Improving​ Emotional Health on the Farm

You are not alone. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to reach out for help. My name is Catherine Cleveland and I am a mental health counselor. I once was a farmer and I am the widow of an overworked and highly distressed dairy farmer.

As an outreach to the farming and agricultural community, two new groups have been added to the schedule to help support the needs of this unique community and their emotional needs.

Watch these powerful documentaries!

The first group addresses the emotional health needs specifically for women in agriculture. Click here to learn more on dates and times.

The second group focuses on the emotional stressors of farm owners, managers, and workers. Click here to learn more about dates and times.

For more information about the mental health crisis in the farming community, please watch the documentaries. With special thanks to Jodi Letham for helping organize and outreach to the farming community.

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Please share this post with friends, family, and on social media. You never know who’s life you may be saving.

Group Counseling for Farm Owners/Managers

This group is specifically designed to help farm owners, managers, and laborers work through emotional issues. Issues can be related to stress, anger, depression, dispair, thoughts of suicide, and problems with relationships.

Farmer’s Group Session Details

  • Dates: every other week beginning Tuesday, October 29, 2019
  • Time: 7:35pm – 9:00 pm
  • Location: Cleveland Emotional Health, 61 Main Street, Suite 4, Geneseo, NY 14454
  • Group Size: 6-8 members (additional groups will be made available to accommodate interest)
  • Cost: $20/group (less than your co-pay!

Register Today!

Contact us with questions. We are here to help! (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com

Please share this blog post on social media or directly with someone you think will benefit. You never know, you could be the catalyst to improve (or save) someone’s life!

Women in Agriculture​​ Group​ Session

Please share this blog post on social media or directly with someone you think will benefit. You never know, you could be the catalyst to improve (or save) someone’s life!

Is your voice being heard? Are you getting the help and support you deserve? Women in Agriculture Group is a safe, supportive, collaborative, and confidential space for you to get the emotional help you deserve.

Women in Agriculture Group Session Details

  • Dates: every other week beginning Tuesday, October 29, 2019
  • Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • Location: Cleveland Emotional Health, 61 Main Street, Suite 4, Geneseo, NY 14454
  • Group Size: 6-8 members (additional groups will be made available to accommodate interest)
  • Cost: $20/group (less than your co-pay!

Register Today

Contact us with questions. We are here to help! (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com

An Argument for NOT Taking Medication

Skills over Pills!

This video is part of what I am studying as part of my contemporary trends class in my University of Rochester doctoral program. Please comment.

Get help now. Your mental health is priceless! Please click here to schedule an appointment. Call or text (585) 432-0313

Control Issues

Hi everybody!

I’m Catherine Cleveland, YOUR mental health counselor!

Today’s topic is about your control issues related to other people.

Do you spend a lot of time and energy trying to change someone you are in a relationship with? Maybe your significant other or even your child?

Here’s where the problem is: 

We may be able to influence other people but trying to change them is usually not effective.

Ask yourself this: 

How much time do I spend wishing and hoping someone I care about will change?

If you find that you are doing this often, you are living in that world of hope, rather than reality. The reality is that you cannot change other people if they don’t want to change!

When you spend time believing that someone is going to change, and they don’t want to, you are living in a fantasy, and not a good one. 

What is wrong with this?

Living in a fantasy of hope prevents you from paying attention to your own psychological needs and issues.

These issues are usually the things that you don’t like about yourself. So instead, you avoid them by focusing on other people’s “flaws”

What can you do?

First, start by accepting your loved one for who they are. Next, focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

If you cannot accept your loved ones for who they are, then you need to either 

  • leave the relationship (last resort)

or

  • pay attention to how your behaviors and judgments are impacting the relationship
  • create boundaries for the relationship.

(Guidance through mental health counseling is very important to help with the emotions and distress you will experience from any of the above three steps.)

Boundaries are limitations of what you will tolerate in the relationship. For example, I once set a boundary with a close friend. I didn’t like the way her boyfriend treated her, and she was not breaking up with him anytime soon. I was compassionate to her letting her know that I would not spend time with her when he was around. I did this because I wanted to accept her for who she is, not judge her for her choice in men.

However, if you set specific boundaries or rules for the relationship, pay attention to whether YOU are crossing them. If you are the one crossing the boundaries, you may be trying to seek control of others rather than within yourself. This is especially true when the control issues are with your significant other! For instance, if you continually threaten to leave her if she doesn’t stop drinking, but you never do.

Remember, when you try to control others, it is usually a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

Contact me today for more information on mental health counseling and consulting! (585) 432-0313

Is Your Worrying Affecting Your Wellbeing?

Are you someone who thinks and worries about what may or may not happen in the near future? Are you worrying to the point of perpetuating a problem that doesn’t actually exist in the present moment?

Here is a common example of what I mean:

“I am worried that my partner is going to leave me.” 

The problem… 

If someone is going to leave you, there is nothing you can do to control their thoughts (and sometimes their behavior). 

However, if they are not going to leave you, and you are obsessing about it in your mind, you will act accordingly. 

For example, you may follow them, check their phone, constantly text them, ask them accusing questions, accuse them outright, forbid them from social engagements, or seeing friends and family without you, and so on.

If you have ever been on the receiving end of these untrusting behaviors, you know what it feels like. It is draining, exhausting, and distressing to the point that you want to get away from it any way you can. And when you try to get away from the accusations, the accusations get worse.

What is happening? 

If you are the accuser, you are making up scenarios that do not exist in the present moment. And then you are acting on your mentally constructed future scenarios as if they are actually happening in the present moment. Keep in mind, there are a lot of people who do these behaviors and are not even aware of it.

If your partner is really going to leave you, you have two choices. 1) you can accept it and move on; or 2) try to get a person who doesn’t want to be with you to stay. 

Why would we try to get someone to stay who does not want to? Maybe because we are afraid to be alone and maybe we are trying to make them be someone they are not? When we try to control other people’s behaviors, it only prevents us from focusing on your own issues.

Remember, worrying is your anxiety (that has an underlying cause) that is experienced as a physical symptom in your body, leaving you, at times feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and even physically ill.

Here is another example:

“Why would I do that if you could get [psychologically] hurt?”

When you are always worried about getting hurt and acting as if you would get hurt, you might not have the life that you desire. This is a depressing behavior that could lead to a depressive disorder. It also limits your human potential and sense of joy.

So, if you construct and act on future (that does not exist) negative scenarios, ask yourself this question:

“What are the real, present moment, intrapersonal issues that I am trying to avoid?” 

Are you interested in reading more articles on mental health and wellbeing? Click now on the Wisdom Room. For more information about Catherine Cleveland go to Why Consider me as Your Counselor. Click here to register on your secure portal and make your appointment today!

And as always, thank you for reading!

Staying motivated

I was recently asked the question: “How can I stay better motivated?”

Often you will start by setting the goal that you want to achieve. Say for example, your goal is to lose 20 pounds.

The goal is your starting point

The problem is, a lot of things can happen between now and your goal. These problems can easily derail a perfectly good goal along with your motivation to achieve it.

So, what can you do?

Rather than paying attention to the goal, focus on the process. The process is paying attention to the steps involved:

  1. Plan: Start with a plan
  2. Do: follow through with the plan 
  3. Evaluate: evaluate what happened. What changes can be made?
  4. Reward: reward yourself. tell yourself you did a good job following through
  5. Repeat: start back at number 1.

Say for example the first step you want to do is find out what nutritional changes would work the best for you (Plan). Then you would implement the plan. For example, ask around for what has worked for others and/or do a web search for more information (Do)

Next you would evaluate the plan. You found a good nutrition plan you want to implement. Always reward yourself for following through, “I did it!” Now repeat the process.

Or,

“I didn’t follow through with my plan today.” Now you get to choose: 

are you going to take a strengths-based approach (evaluation of the process)? Or, are you going to take a deficits-based approach to reaching your goal?

This next step in the process is what can make or break your motivation. 

There is an important difference between evaluating (what can be done differently) the process to stay motivated (strengths-based approach) or looking at your attempt as a failure (deficits-based approach).

For example:

A motivation response is (strengths-based approach): “I didn’t follow through with my plan. What happened? Do I need to change my plan?”

Or,

The motivation killer is (deficits-based approach): “I don’t have time to find a nutritional plan. I am never going to lose the weight. I have been this way my whole life, it’s not going to change now, I am always going to look like this.”

While evaluating your plan, are you going to pick the motivation response or the motivation killer?

Remember, to stay motivated, focus on the process rather than the goal.

Plan out each step, follow through with each plan, and make any changes as needed. 

And, finally, make sure you reward yourself, every time, for paying attention to your process with your ongoing strengths-based positive attitude.

Authors note:

I wrote this article ad a script to a video. I am still working on making the video will post soon. Please remember to subscribe to this blog, leave a comment, and contact me, Catherine Cleveland for your mental health needs (585) 432-0313

Tip #3: Watch out for the “but”

Here is an excellent thought experiment:

Paying attention to every time you hear someone say the word “but.” But, typically negates (cancels out) everything that is said before it.

“I don’t mean to be cruel, but… 

You guessed it, the next thing that is said is going to be, at the least, insulting.

“I am not normally sarcastic, but…”

The real meaning:  Oh, yes, they are!

“I really don’t drink much, but I like to have a drink now and then.”

The real meaning:  Hmmm, it would be interesting to see how much they really drink…

“I love you, but I need my alone time.”

The real meaning:  I don’t love you or love you enough

“I would really like to see you but…”

The real meaning: I don’t want to see you

Of course, there are times when but does not negate. It depends if there is a follow-up question or statement:

“I would really like to see you, but I can’t this week. Can I schedule for next week?”

If you find that you are a “but” user, there are a few things you can do:

1)   Do not make the judgment statement in the first place. Judgments are likely a reflection on you and your self-worth. If you notice that you are a “but” user when making a statement to someone else, what you are doing is deflecting (an emotion defense mechanism) your attention from your internal struggles. 

“I really want to see a counselor, but…”

The real meaning: I am afraid and really don’t want to see myself for who I really am.

2)   If “but” is not a negation, sometimes replacing “but” with “and” can sound better to the receiver:

“I think you did a great job, but there is room for improvement.”

“I think you did a great job and there is room for improvement.”

“I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I would like to discuss it more.”

“I agree with a lot of what you are saying, and I would like to discuss it more.”

I hope you enjoy this thought experiment. Remember, it is essential to practice any mindfulness exercise with compassion toward yourself and others, and without judgment.

Take that next step today! Contact me, Catherine Cleveland, for you in office or online mental health counseling appointment! (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com or, make set up your appointment on line

The Impact of Loneliness

Loneliness is one of the worst emotions that one can feel. Can you think of anyone who likes feeling lonely? So, what is it that we do when we are feeling lonely? We avoid it at all costs. And sometimes those costs can have extremely maladaptive consequences.

What are maladaptive consequences of loneliness? When we listen to the messages that loneliness is telling us, we find ways to fulfill ourselves and connect with others. We may engage in our work, sports, social networking, or creative activities. This is healthy (adaptive) 

However, the problem lies in the avoidance of loneliness, at the cost of our wellbeing. Here is a typical example: one decides to stay in a harmful or abusive relationship because it is “better than being alone.” That may sound shocking to some, that a person would remain in an abusive relationship just to avoid the feelings of loneliness. That gives you an idea of the strength and power of this isolating emotion. 

Another consequence of avoiding loneliness is substance use. When we have a reliable social support system in place (supportive family, friends, and coworkers), we are less likely to abuse substances, have behavioral addictions (gambling, sex, shopping), are less likely to become victims of abuse, and are at a lower risk of attempting or completing suicide. Excessive addictive behaviors are related to feelings of rejection, isolation, and abandonment. 

What can be done to challenge and change your maladaptive consequences? Rather than avoiding loneliness at all costs, mindfully pay attention to your loneliness. What is your loneliness trying to tell you? 

When I am feeling lonely, I feel my anxiety start to rise. I can feel my anxiety physically in my body, usually in my stomach. I immediately try to connect with a friend to alleviate the anxiety. That does not sound so bad, right? However, I over connect with friends (externalizing), preventing me from being productive. When I am not productive, I get depressed, and that gives me time to drink. When I drink, I feel like crap. Then I get more depressed. When I get depressed, I get anxious about being depressed because I am telling myself that I am wasting my life (low self-worth). Then I get even more depressed. Can you see how this is a vicious cycle and that it can quickly get out of hand?

Instead, (I) listen to the loneliness and find out what it means to you (me) specifically. Experience the loneliness. What does it feel like in your body? Does it make you anxious? What does the anxiety feel like? Learn to spend time with your loneliness and your anxiety. Where are these feelings originating from (prior experiences)? Consciously paying attention to being alone, with yourself, will empower you to make better choices, that is, you are finding out the source of your loneliness, what is driving it. (I also have developed a safe social support system, and a have a great outlook on myself worth!) 

For more help with processing and experiencing emotions that are disrupting your life and preventing you from reaching your goals, please contact me and make an appointment today! Let’s process your emotions together!

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Wisdom Room by filling out the link below in the righthand column, follow me on Instagram @clevelandemotionalhealth, and Facebook (click the link below). ~ Catherine

Tip # 2: Road Rage and Other Frustrations

It is always important to pay attention to what is going on around us in the world. For example, we need to pay attention to where we are walking, what is going on around us while we are driving, and be attentive listeners when people are speaking. We need to pay attention to our children to protect them and encourage them. We need to be aware of our environment so we can enjoy the beauty of our world while also be mindful of danger and threats. These types of mindful external focuses can bring us into the present moment, which is the only moment that ever exists.

So, how can external focus be harmful? External focus can be harmful when it prevents us from paying attention to our own pain and emotions. If you get frustrated (anxious or angered) easily, it is because you cannot control who or what is going on around you. Do you ever get frustrated with other drivers? For example, do you become frustrated when you are late for an appointment or work? Do you get frustrated with your mate or child because they are not behaving the way you think that they should? Do you have a difficult time getting along with some of your colleagues, peers or boss?

When we get frustrated, it is because our world views and perspectives are clashing with reality. For instance, I get frustrated with my husband when he is in a bad mood. “I am happy. Why are you raining on my parade?” I also have choices. I can get upset at him, yell at him, and blame him for my frustration. It is his fault after all, right? He is the one with the problem (rationalization), not me. I was fine until he… Does this sound familiar?

When we complain about others, blame others, lash out, and try to control other people’s behaviors, this type of external focus can very be harmful. Projecting our control issues onto other people prevent us from paying attention to our own behaviors and reactions. Why do we use projection? Because it can be too painful and too scary to really see what is going on inside us. This type of emotional fear is the number one reason why people resist mental health counseling. Do you know a friend, family member, or a colleague that is continuously blaming, gossiping, or complaining about other people or external factors? This is a perfect example of projecting individual fears onto others to avoid internal pain, suffering, and low self-worth.

What can you do rather than trying to control your external environment? Begin by being mindful of your externalizing behaviors. The only one we can change and control is ourselves through our thoughts and behaviors. Instead, you need to paying attention to your emotions and anxieties, as they are happening, rather than avoiding them through projection and rationalization.

Changing and healing are difficult to do on our own. Especially as we have strengthened these harmful habits over the years. It is possible for us to develop new habits to heal our emotional pain and distress. And the people around us will notice and begin to like us better, especially our children and loved ones.

Please reach out to me, Catherine Cleveland, for more information and to discuss your personal concerns. (585) 432-0313, clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com.