Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19

Mental Health

As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic it is vital that we pay attention to mental health. Over the course of the pandemic, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, sadness, grief and depression have become common place. Not only are individuals worried for their physical health and that of their loved ones, they may also be experiencing financial instability, isolation due to social distancing and quarantine measures, or perhaps a sense of hopelessness. It is important to make some adaptations while we hope for brighter and safer days ahead. Doing so can greatly improve and protect your mental health.

Tips For Improving and Maintaining Mental Health During Covid-19:

Ask for Help and Seek Mental Health Support

It can be really challenging to reach out and ask for help when you are struggling. While it may not feel comfortable, asking for help when you need it is the most important tip on this list. Asking for help can start small with things like asking a partner to assist you with a task around the house when you feel overwhelmed. Asking for help may also mean contacting a mental health professional for professional mental health support.

Most importantly, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, or fear that you may, ask for help by utilizing mental health crisis lines and support networks. Here are some crisis lines that you can keep handy:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1- 800-799-7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  • The Trevor Project: (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ individuals under the age of 25.) 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline- (Provides treatment referral and information for individuals and families facing mental health or substance use disorders.) 1-800-662-4357
National Helpline
National Helpline

Stay Social

Social distancing measures, while working to keep us safe and protect our health, have left many people feeling isolated and lonely. It is important to maintain social contact as best as you can during this time. Here are some ideas for staying socially connected, while socially distanced:

  • Talk to your friends and family and determine a day and time that is open for everyone. Schedule a weekly video chat to catch up.
  • Find online virtual gaming spaces where you can play games with your friends or family online together. Set up a weekly game night.
  • Where you would normally text, try calling where you are able to instead, so you can have more of a socially connected conversation.
  • Have themed video call “parties”. You and your friends or family can dress up according to the theme, and show off your outfits during the video call. This can be a fun way to get out of your typical routine and comfort zone!

Limit News Intake

It is important to stay informed during this time, to make sure you are taking the proper steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy. However, the constant influx of COVID-19 news can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. Limit your news intake if possible by setting a designated amount of time per day, perhaps one hour, to catch up on news. Receive your COVID-19 important news and updates directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, as opposed to watching lengthy news presentations. Limiting your news intake, can be really beneficial to your mental health.

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Self Esteem and Teens

Happy Face

Despite the brooding and the mood swings a teenagers’ self esteem is more fragile than you think.  There are a great many factors that can undermine a teenager’s ability to build their self confidence. For example, factors ranging from academic issues, poor social interaction and dealing with developing one’s own unique identity while trying to avoid the physical awkwardness that puberty brings.  The constant internal struggles they face on daily basis are for us, hopefully, a distant memory because we’ve forgotten what it was like to be their age.

Peers and Self Esteem

Their social circle has a great deal of influence in their lives with the approval and feedback from peers often validating how they feel about themselves, factors which they allow to determine their self esteem and self worth.  It’s incredible how much impact this can really have in the life of your teenager.  This is especially challenging because adolescents peers are not always known for their tact and empathy. Thus, this is why it’s of the utmost importance for your teenagers self esteem to be nurtured and reinforced from within the home.  This will strengthen them to deal with the pitfalls of life out there in the big wide world.  This can come from giving praise and attention from family members, in particular, parents.

It Starts at Home

ego
Family Self Esteem

Positive and nurturing reinforcement in the home is the first step to repairing your teenagers self woth. Never underestimate the power of love. Just because your teenager knows that you love them doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show it. However, such an approach acts as an effective hedge against the factors that erode your teenager’s self esteem.  While it is impossible to change the climate teenagers must face, your teenager’s self esteem will improve with various positive strategies designed to counteract the factors dragging them down.

Model the Change You Wish to See

Another effective tool in the building of your teenagers self esteem is to model good self esteem.  By setting an example of healthy self esteem and respect for yourself will instill the same values in your teenager.  Children learn by example, they tend to imitate what their parents do. This includes both the positive and the negative. However, being a good role model can often be the most powerful lesson of all because you teach by doing.  The next time you get upset, be mindful of your words and your actions. Additionally, be sure to keep an optimistic outlook on life. This outlook helps to create resilience. Your work, will influence how they will manage trials in their adult life.  Also, don’t forget that your children are always watching what you do.

Self Care Planner

 

Self Esteem Planner

Teamwork and Self Esteem

Allow your teenager to be a contributing member of your family.  Give jobs or chores to perform. Whether it’s the dishes or taking out the garbage, a job helps to cement their role within the family unit. Achieving a sense of belonging and importance is a vital building block in the building of their self esteem.

Conclusion

These are just a few tips that can help build up and strengthen your teenagers self esteem but if you’d like more information, sign up for or newsletter. Also, make an appointment with a coach or therapist.

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Polyamory Pregnancy: 5 Questions to Ask

Polyamory and Pregnancy

Pregnancy in poly relationships (polyamorous) can be a time of great joy or a time of huge stress. Asking certain questions before and during the pregnancy are important. Displayed below are 5 key questions to ask during this important conversation.

Do you want children?

This question can start the conversation off to a good start. Some partners may not want or wish to have children or more children. It can also be a deal breaker or hard limit for some individuals especially in poly relationships.

What happens if one of us gets pregnant?

Just discussing the possible pregnancy plan means one or both of you have thought of the risks and rewards of the major life event. Even if the answer is, ” I do not know.”

What happens if one of our Metamours becomes pregnant?

In polyamory, Metamours are your partner’s partner. Try to put yourself in their shoes by imagining yourself as the primary in a relationship. Now examine your feelings as you imagine your nesting partner has impregnated someone else. What support would you need? How involved does your partner on being during this pregnancy? What if your metamour wants to terminate the pregnancy? There is a ton of feelings to unpack here.

How would you feel if I got pregnant by my other partner?

Pregnancy can happen to almost anyone with a vagina. What if you are the one to get pregnant? Think about how life would change for you and your relationships if you became pregnant. Bringing a child into this world will change everyones’ life. Responsibilities and priorites will change. How would those change for you?

Who has a role during and after the pregnancy in polyamory?

Depending on the Polycule, only the bio parents might take parental roles, or everyone might, or there may be an in between. Before discussing anything else, the bio parents need to decide if they are willing for others to have a parental role.  Legally, other partners have only what rights and responsibilities the parents give them. So, if the bio parents are not willing to have other people take a parental role, that’s the way it is going to be. The only exception is when the bio parents are not cohabitating with each other, and one or both are cohabitating with other partners. It then turns into something similar as step parents. The US legal system only recognize the bio parents and they under cohabitating significant others (whether married or not) will take on a parental role.

New relationships that form from pregnancy in polyamory

Pregnancy and adding a child to the Polycule will definitely have an impact on all relationships involved in many ways. Pregnancy adds another relationship to the group even before the child is born. For Example, if three people are involved in a Polycule there are actually four relationships: A+B, B+C, C+A, and the relationship between all three together.

A Polycule with four people has eleven relationships built in and so on and so forth. Some relationships may be minor and unnoticed most of the time, and they are all there and anyone of them may unexpectedly become important.

When someone in the relationship becomes pregnant there are all these existing relationships plus new relationships with the pregnancy itself. These develop from the reactions and feelings of each individual has towards the pregnancy. It is safe to say individuals can treat the pregnancy as if adding a new person to the Polycule. Include medical issues, hormonal mood swings, financial upheaval die to one person needing to leave their job at least temporarily near the end of the pregnancy (if the bio mom is employed), household disruption due to someone no longer being able to bend over, push a vaccum, or stand on their feet for long (If the bio mom is a big part of managing the home), frequent doctor visits, preparing your home for a new baby, and acquiring everything a baby needs.

The reality is the pregnancy becomes the center of life in any relationship. This change in focus changes a lot of factors. For example, attention and time are the two factors that impaired significantly with a new baby. It is a very different kind of NRE, and it will not hit everyone at once.

If you would like to know more about pregnancy and polyamory watch Therapist Nicki’s presentation from 2019’s Atlanta Poly Weekend panel.

Do You Struggle with Anger Management?

Anger is a normal part of the human emotional experience. However, sometimes how we manage our anger can be destructive. Most people learn how to deal with anger as a normal part of growing up based. Our parents model and teach us these tools. Unfortunately not all people, were modeled or taught healthy anger management tools. Without good emotional regulation tools, anger can become overwhelming.

Own Your Anger

The first important step in managing your emotions, is recognizing that you need some in the first place. This is often the hardest step in anger management recovery. Shame and guilt are negative feelings that are often associated with poor emotion management. It is important not to get caught up in these feelings. Shame can a huge barrier to anger recovery. Accepting personal responsibility and taking steps towards recovery is the best solution to preventing further pain.

Think carefully about your life.

  • Do you often shout at and hurt the ones you love the most?
  • Do your loved ones try to avoid you, maybe leaving the room whenever you enter or going to their bedrooms when you get in from work?
  • Have you had problems at work because you were unable to control your emotions?
  • Have you ever had the police involved in your anger management?

If any of these situations sound familiar, then the chances are that you do have an emotional regulation problem.

Quick And Dirty Tools

There are a number of techniques available which can help you to take control control your frustration. Emotion management can be as simple as acknowledging the problem and mastering some simple emotional regulation techniques. Some of these tools include counting until calm, squeezing ice in your fists and exercise. However, in more severe cases it will be necessary to attend therapy, hire an emotion coach, or attend psycho-educational workshops.

The Next Step Is Yours

If you have a problem, then you owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to seek help.  Getting help for your anger management challenges can lead to a much happier life for both you and your family. 

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Sara Mercier-Kennedy B.S./B.A.

M.S. Clinical Mental Health Intern

Graduated from Colorado State University with a double Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology, where I focused on Gender Identity formation, and LGBTQIA+ issues.  Specifically those in relation to the Transgender population and access to health-care and mental health counseling by knowledgeable counseling professionals and doctors.  I then went on to my Master’s at Walden University where I continued this track and become actively involved in the ACA’s ALGBTIC division and served on a the committee for making language in documentation more accessible and gender neutral.  I picked up a specialization in Crisis & Trauma after working for Hospice and volunteering at the local LGBT center’s around my hometown and university.  Eventually I made my way to Florida from Colorado.  Gamer/Neet/Anime Weeb and all around enjoyer of life’s little self-care routines.

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Supernatural Counseling: Wendigo S1 Ep2

By Therapist Nicki

 In this episode, Sam and Dean follow the coordinates left in their father’s journal and land in the middle of the woods where they investigate the disappearance of several campers. The two brothers soon learn they are dealing with a Wendigo, a creature made famous in Native American legends. A Wendigo is a former human whose cannibalism has transformed him into a creature with superhuman strength and speed that feasts on human flesh. If you watch closely you will see several mental health elements at play especially grief processing.

To start off with there is Sam’s nightmare where is he visiting Jessica’s grave and a hand comes out of the ground to grab him. Nightmares are common in traumatic experiences and so is guilt. Sam is displacing his guilt for Jessica’s death. This can be seen in survivor’s guilt where they take the blame onto themselves instead of placing it where it belongs. Sam has chosen to blame himself for Jessica’s death and his reasoning is he brought her unknowingly into the hunting life. The guilt and anger of her death fuels Sam’s actions in this episode. Dean is also noticing something is going on with his little brother and he wants to rescue him from those feelings. He offers to let Sam drive Baby, which he has never done before. This offer distracted Sam for a moment, and like most distractions they only last for a short while.

Next there is John’s journal which serves as a surrogate parent still guiding the brothers on their quest. The journal is also one of their “helpers” on their hero’s journey. While being an aide it is also a comfort transitional object for Sam and Dean. Individual’s going through grief and/or change in their life use a transitional object to go through one chapter of their lives to another. This is a common coping skill when working through trauma or even we someone is scared, nervous, or sad. Transitional objects are also referred to as comfort objects or security blankets. We will see more of the journal and other helpers as the show progresses.

The basis of the plot is a wendigo has taken Tommy Collins and his family, sister Haley and brother Ben, want to find him. Haley has no clue what has happened to Tommy and she wants to find him so badly she hires Roy, a rigid tracker, to help her find him. She is choosing to do what is in her control to save her brother because if she didn’t she would probably be catastrophizing. This is common when individuals feel powerless or hopeless they fantasize about the worst things that could possibly happen. At times when individuals keep fighting, keep doing the next right things, they are possibly getting closer to the truth. Doing what is in their power to not allowing the monsters to win.

One of the biggest themes to point out in this episode is the hope the brothers try to given Haley and Ben. Dean states to Haley , “he (Tommy) could still be alive.” Hope is a powerful force it allows us to keep fighting. Dr. Janinia Scarlett states in her podcast, “hope is an essential monster hunting skill.” I completely agree with this statement. There is a saying “it is always darkest before the dawn,” meaning things look really bad or dark before they get better.

Activity:

Draw, describe, and/or write about a transitional object you have had in your life? Identify the comfort it gave you during down times.

Check out Dr. Janina Scarlet’s Book, “Supernatural Therapy: Hunting your internal monsters “

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Scat Play: Is it normal? Who uses it?

By: Therapist Nicki

Question: Is scat play a normal interest? Also who engages in scat play?

First thing is first, normal is a setting on an appliance or a bell curve graph. All people are different and will be into different kinks, scat play happens to be one of them. Just like impact play, blood play, or water sports. If you are looking to discuss this kink with a professional I work look on the kink professional directory. (I will put the link at the bottom of the page.) Working with a kink aware professional will take some of the stigma away when discussing these matters because they are familiar with majority of the fetishes and kinks. There is nothing wrong with wanting to find an individual or individuals that share your love and interest in scat. They are out there. This is a fairly well-known fetish. There are even dating and discussion sites dedicated to scat play called scatsingles.com and scat.com. There are also discussion threads dedicated to scat on fetlife.com. One individual has stated it is honoring a piece of person either by ingesting or playing with scat.

For individuals reading this blog and need an explanation on scat play. Coprophagia aka scat play is the practice of eating your own or another person’s feces. Coprophagia is often a component of the wider term coprophilia, which refers to getting sexual pleasure from the excretion of human feces, whether it’s from the smell, touch, taste or sight. Scat is another term for feces, and scat sex or scat play refers to using scat in sexual activities. Although playing with someone’s scat is generally regarded as safe if proper protection is used (think latex gloves, plastic wrap, dental dams, washing with soap before and after sex), eating someone else’s scat can greatly increase one’s risk of parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections. This does not mean that eating feces is necessarily poisonous or wrong, and there are risks involved with this type of play. Remember RACK, risk aware consensual kink. Below are some safety tips and information to be aware of if anyone would like to engage in scat play.

Shigella, campylobacter, salmonella, and E. coli are four bacteria commonly present in fecal matter. These bacteria, along with parasites like amoebas and giardia, can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, bloody stools, fever, nausea and vomiting. The viruses hepatitis A and E may also be transmitted through contact with fecal matter. There are very few cases of hepatitis E in the United States, but almost half a million people contract hepatitis A every year (though not always through scat play). Symptoms of hepatitis A are very similar to the ones listed for the bacterial infections, and may also include jaundice, itchiness in parts of the body, and may cause enzymes in the liver to reach critical levels in the body. Relapses may also occur six months to a year after the first symptoms show up. All three types of infections can occur even without eating any scat. If one’s mouth, nose, or any orifice or open cuts or sores touches something that has had contact with the feces (such as kissing an unwashed hand after using the bathroom), then it is possible for s/he/they to become infected as well.

Here are some tips for safe Scat play

  1. Safest to watch the person defecating
  2. Touching the scat with gloved hands
  3. Skin contact with scat use dental dams or cling wrap
  4. Inserting scat into another’s anal or vaginal cavity increases risk
  5. If ingesting, do not eat anything before or after because of micro bacteria and micro abrasions in the mouth. Some take a shot of liquor before and after ingesting to cleanse the mouth.

I hope this helps. Below are the links I mentioned above.

Links:

Kink professionals’ directory

kinkawaretherapists.com/

www.kapprofessionals.org/business-directory-2/

Discussions or Dating

Fetlife.com

Scat.com

Scatsingles.com

Abigail Maher, M.A.

Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern

Abby earned her Masters degree from Northwestern University where she specialized in working with the LGBTQIA+ population. In addition to her clinical work Abby is an active volunteer with The Trevor Project, a national organization dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBTQIA+ youth. She is a volunteer member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQIA+ advocacy and civil rights organization in the United States. Abby also belongs to the Florida Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues in Counseling (FALGBTIC).

Abby uses a variety of treatment styles, theories and interventions in her work, but underneath it all her main focus is providing a safe, empathic environment for you to truly explore yourself and every facet of your experience. This includes both exploring sources of pain and hurt, and celebrating sources of hope and joy. Abby believes that one of the most powerful things we can do is truly learn to understand ourselves, accept ourselves, practice compassion for ourselves, and move forward in life allowing ourselves to be as authentic as possible.

Jason Denis, CKAP

Business Coach and Director of Business Development

Sir Wolf
Sir Wolf

Jason is an Artist, Entrepreneur, Publisher, Producer, Multi-Media Designer, Business Coach, Branding, Advertising, and Marketing Consultant. He holds an A.A. from BCSI in Programming and Networking and an A.A. in Mass Media Communications from Brookdale Community College.

Email[email protected]

Sir.Services
The Domain Authority
The Domain Authority

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Veronica Martin CKAP, CESC

Practice Administrator, Certified Therapeutic Art Coach, Artist & Illustrator

CareBear Veronica loves to assist others to live in their best life possible and provide emotional support during the harder times in life. Originally CNA trained, she gained her care giving and emotional support experience working in a long term care and rehabilitation facility assisting nurses, assisting physicians and nurses at both a large & small private practice, and caring for a chronically ill family member growing up and into her mid 30’s; working with individuals who are aging, in need of end of life care, chronically ill, physically impaired, developmentally challenged, those in need of temporary assistance after a procedure / surgery requiring rehabilitation, as well as childcare. She also has experience with patient and client case management, appointment scheduling, and both medical & mental health billing. CareBear Veronica has worked for HarmonyUs, Inc since 2016 and is a Certified Kink Aware Professional and Certified Emotional Support Companion and works with all ages of individuals and groups.
She also creates hand drawn art in her spare time, featuring mental health & trauma themes, nude & kink related scenes, mandalas, and creatures living their best life in nature. Caregiving, assisting, genuinely caring & supporting others, and creating art are what this CareBear is all about. Schedule your CareBear time if you are in need of Caregiving for you or a family member, family member sitting (to give yourself some time away), household chores or household errands due to physical limitations or illness, emotional support during a difficult time, or a companion to go with you to an appointment or meeting. Also, she gives great hugs. If you need someone who will assist you, listen, and care, CareBear Veronica will be there! Text or Call 813-375-2650 (HarmonyUs, Inc.) or email [email protected]

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