Archive for the ‘Fear and Pani’ Category

How Therapy Can Prevent Premature Aging By Tackling Stress and Depression

July 14th, 2015 Comments Off on How Therapy Can Prevent Premature Aging By Tackling Stress and Depression

Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships

west los angeles therapy for stress


At the age of 37 Brittany, a quality control manager, woke up each day wishing the night had lasted a little longer. That awful feeling of dread permeated her body with sweat. She had been slipping at work and the factory owners had noticed that she wasn’t her usual sharp self. It didn’t seem like she was trying any less hard or with less interest in her job. But the jeans coming off the production line and shipped to stores were being sent back with broken zippers and fabric tears.

Even though she was still relatively young, she felt as if she were 20 years older, and  her recent annual physical showed that her heart, blood pressure and skin were all showing signs of deterioration usually seen in older people. Her 50 year old husband Derek looked more like her son and with commensurate energy!

Too tired to cook in the evenings, Brittany’s kids ate fast food. The guilt stressed her out some more. Brittany’s husband tried to understand his wife’s reduced interest and ability to concentrate on family life. She seemed to forget even the most routine of things, like the meds their son needed for his asthma.


west los angeles stress management therapy

Stress and Depression Alter Your View of Reality


Trying to Manage Stress and Depression on Your Own Makes Matters Worse

Withdrawing into her shell to hide from this awful experience, Brittany became depressed. It was a low grade depression that lasted for years. She was too ashamed to seek help and didn’t want to take pills. Her doctor had previously noticed how anxious and stressed she was, and offered anxiety medication. But she declined, thinking she could beat it on her own.

Not able to connect with her family because of her depression, she became a stranger to her family. There was little conversation other than routine matters, because Brittany slept most of the time she was home. It was as if she was an elderly frail person who appeared to be in early dementia due to the effects of stress on her memory. Derek and their two young teenage boys felt helpless. They had lost their upbeat, energetic, sharp and funny family member who was always there to rely on. Nothing they said or did cheered her up. She complained of pain which turned out to be arthritis following early menopause.

The depression led to Brittany having to take more and more time off work. She was relieved when she couldn’t go in, but later felt self-loathing and critical of herself. Depression feeds on those two factors, making her more stressed and less able to function normally. She was often unaware of the time, and as days rolled into one another, her personal hygiene suffered. Friends stopped dropping in and calling, and her sons barely poked their heads into her bedroom door. Derek tried several times to take her to the doctor but she was too scared to face her condition, and was terrified of being told that she needed to see a psychiatrist.

 west los angeles stress management

Stress and Depression Accelerates the Aging Process

Brittany’s problems stemmed from having reduced levels of the hormone klotho that regulates the aging process. When women are stressed and depressed, they have lower levels of klotho, making them less cognitively proficient, adding to the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as reported in an article in Translational Psychiatry, 2015.  This hormone appears to be the link between chronic stress and premature aging diseases and death. It has a protective function in maintaining mental acuity and physical health.

What if Brittany had addressed her stress in therapy at its earliest stage?

She might have felt safe enough to talk to her family about her fear of letting them down, and being less than perfect. They probably would have reassured her, and as a family may have distributed the stress more equitably. The likelihood of depression would have been minimal. Brittany would have developed emotional intelligence skills that would have kept her stress under control.

What if Brittany had taken preventive action by attending therapy and learning the source of her stress before it led to depression?

She would have stopped the stress from becoming chronic and harmful to her memory and physical health.

In therapy she would have learned how to understand and accept that she couldn’t control everything and everyone.

She would have learned to express her feelings in the moments of uncertainty and unpredictability, freeing up space to think and use reasonable logic to manage here anxiety.

Most of all Brittany would have made the connection between her childhood relationship stress and her current relationship stress, so that she could separate them out, and use her adult intelligent mind to cope differently.

What if Brittany had gone to therapy when she became anxious about losing her job?

She would have learned that it was normal but coming from a place inside her that lacked confidence and always wanted to prove herself.  Treating herself as human rather than superwoman might have been a goal, together with being comfortable talking openly about her shame about not being good enough – thereby removing the harmful effect of stress on her hormonal system.

Practicing a non-judgmental and more self-compassionate stance towards herself would have kept those klotho hormones at their optimal levels, so that she looked young and kept her faculties razor sharp. That would have meant quality experiences with her family and colleagues.


Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

AUTHOR OF:' Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Five Benefits of Mindfulness

Unresolved Anger and Stress Keeps You Depressed Longer

Pull Out the Roots of Your Anger and Stress By Exercising Amid Nature



Disclaimer: this article is for educational and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the material or following the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.








How a Dream Can Help You Overcome Your Fear of Making Your Own Choices

January 12th, 2015 Comments Off on How a Dream Can Help You Overcome Your Fear of Making Your Own Choices

Dream Analysis To Help With Anger and Stress Management

making choice

Three months before his wedding 35 year-old Damien came home from working as a lab technician tired, grumpy and dreading the thought of having to propose to his girlfriend or else lose her. He hated the idea of making that decision only to find that there were better fish in the sea. He thought very highly of 32-year-old Physical Therapist Leila, but didn’t want to make that final commitment. It felt like he was imprisoning himself for life. The stress was unbearable.

Earlier that day he had felt pressurized to rush results out of his path lab to the surgeons and doctors in the hospital that demanded instant identification of the tissue and blood samples they sent in truck loads. He was concerned about the accuracy of the results, but also about annoying the medical personnel if he didn’t do things at their pace. He imagined the head of the laboratory being angry with his pace of work, and replacing him. All this anxiety and fear made him wound up in a tight ball, trying to be perfect and please everyone else except himself. He was trapped. Nothing felt good and there was no way out!


clawing out of a cage

Until he had this dream:

“I am in a tavern like in medieval times. I am in a cage that is like a tepee. It’s the day of my execution and I can feel the fire under be being lit. I feel trapped but then I see that the door is open and I step out. There are witches there and the give me a good meal. They say I deserve it because it’s the day of my execution. But I say it’s not going to happen and enjoy the meal.”

Damien’s dream was very disturbing to him, depicting his imminent death.

But then he discussed it with me in therapy and we understood the important message it was giving him about his own ability to feel in control and get out of his trap.

This is what we made of the dream.

The cage is what he puts himself into when he feels he has no choice – no exit strategy. His sense of having to propose and rush his lab work was like the heat of the fire in the dream, pressuring him to act. In real life he can’t see that the cage belongs to him and the door is always open – he can choose to step in or get burned alive.

But the cage is situated in a place of fun, a tavern, where people come to relax and socialize. It suggests that Damien can't allow himself to have fun with people and socialize on an equal basis. He either has to be their slave or take care of them.

Damien has problems in making decisions. It’s hard for him to just have fun – so he has to put himself in a cage to force himself to do more serious things like marry which he wants, but which also involve commitment and no turning back. The witches represent the voices inside him, telling him he has no choice and must accept his demise.

The word witch is also an echo of the word 'which' – depicting choice, that is so hard for Damien.

If he has something nice like the meal the witches offer him, he has to pay the price of death: so the choice is impossible to make. If he chooses the good meal, he gets killed by the fire the witches have lit. If he chooses to get out of the cage his core self gets annihilated by having to please everyone else. When he feels the ‘heat’ from other people to do what they want, the cage feels like a sanctuary. But soon the cage feels oppressive, killing him with its fire. So he wants out – only to find that he is in a different cage of having to take care of others.

pressing reset button and starting afresh

What did Damien learn from this dream analysis?

The idea of choice had always been hard for Damien. His whole life had been prefaced by having to be a “good boy”, doing the “right thing” to be given a pat on the back and accepted into the world of those that mattered. Despite talking about it several times, it wasn’t until his unconscious gave him the image of the open cage and the fire with the threat of dying that he began to own his right to decide what he wanted. He was so amazed that the cage door was open, that he could go out at any time, he kept repeating that part of the dream as if to absorb that it was up to him to walk out or die! It was as if new life had been breathed into him. He was being given permission from his unconscious to take care of himself with feeling guilty, panicked or ashamed.

Within the next few weeks,Damien gave himself permission to leave work at the regular time rather than work late into the night just to please others, or save his job (not get killed). He started to enjoy his time in the evening and looked forward to sharing himself with his fiancé. He was more available for the relationship and proposed to Leila. She accepted. At first Damien was content. But soon he  began to fear that Leila would just take over and make him her slave. He also began to get stressed over his mother's reaction. So tune in to the next blog post and discover how his next dream helped him over this huge hurdle.

copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2014

AUTHOR OF:' Now You Want Me, Now You Don't! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.

You might also like:

Dreams show you how you hold yourself back and sabotage your success

How your dream reveals your inner terrorist that makes your life hell

Is guilt the stick that motivates you into action?

Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond