Fighting Insomnia Related to Anxiety

 

One out of 3 people worldwide suffer from mild to severe insomnia. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) believe anxiety causes chronic insomnia.

  • I realized after I completed my first video on fighting insomnia that I had neglected to mention one of the most helpful aids to sleep well at night is good psychotherapy. Having anxiety related to unresolved traumas, whether seemingly minor or big, can run undercurrent, interfere with one’s nervous system running smoothly and cause enough physical attention that it is hard to sleep. Being able to reduce anxiety calms the nervous system so it is easier to relax in the day time and sleep more easily at night.
  • One of the most effective methods I discovered in the 1980’s to reduce anxiety and insomnia is listening to guided self-hypnosis meditations. One of the best audios created to help people sleep is a CD included in the purchase of the book I Can Make You Sleep by Paul McKenna. The author has made self-hypnosis CD’s for many years.
  • There are also musicians who have studied the use of sound waves for over 30 years and written music designed to help people sleep as well as reduce anxiety. Two of these musicians are Dr Jeffrey Thompson and Steven Halpern. Thompson has a CD titled Gamma Meditation that helps induce sleep. He synthesizes sounds that slow the brain waves. People wrote in reviews of the CD that although their attempts at meditation had failed, listening to this CD helped them reach a meditation state of mind. I found the CD was very helpful to go to sleep. Even on the nights I was unable to go to sleep, the sound on this CD noticeably slowed my thoughts and allowed me to enter a relaxed brain state. You can hear a sample of this CD here: Gamma meditation
  • Tones or sounds that have really long wave lengths low on the music scale work best to slow down an over active brain. This is what Stephen Halpern uses in his CD called Pyramid. When I first listened to it many years ago I thought it sounded too strange but it quickly grew on me and is one of my top choices to listen to for help getting to sleep.  He said the first track was recorded in a pyramid.
  • You tube has many videos that are audio recordings useful in helping one sleep that don’t have anyone talking. The video that has the most views, 97 million as of this writing, is called “Sleep Music Delta Waves-Relaxing music to help you sleep, sleeping music, sleep meditation”. Here is a link to the video: sleep music delta waves. If you don’t have an easily available internet connection, and if you have a smart phone, you can use an app for recording to record these videos and listen to them directly from the smart phone or transfer to a computer or notebook.
  • Yoga can be extremely helpful to slow down thinking and increase physical relaxation. Some poses, usually the yoga poses where one is lying down, help more than others. I find poses that open up one’s breathing also help. One common pose used by fitness instructors said to tone the entire body called the plank forces one to breathe deeper. There are numerous yoga routines on you tube to help people sleep. The one I like , called “Yoga for Better Sleep” by Yoga Yak, is 35 minutes long. Link to this videoyoga for sleep
  • If you want to learn how to use cognitive therapy techniques to help you sleep better, Christine Korol has an excellent video on youtube called “What is Insomnia and what you can do to cure it with Cognitive Therapy”. She uses cute drawings, charts and easily understandable explanations. She also has a good sense of humor. She herself has suffered from insomnia and uses her own methods to help improve her sleep. Link to this videokoral video
  • Recently my chiropractor recommended a supplement to help me sleep that helps me more than the kind of calcium I recommended in my Fighting Insomnia blog post. It is Biotics Bio-CMP-electrolytes of calcium, magnesium and potassium. I take 3 tablets 30 minutes before I go to bed. If I am not in an excited stated, that supplement makes me feel so tired I want to go to bed and puts me right to sleep. If I am in an excited or anxious emotional state, I don’t notice it helps as much. On those nights, I take an extra magnesium or calcium capsule then do 30 to 40 minutes of yoga. The yoga seems to activate the supplements so I can then fall asleep.
  • A website called The Energy Blueprint, has a blog post titled “The Top 12 Natural Sleep Supplements” (link: 12 best sleep supplements.)  A summary of 3 of those supplements are:  A) 5-HTP: 5-HTP is an important precursor for Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is important for good moods, sleep and regulation of hormones. B) GABA: gamma butyric acid is a compound in the brain the calms the excitatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and glutamate. Some research has shown that people who have trouble sleeping on a regular basis typically have 30 percent less GABA that people who sleep “normally”. Some people report GABA also reduces anxiety and relaxes their muscles. C) L-theanine is an amino acid that increases alpha waves in the brain (which induces relaxation) which then leads to increase serotonin, GABA, and dopamine. In a recent study of young males who had ADHD, L-theanine improved the amount of hours they slept, decreased nightmares, decreased anxiety, and caused them to experience more energy the next day.
  • More people are using different forms of CBD, a natural chemical in the marijuana plant. There is research that CBD can reduce sleep difficulties and insomnia, improve sleep quality and decreases the duration of REM sleep. Some CBD oil has much higher quality than other kinds. This is determined by the extraction process, marijuana versus hemp (hemp is more likely contaminated by pesticides and chemicals), third party lab testing, and lab results. I have not tried CBD oil but I have friends and clients who have tried it. It has helped some of them.  More information can be found at: 5 best CBD oils for sleep.
  • Some people have told me that taking an amino acid supplement or protein powder helped them sleep. There is even a protein powder called Healthy Skoop Sleep Protein. Amazon reviews stated it helped half the people who tried it. Sleep studies have indicated that glutamine amino acid supplements leads to a more restful sleep.
  • William Walsh is a researcher who has studied over 30,000 people with mental conditions in terms of their bio chemistry. He found patterns in the bio chemistry of what caused the different mental problems then developed which nutrient supplements would best correct those bio chemical  problems.  Walsh studied 2800 people with depression and broke them down into 5 different subtypes based on their bio chemistry. Twenty percent of them had depression related to low Vitamin B levels. Most people in this subtypes also had anxiety, with 20 percent having history of panic disorder. Many have sleep disorders. Many have negative reactions to SSRI anti depressant medication. In Walsh’s book Nutrient Power, he writes what typical treatment formulas are for this kind of bio chemical imbalance but at the beginning of the book cautions “The nutrient therapies described in this book require supervison by an experienced medical professional.” The usual treatment for this kind of depression includes folic acid, Vitamin B-12, niacinamade, choline, DMAE, manganese, zinc, PLP, vitamin B6, Vitamin C and E. There are 3 medical doctors in Ann Arbor area and one in Franklin, MI, that have studied under William Walsh who use his method for helping people with mental problems such as insomnia and anxiety.
  • In future blog posts I will write more about William Walsh’s findings. I agree with his writing that a new approach is needed for psychiatry that develop drug free therapies aimed at “true normalization of the brain.” I highly recommend watching his numerous youtube videos and book Nutrient Power. His website is Walsh Research Institute.
  • I sincerely hope that what I have written will help you find ways to help you have quality sleep. If you would like to work with me to clear out troublesome thoughts or experiences, call me at 586-799-2399 or write me at suzanneenergy@gmail.com.

EMDR Helps BiPolar Disorder and Childhood Trauma

(Note: Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings of emotional highs (mania) and lows (depression). EMDR is a therapeutic technique that reduces painful emotions and neutralizes bad memories using “bi-lateral stimulation”, usually eye movements.)
The following is from 2 interviews I have had with Laura:
Suzanne: Laura can you paint a picture of how things were before you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder in your late teens?
Laura: I did not know how to function so I took pills. Medication that I got from my father who was a physician. I took speed during the day and Seconal at night to sleep and Darvon to get high. So I would carry them in my pocket and eat them without water just to sustain myself.
Suzanne: To help you with the moods you were having?
Laura: The moods. I was so miserable. Pills helped me function. When I had to go to work I would take Speed.

Suzanne: Then you started to receive treatment for your bipolar disorder. Mental health treatment has changed a lot over the years. What was treatment like in the 1970’s?
Laura: Treatment then was in the dark ages. They put me on Haldol and Thorizine. I had long stays in the hospital that were very frightening and horrible. I was sluggish, disoriented and shuffled down the hall. I felt so sick on that heavy duty medication.
Suzanne: But then you had a period of normalcy for 3 or 4 years?
Laura: Yes, I had 6 hospitalizations then I went back to school and I did well in school studying education. But then the symptoms did come back. I had the same symptoms and messages I had earlier in my life. I was just as scared, was unable to function, and had to drop out of school 4 or 5 times. I had more hospitalizations. I was miserable.
Suzanne: Could you tell us what some of your symptoms of bipolar disorder were?
Laura: At the beginning I was scared of everything. I was scared of people. I was scared of places. I also had paranoia. I felt people were looking at me all the time. My symptoms were so paralyzing. I could not talk to people. And if I did have an interaction with a person I regretted what I said so painfully.
Suzanne: Were you ever so depressed that you could not get out of bed?
Laura: Yes, there were many days I could not get out of bed.
Suzanne: Did you have times where you went several days without sleeping?
Laura: I was mostly depressed but I did have two instances of mania. During one of them I believed I was awake 14 days and nights in a row but I know that is not possible. I felt up. I felt powerful. I ended up in the hospital where they gave me Halcion to get me to sleep.
Suzanne: It took a lot to bring you back down from your mania.
Laura: My depression was so severe I attempted suicide over and over and over again. I would be successful in school or theater and then I would crash. Over and over. I had a total of 21 hospitalizations. I was hospitalized 15 times in 2003. I spent 4 months in one hospital. I spent two years in a group home.
Suzanne: Did you ever have suicide thoughts?
Laura: Suicide was a constant enemy. The thoughts came and went. I tried to kill myself 5 or 6 times. You want to get out. You are in such agony. It hurt so much. I just wanted to get out. I thought “It will be over. It will be over.”
Suzanne: I know that medications have changed a lot over the years. Do you feel the newer medications have helped you?
Laura: Absolutely.
Suzanne: Can you tell us about your involvement with theatre?
Laura: I had done theatre all my life because my parents introduced me to it. But I found a theatre in my late 30’s that I loved. I became a member there. I had a family there. After a show that I directed and performed in, I crashed and would go into the hospital. It was like a roller coaster, Suzanne.
I also had ten ETC treatments. I wanted to die. I thought “I want to die anyway, do what you want with me. I don’t care”.
Suzanne: Did the ETC treatments help you?
Laura: Yes, they helped. After the ETC treatments I did not want to kill myself anymore.
Suzanne: Can you briefly describe the different kinds of psychotherapy you had before you discovered a therapist who did EMDR in 2005?
Laura: I had all different kinds of therapy. I went to many different therapists. When the therapy would not help, I would go to another therapist. I had psychoanalysis for 12 years where I started out having 3 therapy sessions a week. I am sure I communicated but it was fruitless.
Suzanne: How many years were you in therapy before you found someone who did EMDR with you?
Laura: 35 years. EMDR was the first successful therapy for me.
Laura: The beginning of my trauma was when I was an infant that was not nurtured. They say when you are not nurtured as an infant, you believe the world is not a safe place and you do not know you exist.
Suzanne: Therapists who do EMDR have their clients identify negative beliefs about themselves that the client has related to the memory or problem that is targeted. Some typical examples of these negative beliefs are: I am not good enough. ..I don’t belong…I should have known better. What were some of your negative beliefs you had about yourself before you experienced EMDR?
Laura: I didn’t have any positive beliefs. The only thing I could do positive was when I was in a role. When I had a script to follow.
The following are 4 beliefs that Laura described to me she had that were changed by EMDR:
Before EMDR: Belief 1- I did not count. It was like I did not exist. I had no identity. I did not know how I felt about things or who I was. I used to just model behavior and words of people around me. I had a life but it wasn’t mine.
After EMDR Belief 1- I do exist. I exist inside my body. I know what I want and don’t want in life. I like the world. I had a life for the first time. I had the curiosity to approach people and get to know them and draw them out.
Suzanne: That is just like the opposite of what you used to be like before EMDR.
Laura: It was the opposite. It was a transformation. It took 2 and half years. I went to therapy weekly for one hour sessions. Nothing else touched me the same way.
Before EMDR: Belief 2- The world is not a safe place
After EMDR: Belief 2- Sometimes I am still scared to leave my home but other times I am able to go out and be social. I have written and directed my own play called “How Old Is that Photo?” that was acted at Trinity Theater November 2017. It was well received. I am now revising it.
Before EMDR: Belief 3- No one wants me. I used to have social phobia so bad that I could not talk to people. I had a job at a flower shop where I worked in the back room listening to audio books. Sometimes I could not walk in the front room at the shop because I was too scared of people.
After EMDR: Belief 3- Now I know people want to be with me and talk to me. I have friends.
Before EMDR: Belief 4- I am a bad person. I did not belong. I have been an actress for many years. I have written and directed several plays. Before EMDR, the plays I wrote and directed were good but I did not feel they were good.
After EMDR: Belief 4-I like myself. I felt like my life started at age 57. I realize I have virtues. I enjoy the writing and directing of plays so much more now. I can accept the complements people gave me.
Here is a link to a short video of the last play Laura wrote and directed:

How Old Is this Photo

I saw the play myself with several friends. It was delightful, funny and heartwarming.
Suzanne: Laura, could you tell us how EMDR helped you with painful memories from your past?
Laura: I can tell you about 3 memories that my therapist helped me with using EMDR. The first one was when I was 5 or 6 years old. My mother dropped me off at the dentist and asked me to go in and sign in for us while she parked the car. I did not want to go in. I was terrified but she made me go. Before EMDR, I was not able to go into a building. Churches, hospitals, banks.
Suzanne: So you stayed home all the time?
Laura: If someone was with me, I could go in. Sometimes.
Suzanne: So it was an associated feeling that you had?
Laura: It went back to the incident where my mother forced me to go into the dentist office by myself.
Suzanne: So after EMDR was used on this memory, how did that help you?
Laura: I was independent for the first time. I moved into an apartment and supported myself. Before that I was always dependent on programs and organizations and my family’s money. I was always supported by someone else. But after EMDR I was free and I liked myself. So other people could respond positively to me. I was very successful. I taught theatre and I performed and directed plays. I never thought I could accomplish something like that.
Memory 2: My family was at the Northland Mall in Southfield. I did not want to leave the mall. I was age 8 or 9 years old. My parents drove off leaving me at the mall. I guess to teach me a lesson?

Before EMDR I felt intense anger when I thought of this memory. I remember screaming during the therapy session as I relived this experience. Trust was very difficult. All of these things add to the bipolar pain. After EMDR, I could look at the memory as if it was in the distance. I was able to release fear from my body. I felt like an adult instead of the angry scared child.
Memory 3: My mother ridiculed and shamed me. I remember once she said “all you care about is your hair and boys.” That is what young girls usually think about. When my therapist was using EMDR on me, she asked me to locate where my emotions were in my body. Sometimes something would jerk inside me. It felt like I was vomiting up these toxic emotions. Sometimes after EMDR I felt so much better it was magical. Other times we would have to talk 20 minutes about something to distract me from the memory we worked on to calm me down. After EMDR on the way my mother ridiculed me, I did not feel shame about myself anymore. I love people now.
Suzanne: To love people after being so scared of people. That is from one extreme to another. That is a miracle.
Laura: It is a miracle. Thank you.
Suzanne: Did your therapist use eye movements or tapping or both?
Laura: My therapist would tap my knees alternating from one knee to the other. The eye movement did not work at all for me. She asked me what emotion I was feeling and where I felt that emotion in my body. Most of the time I felt the feeling in my chest area.
Suzanne: Would you recommend EMDR to other people who have trouble with their emotions?
Laura: I recommend EMDR to anyone who has felt like I have: fears of being rejected or criticized. EMDR is a viable solution to good recovery and good health.
Suzanne: I totally agree. I have been a therapist over 30 years and it is the most effective method I know . Thank you very much for sharing your personal story here so people can have a better understanding of EMDR.
Laura: I hope it has been helpful.
Suzanne: I know EMDR helped people with trauma but to know it even helps people with the extreme symptoms of bipolar disorder. So many people are suffering from that now. Seems like more people are suffering now from bipolar.
Laura: Bipolar has come out of the closet to some extent. In the 70’s the stigma was severe. And shame was involved. It still is to some extent. Thank you Suzanne.
Suzanne: Thank you, thank you very much! Thank you for this interview. And thank you for watching.
In the first interview, Laura told me her purpose in life is “to love and serve”. I marvel how a therapist skilled in EMDR and Laura’s determination to get better have transformed her life of fear and hurt to a life of service and love.

Learning from the Oldest People in the World How to Live Longer & Happier

In 2004 Dan Buettner headed a team with National Geographic and researchers of longevity to find places around the world where people lived longer. They named these places the Blue Zones. Buettner identified five geographic areas where people live statistically the longest: Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece) and Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. They learned that people in these locations reached the age 100 at rates much greater than the national average in the United States.  In Loma Linda, CA, Seventh Day Adventists live 10 years longer than the average North American does. In IcariaGreece, an April 2009 study on the island of Icaria uncovered the location with the highest percentage of 90-year-olds on the planet – nearly 1 out of 3 people make it to their 90s. Furthermore, Icarians “have about 20 percent lower rates of cancer, 50 percent lower rates of heart disease and almost no dementia.” quoted from:The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

Teams of scientists studied these 5 Blue Zones to identify which lifestyle characteristics might explain why these people lived so much longer than other people. They found 9 characteristics common in all of the Blue Zones.

Buettner put this information into action. He joined AARP and the United Health Foundation to apply these 9 principles first to a city in MN called Albert. Within a year, the people who participated in this project added an estimated 2.9 years to their average life span while their health care costs dropped 49 percent. He started Blue Zones Projects across the nation with the mission to help people in additional communities to live longer and healthier lives. These projects have led to significant drops in employee absenteeism, double digit drops in obesity and smoking as well as millions of dollars saved in health care costs.

The 9 characteristics found in the Blue Zones are as follows:

1)  Move Naturally: These people move (exercise) as part of their daily lives. They don’t go to the gym or lift weights. They grow their own gardens and don’t have conveniences for house and yard work. Many Okinawans practice martial arts. They do some form of activity that works their whole body to the point of breathing rapidly or sweating 5 to 10 hours a week.

2) Purpose: Each of these 5 groups had a sense of purpose for their lives. The research shows that having a sense of purpose can be worth up to 7 additional years of life expectancy.

3) Downshift: The longest living people have daily routines to slow down. The group of Adventists prayed, the Ikarians take naps while the Sardinians have a happy hour.

4) 80% Rule: People in the Blue Zones eat until their stomachs are 80 % full. They also eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening then don’t eat any more the rest of the day. This gives their digestion at least 12 to 14 hours to rest

5) Plant Slant: Beans such as soy beans, lentils or fava beans are the mainstay of most centenarian diets. Meat, usually pork, is eaten on the average only 5 times a month with serving sizes 3 to 4 oz.

6) Wine at 5 pm: With the exception of Adventists, the people in the Blue Zones drink alcohol moderately and regularly. They drink 1 to 2 cups of glasses of wine a day with friends or family.

7) Belong: Of the 263 centenarians interviewed, only 5 did not belong to a faith based community. Research shows that attending faith bases services 4 times a month will add 4 to 14 years of life expectancy

8) Loved Ones First: These centenarians put their families first by keeping aging parents and grandparents in the home or nearby. They are committed to a life partner (this can add up to 3 years life expectancy) and spend quality time with their children.

9) Right Tribe: These long living people chose or were born into communities or social circles that supported their healthy behaviors. One Blue zone, the Okinawans, create “moasis”, which are groups of 5 people who commit to each other for life.

I found reading about the Blue Zones made me think what I could do to make my life include all of these characteristics. Hopefully they will help you as you prioritize how you spend your time. Some of these characteristics are not that easy to create in our lives.

Knowing what you want to do to change your life is easier than implementing that change. If you feel you don’t have enough support to make positive changes to increase the quality and length of your life, now may be the time so to seek therapy. I would be happy to provide a free phone or in person consultation about what I can offer you as a therapist. Just call me at 586-799-2399.

 

Sugar-Pleasure or Poison?

 

This blog post is for people who want to motivate themselves to stop overeating and eat healthier.

Sugar brings pleasure.  When does sugar become “a poison?”  It all depends on the amount of sugar eaten, if a person is “sugar sensitive” (sometimes addicted to sugar) and the kinds of sugar eaten. In the 1700’s the average American intake of sugar was 1 teaspoon a day. Today the average American intake of sugar is 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.

Dr Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California,  has decoded sugar metabolism. He explains this in a youtube video called Sugar-The Bitter Truth, viewed by over 7 million people, which I HIGHLY recommend everyone watch from beginning to end. He tells how in the 1970’s the food industry learned to process sugar into HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is 20 percent sweeter, cheaper and much more addictive. He explains the bio chemistry of why sugar is harmful in clear  scientific terms.

This new form of sugar, HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup, is used most in soda pop and processed foods. Dr Mercola states HFCS is more metabolically risky than sucrose due to its chemical form. He writes, “The fructose and the glucose are not bound together in HFCS, as they are in table sugar, so your body doesn’t have to break it down. Therefore, the fructose is absorbed immediately, going straight to your liver… Too much fructose creates a metabolic disaster in your body.”  Dr Lustig states that 80 percent of HFCS has to be metabolized in the liver. The liver is already over worked detoxing  toxins in the water, air and food we take in.

Processed sugar fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. This kind of fructose does not stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) or stimulate leptin (the “satiety hormone”). People don’t feel full, get hooked to processed sugar, eat more and often develop insulin resistance.

Dr Lustig states “Fructose is a chronic toxin. The liver does not get sick after one meal of fructose, it gets sick after 1000 meals of fructose but that is how many meals people eat”. He states that 30 percent of fructose ends up as fat in the body.

Dr David Reuben, author of Everything You Wanted to Know about Nutrition, writes “White refined sugar is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. It’s true name is sucrose and it’s chemical formula is C12H22O11. It has 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, 11 oxygen atoms and absolutely nothing else to offer”.  The chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4, which basically is the same as sucrose except it has nitrogen instead of oxygen. This information relates to a University of Berkley you tube video that showed how rats in a study addicted to cocaine chose sugar before they chose cocaine.

The fructose in processed foods increases uric acid, which can increase your blood pressure and potentially damage your kidneys. Too much uric acid over time increases low-level inflammation, which affects health in many ways.  For instance, when blood vessels have too much inflammation, this can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Mercola writes there is “a good deal of evidence that some cancers are caused by chronic inflammation”. Mark Hyman, MD,  writes  “The inflammation triggered by sugar leaves in its wake a sea of diseases beyond the brain-heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and rapid aging. The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable.”

Dr Mercola also writes, “Fructose rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity (“beer belly”), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.”

Lustig states “chronic fructose exposure” over years of consuming create 8 of the same major health problems that alcohol abuse does, which he lists as: hypertension, myocardial infarction, dyslipidemia, pancreatitis, obesity, hepatic dysfunction, fetal insulin resistence, habitation if not addiction.  He states that fructose is alcohol “without the buzz.” Lustig believes that metabolic syndrome, largely caused by too much processed sugar consumption, uses 75 percent of all health dollars.

Processed sugar is usually made from sugar can or sugar beets. Through chemical processing these natural foods, 64 food elements are destroyed. The minerals and vitamins are destroyed. Proteins, fats and enzymes are removed.  At the end of the process, the sugar is bleached snow-white, usually with the use of pork or cattle bones.

Lustig reports 80 percent of the foods in grocery stores are “laced” with process sugar.

Processed sugar harms the nervous system, which affects emotional and physical health.When people eat processed sugar, the bacteria in the intestines that manufacture B vitamin complexes, begin to die. As the B Vitamin complex decreases, glutamic acid, is not processed. This leads to decrease in short term memory and brain functioning. The B vitamins are needed for healthy myelin sheath that is the protective covering for nerves. Maybe this partly explains when people say “my nerves are raw”.

Sugar intake can be related to mental problems. Brains are very sensitive.  As sugar consumption decreases vitamin B, insulin production decreases. This causes high glucose levels in the bloodstream, which can lead to a confused mental state or negative moods. Dr Alexander B. Schauss, wrote in Diet, Crime and Delinquency that many people in the psychiatric inpatient ward and prison are “sugarholics”. He observed erratic emotional outbreaks often followed a sugar binge for people he observed in these settings.

When refined sugar is eaten, the body has to use vital nutrients such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from other parts of the body, to process the sugar. Many times so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that people develop osteoporosis and have more tooth decay. Some chiropractors believe lack of minerals/nutrients may be related to increase in back problems due to weak bone structure.

A documentary called “The Secrets of Sugar” examines sugar addiction. It explains how Dr Suzanne De La Monte from Brown University did research where she fed healthy rats the equivalent of the North American diet with the same sugars and kinds of fat. All of the rats in her study developed dementia. She said sugar resistance can occur in any organ. Dr De La Monte believes alzheimer’s is insulin resistance in the brain.

” Secrets of Sugar” also tells about a University of California study run by Dr Kimber Stanhope,  when  college students were fed fructose sugar in drinks (soda pop) for 2 weeks to test for risk markers. Every time she ran the tests, the results were the same: risk markers for cardiovascular disease in the blood increase.  Other kinds of sugar did not get these results. She said if she was testing a new food additive and got the same results when she tested fructose sugar, that food additive would be pulled quickly.

A favorite quote in Dr Mark Hyman’s book The Ultramind Solution: “The most powerful tool you have to change  your brain and your health is your fork…Food contains information that talks to your genes, turning them on and off and affecting their function moment to moment. Food is the fastest acting and most powerful medicine you can take to change your life.”

In my opinion there is no safe amount of processed sugar. For years I had bad head aches and was more tired than I should have been for my age. When I cut out eating sugar the head aches went away and my energy increased. I know many people in a self help program that helps people abstain from addictive foods who share at meetings how much better they feel physically and emotionally once they get off sugar. I often wonder how many of my clients who are depressed and/or anxious would feel if they stopped eating sugar and ate real food instead.

Sugar in fruits and vegetables are balanced by fiber, vitamins, enzymes and other properties that help the body deal with it. Dr Christine Kaczmar, a Natural Digestive Health Specialist, urges people to eat more “real food”. In a blog post, Kaczmar writes “Health is a choice. Every day you have the opportunity to improve your health ‘What choice will you make today’?”

Often having enough knowledge such as the information given in this blog post is not enough to motivate someone to stop eating sugar and processed food. I understand this as years ago I myself would eat too much sugar knowing the next day I would have a sugar hang over. I sought support and help until I was able to give up sugar in 1989. I know how to use methods EMDR and EFT to help reduce sugar cravings and reduce the emotional pain that can trigger people to over eat. I know resources to direct people to if they need additional help. If you are interested in working with me, just call or text me at 586-799-2399.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. They are intended for education only.

 

How EMDR reduced Anxiety for One Artist

Anxiety can affect people in many ways. Creative people often struggle with anxiety about their creative process.  This post is how EMDR helped one woman artist change her negative self-talk about her artistic talent to positive self-talk.

EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensization Processing, is my favorite therapeutic technique. For many people it quickens the pace of progress in therapy. It is a practice of using bi-lateral stimulation, which could be through eye movements back and forth, a tone heard in one ear then the other ear or tapping one knee then the other knee.

My client, an artist, had an idea in her head of what she wanted to paint but was not able to sit down and paint the idea due to panic she felt when she thought of doing this.  She said the idea was a more impressionistic kind of painting that was not her normal style and was larger than she usually painted.  Her level of distress when she thought of painting the idea was a 8 out a scale of 1 to 10, (where 1 was no distress and 10 was the highest distress).

I also asked this client to rate beliefs she had about herself related to this painting idea. She rated feeling as true a 5 out of 7 for the belief: “I cannot succeed” and a 6 out of 7 on the belief “I have to be perfect”.  I reversed these beliefs to what is known as positive cognitions. She rated the belief “I can succeed” as being true as a 2 out of 7. She rated the belief “I can be imperfect” as true a 2 out of 7.

I asked the artist to imagine painting her idea then used  20 to 30 eye movements. (I pass my hand back and forth for her to watch, to create eye movements)   I then asked her what came to her mind. She said “There is a part of me telling me ‘it is senseless to panic. You know you have the skills’.”

We did round 2 of eye movements.  Then I asked what “comes up for you?” She said she heard a part of her say, ‘You never had to be perfect. This is a gift you came in with. It was for you. No one has to judge it and if someone judges it as bad, that is their problem. There is no such thing as perfect. Painting is meant to be enjoyable and bring you joy’.”

We did round 3 of eye movements. This time the thoughts she had were “When I was a child, I was called ‘lazy’ a lot of times. I used to procrastinate when I sat down to do something, thinking I wanted to do something fun instead.”

Round 4 of eye movements. Client said she was thinking, “You are not an artist unless you make money at it. My Dad saw something that I painted in college that was abstract and said to me, ‘Can’t you do boats or ducks?’ I thought ‘Am I wasting my Dad’s money?’ Since I was a little child I had felt like I was an artist.” (note: the paintings used in this blog post are not painted by the artist I did EMDR with for her confidentiality but are used for illustration purposes)

Round 5 of eye movements: Client said “The artist in me is saying ‘Bull shit!’ It is not about the money! Painting is meant to be a gift. To bring me joy and happiness, and possibly bring other people joy and happiness. It is a tool to help me manage being in the world.”

I asked the client to imagine she was sitting down to work on this painting idea. She said the thought that came to her was “You’ve always been able to do this. Don’t let the negative voices distract you. Just let the painting come through. Whatever you paint is ‘enough’”.

At the end of the session, my client felt no distress about painting her new idea. She said before the session the inner confict she felt about painting this idea was “like a bridge over a river being blown up” compared to the end of the EMDR session where she felt like “the water in the river was flowing nice and easy”.

Also by the end of the session my client’s rating of the positive cognition of “I can succeed” had gone from 2 out of 7 to a 7 out of 7 for feeling true. The positive cognition for the belief “I can be imperfect” went from a 2 out of 7 to a 7 out of 7. She was happy, dare I say a little giddy, to feel such a shift in her emotions and beliefs. She told me at the next session that she had been able to make good progress on this painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress using EMDR is not always this fast. It depends how many associations there are to what is being  worked on, how much trauma a person has experienced and other variables. Chronic childhood trauma can take numerous sessions while a recent one time traumatic experience may only need one session to clear.

For more information on how I treat trauma, click here

Reducing overeating using EFT

EFT is one of my favorite techniques that speeds up clearing or reducing negative emotional intensity. It uses tapping of the fingers on acupuncture points while having the person tune into specific issues using a protocol simple enough anyone can learn.  While it can be used as a self-help technique on one’s own, it is by far most effective to use with the help of an experienced EFT practitioner.

I have known about EFT since the mid 90’s but did not start to use it until about 7 years ago. I became friends with a social worker named Annette Richards. She was enthusiastic about how well EFT had helped her, her clients and her friends.  I have worked on some of my own issues at an EFT workshop and one on one with Annette. Each time I worked with her using EFT, it resulted in improved emotions and perceptions.

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Time Debt, Trauma, Trying Too Hard and Ambition

One of the most common after effects of any kind of trauma is becoming so busy one does not have time to process one’s emotions or feel the emotional pain.

Do you find yourself frequently striving to achieve the impossible?

These photos are of my dog Pebbles jumping to catch a squirrel about 20 feet above her (looking down at her smugly). I wonder why my dog will jump 20 times to reach an animal that is clearly out of her reach.  I also wonder why people  try so hard to make relationships work where they are being mistreated by their spouse, work long hours to experience a sense of  achievement that keeps escaping them, and try to do more than their time allows.

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Trauma and Overcoming Insomnia, Part 1, video and article

Do you have an over active mind that won’t shut off at night? Do you find yourself dragging at work because you could not get to sleep the night before?

Often people with unresolved trauma have difficulty consistently getting a good night’s sleep. I read on one book that having insomnia is a kind of trauma in and of itself. Even going to bed begins to have a negative association for these people who fear another long night being awake when it feels like everyone else is sleeping.

In this video I hope to present some ways to reduce insomnia that is not well known compared to  the typical good sleep hygiene tips: https://youtu.be/QdltoHRevos 

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Trauma treatment — Under the influence of trauma, Part 2

People who have experienced emotional and mental abuse often are so wounded they sometimes do not have the ability to empathize with other people. They are unable to put themselves in the other person’s shoes. Ironically these same people may do too much for others and allow themselves to be taken advantage of. They sometimes feel another person’s pain as if it were their own pain.

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Trauma treatment — Under the influence of trauma, Part 1

Are you living under the influence of trauma? It is easy to see when a person is under the influence of drinking too much alcohol, or high on drugs. People who have experienced trauma are also often under the influence of that trauma. Often they don’t know how much it affects them. Unresolved trauma profoundly affects how people see themselves, relate to other people, and view the world.

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