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Tag: Mental Health

What to Say to Someone Who is Grieving

One of the most common things we are told by guests during a funeral is “I am sorry for your loss.” While you may be genuine in your response, coming up with different responses that come from your heart can make a big difference in how that person goes forward in their grief. Speaking from your heart and empathizing with what your loved one is going through can be a big help to their sadness and guide them back to happiness.

I Am Here For You To Lean On

You may not know what to say to someone who has lost someone if you have never been in that situation before. That person probably feels lost in the world and is questioning how life works like losing a spouse that they pictured spending their whole lives with or outliving your child. It can seem awkward and scary because you do not want to make anything worse for that person. But, doing nothing about a friend’s grief will make that person think you do not care enough to reach out. Just letting someone know that you will be there for them will provide them with a great source of comfort and warmth. It just needs to be told in the simplest way so that a person should never have to wonder if you will be there for them. Do not force being there for that person if your loved one is not ready to let anyone in yet. Just give them the option that if you are looking for a lending hand, you will be there to hold it and help feel better. 

I Can See You Tomorrow If You Would Like

Telling someone to let you know if they need anything is a very general request. Your loved one is too absorbed in their sadness to think of a helpful task for you. You should instead pick a task and commit to doing so. You can tell things that person things like you will bring a cake or a casserole to their house tomorrow or that you can just come for a visit to talk. You can also offer to help them do any chores that can lighten their load like any laundry, cooking, or picking up groceries. You can also help out your loved one’s children like picking them up from school or making lunches for them. Letting that person know about the task you are willing to accomplish for them will show that you are serious.

It Is Okay to Feel This Way

We tend to feel bad about feeling bad or crying in front of others. It may be common to tell someone not to cry because we want them to feel better. The truth is that your loved one will not feel better because you tell them to. You need to let them know that it is okay to feel sad. That they can try for the person they are grieving for and to let it out. Just let that person be how they are naturally instead of trying to change them. And again, let them know that no matter how bad they are feeling, they can always turn to you.

Ask About That Person

Remember that when someone is grieving, no one should forget about the person who passed away. You can ask that person if they have any favorite memories they should like to share or moments that made them laugh with them. Maybe you have never met the deceased person before and you would like your loved one to educate you on them. It will show them that you care enough to get to know someone that you never had the chance to meet. Or if you have met that person, you can share with your loved one your favorite memories of that person to make them smile again. 

Say Nothing

Sometimes, words do not need to be said because that person may be too distraught to respond or listen to anything you say. If you do not know what to say or you are worried that what you may say may make your loved one even more upset. When this happens, give your loved one a hug to provide them with the comfort they are seeking. Sometimes, listening to your loved one vent about their feelings is enough without having to provide commentary. Do not judge or give advice to your loved one unless that is something they are seeking from you. 

Expression in Other Ways

If you do not know what to say, show your sympathy for that person in other ways. You can help that person out with funeral expenses or send gift cards for food delivery services if they are too distraught to cook or leave the house. If your loved one does not want money from you, you can also offer to donate to a charity in that deceased person’s name whether it is related to the cause of death or a charity that person appreciated. It may feel strange being in situations where you are comforting someone who has lost someone as what you say cannot change the circumstances of that person’s death. But, being there for someone who has lost someone can make a big difference in that person’s mental health showing that there are people out there who are still there for them and are loved.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Treating Co-Occurring Conditions

Addiction is all-encompassing and touches every area of our lives, from our work and our interests to the health of our relationships and our ability to feel at peace. Addiction doesn’t function in a vacuum; it impacts and is affected by all of the other issues in our lives. Very often when we’re living with addiction, we’re also struggling with other deeply rooted mental, emotional and physical issues. When our conditions occur at the same time, they’re referred to as co-occurring conditions. To heal from one, we must work to heal from all of them. The underlying issues behind our addictions are often contributing factors to our other illnesses, and vice versa.

Healing ourselves from addiction is not as simple and straightforward as abstaining from our addictive substance or behavior. When we don’t work to heal from all of the issues causing our addiction, our recovery isn’t as profound or as thorough as it needs to be in order to really prevent us from relapsing. Many of us living with addiction are also coping with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Just as many of us haven’t sought out help for our addictions, we also haven’t gotten help for these very pervasive and destructive mental illnesses. Our ability to cope with daily life is often impaired. We struggle to function in our regular lives. Our health declines. Our relationships suffer. Our ability to care for ourselves falters. When we are deeply depressed, we often retreat inwards and isolate ourselves, making us even less likely to reach out for the help we so desperately need. Many of us struggle with some form of social anxiety, where our fears of people and social situations keep us from interacting with other people or asking for help when we need it. Our depression can cause us to feel so hopeless that we give up on ourselves. We don’t see any point in getting help. We’ve lost faith that we can recover. We’ve lost all belief in ourselves.

Successfully recovering from our addictions means treating our co-occurring conditions with as much care and attention as we place on our sobriety. What trauma do we have yet to heal from? What fears are still unaddressed that are driving our behaviors? Asking ourselves these important questions is part of the healing process. Many of us are afraid to venture this deep into our emotional problems, because it’s very scary terrain. Our recovery depends on our courage and our willingness to face these very difficult issues. We can’t grow to heal and love ourselves without doing so.

The programs at Enlightened Solutions treat co-occurring conditions along with addiction, to help you achieve true recovery. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.

The Harm in Suppressing Our Emotions

Many of us have been conditioned to believe that expressing our emotions is a sign of weakness, and that we are lesser or weak if we are honest and forthcoming about how we feel. We’re taught to suppress our emotions. We’re conditioned to keep everything locked up and buried deep within ourselves. The problem with suppressing our emotions, however, is that their energy continues to hurt us when we haven’t faced them head on. Unresolved pain festers inside us, causing us all kinds of mental, emotional and physical health problems.

Suppressed emotions can cause our mental health to decline. We can experience worsened memory and cognitive thinking skills. We can have a hard time processing our thoughts. We can struggle to think clearly and logically. Our painful feelings can totally cloud our judgment. We might think we’ve buried them deep enough to forget about them, and we may forget about them temporarily, but they always return to remind us of the issues we need to address. Our feelings are like clues to the healing work we need to do. When we pay attention to the information they’re giving us, we can make important progress in our healing.

Emotionally, suppression is quite toxic for us. Our emotions grow stronger, fiercer and more ferocious when we don’t accept them and make space for them. Until we embrace them with acceptance and mindfulness, they will try to alert us and get our attention by causing us distress and pain. Our emotions accumulate and worsen the longer we try to deny or avoid them. Suppressing our feelings can lead to exacerbated depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other mental health issues. Since so many of us have been taught to suppress our emotions, we’re trying to cope with life while these feelings are wreaking havoc on our balance and peace. We feel increasingly stressed, worried, angry and destabilized. Our emotions provide us with important information to help us grow our awareness. When we don’t pay attention, we limit our capacity for development and stunt our growth. We derail our healing progress.

Suppressing our emotions can have harmful physical effects as well. We tend to think of our thoughts and feelings as being confined to our minds, separate from our physical bodies, but in reality, our systems are completely interconnected. Everything we think and feel affects us physically, and vice versa. Our minds, hearts and bodies are inextricably linked. Trapped emotions and stuck energy can cause us physical pain and discomfort. Physical health issues such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia and poor alignment, for example, are often attributed to our unhealed trauma.

A huge part of healing is learning to allow ourselves to feel, express and communicate our emotions in healthy ways.

At Enlightened Solutions, we are here to help you remember that life can be full of happiness and enjoyable moments, once we learn how to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.

How We Can Redirect Our Thoughts When We Are In Crisis

When we are experiencing a serious depression or other crisis such as a nervous breakdown, our thoughts can be debilitating and are often a major contributing factor in our condition. When we are in crisis, our thoughts can feel as though they are out of control. We can experience thoughts of deep hopelessness and despair, breakdowns in our rational thinking, and suicidal thoughts and ideation.

One thing we can do for ourselves when we are in crisis is to work on redirecting our thoughts. This can feel impossible. We feel controlled by our thoughts, even haunted or tortured by them. Our inner demons are persistent and overbearing, and they dominate our minds. If we can start to consciously choose our thoughts with intention, we can start to take back control of our minds.

Our usual default line of thinking is often focused on how much pain we’re in. We think thoughts like “I don’t want to be alive. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t deserve to live.” We tend to replay these same thoughts over and over again in our minds, which amplifies them and gives them even more power over us. When we have moments of feeling even a little better, maybe we have a pause in our painful thoughts, our instinct is often to return to the depressing thoughts. That becomes our automatic line of thinking that our minds naturally, instinctively revert to.

The good news is that we can reprogram this line of thinking. Our minds have the capability of transforming themselves from within. Even in times of crisis, even in a total state of breakdown, we often have moments where we have some clarity. In those moments, whenever you can, start to say things to yourself like “I am healing. I am getting better. This pain will be over soon. I will get through this.” Write them down if you can. If you need the help of a therapist or friend, ask. You can record your affirmations, and anything else you find comforting. Meditate with the recording to calm yourself and help you sleep. With repetition, we are reprogramming our subconscious minds. As we do this, we begin to be able to heal our deepest wounds, address our underlying fears and handle unresolved emotions.

When painful thoughts arise, try not to fight them. Meditation helps us to accept our thoughts rather than adding resistance to them, which can add fuel to the fire. We can embrace our painful thoughts with our understanding and compassion. We can have empathy and patience for our inner selves as we heal.

Enlightened Solutions has years of experience helping people in recovery. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information on how we can help you.

Prayer for Healing

Prayer can be a helpful healing tool, whether or not we consider ourselves to be religious people. We can pray to any higher power, and what we call that higher power matters much less than how we can connect to it. If we believe our higher power created us, then we are a manifestation of it. That power is within us. We have the power to heal ourselves, to create the lives we want for ourselves. Accessing our inner higher power allows us to do that, and prayer is a helpful way to connect to it.

Prayer is not something that is limited to people who attend church. Anyone can pray, and you can pray to whatever higher entity brings you comfort. You can pray to your inner self, which has all the strength and wisdom of your higher power.

Prayer can take any form as long as it resonates with us. We sometimes think of praying as asking for what we want, but prayer can also be communicating with our higher power. We can release our pent-up emotions and we can share our distressing thoughts, knowing our higher power already knows all of it. We can ask for guidance, we can ask for strength. We can ask to be lifted through our struggles. We can pray for forgiveness when we’re struggling with shame and anger, we can pray for healing when we’re in pain.

This process can bring us enormous peace. It can help us feel calmed, soothed, comforted and nurtured. It can make us feel rejuvenated in our faith and purpose. We’re reminded we’re never alone. We are being supported, protected and guided. When we pray, we allow ourselves to surrender- to a power bigger than us, to the idea that we’re not operating our lives alone. We don’t have to feel isolated in our pain.

Prayer is something we can also do with our loved ones. We can pray together and allow it to bring us together. We can strengthen our connections with each other and our higher power. Many families make prayer a regular practice, before meals, before bedtime, during difficult challenges.

Prayer, like meditation, allows us to connect to our inner voice, our higher power and higher consciousness. When we are open to it, we can receive signs, messages and tangible guidance that we can interpret to help us along our way. We aren’t alone in our healing.

Enlightened Solutions is here to help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

Exposure Response Prevention for Dealing with Fear

Fear is a common factor in addiction, depression, anxiety, and anxiety disorders like OCD. How we deal with our fear is a major contributor to these issues. We often have a hard time facing our fears head on and instead use our addictive behaviors and thought patterns as means of escape. To confront our fears, we can use a technique called Exposure Response Prevention, or ERP.

To really benefit from ERP, we can start by figuring out what our fears actually are. Common fears many of us share are fears of abandonment, failure, inadequacy and inferiority, fears of being replaced, betrayed, hurt or violated, fear of loss, fear of being alone. As we do some soul searching and go beneath the surface of our symptoms, we become more conscious of our fears and fear responses.

ERP is a relatively simple exercise, but it can bring up intense emotions, so you may want to do it with a therapist or other supportive person. With ERP we expose ourselves to our triggering fear and then prevent our usual go-to responses such as our compulsions and addictive behaviors. This requires willpower and the determination not to engage in our usual fear response coping mechanisms. ERP is essentially a meditation on our fears, and just like with any form of meditation, it is practicing over time that yields the most results. You might feel an immediate change in your thoughts and emotions, but for continued healing, keep practicing.

Let’s use a common anxiety-inducing thought pattern as an example. Many of us with addictions and mental health issues are anxious about our recovery process. We are worried we will relapse. We’re terrified of disappointing our loved ones. We’re afraid of causing even more damage and destruction to ourselves and those around us. With ERP, we will expose ourselves intentionally and consciously to our fears. “I’m afraid I will fail. I’m afraid I will always be suffering. I’m afraid of hurting other people. I’m afraid people won’t love me anymore.”

Meditate on your fears. As we sit with them, we begin to have acceptance, which helps reduce the negative energy we’ve been building up with our resistance. As we allow ourselves to feel the fears, their powerful hold over us starts to fade. Then we consciously choose not to follow up with our drug of choice, our toxic relationship pattern, or our self-destructive compulsion. With time and practice, our fears don’t feel so overpowering and debilitating because we have faced them head on. We start to realize just how strong we actually are for continuing to live our lives and not letting our fears destroy us.

We can help you to explore different healing techniques and find the ones that help you most. Call Enlightened Solutions (833) 801-LIVE.

Steps You Can Take to Recover from Depression

Recovery can be extremely difficult and can feel impossible, but we can take steps that bring us closer to healing. Here are a few suggestions.

Try Therapy.

When we are depressed and in crisis, the thought of finding a therapist can be overwhelming, daunting and scary. Muster the strength, ask for help, seek out support, because finding the right therapist can help you immensely on your healing journey. Therapists have years of experience dealing with similar issues, emotional problems and life circumstances. And unlike with our loved ones, with a therapist we can speak freely without worrying about judgment or bias.


Any kind of exercise is helpful for depression. It releases endorphins in our bodies which help us to feel happy, naturally. Sometimes when we’re depressed, we find it extremely hard to motivate ourselves to practice self-care, and vigorous exercise might be too much for us, but walking can come more naturally to us and can be easier to will ourselves to do. Walking can help you clear your mind, calm your anxiety, and process and organize your thoughts. Walking can be used as a form of meditation. Try focusing on your breathing, or on a mantra or affirmation while you walk. It can help you quiet and still your mind, which is so crucial for depression as we are often consumed by our painful thoughts.

Spend time with people who care about you.

This can be especially hard when we’re depressed. We isolate. We feel afraid of people. We avoid having to interacting with anyone. Try to spend time with someone who cares about you, even for just a little while. Take time to talk to them about your feelings and let them offer you support and encouragement. We often get advice, guidance and wisdom from our loved ones, often when we need it the most but weren’t necessarily looking for it.

Let yourself enjoy doing something fun.

Get out of your normal routine, which might be contributing to your depression. Do something different you’ve never done, or something you used to enjoy doing. Any time we can give our minds some much needed rest from our depressive thoughts, we are taking a step in our recovery. Having fun, changing our routine, venturing out into the world can feel like the last things we would want to do when we’re depressed, but if we can give ourselves a gentle push, it can mean the difference between staying stuck in our depression and moving forward.

You don’t have to figure out recovery alone. We’re here to help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

Functional Depression

Depression manifests differently in everyone. We have vastly different experiences with varied symptoms, patterns and cycles. Depression has multiple biochemical and social causes, making each person’s experience with depression totally unique. Many people who are suffering from depression can still go about their lives normally, but they are deeply unhappy, often struggling with addictions, and very often suffering in silence. This kind of depression is referred to as “functional depression” or “high-functioning depression.”

People with functional depression can maintain regular schedules and can sustain their jobs, finances and relationships as they normally do. They may or may not identify with being depressed. They may not call it depression. They may not ever tell anyone how they feel. On top of their depression, they have to deal with people not believing them when they tell them they are depressed. To other people they “seem fine.” Oftentimes no one in their lives suspects they have a problem, because they don’t outwardly show any signs.

Functional depression is sometimes characterized as lasting for years at a time. People might have lived with this depression for so long they don’t remember what their “normal” was, how they felt before they got depressed. People with functional depression often experience many of the same feelings associated with major depression.


Fear, panic, nervousness, worry. People with depression often live with intense anxiety, and the same is true for those with functional depression. Their anxiety can be related to any and every aspect of their lives and can be all-consuming.


This may be an obvious one, but sadness is often the most pervasive emotion we experience with depression. We feel sadness about our past, from which we often carry a lot of shame, regret and remorse. We feel sadness and dread about our uncertain and bleak future. We carry sadness about our traumatic experiences, our losses, our current circumstances, our relationships, our self-esteem.


People with depression of all kinds, including functional depression, often feel despair and hopelessness, on a regular basis. They experience suicidal thoughts, ideation and behavior, and as we know, many take their lives. We find ourselves surprised when people take their own lives who seemed happy, whose lives seemed perfect- they may have been living with functional depression and not shown any warning signs to the people in their lives.

We all need support, nurturing and care. Let’s make it a point to check on our loved ones as often as we can, whether or not they have already exhibited signs of depression. It can make all the difference.

The community at Enlightened Solutions is here to help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

Depression is a Form of Trauma

Sometimes we think of our trauma as specific incidents from our past such as painful childhood experiences, injuries we’ve sustained, or abusive relationships we’ve survived. We might not think of our depressions as a form of trauma, but they definitely are. Many of us experience recurring depressions, cyclical depression and bipolar depression. Every occurrence of depression, even one isolated episode, can be extremely traumatic and destabilizing.

Depression is often accompanied by intense anxiety and panic. Our fears can cause us considerable pain and distress and are traumatic in and of themselves. When we are consumed with fear, we often adopt a fear-based perspective about everything- our thoughts, who we are as people, the world around us, our future. We can find ourselves afraid to leave our homes, venture out into the world, and be around other people. We isolate ourselves out of fear. We don’t necessarily question our fears and whether or not they are rational because they can be all-consuming, and we come to believe them to be true. This accumulation of fear can be traumatizing. The isolation we feel, the lack of support we so desperately need, and our disconnection from other people can all be traumatizing.

Because we attract things into our lives with the energy we carry, when we are depressed, we are manifesting with an energy of sadness and fear. We therefore find ourselves attracting more thoughts, feelings, relationships and experiences that reflect this painful energy. We often respond to these new manifestations with the same sadness and fear- we panic, we feel like we’re being hit from all sides, like we’re being kicked when we’re down. We feel like we’ll never be able to dig ourselves out of the hole. This build-up of more and more difficult challenges can be traumatizing.

We often come to believe that our addictions and mental health issues are proof that we are inadequate, weak, pathetic, and destined to suffer. We create all kinds of limiting beliefs about ourselves, and our painful thought patterns reflecting these beliefs can be so relentless we feel like we can’t escape the pain of our own minds. Our psyches are in distress. We might panic at the thought of having to live within these minds for the rest of our lives. All of this can be traumatic.

As we embark on our healing journeys, we can choose to feel compassion and understanding for ourselves and for the suffering we’ve experienced, rather than belittling or dismissing just how traumatic our depressions can be.

We offer therapy, mentoring, recovery planning and more at Enlightened Solutions. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

Learning How to Manage Our Moods

One of our biggest challenges when living with addictions and mental/emotional health issues is dealing with our changing moods. We often find ourselves feeling drastic changes in our moods, also known as mood swings, that can make handling our challenges all the more difficult.

When a mood swing hits and we experience a rise in anxiety or sadness, we often react with fear and panic. We worry that we’ll always be dealing with these issues, that we won’t be able to cope with them, that they will overwhelm or incapacitate us. We are reminded of past depressions, and it scares us.

To offset the panic, we might try to convince ourselves that everything is ok. We might be in denial about how difficult our mood swings can be. We might avoid thinking about it or dealing with it. We may have considered getting help but then put it off because we are afraid or in denial.

The more we can respond to our changing moods with self-compassion, the easier it is to move through them. Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up for any of the emotions you’re experiencing. They are normal, and you are human. Rather than adding to your distress by being upset with yourself or panicking, comfort yourself and remind yourself you will get through this. Affirm you are strong. Have faith in yourself.

Be patient with yourself. Our mental health problems, emotional challenges and addictions didn’t develop overnight, and they will take time to unravel and process. We can learn how to move through our moods, but being frustrated and impatient with ourselves only makes it harder.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. Suppressing our difficult emotions is a form of resistance that ultimately exacerbates them. Usually we bury our emotions under our addictive behaviors, but true healing and recovery mean learning how to manage our moods without our usual coping mechanisms and distractions.

Ride the wave. Our emotions will naturally ebb and flow. As much as you can, try to surrender to them. This doesn’t mean allowing our emotions to take over our lives. It means accepting and embracing all of our emotions with grace, knowing that the difficult moments will pass.

Commend yourself for your resilience. You are living with some very real challenges, and you haven’t given up. You are strong. You are brave. We are living with fears, traumas and grief that we could have let derail our lives but haven’t. Be proud of yourself for working through your emotions and keep going.

We can all use help processing our stuff. Enlightened Solutions is here to help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.

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