The Second Stage of Grief – Part 2 of 3

Current literature points to three primary stages of grief. This 3 part blog post series offers a quick highlight of those three “new” grief stages.

The Second Stage of Grief – Part 2 of 3

SUFFERING – the second of the 3 new stages of grief.

When the initial shock phase begins to wane – the “waves” of pain begins. This time is marked by extreme and overwhelming emotional discord and pain. The jarring to our psyche during this time is so incredible that the emotional pain may present as tangible; physical pain.

Typical symptoms include insomnia and disrupted sleep, restlessness, low frustration tolerance, guilt and anger, overwhelming sadness, rapid mood swings, loss of appetite, weight loss, chest pains and even severe periods of anxiety and even panic attacks. (Don’t write these off though – symptoms like chest pains are better assessed by your physician promptly. Even though these are common symptoms – it doesn’t mean they should be dismissed.) During this time – most of us feel like we may actually be “going crazy” and losing our sanity in the midst of our grief.

In this phase you need the support of loved ones more than ever. The challenge though is that at this point it is all too common that many folks have resumed their everyday lives; work and family routines, etc. Sometimes we even get pushed to “get up and move on” with our own life – which can be an incredibly isolating and very lonely experience.

Seeking a solitary path to coping with the loss is not a good idea in most cases. This is a pivotal time. Even the strongest of us can use the support of another – we are communal creatures, after all. And even though you may feel very against it – a counselor or support group at this stage can have an enormously helpful impact on your days ahead.

When you get well into this Suffering phase – you will find your daily life may fall into a more regular or patterned routine. But it doesn’t mean the inside of you is that way – in fact, the continual tide of depression, isolation and loss rolling in can make you feel like a churning river inside.

Here’s the point to hold to. If your feelings are evolving and changing as you move through this period, even as conflicted as they may be at times; ie if your internal river is still moving – than your grief is likely on the right track. If you feel stuck or progressively stagnant – you need to get more help.

In the midst of this unpredictable and rolling river of emotions it is important to let yourself feel it and be with your grief. Don’t deny it, hide it or try and shield it from others. You do not “have” to grieve in a certain way. As long as your safety and that of others is not at risk, there is probably no real wrong way to grieve…except not to.

One more thing – this stage isn’t necessarily brief. The waxing and waning of grief during this time can last for months – and even off and on for years. Don’t lose hope. The chaos diminishes and life does resume, differently, but yes, real life.

A very dear friend once shared with me, “Don’t believe those folks who tell you that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. But time does change it from a searing agony in your head to a soft, heartfelt longing in a beautiful place deep in your heart.”

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Ben Carrettin – The Second Stage of Grief – Part 2 of 3
Texas Recovery Support – Grief Counseling
Houston, Texas

Three Stages of Grief – Part 1 of 3

Current literature points to three primary stages of grief. This 3 part blog post series offers a quick highlight of those three “new” grief stages.

The First Stage of Grief – Part 1 of 3

SHOCK – the first of the 3 new stages of grief.

When we first receive the unsettling news that someone close to us has died, most of us react with an initial state of disbelief or emotional numbness. This period of shock is a common and very natural reaction – your mind’s attempt to protect and preserve you from being completely and utterly overwhelmed by the tragedy.

During this phase it’s pretty likely that you will be unable to think very clearly or make what typically would seem like pretty basic or simple decisions. Feeling like you are in a state of “un-reality”, foggy or even somewhat ethereal; as if the immediate moment is more like a story or film than your real life.

During this time it is really important to surround yourself with your closest support system; family, friends, congregations, neighbors, etc. As these folks rally about you – we need to accept the support they can give and let them be a help to you throughout the logistics and many difficult decisions that may come through the funeral and other exit processes.

Feelings like emotional/physical weakness, frustration and agitation, weeping and seemingly pointless activities are common and normal.

The Shock phase typically can last for a few hours up to weeks – but eventually, the reality of the loss and it’s impact will begin to set in…

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Ben Carrettin – The First Stage of Grief – Part 1 of 3
Texas Recovery Support – Grief Counseling
Houston, Texas

7 Reasons Your Company Should Use CISM

7 Reasons Your Company Should Use CISM;

The Top 7 Reasons Your Company Should Use Critical Incident Stress Management

(What Every CEO, Human Resources Manager and Internal EAP Should Know About Critical Incident Stress Management.)

What are CISD andand CISM?

Critical Traumatogenic Exposure and CISM Incident Stress Debriefings (CISDs) are a specific tool of Critical Incident Stress Management designed to help individuals, groups, or entire organizations cope with the often difficult, overwhelming and/or stressful emotions associated with critical incidents or traumatic events.

What Employers Should Know

CISD helps mitigate post-traumatic symptoms, assess the need for follow-up, and often provides a sense of closure. If prompt trauma intervention is provided at the onset of the crisis, damaging long term effects can be minimized and employees will be better equipped to return to the daily work routine and productivity.

Professional Consulting and CISM for Traumatogenic Exposure/Incidents

Professional consulting and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) are not the same thing as psychotherapy or counseling. These are specialized, focused services that are used very specifically for individuals who have been involved in or exposed to unnatural events or conditions. Sometimes exposure occurs while fulfilling the duties of their profession, sometimes due to unforeseen accidents or disasters and even sometimes as a victim of an aggressive crime.

These services are not the same as therapy and in no way are they meant to replace therapy. These services are most effective when used as soon as possible after the event to help normalize the situation and prepare the individual for some other issues that may arise in the short term as a result. CISM is intended to be used promptly to reduce the risk of further distress and more detrimental outcomes later on such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Here are the top 7 reasons your company should use a licensed and experienced CISM professional

1.

Meet OSHA requirements for General Duty Clause 29 USC 1900 5(a) and for S.E.M.P. Compliance. (Structured Emergency Response Program)

2.

Provide Risk Management for adversarial situations and help decrease litigious responses.

3.

Help prevent job stress and burnout problems and worker injuries/errors and associated costs.

4.

Decrease bottom line expenses for employers. (Studies have shown realized savings of $7 for every $1 spent on CISM).

5.

Promotes employee wellness and decreases utilization of sick time and benefits.

6.

Stabilize crisis situations quickly & effectively when they do occur.

7.

The visible and appropriate action of a company taking care of it’s employees in a crisis.

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Professional Consulting and CISM for Traumatogenic Exposure/Incidents

Professional consulting and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) are not the same thing as psychotherapy or counseling. These are specialized, focused services that are used very specifically for individuals who have been involved in or exposed to unnatural events or conditions. Sometimes exposure occurs while fulfilling the duties of their profession, sometimes due to unforeseen accidents or disasters and even sometimes as a victim of an aggressive crime.

These services are not the same as therapy and in no way are they meant to replace therapy. These services are most effective when used as soon as possible after the event to help normalize the situation and prepare the individual for some other issues that may arise in the short term as a result. CISM is intended to be used promptly to reduce the risk of further distress and more detrimental outcomes later on such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

 

ESI – 7 Reasons Your Company Should Use CISM

Executive Social Intelligence

 

What Is a Critical Incident ?

WHAT IS A CRITICAL INCIDENT ?

A critical incident (or traumatic event) is any event outside the usual realm human experience that is markedly distressing ( elicits reactions of intense fear, helplessness, dread, panic, horror, etc.) Such critical incidents usually involve the perceived threat to one’s physical integrity/safety or the physical integrity/safety of someone else. Most of all, critical incidents are defined by their undermining of a person’s sense of safety, security and competency in the world. The result of this can be a form of psychiatric injury, also known as traumatic stress. Contrary to some misconceptions out there – a person’s internal fortitude does not prevent this from happening. It is extremely important to respond quickly to a critical incident. The sooner the intervention/response – the less likely more complicated problems such as panic attacks, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and similar anxiety spectrum disorders are to arise, as well as a host of other challenges.

Examples of Critical Incidents

Individual/Personal

Automobile accident, or any accident involving serious injury and/or property damage
Industrial accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities
Sudden or unexpected death of a relative, friend or colleague
Sexual assault/abuse
Robbery and violent crimes
Domestic violence
Child abuse and/or injury or death of a child
Psychological/emotional abuse
Suicide or attempted suicide
Homicide(s)
Line of duty death or injury among emergency/law enforcement personnel
Any life threatening experience
Adverse/negative publicity
Observing or being aware of unethical acts
Observing any of the individual or community critical incidents

 

Community/World

Fires
Floods
Earthquakes
Hurricanes
Tornadoes
Multiple injury/fatality accidents
Large scale environmental pollution
Terrorism
Acts of war
Child related traumatic events
Homicides in the community
High publicity crimes of violence or sex
Community disasters
Being an emergency worker/first responder in critical incidents and disasters*
(*Peace Officers, Fire & Rescue, EMT, Triage Nurses & Military)

 

Point Of Fact:

You do not need to be directly involved to be negatively affected by a critical incident.. Generally, the closer you are to the actual event and the people involved, the more severe the impact. However, television and news media coverage, especially excessive and/or graphic depictions, may serve to increase the likelihood of experiencing traumatic impact, especially anxiety and feelings of not being safe.

 

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) services for Greater Houston Area / Texas Recovery Support / ESI

www.texasrecoverysupport.com

Council on Recovery – Houston, April 17, 2015

Council on Recovery – Houston, April 17, 2015

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Texas Recovery Support

Fantastic event, as always. Always great to hear another story of success and humility coming from Hollywood. Tom was a gregarious and charming speaker – real and relatable. Our thanks again, to The Council on Recovery.

Below is a little food for thought for our readers who couldn’t make it.

What Opiates do to a Person’s Brain?

Opiate drugs activate the dopamine pathway (also known as the reward pathway) that sends out a rush of pleasure chemicals to the brain. Opiates are much more stimulating than natural endorphins, which is partly why they are so addictive. Once a person uses opiates, the brain stops creating natural endorphins because the body thinks that there are already enough levels of it in the brain. Within six to 12 months of using opiate drugs, the cells that produce endorphins are reduced in size and die.

One of the most commonly abused opiate drugs is heroin. When it is injected into a vein, heroin reaches the vein within 15 to 20 seconds. Then it binds to the opiate receptors found in the different parts of the brain that include the reward pathway. When the receptors in the reward pathway are activated, the person feels a brief rush and very intense rush of euphoria. This is followed by several hours of contented and relaxed state. This feeling of euphoria is what draws people back to opiates again and again.

The effects of opiates are similar to the ones from naturally occurring opioid peptides. When used for medical purposes, opiates can stop diarrhea, depress breathing, and relieve pain. They come with side effects that include vomiting and nausea. But when used in large doses, they can make breathing shallow or even make it stop altogether. Thousands of opiate addicts have died due to overdose. And mixing alcohol with opiates only increases the risk of death.

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Opiate Addiction vs. Dependence

Dependence happens due to the normal adaptations to prolonged exposure to opiates. People should not confuse the term dependence with addiction because they are not the same. Addiction is described to be the compulsive seeking (psychological) and use of the drug that results to deadly consequences. Addiction can include some type of dependence (physical) as well.

Another way to understand it is this: dependence is typically acute and holds the potential to be resolved or cured. Addiction on the other hand can be acute or in remssion – but it is always chronic and life long (ie it is not cured or removed). This is why we say a clean/sober person is “in recovery” and not that they are “recovered”.

A person who is dependent on opiates will experience some type of withdrawal symptoms when the use of the drug is suddenly stopped or reduced. The symptoms can be mild to severe. Withdrawal symptom includes flulike discomfort, stomach cramps, unpleasant mood, diarrhea, and severe muscle pain, just to name a few. The withdrawal symptoms are most commonly managed medically through the use of a slow drug taper.

Dependence is often accompanied by tolerance, which is the need to take higher doses of the drug in order to get the same effect. Once a person experiences tolerance, it can be difficult for the health care provider to evaluate whether the patient has a drug problem or if there is really a need for higher doses to control one’s symptoms. This is the reason physicians are attentive and vigilant to their patients’ symptoms, as well as the level of functioning to provide them with the most accurate information needed to prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Live Better Live Now – Texas Recovery Support – Houston

Council on Recovery – Houston, April 17, 2015

Authenticity & Making Amends

Authenticity & Making Amends

Making amends – whether in your step work or for anyone out there – is never easy and often made worse by misunderstanding the core purpose of this exercise of self. Although we may ponder what to say, how and when to say it, whether by phone, letter or in person – the truth of the matter is that those details are really not what this is about. Making an amend is about digging deep into ourselves and bringing forth – with authenticity and conviction – a true and heartfelt owning of our own failing, an expression with full integrity and confirmation “aloud” that we truly intend not to repeat it. But here’s the catch: making an amend has zero to do with how it is received. Think about this. If you are in any way leaning towards gaining a positive response from the recipient – then this becomes “for you” not “from you”, and the integrity and purpose are disrupted.

TimeIsGood

This is really hard for most of us. But good things rarely come easy – and the making of authentic amends is ultimately good for us and hopefully, for those we are making them to. That’s not to say that making the amend to the other person is always appropriate. In some cases – if it will harm or upset their lives more – than I have to ask myself am I creating more good or more despair in this? If you are unsure – talk with your sponsor, counselor or someone you are confident will be objective and honest about it.

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Making an authentic amend is an act of true compassion. What I mean by that is that it is about “what is needed” and not at all about “what is wanted”. If desire is part of the equation, you probably need to rethink it. Attachment to an outcome has no part in making an amend.

Authenticity & Making Amends / Texas Recovery Support / Houston, Texas

 

10 FACTS ABOUT PRESCRIPTION ABUSE

10 FACTS ABOUT PRESCRIPTION ABUSE

1) How Young is Too Young ?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 2,500 children between the ages of 12 and 17 abused a prescription drug for the first time (2011). And guess what? – the most common drug abused by this group is a pain reliever. (Keep in mind this age group starts in Elementary school).

2) Biggest Killers
Abuse of opiates, depressants, and antidepressants are the top 45 percent of drug overdose deaths, which is more than meth, cocaine, and amphetamines combined.

3) Prescriptive Death
In 2007, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that Fentanyl (prescription pain reliever) is thirty to fifty times more physiologically potent that pure heroin. During that year, prescription drug abuse statistics showed that over 1,000 individuals died from Fentanyl abuse.

4) Death Toll
Every day, approximately 100 people die from prescription drug overdoses in the United States. And get this, due to multiple stressors, working, single Moms is one of the highest potential risk groups for a future increase in this statistic.

5) The Real Insanity
More and more people are taking prescriptions for mental / emotional health. A recent study shows that over 20 percent of American adults are being treated with prescription drugs for a psychiatric or behavioral disorder. (And this can support medication dependency, especially in Adults already prone to addiction).

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6) Prescriptions As “Kid-Control”
With the increase in behavioral issues in children, doctors are resorting to prescription medication to treat these young children. More shocking is that in recent years Government Accountability Office reported that one-third of all foster children are prescribed at least one psychoactive drug. Many foster children are put on medications such as Xanax, Ritalin, or similar behavior modification drugs.

7) Women On The Move
Usually we think of men being the more common drug abusing gender, but more and more women are getting prescription medications by going to clinics/physicians and with complaints of chronic pain or stress-related issues. Dependency is faster and much more common than most people realize.

8) Is There A Doctor in the House?
In 2012, the Center for Disease Control reported that 7 in 10 Americans take prescription medications each day. Most of these users are being prescribed drugs by their local medical professionals.

9) Pain Management VS Pain Free
The intent of pain management is to reduce pain/distress to a point where quality of life is increased. The trending idea of pain free, while sounding desirable, often comes at a price that actually diminishes quality of life. Ask yourself, “Is it that I can’t feel any pain, or that I can’t feel…anything?”. Some research reports as high as 75% of doctor visits in the US resulting in prescriptions. Quality of life?

10) The Sky Is The Limit
In 2011, 5.1 million out of 7 million Americans who abused prescription medications chose opium derivatives or synthetic opiates as their drugs of choice.

Texas Recovery Support – 10 FACTS ABOUT PRESCRIPTION ABUSE
www.texasrecoverysupport.com