All the Ways We’ll Beat the Winter Blues This Season – The New York Times

When you live in Omaha, NE – or the surrounding area – dealing with the gloom of an overcast sky or the drama of dodging the potholes on the roadway are a part of life we all understand. And, mostly, we deal with it, knowing that milder weather, sunnier days, and repaired streets will all come our way in due time.

However, some of us suffer a lot more. Not exactly hibernation – but a withdrawal from life. A deeper sadness, a lack of energy, maybe even a sense of despondency that weighs heavily on us – and our relationships. The question, then: what to do?

The linked article will bring lots of ideas – I especially like the idea of bringing home a plant. Maybe that’s why, every year, area events like the Cathedral Flower Show and the Omaha Home and Garden Expo are so well-attended. Can’t make those? Lauritzen Garden or the Doorly Zoo will fill the gap nicely.

Need more help with depression? Please give me a call – let’s talk it over.

Source: All the Ways We’ll Beat the Winter Blues This Season – The New York Times 

Your job is killing you!

Danish workers have a single payer health system, so it’s easy to track how people use their benefits. This study appears to confirm the link between a rise in work-related stress and the negative impact on our health.

More work and pressure to perform beyond certain levels leads to an increase in depression, anxiety — and eventually, an increase in sick days taken by the overworked.

The takeaway? If you run a company, you risk harming the people you depend on to run your business and to keep your customers happy. If you are an employee, be thoughtful about how you respond to someone else’s appeal for you to work faster, or more intensely. Think carefully about the toll that overtime, or extra shifts, make on your overall well-being.

It may be better to take a pass on that.

For all the details of the Danish study, click the link below.

Source: The clearest proof yet that your job is killing you – The Washington Post

OCD Doesn’t Always Strike Alone

OCD’s Companions

The link will take you to an article on PsychCentral. The author makes the important point that rarely do we suffer in a unidimensional manner. Problems can show up in clusters.

That’s why it’s so important to get a thorough assessment that guides treatment. Make sure you tell your therapist all the symptoms you are experiencing and how they impact on your functioning.

Clusters are pretty common!
Clusters are pretty common!









Source: OCD Doesn’t Always Strike Alone | Overcoming OCD


Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health – SAMHSA News

Journalism resource guide – from The Carter Center

Journalists will find this new resource a helpful tool when reporting stories that include individuals with behavioral health concerns. The Carter Center published the Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health that aims to increase accurate reporting of behavioral health issues, decrease stereotypes, and help reporters better understand mental health and substance use issues. The guide …

Source: Journalism Resource Guide on Behavioral Health – SAMHSA News

Danger – or trouble – with self-diagnosis

The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis

You can, sometimes, feel better about your situation by merely reading a couple articles or tip summaries on the web. You might pick up a meditation strategy from YouTube. But, what if you try a few things and get stuck.

Talk to your personal physician, call your EAP, turn over your insurance card and call customer service for referral ideas near you – there are many choices.

If you get stuck, call me and I’ll help you locate the service you need – there’s tons of talent in Omaha!

Hypnosis is not always your best next move

I got a call today

Well, actually, my assistant took the call. She’s worked with me for over 10 years, so her ear is tuned to hear the questions of callers with great sensitivity – and that sometimes results in the call being forwarded on to me. It gives me a chance to answer questions, ask a few myself, and to sort out whether the potential client’s needs match my skills. 
My assistant is so good at this that she typically sets up most callers with an appointment – but never hesitates to hold off on that with callers whose questions fall outside the typical. The calls that grab her attention are those revolving around the use of clinical hypnosis.
The caller today wondered if I might help her with memory and recall for her college classses.
Not a bad idea, in general – but sometimes the details are critical. The caller explained that she’d been a good student in the past – but she was struggling to study and recall anything lately. She’s decided that it was time to make a career change, and had enrolled in a local school to prepare for a career in healthcare. But, why – she wondered – can I not remember anything that I read, even immediately after closing the book. “I study for long stretches of time, take copious notes in class, and read and highlight all my assignments as they are given. So, why am I nearly flunking out at this point? Can hypnosis help me?”
My caller was especially eager to know – as she had no insurance that would be applied to the cost of services. She was, it seemed, asking for a bit of a guarantee. Given the circumstances, perhaps I would have done the same thing!
Could I ask a few questions? Sure, she said.

Critical details

I’m going to leave several details out, so as to not inadvertently reveal too much identifying information. Suffice it to say that this is a busy, stressed young parent with an extra helping or two of personal responsibility. She’s tapped into appropriate community resources, but she is tired all the time. And depressed. And anxious enough at bedtime that it’s hard to sleep.
She’s been taking a standard dose of an anti-depressant, and a tranquilizer at bedtime to get to sleep. A quick inquiry of a medication database on my smartphone revealed that one of the top side-effects of the anti-depressant is “somnolence” – a state of near sleep, by one definition. Oh, and I was told at a conference that tranquilizers of certain classes [benzodiazepines] have a potential of interfering with a person getting into deep stages of sleep. You can sleep – but not get a quality rest.

What to do

I suggested that the caller save her money, but make an appointment with the doc who prescribes that anti-depressant. He needs to know how you’re functioning, I said. Maybe re-think the medication. Or, refer you on to a psychiatrist who can sort this out with his or her specialized knowledge base.

Fundamentally, this is an example of how a well-intended solution to a legitimate problem gets applied – and then goes off-trail over time. Unrelenting stress leads to depletion and poor functioning. We receive anti-depressants and tranquilizers. Sometimes, these medications are life savers – they can work for some without degrading our awareness or ability to sleep well. But that is not always the case. My caller was ready to add another intervention on top of the others already in place. Not necessarily the best idea, I thought.

Hypnosis would have potentially helped with anxiety reduction, but not really gotten to the most important aspects of this person’s situation. In this situation, it seemed likely that the caller would only be coming for a session or two – and that would have yielded another setback for her. Going back to her doc, and sorting out the treatment that is already under way is sometimes the best move.

Need more information about hypnosis?

Great! Here’s a good place to start – the public section of the website from the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis – where much of my training originates.
More questions? Give me a call at 402-334-1122

Melissa Van Rossum: The Extraordinary Power of Forgiveness

The power of forgiveness is the release of resources you provide for yourself.

Melissa Van Rossum: The Extraordinary Power of Forgiveness:
I was talking recently with Stephanie, a friend who had suffered several intense setbacks. She discovered her longtime boyfriend had been unfaithful and that he had lied to her about several financial dealings as well as his past. A former employee who needed money filed a frivolous lawsuit in hopes of cashing in. And a longtime, trusted friend betrayed an important confidence. All of that on top of the tail end of a difficult recession left her feeling hopeless.

“I feel… so… angry,” she confided to me over dinner one evening. “In the past I’ve always been able to move through these things and move on. But maybe I’ve been through too much these past few years. Now I’m hardening in ways I don’t want to. And honestly? I think I’ve completely lost my capacity to trust. How do you move forward when the past has you so anchored?”


“Forgiveness really is the gift you give yourself, isn’t it?”

“It really is.”

For more by Melissa Van Rossum, click here.

For more on forgiveness, click here.