Building Hope

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hope is defined as the following: “to cherish a desire with anticipation.” The pandemic has handed us many losses – death of loved ones, missed milestones/celebrations, and irreplaceable family time. Amidst these losses, it might be difficult to look forward to things.

 
Several months into the pandemic, I found myself in a hopeless state of mind. This new way of living seemed permanent. My fears related to the virus had overthrown any hope I had. I couldn’t see the end to the virus and the isolation. Hopelessness is linked to the deterioration of our physical and mental health. I was having frequent headaches, joint pain, and obsessive/anxious thoughts. Due to these connections and gentle prompts from others, I knew that I had to take intentional steps to adjust my thoughts and perspective.

My first battle was recognizing certain thoughts as negative and hopeless. I have to admit, this part was difficult. It wasn’t something that I was able to do independently. With tender cues from others, I was able to stop and inspect my thoughts and the things I was saying. As I began to really think through the things I was saying to myself (we call this self-talk), I realized that some of my self-talk wasn’t based in reality.

I needed to confront these thoughts before they took total control. I challenged my self-talk by creating a script that I recited to myself whenever the hopeless or anxious thoughts crept into my mind. The script was something I wrote down on my Notes application (on my phone) so it was readily available. This helped me stop the negative thoughts and reframe them into something that was more realistic.

Example:

Thought/Self-Talk :“Because of the virus, I am never going to be able to leave my house again.”

Script: “The virus is real and it is dangerous. However, the isolation I am experiencing now will will protect me. The isolation will not last forever. It is temporary.”

The script is based in reality. It challenges me to determine whether or not my original thought is based in reality and helps me shift my perspective. I now have multiple scripts on my Notes application that I read in various personal and professional situations. A script that is applied to a professional situation might look like this:

Example

Thought/self-talk: “I am a terrible teacher.”
Script: “Teaching during a pandemic is really difficult. The pandemic has presented me with many challenges. I am doing the best that I can this year to help my students learn and make progress.”

These scripts can help you recognize negative/hopeless thoughts, reexamine the thoughts, and redirect them. We call this the 3 R’s strategy. During the past few months, I have been able to reframe my negative thoughts into ideas that are productive, positive, and based in reality. To learn more about creating and writing scripts, click here.

Secondly, I began journaling about my anxious thoughts. Our previous blog post goes in further detail about the specific writing strategies I used and how they were beneficial. Gratitude journaling, documenting things you are thankful for, has also been shown to reduce stress, help individuals change their perspective, and help people become more self-aware. Gratitude journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply make bulleted points of things that you are thankful for. Research indicates that doing this once to twice a week can boost happiness. Acknowledging the things you are thankful for instantly changes your perspective. I saw this in my personal life. Whenever I felt hopeless, I reviewed my gratitude journal and realized that things really weren’t as grim as they seemed. This also reinforces the idea that my self-talk and automatic thoughts aren’t always the reality.

Thirdly, to specifically challenge my hopeless feelings and thoughts, I had to remind myself of “why.” As Simon Sinek says in his TedTalk, I had to consider “my cause, my purpose, and my belief.” While Sinek’s theory is for leadership and marketing, it’s rooted in human behavior. I had to remind myself of my purposes, my beliefs, and my causes. When compounded with the journaling and scripts, my behavior and thoughts changed. I could see that eventually, the things that were impacting me, would end. I was beginning to see that the virus was temporary. This process wasn’t quick. However, each day, I noticed small and slight changes in my thinking. Over time, my thoughts turned from hopeless to hopeful. I am beginning to “desire with anticipation.”

Check out these resources for other ideas and ways to create hope:

****These techniques and resources mentioned above are not meant to replace researched based therapeutic practices. If you or a loved one is struggling with hopelessness, please seek help from a therapeutic professional.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Journaling: A Personal Experience

 

I have always been an anxious person. I have the tendency to overanalyze, overthink, and obsess over every little thing. After the pandemic hit, my anxious tendencies shifted to obsessing about safety. Do I have Covid? Is that surface I just touched contaminated with the virus? Will my family be okay? It didn’t take long for these thoughts to totally consume and control my mind. The majority of my thoughts surrounded Covid and my family’s safety. The constant worry was exhausting. How could I be a school psychologist and not have control over these thoughts? How can I help others when I cannot even control my own worry? 

After some gentle prompting from someone else in the helping field, I started to journal. I found that I was instinctively using a technique called stream of consciousness journaling. Stream of consciousness journaling is a writing technique used to narrate and keep track of thoughts. When I cannot shift my obsessive thoughts to something positive, I open my Notes application (on my phone) and begin typing. If you were to look at the things I have written, you will see incomplete thoughts, run-on sentences, misspelled words, and many punctuation errors. My stream of consciousness journaling isn’t tidy, perfect, or poetic. It is just as it sounds, my stream of thoughts transferred to “paper.” 
Having a Type A personality means that I struggle to leave the stream of consciousness in a disorganized mess. After I let my streams sit for a few days, I reopen my app and review my initial thoughts. I take my streams of consciousness, organize them, and then expand upon my initial thoughts. I work to specifically name and identify my feelings. If you are like me, you might need a little bit of help to actually name and pinpoint your true feelings. So I use a chart like this to help me label my feelings: 
Once I identify my true feelings in an organized manner, my mind is able to let go and release the thoughts that once took my mind hostage. While no one reads my journal entries, writing has allowed my brain to release these recurring thoughts. I am also able to process and make sense of things in a way that obsessing over my fears and thoughts doesn’t allow. 
Journaling has been proven to help adults and children manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Personally, writing has become a therapeutic outlet for me. I have been able to identify negative thought patterns and pinpoint my stress triggers. These connections have allowed me to identify potential obsessive thought patterns and use coping strategies 
(deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation) to help stop the cycle. When I go back and look at my original streams of consciousness, I am able to see how much improvement I have made since the beginning of the pandemic. 
Writing about writing is weird but I have seen improvement in my life since I have been journaling. While I still have some worry about my safety, my thoughts related to the pandemic are no longer all consuming. If you think journaling might be helpful to you, check out these resources: 
****Journaling is not meant to replace researched based therapeutic practices. If you or a loved one is struggling to function due to anxiety, please seek help from a therapeutic professional
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Resources for Pandemic Fatigue

This pandemic is getting long!  I am sure that I am not the only one that is feeling this way.  For me, approaching the one-year anniversary of this whole hot mess has brought up a number of feelings.  Back when this all began, no one would have ever predicted the variety of impacts which this would have on all of our lives.  Obviously, disruption to things which have been predictable, such as school and work, have been unsettling.  Financial insecurity, social unrest, political controversy, etc. have also been a part of our universal 2020 experience.  Anyone else want to retire the word “unprecedented?”

As a part of the state movement to return students to in-person learning, alarming statistics have been cited. There has been a 25% increase in mental health emergency room visits for children from 5-12 and a 30 % increase in visits for teenagers between October and December.  40 percent of adults surveyed indicated that they were struggling with their mental health. That being said, it is important for us to know what we can do to take care of ourselves and those around us.  The CDC, HHS, the Ad Council and The White House have collaborated to develop a resource website called The Coping-19 Campaign

According to their website, “It’s ok not to be ok right now.  While each person’s experience is unique, we’re in this together. In partnership with mental health experts, we’ve gathered resources and tools to help find a healthy harmony of body and mind during this uncertain time.”  Included are topics such as Suicide Prevention Resources, Smart Money Tips During Covid19, Challenge Your Creativity, Playlists to address anxiety, stress and sleeplessness, Coping with Isolation, and general Resources.

        

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Navigating Grief and Loss During the Holidays

I think that all of us can agree that 2020 has been a challenging year.  Many things have been difficult and unsettling, from the unrest in our country to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. Under normal circumstances, the holiday season can be difficult for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. The world may tell us that this season is full of joy, but it may not be that way for those that are grieving. The holidays may be a time that we wish that they could be with us. For many of us, the holidays are a time in which we cherish the time to be together, but this year, that may look different for many people.

Our friends at Trellis Supportive Care (formerly the Hospice and Palliative Care Center) have compiled a number of helpful resources for families to help to navigate the grieving process, especially during this holiday season. In addition, Trellis has a counseling and education center where trained bereavement counselors provide grief counseling free of charge to Forsyth County residents. Currently, sessions are provided through teletherapy. I can tell you from personal experience how kind, compassionate and helpful they are. 

A wonderful counselor I work with has shared a newsletter with me that (was written by her daughter, who is a Mental Health Clinician in California) talks about helpful ways for families to navigate grief and loss during this Holiday season. For me, it really shows how universal the experiences are that we are having right now.  

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The Power of Possibility

Today marks the beginning of National School Psychology Awareness week!  The theme for this year is the “Power of Possibility.”  In the words of the National Association of School Psychologists ‘The word “possibility” implies hope, growth, resilience and renewal.  Possibility suggests that even some things as small as a seed can grow into something magnificent. The word “power” implies that things can and will happen. When we focus on what is possible, we have hope that students will grow, thrive and bloom.’

Although this year has been stressful, unsettling and different than what we were expecting (which I am sure you have noticed unless you have been asleep for the last 8-9 months) there is still the possibility for our students to grow and bloom.  We can encourage them to create, listen, learn, practice, encourage each other, speak up, explore and dream. So, what is a school psychologist?  I have heard it described as an educator who knows about psychology or a psychologist that knows about education.  Today, we are sharing a previous post who describes the role of a school psychologist.  Although the role of a school psychologist looks a bit different in these pandemic times, we are still here and supporting students, staff and families.
What is a School Psychologist?
“I promise no one grows up dreaming of being a school psychologist.  Well, maybe the children of school psychologists do (we actually have a staff member who can vouch for that) but  I know I certainly didn’t.  Something about a car so full of test kits that you can’t fit your groceries in it doesn’t scream “dream job,” but somehow it is. 
 
So what is school psychology?  I would describe school psychology as the perfect marriage between psychology and education.  School psychologists are trained in mental health, child development, learning styles, behavior, and intervention planning.  Sure, we do a lot of assessment, report writing, and paperwork but, believe it or not, all of those things can be fun.  Assessing a child is like putting together a puzzle of how a kid learns best, helping them see their strengths, and identifying where they struggle.  With that in mind, school psychologists assess for a number of academic and behavioral difficulties including learning disabilities, emotional problems, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disabilities.
 
While assessment is certainly a large component of the job, school psychologists are trained in skills beyond assessment. School psychologists are key players in intervention planning.  This allows us to provide quick, early help to children who are struggling.  School psychologists can help identify a child’s specific skill deficits in the classroom and consult with school staff and parents about appropriate interventions to be used within the regular education setting.  We assist teachers in implementing these interventions, monitoring the child’s response to intervention, and adjusting the educational goals accordingly. 
 
In addition to academic concerns, school psychologists also work closely with teachers, parents, and staff to support the behavioral and emotional needs of students.  We have specialized training in assessing the function of behaviors in order to prevent and ultimately eliminate the behaviors.
 
School Psychologists also have training in mental health issues.  Like school social workers and school counselors, we assist students by linking school supports and community resources to provide a continuum of mental health care.  Not only do we collaborate with community service providers, school psychologists can also provide counseling services related to interpersonal and family issues that interfere with school performance.  Another growing role and function of the school psychologist, unfortunately, is crisis prevention and management.  School psychologists are integral players in the development of crisis response plans and assessing levels of risk given in threat situations.”
 
The graphic below highlights the varied roles that school psychologists can play within the school environment.
Even in these different and difficult times, we are ready to help.  It’s what we do.

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Unity Day 2020

Today is #unityday2020. According to Pacer.org, 1 out of every 5 children are bullied. Research indicates that bullying prevention can be successful when students, parents, educators, and community members are involved. 

Students – if you see bullying intervene and tell a trusted adult. If you are being bullied, talk to your parents/guardians and tell a trusted adult at school.

Parents – learn what bullying is and how to recognize the warning signs. If you believe that your child is a victim of bullying, listen to your child and try to find out what is happening.

Educators – work to establish an inclusive and safe learning environment. Respond when bullying happens. 

Community Members – learn what bullying is and what it isn’t. Learn how to respond. 

To learn more about bullying prevention, please visit: 

Wear and share ORANGE  (with us) to show your support of bullying prevention. 





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Coping with a Lack of Control

 A common frustration for many right now is the feeling that life is out of control. We can’t control the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic. We can’t control when school opens again, or how many days our children will attend. We can’t control what’s going to happen, in general. We don’t KNOW what is going to happen. In the words of that great sage Yogi Berra “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.” That being said, what can we do to bring back some sense of control?     

Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is credited with developing the idea of the circle of concern and the circle of influence. The circle of concern contains everything that people could be possibly worried about, whether they can have an impact on it or not. The circle of influence is much smaller, that is, it consists of things we can change or have an influence on. He suggests that we focus our attention on things which we can change.  Easier said than done, but worth the effort. The below graphic was graciously shared by Kathy Fitzjeffries, Safe and Drug Free Schools Program Manager.

The below graphic suggests some additional ways to take back the control which we do have, and hopefully feel a little bit better.

Pick a few of these things and give them a try this week! Let us know if they help give you a better sense of control.
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Cyberbullying & Remote Learning

The rapid growth of technology in our society has led to a new type of bullying…cyberbullying.  A surprisingly high number of students report being a victim of this type of bullying. According to a 2019 report from the CDC, cyberbullying among public school students is highest for middle school at 33%, followed by high school at 30%. Even 5% of elementary students report having been cyberbullied. Due to the impact of Covid-19 in 2020, many schools have had to switch to remote or distance learning. This situation has increased opportunities for cyberbullying since most learning occurs in virtual classrooms and other online platforms.  

Children and teenagers are often more tech-savvy than their parents/guardians which can make it challenging to monitor their online behavior. Like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying can cause significant stress and emotional problems for the child, so it is important for parents/guardians to know the different ways children and teenagers can be bullied online. Cyberbullying includes but is not limited to circulating or sending photos, sending or posting hurtful messages, hacking someone else’s account, pretending to be someone else online, and sending or posting threats. Cyberbullying can occur on social media platforms, through text messages/email/instant messaging, within online forums such as chat rooms and message boards, and even in online gaming communities.

Although all bullying involves intentional, often repetitive, hurtful behavior toward another person or group, according to Pacer.org, cyberbullying presents several additional challenges. First, given the easy access to technology, cyberbullying can happen any time of the day. It is also more difficult to detect because it isn’t as overt as physical or in-person verbal bullying. Since cyberbullying can be done anonymously, the victim may not know who the bully is, so no one is held accountable. Another unique feature of cyberbullying is that it enables the bully to spread information quickly to large groups. This makes it difficult to contain or stop negative information from being disseminated. Cyberbullying is also challenging because it is conducted at a distance from the victim and therefore, the bully may not see the harm it causes. In a sense, technology distances bullies from the damaging effects of their actions. Finally, the impact of cyberbullying can be permanent because it is difficult to remove or delete information once it is shared on the internet. 

So how can parents/guardians prevent and protect their children from cyberbullying without banning them from technology altogether? According to Stopbullying.gov, it is important for parents/guardians to initiate open and honest conversations with their kids about appropriate digital behavior. Those discussions should include guidance on how to view/post content, which apps they can and cannot use, and the parameters around how parents/guardians will check in/monitor their online use, browsing history, and communications. Other tips for parents/guardians include reviewing or re-setting your child’s phone location and privacy settings, following or “friending” your child on social media sites, staying up to date with the latest apps, online platforms, and digital slang, and knowing your child’s usernames and passwords. Parents/guardians  may also want to consider software options and apps that are available to help them limit/restrict content, block domains, and/or view online activities. 

Even if parents/guardians are following all of this advice, it is still critically important that they be aware of possible warning signs that their child is being cyberbullied. Sometimes the very best monitoring efforts might miss a potential problem. According to Stopbullying.org, some of the most common signs include:

  • Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
  • Exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
  • Hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
  • Shuts down social media accounts or new ones appear.
  • Starts to avoid social situations, even those that were previously enjoyed.
  • Becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.

So what should parents/guardians do if they discover cyberbullying? According to Stopbullying.gov, the most important step is to document and report the behavior so that it can be addressed. Instead of responding to or forwarding cyberbullying messages, block the person who is cyberbullying. More specific and complete information regarding how and where to report cyberbullying can be found at Stopbullying.gov. During this time of remote instruction, it is more important than ever to communicate with your child’s school if you suspect cyberbullying is occurring. To anonymously report an incident of bullying, the WSFCS has set up an anonymous bullying tip line. Visit Bullying Tip Line or call 336-703-4193.

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September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual with prenatal alcohol exposure. These effects can have lifelong implications including physical, mental, behavior, and/or learning issues.


The term FASD encompasses the following conditions:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
    • FAS is on the most severe end of the FASD spectrum. It describes people with the greatest alcohol effects, causing signs and symptoms so distinct that the diagnosis is based on special measurements and findings in each of the 3 following areas:

      • Three specific facial abnormalities: smooth philtrum (the area between nose and upper lip), thin upper lip, small palpebral fissures (the horizontal eye openings)

      • Growth deficit (lower than average height, weight or both)

      • Central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities (structural, neurologic, functional, or a combination of these)

  • Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)
    • When a person does not meet the full diagnostic criteria for FAS but has a history of prenatal alcohol exposure and some of the facial abnormalities, as well as a growth problem or CNS abnormalities that person is considered to have partial FAS (pFAS)
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
    • People with ARND do not have abnormal facial features or growth problems, but do have problems with how their brain and nervous system were formed as well as how they function. These individuals may have:

      In particular, a 2011 federally convened committee that reviewed the science noted that these children are most likely to have problems with neurocognitive development, adaptive functioning, and or behavior regulation.

  • Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Pre-Natal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE)
    • In addition to confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure, these individuals have impairment of neurocognition, self-regulation, and adaptive functioning. ND-PAE combines deficits is these three areas in conjunction with the following:

      • Evidence of prenatal alcohol exposure

      • Childhood onset of symptoms

      • Significant distress or impairment in social, academic, occupational, or other important area of function

  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
    • People with ARBD have problems with how some of their organs were formed and or how they function, including:

      • Heart

      • Kidney

      • Bones (possibly the spine)

      • Hearing

      • Vision

      These individuals also may have one of the other FASDs.

FASDs can happen only when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol. The alcohol crosses the placenta and enters the baby’s blood where it can damage the developing brain and other organs leading to an FASD. Developing babies have the same blood alcohol concentration as their mother, but they lack the ability to process or metabolize alcohol. 

No amount of alcohol use is known to be safe for a developing baby before birth. Any amount of alcohol, even a glass of wine, passes from the mother to the developing baby. Wine, beer, or distilled spirits (vodka, rum, tequila, etc.) all pose a risk. FASDs are 100% preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Alcohol causes more harm than heroin or cocaine during pregnancy. The Institute of Medicine says, “Of all the substances of abuse (including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana), alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus.” 

1 in 100 babies have FASD, nearly the same rate as Autism.  FASD is more prevalent than Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, SIDS, Cystic Fibrosis, and Spina Bifida combined. Alcohol use during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects, developmental disabilities, and learning disabilities.

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) has created some fact sheets to educate people about FASDs. Some of these fact sheets that may be of interest are:

No one treatment is right for every child, as FASD and its constellation of symptoms differ from one child to another. FASDs need a medical home to provide, coordinate, and facilitate all the necessary medical, behavioral, social, and educational services.

  • Many types of available treatments include but are not limited to:
    • Developmental services
    • Educational interventions
    • Behavior modification
    • Parent training
    • Social skills training
    • Medications and other medical therapies
    • Transition planning
    • Advocacy in school and the workplace
    • Referral for community support services
    • Coordination across the specialists, partners, and needed supports
    • Primary care in a high quality medical home setting with care integration

Treatment plans should be adaptable to the child’s and family’s needs, plus include close monitoring and follow-up.

FASDs last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs, but identifying children with FASDs as early as possible can help them reach their potential. Research has shown that early identification and enrollment in treatment can significantly improve an affected child’s development and life.

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The Grief of Adjusting to “The New Normal”

Way back in the spring, when Covid-19 began, we were all in a state of shock. What do you mean my children are learning at home? What do you mean my job is in the dining room instead of my office? What do you mean I can’t go out to dinner or to the movies? At that time, I read an article called “ That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief” (published March 23, 2020) in the Harvard Business Review. I recently reread this article and it still resonates with me. The beginning of the school year has always been full of  joy and anticipation,as well as a healthy amount of anxiety. This year, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling an unusually high level of anxiety. This year is not starting as any of us would like it to. I have more questions than we have answers. When will my kids go back to school? When will I go to work? How do I balance all of this? When will the virus let up and let me get on with my ordinary life? So many questions! 

In this article, (That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief) the author interviews grief expert Dr. David Kessler, founder of the website Grief.com, who describes several common grief experiences. He notes that it’s important to acknowledge and discuss the grief that we are feeling because we will eventually find meaning in these experiences. He describes the “collective loss of normalcy,” along with the feeling that the world has changed, and not for the better. Many people are experiencing the fear of economic loss and the loss of connection to others. Dr. Kessler also mentioned something called “anticipatory grief.” He describes anticipatory grief as “the feeling we get about what the feeling holds when we are uncertain.” My goodness, there is a lot of uncertainty right now!  

The question is, how do we handle all of this grief?  First, he recommends trying to understand the stages of grief.  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, an American-Swiss psychiatrist, first defined these stages of grief in 1969.Typically, the stages of grief are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and finally, acceptance. During Dr. Kessler’s later work with Dr. Kubler-Ross, a 6th stage was later added, finding meaning. Dr. Kessler does point out, however, that the stages are often not linear. This graphic ( used with the permission of Caring Choices)  illustrates a more common grief progression. People don’t move smoothly between the stages, and that’s ok!

For handling this feeling of anticipatory grief, Dr. Kessler recommends acknowledging it for what it is, which is anxiety. He notes that trying to ignore these feelings isn’t effective, and probably won’t work anyway. He recommends striving for balance in our emotions and feelings about what might happen.  He suggests balancing our thoughts by picturing the best possible outcome, even when our minds want to run to the worst.  He also suggests that when fears of the future loom, we should try to come into the present. He recommends mindfulness practices, such as naming five things in the room or paying attention to immediate sensations. 

A good example of this immediate mindfulness is provided by Destress Monday:

Dr. Kessler suggests focusing on the things which you can control, such as your own behaviors in staying safe (e.g., handwashing, maintaining distance, wearing a mask). He also advises focusing less on the behaviors of others, which we probably can’t control anyway.

Dr. Kessler recommends that we “stock up on compassion.”  Many are struggling with their feelings of grief and anxiety, and may act in ways which aren’t typical.  People may be “Touchous,” as my grandma used to say, and need extra understanding from us if they snap or are moody.  He also encourages us to remember that this is temporary.  Although this uncomfortable situation may feel like it will last forever, it will not! (I need to keep telling myself this.)  

Finally, for people who are overwhelmed, Dr. Kessler recommends naming our feelings of grief.  It has been beneficial for me to acknowledge that I am struggling. Admitting to others that I had to quit watching the news because I couldn’t stop crying or because it was keeping me awake at night was healing.  Every single time I shared these feelings, the person I was talking to acknowledged similar feelings. It was comforting to know that I was not alone.  There is an old but accurate saying,  “A burden shared is halved.”  According to Dr. Kessler, we should allow ourselves to experience the feelings we are having without trying to talk ourselves out of them. He notes that too often people fear that if they admit to ‘bad feelings,’ they will be overrun.  But he also says, “The truth is a feeling that moves through us. We feel it and then we go on to the next feeling.”

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