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Rock Maze



Anxiety can present in a variety of ways for us. Some people experience a generalized worrying, an inability to relax, a need for control over every detail, irritability or overthinking. Others have actual panic attacks, experiencing brief but intense episodes of extreme anxiety (heart racing, sweating, chest pain, hyperventilating, thoughts they are "dying" or losing control). Some people experience anxiety only with certain triggers or circumstances that can be debilitating (social anxiety, phobias, OCD). No matter how mild or severe your anxiety symptoms are, anxiety is treatable and skills learned in therapy can help you manage it. 


Trauma is technically defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, normally referring to the emotional shock it creates. While the more typical examples of trauma are widely known (car accidents, natural disasters, combat, physical or sexual abuse) other experiences can be traumatic as well, even if they don't meet the extreme criteria of the previous examples. Trauma can have long term consequences on our emotional wellbeing, sometimes altering core beliefs we have about ourselves or the world around us. Treating trauma involves identifying those altered beliefs and modifying them to be more helpful, in addition to learning to calm the nervous system that is responsible for physiological symptoms (muscle tension, stomach issues, restlessness). Many people feel high anxiety about beginning trauma work. The reality is it does require discomfort. However, the initial goal of trauma work is to create a sense of safety and security that can give you a sense of control over your emotions. 


Anger is a powerful emotion that can have negative consequences if we don't learn how to use it or process it effectively. Anger is a necessary emotion, letting us know when we have been hurt, when we have obstacles to an objective (ever been stopped at a red light when you're running late for work?). Anger gets us in trouble sometimes and can devastating effects on our relationships if we express it in an unhealthy way. Sometimes, anger is actually secondary to a primary emotion like disappointment or fear. Therapy can help you identify what is underlying your anger and how to express it in a way that doesn't damage yourself or your relationships. 


Depression or depressed mood can have a number of causes. Sometimes we know exactly what's making us depressed: a loss of a loved one, a divorce, or some other major life change. Sometimes we have no idea what's making us sad; which feels frustrating as we become convinced there must be a "why". Regardless of why we experience it, we can learn to manage it. There are some who shut down, withdraw, and abandon responsibilities in big or small ways. Others (more typically with grief) overwhelm themselves with work or activity; fearing that if they stop and rest, they will succumb to their sadness and never escape it. With therapy, you can learn to discern when to rest and when to push through and do more. As with so many things in life, there is a balance required. Gaining insight into what triggers depression can also help us learn to manage it. Depression can be cyclical for some people, causing them to feel defective or as though they have failed in some way. Neither of these things is true. The same way that people experience seasonal allergies at certain times of the year is also how some people experience depression. Again, no matter how or why you experience depression, we will work to learn how to be mindful of our sadness, recognize triggers for it, and identify a healthy coping plan that will give you freedom from the trap of depression. 

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