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How To Support A Spouse With Mental Illness: Good Things Utah

How To Support A Spouse With Mental Illness: Good Things Utah

In any given year, 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental illness of some kind (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.). Clearly, this is an issue that affects a great deal of us, particularly the loved ones of those suffering. And mental illness is more than just an individual problem; it is a family concern. Here are some ways to support a spouse or partner with mental illness:

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The 5 Best Kept Secrets of Marriage Relationship Self-Care

Wasatch Family Therapy Marriage Counseling

We’ve all been there. We believe our relationship with our spouse (or partner) is going south. Yet we’re too busy to give it the time that it needs. We’ll get to it. We really will!

The problem is, we never seem to actually “get to it.”

And if we ever really do find the time to get to it, we’ve become so much like angry “roommates” that even talking about improvement leads to yet another argument. Ouch!

Here are the 5 best kept marriage relationship secrets to get your relationship game back where it needs to be.

(These examples are not gender specific. Please swap male/female where needed)

1- Self-Care for You

Since you can’t change your husband, you need to work on changing you. To do otherwise is like having a bee land on your hand and swatting at your husbands face to get rid of the hornet. You’ve solved nothing and likely got a nasty sting in the process. Change can feel as painful as a surprise bee sting. Take back your self-care life gradually by beginning TODAY. You deserve it!

2- Ditch the Past

Relationships that live in the past repeat the past. If you truly desire a better relationship, stop it! An example is when a wife believes in her heart that “…he will never understand me.” Or “he will never meet my need for ‘_______’ (fill in the blank).” This belief will only perpetuate itself with hurt feelings. A much better way to manage the past is live in the PRESENT. Tell him what you need. Expect him to step up to the relationship plate by trusting that he will do it. Risk and actually ASK him. It really works!

3- Be the Boundary King (or Queen)!

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How To Follow My Dreams When I Feel Guilty? Ask Dr. Julie Hanks

How To Follow My Dreams When I Feel Guilty? Ask Dr. Julie Hanks

Kelly asks, “How do I take care of myself and fulfill my own dreams when my family makes things all about them?” She grew up in a family with a narcissistic mother and Kelly felt she needed to take care of and focus on her mother at her own expense. This created guilt for Kelly whenever she invested in her own development. Listen to what I have to say

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4 Tips to Surviving Divorce

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So your marital relationship with your spouse has ended, and you’re probably reeling from the aftermath, wondering how you’re supposed to pick yourself up and move forward. It is normal to feel confused, lost, alone, and wounded. The good news is you do not have to feel this way forever. There are some things that you can start doing right now to work towards healing, and finding a new, positive path for yourself. Here are 4 tips that will help you survive your divorce and get to a better place:

  1. Surround Yourself With Good Support

Going through a divorce can be one of the loneliest feelings in the world, because you’re losing one of your primary connections. In order to take the edge off of the loneliness, it’s important to engage in and create a positive support system. This can include friends, family, neighbors, church leaders, and a therapist. You don’t want to rely on just one person to talk to, because you want to get different types of perspectives and support, and you don’t want to burn anyone out. It may be difficult to be around people at this time, but forcing yourself to spend some time with trusted others can really help ease the pain.

  1. Take Care of You

If you’re going through a divorce, you probably feel really low on motivation and energy. The only thing that may sound good to you is lying in bed all day, but this is only going to enhance feelings of depression and loneliness. Instead, it’s going to be very important for you to do a lot of self-care. Make sure you practice good hygiene, and take a shower every day. Try your best to eat good food, and get in some exercise. Along with those things, it can be helpful to do some fun things for yourself. Take a trip with a friend, go for a fun night out, or try out a new hobby. It’ll be difficult, but the more you can take care of yourself, the quicker your adjustment will be.

  1. Create a Game Plan

No one plans on getting divorced, so chances are you and your partner had mapped out plans for your future that are now going to have to change. It’s normal to feel lost and in limbo after a divorce, so it is important that you come up with a new plan for your future. Spend some time thinking about what you would like your new normal to look like, what your goals are for your future, and what you’re going to have to do to get there. Once you have some plans and goals in place, you will have a better sense of direction and control over your life.

  1. Grieve-Don’t Wallow

This can be a tough one to navigate. It is normal and necessary for you to grieve the loss of your marriage. Of course you’re going to have a mixture of emotions, and it’s going to be tough to make it through each day for a while. However, while it’s important for you to allow time to feel and talk about these emotions, it’s also important that you take positive action, and don’t allow your feelings to consume you. If all you ever do is focus on the negative aspects of your divorce, and every time you talk to someone in your support system you are venting about the same things over and over again, you’re never going to feel any better. All that emotion is just going to sit and fester instead of heal. So, when you find yourself obsessing and overwhelmed, engage in that self-care we talked about, get out of your environment into somewhere that helps you gain new perspective, or get busy working on some of those goals we mentioned. There are times and places to work on your grieving process, but that does not have to be every minute of every day.

Divorce is one of the most difficult and painful things a person can experience, and it is expected that you’re going to be down for a time. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you practice these important buffers, you will soon find yourself on the way back to happiness and peace.

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3 Sure Fire Ways to Destroy Your 2nd Marriage!

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Popular wisdom would claim that 2nd marriages succeed more often than first marriages. “Hey, I’ve learned from my past mistakes. I’m smarter.” Or “we’ll do better!”

Sadly, this absolutely just isn’t true.

Based on what I’ve observed for 17 years in working with couples, I’ve come of with 3 ways that will absolutely destroy your second marriage. Please take a moment to learn from other’s bad choices to make this marriage be your Last marriage.

  1. Let the Comparison Shopping Begin

(These examples are not gender specific. Please swap male/female where needed)

Okay so you may not actually be shopping for a new spouse. But let’s face it. You’ve probably noticed qualities in other men that are appealing. Qualities you don’t believe your new spouse has. Talents you thought were there when you said “yes” for the second time. Now you’re not so sure at all.

Stop it! Comparison shopping for another spouse in a new marriage is like buyers remorse with a new car. Yes that other car at the competitions dealership was awesome. The price seemed right. The luxury features appealing. Yet not quite right! Remember how a month later you were soooo glad you’d purchased the right car? Relieved you didn’t overact? Second marriage’s can be very similar. Give it time. Stop comparison shopping even if only figurative in nature. Catch your awesome new husband doing something right. Like the paycheck. Like the living room he vacuumed. Like the “spilled milk” he cleaned up. Oh, btw, it’s all paltry spilled milk in comparison. Get over it. Don’t look back!

  1. Ditch the Ex!

Not only is moving on difficult, it can seem impossible not to experience at least some of these damaging examples:

The EX                                                                                   NEW Wife

Bugged you! Because she kept the house spotless                Bugs You! Because she doesn’t clean enough

Nagged you! To keep the yard immaculate                            Nags You! To spend more time with her

Hounded you! For more sex. Better sex!                                Ignores You! She’s too tired for sex

Watched! Every penny of the budget                                      Spends! Every penny of the budget

Reminded you! To pick up the kids from school                   Reminds you! That they’re YOUR kids

Some of these sound true? Maybe even all too correct? If so, please remember that the grass is NEVER greener on the other side of the fence (or in your previous marriage). You must ditch the ex-wife. Move on completely! Focus on your new marriage. Recognize that no one is perfect.

Not even You!

  1. When Two Worlds Collide (Or the War of Two Worlds)

Immediately following the new marriage, two family planets are on a course to collide. While the couple has anticipated some challenges with the “blended family,” they don’t foresee any REAL trouble. Most new marriages aren’t equipped for managing problems, let alone the explosion.

Going into a second marriage unequipped is like having a pilot flying into LAX without an air traffic controller to guide him safely home. Approaching potentially volatile airspace without a trained guide experienced in acquiring a smooth landing. A safe landing. In fact, even the mere mention of such a circumstance sounds ridiculous in the extreme.

However, the problem is that most 2nd marriages don’t have a Relationship air traffic controller. Someone to infuse insight into the day to day challenges that are common in almost all new relationships. Each person enters the new marriage with tender feelings. Very likely still stinging from the agonizing pain of their first divorce. As a result, they fall-back on their own often tainted experiences. Experiences that exacerbated the problems in marriage number one that resulted in divorce. Ouch!

What Can Help?

* If you’re reading this and recently divorced, absolutely eschew new relationship(s) for at least one year preferably two. Give yourself time to heal. Casual dating is fine. Hanging out is great. Getting serious will totally put you in a position to simply repeat divorce #1.

* If you’re reading this and you’re in a struggling 2nd marriage, absolutely seek help. Seek out a trusted bishop or clergy member with sage advice. Consider a therapist with many years of experience helping those struggling in the marital realm. But! Please don’t think that this will just pass. I’m overreacting. It likely won’t JUST change.

* Most of all, take care of YOU. Make sure that you’re giving yourself great self-care time. Reach out to trusted (and healthy!) friends. Give yourself time. Space. And if you are recently “single,” totally avoid the friends that say “the best way to heal from your divorce is to jump right back in!”

No, it really isn’t!

Michael Boman, LCSW, is a relationship, marriage, and Healing Outdoors expert at Wasatch Family Therapy in Cottonwood Heights, UT.

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How to Rock Valentine’s Day… When Your Relationship is on the Rocks

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many people are excitedly stocking up on chocolates and bears, making reservations, and trying on endless sexy ensembles for that perfect February 14th date. However, what if you’re not one of those people? What if you’re not single, but your relationship is currently not in a great place, and you can’t stomach the thought of trying to fake it through an awkward dinner with your spouse? Don’t panic! Here are a few ways that you and your partner can still make it through enjoy Valentine’s Day without a major dose of anxiety and tension.

Plan ahead

Whatever you do, don’t let the day sneak up on you. If you wait until the night before to start thinking about it, you’ll definitely find yourself stressing. Take control of the situation now, and start planning out what you would like the day to be like. Do you and your partner want to try and do something together that maybe doesn’t include romantic pressure, but that could be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable? Would the two of you rather plan an evening at home with your kids and make it a family affair? Do you want to do absolutely nothing but watch movies in your pajamas? The point is, prepare ahead of time so that you and your partner both know what to expect.

Seek connection

Although Valentine’s Day is marketed as the romance-seeped, blissful, sex-filled holiday of the year, let’s try to remember what it’s really about…LOVE. What is love? Well, that’s a loaded question! Love is many things besides romance and sex-it’s friendship, caring, empathy, respect…the list goes on and on. Maybe this Valentine’s Day, you and your partner seek to connect with each other on a different level. For example, you could agree to give each other the gift of respect for the whole day, and agree to practice talking kindly to each other. Or, perhaps you feel like roommates, and maybe you could do an activity together that allows you to try and be friends for the evening. If even any of that is just too much, consider seeking connection with the other people you and your partner love and care about. Maybe you take cookies to a neighbor, or have some trusted friends over for dinner. Whatever you do, seek connection-don’t spend the day soaking yourself in feelings of loneliness.

Love yourself

Again, while Valentine’s Day is promoted as a day to think solely about your partner, it might be a good idea to do something nice for yourself too! Especially if the day is going to be hard for you this year, make sure you and your partner encourage each other to practice some self-care. Go get a massage, spend the morning reading a good book, or go for a walk. Self-care can be done together or separately, but either way it can feel soothing and comforting on a day that may otherwise be filled with painful reminders.

Best of luck to you! I hope no matter what your current relationship situation is, that you are able to find peace, connection, and happiness this Valentine’s Day. And remember…it’s just 1 day. :0)

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Self-Compassion Exercise from Assertiveness Guide Featured on Weightless Blog

Self-Compassion Exercise from Assertiveness Guide Featured on Weightless Blog

According to Julie, think of a recent situation where you experienced pain, whether from a physical injury or an emotional one. It might be anything from a fight with a friend to a breakup to someone’s passing. She suggests asking ourselves these questions:

  • “What did I tell myself about my pain?
  • Was my self-talk nurturing or was it critical?
  • Did I validate my suffering or minimize it?
  • How did I behave toward myself when I was hurting?
  • Was I able to provide nurturing, comfort and validation to myself?”
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Aspirational Shame and Motherhood: The Mom Show

Aspirational Shame and Motherhood: The Mom Show

What a delight to talk with Lindsay Aerts for her new KSL Newsradio show “The Mom Show”. We talked about motherhood, self-care, and aspirational shame. Listen to the entire interview below.

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Do Your Kids Define You?: Julie Hanks on Studio 5

Do Your Kids Define You?: Julie Hanks on Studio 5

Being a good parent requires a tremendous amount of time, love, and energy, but what happens when a well-meaning mom or dad becomes too enmeshed in their children’s lives? Over-involvement can unknowingly do damage to kids, who then become responsible for their parents’ well-being and happiness. On the other hand, parents who can draw a separation between themselves and their children are emotionally healthier and are actually able to give more to their families.

LCSW Julie Hanks recently discussed this topic on KSL’s Studio 5. Below are some questions she suggested to ask yourself to determine whether or not your kids define you (along with some strategies to help you reclaim yourself if you find that you’ve taken on a little too much):

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Getting to Know Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, Clinical Director of Wasatch Family Therapy

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PsychCentral recently interviewed our very own Clair Mellenthin, the Clinical Director here at Wasatch Family Therapy. Clair was asked about how she copes with stress, the best part of her job, and her overall experiences being a therapist. Here are a few of her answers:

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