50% of marriages in America are ending in divorce, 9.4% of the population in Florida are unemployed, people are diagnosed with chronic illnesses every day, and the internet makes changes every second that contribute to the ongoing flow of new information we need to be aware of in order to thrive in this global world we are living in. Every person will experience some type of change on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis throughout a lifespan. Change of any kind can add a tremendous amount of stress to our lives. Adjusting to these changes is the key to maintaining strong emotional and mental well-being. When your normal life is disrupted with change, you may start to feel sad, confused, lonely, desperate, and angry. You may act out with behaviors that are unusual for you such as fighting, or dangerous driving. You may also experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression.
An Adjustment Disorder is a clinical diagnosis resulting from the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s).
Below are some of the normal and expected symptoms you may be experiencing from adjusting to some kind of change taking place in your life.
Shock / Denial / Anger / Sadness
Excessive Crying / Confusion / Depression
Anxiety / Fatigue / Irritability / Loneliness
Panic Attacks / Changes in Sleep Pattern or Weight
3 Tips for Adjusting to Change:
Realize Change is Normal: Allow yourself to feel what comes naturally, express how you are feeling with someone you trust, and realize you may be experiencing the grieving process due to the loss of your old familiar “normal” – this is a completely natural process. In time, you will adjust to your new “normal” and your feelings of anxiety and depression will decrease.
Expect the Future to be Different: Understanding that change brings about a different future will help you avoid being depressed and anxious while you are adjusting to the change. For example, you may have to seek new employment or move away from family, but you may find a more rewarding and better paying job, you may develop stronger bonds with family through communicating long distance because you will put more effort into the relationships – meaning that you will still have a career and family relationships, but they will be different in some way. Remember change is not necessarily always bad or good, but is always different. How we adjust and perceive the change is the key to being healthy mentally and emotionally.
Know When to Seek Help: If your symptoms continue for several months or you begin to realize that these symptoms are interfering with your normal everyday activities and relationships or ability to function, you may need to talk with a professional counselor to help you through this time of adjustment to develop healthy coping skills and a sense of independence to go forward.
Treatment for Adjustment Disorders is usually short term and solution focused. Counseling is an excellent way to assist you and your loved ones to adjust to any changes in a healthy and productive way.
There is Hope for Healing that produces Harmony through Counseling!
4 Tips for Talking to Children about Secrets
There is an estimated 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America. Experts believe 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted by the age of 18 with 9 years old being the average age of reported abuse. It is a sad fact that many adults seeking counseling for surviving sexual abuse have kept horrible secrets since childhood that have negatively impacted many, if not all areas of their life. When the physical aspect of the abuse stops, the survivor continues to be abused by the secrets they hold and the ongoing confusion and dysfunctional beliefs they must try to reconcile as they mature into adulthood.
A Secret is most often defined as “A piece of information that is known by only a small number of people and is deliberately not told to other people.” Children can be encourage to keep the horrible secrets by being manipulated with kindness, being convinced they are the ones doing wrong, or by being threatened with violence against them or someone they love.
Being Sexually Abused is a very dangerous secret to keep because it can be a cause of the survivor developing an eating disorder, abusing drugs and alcohol, suicidal thoughts, sexual addictions and destructive behavior, and becoming sexual abusers themselves.
Responsible adults must be proactive in helping to protect children from sexual abuse. The ugly truth is that the abuser is often the person whose role it is to protect the child. For this reason, parents, grandparents, extended family, teachers, pastors, youth leaders, and friends should consider talking openly with children to educate them about secrets.
4 Tips for Talking to Children About Secrets:
- There is no such thing as a “good secret”. Children can get confused if we try to explain the difference between good and bad secrets, so it is best to teach a child that if someone tells them to keep a secret, they should always tell you what the secret is. Building trust with a child is important so they feel safe and confident in telling their secret.
- Explain the difference between a secret and a surprise. For example, you can explain to a child that a surprise is when daddy tells you what mommy is getting on Friday for her birthday. It is okay to not tell mommy the surprise because she will know on Friday. A Surprise is something that everyone will know soon. A Secret is something that someone tells you not to tell anyone. No matter what the secret is, it is always okay to tell Daddy. This conversation is good to have multiple times with children and adolescents to reinforce the difference between a secret and a surprise, and to reinforce to them that they have a safe person they can trust to tell their secrets.
- Start Talking Soon and Often: Begin talking with your child at an early age and educating them about their body. Use opportunities that come up in every day conversation to address issues of being safe. Develop boundaries with them regarding people they know and don’t know. Discuss “what should we do” in various hypothetical situations, including ones that involve someone touching them inappropriately or talking to them inappropriately about sex. This will help them develop their critical thinking skills and be less likely to keep secrets.
- Always say, “I Believe You”. No matter what the secret is or who the secret is about, it is very important to be sure to always verbalize that you believe children of all ages when they tell you a secret. One of the ways abusers get children to keep secrets is by convincing them that no one will believe them. If someone who is being abused tells their secret and they are not believed, they most likely will continue to be abused and not tell anyone again.
When a child keeps the secret of abuse, regardless of the form of abuse, their body, mind, and spirit are violated and impacted negatively forever. Abuse can never be “forgotten”, but the survivor can heal from the horrific effects of physical and psychological damage and experience a life of health and harmony through counseling. The healing process can’t begin until the secret is told to someone who will believe them and take action to support them in seeking help.