Starting From the Bottom…

Not every day is going to be an ideal day. We won’t wake up every day feeling motivated, happy, energetic or productive. We may tend to fall into slumps or valleys in our life that may seem impossible to get out of but you have the capability inside of you. Our healthy and positive habits are what establish a platform to bounce back off of. Highly enjoyable and productive habits that we reinforce at our best moments will be the things to rely on in our worst moments. If we reinforce sustainable habits constantly in our daily lives they will help us in the long run, making us healthier and happier.

Habits. Habits are such important things to establish in our daily lives. They help us to better ourselves in both physical, spiritual and mental ways. Strengthening our time management, productivity and cognitive sills are things that habits can help us with in major ways. Things like, waking up at a reasonable time of the day , journaling, working gout, reading self help books, playing, socializing, meditating are all habits you can slowly implement into your daily routine that will help better your mental and physical fitness.

If you ever feel sad, angry, stressed, taking part in physical activities to release emotions and manage thoughts could be very effective. Another aspect, however, is having the motivation to do these things; that’s why it’s important to rely on discipling rather than motivation. If you ever find yourself in a low doing or slum ask yourself this, ” Do I want to be stuck here for a long time or move on?” I don’t think anyone wants to stay stuck in such a low place and disciplining yourself to get up, try new habits, and reinforce them can be life changing.

Doing the things we love the most are another thing that you can do to help yourself to get back up. If you don’t know something that will make you happy try out new things/hobbies. Your happiness and mental state should be your number one priority. Self care is not selfish! If you don’t enjoy hanging our with certain people or find that they drag you down, don’t hang out with them. It’s okay to say no. A lot of the time the reason we get burnt out and dragged down so much is based on our environment and surroundings. If you don’t have anyone to talk to there are many reliable sources like therapist and counsellors but you should also learn to be content with being in your own presence. Starting from scratch, with starting new habits and hobbies, cutting our toxicity from your lives ( including people ) is something that you can do. We only get one life that we should make the most of it. It’s okay to not be okay. but it’s not wise to stay there stuck. There are so many resources that you can use to better yourself one step at a time. Remember your self worth and that you are lovable.

Simple Knowledge

The opportunity to derive knowledge is continuously presented to us through life whether we realize it or not. How we perceive our circumstances and what actions we take when faced with any mental or physical challenges could lead to growth and gaining wisdom and knowledge.

Within every scenario we experience, a new lesson is being taught to us. Most of the time, these lessons we learn teach us something about ourselves. Our personal struggles lead to the most valuable lessons that could help us overcome any difficulties that we may experience in the future.You may hear the saying “Everything happens for a reason.” Whether we realize it or not everything we have gone through has led to the point where we are today. Every hardship and rejoicing moment has shaped the way we are in this moment. Every second, minute, hour, day, month, year, etc… Has guided us on a journey of self discovery. Through and through we have navigated different tasks and obstacles in both mental and physical ways that has only helped shape our future and enhanced problem solving skills in difficult times.

Knowledge is power and power is knowledge! It helps humans become more aware and productive. Our mental state relies upon the way we think and what we derive from the different things we experience. As we grow and embark on a self-discovery journey every single day, we will learn to become the best versions of ourselves. Working on getting better 1% everyday can look like many different things. As you take steps on your journey know its okay to ask for help, use various resources and tools. You got this, one step at a time.

Emotional Availability

Emotions guide our everyday lives. Our choices, actions, and thoughts are all guided by our emotions. Managing and utilizing them in a beneficial manner has the potential to transform one’s life in a positive manner. Improving one’s emotional intelligence can be a great psychological benefactor to oneself.

Allowing ourselves to feel emotions is part of a healing process and being capable of moving on. Our emotions are apart of who we are and it is important to feel them as they arise in our day to day lives. Suppressing emotions inside could lead to deterioration of mental health. One does not need to feel shame for showing emotions whether that be to oneself in private or to others. Sitting and allowing ourselves to feel emotions that arise can be a lead to a break through in our mental health journeys.

Emotions can be both positive and negative. While we should strive not to let our negative emotions consume ourselves, they can give us the push that may lead us to healing. Our emotions could encourage us to want to move on and work on a healing process. Uncovering suppressed emotions will allow us to deal with them in a positive and effective way. There are many activities that we can engage in, in order to uncover such emotions and work through them. Activities such as journaling, reading, meditating, and talking to a therapist are some viable options. However, emotions can become overwhelming at times. In such cases, it would be crucial to find ways to either channel those emotions in a positive manner or use distractions techniques to cope and process them in small doses.

It is also important that we help ourselves to evoke position emotions by working out, engaging in hobbies, socializing with loved ones. It is important to regulate the joys of life and indulge in the things that make us feel good so long as they are healthy options. Allow yourself to feel the moment and release your emotions whether that be to just break down or laugh out loud.

Our emotional intellect along with your cognitive intellect are the guiding factors in our lives. Emotions come in both positive and negative forms. Allowing ourselves to feel what arises and utilizing those emotions to fuel our drive and motivation could lead to break throughs, leading us towards a positive path. Suppressing our emotions is like shaking a bottle of soda, we can only hold in the pressure of our emotions so much until we just burst. Once it gets to that point, we may have a hard time managing our actions. Therefore, it is imperative that we remain aware of our emotions, allowing ourselves to feel them and managing them when necessary.

Mental Health Moments

We all have our own mental health moments. While some maybe more facile others may be more difficult to deal with. No matter how hard the struggle is it’s important to find the root of that emotions and deal with your feelings in a positive, and helpful way. Finding coping mechanisms is a way to help you in your mental health moments. There are many different tools and resources that you can use to help you in varying scenarios. You do not have to navigate your psychological struggles by yourself. Therapy is a great resource to help assist ones mental health. A therapist is eligible to help you find ways to help support you in any mental health case no matter the severity.

Mental health is often overlooked. We live in a world full of stress and chaos but there is also a bright side. No matter what circumstances may be, it is important to check up on your mental health and find ways to not only manage a particular situation but also better yourself as a whole. In today’s society we are constantly experiencing so much from the outside world. We see much disarray all over social media and other platforms and it is a lot to take in. Absorbing everything in life can be very overwhelming and has a great impact on one’s mental health. There are many different emotions that we may feel as a result of what we consume and how we process them cognitively. Many different outcomes of our emotions impact our mental health. The more that you prioritize helping yourself the better and happier you will be overall. It is important to sit down and think about what may be the root of what you are feeling so you can find appropriate coping mechanisms and solutions. Your mental health should be a priority as it affects everything in your life and, you are important.

Coping with your mental health related issues is the beginning of renewal and freedom. While it may not be easy, it is always worth it in the end. It is important to find a suitable coping tool for whatever emotions you may be feelings and circumstances you may be experiencing. If you are struggling, seeking out therapy is a viable option. Therapists are experts in helping you attain greater insight about yourself, learn coping skills, become more productive by providing a safe space to share, explore, and receive guidance. Make sure to always prioritize your mental health moments because they matter and you matter!

Writing as a form of self care

I find myself asking this question lately. As I move forward in advancing my own healing, the goal to take my personal learning out into the world is real. I move resolutely to shake loose from the compulsion to “do” and replace it with the desire to “be” in the world; in service to both myself and others.


The question remains. What is it all in service of?


While my own work is ALL about me, how I share the fruits of that work with the world is not about me at all. My healing, my growth, my ability to show up as a partner, a father and a close friend within my most intimate relationships and in alignment with personal integrity in all my worldly relationships. That feels like a lofty and perhaps unrealistic goal. That feels like it is an awful lot about me.


Writing it down is not about any of those things. While the catharsis of the practice is a reward of its own, the real value is based on sharing with others from a spirit of compassion and empathy. Sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the sacred and the profane. All of it, with the marrow of life exposed for all to see. Vulnerable and perhaps even without a hint of shame and fear. Free to be me.


Not today, but someday soon I pray that will be true.


One morning not too long ago I walked into the chiropractor for an adjustment. At 51 years old my operating principle for much of my life has been that there is nothing that hard work and fitness cannot overcome. While largely true until about ten years ago, this paradigm is dated. It does not fit with the realities of middle age. When I ran into a shoulder “injury” that I could not adequately explain I assumed I would rehab it away with conditioning. I was wrong, and I stayed wrong for over two years as my shoulder got progressively worse and eventually began to impact movement, breathing, digestion and eventually my sense of self and what I was capable of doing and being in the world.


At 51 I am not ready to roll over and give in to the “Cymbalta” effect. You know the commercial, it goes something like “At 51 I may not be able to climb as hard as I used to, but with Cymbalta at least I can still go out for a walk.” What total crap. My frozen shoulder and the impinged nerves and the frozen memories. Those are real. The pain is real, both physically and emotionally. Speaking with the doctor, I moved the discussion from the physical to emotional qualities that I was experiencing and my doctor floored me as he guided my first rib into place and finished with a simple comment.


 “We all have a story and I bet that I do not want yours any more than you want mine.”


There is a truth in this. A certainty that no matter what, we each have a story that makes us unique and beautiful. I am fortunate that my heart has led me to this place of deep introspection. I am flat out lucky! In fact, I believe that I am the luckiest man in the world, for as I have stepped into my own discomfort the universe has given me all the support that I need to heal. Spirit has shown me the power of love to heal all wounds.


So, what is the real story? That story is quite complicated and far too involved for a single blog post. That story took decades to craft and quite frankly it will be central to everything that I do in this life moving forward. It is the story of the wounding, the coping, the adapting and the pain. Pain wrapped in shame.


It is also the story of resilience, agency, recovery and awakening. Awakening to the power of the human spirit to persist. It is the eternal story of light and shadow of yin and yang. It is the story that we all share. It is the mundane and supernatural all wrapped into this adventure that we call life.


Some are called to their own destiny and hear that calling. It is not the hearing that moves us forward, it is what we do with it in the face of the fear. Fear is a primary emotion and it is the most powerful motivator that we are wired for. It is the basis of our entire emotional system Fight, flight and freeze are our most primal survival mechanism and live deep in the mind, attached to the body via the nervous system.  This is a subject that I expect to return to again and again as I unlock the secret of effective healing, but first, more about that chiro visit.


It was not long after leaving the chiropractor that day that I began to have a very odd sensation of dizziness and nausea. It had been two months since I had started a very diligent routine of chiropractic adjustment and intentional bodywork and up until that point there were no major surprises. This was different. I arrived home realizing that over the course of the afternoon I had gone from uncomfortable to downright ill. As if the need to run to the sink to puke would overcome me at any second, even though it never actually did. What was abundantly clear to me was that energy was moving from the base of my skull into the frozen right shoulder in ways that it had not in a very long time. It was not just painful physically it was painful emotionally.


It started simply enough. The adjustments had been providing consistent improvement to the quality of the physical pain, but this was different, it felt better for sure, but what was happening in my body I was noticing for the first time in my life. At the base of my skull in the right side of the U-shaped curve below the skull bone, I could feel a pulsating energy emerging and running down into the right side of my neck. My massage therapist had done a great job of loosening my musculature up twice a week for almost two months and as this energy began to emerge from my skull, I could feel the pain points align to the pressure points on my right shoulder and back. Feeling the discomfort, I began to firmly palpitate the painful spots in my shoulder. While applying firm pressure I noticed that the pulsating energy had moved but I also noticed that this particular pressure triggered an emotional quality that I can only describe as intense well-being. Oddly, as I lessened the pressure, the pain increased, but the emotional quality moved from well-being to overwhelming sadness. Different pressure equated to different physical AND emotional states.

In that moment the light bulb went on. I was in touch with myself and my story and for the first time. I was able to feel the interconnectedness between my physical and emotional body in a way that until then I had only understood intellectually from the study that I had been doing on post-traumatic stress and the mind-body connection. It became real.


I would spend the next three weeks in acute discomfort. The two loves of my life would gently confirm the movement of the energy as they gently massaged my neck and shoulders. Each of them able to feel and track the pulsating energy as it moved from trigger point to trigger point in a counterclockwise circle around my back. Each movement eliciting a different emotional and physical quality. Unfortunately, in this early phase of healing the bound-up nerves were firing with reckless abandon and it was none too pleasant. Mostly I just wanted to lay around and cry.


So I did.


This is where I want to introduce the power of love as a central theme in healing. While I was mustering the courage to face this down and walk through it gracefully, I was in unknown territory. Fear is real and it was rearing its ugly head. Was I strong enough to walk through this without regressing to old dysfunctional coping strategies? If so, for how long?


What I do believe is that for those first two weeks, when the acute nature of this movement was fairly unbearable, the most important thing in my being able to face it down was the way in which I was loved and supported, through intentional non-sexual touch. It was this touch that allowed the energy to move, in all of its intensity through me. As I sit here and write this today I am happy to be able to say that the volume is turned down for the moment and while I am not sure if it is turned down for good, I am certain that whatever shows up can be handled…….with grace.


So why write? Because writing is therapeutic. It is another valuable tool in our tool chest to engage in our own healing, but it is also a mechanism by which we can share our experience in a way that just might resonate with someone else who is suffering in the moment.


After 35 years of suffering mostly on silence, if I can shorten another person’s suffering by even one day it is all worth it. While I am sure that I will venture down many creative paths and interesting topics, the central themes I hope will always point back in the direction of healing, growth and the emergence and maintenance of personal growth and healthy expression of personal freedom.


That I can sign up for.


Author:This article was written by a guest author invited on here by Dr. Seda Gragossian.


Dr. Seda Gragossian is the Clinical Director at the Talk Therapy Psychology Center. She has worked in the mental health field in clinical leadership roles in private practice,  at multiple outpatient facilities, as well as at large psychiatric hospital settings.

Download our free eBook to learn everything there is to know about Intensive Outpatient Programs!

Are you or someone you know suffering from depression, anxiety, or addiction? Don’t be nervous or shy about asking for help. We believe that everyone needs a little help now and then. We make no judgments and we meet you where you are at.

How to practice sobriety – Part 2 – the deeper issues

You might have reached a point in your life that you have decided drinking is not for you. If so, here are some tips for how to remain sober:

  • Create a positive attitude about not drinking and by that I don’t just mean considering the pros of not drinking but viewing it as a healthy way of life that is free from any negative thoughts and feelings. Clients often ask “How do I tell people that I don’t drink.”
  • There appears to be a level of embarrassment and/or shame associated with having to tell people one does not drink. If you have a positive attitude about not drinking this will be a non-issue. You can simply tell people that alcohol does not mix well with your health.
  • Often people refer to themselves as being in recovery when they give up drinking. I prefer to refer to sobriety as a practice and a lifestyle. The statements “I practice sobriety” or “I choose a sober life” are empowering ways of referring to the process. They implies intention, choice and action.
  • Do it for yourself and not to appease others. If you give up alcohol half-heatedly and/or resentfully, it will possibly backfire. No matter what prompted you to become sober, empower yourself and make it your choice. No one can “make” you give up alcohol although the mind might want to think that if you have felt pressured by family or friends to do so.
  • Often people consume alcohol as a lubricant for socialization. Let go of expectations and the pressure you place on yourself to present yourself in a certain light. In the worst case scenario, you may present as less social as you would like to.
  • Alcohol is also consumed as a way to cope with stressors, to quiet the mind, or to numb difficult emotions. There are numerous healthy ways to cope with stressors such as exercising, reading, cooking, meditating, and most importantly learning how to modify and manage thinking patterns that lead to stress and negative thoughts. If you are not sure how to achieve this, speak with a therapist especially one who specializes in addictions.
  • Choose who you surround yourself with. If your friends are drinking buddies, you might want to consider finding other friends.
  • Choose activities that do not involve drinking. You might have gotten used to associating most of your activities with drinking. You might either want to choose new activities or be very intentional about dissociating certain activities from drinking. For example, you might have been drinking while golfing and you are not willing to give up golfing. Plan on going with someone who also does not drink and take drinks that are refreshing and non-alcoholic.
  • The bargaining voice might creep into your head trying to sway you to have a drink. The voice might justify drinking, minimize it’s negative impact, glorify it’s positive affect, make you believe that you can moderate now, you have tools and skills to avoid over consumption, and etc. All of these voices have one intention in mind “sabotage.” Catch it and stop it before it takes hold. Call a support person if you need to.
  • If you absolutely are not able to stop drinking on your own, make sure you get the appropriate help and possibly check yourself into a residential facility followed by an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).

Author: Dr. Seda Gragossian

Dr. Seda Gragossian is the Clinical Director at the Talk Therapy Psychology Center. She has worked in the mental health field in clinical leadership roles in private practice,  at multiple outpatient facilities, as well as at large psychiatric hospital settings.

Download our free eBook to learn everything there is to know about Intensive Outpatient Programs!

Are you or someone you know suffering from depression, anxiety, or addiction? Don’t be nervous or shy about asking for help. We believe that everyone needs a little help now and then. We make no judgments and we meet you where you are at.