stomach aches, and sleep disturbances. We each respond to trauma differently and what is traumatic to one person may not be traumatic to someone else. However, what is common among the survivors of trauma is their view of themselves as being “broken” and unable to piece themselves back into the person they used to be before the traumatic event. Trauma can result from domestic violence, sexual assault, war, terrorism, natural disaster, serious illness or injury, childhood abuse, parental abandonment, the death of a loved one, loss of a significant relationship, or divorce, just to name a few causes.
Symptoms of trauma include, but are not limited to:
1. Feeling irritable, angry, disconnected, or emotionally numb
2. Experiencing confusion, difficulty concentrating and focusing, or memory problems
3. Withdrawing from others and feeling detached, alone, and isolated
4. Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares
5. Avoiding places, people, and activities that remind you of the traumatic event
6. Being on high alert and being easily startled, frightened, or hyper-aroused
7. Experiencing shame or guilt related to the traumatic event
8. Having trouble sleeping or avoiding tasks that were once enjoyed
9. Feeling severe distress when triggered by words, objects, or situations that remind you of the traumatic event
10. Feeling hopeless about the future and life in general
11. Engaging in self-destructive behaviors such as substance use, self-harm, and risk taking
12. Being unable to trust others fully and never feeling completely safe
If these are symptoms that you are experiencing, it is time to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together and begin the healing process. What is broken does not have to stay broken, and what needs mending can be mended. Once and for all. Trauma can be overcome. With intentional and purposeful interventions that will address your specific needs, you can be whole again. Let me guide you in your journey to become the whole person you were and want to be again.
Disordered eating refers to a wide range of unhealthy eating patterns, many of which can negatively affect one’s emotional, mental, physical, and social well-being. Many people who struggle with disordered eating do not even realize that they have an issue with food, since their symptoms do not fall into the “typical” categories of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. However, disordered eating has many faces, ranging from emotional eating—eating large quantities of food, not out of hunger, but to self-sooth—to obsessions with dieting, fasting, and calorie counting. Feelings of guilt, shame, failure, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, and mood swings are all common in people who engage in disordered eating.
Below are some common warning signs and symptoms of disordered eating:
1. Skipping meals, fasting, chronic restrained eating, or use of diet pills
2. Refusing to eat certain foods or restricting whole categories of food, such as fats and carbohydrates
3. Binge eating, including the consumption of large amount of food in short periods of time
4. Feeling uncomfortable eating in front of others, eating in secret, or feeling a lack of control over your ability to stop eating
5. Preoccupation with body weight, shape, food, calories, and frequent yo-yo dieting
6. Maintaining excessive, rigid exercise regimens, despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury
7. Experiencing fatigue, poor sleep quality, mood swings, headaches, or body aches
8. Feeling anxious or irritable around meal times or feeling “out of control” around food
9. Using food as a source of emotional comfort to deal with boredom, stress, or depression by overeating or eating “junk food”
10. Using food as a source of punishment by refusing to eat due to stress, anxiety, or other emotional reasons
11. Experiencing intense fear of gaining weight, body dissatisfaction, or negative body image
12. Social withdrawal or isolation from family and friends, including avoidance of previously enjoyed activities
If you are having difficulties with any of the symptoms listed above, it is time to seek help and get out of the same repetitive and unhealthy cycle. Food doesn’t have to be your enemy or the sole focus of your life. Disordered eating gives us a false sense of control when, in fact, the opposite is true. Let me help you establish a healthy relationship with food, based on mindfulness, awareness, and balance, not deprivation, fad dieting, or compulsive over or undereating.