Take a hot bath, get a massage, take a weekend trip, watch your favorite movie, indulge with a delectable treat, or unplug....whatever it may be...make sure to honor yourself.
Happy Valentines Days from East Bay Area Therapy.
At East Bay Area Therapy, we rejoice in the incredible diversity in the pan- African community of the San Francisco Bay Area. We recognize that there is massive variation in preference in identity, culture, level of self-acceptance, and internalized oppression through personal anecdotes, education, research, and psychological practice with our amazing clients. As a practice who welcomes and regularly works with individuals who identify as Black, African-American, Caribbean, and as African-Immigrants, we exclaim Thank You! to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his invaluable role in furthering the positive mental wellness for the pan-African community. We know that discrimination and oppression have a severely harmful effect on mental health and stand for racial justice and restitution.
According to a video by Goalcast (https://www.goalcast.com/2017/09/12/martin-luther-king-story/), Martin Luther King was a child who suffered from episodes of severe depression. He was deeply emotionally affected by racial discrimination, oppression of African-Americans and the pan-African community, and witnessed atrocities towards him, his family, and towards those who shared his African heritage. He made his first suicide attempt around the age of 12, when he jumped out of a second-story window. He made a second suicide attempt before the age of 13, as well.
As with many people who suffer from mental health struggles, he was extremely intelligent, innovative, and was passionate about making a change in the world. He tirelessly fought for justice for the oppressed and stayed focused on his DREAM. He achieved academic excellence by earning his doctorate degree at a very young age (while dealing with depression, too!) and visited India to study a non-violent approach to civil disobedience. He knew that the guidance he was seeking could be found in a collaboration between cultures!
East Bay Area therapy prides itself on being a practice that utilizes culturally conscious counseling, and maintains a safe environment for members of oppressed communities, not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, legal status, ability & disability, and any other ways in which a beautiful human being can be wrongly and unjustly mistreated in this world.
Dr. King, thank you for making it possible to serve many pan-African clients at our practice, East Bay Area Therapy. We are proud to serve African-American, black, Caribbean, and African-immigrant clients with humility, research–based evaluation and treatment strategies, and continuously reflect on our areas of privilege, powerlessness, and how we can use our given privileges to further the wellness of the pan-African community as a whole.
Trigger Warning: Strong content about sexual assault, human sexual slavery, and severe forms of human exploitation
Grace Pacheco, M.A., MFT presents educational material and case examples focused on severe forms of sexual abuse for the psychology graduate students at JFK University in Pleasant Hill, California. She discusses sexual assault, human slavery, exploitation, and captivity, and how they manifest in three complex case examples. She shares about working with persons who are transgender, sex workers, sexual offenders, Christian, lesbian, and focuses on the unique experience for a black lesbian Christian client.
She shares briefly about her relational style with her clients, the use of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and offers valuable concepts from Christian-based book, The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by David Allender and Karen Lee-Thorp.
Grace Pacheco, M.A., MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in Pinoles, CA who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of severe anxiety and trauma-and-stressor disorders. She has unique training and experience with Christian queer people of color with a variety of intersecting oppressed identities.
Disorders Discussed: Bulimia, Exhibitionism & Paraphilias, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
How to Take a Shower with Disabling Depression
When one is going through disabling depression, there isn't a whole lot of motivation to do much of anything. The most obvious and measurable basic self-care activities are things like feeding ourselves, bathing ourselves, brushing our teeth, changing our dirty clothing, hygienic toileting… you get the point.
All of these things become compromised when we feel depressed at a disabling level. High functioning and moderate functioning depression are certainly valid in their own struggles and levels of functional loss. We are not, however, going to discuss moderate or high functioning depression in today's blog. There are plenty of articles throughout the internet on those levels of depression.
When depression becomes disabling is when days go by in bed and we have no clue if it's Monday or Thursday.
These are times when we've been wearing the same shirt for a few days — but we aren't exactly sure how many.
We start to tell the time by how light it is or how dark it is through the window. Time becomes simplified to daytime or nighttime.
The amount of days it has been since one showered is often measured by the amount of visible grease and sweat in our hair (glamorous, I know), comments from other people, or through whiffs of ourselves in passing moments.
It can be very hard to even get motivated before discussing The How of taking a shower. Many people might exclaim, shower? For what? I'm not going anywhere! What's the point? I will feel the same afterwards!
Those of us psychological nerds who study human behavior and psychology, and think about it all the time (AKA Me!), are aware of a couple handy principles that can be applied from an "old school" area of early psychology.... Operant Conditioning.
Even though many depressed people prefer to spend most of their day in their bed and do not necessarily want to get out of bed, they will get out of bed to either directly reduce a negative stimulus (or feeling) that they feel inside of their bodies or add a positive stimulus (or feeling). See below:
A. A depressed person gets out of bed to use the restroom, aiming to decrease discomfort (negative stimulus) that one experiences from holding urine or feces inside of one's body.
B. A depressed person who lays in bed all day may get up out of bed to binge eat on the ice cream in the freezer, to increase positive feelings (positive stimulus) in the body.
Yes, it can be very tricky when somebody claims they don't care about anything. Given that, how can one decrease or increase anything?
I call BS!
I know that there are always things that humans want to increase or decrease, based on our universal traits.
So, the seemingly simple method for motivating ourselves or loved ones to take a shower are to provide an incentive which may be negative or positive.
Lets take two ways:
1. Increase a negative stimulus to make NOT showering intolerable
2. Increase a positive stimulus to make showering tolerable
How to Make NOT Showering Intolerable
Change your bed sheets to clean sheets. Getting back into them with dirty hair, body, and clothing will feel uncomfortable. Some people say that it promotes an urge to shower so that one can feel that total "fresh and new" feeling.
Make Showering Tolerable
Make it Quick and Easy
Wishing everyone suds and bubbles,