Taking A Step...

Hopefully Helpful Musings

When the World Hurts

October 4, 2017

     I work with people who have experienced various kinds of trauma in my work with individuals and couples. Trauma is pervasive and has a lasting impact on how a person lives, feels, and interacts with others. Most of the time, these traumas are very personal and emotional. A person relives the experiences and deals with flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, and other significant issues that interrupt everyday life. But what happens when the world hurts?

     This past Sunday evening, most of you know that there was a tragedy of the deadliest shooting in modern American history. It was a terrible act that resulted in numerous deaths and excessive injuries to people at a concert. There was no reasoning or cause. There was no fight that broke out. There is no understanding. The Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, various school shootings, and other times when there was extreme injury and loss of life without rationale are similar examples from my own lifetime. These things happen so far away from us at times, yet they hit close to home. These events are traumas in our lives. Often, people struggle with similar issues in response to these events as they do with traumatic events that are more personal. People relive the experience. There are flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear, sadness, anxiety, and other manner of struggles that make these events more personal. What can be done when the trauma is far away but the impact is near?

     The first step is to acknowledge that these things have an impact even when we are physically far from the event. The fear and sadness reach much further than the bullets could have. It is easy to become overwhelmed and scared to the point of giving in to depression, isolation, and other struggles. If we don't recognize the impact, then we can never overcome these negative effects.

     The next step is to rely on others to help to provide support for one another. Depression, fear, isolation, and anxiety are fed by loneliness. They grow in the absence of love, relationship, and community. On the other hand, love, connection, and relationships can help a person to deal with emotions in a way that is healthy. It does not mean that there will be no negative emotions or issues. We will be saddened and fearful at these times, but these emotions may be lessened and healed through the comfort of others.

     When the world hurts, take the next step...

--Derek

Transition Is Always Hard

July 11, 2022

     First of all, it has been a very long time since I have posted. Because of that, I know that I do not have any faithful readers that have been disappointed or that will be excited to see a new post here, but I am hoping to use this opportunity to garner more readers in the future.

     I tell clients on a regular basis that transition is always hard. I often have clients come for an initial session in various states of transition, and it is not uncommon to hear that they are disappointed to realize that they are struggling mentally or emotionally with that particular transition. This can vary from obvious challenges like grief, loss of relationship, abuse, or other negative transitions to positive transitions like a new relationship, new pregnancy, job promotion or change, and the like. I am always amazed that even those going through a negative transition find it surprising that is is difficult for them to manage, and it is even more upsetting for those struggling with positive transition.

     Humans tend towards the status quo, so what is familiar is comfortable and desirable, even if it is not ideal. Often, even completely negative situations are preferable to remain unchanged when the other choice is change. That is why so many people stay in difficult or negative situations in spite of the pain and unnecessary difficulty. That is why any transition is difficult and will cause stress and anxiety in one form or another. Transition is always new and always hard.

     On that note, I am experiencing my own transition as I move to a new office space. This is particularly difficult because I am leaving a positive and comfortable environment that has provided me a safety net in many ways over the last five years. I have loved my time with Family Solutions Counseling, and I would recommend anyone to seek help with the wonderful clinicians in that office. I am also moving forward to what has the potential to be an exciting new opportunity branching out on my own. I am hopeful that this is as positive of an experience as the last five years have been, but there is unknown, which makes it hard. I hope that I can encourage others, too, to step out into the difficulty of change when there is a possibility of growth. Without challenge, growth is minimal if it is present at all.

     Transition is hard, but let's take a step...

--Derek

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