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Dealing with Anxiety…

When I was 6 years old, I decided to go to church on a beautiful sunny morning. As I made my way down the avenue which led to the church, I was approached by a pack of dogs. The dogs had a field day on my 6 year old body, I was rescued by an older lady who happened to be passing by on her way to church as well. Under the circumstances, I continued my journey to church accompanied by this wonderful person. We sat in the front row, I could hear people talking and felt them pointing at me, you see, I was bleeding and my clothes were torn and shredded.

Years later, in my 40s, as my wife and I were taking our afternoon walk, we were approached by a medium size dog. The dog was friendly and did not bark at us at all. However, I started to shake and hid behind my wife and started having a full panic attack. My body was shaking, I could not move and felt extremely scared that the dog was going to attack me. My wife looked at me and said, “ What is wrong with you? You are shaking. This is a friendly dog.”

Was it normal to feel nervous or anxious at the approaching dog or is this an anxiety disorder I need to work on?

There are instances where it is natural to feel nervous or anxious. People may experience anxiety in different ways. In this case, one my imply that phobias of certain objects and situations may lead to panic attacks. However, other forms of anxiety which may include social anxiety may bring only a mild discomfort.

The distinction between an anxiety disorder and just having normal anxiety is whether your thought are controlling your emotions causing a lot suffering and dysfunction. Are you staying up all night worrying about things you can not control? Do you fear that something is going to happen and as a result you are going to get hurt? In the case above, I felt the dog was going to attack me, when in reality, the dog just wanted to be friendly.

A form of anxiety call GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) is define as worrying excessively or constantly worrying. You may worry about your body image thinking that others are making fun of how you look. Parents may worry about their adolescent children thinking something is going to happen to them every time they go out, thus becoming over-protective parents.

There are times when anxiety completely takes over your mind. This is when you start thinking about one thing after another from the time you wake up, until you go to sleep. Sometimes, the thoughts may wake you up in the middle of the night keeping you from sleeping. One explanation is that part of your brain is thinking constantly, nonstop. Such thinking may include irrational judgments – ‘No one will ever love me’ ‘exaggerating difficulties like blowing things out of proportion’, and placing rigid, unrealistic demands on oneself and others.

This sort of negative language could lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, among other problems. If you are experiencing anxiety or any other form of mental health issues, get help soon.

In conclusion, I would like you to know that this week, my wife and I were taking our evening walk. I had gone ahead of my wife and had already cross the street when I was approached by 2 Labradors being walked by their owner. This time, I merely looked at the dogs and stated to the owner, “such beautiful dogs”, the owner replied, “thank you” and we went on our way.

Regardless of severity of the anxiety you experience, there are resources that help you deal with the emotional expects of anxiety. Call us at Positive Soul Holistic Therapy at 210-858-6127 for a free consultation .

Written by Juan F. Lira LPC-S

It’s okay to be selfish…

in fact, it is critical to our wellbeing. If you are that selfless person that puts others before yourself, I commend you, but I would like to ask if it ever leaves you feeling underappreciated or bitter that others take you for granted? If you answered yes, perhaps you subscribe to the idea selfishness is wrong or even a sin. What if the two ideas could co-exist? Here are some thoughts to balance the two:

  • Always fill your gas tank first. If your tank is empty, you cannot give anyone else a ride.
  • Never give to others at your own expense. Helping should not create a deficit in your own life.
  • No one should matter more than you do. Loving yourself enables you to give as well as receive love.
  • Relationships should not be one-sided. That goes against the definition of relating.
  • Teach or encourage others to help themselves. If you are the fixer, ask yourself – do I get something out of being needed? Then ask, If I keep fixing problems am I helping or hindering?
  • To truly be of service to others you must first value yourself.

If it is hard to say no or doing things for yourself stirs guilt, it will take some work on your part to shift that belief system. A season of self-reflection and growth might be in order. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others and in the end, you are not selfish at all.

“You have a good heart, and you think the good thing is to be guilty and kind, but it is not always kind to be gentle and soft, there is genuine violence that softness and kindness visit on people. Sometimes self-interested is the most generous thing you can be.”
Tony Kushner, Perestroika

 

By Glynis K. Fresia MS, LPC-Intern

Supervised by Juan F. Lira MA, CSC, LPC-S

a silent painful death…

Suicide…It’s unexpected, It’s shocking, It’s unbelievable, It’s confusing, It’s…It’s….UNREAL.  When it happens to you…when someone you love takes their life…It doesn’t make sense. When you’re on the other side…when you’re the one who takes their own life, it makes perfect sense.

When you’re the one who dies…you can’t see past the pain that you’re in. You surround yourself in sadness and feel physical pain. You don’t see any way out of it…you feel as though life will never change…you’re worthless…you’ve lost your purpose in life. You feel as though the only way to get rid of the pain is to end the pain. But when you end the pain…you don’t wake up…you stay in the darkness…the pain you felt…that darkness you felt….It has now spread.

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You don’t feel that pain again…your dead. But the people who love you…the people you’ve met only once…the people that knew you…and then all the other people that know those people feel the pain….and GUESS WHAT??? That PAIN never goes away!!! They get reminded when other people choose death, or even when other people meet death on accident…on your birthday…on their birthday…holidays…special occasions…songs….smells…sounds. The pain just stays there…It never goes away.

With that being said and that being known…If you’re able to see past the bubble of sadness  and darkness would you choose something different? Knowing that your sadness and darkness will be spread 100X what you felt by people who you didn’t even get to meet in your life time…would you choose something different?

I’m human I’ve experienced self harm…thoughts of wanting to disappear…thoughts of life without me…but decisions are different amongst all of us. The choice to FIGHT and keep going despite the pain…that’s a choice that can be hard to make when you can’t see past the pain.

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If you know someone who is stuck in darkness…sadness…someone who isolates themselves…someone who has mentioned death as an option…someone who has attempted death. Even someone who seems to be struggling in any way…encourage them to seek help. Together we can make a difference, by just showing we care…by asking questions…by being there in silence…we can make a change. Let’s help each other take control of our thoughts and emotions. Find a good therapist that can help…a therapist that you can connect with.

You don’t have to be alone in your darkness. Choose to seek help…choose to keep going…you have the opportunity to continue your story…you have the ability to rewrite your story. We want to help you! Suicide hotline:  1-800-273-8255

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Solitude Vs. Loneliness

I’ve been told that in order to love and find love/happiness you must experience life completely ALONE. You must learn about yourself, you must understand your own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors without the influence of another. You must detach from the world….To experience SOLITUDE is to find an inner strength, a beauty within yourself. SOLITUDE creates confidence within an individual.

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How can one achieve SOLITUDE? Many may attempt to experience the power of SOLITUDE….but the truth is…It’s hard to accomplish. Humans crave the affection and attention of others. We have been programmed to NEED others to feel comfort and happiness. Therefore, when we place ourselves in SOLITUDE we allow our programmed thoughts to control our emotions….which creates the feeling of loneliness.

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Loneliness can destroy us if we allow it to. We create LONELINESS by telling ourselves negative things…nobody wants me, people don’t understand me, I’ll never find someone to connect with, I have no friends, people reject me, I’m unloveable….It’s easy to bring ourselves down. It’s easy to trap ourselves and experience LONELINESS…It’s easy to fear SOLITUDE…It’s easy to find someone, anyone to try to stop the feeling of LONELINESS and find comfort in another.

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Now what do we do??? Embrace the feeling of LONELINESS…find another to ease the pain we feel? Or do we…fight, and struggle for a little while in order to experience the power of SOLITUDE?? Well there is no correct answer…you are the creator of your life…you have the power to decide the type of life you want to live.

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Just remember it’s been said…in order to find true happiness you must understand yourself, you must know who you are…without the influence of another. It’s up to you to decide how long you must stay in SOLITUDE or if you rather not experience SOLITUDE. I can tell you from experience my last 3 years of SOLITUDE has been the most exhilarating, painful, educational, strength finding, confidence building 3 years of my life. I will forever be grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained…I have confidence that it’ll lead to more GREATNESS. Make a choice…If you’re in need of direction…The Counselors at Positive Soul Holistic Therapy can guide you.

The Doors…

I don’t know about y’all but it seems just as things are going well and stress free a DOOR SLAMS in my face!!! Which causes me to jump into HUSTLE mode to get things accomplished.

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I’ve always been a firm believer in God’s plan. When DOORS close for me I tend to find one that opens easily and change my path. I used to completely freak out and go into panic mode…Which still happens at first. Then I come to my senses, and remember things happen for a reason, people come in and out of my life for a reason, people change their minds, and lie for a reason. Everything I encounter and experience is part of my plan.

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Although I have no idea what God has in store for me…I do know that he’ll never fail me. Even through tragedy he will stand by my side. I must continue to have faith and believe.  Karma is real and I believe those who do wrong, focus on the dollar, or listen to others instead of following their heart…will have their payback in time. BTW…I don’t wish negativity upon anyone…I let Karma take on that responsibility!! Now its Time to HUSTLE!! Look out for great things coming your way.

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What’s so SCARY about Mental Illness??

Throughout history the topic of mental illness has been almost taboo. They used to burn crazy women “witches” at the stake, and give the misunderstood or those who were out of control a lobotomy. Even to this day some view mental illness as a disease or something you won’t be able to overcome. Families will shut out members that they don’t understand or can’t stand to be around….Friends will do the same…Doctors will pump children with large amounts of medication, before they are even old enough to develop skills to help themselves get out of the chaos their minds have put them in…Teachers will label children as the ”BAD” kid.

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So, what happens to the person or the child who is silently struggling…the misunderstood that get rejected…???

Why has society developed such a negative stigma in regards to mental health? Why is our first instinct to give medication? Why is it that when someone says they are seeing a counselor we think, oh that person must be crazy? Why do people refuse to seek help? Why do people give up on life?

So many questions!!! I believe the answer is EDUCATION! We must teach society about mental health and the options to treatment. We must teach that mental illness is not a death sentence, that mental illness is not a weakness, that mental illness is treatable.

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There are many movements and organizations attempting to shed some light on the negativity attached to mental health. As a Counselor I try to open the eyes of others through blogging about my own mental health struggles, I share with clients, I support mental health and will educate every chance I get. You never know when your words can help someone who struggles.

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Counseling: I have been a counselor for nine years. I learn something new everyday. My clients teach me and I teach them. We work together to find a comfortable balance for their daily lives. Counseling can be empowering!! As a counselor I don’t tell you how to live your life, I don’t prescribe medication, I don’t put unrealistic expectations on you, I don’t judge you…I am HUMAN just like you!! I have made bad decisions, I have found myself not wanting to work or get out of bed…just like you. I make sure to make that clear to every client I encounter. Now, not all counselors are created equal, so shop around to find a good fit.

Medication: I have had experiences with medication personally and through observation of others close to me. It can be scary, but it can also be helpful. Yes there are weird side effects such as night sweats, weight gain/loss, extra anxiety, vivid weird dreams, cotton mouth…just to name a few…but they can also lower your anxiety levels over time, allow you to see in color again, and overall make you feel so much better as you work on healing yourself. Medication doesn’t have to be permanent unless you feel it’s necessary…there are other natural options to help supplement.

Crazy talk: Just because you see a counselor or take meds doesn’t mean you are CRAZY!!! To tell you the truth…..we are all a little CRAZY! No one is PERFECT!! PERFECTION doesn’t exist!! We all have brains, and emotions…therefore we are all effected by our daily encounters. Some have great coping skills and others don’t. Don’t allow others opinions or actions towards you…make you think you are any less of a person. They are most likely suffering themselves from something they are too afraid to reveal. Embrace that inner CRAZINESS!!!

Weakness: To be able to admit to yourself and others that you need help takes STRENGTH!! You are not WEAK when you cry or ask for help…You are BRAVE and STRONG…and SMART!!! You don’t want to give up, feel pain, confusion, or loss…you want to LEARN and CHANGE it!!! Seeing a counselor or being diagnosed doesn’t make you WEAK!! Empower yourself and make positive changes in your life. Don’t allow the diagnosis or the emotions to take control…They are just labels and feelings…you are a HUMAN BEING…your existence is a miracle in its self. You are more powerful and important than any problem you encounter.

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Now the real question…To GIVE UP & EXCLUDE…or To LEARN, EDUCATE, & GROW??

It’s easy to stay depressed, reject, or to suffer…NO ONE wants it…but it’s easy and comfortable. It’s uncomfortable to allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask questions or get help. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. A moment of vulnerability can change your life or the life of another. Educate yourself so you can educate others. Mental illness doesn’t have to be taboo or a negative thing. We can save those who feel they can’t go on..those who have lost hope… You don’t have to suffer silently.  We have the ability to create a POSITIVE image of Mental Health. Ask questions…get help…educate yourself and GROW. Don’t let Mental Illness be scary.

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The Fear of Fear

Throughout my life I have been crippled by fear. I only recently discovered this. I was comfortable with what life was. I always dreamed of more, but was too SCARED to make changes or take risks. I didn’t push myself any more than what was necessary. Life was fine, I was good. I was a school counselor making 65,000 a year, had insurance, a home, a husband, a supportive family. Even with all that I wasn’t happy. I got a divorce, I leased my home to a family, I quit my job. I was seeking happiness everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found.

Until…one day I decided to take a risk and face my fears. I was afraid of failure…I was afraid of FEAR itself. FEAR is a funny thing. You can be so FEARFUL of FEAR that you continue to live the life you have. I decided I would embrace my FEARS, and failures and learn from them.

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FEAR#1

fear of being alone and not having a family: truth is…this no longer frightens me. I’m 34 no prospects and no children. I’ve decided to love myself and be in a relationship with me. It’s the greatest love story I’ve ever been part of. Children…well I’m God Mother to three wonderful little girls, and they brighten my day every encounter we have….and there’s always artificial insemination and adoption.

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fear of not being successful: This haunts me daily….because this haunts me daily I choose to make BIG goals for myself and make sure I NEVER fail. I started a business and decided to apply to graduate school. It’s time people start referring to me as DR. LIRA.

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fear of being by myself in public: I used to never go anywhere alone. I was scared of people approaching me or scared of speaking to others or scared of what people might think about me. Had to kill this one slowly…started with going to the movies, then a bar where I knew someone who was working there, then large venue concerts, then PARIS!! Learning to be comfortable alone was best experience I could’ve ever given to myself. Wandering  the streets of Paris alone not knowing where I was, or where I was going was the most liberating experience. I grew tremendously from it, and became evern strongrer.

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FEAR#4

fear of losing everything: For years I’ve struggled with spending. I blame my ADHD brain. I tend to forget what I spend or have too much faith that no matter what…things will always be fine….even if I’m negative $1,000 in my account. I’ve learned that I can’t change the decisions I make, but I can be more wise about them. I’ve learned to create a budget and stick to it. Although recently it’s become a problem again due to this new business. Time to redo my budget. Because being in the negative is never a great experience.

Despite my many FEARS I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to LIVE then to be afraid. I try not to let the FEAR continue get to me, but I’m human. Daily I still FEAR FAILURE. So, I choose everyday to Get up and get things done. I keep myself extremely BUSY.  I make lists to make sure I accomplish even the smallest tasks. Sometimes I accomplish my entire list for the week and sometimes I move it to the next week. BUT I GET IT DONE!!!

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FEAR feeds ANXIETY don’t allow yourself to get stuck in your FEAR. Embrace it and choose to live freely. When you feel the FEAR face it and change that fear into a PASSION….then use that PASSION to CONQUER your FEAR.

When I quit my job in the school district I was scared, but had no choice but to succeed. I took my teacher retirement and invested it all into one of my dreams that I always FEARED. Daily I ask myself “what are you doing?” and “is it worth it?”  and “Is this even going to work or be successful?”…I even think about quitting and going back to working for someone, or even going back to the schools…but then I tell myself you can’t just put 9 years of being in education to waste!!! You don’t do well with working for others!!! YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING!! So then I create a new mini goal and get it ACCOMPLISHED! I CHANGE MY FEARS INTO A PASSIONS!!!

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Learning to love myself, learning to be comfortable alone, and experiencing LIFE has taught me it’s ok to be FEARFUL as long as you don’t allow it effect the person you could become. I used to let my FEAR guide me. Now I use my FEAR to motivate me.

You always have a choice in life…choose wisely. Use your FEARs towards MOTIVATION. Ask yourself what is it that you FEAR. Write it down, then change your thoughts about it and change that FEAR into a PASSION. USE it, ACCOMPLISH it, MAKE things HAPPEN. Dont allow your FEARS to take control or cripple you. Rememeber….You are in control of you. IMG_0822

 

Friendships they can build you up, or they can break you down….

I have been an LPC for 4 years and a CSC for 8 years. As a Middle School Counselor I ran into many issues in regards to friendships. As an LPC I see adults, young adults, and children who have problems with friendships. I have even personally struggled keeping friends and making friends throughout my years. 

Friendships are difficult to make and to maintain. They are a lot like romantic relationships you must communicate, and compromise to make them work. Many are one sided. One individual will give more then the other. Some may have big mouths, or no filter.


 I’m very opinionated, free spirited, and outgoing. For those who don’t understand me they will take things personally, become offended or even envious. I end up falling out of touch with most. The few friends I’ve kept know me well. They know I’m loyal, and I will move mountains for them. They are who I choose to keep in my life and build with. 

As a young person, I didn’t understand that when people back away from me it’s not about me, but has everything to do with a weakness they have. I always thought it was my fault and wanted to fix it. Even to this day I try to fix my friendships that start to drift. I almost need proof that I did everything I could. Once I get the proof I need…I let them go. 


I may know this now, but…way back, when I lost friendships and relationships I acted like it was the end of my world. I blamed myself and tortured myself by inflicting emotional pain. I would isolate myself and tell myself no one likes me, no one wants to be around me, and I BELIEVED it!!! Aye!!! Such self-destructive behavior!!! I see a lot of these behaviors in my clients and past students.  

When others choose not be in your life it’s their loss and their problem! It was nothing you did.!! The ones that stay are the ones that matter. Focus on those relationships; not the ones that decided to walk away from you; they don’t matter!!!


Remind yourself daily:

I am worthy, I am loved, I am needed, I have people who love and care for me, I didn’t do anything wrong. 

If you are one of those people who back away from people you once had connections with…ask yourself why? Why don’t I need them any more? Why did I need them before?What are my thoughts about that person? 

Friendships can be beautiful when you allow them to be. When you connect with like minded people…When you share common life goals…When they become part of your family…Friendships can be productive and inspiring. 


Finding friendships are difficult especially if you’re an introvert, naturally anxious, and an antisocial person…Like myself at times….I tend to connect with people through others. I will connect with people I see daily such as co-workers and branch out from there. Other ways you can make friendships is by being brave and joining different groups of people that are like minded. Church groups, social networking groups, meet up groups, yoga, the gym, workout groups, cross fit, dating sites. 
Don’t change who you are for another person. You may have had great memories together….You may have experienced similar life journeys…You may have thought you’d be friends forever…You may have accepted them completely. However, If they can’t accept you…let them go.

Friends come and friends go…but positivity, self love, and self acceptance is rare. Find it and you will find your happiness.  

The Bullet Journal

I recently heard about the Bullet Journal while speaking to a young client a few weeks ago. We were talking about how keeping track of details, and doing research can ease her overwhelming thoughts. I didn’t understand exactly what it was…she explained, and stated she was going to be adding it to her daily routine to ease her anxiety. I absolutely loved the concept!!

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When I was younger, out of control ADHD, constant streaming thoughts, pre-medication, pre-diagnosed, pre-amazing OILS…I would keep myself sane by writing in my planner. I color coded, and stickie noted everything!!! Once I graduated and got comfortable with my career my brain decided it needed a break. I stopped color coding and decided to stickie note everything! I had post its EVERyWHeRE!! Which if you can imagine became extremely confusing!

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My life was a MESS!! I was forgetting everything! So I decided to start using my iPad and sync it to my iPhone! I started setting reminder alarms, and keeping track of life electronically. However, recently with my new chaos and getting myself organized the electronic record keeping isn’t cutting it. I need to get my life together!!!

I decided I would try this Bullet Journal technique. Now I just have to start a new routine. That’s always the challenge with me. I always start so strong…then lose intrest in what I’m doing. I’m so easily strayed from productive, positive life activities. I’m a CLASSIC Self-Sabotager! BTW…My weight loss has been put on hold due to my Self-Sabotaging behaviors. I will put it in my new Bullet Journal to get that weight loss challenge started again soon!! Until then I will jump back on my weight gain emotional rollercoaster. I just have trouble saying no to bacon cheese burgers and chicken strips….

Click for Bullet Journal Information

CHecK it out and GivE it a trY!!

How Millennial are you?

Everywhere you turn these days you will hear something about a “Millennial.” What, or who is a Millennial? Google that ASAP!!  You might hear that the Millennial only cares about social media, selfies, texting, and are completely about themselves(Selfish). Well all of that is true….But not all of them are the same. The more, and more I heard the term Millennial…of course I became curious. Am I a Millennial? But WAIT if I’m a Millennial…How do I have a job, mortgage, car, ambitions? I don’t get it!!!??? Well of course I had to find out…So I took an online quiz…BTW (by the way) that is another thing that a Millennial does. Quizzes have all the answers, and so does GOOGLE!!!

Take Millennial Quiz

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Well turns out I’m more Millennial then I thought I was. I was born in 1984, so I fall right on the edge of the Millennial generation. I use social media daily to advance my career, and attempt to reach others by telling my story. I mostly text, because it’s easier. But it is nice to get a phone call, or video call from someone I actually want to talk to. It makes me feel extra special.

Yes I sleep with my phone on  my nightstand, but it’s on Do Not disturb. I use my phone every night not only to Snap!…But I also use it to sleep. I’m lost with my meditation app Calm. I need my nature sounds!!! Oh and oils!! I’m a firm believer in natural healing, and positive thought. I use my phone for many things such as journaling using Daylio, yoga using Down Dog, Facebook for promoting myself, and business. So, yes I might be attached to my phone, but I know when to put it down, and be in the moment with others. I promote apps, and oils with my clients daily to help them heal. FYI it works!!! I have an oil for anything, and Yes I have an app for it too!!

Why is it that society lumps all Millennials in one category? That just makes no sense. Yes there are those who are unambitious, lazy, no school, no job, stuck to their phones & not for advancement, selfie kings and queens that take pics to capture themselves, and make themselves look desirable, because they don’t feel desirable…but then there are those who use technology to get ahead or heal…the ones who bought their first house at 24 or younger, and bought their first car at 17. The motivated ones, the ones that have a plan. Yes I’m a selfie queen myself…GUILTY…but there is tons more to me then what you see in my selfie. I refuse to be defined by my generation, or my FABULOUS selfie. img_4593

So how Millennial are you??? Are you motivated? Unmotivated? Whoever? or Whatever you are…You can do whatever you put your mind to….But how do you figure out what you want to do??? That’s the Million dollar question….It took me years to figure it out. Now that I have figured it out; I’m not stopping until I conquer the WORLD!! But…What does someone, who has no clue do??

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First: Figure out what you like…Hobby? Interest? What are you good at?

Second: Set goal…Not a five year goal…But a NOW goal…One that can be accomplished in 3-6 months.

Third: Make a Plan, take your planner out, and write it down!!! If it’s not on paper it doesn’t happen, or exist!

Fourth: Do your research, and accomplish it!!! GOOGLE is your friend!!!

Nothing happens without a plan, and some action. So Millennial or not…Ambitious or not…Have a clue or not…Make things happen for yourself. Don’t let people criticize you based on their perception of who they think you may be. Prove them wrong…Prove them ALL wrong, and do something AMAZING!!

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