Depression Can Strike Anyone

Our vision of what someone dealing with depression is often very skewed. We may see a ‘loser’. Someone who can not keep a job, has no life, just can’t get it together. However, we are often reminded that even successful people, who seem to have it all, may be struggling as well.

Wil Haygood, a well respected author, has just released a memoir of Sportscaster, John Saunders. The Washington Post has shared part of the story and it is dark and powerful, sharing his lifelong battle to survive.

We are becoming more educated and understanding about the fact that depression is an illness. The bottom line is that anyone can struggle with depression, but there is help available. We must understand that depression is not a personal failing, but an illness that requires treatment. Trying to fight the battle alone can be life-threatening. We now recognize that with a comprehensive treatment plan, including traditional therapy, medication management, and other therapeutic interventions, can be very successful in helping someone struggling with depression, to have a rich, full life.

Equine Therapy can be a powerful part of a treatment plan for addressing depression. Through work with horses, clients rebuild self confidence. They benefit from the accepting, non-judgemental temperament of horses. Horses help us remember how to be ‘in the moment’ leaving behind feelings from the past and setting aside worry about the future. Our work is one-on-one, so our clients work on their specific issues and goals, focusing on what they need to accomplish in their work with horses.

We are here to help. If you or someone you know is living with the pain of depression, seek help. Call or email us and we can schedule a visit to our ranch. We will show you around, introduce you to our herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.

 

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar, Depression, Eating Disorders, Grief, Mental Health, PTSD, Teens | Leave a comment

ADHD Challenges – HOMEWORK

Doing homework is rarely something that a child/teen looks forward to. For families struggling with ADHD issues, it can become a nightmare for child/teen and parents alike. We want our kids/teens to be successful, but the emotionally draining daily grind to get the homework done, maybe just overwhelming.

Though it is not something that you can fix with the wave of a wand (no magic!) this 6 step homework system by ATTITUDE Inside the ADHD Mind, offers some very good tips, that when applied consistently, will help a lot! There is not only a video, but links to other tips that may be helpful as well.

At Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy we work with kids, as young as 4, teens and even adults who struggle with ADHD. Through work with horses they improve the ability to stay focused and on task, decrease impulsivity, learn about setting and maintaining safe and appropriate personal boundaries and build self-confidence, among other things.

Work with horses can be a very powerful intervention for many issues. We are here for you and will be happy to schedule a visit to our ranch. We will show you around, introduce or horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email today.

Posted in ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Children's issues, Mental Health, PTSD, Teens | Leave a comment

Strong Men Struggle Too

Both men and woman can endure incredibly stressful situations. However, men are traditionally more ‘stoic’. They put on a ‘good face’ and ‘soldier on’. Unfortunately, this is something boys are often taught from a very young age. It’s not that woman don’t try to push through emotional pain, but thankfully, woman more often recognize when they are in trouble and do seek help. The fact that men are much less likely to seek help results in a  rate of suicide that is almost double in men This is also true with the rate of substance abuse.

This moving story, by Kevin Braddock, in The Guardian, about his struggles, offers more statistics, some insights about why men don’t seek help and perhaps provides some insights on how we can do better.

We have to encourage our boys/men to be honest about what they are feeling. That means we have to be compassionate and non-judgemental about what they share with us. We must offer more accessible help. This means available, affordable and non-stigmatic. This means that employers accept that, as physical health issues, mental health issues can be successfully addressed and that it is in their interest to support employees who seek help. It means that we offer family support when a partner or parents seeks help. It is not simple. In fact, the answers are complex, but we either look for and implement things that will make a difference or we choose to accept the loss of some of our best and brightest.

Work with horses can be a powerful intervention for children, teens and adults. In a non-judgemental environment, boys/teens/men can engage in a bonded and affectionate relationship with a warm and engaging being. Yes, horses can be very affectionate and do recognize the humans they interact with. Our clients learn how to ‘read’ their horse. They can note when their horse is feeling worried, eager, uncomfortable, etc. and can talk about when they many have these feelings in an open and accepting situation. Our clients become more confident, better able to deal with frustration and more open to considering different options when faced with a challenge.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, seek help! We are here and can be an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan. If you would like, we can schedule a visit for you. We’ll show you around the ranch, introduce our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email us today.

 

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar, Depression, In my opinion, Mental Health, PTSD, Schizophrenia | Leave a comment

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Can be Debilitating

We all have things that we like to have ‘just so’. Maybe it’s how the sheets are tucked in or how the towels are hung up. You only like your hot dog with a little bit of catsup or can’t stand mac & cheese unless it is crispy. Ok, so these may be kind of silly examples, but most of us know someone with a more serious issue. I have a client who is not interested in working with one of horses ‘because he has spots’. Having an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can cause havoc not only for the person struggling with this mental health issue, but with family and friends who not understand the issue or may actually want to be helpful an supportive.

Though in this Time Magazine piece, Emily Dixon shares her experiences with almost loving humor, she also shares that “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is no laughing matter”.  She shares that challenges of childhood and how her life has continued to shape her life.

There are many interventions that can be helpful for people with OCD. Work with horses is one of them. By offering an enticing and gently challenging environment, many people are able to push past some of the behaviors that stop them from having a rich, full life. They have to get dressed (in appropriate clothes), get in the car and come to the ranch. They have to deal with dirt, heat and flies, but with time, most of our clients are able to find a way to get past the things that are troublesome for them. They learn that if they can just wait a little bit, they can wash their hands. That they can be bothered by the heat, but find relief in the shade and that drinking lots of water can help the client feel better. We acknowledge that flies can be troublesome while encouraging clients to work through it. “The flies bother your horse too. Once you brush her we can spray her with flyspray and once you are up riding, the flies will be much less of a problem”.

We are here to help. We can be an powerful part of a comprehensive treatment plan. If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, we are here for you. Call of email and we will schedule a visit. We will show you around, introduce out horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Children's issues, Mental Health, OCD, Teens | Leave a comment

The Struggle With PTSD

As I have stated in recent posts, most of us have experienced some type of trauma in our lives. However, depending on many things, including the severity of the situation and our own resiliency, we may have been about to bounce back with few repercussions.

Yet for many people this is not true. We are not surprised to hear of combat Vets who struggle with PTSD. It is probably easy to imaging that firefighters and police officers can struggle with PTSD. But you might be surprised to learn that anyone who has suffered a trauma can suffer from PTSD. This article in The Herald Palladium talks about many other situations that may cause someone to struggle with PTSD.

The statistics are daunting “Seventy percent of the adult population in the United State has experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives”. Folks, that means if you count out 10 people, 7 of them have experienced trauma in their lives and many of them have not found a path to healing.

We see it in the clients we work with. Many of our clients are children and teens in foster care, or how have been adopted out of foster care. Sadly, since the new guidelines for taking children/teens into protective custody are that they must be in ‘imminent danger,’ you can only imagine what they have been through. It should be no surprise that these kids struggle. They may lack personal boundaries. They may have real difficulty focusing and staying on task. They may be quick to shut down or lash out. But there is hope for these kiddos.

Good therapeutic interventions can make a difference. Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy can be a powerful part of the treatment team. We work with children and young as 4, teens, adults and even seniors. We are familiar with and embrace Trauma Informed Practices in our work and encourage care gives to become aware of the special needs of those who have  experienced trauma.

We work one-on-one with the client and the horse of their chose (we have 6 full size horses, plus to miniature horses in our herd) to address their specific challenges. Increasing focus. Decreasing Impulsivity. Learning and implementing calming/self-soothing/coping skills. Setting healthy personal boundaries and much more.

If you or someone you know, a child, a teen or an adult, are struggling with anxiety, depression or PTSD, seek help! There are many resources available in our community and we are here to help. Give us a call or send us an email and we can schedule a time for you to come out to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce you to our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

 

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Children's issues, Depression, Grief, Mental Health, PTSD, Teens | Leave a comment

What Burden Do You Carry?

I have shared this before. My dad died when I was very young. Not only his death, but the ripples from it, shaped my early childhood and all the years since.  We were lucky. He was in the military, so we did not go hungry and always had a roof over our heads, but just the same, there was a very real toll on my life and I have had to struggle to find peace and closure.

As a young child I was ‘diagnosed’ with ADHD, but knowing what I do now, I am pretty sure it was truly PTSD. I was not an easy child. I could be resistant, disruptive and downright rebellious! Boundaries were not my thing. I struggled in school, not because I wasn’t capable, but because I was so distracted. I can’t tell you how many times my mom heard ‘Laurie would be a good student if she would only apply herself’.

But you know I was lucky. There were many good people in my life and though I still spent many years engaging in challenging behaviors, I never got into real trouble. Using food for comfort was my biggest (pun intended!) issue. My weight has bounced up and down for many years, and to this day, it is all to easy to seek the comfort of ‘filling the whole’ with something that tastes good when I am stressed, but I have been fortunate, that even this has only been mostly manageable for me.

In truth, most of us have experienced some type of trauma in our lives. Death, assault, an accident, some emotional loss, that may have passed unseen by others, but that has left us with that ‘whole’ in our hearts that we desperately want to fill with something. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, food, sex….anything that might push the pain away. Untreated emotional pain causes people to look for something, anything to make them feel better in that moment, even if they know on some level, that they are making a bad decision.

For me, this Huffington Post article is spot on. The sad truth is that “Approximately 59 percent of people in the U.S. have experienced an adverse childhood experience” and our society will never be able to help people struggling with addiction until we face and deal with the underlying mental health issues.

There is help available, but for many it seems out of reach. Even if you have the resources, it may seem that it is much to painful to take the steps needed to reach a better place. Traditional talk therapy alone may be scary, and that is where Equine Therapy can be helpful. As a supportive, non-judgemental intervention, participants are often able to work through difficult issues without feeling overwhelmed or put on the spot.

Through work with horses clients working through addictive issues may practice effective communication skills, setting and maintaining safe and healthy personal boundaries, seeing themselves in a positive and empowered way and being present and in the moment…fully feeling right now (among other things).

If you or someone you know is struggle with any form of addiction, seek help. We are here to be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. We are happy to meet with you, show you around the ranch, introduce our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call of email and we will schedule a visit.

 

 

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, Grief, Mental Health, Other challenges, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Teens | 1 Comment

When is it More Than Just Being Shy?

Most of us experience some anxiety under certain circumstances. Even if you enjoy people and crowds, there are probably times when you have to take a deep breath before plunging into a situation. However, for many people, the smallest and seeming simplest social interactions can be very  painful and fear inducing.

There’s the clingy child, the loner teen and the socially isolated adult and it may be hard to tell when this is just ‘shyness’ and when it is a real mental health issue. This is a pretty good article in NEWS Medical about how to tell when it is more than just shyness. The truth is that Social Anxiety can escalate and result in a restricted, limited and very painful life. People struggling with this issue can miss out on so very much, but there is help available.

As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, including traditional therapy and perhaps medication, work with horses can be a powerful intervention. The lure of horses is powerful, and for many, it is enough of an enticement to get out the door and to the ranch. The treatment team will work on promoting that horse/human relationship – a relationship that is non-demanding and non-judgemental. The team will work on building confidence and self esteem. We will introduce self-soothing an coping skills when the client is feeling anxious and work on decision making skills.  This combination of acceptance and being gently challenged in a supportive environment can go a long way towards overcoming fears and anxiety in other situations “if you can manage a 1000 lb horse, you can certainly manage anything that goes on in a classroom”.

Without treatment social anxiety can become a crippling disease. If you or someone you know is struggling, seek help. Call or email if you would like to come out and visit us. We will give you a tour, introduce our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Children's issues, Mental Health, OCD, Teens | Leave a comment

Denying Depression Will Not Make It Go Away

Gosh, life can be tough. Sometimes we feel like we are just putting one foot in front of the other. Day to day stress of family and work can cause us to feel drained and probably at times we just want to give up.  But there is a difference between the stress people feel when life has become overwhelming and when someone is truly dealing with depression. A chaotic life gets better as time goes by and deadlines, or stressful situations diminish. However, depression does not go away without treatment.

In this article in Florida Today, Dr. Pamela Tronetti talks about the symptoms and things that need to be done to treat depression, including getting adequate sleep, eating right, getting exercise, finding someone to talk to and getting enough physical exercise.

If you are unsure about what you are feeling, seek help. A good councilor will help you process what you are dealing with and can suggest a course of treatment to help you find a path to feeling better. Equine Assisted Therapy can be powerful part of the treatment plan.

When addressing issues related to depression, we may focus on building self-confidence/self esteem, setting healthy personal boundaries, learning and practicing self-soothing/calming skills and making thoughtful choices, among other things. Besides horses are awesome!

If you or someone you know is struggling, seek help. We are here for you. Call or email and we can schedule a visit. We will show you around the ranch, introduce you to our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and we will share how we may be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Eating Disorders, Grief, Mental Health, PTSD, Teens | Leave a comment

ADHD and Managing Transitions

Wow! This is such a challenging time of year for so many families! The slower pace of summer gives way to the much more demanding schedule of a school year.  You struggle to get the kiddos up and out the door on time to make the trek to school. You dread the phone calls or notes from your child’s teacher notifying you of problems – they are talking in class, won’t sit still or are getting along with others. You don’t look forward to the end of the day, when your child’s sad or sullen looks indicate that they are not happy or doing well at school and then of course their is the nightly battles over homework and the end of day tasks that get them to bed at a reasonable hour. You give it your best, but end up exhausted, anxious and wonder how you are going to keep on doing this. My heart goes out to you!

 

We work with kids as young as four, teens and even adults. When addressing ADHD issues through work with horses, we most often focus on staying on task, learning and practicing various routines (grooming and tack-up), developing good ‘problem solving’ skills and the ability to consider the consequences before taking action, to name just a few.

We invite you to call or email us to schedule a visit. We will show you and your child/teen around the ranch, introduce the horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and will share how we may be able to help. We are here for you.

 

Posted in ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Children's issues, Mental Health, PTSD, Teens | Leave a comment

We Are Failing Our Veterans

Once again the news is not good for our Veterans. Instead of providing the care they really need, all to often, Vets struggling with depression and PTSD, are given a prescription and sent on their way.

This USA Today story highlights the disturbing findings of a recent Rand Corp. study. Among other things they find “Just 30% of troops with depression and 54% with PTSD received appropriate care after they were deemed at risk of harming themselves”. The article goes on to emphasize how important ‘behavioral health care’ is in helping these men and women find a path the healing.

WE HAVE TO DO BETTER! There is strong evidence to support that work with horses is a powerful intervention for those struggling with PTSD and we are here to help. If you or someone you know is struggling, SEEK HELP. You can call or email us to schedule a visit to our ranch. We will show you around, introduce the horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

Posted in Addiction, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Grief, Mental Health, PTSD | Leave a comment