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The New YOU!

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Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season are just around the bend. Soon, the earth will cool even further and open up space for a warm meal in your home with friends, family, and loved ones. The holiday season is here again. The holidays should not just be another anniversary of sadness, tragedy, misfortune, and loss for many of us. 

Without stepping on the toes of trauma survivors everywhere, I will gently signal that sadness and tragedy are always with us, in front of us, and the back of our minds. If we are not careful, our every moment is at risk of being consumed by PTSD symptoms. Even the most subtle cat hair can remind us that our mental status is much more labile and delicate than stable and in danger of freefall without being super vigilant at all times.

Well, I refuse to live out this reality. I have suffered quite a bit and have a hand in a life dealing with healing from severe traumas across my short life span. This holiday season, I am putting out a rallying cry for all trauma victims or victims of misfortune to rethink how they deal with reminders and anniversaries filled with such darkness that their waking hours are overwhelmed with suffocating reminders of a dark past.

2022 must be a sign to change. Hopefully, what we talk about here will be the roadmap to make 2022 and every changing space a real opportunity to become the NEW YOU! 

To target coning to terms with life changes and adjustments, I want to evoke the concept of ‘the now.’ The now is being completely present with your senses. The now is not rewinding when sense memory takes you to another place darker and further away from the moment. The beauty of the now can lose our perception of lived experience and genuinely engage with today if we get caught up in our personal history, social history, and interconnections in our lives. Keeping to the now favors seeing these connections with fresh eyes and a new perspective. The now does not drag us into a deep sea of memory when our lives are far too short not to experience the complete moment. 

Negative feelings can take us off the path to joy and will defer your ultimate recovery. 

Are you currently grieving the loss of a loved one? A life partner, pet, or both? 

The folks still with us have a choice how to live their lives, NOW! Everything new and unique in the subsequent phases of life means moving past grief and using this time to embrace living life NOW more oriented to growth, discovery, and healthy living.

Feeling like your situation is hopeless? Thinking life will never be the same or feeling too guilty to move on in your recovery? Think again! 

People avoid every day on the most basic levels and don’t know how to cope with this particular loss. Well, here is one example of how to re-frame a failure into something positive. Have you considered that a loss is an opportunity to discover what’s missing in your life? Simply put, this means that if something is missing, if your essential life functions feel like so much of a struggle to get through the day, then why not begin exploring what’s missing. Walking this fine line can be as basic as looking for companionship or as complex as discovering new interests, hobbies, talents, anything that supplements your life meaningfully and adds a unique flavor to your day.

Anxiety, fear, and daily insecurities, making it difficult to experience life without nervousness over the essential life functions? 

There are many reasons why anxiety can manifest later in life. Whether it be because of a loss or the existence of a new challenge, responsibility, job function: stress can hit anytime, even when we least suspect it. THAT’S OKAY!! What, the old you never got anxious? Tell me, is this fear new? or are you just tired of being consumed by its destructive wake? I doubt that very much. Maybe find a sense of exhaustion in resolving and confronting our unresolved business before its incomplete status ruins your reality. As easy as it is to throw in the towel when fear overtakes our confidence, so is surrounding it because we did not own it while it was ripe for resolution.

The most likely explanation is that you now have entered a new phase of your life in which you must plan for the unexpected. Maybe you no longer have the same supports in your life, or maybe, just maybe, you need to be more independent. That’s GOOD!! It means you are evolving into the new you. Someone far more equipped to handle the obstacles and challenges life throws at you.

Changes ahead in 2022

Changes to who you are and how you feel about things can be re-framed into positive characterizations of the new you. RE-framing is your chance to keep the promise you made to your old self to keep going.

The outlook you have NOW can only carry you further to your dreams, too far beyond the limits of any history or yesterday beyond the NEW YOU.

About the Author

J. Peters

Max Guttman is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice in New York City. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist, and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a ‘2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10’ award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association.

Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes about his lived experiences with schizophrenia.

‘I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery,’ Guttman says. ‘After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my ‘break,’ I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others.’

‘In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity, and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and Recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients.’

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