We are almost through the Christmas season. The Christmas tree is packed away. Space has been organized to accommodate the new items received as presents. Hopefully, the credit card bill isn’t so high that you have a heart attack. The winter solstice has passed so the days are getting longer. The weather is in it’s pattern of several cold days and then several warmer days.
Now is the time that we come down from the sugar high and over eating. In other words, life returns to normal. Now is the time that those ugly, negative self-talk words start creeping in our heads. “I’m ugly because I gained 5 pounds over Christmas.” “I’m total creeped out that Uncle whomever was at the Christmas get together. He has roman hands. I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. I didn’t like how he treated the other women in my family. Why do we put up with it?” “Aunt whomever really wanted to get too close to me and touch me–yuck? She was trying to kiss and hug all of the men.” “At the stroke of midnight my boy friend, girls friend, husband, wife told me they are breaking up or filing for divorce.” “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find anyone who will love me?”
These types of thoughts do not have to get you down. There is help to combat this negative type of thinking. Your health insurance has a list of counseling providers that can help you. You can search for counselors on the internet. You do not need to be in distress.
Give yourself the best Christmas present ever–improved mental health. Don’t settle for the status quo.
You can PM me if you would like to meet with me.

Christmas Survival

Merry Christmas Everyone—

I have needed to use some of my Holiday Survival Tips. I arrived in Spring, TX on December 23. My sister and I were out doing some shopping. We were in my SUV but I had her driving since I don’t see well in the dark. All of a sudden on a very busy my 2019 vehicle stops dead. We had a guardian angel in a man who offered to push us into a grocery store parking lot. First call was for a jump start. It took him over and hour to get there. The vehicle wouldn’t kept running so he said I needed to get it towed. The tow truck arrive in another hour. My type dealership didn’t accept after hours drop offs so my SUV was towed to the company lot. They delivered it to the dealer that was closing early. They could look at it until yesterday. They had to order a part from m Dallas— a little irony here because I’m from the DFW area but was visiting in the Houston area. They did get the part today and then needed a spark p,us. They took a spark plug from a new vehicle like mind that was delivered today.

I’m waiting to hear that they got it fixed. My family was there come up to Fort Worth to see me today. Instead we are in plan B. We are going to stay in a hotel so the girls can have breakfast in the morning. We are going to a movie.

There are so many things that could have gotten me and my sister tensed up. I believe fish and family stink after 3 days. Today is day 4. My sister and her husband work from home so I need to be transported between their clients. I’m a very independent person and don’t like to impose on people. I could have gotten in the mindset of “this ALWAYS happens to me” Or they are going to think I’m imposing on them. My sister assured me I’m not. Or I think could think everything is ruined because my girls aren’t going to be at grandma’s house over Christmas. It’s not ruined. We are just going to plan B.

Professionals in the counseling business need to apply the cop g skills we teach our clients so we don’t get all amped up with negative thoughts either.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year

However if the new year blahs creep in be sure to contact a mental health professional for assistance.

Gay A, Hunter, M.Div., LPC-S

Ditch the Lie Counselng

9209 Christopher Circle

Fort Worth, Tex 76140


Holiday Survival Tip 8

Here is a situation that can cause us some real problems—misconceptions— distorting existing information making it greater or smaller reality.  How about the anticipation of getting a flu shot. We hear stories about people getting one and coming down with the flu, hear stories about the shot site becoming and achy.  So you put off getting one. Then you go in and get the shot— no sore arm—no getting sick. The next thing you think is “why did I get so upset about that. It was a piece of cake.” Continue reading

Holiday Survival Tip #7

CBT thinking error–Tunnel Vision-seeing only the subset of information that confirms your point of view.
Have you ever met a new love and other people tell you to be careful, maybe the person was violent with an ex, breaks the law, etc. The new love may admit to the violence with an ex but says it was the other person’s fault. He/she declares that with you it will be different. You are the only person who understands him/her. Even when you get hit the first time, you tell yourself it was your fault, he/she really didn’t mean it. Your love comes back and apologizes. He/she said the/she loves me. He brought flowers or jewelry. You just know if you love him/her just right, he/she will change. You believe the lie that you are different from the others. At the end of the relationship you bring up the loving things he/she said, and the love says “you believed that s**t?
We hang on to the few days that were good hoping they increase when in fact they decrease.
If you are in such a situation, please contact a mental health professional to help you build up your strength to get out. You are a valuable child of God and deserve to be treated with respect.
If you are in the DFW, you can schedule with met at http://www.ditchetheliecounseling.com

Holiday Survival Tip -6

As always thank you cognitive behavioral therapy-Emotional reasoning–trusting your gut or instincts without any basis of fact. How many of us have known someone or we have decided our current love is cheating on us. In this situation he/she was really working late–no hanky–panky going. The person keeps ragging on the loved one, telling them they are lying. Until one day the person thinks “he/she thinks I’m having an affair, so I might as well do it”. Then the relationship goes down the tubes. So what if the person was having an affair, accusing them of having an affair is not going to bring them back. That may be time to take a good hard look at the relationship and realize it has hit it’s expiration date. Sometimes we are supposed to be with someone only for a season. That’s okay.
As they used to say on the show TV Dragnet–“just the facts, ma’am.” It really is better to make a decision based on facts.
If you have yourself upset because your gut feelings are on a roll, please get with a mental health professional to help you relieve your distress,
I’m located in the DFW area and have openings.
Gay Hunter ditchtheliecounseling.com

Holiday Survival Tip 5

–thanks to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy–overgeneralization–assuming a single event will become a life long pattern. Have you ever messed up a recipe, maybe someone said something and because of that one mishap you never made that recipe again? The thoughts can go from–“I can’t cook one particular dish” and expand to “I can’t cook.” Or you take one skiing lesson and aren’t ready for a black diamond slope immediately so the thought is, “I’m not a good skier.” We will quit activities because we mess up one time and expand it to a global statement that we aren’t any good at anything.
One way to help yourself is to stop, ask yourself “is what I’m thinking realistic or helpful.” If it isn’t, then restate the situation. I.E. “I messed up on the mashed potatoes one time. Before that I had made mashed potatoes numerous and got compliments on them. One time of putting too much salt in them doesn’t make me a bad cook.”
To help yourself not get caught in this trap, you can contact a mental health professional before the holidays so you can get through the holidays without so much stress. Yes,we mental health professionals are around after the holidays to help pick up the pieces but why get yourself in the mess in the first place. You can have lower stress holidays.
Gay Hunter, LPC-S

Holiday Survival Tip-2

I’m just sharing some information I’ve learned from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Tip 2 is– not to fortune tell–make predictions about future events. For example, you are going to meet your boy friend’s parents for the first time. It’s not unusual to think–“they are going to hate me. His mom will think I’m not good enough for her little boy, etc.” What does that do to your stomach–it hurts, the headache starts, blood pressure goes up–distress level at defcon 3. Add a little catastrophizing –assuming the worse will happen–like his momma actually tells you she doesn’t like you to your face, and you’re at defcon 5. Could this happen? Yes. Could it be your imagination? Yes. Why get upset about it before it happens?
If your fortune telling is getting the best of you, contact a mental health professional to help you reduce your distress.
Gay Hunter, LPC-S

Holiday Survival Tip !

First of all a disclaimer, the following thinking error is not original to me. It is a thinking error from cognitive behavioral therapy. One of the behaviors that can cause us distress during the holiday is Mindreading. We all do it. As we prepare to go into a new situation we will thinking things like, “they won’t like me, they will think I’m stupid, they won’t like what I’m wearing, etc.” When it comes to the holidays, we will have the whole holiday conversation played out in our heads before we even walk through the door. Yes, “Aunt Susie” may tell you that you look fat even though you just lost 40 pounds. But if you know “Aunt Susie” will say something about your weight no matter what your weight is, why let it get you all amped up before you get there. And when she does say it, just say “sorry you feel that way” and go on.

Gay Hunter, Ditch the Lie Counseling

Another Not Settling Moment

I just got home from my voice recital. There were four of us women of a certain age who take a piano class at our local community college. Rather than take piano lessons from her, she accompanies us on our voice repertoire. We presented our recital in the recital hall at the college. We had younger voice students of one of the ladies join us for a song.  Two of the ladies had a gentleman accompany them on the flute.  My voice teacher and I had a friend from our Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity accompany us on her clarinet. We had a few students attend our recital to get credit.

About two years ago, I attended another recital. I was taking voice lessons at the time. I was working on vocalizing mostly. Attending that recital motivated me to step out and start working on repertoire. I told my voice teacher  I wanted to sing in recitals, too. I like singing solos, duets and in small ensembles. I’m not much of a choir person. I tried the musical theater ensemble route but that takes up a lot of time. I admire the people who have the dedication to do show after show. I just don’t have that kind of energy.

One thing about not wanting to settle for a mundane life is you have to figure out what your limitations are. It’s okay to set boundaries. It’s okay to try new things one after the other. It’s okay to decide you want to spend more time on a particular activity. Its  okay to try something and decide you don’t like it. It beats having regrets that you didn’t try it.

No Regrets

Good morning–

One part of not settling is having no regrets. I had a friend who was a mom-aged person to me. Her husband died in 2016 and in July of 2017 she was scheduled to go to her condo in Florida with her daughters. A few days before she was to leave, she broke her hip. She healed from that. In July of 2018, her daughters weren’t able to go to Florida for one reason or the other. So she invited me along. I had an acquaintance who said she and her sister and mother went parasailing in Florida the year before. She noted her mother had some severe medical issues but was able to go without any problems. I told my friend we were going parasailing. She reluctantly agreed to go. She did tell everyone at the condo we were going. The day arrived, and we got ourselves to the location. Her son and his girl friend also were there, and he helped get his mother around in the sand. We got in the boat and in our harnesses. The take off was a piece of cake. Before long we were up in the air pretty high. Both of us were afraid if heights. But this was wonderful. There was a feeling of freedom.The Gulf of Mexico looked wonderful. Along the way my friend said, “I don’t know why we are hanging on so tight.” So we started waving. We weren’t sure who we were waving a,t but we were having fun. The group at the condo did see us flying around and posted it to Facebook so her daughters in Texas knew what we did. She thought they would be mad about it, but they were happy for her.

Unfortunately, my friend died last month. I was able to see her about 10 days before she died.

I am especially glad I went to Florida with her in 2017. I’m glad I went to visit her before she died. Time is precious. We need to step out of our comfort zone and not wait to do things.