Who needs counseling Pt.2

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Question Time!
Do you know why you do what you do? One major staple of the mental health community is– habits can be broken and new behaviors can be created. Do you know how your behaviors and the status of your mental health can affect your relationships?
You can lunge out at someone but not realize what could be building up inside of you.
One of the major benefits of therapy is that you can compartmentalize your thoughts and debrief. Take a moment to realize what you’ve been dwelling on and write it down. Walk through this with me. What is it that has been consuming your thought life? What are you meditating on? Do you know what drives your actions? Is it a healthy motivation? Take some time to assess it. Take a moment to write down your goals and underneath include what are your motivating factors. Be brutally honest with yourself!
Example:
Goal- I want to lose 50lbs.
Motivating factor- I want to get back at all the people that called me fat or turned me down because they thought I was overweight.
Why that’s unhealthy:
You should want to lose weight for YOU! You should want to be more healthy for YOU! Not to impress a shallow group of people that didn’t value you for you. What happens when you drop the 50lbs and still don’t receive their approval? I can answer that! You become frustrated and lose all motivation or set another unhealthy goal thinking that will fix the problem. NO! In that process, you value yourself less and less and won’t even be able to see crucial progress. With a healthy mindset, you are able to grow and the progress is SUSTAINABLE; not stressful.
This is what healthy looks like:
Goal- I want to lose 50lbs in a year.
Motivating factor- I want to be healthy and make everyday tasks easier. I also want to hit the beach at a much more comfortable size.
SIMPLE and SUSTAINABLE!
A major tool I want you to add to your repertoire is critical thinking. Have you ever sat down and thought about some issues you’ve had in the relationships you have and thought about how much you contributed to those issues? Ask yourself these two questions, what are your 3 biggest strengths in your relationships and what are your 3 biggest weaknesses? Write them down. Then, I encourage you to ask 2 or 3 people the same question about YOU. See what they say about you, write their responses down. If any of the responses you get are a little lackluster, that’s great! It shows you what areas you need to work on in your life! REMEMBER, anything that’s not growing is dead. Working on yourself is very healthy we all need the catharsis and self-reflection. Counseling/therapy is GOOD!
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Who needs counseling? Pt. 1

IMG-7513You read the title and answered it right? If you answered that question with a firm “no”, or skipped over the title you might need counseling (And if you saw Infinity War you should be in counseling ASAP.LOL). All jokes aside, there is an unnecessary stigma that has been attached to mental health in the black community and it needs to be broken down. Your mental health is just as important, if not more important, than your physical health. Obviously you need both but for instance;  I know a handful of bodybuilders and fitness models with daddy issues and they have no clue that a lot of the issues they dealt with as a child (such as abandonment, rejection, traumatic events etc,..) are linked to a lot of their behaviors. Now it is years later and they are still dealing with the same issues as adults. I’ll use myself as an example to make this an easier pill to swallow. I’ve experienced many unrelated traumatic events that cause me to act in very similar ways each and every time. I almost drowned as a child, to be specific, at the age of five. That was anxiety attack number one. But then, I also almost drowned again at the age of 19. That goes in the book as another numbered anxiety attack. I never talked about these instances and for almost 15 years I didn’t even look at water. No, I don’t want to go to your pool party! Completely avoiding the conversation about my traumatic experiences and any activities around it should have solved my problem right? I wish it worked that way. Anxiety doesn’t just go away. That’s not how it works at all. Fast forward, I had an anxiety attack at church one Sunday. It’s a megachurch (a thousand or more members), just imagine that number of people all in the same place. Back to the story, I was attempting to walk against the grain of traffic when service was dismissed. That’s when I realized, I parked on the complete opposite side. I turned around and began to fight against the traffic and was completely overwhelmed. That hallway seemed to never end, the exit I needed to get to never got closer. Next thing you know, I was sweating like crazy. I struggled to breathe and I immediately tried to find the nearest exit. I needed to get out of there! I had no answers as to why this happened to me after this event and thought maybe I just shouldn’t attend that particular church. But the church wasn’t the problem. The problem was my past traumatic experiences.
After attending counseling that week, I learned that the root of my problem (anxiety attacks) was my traumatic experience of being overwhelmed by the water. You know, the time that I almost drowned at age 5? That anxiety attack was a recurring feeling at the most inconvenient times. My anxiety decided to continue to make cameos when I was overwhelmed by other situations. Discussing previous traumas typically goes to the root of a lot of our unexplainable behaviors and can be key to mental and emotional health.
Still on the fence? I’ll have a few questions for you to answer in a few days to inspire some much need self-reflection. REMEMBER to let your guard down and be vulnerable for a few moments.

When Fear controls you

*From a couple months ago*

 

Post auto-mobile accident, I found a new job (YAAAY right?). This job seems very promising and appears to have a lot of opportunity for growth. My previous jobs had no such thing. There’s one catch with this job though. Success relies HEAVILY on memorization of scripts. If you only understood what it was like in my mind when I realized this unfortunate truth. My first thought was “well you know we’re gonna have to quit or be forced out”. I have a fear of things that are strictly memorization. I’ve never shared this, but I quit acting although people thought I became quite good at it and found me to be very funny. But a lot of acting is memorizing lines and whole scripts. I wasn’t very good at that AT ALL. So I improvised. I began just summarizing what I thought was being communicated in the script and making it my own (genius right?). But the writers of theses scripts didn’t always like that. They wanted me to use the exact language in the scripts so I could get across their message the way they envisioned it. Completely understandable, but that didn’t necessarily work for me. After squeaking my way through one more production I quit and never pursued an illustrious career as an actor.

Fast forward a few years. I was breezing through my Kinesiology classes (I was an Exercise Science major) and posted the highest GPA I’ve ever attained in College and maybe once in high school. I got a 3.0! I took all Kinesiology classes that semester and was so prepared to move into a career as a strength and conditioning coach within the next two years. The last semester of my junior year though, I had nothing but upper-level classes scheduled. “Stats of pyschology= F, Advanced World politics, Advanced French, and a 300 level World Civilizations class (advanced history). I failed those extremely difficult classes and dropped and never returned for my senior year dealing with serious depression.

When I tell you this was something that has had a hold on me–like GRIPPING fear. This has been a bully I avoid AT ALL COSTS. Would you believe me if I told you I was born FEARLESS? But, when I was about five years old as well as at the age of twenty, I almost drowned TO DEATH….this is where the trauma came in and the root of the anxiety disorder I struggled with. The waves were insurmountable and washed over me both times and I could not save myself. At twenty I was so angry with myself for even trying to overcome this fear. Why would I even attempt to fight this bully, EVER?

Whoever this speaks to, don’t be defeated! God gave you the spirit of a SOUND MIND, not a faulty one. (2 Tim 1:7)

Let’s be practical and use my life as an example.

-I never figured out my learning style.

-I never got assistance in learning how to swim

Therefore I never overcame these two seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

There are practical opportunities to do better. I can learn how to swim (with someone I trust lol) and I can research to find out which learning style fits me best. Here’s one spiritual application. With the presence of fear, I’ve noticed an absence of FAITH. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 (Nkjv), “6 But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” In essence, not only do I displease God by replacing Him and giving reverence to a bully but I had no clue there was a reward I was also missing on the other side! How many more times will I replace God AND miss out on a reward? 

My last spiritual application is to condition your mind in preparation for this spiritual warfare (that’s what it really is). I meditate now on a 2 Tim 2:7,  For God, has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This is a MAJOR KEY. God didn’t give you a SPIRIT of FEAR. It’s a SPIRIT you allowed the enemy to slip in for free. So remember this, God gave you a spirit of POWER, LOVE, and A SOUND MIND. Not a weak and feeble mind that is easily defeated. Remind yourself of Gods word. Build your faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17, Nkjv).

I also picked up a book by Dr. Caroline Leaf called, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health. I encourage anyone reading this and struggling with anything similar to grab this as well as your Holy word. You can do both at the same time. As Christians that seems to be something that needs to be stated. We can’t always just “pray it all away”. We have to put some action forward as well as educate ourselves.

Where you been?

I haven’t posted in a while. My fault! You know how we all (thanks to this microwave generation– have everything quick era) deal with things that concern our vanity? For me—- my vanity is my public perception/how people view me. Follow me while I illustrate something; During the year I won’t post my body on Instagram during the winter because it’s not ready (after years of being an athlete it’s something I’ve done without putting much thought to it). Every year I post the summer photos though after all that hard work to show what I did the entire winter leading up til the hot months. So all you see is the finished product. This protects my image, the way you view me and my confidence. I’ve been STRUGGLING. Since October nothing has gone my way. I had stress at my workplaces (I’ve worked in two different places since October looking for stability that caters more towards me instead of the other way around), and stress in my personal life. It’s been a year and couple months since the mental breakdown I had last January (happy anniversary to me.lol). Life has picked up speed (my responsibilities didn’t slow down because I was forced to take a timeout) and I stopped doing what made me successful. Going to church was key, (I was required to work every Sunday so that was dead), going to therapy is major (I just didn’t feel I had the time to make it with my long work hours) and finally I stopped working out (I was grinding and trying to pay bills so I would be exhausted when I got home and just went to sleep).

Eventually, I picked my exercise regimen back up started to do really well and then I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled. All four of my wisdom teeth started really hurting so I got them pulled at the same time. I was on an ice cream diet because that’s I wanted. I didn’t want to eat mashed potatoes, cold soup or apple sauce. So while I lay in bed on pain killers for a week my body began to deteriorate. Then After two weeks of being out of the gym, I began to try to bounce back. Would you believe I was also in a car accident a few weeks following the extraction of my wisdom teeth?? I was hit by a woman that wasn’t paying attention and texting on her phone and my car was TOTALED. I was in the hospital for e day, and was in some pain for weeks. I sat out of work for a week and used all the paid time off I had accrued. At this job, they operate on a point system. If you miss one day you’ve accrued 2 points. I was restricted from work for the first week and the second week I could only work a half day. so If I’m working five to six days and I miss half a day that’s 5-6 points and I already had 6 from the 5 months leading up to the accident. I had to sit down with management and they informed I couldn’t work half days and would be fired in a week with no grace If I missed half of work every day. So I put in my two weeks notice and went home. Then my car was “in the shop” from the accident and GEICO decided it was a total loss and left me without a vehicle. I went into my savings to pay for a rental car to get me to my last few days of work as well as to any job interviews I was scheduled for. That emptied my entire savings over the course of 3 weeks. Imagine how much I spent at Enterprise for 3 weeks with the going rate being $114 a day. OH, MY LORD. And this entire time, as things aren’t going my way, I’m not posting because I don’t have it all together yet. I completely stopped my conference calls I was hosting for people that deal with mental health disorders or support someone that deals with mental health disorders as well.

 

I’ve recently adopted a different perspective. I asked myself this question: Is the benefit IN the advice I’m able to give or does it lie within the process? The answer seems obvious, but in 2017, but au contraire. THE PROCESS is so much more helpful to onlookers and people presently struggling with the same thing. Who does it help if I’m perfect? I will admit, I got perspective because of people’s expectations of me as well this persona that is passed around the church community as well as the gym. Only show up when you’re perfect. How are you going to get better in either community if you only show up when you have it all together?

James 1:4 (NKJV) says:  4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. I had to remind myself that this is an ongoing process. So DURING the process let patience work in you, God is perfecting you. Give God praise DURING as well as at the finish line. If you are waiting until the finish line for God to be done perfecting you could be waiting for forever. 

Practical V. Spiritual 

So for any of you that saw Batman V. Superman, (which was a terrible movie, but we can debate that in the comment section if you’d like.lol) you saw the resentment Batman had for Superman as he destroyed buildings trying to defeat a super powered foe. To Superman there was no other way. Batman did things a lot more clean cut, and didn’t wreak havoc in the city. The movie comes to a head when the two vastly different styles clashed when they bumped into each other. 

Now; both hero’s did great things. But it didn’t matter to one another (and if they didn’t clash there wouldn’t have been a movie…honestly there still wasn’t a movie but hey—LOL). What if it wouldn’t have taken until the end of the movie for them to realize they could work together? They both brought GREAT things to the table. 

As a christian I have had to tackle mental health issues. Coming to a brick wall of a breakdown I finally had to call it like I saw it. Recovering took strategy; it required a spiritual component as well as a practical component. You wouldn’t know how life changing this was for me! In response to cries for help like “I’m dealing with depression”– I would hear “I rebuke it in the name of Jesus”, and you have to trust God, you don’t have anything to be depressed about”. I started to seek God for wisdom and God answered my unique prayer. 

For instance– dealing with depression. There can definitely be a “pray over it” and an “I rebuke it portion” to it but lets also address the fact that you can have a build up on toxins in your brain that you need a detox from.  

Dealing with anxiety– Praying over it is great! But You also have to get the trauma out!

It may require some tears, but it’s so necessary to heal and recover emotionally. 

A scripture I meditate on is Isaiah 26:3. It says You will keep him in perfect and constant peace, whose mind is stayed on you. When you’re dealing with anxiety you need peace! You want to be rest assured of a particular fear. Finding out the cause of the anxiety is also VERY helpful. Take me for instance. 2 times in my life I was sure I drowned and I’m sure God saved my life. The first at 5 years old (very traumatic) and the second at 21 (SO traumatic because I was reliving a childhood fear and as an adult I couldn’t save myself). Now, as an adult in therapy going over the trauma and bringing out tears I didn’t know was there it helped me see how this trauma has vastly affected different areas of my life. One of the most prevalent being facing large crowds. It can and has caused anxiety attacks. But having and understanding what I’m dealing with God has lead me to scriptures to meditate on– 2 Tim 1:7 being so effective (God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of POWER, love, and a SOUND MIND)– and practical ways to address it in therapy. Its proven to be SO effective!!!!!!! 

Utilizing both Batman and Superman strengths yields amazing results! Combining both practical and spiritual principles are the keys to wholeness! Not one or the other. Go to church, pray, join a small group, yes. Also go to therapy; find a good christian therapist. You want victory in both areas? Have support in both areas.

Full Disclosure

​Hey family I’ll be facilitating a conference calls regarding depression/anxiety/bipolar disorder and supporting family members/friends that suffer with these disorders. So you can better engage/support them. It can be for friends or family you know who haven’t yet submitted to treatment or who are in the treatment process. As well as people who may not be ready to go see someone yet and would like anonymous support without fear of being judged. In our community this topic is SO taboo. In my opinion people would rather share a physical disease that could result in death, than sharing about their mental health. As family and friends, we’ve often resulted to calling family members/friends crazy which cause them to retreat shut down and refuse help. Well…I’d like to champion this cause to the best of my ability by offering support.
I’ll repost about the time later. Im shooting for sunday night around 7pm

Dial in number 641-715-0700
Access code: 994682