Rindie Eagle, MA, LPCC
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
From around the web

Many are undulating through waves of worry and sadness as we experience the effects of COVID-19.  Our lives look very different from how they did 6 months ago.  Dr. Richard Nicastro, PhD looks at the connection between depression and anxiety and the importance of addressing them.  
If you’ve ever experienced depression, you may be one of the many individuals who have also experienced anxiety at the same time. The reverse is also true: many people who have experienced anxiety have also simultaneously suffered from depression. Indeed, research shows that anxiety and depression often occur together.
When depression and anxiety coexist, each can feed the other, which is why for treatment to be effective, it must address both. However, sometimes it’s hard to identify that there are two conditions present.

In my capacity as psychologist/therapist for over twenty years, I’ve worked with many individuals suffering from concurrent depression and anxiety. Although each of their stories is unique, general similarities within the struggles often exist.
While it’s true that no one person can speak for everyone who has experienced depression or anxiety (or any emotional pain, for that matter), it can be helpful for those in pain to know that others understand and that they’re not alone

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

“Gaslighting” is a great word because it so vividly describes the feeling one has when on the receiving end.  It’s as if there is a match repeatedly being struck under you but then blown out to leave you wondering if it was lit in the first place.  With gaslighting, the sudden little fires is the toxic behavior slowly leaving psychological burn marks.   You may even start to stop trusting your own instincts or even what is happening right in front of you.
 

I never said that.  You must have misunderstood me.
 
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, often subtle at first, in which seeds of doubt are intentionally sown in a targeted person or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment.  It’s a form of psychological abuse involving an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information.  Victims of gaslighting often eventually lose touch with truth.  They become compliant and their self esteem whittled down as as they get further emotionally embedded with the abuser.
The goal of the gaslighter is to make the victim(s) question their reality and create a dependence on them.  It often happens in intimate relationships but can also occur

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

For those who feel swamped with bad news.  Rick Hanson, PhD discusses the brain’s negativity bias and the importance of being able to recognize the positive things too.
Why find the good news?
“Tell the truth.” It’s the foundation of science – and the foundation of healthy relationships, communities, and countries.
But the truth of things is complicated. To simplify, there is the good of things that are enjoyable and helpful, the bad of things that are painful and harmful, and the neutral of things that are neither.
We need to recognize genuinely bad news for our own sake and to take care of others. But we also need to recognize good news: things that are useful, reassuring, inspiring, opportunities, solutions, etc.
The Brain’s Negativity Bias
Unfortunately, we have a brain that generally fixates on bad news and brushes past good news. Over the 600 hundred million year evolution of the nervous system, our ancestors:

Had to avoid two kinds of mistakes: (1) thinking that there’s a tiger in the bushes but actually all is well, or (2) thinking that all is well while actually there is a tiger about to pounce. What’s the cost of the first mistake? Just needless worry. But what’s the potential cost

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

This is a very hard time; our emotional health and physical well-being are being challenged in pandemic life.  We are trying to figure out how to be safe, care for our children and for many, assure even basic survival needs are met like income to pay for food and shelter.
Marriage and long term relationships are also taking the brunt of the stress of COVID-19.  Some relationships have benefitted from the additional time together but many have been pulled tight, especially if there were unresolved issues between the couple before.  Anxiety can strain an already tense relationship.  For many holding things together for themselves and their families, the marriage is not being prioritized.
During such difficult and uncertain times, couples need to feel as secure as possible to weather this storm together.  If your marriage feels disconnected or otherwise in jeopardy, find time to stabilize it as well as possible now, as it is the foundation under which your entire family rests.  One thing we know is things are uncertain, likely for months to come, with health, school impact and other consequences of this situation still unfolding.
Emotional safety and relationship health between the walls of your home are more important than ever,

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

I recently was invited to partner with Samantha Foster, President of the nonprofit organzation, Rethink Mental Health Incorporated.  She was looking for mental health advocates to help support her in her mission to encourage those struggling emotionally to talk about it and reach out for help.  Samantha hopes everyone will “rethink” the stigma associated with having mental health issues. At RethinkStigma.org, you can find COVID-19 support, articles, educational tools like the H.E.A.R.T. social and emotional learning program for schools and more.
With COVID-19, people have more need than maybe ever to process their stress, fear, worries and sadness around the continued losses and change in the way of life.  Sadness can ooze into clinical depression just like angst can morph into a full blown anxiety disorder.  There is nothing fundamentally “wrong” with you if you need help.
Here are a few words from Samantha herself on her journey:
“All my life I have experienced mental health issues in the form of my emotionally abusive upbringing, my previously unmanaged borderline personality disorder, and my battles with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. At the young age of 12 I was misdiagnosed with bipolar which led to 10 years of being prescribed numerous high-dosage medications that

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

We may be in it for the long haul with our unwelcome guest, COVID-19.  No one knows much about anything regarding how this pans out but what we do know if there has been a massive impact of families across the globe as they’ve done their best to adapt to the changes in school, work, finances, social routines, etc.
Kids and Anxiety
The mental health consequences are significant, not only for those managing anxiety, depression and discomfort with uncertainty but for kids who are less equipped to process the pandemic.  They have been pulled from their normal routines and change can already be challenging for children, in particular.  A normal response is anxiety which may be harder to detect or be misread.
Parent Stress and Working from Home / Home Schooling for Kids
A major challenge has been for parents trying to work at home while managing school work for their children.  Parents are wearing more hats than they ever imagined and weren’t trained for, sometimes causing overwhelm and conflict in families.  A clever company is now offering  virtual babysitting services to lighten the load and give parents breathing room to get to their own jobs or time for themselves.  Some children are no

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Elise Hu, NPR correspondent and Millennial (the “loneliest generation”), shares her need for connection during the global pandemic.  In her worry and loneliness she wrote letters to 50 strangers across America. 
A week into California’s stay-at-home order, when our now-familiar mix of anxious, lonely and restless feelings were still brand new, I craved connection. But not the kind available from a screen. Inside my wallet I found 10 stamps leftover from the holidays, and I put out a tweet: “Today I am going to write letters to send through the post … [Direct message] me your snail mail address if you want a random letter. But heads up I only have 10 stamps & they are of Santa.”
On the first day, I wrote to strangers in Arizona, California, Missouri, New York, Texas and Washington. The next day, I wrote to an 11-year-old who was born in Plano, Texas, where I grew up. I wrote to a USPS letter carrier from Minnesota who requested a letter for himself. The 10 stamps ran out quickly, so I restocked. By the time I was finished sending an analog paper letter to anyone who requested one, I’d written 50 letters to addresses in every state

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Summer is close.  The warm weather beckons.  He wants to get together with a big group for a BBQ in someone’s yard, not worrying so much about wearing masks or if it spills inside.  She feels strongly about maintaining 6 ft distance from others, wearing face coverings and staying outside.  He’s feeling caged with COVID-19 fatigue and missing social connections.  She feels a similar fatigue but is more focused on remaining cautious  around the virus for now.  They argue and it causes a rift.  He is frustrated.  She feels unvalidated and alone in her fear.
~~~
As a couple they’ve been pushing out socially, practicing social distancing, enjoying the contact.  Their children are also monitored, having limited and safe contact with only a few kids.  The parents have a medium size group over for a party outside in the yard during Memorial Day weekend, in theory meant to be “safe,” but as the alcohol flows it gets out of hand and caution is thrown to the wind.  One of their children bursts into tears observing the scene, scared his family will get the virus.  The parents not only feel shame about losing sight of their good intentions but mixed messages given to

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

Christine Fallabel, living with type 1 diabetes since 2000, shares her thoughts about managing this chronic disease during the pandemic, especially with concerns around it making her higher risk with COVID-19. 
These times are anything but normal; with the entire world tilted on the coronavirus axis, people and families are scrambling to assemble some new type of “normal.”  Add to that living with a chronic condition, and it can create a recipe for disaster. I’m often asked how I maintain a “normal” life (what is normal, anyway?) with type 1 diabetes, especially in the time of riots in the streets and a global pandemic on our hands, and the simple answer is:
I don’t. But, I try.
There are a few things that I’ve had to acknowledge as the months of 2020 (and our relative lack of normalcy) have unfolded, and I’ve developed three ways in which to cope with my situation. 
First, it’s OK to ask for help.
Living with a chronic condition puts me at a greater risk of serious complications should I contract COVID-19, and that has affected my whole family. Long gone are the days of endless summer BBQs and hanging out at the pool. I’ve had to ask for

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com

We’re suffering a collective trauma, but members of the Black community, who are already inherently raised alongside that trauma, are getting hit the hardest. While mental health resources have historically been out of reach for many Americans, a number of organizations make them accessible, affordable, and as simple as pressing a button. Inspired by Jesse Sparks, who shared a wonderfully comprehensive list at Healthyish, we’ve compiled a brief explainer on the services offered by different collectives.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness points out that only 30 percent of African Americans with mental illness receive yearly treatment compared to the national average of 43 percent, due in part to a combination of socioeconomic issues. And then there’s the lack of diversity in the mental health profession; according to the American Psychological Association, 86 percent of psychologists are white, while only 4 percent are black. This can make finding a therapist who understands the unique struggles of racial trauma even more difficult.
There’s a long way to go to alter systemic inequality in mental health treatment. As we fight for that, these mental health resources for the Black community hope to help the healing begin.
Accessible mental health resources for members of the Black community
1. THERAPY FOR BLACK GIRLS
Therapy for Black Girls

Originally published at http://loveandlifetoolbox.com