A Counselor’s Journey through Postpartum Depression

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
It is one thing to study postpartum depression as a professional and it is a whole different matter to experience it personally. As a counselor, I knew the signs of the disorder but while experiencing it, I was oblivious to their symptoms. Fortunately, I had a wonderful doctor who quickly and accurately assessed the different situations following the births of my three children.

Baby #1. I’ll never forget the moment I realized something was wrong. Our three week old baby woke me up out of a dead sleep with cries of hunger. In one dazed motion, done with almost no thought, the baby was picked up, my breast was exposed, and the feeding began. The tiny squirming was indication that my supply was insufficient probable due to lack of sleep. I cried, feeling like a failure, wondering if things would ever get better.
After six hours of sleep, divided in thirds and separated by an hour feeding routine, my supply was back in full force. Our baby was premature, with both…

How to Know If You Are in Danger

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

It had been years since Stephanie heard from her ex-husband. He would send the occasional random text messages with some type of mime or joke, but nothing of substance until today. Today’s remarks came across brash and accusatory. Hidden between the lines of communication was a demand for a face-to-face meeting and a threat if she didn’t. Puzzled by the verbal attack, Stephanie anxiously began rehashing and questioning her previous actions. But what she failed to do was assess the potential threat.
He knew this about her. He knew that if he could get her on the defensive, her guard would be let down. Unbeknownst to Stephanie, his contact was preceded by his stalking. By the time he reinitiated communication he already knew her routine and had planned his attack. He reached out to her only because he thought she caught a glimmer of him and he wanted to throw her off his scent.
Still brewing over the bizarre text messages, Stephanie walked around foggy. She strug…

Gaslighting: How to Drive Someone Crazy

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
A man obsessed with stealing valuable jewels murders one woman and attempts to drive the other one (his wife) crazy. His single-mindedness, driven by selfish motives, caused him to deceive and manipulate in order to obtain what he wanted regardless of the cost to others. Fortunately he is discovered just before he tries to commit his wife to an insane asylum.
While this is the dramatic plot of the 1944 movie Gaslight (starring Ingrid Bergman) it could easily be applied to everyday. A person with narcissistic tendencies takes advantage of others to get what they want, resorting to deceptive tactics like twisting the truth. Any slight exposure of reality causes them to claim that other’s perceptions are inaccurate and possibly crazy. They even go to the extreme of hiding things and then saying the other person lost the items.

The name of the movie has become a psychological term called gaslighting. It describes the process of grooming someone into believing they …

Strategies to break “Holiday Stress Syndrome”

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

A recent USA Today poll asked this question, “Which best fits your holiday emotional state?”
Relaxed  - 18% Joyful  - 31% Stressed -  27% Depressed -  24%

Why do people feel so overloaded with additional problems during the holidays? I believe the majority of the pressure they feel is from trying to live up to unrealistic expectations of creating a ‘perfect’ Christmas.
Remember Clark W. Griswald from the movie ‘Christmas Vacation?’ He is the laughable, but best illustration of a guy who tries to do everything right, only to have literally everything go wrong. Dysfunctional relatives, one blown bulb derailing all of the decorations, the Christmas tree goes up in flames, the turkey is dry, the check for the swimming pool is going to bounce, add in a crazy cousin kidnapping the hateful boss, while the dog destroys the house chasing a rabid squirrel and a senile senior citizen sings the national anthem and you have the whole 9 yards of Christmas chaos.
The movie makes us laugh …