It’s the beginning of August, and that means it’s back to school time! Whether your child is excited about school or has some anxiety around going back to school, we’re here to talk about how to help your child with separation anxiety as they get back into the routine of things.
September is Suicide Awareness month, and our blog has been focusing on the subject. There can be such a stigma around suicide, that we want to encourage people to talk about their mental health and their struggles. When we talk about suicide, it can give us a better understanding of how to prevent it. And how to help those who might be hurting.
Today we want to explain the difference between passive suicide ideation and active suicide ideation. The difference can be thought to be very simple, but often time we know it can be much more complex than we think.
Passive Suicide Ideation is when you have thoughts of suicide or self harm but no plan to carry it out.
Active Suicide Ideation is when you have thoughts of suicide or self harm, and have developed a plan to carry it out.
Sometimes we think that there are no signs that can help us recognize when someone has formulated a plan to carry out suicide. Often times it can be a private topic or feeling, that people will keep to themselves. But other times, there can be warning signs that we can look out for. According to an article on a website called Better Help, there are a few signs and symptoms to look out for pertaining to suicide ideation. They break them down into three categories, behavioral, physical, and psychosocial.
- Giving away possessions
- Talking about death, dying, or not being around in the future
- Using phrases that make death sound like an option such as “When I am gone,” “If I were to kill myself…”
- Saying goodbye or making amends with loved ones
- Collecting items that are harmful or potentially dangerous
- Social withdraw
- Increased drug or alcohol usage
- Not participating in activities that were once enjoyable
- Engaging in risky or potentially harmful behaviors
- Scars from past attempts at suicide or self-harm
- Drastic or sudden change in eating or sleeping patterns
- Chronic illness
- Cognitive Symptoms:
- Obsessing over the belief that the only end to emotional pain is through death or suicide
- Feeling Helpless or Hopeless
- Feeling that emotional pain is never ending
- Self-hatred/ self-loathing
- Emotional pain
- Frequent or drastic mood swings
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Intense anxiety and increased irritability
We at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling encourage you to seek help if you or a loved one are having any type of suicide ideation. The benefits of therapy can be of utmost importance when someone is feeling hopeless. We take a very supportive, caring, and individualistic approach to treating our clients when they are struggling. And there are many wonderful therapists, counselors, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists out there who do the same.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
We are well into September now, and Fall is upon us. It can mean many things like cooler weather, back to school, and day light hours getting shorter and shorter. September is also Suicide Prevention Month. With the high profile death by suicides that occurred this past summer with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, our society is still mourning the loss of these very public passings.
Suicide is a very hard thing to understand to most of us. We have so many questions, and the answers are not always available to us. Especially if we have been affected by suicide, often our questions will remain unanswered because our loved ones are now gone.
Are their warning signs, or illnesses that might predispose someone to suicide? It is often hard to pinpoint what someone is going through internally, but some say if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or have had suicide in your family you could be more likely to have suicidal ideation.
Other social factors not to be overlooked are feeling overwhelmed with the state of our politics/economic turmoil. Experiencing financial burdens or stressors. Going through a divorce, or losing a job can also be triggers. Most often there is an intense feeling of hopelessness and helplessness felt by the individual. They often see no solution whatsoever for their current situation.
One key factor in preventing suicide is to speak openly about it. It is not something that should be hidden, or kept a secret. The more we talk about it, the more we can do to help and prevent it. Providing a safe environment around suicide, is important in understanding it and getting those at risk the help they need.
If you or someone you know is suffering, you can refer them to Biltmore Psychology and Counseling if you are local to Arizona. Or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource. They have a national number to call
and their website has great information.
It’s 2018, and the digital age is exploding. We are a society that is obsessed with technology, cell phones, laptops, social media, and video games. The more advanced we become in this area, the more we are glued to our screens.
There are people who spend 24/7 sitting in front of their computer playing video games. And making a very substantial living from it we might add. Many individuals in this day and age are making an income from their social media sights as well. Whether it is a blog, an Instagram influencer, or a content writer, not only our social lives are focused on social media but so are our job markets.
But can you really be addicted to social media?
Mentally, there are studies out there that have shown the negative side effects of spending too much time on social media. Psychologically speaking, people have shown to have more anxiety, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem and body image issues from spending so much time on social sites.
If you ask most people if they are addicted to their social media they will likely tell you no. And for the most part this can be true. People love to constantly check Instagram, or Facebook, and genuinely love sharing their lives. But if they go on a vacation, out of the country, or need to have their phone off for a certain period of time, are usually able to do so with ease.
It is now seen as something that has become a habit rather than an addiction. And we know that habits are not always positive, and can have several negative side effects on our health. An addiction is usually something that needs to be diagnosed by a professional. If you suspect that you or a loved one is becoming more and more addicted to technology, we urge you to seek out a professional like a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
How do you know if you’re developing an addiction?
There are a couple of signs that you could be headed in this direction. According to Mark D Griffiths from Psychology Today, if you answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions you might be starting to develop an addiction.
1. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
2. Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
3. Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
4. Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
5. Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
6. Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?
What to do about it?
Seeing a therapist or a counselor is always a great idea. They can help understand the reasons behind your uses of social media, and work through why it’s making you feel the way it does. Another great suggestion is to do a “technology detox” of sorts. Try putting your phone down for a certain amount of time each day, or limiting your hours that you are on your phone. Little by little try to work out a schedule so that you have a good amount of time without your devices.
Taking many breaks is always a good idea through out the day. Especially if your job requires you to be on your phone or computer all day long. Every hour or so stand up, take a walk outside or around your office. This will help clear your mind, ease your neck muscles, and give you some fresh air.
What are your suggestions for spending less time on our technological devices?
In our last post we talked about what it is like to live with Social Anxiety. Today we want to talk about how to develop some coping skills to help with that social anxiety.
According to Psychology Today, and this article by Barbara Markway, Phd, there are a few coping strategies that you’ll want to think about when dealing with your social anxiety head on.
- Realize anxiety is natural
- Anxiety isn’t reality
- Try Relabeling
- Breathe away anxiety
- Shift your focus
- Be willing to tolerate discomfort
- Tolerate uncertainty
Anxiety is natural:
To an extent, we all experience anxiety. We have fears and worries that sometimes interfere with our daily tasks and decision making. In general we all like to feel that others like us, and view us in a positive light. And worrying about what others may think, is very common in social anxiety. When these experiences start to become constant, or interfere with your daily life, is when social anxiety becomes apparent.
Anxiety isn’t reality:
When you have social anxiety and your thought processes are running on overdrive, try to take a step back. Try to clearly view what is really happening, what is reality, and compare that with what you’re feeling and thinking. This can be difficult to do. Our inner dialogue with ourselves can be our best friend or our enemy. Practice changing your negative, anxious, or worrying thoughts. When you start to change the way you talk to yourself in your head, your perception of situations can change, and you can learn to control your anxiety to a certain level.
Barbara Markway believes that anxiety can often be confused with excitement. That when we are feeling anxious about something, we can sometimes be experiencing feelings of excitement and confusing the two. Sometimes just switching the word ‘anxiety’ to another word, such as ‘exciting’ can change your reaction.
Breathe Away Anxiety:
Breathing deeply and slowly has always been a way to calm a persons nerves, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. When you start to feel anxious, very quickly it can build and become something bigger. By taking a moment to take some really long and slow deep breathes, we are forcing our central nervous system to tell our brain that we are okay.
Shift Your Focus:
Anxiety is centrally located in your thoughts, and our minds can become like a hamster on its wheel turning over anxious thoughts over and over in our heads. When people start to feel anxious, they usually focus on the fact that they are feeling anxious. And then it’s like an avalanche, building into more anxious thoughts, sweating, shaking, hyperventilating etc. But one coping skill to implement is shifting your focus to something else. What exactly are you doing at the moment you started to feel anxious? What physically can you shift your focus to , so that you don’t allow your anxious thoughts to run away?
Be Willing To Tolerate Discomfort:
Being uncomfortable in certain situations is completely normal and valid. Allowing yourself to acknowledge what is making you uncomfortable, and then pushing past it is key. Sometimes you have to weigh the options, is pushing through something that is uncomfortable worth it for the experience?
One thing that often fuels anxiety, especially social anxiety, is the uncertainty. It is uncertain how a social event will go, how a meeting at the office will go, how someone will respond to you. But this uncertainty is something that will be a constant in life. We all wish we could know exactly what will happen, or what to say, or how something will play out so that we can control our reaction to it. But it’s impossible to do. Accepting that you won’t be able to control everything, or not everything will go according to plan, is half the battle.