7 Powerful Things You Can Try to Help You Battle Depression and Anxiety

It's everywhere you turn; from tv to social media, our minds are being flooded with negativity, distress, and turmoil. Maybe you feel a sense of anger or frustration with friends or family who have a different point of view. On the contrary, you may feel helpless as you see all the sorrow taking place around the world. As a result, you may be experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety.

Topics such as COVID-19, Afghanistan, natural disasters, and politics can instantly lead to physical and emotional reactions. As a result, you may find yourself anxiously waiting for what might happen next. Symptoms of depression and anxiety may be setting in, although you may not realize it. For example, they can leave you feeling trapped in a sort of an indescribable funk. If you can't seem to escape the heartache, grief, and turmoil, what can you do? As depression or anxiety begin to take over, how can you reclaim a sense of security, hope, or peace?

Let's talk about depression and anxiety. We'll highlight 7 things you can begin to do today that may help you combat the storms of life.

Understanding Depression and Anxiety

Life changes can cause distress under the best of circumstances. However, when it seems to be one thing after another, you may begin to feel the weight of the world resting on your shoulders. Over time, your day-to-day responsibilities may feel harder and harder to accomplish. Why? What you see and the way you process it all can impact how you get by day after day.

The negativity and heartache you're experiencing may begin to impact your physical and mental health. Depression and anxiety are real. Regardless of whether you're genetically predisposed to them or not, you can develop symptoms.

Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental health issues. However, that doesn't mean they're easy to live with. Both can disrupt your everyday life. Although the two are different, depression can lead to anxiety and vice versa. The good news is, both depression and anxiety are treatable.

Depression, by way of definition, is a constant feeling of sadness or hopelessness that lasts more than two weeks.

Symptoms of depression include:

Anxiety disorder is excessive worry regarding even ordinary situations. Likewise, the anxiety spills over into many areas of life. For example, you're not just worried about work. You're also overly concerned about finances, family life, your health, and so forth. Symptoms for a diagnosis of anxiety are ongoing and usually last at least six months. (aafp.org)

Symptoms of anxiety can include:

7 Things You Can Start Today To Help With Depression and Anxiety:

  1. Take time to feel and acknowledge your feelings.
  2. Share your feelings with a trusted friend or write in your journal. End your entry with a gratitude list. Shifting your focus to what you're grateful for can help brighten your thoughts.
  3. Watch movies or read books that exude kindness, empathy, and hope to help shift your mindset.
  4. Go for a walk outside, take a bath, or go for a drive. Put your phone away and turn on uplifting music.
  5. Meditate for at least five minutes every day. Deep breathing and clearing your mind for even a few minutes can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  6. Practice positive affirmations every day.
  7. Self-care. Sometimes pushing yourself to get out of bed and ready for the day can change your mood. Likewise, making good food choices and exercising may also help reduce symptoms.

Depression and anxiety are hard to escape from when they take over. This can lead to bigger issues. At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we treat a variety of conditions. We understand the role depression and anxiety can play in addiction. As such, we aim to provide you with a "home station" as you make your journey to a healthier you. Call us today or visit our website to learn more.

Why It's a Great Idea to Process Betrayal Trauma While Your Spouse Is in Rehab

If your partner recently started a rehab program, now is that time to focus on yourself. Is it selfish to shift your focus to your own healing and recovery? The answer is no. On the contrary, now is a great time to focus on processing your betrayal trauma so you can heal and get your life back.

In the upcoming weeks or months, you may not hear from your spouse as much, and that is okay. In fact, you may be feeling a sense of relief that they're getting the help they need for their addiction. So, what can you do to prepare for life after treatment? One of the best things you can do is process your betrayal trauma. As you focus on your needs, you'll likely discover you become a better version of yourself.

In this article, we'll discuss why it's a great idea to focus on healing your betrayal trauma while your spouse is in rehab.

It's a Great Idea to Process Your Betrayal Trauma Right Now.

Living with a spouse who has an addiction can be a traumatic experience. For example, betrayal often accompanies addiction, especially if you happen to discover it on your own. As a result, you may be living with many symptoms of betrayal trauma.

When your spouse enters into a treatment center, it can leave you wondering what your relationship will look like after rehab. As you plan to move into a supportive role, it will be equally important to ensure your needs are met. Therefore, working on yourself can be vital to both you and your spouse's success. Processing your betrayal trauma can help you return to a sense of normalcy. Through therapy, you can work toward alleviating your symptoms and improving your mental health.

Focusing on your mental and physical health is a great way to prepare to welcome your spouse home from inpatient treatment. Living with someone who has an addiction is not easy, and you deserve to heal. Likewise, with help, you can acquire the knowledge and skills you'll need to help yourself and your spouse enjoy life in recovery. However, if you're living with betrayal trauma after your spouse arrives home, it may inhibit recovery success.

Shifting Your Focus to Healing Betrayal Trauma While Your Spouse Works Toward Recovery

Whether the program lasts 30 days, or a year, through treatment, your spouse will be gaining valuable skills to aid life in recovery. What about you, though?

Addiction is a disease that affects everyone in the family. However, families don't always seek treatment for their own healing. As such, they miss out on the skills, tools, and strategies they need as they transition to a new way of life. Yet, with everyone working toward improving, relationships can heal. As a result, the odds of successful recovery also increase.

By focusing on yourself and healing from betrayal trauma, you're able to work through issues that may hold you back otherwise. Likewise, processing your betrayal trauma may help you work through problems that you may be unaware of right now.

What are the symptoms of betrayal trauma?

Living with betrayal trauma can negatively impact you in many ways. For example, you could be living with symptoms such as:

Keep in mind; there are many ways to support your spouse after they enter rehab. However, self-care is the best way you'll be able to help. By taking care of yourself, you'll be able to offer the best support possible. Remember, it isn't selfish to take care of your needs. In fact, working through your betrayal trauma may be the key to setting the two of you up for success.

At the Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we believe a large part of addiction recovery success lies within the family's recovery. Therefore, we strive to help families take the necessary steps to prevent relapse. Likewise, we want to help you build a rewarding and healthy life in recovery. Working through your betrayal trauma while your partner works on their addiction is a great way to help both of you reach the goal of recovery.

Music Therapy At Paradise Creek Recovery Center

Music Therapy at Paradise Creek Recovery Center with Heather Overly, SCMT, CBMT

Over the past two decades, the exponential growth in research on substance use disorders (e.g. alcoholism, drug addiction) and process addictions (e.g. sex addiction, porn addiction, eating disorders, offending behaviors, etc.), as well as trauma, has encouraged clinicians to consider additional therapeutic interventions supportive of tapping into the brain’s neuroplasticity, for changing behaviors.  Professionals are eager to find evidence based and research driven therapies, which invite and anchor healthy change. Paradise Creek Recovery Center (PCRC), a residential program for men with sex or porn addiction, offending behaviors or individuals on spectrum with problem sexual behaviors, has found a useful tool toward this goal by utilizing Music Therapy as one of the many helpful interventions.

Why music therapy?

There is growing body of research showing the benefits of the therapeutic integration of music.  There are numerous TEDx talks sharing this research such as: Your Brain is Better on Music | Alex Doman | TEDx Ogden. He discusses his 25 years of research on music and its therapeutic benefits.  Mr. Doman helps viewers to explore how as human’s we are “wired” for music’s positive effects of enhancing learning, emotion regulation, stress reduction, reducing depression and suicide, improving sleep, and many more…all by “engaging the whole of our brain.” - which music uniquely does.

Music therapy engages those areas of the brain supportive of positive change.  It is invitational - individuals quickly realize participation in a rhythm, a tone or a lyric is experiential and fun, providing the participant to consider their particular experience of the session or sessions.  The American Music Therapy Association® governs the professional standards of music therapy practice as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs” of those served.  It encourages clinicians in music therapy practice to participate and present research, supporting ongoing education of the mental health and medical communities at large.  For more in depth information and useful research involving the use of music therapy as an approach on a broad range of behavioral and medical issues, please see the American Music Therapy Association® website.

Heather Overly, SCMT, CBMT

Heather-Overly Since November of 2016, Heather Overly, SCMT, CBMT, has been the therapist providing music therapy for men at Paradise Creek Recovery Center. Heather meets weekly with PCRC men for a 90-minute group. She described the following benefits she sees in applying music therapy in treatment for sex and porn addiction, offending behaviors and those clients on the autism spectrum with problem sexual behaviors.  “I see them internalizing and improving their motivation for recovery.  Treatment for sex addiction is often externally motivated - music therapy can support the client’s ownership of why they are in treatment.” Music is also a way to safely experience emotional release, “music does it without words, but allows them to process with words as well.”  Music therapy supports group cohesion and inclusivity with the emphasis of group strength - each understanding they’ve become a part of a greater whole. The client's stress and anxiety is reduced with music relaxation and movement exercises. Lyric analysis affords each participant to assign their own meaning, encouraging insight, self-awareness and self-reflection.  Music therapy becomes a portable tool and coping skill, as they learn to play, express emotion, and self-sooth anger and anxiety.  The participants also become more mindful of music they listen to.  “We encourage them to develop a resiliency playlist.  They become more aware of how music affects them.  We see them discard a song and choose one more supportive of their recovery - that really makes me really happy.”

It's A New Day

The first music therapy assignment is the act of creating a positive affirmation chant, a unique way to set personal goals during their first week of treatment.  Heather provides an easy to use template to start.  The clients will then engage in writing their own chant the following week.  This process continues throughout their treatment experience - with all of their music and lyrics being saved.  During the last music therapy session, near treatment is completion, they share their first chant, followed by their most recent chant, and compare the two.  “I often hear the comment, “I was so shallow.”  Music therapy is only one of the current therapies helping each client have an overall great experience at PCRC. “I find the music therapy really brings the guys together in a shared experience as they write the lyrics - it becomes the concrete representation of their teamwork and shared trust, while acknowledging each participants contribution.” The overall experience of the process is carried together, both in and outside of therapy, as well as in individual and group sessions.

Heather Overly Playing GuitarMs. Overly found her passion while in school at Utah State University, achieving her BS in Music Therapy in 2001.  “I learned about music therapy with older adults and had the opportunity to observe and learn how music therapy engages participants.”  She has practiced utilizing drumming, music improvisation, song writing, lyric analysis, and client sharing meaningful songs with the group. “I love being able to see client responses and witness those special moments.”  Review of research was valuable in shaping her approach and focus in music therapy, she says, seeing the evidence of positive change in motivation, social skills, self-awareness, emotion expression and regulation made an impact on her choice to pursue music therapy as a career.

Music Therapy Research

There is a vast array of research related to music therapy.  The following are research articles on music therapy suggested by Heather, which you may find of interest:

How To Get Help

For more information about Paradise Creek Recovery Center and our services for sex and porn addiction, offending behaviors or those on Autism Spectrum with problem sexual behaviors, please call 855.442.1912; or email [email protected]

We look forward to working with you!

Want Free Therapy For Addiction? Try Self-Compassion

What is self-compassion?

Multiple therapies can work together to overcome addiction. One of those therapies, which is free and can be used at any time, is self-compassion. While self-compassion by itself will not end an addiction, it is a useful tool for living a happier, healthier life and for changing the brain patterns associated with sexual addiction. Here, essentially, is what it is: treating yourself as you would treat a dear friend or loved one.
What would you do if your friend lost his job? What about if a significant other left him? Or what if he learned he had a debilitating disease? Would you chew him out or tell him that he shouldn’t feel bad? If he made a mistake, lost his temper, forgot something important, or wrecked the car, would you call him names and tell him he’s the only one in the world that does such things? Would you tell him over and over what a horrible or stupid person he is? Most likely, no.

Stop for a moment and think about what you would do.

Would you recognize how your friend might be feeling and feel some of his hurt yourself? Would you try to cheer him up? Would you remind him of the times he’s done things right or express confidence in his ability to get through the situation? Would you want him to be happy? This is compassion. When you feel and do these things for yourself, it is self-compassion.

How can I apply self-compassion in my life?

The age-old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” applies not only to how we speak of others, but also how we speak and think about ourselves. Just as we have healthier relationships with others as we extend compassion, mercy and grace, overlooking their faults and focusing on their strengths, so too can our relationships with ourselves improve as we forgive ourselves and highlight our own strengths and accomplishments.

Thus, one way to apply self-compassion in our own lives is to be aware of and intentionally modify how we talk and think about ourselves. Choose to think positively. Choose to speak positively.

This is not about being blind to what you are going through or pretending you aren’t feeling your emotions. Rather it is about choosing where to put your focus. For example, if you don’t want to get out of bed and you feel as though you no longer want to exist, but you get out of bed anyway, you could (A) berate yourself for how you feel, or (B) congratulate yourself for having the strength to get up when you don’t want to. (Or, if you didn’t get out of bed, you could (A) berate yourself for how you feel, or (B) congratulate yourself for at least recognizing that it is healthy and beneficial to get up.)

Besides verbally and mentally being self-compassionate, you may want to try journaling or writing yourself a letter. First, write down your negative feelings or thoughts. Then pretend that those are the feelings or thoughts of a best friend or loved one. When you’ve done this, write down your encouragement and support. Here are two examples:

I became angry at my son today and yelled at him. I know you didn’t want to yell at him. You’ve been working on that. And it’s been a week since you last yelled. That’s awesome. A lot of people have trouble controlling their temper. That’s not an excuse, but hopefully you realize that you’re not the only person trying to be better.

I’m not where I should be in life. My friends earn more money than I do and my debt’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s tough to be in debt. It is. And some of your classmates do earn more than you. But you earn more than some people. It really doesn’t matter how much you earn compared to other people. You know you need to learn to live within your means. Perhaps you can take a community education class on budgeting or personal finance.

In summary, whether you do it in your mind, speak it out loud, or write it down, pretend that you are talking or writing to your best friend and offer yourself compassion. Objectively empathize with how you are feeling, remind yourself that others go through hard times too, and help yourself see the positive aspects of the situation. Look for your own strengths and successes. Focus on offering yourself support.

If you want help overcoming your pornography addiction or sexual addiction, call Paradise Creek: (855) 442-1912.

Are You Using These Free Therapies For Sex Addiction Treatment?

Free Therapies: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion

Sex addiction is a complex issue.  Effective treatment can require a variety of techniques and therapies.  Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness are two therapies that can help you in your recovery.  They are free, and you can start practicing them right away.

Focus on Breathing:  

In mindful breathing, you simply become aware of your breathing.  You don’t try to slow it down or speed it up.  You don’t try to breathe deeper or more shallowly.  You simply focus on breathing.

Kelly McGonigal, PhD suggests three ways to practice mindful breathing.  First, is to repetitively think “inhale” or “exhale” as you breathe in and out.  Second, is be aware of the sensations breathing creates, such as the movement of your belly or the feel of the air in your nostrils.  Third is to count each exhalation until you reach the number ten, then start over.  With all three suggestions, when your thoughts drift to something other than your breath, that’s okay, just refocus on your breathing1.


Rather than dreaming about the past or longing (or worrying) about the future, savor the present moment.  Whether you are eating a meal, spending time with a friend, walking, working, exercising, playing, talking or typing, become aware of what you are doing and delight in it.  Notice the sensations you are experiencing.  How does your food taste?  What do your fingers feel as they move around the keyboard clicking keys?  What is it like being with your friend?  What emotions are you feeling?  

Savor the sunset right now--the vivid pink and orange and purple colors changing shade and brightness as the clouds move and the sun sinks deeper behind the mountains.  Savor being with someone you love.  Savor the food you are eating.  Savor the feel of the breeze, or the heat or the cold.  Savor the feel of your feet hitting hard ground as you walk, or the supporting cushion of your shoes.  


You can do guided or self-guided meditation, and the meditation can take different forms.  Focusing on different sensations:  the earth, your feet, what you hear, your skin.  It can include imagination, such as imagining a healing energy flowing through you.  You can use music or not.  Kelly McGonigal, even shares the idea of walking while you meditate.2

Pause and Observe:  

Simply stop and notice.  What are your surroundings?  How are you standing or sitting?  What do you smell or hear?  How are you reacting to your thoughts and feelings?  Do not pass judgment, just observe and become aware.  This “Pause and Observe” exercise can help ground you in the present so that you are not worrying about the future nor feeling shame for the past.

Become Your Best Friend:

If your best friend made some mistakes, wouldn’t you give him the benefit of the doubt, encourage him, support him, and focus on his good qualities?  Treat yourself the same way. Find the good in your situation and in yourself.  Focus on the positive.  This is not to say that you should ignore what needs to be changed, but rather that you love yourself and accept yourself as you are, even as you strive to change.

To learn more about overcoming sex addiction using mindfulness and compassion, please contact Paradise Creek Recovery Center at (855) 442-1912.


  1. http://kellymcgonigal.com/2012/09/12/mindfulness-of-breathing/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201009/walking-meditation-the-perfect-ten-minute-willpower-boost

Self Compassion

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

Have you ever stubbed your toe, failed a test, or just had a really bad day and all you had to say to yourself was “how could you be so stupid or what’s wrong with you?”  It’s the same voice inside your head that just won’t let go and is content on allowing you to wallow in your own shame and self loathing. We tell ourselves that real change comes from beating ourselves up and being critical of every thought, feeling, or action.  We may feel that if I am not critical then all control will be lost or I am a selfish and full of myself.

 Read More . . .

"I’m ok": How being mindful and compassionate helps to overcome shame and unworthiness

(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)

What keeps many of us from being healthy psychologically, socially, spiritually, and even physically, is a profound sense that we are not ok, that we are flawed and broken in some way, that we are different than others. When things go wrong, it isn’t that we have problems, it’s that we are a problem, we don’t make mistakes, we are a mistake. This feeling of profound unworthiness is often rooted in childhood experiences, and is perpetuated by our western culture that places great value on outward appearances and material wealth which in turn breeds separation and shame. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we cannot be content, that we need to have more, to do more, to be more.

 Read More . . . 

Three Aspects of Compassion

In this video interview, Kristin Neff talks about self compassion. In it, she mentions three aspects of compassion:

  1. Noticing
  2. Being Supportive
  3. Realizing everyone has problems

[av_video src='https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyl6YXp1Y6M' format='16-9' width='16' height='9' av_uid='av-94c0p']


Please share your thoughts about compassion and self-compassion in the reply area below.