DBSA Omaha New Hope

Vala’s – 10/5

Our biggest Friendship project event so far will be at Vala’s pumpkin patch on Wednesday 10/5!

This event is only for those that signed up at our meetings over the last month.

Here is how it works….

  1. Go to Vala’s at 12102 S 180th St, Gretna. You can go anytime on Wednesday. They are open 9am to 9pm. Our campfire event will be 5pm to 9pm but your free ticket is good for all day!
  2. Go to ticket window 4 or 5. Tell them you are with the DBSA group and give them your name. They will look you up on our list, and welcome you to Vala’s.
  3. Feel free to wander. Here is a link to a map. We are at campfire site 25A for our event.
  4. To get to campfire site 25A from the front entrance, turn right. This is what you will see.

Go down the hill. The path will curve left.

Head for the American Flag.

At the flag, go strait towards the red roofed building.

Go around the left side of the red roofed building.

Just a bit down the path, site 25A is on your left.

Some of us will be hanging out there during the entire event but what you really need to know is we are breaking out the s’mores at 7:30!

Have fun and see you Wednesday!!!!!

Managing Change – 9/29 meeting

Our most recent DBSA meeting was very memorable, with Don presenting the evening’s topic “ Managing Change “.  After brief introductions were made from around the room, Don went on to dive deep into managing change, and how greatly change does affect our daily lives. Don described our daily experience as living in a “ simmering cauldron of change” . I liked that description!

We all realize that most changes are out of our control, especially when it comes to external changes. For example, with the recent experience we all had with Covid over the last year and a half, our daily schedules had changed dramatically.  We can however control how we react to change.

Don recommend that we flip the script, on how we handle change. He mentioned we should re-focus, reflect, and also focus on our self-care. Don suggested that when change happens, it’s time to set some boundaries, and control your reactions and learn to accept change all around us. It’s important to realize not every change affects you, and to work the problems that are important to you. 

Don advised in regards to change #1) think it over before reacting #2) acknowledge feelings #3) take a breath #4) take actions when you can and #5) let it go

Community Resources – 9/22 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Abigail’s first presentation with us, entitled “Community Resources “

Abigail began by sharing that she wanted all who were present to leave with more knowledge of the mental health resources that are available in the Omaha area. She shared that Omaha does have many mental health resources available that will help you without the need to be hospitalized.

Some of those options are listed below; 

988, which is a suicide and crisis hotline. This hotline was started in 2014 by a senator in Utah, who felt we needed to recognize mental health emergencies as true health emergencies.  When using 988, about 90 percent of the people that call in will receive a call back the next day. The folks at 988 are able to activate a mobile crisis response team. This team consists of therapists who are trained as co-responders. These co-responders will go to the home and try and de-escalate the situation. These individuals can also offer post crisis care, and will also connect you with 90 days of community support.

Safe Harbor…Safe Harbor is a peer run crisis intervention center in Omaha, at 414 South 25th Ave.  Safe Harbor is the only entirely peer run support center in Omaha, and run by people who have experienced mental illness. You can stay up to 24 hours in this facility, providing they have the support staff on hand.  They also operate a 24/7 warmline you can call at 402-715-4226

( PES) Psychiatric Emergency Services Unit at UNMC…

4350 Dewey Ave Level 1 , 402-559-6637

This is an psychiatric emergency room just for mental health, and is meant to give people a place to stabilize and connect with care and referrals. Their goal here is also to avoid an inpatient hospital stay, and help patients de-escalate and become safe. 

Community Alliance…

This is a community based mental health care agency, that provides the largest choice of mental health care services in Omaha. This includes a mental health clinic, and several other programs. A wait to see a psychiatrist here is typically about 4-5 weeks. 

You can call 402-341-5128, and ask for the rapid response team.

At the end of Abigail’s presentation, she asked us to show by a raise of hands if everyone had taken away at least one thing from her presentation. I definitely raised my hand.  I learned that there are many more mental healthcare options out there for people in the Omaha area than I realized. 

And that’s a positive thing! 

Healing Your Inner Child – 9/15 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Haley’s latest presentation entitled  “Healing Your Inner Child” 

Haley began by relating how it is possible that any trauma from your childhood can contribute to PTSD. When working on dealing with your inner child, you first need to find and know your inner child. 

Your inner child is part of your sub-conscious that picks up on memories from the past and how you grew up. If you’ve had emotional or physical trauma, it can make even the smallest things you are dealing with seem huge. Unhealthy decisions are sometimes made if you are influenced by trauma. Sometimes if you have experienced self-sabotage in your past relationships, it can be linked to trauma as well.  Even though you may not realize it, your inner child is always there and ready to come out and play. When this happens, sometimes you may experience avoidance. Or if someone asks how you are doing, you are always saying you’re fine, even though that may not be true. 

There are many ways we can connect with our inner child, and following are a few examples;

1) keep your mind open 

2) remember finding your inner child can affect your present and future 

3) you can look to children for guidance 

4) try watching movies or television from your childhood 

5) look at old photos to bring you back to your childhood 

6) try visualization exercises, and try to visualize yourself living as a child again 

7) do something creative, such as drawing or painting 

8) spend time doing something you used to do as a child 

9) talk to your inner child by journaling, or even talk to yourself in the mirror 

10) try free writing 

11) learn to forgive yourself for something you’re aware of now, but maybe weren’t aware of as a child 

12) try meditation 

     Remember that trying to process your inner child can be heavy-duty, but also may be rewarding. You’ll need to learn to re-parent your inner child, as it may be time to move on and finally forgive yourself. 

Great job presenting Haley!

Talking to Me, Myself, and I – 9/8 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Kristina’s fascinating presentation entitled “ Talking to Me, Myself, and I. “ 

Kristina began by sharing with us some of her thoughts on self-talk, or also known as our inner dialogue. She shared usually on any given day we may feel these nagging voices telling us what we are doing wrong, and tearing us down. 

She also shared with us a definition of self-talk. Self-talk is  the conversations that happen within our minds during all waking hours of the day. 

There are also two different forms of internal dialogue, positive and negative.

Each of these have very different effects on our moods. When you learn to practice positive self-talk, you can feel a sense of joy, and have excitement for life. However if you allow your negative self-talk to take over, it may lead you down a path of depression and fear. Negative self-talk can be toxic, and it may cloud your mind with a low sense of value. 

Some of the side effects of negative talk may be depression, anxiety, and low self-confidence. In addition, Catastrophizing, personalizing, or making external events all about you can be symptoms related to negative self-talk. 

Many believe that having the right skills you can practice to encourage positive self-talk may actually help you to practice positive self-talk more often. 

Sometimes just subtle shifts in your inner dialogue can have positive effects.

Kristina did share with us some positive self-talk techniques. If you ever feel yourself getting caught up in negative self-talk, try some of the following options;

1) develop a profound sense of purpose…having a meaningful sense of purpose can help you get through difficult times.

2) Try and remove negative people and situations from your life…learn to keep your inner circle supportive and loving 

3) Practice Gratitude…learning to express thanks for the good things you have in your life can help.

4) Learn to develop your sense of humor…..find something that will make you smile. It’s heard to be in a negative frame of mind when you are laughing out loud.

Also, listen to what you’re saying to yourself. Challenge your own self-talk if you feel it’s it’s getting a little too negative. Is there any evidence for what you may be thinking? Ask yourself the question, can I do anything to change the way I am thinking?  Try making a note in a journal or even on your phone on what you are thinking.  Try and change your self-talk. Make a list of the positive things about yourself. 

Or you can start small. Start every day with stating just a few positive words, which will send a positive message to yourself. 

It just may turn your day into a positive one all day long! 

Life on the Edge – 9/1 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Don’s most recent presentation entitled “ Life on the Edge “.

Don began by sharing with us that the last few weeks have been more difficult for him, much more than normal. Sometimes you feel it coming, and you start to feel yourself looking over the edge. You start to become easily annoyed, and you might strike out at others more easily than usual. Your blood pressure and heart rate may start to rise, and you just don’t feel yourself.  Don explained that he wanted to look at things a little different, especially when it comes to life on the edge. Rather than just looking at the negatives, Don told us there are positive aspects of life on the edge.

First though, it is important to examine how you got there, and realize that as this type of anxiety is a little different than clinical anxiety. 

This type of pressure or anxiety is event driven, and it’s usually a caused by a stressor that may take you from your baseline anxiety to other levels. Don shared that right now he is truly living on the edge. His Son was recently fired from his job. He admits that every marriage has its bumps, and he shared his wife’s current stress in her life that trickles down to him, as he feels like he is the family sponge.  And for better or worse, at work he has a truly trusting boss, who likes the work Don achieves. After working on designs for the last two years, money has been spent and things are coming to life. Will it all work as well as Don thinks? Also, Don talked about his physical health being a push every day, and his fatigue, anxiety and troubled heart have him concerned. 

However, Don pointed out, the good side of Don’s living on the edge, is that his technical and creative sides are being challenged every day, which for him is the upside. He feels alive and is really working through some big projects. Life on the edge is truly a two edged sword.

With every challenge and stressor, the only solution is to get over to the other side. Don realizes that sometime soon his projects at work will eventually get built, his son’s situation will stabilize, and his wife’s work project will be over, and his stressors will lessen.  

But if you are living on the edge, you have to choose an edge you can live with.  There are some things you can do to help you reduce your stressors;

1)  Reduce stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol and especially social media.

– try and focus on doing one thing at a time 

– remember to keep your mind engaged . 

2) Get plenty of sleep, and keep your routine. If you normally go to bed at 10pm every night, make sure you stick to this routine.

3) Name your stressors. When you know what they are, you can work on them.  And if you can’t name your anxiety, then start journaling to see if that will help you define it. 

4) Relaxation…..is a skill you can learn over time.  Try exercise, breathing exercises, or if you’re artistic, just getting lost in your art.  Try writing, and make sure you take breaks in your day.  Try going outside and watching the birds.  Or maybe try meditation. 

5) Accept your anxiety, and accept that it’s okay. Choose to live with your anxiety. 

Don shared a quick quote with us :“ When we let anxiety run it’s course, and live in the moment, it soon will pass. “ 

Also remember, the thoughts you resist, persist. And don’t criticize yourself for your anxiety. 

Try and do a reality check on your anxiety, once you have named it. There will always be other stressors in our lives, and you may not always have the bandwidth to deal with it. 

The bottom line is it is OK not to deal with every problem you have at once. Prioritize and only work on what you can achieve without adversely effecting your mental health. Be good to yourself.  When you are good to yourself, you are actually drawing a boundary around yourself, which in turn will always help you with your mental health!  

Taking Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Others – 8/25 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Brett’s first presentation with us, entitled “ Taking care of yourself while taking care of others” 

     Brett began by sharing that we eventually need to set boundaries to take care of ourselves, while you are taking care of others. Brett shared his life story with us.  About 30 years ago, Brett was just out of college and working overtime to make ends meet.  It was around this time that Brett ended up in the ER with severe cluster headaches, which turned out to be a result of too much caffeine intake, and not drinking any other liquids. It was during this time he realized this was a result of paying too much attention to others needs, rather than his own.  Eventually he began to over extend himself, and he was also drinking too much, which resulted in the loss of his job. It was also during this time that things started to spiral even more.

     He started to realize that he truly wasn’t taking care of himself, but was still afraid to ask for help, even at his job. Reaching a new low point, he finally reached out to a therapist for help. This was the first real step he would take for his mental health. It was during this time that he also ended up in a hospital for care of his mental health.  During his stay he was eventually assigned a therapist and psychiatrist.  Brett shared the worst part of his stay in the hospital was the loss of many of his friends. Most of his friends just couldn’t support his mental health diagnosis.  After his release from the hospital, he was able to keep his job. But soon after he stopped seeing therapists and quit taking his meds. During this time he got to the point where he had racing thoughts constantly, and he didn’t really seem to be enjoying the life he had. 

     In 2019, while Brett was struggling, he would wear the same clothes for weeks at a time, and not take showers for several days.  It was during this time he did end up in the hospital again for some treatment.  Finally during this stay Brett did end up with the right help and skills to decide what steps he needed to actually take to get through life. After his successful stay in the hospital, Brett finally took the first vacation he had taken in several years. 

Over the past three years, Brett feels that he has really tackled his mental health head-on, and he feels like he is living his “best life” , more than he’s lived in a long time.  Bravo for you Brett! 

     Brett ended with sharing with us some quotes he had run across that are very meaningful to him. 

First a thoughtful quote by Kennith Allen Thomas; 

“ Stop braking promises to yourself, remember what you set out to do, and complete the mission “. 

And other meaningful quotes: 

“ The deepest pain I ever felt was denying my own feelings, to make everyone else comfortable “. 

“ Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve neglected yourself, until you make yourself a priority again “. 

100 Things – 8/18 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Kirk’s most recent presentation with us entitled “ 100 Things “ 

Our friend Kirk shared that normally around this time of year, he tries to make New Year’s resolutions, but he doesn’t necessarily stick with those resolutions.

But Kirk did share with us several things that do help him to improve his life.

1) Exercise!  He suggested with exercise to keep it realistic, and to start out by picking one day a week to choose to exercise.  Kirk shared that in seven months time he has lost 15 pounds! Awesome work Kirk! 

2) Buy a plant, or plant something that you have to care for. In addition, planting something may possibly help you with your depression during the Winter time. 

3) The cell phone…something that we all can’t seem to live without.

Kirk suggested when texting a friend, try sending them a “ voice note” rather than a text message. That way it’s not so impersonal. Or trying to actually pick up the phone and make a phone call to that friend, wouldn’t that be a surprise! 

4) Are you feeling a little sluggish at work?  Kirk suggested trying to use the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique is a time management tool created by Francesco Cirillo.  With this technique you use a timer to break work into 25 minute intervals, with a five minute break in between. This method may actually help with ADHD.

5) Make a daily list , or ADL’s. ( activities of daily living) Kirk shared that he tried this for awhile, and it seemed to help. With this idea, you make a daily list of tasks you need to accomplish, and scratch the items off as they are completed.

6) Be nice to rude people!  If you encounter a rude person, try and change the narrative. This may actually turn around the situation. This may prove challenging, but give it a try!

7) Try cooking something…or try and cook something new you’ve never cooked before. 

8) Nap time..Kirk shared as an adult he has learned to appreciate the time spent taking a nap.

9) Set aside an hour a day to do something you truly enjoy!

10) Try and make a friend from a different generation. 

11) Go out and connect with nature, maybe try taking a walk.

These are all amazing ideas that were shared by Kirk with everyone.  

Amazing presentation Kirk! 

Small Town Living – 8/11 meeting

Last Thursday we were treated to Haley’s first presentation with us entitled 

“ Small Town Living “

   Haley shared with us she grew up in Alliance, which has a population of approximately 8,000.  She wanted to share with us what it was like to live in a small town, if you happen to be someone experiencing mental health issues. 

She also shared that there were many pros and cons of living in a small town.

And statistics state that there are only 3 psychiatrists for every 100,000 in population, which meant that Alliance most likely did not have more than three. Statistics also state that there are higher rates of addiction and the suicidal rates are higher in smaller towns. There is also a lot of stigma in a small town if you have mental health issues, something we are all familiar with.

    Haley mentioned that many psychiatric practices end up closing and move into hospitals, where they started to lose that personal touch. For awhile the psychiatrists offices in hospitals in small towns only consisted of a couple of folding chairs in a room, but apparently those conditions have improved somewhat in recent years. 

     People in small towns also seem to get discouraged in the small town setting, and tend to seek out their regular General Physician for help rather than a psychiatrist. This option may not be the greatest, as truly it is best to have a regular psychiatrist to help you with your mental health needs. 

During a recent study of 500 people over the age of 60, 478 of those 500 were found to believe the mental health stigma that is so common these days. 

In a small town there are many businessmen who are farmers, and even though these folks may need mental health assistance, they usually cannot afford the help. Many of them may be struggling financially and may also be on Medicare or Medicaid, with little to no coverage. Also most who live in a small town, and who happen to be struggling with mental health issues, have so much shame for their feelings that they are afraid to seek help.

     For a long time there was a big lack of education on mental health, and many teachers were not educated on mental health issues. However things are starting to change a little bit for the better. 

Haley shared that a school district in western Nebraska has now started to come together and has now budgeted every year for mental health care. 

Every Summer a Doctor in this area hosts teens from across the state to take part in FARM camp. High school students attending this camp can take a class for college credit, receive education on psychology, and hear from mental health professionals .  This program helps to educate teachers and parents on mental health. Haley also noted that 78 counties in Nebraska have no psychiatrists, so this is a great way to help fulfill that need! 

Defeating your Inner Critic – 8/4 meeting

Last Thursday Steve shared with us his most current presentation,

 “ Defeating your Inner Critic “

Steve began by sharing his definition of your inner critic. Does this inner voice dictate your daily actions, and use hurtful judgments about your abilities and your worth? If so, this may be your inner critic talking. Normally your inner critic is formed from painful experiences you may have had when you were younger. 

Maybe this inner voice tells you; 

1) that good outcomes only happen because of good luck, and maybe bad outcomes mean that you are not good enough?

2) your date didn’t go well because you’re not interesting, and who wants to be with you anyway?

3) You will never be good enough, no matter what you do.

This inner voice has a harshness, which we only seem to use on ourselves. This inner voice doesn’t offer to us the kindness and consideration that we would normally give to our best friend. Usually our inner critic does not motivate us. A voice of encouragement motivates us. Self-compassion motivates us. This inner critic may be holding you back from moving forward.

So, how do we fight off this inner critic?  The key may be curiosity. We can embrace curiosity, since it loves to notice everything. If you use curiosity, you can look more non-judgmentally at your inner critic, and ask questions like;

-how did this voice develop?

– when did this inner critic start?

– When did this inner critic come out, and when does it go away?

– Does this inner critic serve a purpose? 

Can an inner critic be helpful? 

Some believe that an inner critic can be used to avoid an embarrassing situation. But it could also encourage you to move forward and succeed.

As an example, I had a situation about two years ago, where I decided on a whim to join my church choir. Now realizing at the time that I have had no previous singing experience, in a choir or elsewhere, my inner critic came into play. That inner voice was telling me, “ you fool, why would you join a choir? You can’t sing! What are you thinking? “ Thankfully, I didn’t listen to my inner critic. Today I am still a part of my church choir, and enjoying every minute.

And I learn something new every time I sing. 

Unfortunately the inner critic never really disappears.  But there are things you can do that will teach your inner voice to be kinder, more like a coach rather than a critic. 

1) try to identify your inner critic…see if you can figure out what your inner critic is telling you. Remember that this is not your real point of view.

2) try using humor to cope with your inner critic. Try imagining your inner critic’s voice as that of an animated character you cannot stand.

3) acknowledge and accept your inner critic..accept that your inner critic will not disappear, however we can change how we react to it. Maybe try and come up with different coping techniques to change how you feel when your inner critic surfaces.

Coping techniques for your inner critic;

Meditation…try meditation to be more mindful. Usually meditation will help you to become more mindful, and recognize your negative thoughts before you invest too much time in them.

Don’t compare yourself to others..easier said than done, but try to stop looking outward, and look inward. Instead of comparing yourself to others, try only comparing yourself to the old you. Don’t give any time to comparing yourself to others, which your inner critic thrives on. Just focus inward and how you can improve you!

Self-compassion..try to remember that we are not perfect, and accept that.

Remember try to be kind to yourself if you feel you have failed or during a difficult time. Practicing self-compassion will help to build your confidence.

Self-gratitude journal…so every day, try writing down one thing about yourself that you’re grateful for. This is actually positive self-talk, or even a form of self-compassion. If you tend to compliment others, shouldn’t you also compliment yourself?

Don’t ignore your instinct….remember your initial thoughts about a situation are probably correct.  Don’t second guess yourself. Learn to trust your own instincts!

Positive affirmations to quiet your inner critic:

Love myself at all times…when you try and practice self-love, you will become more accepting of yourself, and your inner critic will probably come out less.

I am my best friend..The old saying “ treat yourself as you would want others to treat you “ applies here.

I learn from my mistakes..with this one, try and not focus on a mistake you may have made. Rather than letting your inner critic beat you up on this one, just try and learn from your mistakes and move on.

I am doing my best..this is an important one to use against your inner critic. All throughout life, this one will remind you that you are doing your best, and there’s nothing more you can do.

I am not perfect…no matter how hard we try, we won’t make it through life without making mistakes. Remember you are not perfect. Try and use this affirmation often, and add your own message..something like “ I’m not perfect, and I’m doing the best that I can! “