FRGN NewsletterHeaader

CHeadrickTherapist's Corner...
The Continuing Process of Grief

     In my last 2 articles, I wrote about some of my experience as my best and nearly life-long friend had died. At the beginning of April of this year, her family, friends, and I will be celebrating the 2nd anniversary of her death. At this time, I am beginning to recognize that I am feeling more like the person I like being: more aware of feelings/emotions, having more energy, being able to be more aware of others around me and actually having conversations with them, and feeling ready to volunteer my services to others. Several weeks ago, I decided to stay at my office to do some extra things that I had been putting off. After several hours, I realized that I was feeling quite peaceful as I was doing the work. Only then did I realize that there have been many times, through my process of grieving, that I just didn’t “have myself together” enough to stick with the project, idea, or goal at the time. 
     In the past, I mentioned an article Building a New Identity after the Death of a Loved One, by Lou LaGrand that I found helpful. In the article it says, “they (those grieving) are not the same persons they used to be, and identity change is a major part of the adjustment process”. My newest observation has been that it is, most of the time, difficult to know how to share this identity change with others. I have become aware that it takes much energy to bring up and talk to others about my grief. I find myself wondering if they even want me to bring it up as sometimes it seems that they are glad that I have “gotten a life” (and they don’t have to worry about me), or I am afraid my conversation about it will “bog them down”. Sometimes I worry that I will be judged for being “too happy” for having just lost someone - whom they also may be grieving the loss of, or I haven’t been grieving long enough to be feeling “better”. In general, people do not realize how much it means to have them ask about how it is going for us. How much easier this process of grief would be if it had a written and tested recipe for navigation!!!
     To close, I am listing the names of several books and references that might be helpful. Understanding Your Grief and accompanying Understanding Your Grief Journal - Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones, by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., Dying to Be Free - A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide, by Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch, and A Bed For My Heart (book), and abedformyheart.com (website), by Angela Miller, specifically for parents who have lost a child to death.
     As always, may you find peace. Please let us know if you think we can help.

~ Carlene Headrick, Therapist

JMcCasslin

Therapist's Corner...
Easier Said Than Done 

     Volunteering in a my church's second-hand store is going to be the end of me.
     Last newsletter, I wrote about getting rid of 2,016 items. I'm working on it...I'm somewhere around 100. Yes, I have a long ways to go. The goal is to simplify my life and my family's life. Needless to say, it's easier said than done. Part of taking things out of my house means NOT bringing unnecessary things in. That's really difficult when I see all that cool stuff come into the store.
     And, oh, how I NEED those cute lanterns that came in today's donations. And those fairy wings to replace my daughter's shredded ones I threw away when we moved. And that cute shirt. And baby clothes...the list goes on.
     How often do we needlessly bring stuff, stress, anxiety, blah, blah, blah, etc. into our lives? How often do we partake in food/drink that deteriorates our health? How often do we let negative thoughts rule our minds, bringing us down until we can't seem to find anything positive in our lives?
     How often do we BELIEVE we NEED these negative things?
     We rationalize: "I'm just being realistic about my situation." We minimize: "I'm only a little sad." We view things as absolutes: "He ALWAYS leaves the dishes for me to do."
     It's not true. Just like the oh-so-cute lanterns I left behind in the second-hand store, we can leave those negative thoughts. Like the lantern situation, we can "see" negative thoughts but "leave" them where they are. We can be realistic and optimistic at the same time. We can be positive, and kind, and give hope to ourselves and others.
     Our human brains seem to be automatically wired for negativity. However, with practice, we can learn to "catch" the negative thoughts and change them into positive thoughts/ideas/steps. With enough practice, it becomes habit. And with positive habits, we clear out all that clutter that threatens to overwhelm us.
     Setting those negative thoughts aside and making room for positive thoughts and energy is more beneficial for your health, just like getting rid of the clutter in your home makes you feel lighter and "free."
     Understand that there will be setbacks and mistakes...those lanterns may show up in my house yet! However, don't allow yourself to become dismayed and depressed when negative thoughts creep in because you'll continue the downward spiral. Instead, learn from those mistakes and find the cracks through which the negativity enters your mind. For example, the cavernous hole through which negativity enters my mind is the division of labor between my husband and myself. Through constant communication, we've been able to fill in the hole but I still find myself allowing negative thoughts. The result usually involves me blowing up at my husband, then feeling guilty, apologizing, and working to reframe my thoughts and to fill in a little more of that hole.
     With less negative clutter in our minds, we are then free to choose things in which we find happiness. Without the extra anxiety or stress, we can engage in hobbies. We can practice mindfulness...being in the zone, so to speak. We can interact with others...our significant others, children, co-workers, friends...in a positive and respectful manner.
     We can be the positive energy that others need for inspiration to clear out their negative clutter in order to make room for the positive.

~ Jessica McCaslin, Therapist

eap imageFrom Our EAP...
25 Ways EAP Can Help 

1,     Assessment of a personal problem or concern, and assisting you in locating appropriate resources to help.

2.     Discuss difficult challenges on the job related to relationships with peers or managers to help you decide on effective ways to improve and build on them.

3.     Help you decide what type of mental health professional and counseling approach will work best for you, based on your communication style, goals, and ability to pay.

4.     Help with improving communication and morale among your work team by skill-building and other training.

5.     Serve as a link between you and the workplace while you are a patient in a hospital being treated for a disease or severe illness, so you feel supported and less isolated until you are discharged.

6.     Meet with your family and conduct an assessment of personal problems in your relationships, and then find resources to provide support and empower change.

7.     Offer support and problem solving to address your concerns about administrative or disciplinary actions, and find ways to reestablish a good relationship with your employer.

8.    With your written permission, confirm to your supervisor that you are participating in the EAP and in its recommendations, and if desired, communicate your request for accommodations needed so you can participate in those recommendations (adjustments in schedule, etc.).

9.     Short-term support and problem solving for a mental health problem like depression to help you cope until your medication starts working.

10.   Day-of-discharge support to bring you up to date on important information, as you plan to return to work following sick leave. 

11. Post-discharge support from a hospital or treatment program to help you stay motivated and involved in the self-help, recovery, or treatment recommendations.

12.  Support and guidance for difficult decisions with long-term consequences for you, your family, or others (e.g., divorce, retirement, or resignation, or choosing to accept a transfer, promotion, or life change).

13.   Counseling and facilitation following a critical incident involving death, injury, or an event that could have led to death or injury, and help with resolving fearful emotions and anxiety so memories of these events do not linger or interfere with your life.

14. Provide training or instruction on specialized topics related to workplace productivity like soft skills for improving communication, goal attainment, or managing stress.

15. Help you resolve conflicts or confusion associated with your mental health benefits or relationship with a provider.

16. Provide you with a variety of health, wellness, productivity, and life improvement materials and fact sheets, or conduct research to find suitable information to learn about issues that concern you or others close to you.

17. Help with conflicts between you and a coworker, with the goal of resolving conflicts and improving productivity and job satisfaction.

18. Talk with you by phone if visiting the EAP office is not possible, is inconvenient, or is not preferred.

19.   Facilitate a back-to-work conference between you and your employer (supervisor, human resources representative, etc.) to discuss job expectations, accommodations necessary to support ongoing treatment or self-care, and to gain clarification on matters concerning employment benefits.

20.  Work confidentially to survey and interview individual team members, work group members, or the work unit staff in order to gain difficult to obtain and accurate insight into the sources of conflict, morale deterioration, or other group problems, and then suggest solutions based upon the findings.

21.   Provide support and intervention to prevent delayed return to work from depression, family conflicts, or workplace communication issues and concerns with your work unit while you recuperate from injury.

22.   Provide assessments, support, and guidance to assist you in following through with rigorous, mandatory steps to prevent job loss resulting from policy infractions or legal penalties imposed by courts for offenses (for example, DUI education, positive drug tests, etc.).

23. Guidance for improving your relationship with your supervisor.

24. Guidance and support in preventing burnout from workload and the negative effects of customer service stress.

25. (For supervisors) Assist you in understanding how to work effectively with employees and improve their productivity, and how to respond to employees in helpful ways, including EAP support, when personal issues interfere with performance.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Administrator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP, WorkExcel.com)

FRGN Newsletter footer left FRGN Newsletter footer in FRGN Newsletter footer fb FRGN Newsletter footer tw