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Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Confronting Life’s Issues

Posted on: September 9th, 2020

I often encourage my patient’s to take periodic self checks. The idea behind my encouragement is that we often move through life without paying attention to ourselves. Life forces us to be outwardly focused. As a wife, mother, friend, sister, aunt, and therapist I can easily spend my days focusing on the needs of others. The needs of others can often eclipse my own personal awareness. Continuing in the process of ignoring self does not lead to healthy outcomes. The process of self-awareness is the first step in confronting the issues of life. The following are examples of patterns of behaviors that can be subtle obstacles towards healthy confrontation:

  1. Avoidance- It is a natural reaction to avoid that which is painful or difficult. Sleep, watching TV, spending time on social media are common forms of avoidance. These activities are harmless when done in moderation but when done excessively or in the place of dealing with something important, then it becomes a barrier.
  2. Rationalization- We can often be our own greatest deceiver. We can often tell ourselves something doesn’t matter or isn’t a big deal even when it really is in order to avoid confronting an issue. When we do this we fail to recognize that ignoring an issue does not make it go away.
  3. False Guilt- I often find this phenomenon in care givers. The idea that if you take a moment for yourself you are somehow failing everyone else. I have to often repeat the reminder that self-care is not selfish.

As we are continuing with many new challenges this year it is  very important that we be aware of our own needs and be mindful to seek peace.

Author,

Alicia Lurry MA LPC

The Struggle is Real

Posted on: August 11th, 2020

So here we are in August. Still coping with the fears and uncertainty of the Covid- 19 pandemic. We have gone from the hysteria of March to hopefulness in early summer to a sense of resolve and acceptance as the summer comes towards its end. We have all attempted to find a place of normalcy in an extremely abnormal situation. My message in this blog today is short and exact. It is important that as we attempt to cope with these challenges, that we are mindful we are all experiencing a form of trauma.

Some common responses to trauma:

  • intense emotional distress when reminded of traumatic event
  • intrusive and or anxious thoughts
  • sleep disturbances
  • depressed mood
  • irritability

I encourage my patient’s as well as myself to never give up hope. Hope allows you to recognize there is going to be another day. I encourage my patient’s and myself to practice self care. It is very important to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally during times of trauma. Most importantly do not feel bad if you are not getting everything right. Be kind and understanding to yourself. Slow down and breathe. Take a moment and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Remember to laugh. Instead of focusing on what you have lost begin to be grateful for what you have. It’s ok to feel how you feel. This is just a moment in time.

Be safe and keep moving forward.

Author

Alicia Lurry MA LPC

Maintaining

Posted on: July 10th, 2020

It’s has been a very stressful few months. We are now in July of 2020. The 5 months of the reality of Covid-19. We are all struggling to create small glimmers of normalcy while experiencing the anxious thought of trying to avoid the virus that is all around us. Some of us have returned to our places of business but it does not look or feel the same. We long for human companionship while remaining socially distant. Our children have experienced an extended time away from school which under normal circumstances would be a source of excitement for them but now seems like a punishment. We wait with a mixture of hopefulness, fear, anticipation and some pessimism for what the coming months will bring. So, what are we to do?

We must be intentional in self maintenance. Continue to pay attention to your needs. If you start to feel overwhelmed be ok with taking a break. Take deep breaths to relieve stress. Exercise when at all possible. Be sure to eat healthy meals. Talk to someone when you need support. Don’t be hard on yourself if you make mistakes. This is a more than unusual experience. Nothing could have prepared you for what we are experiencing now. Continue to do self checks. It’s ok to not be ok.

Author,

Alicia M. Lurry LPC

Dealing with Hard Issues

Posted on: June 7th, 2020

It is June 2020. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic we are now seeing worldwide protests sparked by incidents of negative police interaction and communities of people of color. As a nearly 50 year old African American woman race has been a constant factor in my life. I was raised in the 70’s during a time period when we were encouraged to embrace our African American heritage, I have seen so much more growth in our society as far as representation in media, more opportunities than my parents or grandparents could ever even consider. I have seen the election of the first Black President of the United States, an event I never thought I would see. With all these shining examples of hope there has always been an accompanying cloudy more sinister presence of racism.

Racism doesn’t always present as we see it in the movies. It isn’t always a burning cross, an angry mob, or signs that designate where you can sit, eat, stand, shop, or sleep. No racism is often more subtle to the untrained eye. Racism says that someone is a threat simply because of the color of their skin. Racism says this person may not be suitable for this job or intelligent enough to educate my child until they prove otherwise simply because of the color or their skin. Racism says you should become nervous because that person of color has moved into your neighborhood. Racism questions the presence of a person in your community just doing regular activities like having a cookout, bird watching, selling lemonade, jogging, or going to the store to buy skittles and iced tea,

The hard issues are those issues we choose not to look at because it causes us to identify our own implicit bias. I believe however in order for real change to occur we all must take a deep look inward and then be willing to have hard conversations with one another. As a therapist I am a firm believer in whatever is concealed cannot heal.

My hope is that our present difficulty will provide an opportunity for honest dialogue and real healing.

We are stronger together.

Author,

Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC

Moment of Pause and Reset

Posted on: May 17th, 2020

Here we are entering the third month of an unprecedented event. We have been in the lockdown due to this world wide pandemic. Once we get to the point of acceptance of our new normal, we need to be able to hope again. What can we gain from this moment of pause? We can mourn the loss of life as we knew it. The freedom of being in the outside world without anxiety and worry. Close connection to friends and family. As we contemplate this new reality, we have to remember that with every situation change can occur. We will eventually return to the world.

So back to my initial question. What can we gain from this moment of pause? We can look at this experience as an opportunity to gain perspective. We can also look for an opportunity to reset and start anew. Keeping in mind that this is temporary we must decide how we will be when we come out of this moment of time. How many dreams and visions have we put on hold for years because we didn’t have the time to pursue them? How often did we lament over not having a moment of rest. Well now is that time we longed for. Let’s seize this moment and use it to our advantage. It can be empowering and bring a little joy in this difficult time.

Be at peace.

Author,

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

April 2020

Posted on: April 6th, 2020

So here we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. We find ourselves experiencing an emotional stew of fear, confusion, anger, and hopelessness. We mourn as a nation and many of us have been touched personally by loss from this invisible yet felt presence of this virus. So now what do we do? Where do we find hope? How do we manage the daily uncertainty? I believe the best possible answer to these questions comes from within us. We all must come to a place to cope with this current stress on our own. I say this because we all have different variables within this time in which we are learning to cope. Some of us have to balance our own fears and concerns while trying to create a sense of normalcy for our children as much as possible. Depending on the age of the children those dynamics can look very different. Some have been let go from there jobs and now have the heavy burden of worrying about finance. Some have elderly loved ones we care for and are hyper-vigilant in an effort to keep them safe. Some struggle with depressed mood and this period of isolation is the complete opposite of what is needed emotionally. Regardless of your situation, the one thing you can control is your response. It is normal to be fearful at this time, but fear should not dictate your ability to function. I encourage you to take a moment of gratitude. Gratitude allows you to be mindful of what you have instead of focusing on what is wrong. You may not be able to go out and resume your daily activities but if your family is home safe and sound, that is a time to experience gratefulness. Practice your deep breathing, exercise, prayer and meditation. This allows you to calm anxious thoughts and regain control. Understand that this too will pass. This time is temporary. Continue to focus on our future goals to regain the sense of hope. Stay safe, stay encouraged. We will come out of this!

Author

Alicia Lurry, LPC

When We Fear

Posted on: March 1st, 2020

March 2020 has brought fear regarding the worldwide health crises of Corona Virus.  Our daily interactions have changed, sporting and recreational events have been cancelled or postponed, people are going to stores and purchasing items in case they are not able to leave home, and the stock market as plummeted. So here we are. What do you do when everyone feels anxious and fearful? What do you do when you don’t know what will happen? We all must slow down, breathe, count your blessings, and understand what is in our control. Here are some examples:

  • Slowing down refers to the ability to take the necessary time to process the information you hear. Often, once we take a moment to process without the fight or flight response anxiety brings, we can see clearer and develop strategies for safety.
  • Count your blessings. When things appear to go wrong its important to pay attention to what is right. Fear makes you feel like your world is coming to an end. Many times the things we catastrophize are just inconveniences. Intentionally look for the good in every situation.
  • Understand what is in your control. You cannot control what others do, You cannot control a virus but you can control how you respond to any stressor.

None of us know wat the future holds but we can begin to make our present the best it can be.

Author,

Alicia Lurry LPC

Caregivers need Care Too

Posted on: February 4th, 2020

I, like many people of my generation are now finding themselves in the role as caregiver. Whether you are caring for aging parents or helping your college age children or like me, the mother of teenagers on their way to high school and helping my husband care for his mother, finding time for self-care can be next to impossible. I have learned that caring for yourself as you care for others is not optional but is necessary for health and wellness.  The following are a few suggestions to aid in self -care:

  1. Listen to your body. Our bodies will warn us when we are in danger. Frequent headaches, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbance, frequent colds and aches and pains are some warning signs that we are running on empty.
  2. Pay attention to your behavior. Irritability, difficulty controlling worry, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating are also symptoms of depressed mood and anxiety both of which are common occurrences with caregivers. Seek support from loved ones and a professional if these symptoms persist.
  3. Take time to nurture yourself. Don’t forget what you love. Caregivers often get caught up in the needs of others and forget they have a life. If you like to exercise, go to the gym or take a walk to clear your mind. Remember you are important.

Caring for yourself will allow you to be an even better caregiver for your loved ones. Once again, remember you are important.

Author

Alicia Lurry MA CRC LPC

A New Decade

Posted on: January 7th, 2020

It’s 2020! I remember being a child in the 70s thinking 2020 would have flying cars and look like something from the cartoon “The Jetsons.” I reflect on my anticipation of a great new world, the sense of awe and wonder. The ideas and imagination of a child brings a sense of expectation. We may not have the flying cars yet, but we are moving forward in innovations. We now have technological advances in our daily lives that I never would have imagined as a child. Just using this laptop to type this blog was never in my wildest imagination.

As we enter  this new decade of the 21st century lets rekindle that sense of hope and wonder. This New Year let’s not spend so much time looking at the past but let us put our energy into making our present and future great. What’s your vision for this year? If you don’t have one, take time to figure it out. Like those who envisioned our current technology we enjoy, change begins with a vision.

Happy New Year!

Author

Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC

The Year in Review

Posted on: December 5th, 2019

The old saying, “What does not kill you makes you stronger,” is so very true. 2019 has been a challenging year. The final month of each year creates an opportunity for personal reflection. I entered 2019 with certain hopes and expectations. I had real plans for my year. A health crisis with my husband early in the year immediately challenged my plans. Someone reading this blog may have had a situation or two or three that “knocked them off their square.” My family and I are at what appear to be the tail end of our crisis. We are a little shaken but not defeated. My husband is stronger and is beginning to resume normal life. I reflect on this year not with the question of why me but with gratefulness. I can reflect on the challenges I faced and be thankful my family has survived. We are still here. We are still together. I encourage anyone who has had a difficult year to take a moment and reflect. Take a moment to be grateful for what you have instead of dwelling on circumstances that are out of your control. You may find you have gained strength you never knew you had and resilience to continue when life happens.

My hope for all in 2020 is that you live life to the fullest, embrace change, be strong and resilient in the face of adversity, laugh, love hard and above all be grateful for your journey.

Author

Alicia Lurry LPC