Change: A Choice to Embrace or Resist

Digging Deeper
with Alisha​

change feat image


Lately I’ve been talking a lot about change with my clients and though each of them are dealing with different types of change, the one thing that they all seem to have in common is this subconscious belief that change is hard!!! They, like many others, have always been told that change is difficult and throughout their lives wrestled with a variety of different types of painful change. It’s safe to say that Change has been typecast as a menace, designed to seek and destroy good hearted people who simply desire for everything to remain the same.

As I listened to clients tell me how much pain change was putting them through, I couldn’t help but wonder “what if change wasn’t really at fault for the pain?!” What if change was simply natural order and we were the ones responsible for making it out to be hard? What if change just was? I mean sure, life changes aren’t fun and more often than not they show up unexpectedly with a barrel of new things you must adapt to without warning. Sometimes it super sucks, especially when you don’t want the new things that change is insisting that you embrace.

I pondered various times in my own life where change had presented itself and essentially left me with only 3 choices: Ignore change, fight change or embrace change! Ignoring change felt like it was helpful, but only because I wasn’t actually facing the change and tended to only prolong inevitable emotional distress.

 Fighting change felt brave at the time, like I was standing up boldly for my right to maintain the same- but in the end change always prevailed and I was left exhausted, emotionally drained and defeated! 

It was only through the embracement of change that I felt less tattered and torn, I realized that fighting and ignoring change always left noticeable scars with lasting damage to my heart and mind, yet embracing change felt empowering and allowed me to receive new things with an open mind.

What I’ve gathered from years of helping individuals deal with change is that one of 2 things (if not both) are typically present when change is perceived as being “hard” : 1) Obsession with the past and / or  2) Fear of the future. It’s not the actual change that causes the discomfort; it’s the unwillingness to accept something different than what you currently have, because what you have you’ve had for so long that you can’t imagine not having it! READ THAT LINE TWICE

Knuckles clenched tight, it’s the inability to release and let go that causes proverbial rope burns on our hands and our hearts. In relationships it sometimes sounds like “…but we’ve been together for so long and invested so much!” or at jobs that you hate, it looks like complaining daily without executing an exit plan and actually leaving. 

Being obsessed with the past prevents you from appreciating what is happening in the now and being fearful of the future forces you to be stagnant, interfering with the natural evolution of self; neither provide the internal peace produced when you choose to embrace what you cannot prevent. 

When working with individuals on resistance of change, one of the first things I establish is their fears; they have to identify what is holding them back in order to understand how they can move forward. Often times, the fears are blanketed in reasonable rationales designed to keep the individual safe; safe from movement, safe from growth, safe from discomfort; and while this resistance to change appears to be keeping them safe, it is also producing space for ongoing agony and pending emotional pain. It’s like that old saying goes ” You can either go against the tide and tire your legs or swim with the tide and let it take you where it wants you to go.”

I would never suggest that all changes are easy or negate how uncomfortable unwanted changes can be; it’s completely normal to desire consistency and familiarity in your life! That said, change happens and when it does, it’s important to keep in mind that you really only have two choices: Embrace or resist; either way, change is happening and only you are in control of how you will experience it. 

Copyright © 2010-2023 Finding the Foundation All rights reserved.

Functioning While Depressed

Digging Deeper
with Alisha​

Functioning While Depressed

You have likely heard of Major Depressive Disorder, commonly referred to as simply “depression,” and have a generic understanding of what it means to be “depressed,” severe sadness, non-stop crying, lying in the bed all day with the curtains drawn, unable to function, in need of medication, etc. However, what if I told you that depression exists on a spectrum and that not all depressive states look equally dismal or fit the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder? 

When it comes to depression one size does not fit all and more than likely at some point in your life, you too have felt less than best or “depressed.”  While clinical depression (Major Depressive Disorder) is defined and diagnosed by specific measurements; functioning while feeling depressed typically goes unnoticed because the individual appears to be operating as normal. 

Right now, someone that you know, possibly you, is currently suffering in silence, too afraid or ashamed to admit how they truly feel to their loved ones. On the surface they appear to be living life as usual, successful in their careers, maintaining social interactions and from the outside looking in, life looks pretty good. How does one admit that amidst their seemingly perfect life they are sad or that they are struggling with defeating thoughts? Too often they simply don’t.

Various studies suggest that depression affects 1 in 20 people on average; but as a licensed therapist I treat functionally depressed individuals on a daily basis and believe the numbers to be drastically higher than reported. Symptoms are often overlooked or mistaken, even by those experiencing the depressive state of mind themselves.  It is because symptoms vary in severity that many are shocked to discover that their loved ones were suffering at all. Too often a discovery of depression only takes place after an emotional break down, suicide attempt or unfortunate completion. Friends and family are left scrambling for missing pieces, wondering what they missed and how long their loved one suffered in silence.

Depression can be a silent monster that haunts individuals within and masks the inflicted pain with daily operation and seemingly normal behavior. Just because an individual goes to work daily, attends happy hour with friends and presents regularly to Sunday morning service, does not mean that they are not battling with inner turmoil or self doubt. 

Due to the personal nature of symptoms associated with depression it is common for individuals to hide these symptoms from others and deny them within themselves.

Often overlooked symptoms include:

    • Changes in appetite
    • Loss of energy
    • Loss of interest in things typically enjoyed
    • Poor concentration

We typically ask friends and co-workers “How are you?” but rarely ask them how did they rest or if they are eating regularly; because it is considered invasive or rude to inquire about personal affects, we often miss subtle symptoms. Unless we are asking the right questions or looking for the less blatant signs, functional depression thrives in the crevices of privacy 

Many individuals would rather suffer alone than to admit that their lives are currently less than favorable, especially when life seems so perfect from the outside looking in. The irony of masking functional depression is that although the individual is actively trying to keep their emotional state hidden, when their sadness is not readily observed by those closest to them they can begin to feel unnoticed, misunderstood or unseen and ultimately their sadness increases as a result of their silence.

Though medication can be useful when battling major depression, it is not always necessary when dealing with functional depression. The key to relieving depression is to first identify the root cause of the problem; a process that is most likely to happen during talk therapy with a professional.  If you or someone that you know are experiencing symptoms of depression, help is available! One of the first things to do is acknowledge changes in behavior.  Notable changes in daily habits such as eating, sleeping and hygiene are the easiest to spot. If you find yourself doing either of these things significantly more OR less, it’s important to make note.  Secondly, seek consultation from a mental health professional in your community.  There are help lines and support groups nationwide available to assist; familiarize yourself with local resources and share them with those you love.

Therapy is an effective method to deal with inner turmoil and though the process of counseling might be uncomfortable and unfamiliar, it can also be empowering and offer genuine relief. Once one has regained control of their life and rediscovered peace through insight and awareness, they are likely to discover that the journey of therapy was worth every bit of the discomfort.

Copyright © 2010-2023 Finding the Foundation All rights reserved.

The Power of Fear

Digging Deeper
with Alisha​

The Power of Fear

In a society that promotes bravery and shames fear, many people are incapable of identifying fear within their daily lives.  We attribute fear to haunted houses and near death experiences, not recognizing that it is one of the most motivating and powerful forces on earth. While often mistaken for other, more appealing and acceptable emotions like “cautious” or “careful,” fear is actually at that base of many of our actions and life decisions.  This can be both a good and bad thing; there are situations in which the power of fear creates safety or aids in the avoidance of trauma, but there also instances in which the power of fear paralyzes growth and stunts our ability to evolve. It is within reason to say that fear can be both encouraging and debilitating; it is up to you to determine the impact that fear represents in your life and identify whether it is aiding or inhibiting your best self. Is fear pushing you toward greatness or forcing you to stand still? On a daily basis we act based on a myriad of internal fears, some openly expressed and others so deeply rooted in the subconscious we don’t realize that they exist.

      • Fear to feel pain
      • Fear to inflict pain
      • Fear that pain will be the result.
      • Fear to show your true self
      • Fear that you will be rejected
      • Fear that you will be misunderstood
      • Fear of judgment
      • Fear of loneliness
      • Fear to lose self
      • Fear of change
      • Fear of stagnation
      • Fear of complacency
      • Fear of complications
      • Fear to fail
      • Fear to succeed

When fear is the motivation (whether realized or unknown) ones true self, thoughts and desires become secondary, the primary goal being the avoidance of the above listed fears. We spend so much time watching our steps and avoiding assumed pitfalls that our caution becomes our casket. Living without fear requires a level of self trust and confidence that is only achieved when actively pursued and should not be confused with living recklessly or making ill thought decisions. A fearless life does not mean that fear is non existent, it merely means that fear does not control your behavior. Acknowledging and moving forward in spite of said fear creates the internal power that could potentially result in unforeseen wins.

What are you afraid of in this season? At this very moment in your life what are you most hopeful for and how is fear holding you back?  You might say:

 “I’m not afraid of anything, I just haven’t _______________ yet.”

Well, why not? Why is it that you know what you want and what you have to do in order to achieve it, but still find your goal unaccomplished?

    1. Identify the fear

Example: I am afraid that I will be hurt by love.

    1. Understand the fear

Example: Due to my recent divorce I am afraid to experience that level of pain again.

    1. Face the fear

Example: In order for me to experience love, I have to show love and allow love in my life.

    1. Push past the fear

Example:  Engage in meaningful relationships with others

Power lies in your ability to use fear as a fuel for greatness, instead of using it as an excuse to not evolve.  When you trust yourself enough to not only identify, understand and face your fears you allow yourself the opportunity to discover your best self. 


Copyright © 2010-2023 Finding the Foundation All rights reserved.