Is there a correlation between the rise of “hookup” sites like tinder and the increase in STDs? How do you ask your new partner about their sexual health? Or, are we just a more hyper-sexualized society that just throws caution to the wind when it comes to protecting ourselves? Well, I’m not quite sure which is the right answer. However, we can take a look at a smaller sample size in the state of California, more specifically the county of Los Angeles for some possible answers.
Current studies are indicating that theses stds, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have consistently been the highest infections in California. This a real concern! It is also a difficult conversation to have or bring up with your partner. Now I’m not going to dedicate this space to exploring our sexual health, rather, it is the psychological effect that contracting an STD has on a person that I want to address in this blog.
Have you considered what happens to a person when they learn that they have an STD? What I have witnessed take place with many clients is that suddenly their emotional state of mind becomes unstable, their anxiety rises, and eventually depression follows. Simply put, the dominoes begin to fall. Rarely, do I get the client when they are newly diagnosed, rather, they have already been battling the depression, anxiety, and accompanying stress for quite some time.
In reality, when people receive their diagnosis, life is never the same again. This is extremely difficult to wrap their heads around. Many times, this revelation of a sexually transmitted disease literally brings to light previously undetected, repressed, or eschewed mental illnesses.
On the opposite spectrum, my experience with some teenagers and some adults has been a interesting choice to pursue extreme sexual activity with the knowledge that they are suffering from the effects of their mental illness related to their contracted STDs. Remember, depression can cause isolation, break off connections and make one feel like they are the proverbial “island.” The psychological impact of contracting an STD is far greater than what you think, so please think and educate yourself, partner, friends, and your family. To help, their are a number of good studies written here that I suggest you read, so click HERE
I’ve seen a tremendous number of clients who have come to me seeking understanding and healing either during or after serious life events. Sadly, some of these client’s relationships go painfully the way of divorce. However, most are at that point in their relationship where they realize that help is needed or there won’t be one.
So, what are “Life Events” and have you experienced them?” Well chances are, yes, you have! Here are the biggies: Chronic Illness (like Cancer), Unemployment (job hunting), Childbirth (who wanted the baby more), Living Apart (thinking about our men and women in the military being deployed), Trauma (could be death of loved one, serious accident, sexual assault etc), and Unfaithful partners. You’d be very surprised, but, this last one seems to be the motivating factor in bringing couples in for therapy. All the cards are laid on the table so to speak and everything can now be addressed openly and with honest candor.
These life events are terribly painful, deeply personal, they drain our mental capacities, and tax us physically. The truth is that none of us will be able to leave this life without experiencing most of these “Life Events.” Did you realize that there are also “turning points” with regard to these events, as well. Let me explain. A turning point is not just a temporary change in our pathway, no, it is a permanent shift that only becomes recognizable to us as our life moves forward.
The psychological impact can be profound or subtle depending on our understanding of the turning point. Some of us may well experience a turning point that brings to us a much needed opportunity, or possibly brings one to a close. Others life events may create an environmental transformation that is more permanent. Still, one may feel that their life event has caused their turning point to be so deeply personal that it has provoked a complete restructuring of their self-worth, belief system, and expectations for themselves and the world around them. However, let’s remember that for in many of us these life events cause a turning point in many individual’s lives, yet, for some it may be less severe and therefore the transition doe not transform them.
Life events can bring upon us stress, anxiety disorders, depression and physical illness. Importantly, all of the life events that we will experience do require some form of change or adaptation by us. It can be unpleasant or pleasant. However, these can be valuable life lessons, as well. Can we ask ourselves, “What can I learn from this, and what can I share with others about my personal experience that might help them?” If you are in pain, thinking that you are suffering from depression, anxiety or another psychiatric disorder, get help. You don’t have to do this alone…Be well.
I was cruising thru Hulu a few nights ago and clicked on the CNN app, a video of a South Carolina high school incident grabbed my attention. I was drawn to it. To my shock and utter amazement, I witnessed a police officer forcefully attempt to remove a female student from her desk, but in the process violently turned the desk over on top of her. He then proceeded to pull her out and continued beating her. This was all taking place as her classmates were watching (I’m guessing stunned, yet, some with their iphones catching it for posterity). What I also found distressing was that the principle and the student’s teacher were watching from the sideline this incident taking place.
Compounding this horrendous and violent situation, the officer was white and the female student was black. The nature of how this started and escalated to this violent degree is really incomprehensible. However, CNN was helpful enough to replay it nine (9) times for me in a matter of two (2) minutes. I think the media is so savvy at fueling our emotions and raising our anxiety, I could feel my anxiety really increasing to a point that I had to click away.
My point is that for an officer of the law to act in a manner that is so violent, atrocious, and really inhumane with very little provocation is unnerving. As a clinician, I immediately recognized an underlying mental health illness at play (of course, after I had calmed down). As this story gained national attention, it was revealed that this particular officer had two (2) previous violent incidents similar to this one. He was summarily put on leave and days later he has now been fired from the police force. I hope he gets help.
Trauma is not just confined to our brave and courageous men and women of the military, it is anyone who has suffered sexual or physical abuse, been in a serious accident, or life threatening situation. It is estimated that eight (8) million americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Many law enforcement officers suffer in silence with PTSD, as they are the front lines of protecting and upholding the peace. They witness and experience horrible things in our society that impact them dramatically. This is not an excuse for bad behavior, however, it does warrant better understanding of what goes on..
Do you want to know more, read on HERE
Grief is such a singular, personal, and yet, a solitary experience for many of us who experience it. How do we deal with losing someone close to us? How is that void filled, or can it be? At some point, reality will set in and we will need to move on with our lives. So, how do we? First, I believe that we need to realize that the process of grieving is different for everyone. Some will move on more quickly than another and that is okay because there is no specific time frame. Secondly, there are steps that one must go thru to truly heal in order to be able to pick up the pieces of their life, deal with their loss, heal, and begin living a meaningful life again. Third, there is an emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual impact that can seriously drain one’s capacity to move on. How will you cope with a personal loss?
For some help read HERE