Sunday, September 26, 2010

What it's really about.......

If you are a sports fan, it is currently one of the best times of year. Most sports are in season, football - both NCAA and NFL, Major League Baseball, soccer, Nascar, PGA golf, basically pick a sport and you can watch it right now. Professional sports are not the only ones being played, there are little leagues, pee wee football, high school sports and many others. That being said what better time then now to discuss sportsmanship. defines sportsmanship as a person who exhibits qualities highly regarded in sport, such as fairness, generosity, observance of the rules, and good humor when losing. In a poll I took of five friends on sportsmanship, the ideas they brought up relating to sportsmanship were being a good loser, having fun and respect. Sportsmanship applies whether you are playing a game/sport, watching it on television, or if you happen to be attending your child's athletic activities.
The last example there is especially true. All too often in today's society, parents are becoming participants in the games their children play, due to their behavior watching the games. Watch the news or look on the Internet and there are numerous instances of parent's behavior being out of line to the point of being ejected from fields, assaulting officials, and berating the kids participating in the sports, including their own children.
Children learn the foundation of sportsmanship at home. Parents are their children's first role models when it comes to sportsmanship. Children observe how parents handle their favorite football team losing on television, or how they handle winning a board game with the family, and it begins to build that foundation.
Here are some ways to help teach/role model good sportsmanship:
1. If you are attending your child's game, remember only shout words of encouragement, they
know that they missed the touchdown pass, they do not need to be publicly humiliated. The
same thing if you are watching a professional sport on television, your children copy your
2. If you are attending your child's game, remember that the umpires, referees and other
officials are normally volunteers, they do not get paid, and they are human, they will
occasionally make mistakes, it is not done on purpose and it is not a personal attack on you or
your child, this is your chance to teach forgiveness, understanding and acceptance.
3. Remember, it is just a game. And the game is just part of the experience, it teaches life skills,
how to deal with successes and failures, teamwork, helps them develop friendships, and
provides exercise.
4. Whether on the field, or on television, be sure to point out positive examples of good
And with tip number four, I will leave you with a story about my all time favorite example of sportsmanship. It occurred during a softball game between Western Oregon and Central Washington in 2008, with a trip to the post season on the line. In the second inning of the game with two runners on base, Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky, hit the first home run of her career. In her excitement rounding the bases, she missed first base, and as she went back to touch the base, she tore a ligament in her knee and fell to the ground. The umpires explained that the rules stated that no coaches or teammates could assist her or she would be called out. The other option was that they could substitute a pinch runner, but then the home run would only count as a single, and the pinch runner would be on first base. However Central Washington's Mallory Holtman had another option. Holtman asked the umpire if she could assist Tucholsky around the bases, and the umpire agreed. So Holtman, along with fellow teammate Liz Wallace, lifted Tucholsky - their opponent - off the ground, and walked around the bases, lowering Tucholsky enough at each bag so that her foot could touch the base.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic-depression, is a serious condition that causes shifts in a person's mood, energy and ability to function. It is different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Symptoms of Bipolar Dosorder are severe and can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.

Signs and symptoms:

Bipolar Disorder usually develops in a person's late teen to early adult years. Symptoms include dramatic mood swings from overly "high" and/or irritable to sad and hopeless then back again, often with periods if normal mood in between. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression.


A combination of medication and psychotherapy provides substantial stabilization in the person's mood. If you or someone you know seems to suffer from Bipolar Disorder, please call us at Central Florida Mental Health Associates at 386.736-9165 for a free 15 minutes consultation with one of our therapists.

To read the entire article go to

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I don’t know about you, but lately to me, it seems as if we are living in an increasingly anxious society. More and more people report having symptoms of anxiety as a quote unquote, “normal” part of their day. Check out the top 5 symptoms of anxiety, shortness of breath, heart pounding, chest tightening, numbness in extremities, and a sense of unease or apprehension. How many folks have, or maybe you have yourself, experienced one or more of these symptoms in specific situations.

The truth is there are specific situations that lend themselves to some type of anxiety producing symptom. Test anxiety, the anticipation of meeting new in-laws or confronting a partner with a relationship testing issue, all these situations can heighten our sense of apprehension producing anxiety symptoms in their wake. The difference between situational anxiety and chronic anxiety is just that. Many times anxiety is confined to a specific situation or set of events. If this is the case, it may seem expedient to simply avoid the situations which produce the symptoms. Avoidance, however, produces a new set of dilemmas which subsequently increases anxiety.

When symptoms themselves become less confined to specific incidences, there is reason to believe that anxiety has become more generalized, therefore manifesting in more frequent and perhaps less specific situations. Symptoms may become more chronic and there may seem to less of an instigating event or situation that brings them on. Anxiety manifests in the emotions, thought process, and body to present in such a way as to disrupt normal routine. In extreme instances, anxiety may interfere with life functioning to the point that the person suffering symptoms may become avoidant of certain situations, places, people, or events in order to attempt to control their symptoms. The reality is that symptoms are rarely controlled by avoidance.

In the treatment of anxiety, it is important to check with your primary care physician to rule out or treat any biomedical concerns underlying the condition. It is then important to consult a psychiatrist who may be able to recommend a regimen of medication. Finally, it is imperative you seek out a trained and licensed professional who can support you with cognitive – behavioral interventions and stress relieving techniques.

The good news is, that with treatment, most anxiety symptoms can be reduced to manageable proportions. Please contact 386-736-9165, to be put in contact with a professional who can support you or your loved one in managing this fatiguing and life impairing disorder.
by: Janice Suskey M.Ed. Ed.S. LMHC

Monday, September 20, 2010

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or abdominal distress.

Signs and symptoms:

People with panic attacks have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeated without warning. During a panic attack, most likely your heart will pound and you may feel sweaty, weak, faint or dizzy. Your hands may tingle or feel numb, and you may feel flushed or chilled. You may have nausea, chest pain, smothering sensations, a sense of unreality or fear of impending doom or loss of control.

Getting help:

Effective treatments of Panic Disorder are available and you don't have to live with this disorder.

If you or someone you know are struggling with Panic Disorder, call us at Central Florida Mental Health Associates at 386.736.9165 for a free phone consultation. We can help.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Where do you focus your emotional energy?

Many of us waist emotional energy thinking about things that are pointless!

What if this happens? What if that happens? I should have done this, I should have done that. I have to. I must. If you find that your self-talk is contaminated with these cognitive distortions, you are misallocating your emotional resources.

Ask yourself this question: “How much of what I actually worry about actually happens?” If your honest with yourself, more than likely your answer will be that only a fraction of what I worry about actually happens. Then, determine how much of your thinking time you spend on these things. At this point, you probably have determined that you spend too much time on the what if’s, should haves, and must to’s. Start being more in the now. When you catch yourself feeding these irrational thoughts, tell yourself to stop. Divert your emotional resources to things that count. If you can do better at this you will be happier.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Grief is a common occurrence in our lives however, many of us do not recognize that there are definitive stages that have been researched to help guide us in our personal journey through this inevitable life happening. These stages, although distinctive, happen in each person's life in an individual way and in each person's unique timetable.

Five Stages have been identified in progressive states:

1. DENIAL - "I feel fine." or "This can't be happening to me." Denial is usually a temporary defense for the individual and is at times preceded by shock if the loss or news of the loss is unexpected.

2. ANGER - "Why me?!" "It's not fair!; "How can this happen to me?" In this second stage, blaming or looking to blame is common.

3. BARGAINING - "Just let me live to see my children graduate." "I'll do anything..." This usually takes place with a higher power and faith can be shaken when the bargain appears to be denied.

4. DEPRESSION - "Why bother with anything." "What's the point." This can be the response in order to allow the person to disconnect.

5. ACCEPTANCE - "It's going to be okay." This stage can include putting your loss in a bigger context, becoming functional and attending to practical matters, there is a general lifting of the depression.

Although this list appears to go in steps, it may be, and often is the case, that the stages will intermingle and at times seem to occur concurrently rather than at distinct separate times. What to do if you find yourself or a loved one experiencing stages of loss? Listen carefully to what they say and be respectful of their feelings. Although their reaction may make little sense to you, it is very real for them and it is an important step for them in moving through to healing. If you find yourself getting "stuck" and not moving through your grief as you expected, let me encourage you to call a caring professional at 386-736-9165, for support and encouragement. Grieving is a unique journey and can come at times when we least expect it. It can be attached to life transitions such as moving, changing careers, leaving home, job loss, loss of health, as well as death or dying, and loss of relationship. The important thing to remember is that you do not have to suffer alone.
By Janice Suskey LMHC

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 12-18 ADHD Awareness Week

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

It is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD has impaired functioning in multiple areas including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If left untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescent and adulthood.

Signs and symptoms:
-Impulsiveness: a child that acts quickly without thinking first.
-Hyperactivity: a child who can't sit still, walks, runs, or climbs around when others are seated and talks when others are talking.
-Innatention: a child who daydreams, seems to be in another world or is sidetracked easily by what is gong on around him.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

If ADHD is suspected, the diagnosis should be made by a trained professional such as psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor.


The most effective treatment is a combination of behavioral therapy and medication.
At Central Florida Mental Health Associates we are dedicated to assist you. Give us a call at 386.736.9165 for a free phone consultation.

For more in depth information about this topic go to the National Institute of Mental Health www. nimh.nih. gov

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Which door will you choose?

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." - Helen Keller

I chose that quote this week for my blog to help remind us about the positive things that we might overlook in our everyday lives. Just because we might not reach a certain goal, or an outcome does not turn out how we planned, does not mean we cannot take positive things out of the situation. There are positives in almost any situation. Twenty years ago this past May, I was diagnosed with Lupus. Now on the surface being diagnosed with Lupus, well to be quite frank, it sucked. I was sick, in pain, and I was informed I was no longer going to be able to play baseball - which was my be all and end all at that point in my life. Now, I was lucky, I was lucky to have the type of supportive family who was there to help me see the positive things I still had going for me. You see, I have been asked time and time again, if I'm ever angry about being sick, or if I wish I could change it. The truth is, I don't get angry, and I would not change having Lupus. I have met many wonderful people that I never would have if I did not have Lupus. I believe that my illness, helped make an already close family even closer. Having Lupus has helped shape who I am as a person, and I like who I am. Having Lupus has helped me find strengths inside that I may never have found. I have discovered the true meaning of love and friendship thanks to having Lupus. The journey that I have taken in life, that was altered by my diagnosis, I would not change that for anything in the world. I share this with you this week in the hopes that you will take my story with you through your day, and when you face setbacks and challenges, instead of looking at what didn't happen, try and find what did. Instead of looking at why a situation is bad, find the good. Life happens, and you can choose to stare at a closed door all day, and be frustrated, or find the open door and be free.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Where does anger come from?

My blog today, is in response to a question posted on our Facebook page. Where does anger come from? Anger is a normal and healthy human emotion, that can range from mild annoyance to outright rage. Anger can serve to be a positive force in our lives, to motivate us to take a stand, makes changes, or address things we have been avoiding. When anger becomes "bad" is when the behavior or reaction to the anger is expressed in negative or aggressive ways, rather than in assertive and positive ways.

What is the difference between being aggressive or assertive? Someone acting in an aggressive manner might be hostile, infringe upon the rights of other and/or attempt to use intimidation to get their point across. Someone using assertiveness skills is able to stand up for themselves, express their perspective, and be confident and respectful, while not infringing over someone's boundaries or rights.

Anger can come from several sources, such as old memories, previously experienced trauma, the guy at your job, traffic jams, outrage at something witnessed, or it can be what is referred to as a secondary emotion. In our society and in our media, frequently the range of emotions that we see are fairly limited to the major ones, happy, sad, angry, and maybe a small handful of other emotions. Anger as a secondary emotion is where anger is the emotion immediately felt or expressed, but it is covering up or masking other emotions that we are either unwilling to or unable to identify at that time. An example of anger as a secondary emotion would be walking through the local cafe during the lunch rush, tripping over a crack in the sidewalk and spilling food all over yourself in front of everyone. Now, while you might be angry that there was a crack in the sidewalk, might you also be feeling embarrassed? Frustrated? Anxious to leave?

By being able to identify the emotions you are experiencing, and processing them in healthy ways, it will help you to better manage your levels of anger, and help you to ensure your responses/behaviors relating to anger are healthy. You can process your feelings by talking with someone or possible utilizing a journal. Another tip for managing anger is to develop a calming mantra that you can repeat to yourself as you feel your anger rising. For example, you might use "relax" and repeat it to yourself over and over again. You can engage in a variety of relaxation exercises such as deep breathing. Utilizing behavioral strategies like exercise and yoga can also be beneficial. When it comes down to it, every person is unique, and what might work for me, might not work for you. In the end, you have to listen to yourself and your body, and figure out what works best for you.