Health & Well-Being
Do You Feel Physically And Mentally Exhausted?
Have you always pushed yourself to take care of others and pursue your goals, but now find that you can’t keep going at the same pace? Maybe your stress and responsibilities have become overwhelming, and you feel as though you’ve hit a wall. You may be struggling with intense fatigue and physical symptoms with no clear medical source. Or, maybe you’ve been unexpectedly diagnosed with chronic pain, a chronic illness or another condition. Now, medical professionals might be telling you to do something uncomfortable and unfamiliar—rest.
Faced with the new reality of living with chronic illness or pain, you might feel scared, helpless and out-of-control. It may seem that your body has betrayed or abandoned you, leaving little time or energy for your career, relationships and passions. As you attempt to adjust to the new normal, perhaps you’re asking why this happened and struggling to find a sense of meaning. Even though you know you can’t ignore this pain and fatigue, part of you may consider self-care a luxury you haven’t fully earned.
It’s possible that you experienced childhood trauma, including ongoing abuse and neglect, and developed a deep sense of resilience, even when that meant pushing through pain. Or, maybe you have always assumed that constant stress is just a part of life. Now that concerning medical symptoms have suddenly appeared or worsened, you might wonder about mental health’s impact on physical health.
Are you searching for the education, insight and support needed to effectively cope with symptoms and manage your overall health? Do you wish you could feel heard and validated as you determine the best way to move forward?
Physical And Mental Health Are Intimately Linked
Research across disciplines, including psychology, medicine and neuroscience, demonstrates the intimate connection between mind and body. In fact, mind-body, or integrative, medicine is quickly revolutionizing the field of health care.
Increasingly, patients in primary care do not fit the model of disease as infection or physical trauma. Rather, patients are more likely to experience symptoms due to conditions affected by stress and lifestyle factors. Regardless of the cause of disease, research has shown that behavioral and psychosocial interventions can improve the recovery process and speed healing of medical conditions (Sobel, 2000; Blanchard, Andrasik, Appelbaum, Evans, Jurish, Teders, Rodichok, & Barron, 1985).
Mind-body medicine treats the whole person with interventions aimed at body, mind and spirit.
Mental Health’s Impact on Physical Health
Numerous studies have demonstrated a clear connection between cumulative stress and negative health outcomes, such as autoimmune disease, heart disease and cancer. For example, the groundbreaking Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study found that “experiencing chronic, unpredictable toxic stress in childhood predisposes us to a constellation of chronic conditions in adulthood.” Thanks to that study and others, more doctors, clinicians and other health professionals are recognizing the importance of trauma-informed care.
From childhood trauma to the pressures of adulthood, the physical effects of stress are profound, ranging from stomach upset to measurable changes in the brain’s size and shape. Despite this truth, many people develop the belief that rest is a sign of weakness, or that their worth is dependent on their production. Many feel pressured to work as long and hard as possible, even when that means ignoring symptoms of exhaustion and burnout.
This doesn’t mean that what you are facing now is your fault—far from it. Whether you are struggling with an autoimmune disease, migraines, IBS, MS, lupus, cancer, chronic pain or anything else, you are not alone, and you are not to blame for this condition. You don’t deserve this pain.
Understanding the mind-body connection is the first step toward claiming a new sense of agency over your wellbeing. With integrative support, you can get in touch with your body, develop deep self-compassion and identify practical strategies to reduce stress and take charge of your health.
A Health And Wellness Counselor Can Help You Manage What Seems Unmanageable
First and foremost, health and wellbeing counseling is tailored to you and your needs. You deserve the time and space needed to orient yourself to this sudden change. Here, you don’t need to suppress emotions, understate physical pain or focus on “being fixed.” My office is a place for you to feel what you feel, without fear of judgment.
For six years, I have worked as a behavioral health coach and therapist at UC San Diego’s Department of Family Medicine. In this capacity, I have seen the complex ways in which mind and body interact. As a result, I’m no stranger to collaborating with doctors, nurses and specialists to offer integrative care. Mental health counseling does not replace physical treatment, but it can be an essential piece of symptom management. As appropriate, I work with other providers to help you receive the best care possible.
Our therapeutic work will be totally unique to you, your symptoms and your goals. Although you ultimately decide the direction you wish to go, after a thorough assessment, I offer suggestions, guidance and tools that promote physical and mental relief. For example, we might work through anger and frustration, explore existential doubts and practice self-acceptance. Or, using the ACE questionnaire, we might focus on healing childhood trauma and shifting your behaviors so they reflect your current reality, not the dangers you have already survived.
In sessions, you can also establish short- and long-term goals and identify actionable steps to pursue them. Using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Limited), you can find realistic ways to move forward without feeling overwhelmed. And, because stress can have such a strong impact on physical health, I will help you establish stress management skills so you can enact positive change with increased openness and ease.
As a health and wellness counselor who has personal experience with chronic illness, I know how out of control you might feel right now. But, no matter what symptoms or diagnosis you are facing, you don’t have to battle this alone. It is possible to let go of self-judgement and treat yourself with patience and compassion. It’s okay to seek the care you need.
You may have doubts about integrative therapy for health and wellbeing…
Are you saying I caused my health issue?
Not at all. Illness is due to a complex interaction between your genetics, cumulative stressors (some of which you had no control over) and lifestyle habits. You did not make yourself sick or ask for this pain. As you learn more about the connection between body and mind, I urge you not to focus on one specific cause or source for blame. Instead, empower yourself to take hold of your future with the knowledge that treating all aspects of mind, body and spirit will lead to improved health. With the right tools, it is possible to connect with your body, regulate symptoms and move forward.
My issue is physical. Why would I see a therapist?
Whether you have received an official diagnosis or not, your symptoms are real, and your experience is entirely valid. As a therapist, I will never insist that what you’re feeling is “all in your head,” or suggest you can will away the pain. And, I don’t aim to replace your doctor or medical treatments, both of which are outside of my scope of practice. Rather, the mind-body approach is about increased collaboration among medical and mental health professionals.
For instance, chronic pain and chronic illness can cause immense stress, dread and despair, especially if you aren’t sure how to navigate doctor’s offices, insurance, medication or new medical routines. And while physical and mental stress are rarely the sole contributor to physical ailments, they can exacerbate symptoms and slow healing. By developing effective stress management and self-regulation tools, you can soothe heightened emotions, release physical tension and offer yourself invaluable peace.
I’m already balancing so many appointments.
When you’re managing chronic pain or a chronic illness, scheduling can be a real concern. Accordingly, I aim to provide the support you need when you need it, and therapy may be brief or occur in episodes. For example, we might meet to discuss big picture ideas and establish a wellness plan, then take a break for three months while you attend to physical care. It’s up to you.
If you decide that you have deeper wounds that need healing, I can help you effectively address and resolve past pain. Although this kind of healing requires a commitment, releasing unhelpful beliefs and relinquishing old burdens can be liberating. You can give yourself the chance to live fully in the present.
Cultivate Physical And Mental Wellbeing
I invite you to call 858-480-1499 to schedule an assessment session. I look forward to learning more about you and answering any questions you may have about working with a health and wellness counselor in Del Mar, CA.