Self Help Blog

Should I Be Gluten Free?

What? Wheat? I actually thought for some time that the concept of “going gluten free” was some new fad diet. You may have sen the term on restaurant menus or in magazines, or on products in stores. And wondered about it like i did for so long. I would like to share with you my story, and that of a few others, as well as share with you some of the readings I devoured, then shared, and helped some clients. Maybe this can help you too. For a number of years, I was plagued with mysterious rashes which appeared primarily on my face and neck. I tried creams and ointments. I tried changing shampoos, conditioners, or makeup or laundry detergents. These rashes would come and disappear, then came with greater frequency. They were ugly, embarrassing, and itchy. For one particular such breakout, ten years ago, I had a very bad one, on neck and face, and went to the ER for care, was prescribed strong antibiotics, which eventually led to a very unusual and fairly rare illness called clostridium difficile, (aka C-diff), from which I nearly died and was hospitalized for 11 days…a very unhappy memory in my life! There…

Essential Oils – An Alternative to Medications

Frequently people ask me about alternatives to prescription medications; it is of course well known, researched and published, that these medications have effects, but also side effects. In one way, this is very good, because you know what to look for in case some unexpected result occurs. Sometimes, with some medications, side effects like nausea can disappear after a few days. Some medications carry a black box warning, meaning a serious side effect like suicidal ideation can occur. Thus, one should use caution, as we should all do when putting anything into or on our bodies. One must decide for oneself if something really helps, and whether benefit outweighs risks. There are some supplements which can help to relieve certain symptoms of anxiety and depression. For more severe disorders, medications are typically recommended by psychiatrists and physicians, but I still believe in benefits outweighing risks. The most commonly used supplements for depression are Sam-E, St. John’s Wort, Omega 3’s found in fish oil or flaxseed, and 5 HTP. These all seem to have few or no side effects: a good idea to check these out for yourself; much information is available online. Go to a reliable site; add a search…

A Therapist’s Thoughts About Affairs

This topic is a tough one. “We have trust issues…” are words I often hear in a first visit. This often from a recent discovery over electronics, or Social media, or it could refer back to something some years back. What to do? I think I used to feel a bit more judgmental about this topic, or towards the straying partner(s) until I became more informed, and indeed witnessed the extreme and agonizing pain inflicted on several generations by such an event. Whether or not a person is of a particular religious persuasion, I have to say…there must be a reason why somebody wrote down that Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It does create such a mess!! Once this event has occurred, the relationship will never be the same. However, some couples do seem able to address the situation and use the crisis as an opportunity to create growth and change, and even a better relationship. This all does depend on so many factors: age and stage of the relationship, history and background of each partner, willingness, and desire to work hard to create the changes necessary to demonstrate and live commitment. From my research, 48% of American…

Tips for the Procrastinator

  “We take it easy, and we make it easy” Many years ago, when I was having “another  life” in my job function, I was asked to interview a grandmotherly, African American female as a part of a child protective service investigation.  I encountered her in the middle of a field, where she was stooped over, picking vegetables in the scorching sun.  The day was so hot that I could barely stand the temperature inside of my air conditioned car. I walked through the field in the baking sun to approach this lady.  She was covered in dark clothing and wore a sort of bandana on her head.  Over that was perched a straw, brimmed hat.  As I walked over to her, I wondered how she could possibly stand to work under these conditions.  So I asked her exactly that question.  She grinned a partly toothless smile, winked, and said, “Ohh, we take it easy and we make it easy!” Over the years since that day,  I have pondered and marveled at the wisdom in that statement, given that she was still smiling during what seemed to me to be torturous working conditions. I sometimes relate that story to clients,…

Breathing to Regulate Overwhelming Emotions

If you are feeling overwhelmed by emotions from a recent or past event, or due to panic or anxiety, here are three simple breathing exercises that can really help. Diaphragmatic breathing: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, focussing only on the rise and fall of the belly. You may want to actually place your hand on the belly so you can concentrate on this motion.  We  tend to breathe usually only in our upper chest, and this is less effective in regulating emotions. Complete breathing: Start with the belly breath as noted above, but this time, feel the breath coming into and expanding the rib cage.  You can release this breath slowly and steadily, which promotes tranquility, or you can push out the breath rapidly, and notice how good it feels to “let go”. Ujjayi breathing: This is a very noisy kind of breathing that you can use at a time of extreme stress, and it will calm your mood and affect.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose with your mouth closed, and this breathing should sound quite noisy.  Only try about five breaths the first time you try it. The louder…