These articles offer valuable insight and support by allowing life's challenges to be experienced as an adventure filled journey instead of painful and chaotic. They explain in a truthful and practical manner what happens, how to correct it and safely transform relationships with others (and yourself) quickly and effectively. Enjoy the ride!

DEPRESSION: Or A Case of Avoiding & Pretending

Avoiding and pretending are acquired skills. For some it's an art. Both overlook and ignore what you don't want to deal with, allowing you to believe you're okay when you're not. An ostrich is a great symbol for avoidance. Sticking his head in the sand, he pretends to be invisible. He believes he's hiding, not realizing the rest of his body is in plain sight. He's clueless that putting his head in the sand doesn't help.

You can't hide from your problems either. Nothing goes away by pretending it doesn't exist. It can't. Why? There is no resolution, no relief. The itch hasn't been scratched. Actually, when you avoid it gets worse. Taking flight increases problems. Fighting feeds them and resistance builds them.

What you run from is frightening. Why else would you run? Only fear makes you hide. Too much discomfort dealing with things head on. That's the crux of the matter. Depression is the refusal to acknowledge and allow feelings. Ordinarily gauze cannot harm you, but wrapped from head to toe you are immobilized. Avoiding has the same effect. Factually, avoiding or ignoring is admission something exists.

Here's another example. You walk out the door, look down and see a rattlesnake curled up. "Ahhh!" you scream inside, not wanting to startle the snake. Your heart is racing. What to do? Pretend the snake isn't there and continue walking? Or, would you ignore the problem. Stay home all day, hoping the snake will go away? You couldn't relax. Even if the snake moved you'd worry about being ambushed.

You want to feel safe, the sooner the better. But until the rattlesnake is removed, you're going to experience stress, anxiety and fear. Within seconds you grab the Yellow Pages. Critter Control catches your eye. Pleading, you ask them to physically remove the snake. Ahhh... peace of mind! You want security at all cost.

The same holds true in life. No matter what the price, facing problems permanently rids you of them. You can hope they'll disappear, but they won't. Deal with them for a lasting solution. Visualize yourself as a powerful magnet. Those things that supposedly don't bother you are metal filings. What happens? That's why you can't avoid. The strength of your magnetic field increases the faster you flee, automatically drawing more filings.

Fear surrounds want you don't want to deal with, and that fear needs addressing. Procrastinating offers temporary relief, but it's flimsy. Ignoring problems is self-deception. Creates nervous energy, makes you fidgety. Feelings of failure, conflict and self-rejection grind away the quality of life. Stop refusing to be Self-important. You count. You matter.

Why the internal conflict? Believing something can do you in, that a particular outcome can devastate or destroy. That's why things are overlooked. No matter what size problem, the power given to external circumstances is mind-boggling.

You learned to avoid confrontation. It scared you. Now you must learn there is nothing to fear. Skirting an issue? Ask why. Question reasons for avoiding. Find answers for uneasiness. It's just a bad habit. Individually, each of us is responsible for any emotional damage that occurs. No one can get inside you to do anything. You allow another's thoughts, feelings or words to hurt you, no matter how it appears. The same holds true for them.

Trust yourself. Trust your feelings. Learn to face fear. Take appropriate action. Otherwise situations repeat themselves. Life is relentless. Address fear. It's easier in the long run. Avoiding wastes time. Self-reliance breeds the security, independence and confidence necessary to stand undivided within yourSelf. End the chase and win the race by being honest. If you don't have faith in you, how can anyone else?

Patricia Zerman founded the Atlanta Awareness Center in 1988, a safe environment that teaches how to risk living what self-help books talk about with proven results. Ms. Zerman, a skilled therapist recently wrote, "Twelve Guaranteed Ways To Stay Miserable (Or Change)": An illustrated humorous book that takes a poignant look at what we do to ourselves and how to stop it! To review "Twelve Guaranteed Ways To Stay Miserable Or Not" click here.

Why Can't I Stop Beating Myself Up?

Shutting up that restless chatterbox is impossible. When things go awry judgmental clatter attacks hurling reminders of worthlessness and stupidity without mercy. It poisons thoughts with self-condemnation, feelings of inadequacy and failure. Everybody knows the drill. Disgrace and shame reinforce the belief you can't do anything right, humiliating you into submission.

Ever wished there were a switch? Its ranting is tiresome and painful. Though it's not an independent entity, it feels like it. Locating an exorcist isn't too far off. The odds are stacked. Self-belief is a fantasy. "Helpless" barely scratches the surface. The ceaseless racket never fails to destroy concentration or a good nights sleep. Exactly how depression sets in.

Wonder how this demon grew to such proportions? How such an intolerable amount of self-loathing, self-neglect and self-pity decided to homestead? Overlooking the fact, you wholeheartedly accept this as reality without question. It's not by accident. Self-doubt is acquired. It's not part of the initial package. You arrived, problem free. Innocent and pure, like freshly poured cement. No imprints on your soul. You were free of condemnation, had no fear and openly took in new experiences. Things changed. Relationships faltered. You noticed different actions created varying results, paying close attention. Some reactions felt warm and loving. Others felt uncomfortable. Figuring out how to cope and survive was the utmost importance.

You wanted love and support, to be valued and get along. As time passed impressions were stamped into memory. What appeared successful was categorized and logged in. Experiences repeated shaping unnatural patterns. You couldn't be you. Things worked better when you obeyed. Catching on quickly, condescending and stuffing took the place of honoring how you felt. It hurt. You gradually came to accept that coping and self-denial were the same. Like speaking a foreign language, you mastered what was taught.

Self-denial formed deep ruts and potholes, making life's highway rocky. You haven't stopped for necessary repairs. The road isn't level enough for a smooth drive. That's why you fall apart inside and beat yourself up. You live in the past. It's time to learn a new emotional language. Ever noticed the similarity between the past and people you meet? The way you react hasn't changed. Outwardly you're an adult inwardly it's not much different. Like then, you believe pacifying fixes problems. Has it ever worked?

That chatterbox can't help itself. Repressed emotions demand attention. You've stretched the limit of avoidance. Like a holding tank, it needs to be emptied. Unbearable pressure needs defusing. Take action. Learn a new emotional language. Expand. The way to end the insanity is to mature and move on. Risk new experiences, take chances, speak up and say what you feel. Let go. Do the opposite. If you want to speak Italian it takes practice.

Use these techniques to weather emotional storms: Live right NOW. Not one second into the future or one second into the past. Cling to NOW. It's a life saver. Why? Staying NOW ends thinking. Ghastly thoughts can't bombard. It cuts off the past and stops future projection. NOW contains nothing but NOW. Staying NOW eliminates problems. That's the relief! Mulling builds them. Not thinking kills them. NOW, in this moment, nothing can harm you. NOW is peace.

After the mind-storm subsides, locate what triggered the attack. Witness your thoughts. Write them down. Look for clues or patterns. What triggered the backlash? The answer is there. Face threatening thoughts.

Lastly, use your mind to erase fear. Turn it back on itself. Make it real. Play it up to the hilt. You may cry, feel angry, hateful or sick. Safely repeat the scene over and over until it's boring. Like a movie you've watched many times, this defuses the power emotions hold. Why? You are feeling and accepting them. The only way that monkey-mind beats you up is if you let it. Problems can be solved. You aren't helpless. Act that way!

To review "Twelve Guaranteed Ways To Stay Miserable Or Not" click here.

The Atlanta Awareness Center
Patricia Zerman, MS, LPC
1373 Old Virginia Court, SE
Marietta, GA 30067-8461


Email: atlantaawarenesscenter@yahoo.com