Frequently Asked Questions
Does dysfunction affect all of us?
You probably answered this question for yourself already. Yes, it does. When you have a sense of not being satisfied with what you have accomplished or you don’t feel good about yourself, that’s dysfunction. You can’t ignore those feelings. If you try, they only scream louder at you.
When my counselor tells me to be grateful for the positive events in my life, I pretend to feel better but really I can’t do it. My brother’s drug use tore the family apart. Why then do I feel like the failure for not being able to forgive him?
Gratitude is one of the steps in healing. So is forgiveness. But neither of them can be forced. They grow out of a change of heart. They can’t be dictated from the outside, either by your counselor, your mother, or you. Give yourself time. Listen to your heart. It might not give you the answer over night, but it will lead you toward your goal. Remember, for right now, you’re right where you’re supposed to be.
I know I should set limits with others, but before I know it, I’m giving in again. What can I do about that?
The pressure to comply with others can be intense. Next time before you respond to some demand, pause. Take a deep breath. Say to the other person, “Let me think about that.” Start a dialogue. “Let’s think about how this is going to work.” No one can fault you for being cooperative and offering to work together. Instead of agreeing to do the whole project, outline the parameters of the task. In this way, you will have some time to think about the process, and be able to identify what you can do, and what’s not your responsibility. It’s a fine line to walk especially if you’ve usually just agreed, but you can do it.
I’ve had worse things happen to me, but now I feel overwhelmed by the smallest stressors. Last week, I left work because my boss yelled at me.
Stress is cumulative according to Dr. Selye, the father of the modern concept of emotional distress. When trauma hit you in the past, you might have had a higher capacity to manage the stress. You coped with the death of a loved one, or the outcome of an accident. But when the event exceeds your available resources, you become maladaptive and enter the area of dysfunction. The only recourse is to lower the stress or increase your resources. Counseling and therapy can help you do both.
Why is Acceptance so important to good mental health?
Acceptance relates to several dimensions of positive mental health. Acceptance enables you to have a flexible response and be more effective. Denying the reality of the situation leads to a rigid mindset that relies on all-or-nothing thinking. This can limit your options and leave you stuck. Begin your healing from where you are. Acceptance gets you ready to take the first step toward health.