• Erin Grahn MA LPCC LMAC

Why Am I Stuck?

Updated: Apr 24, 2018

Have you ever experienced something that impacted you in a significant way? Maybe you witnessed a car accident or were involved in an accident. Perhaps you spent time with a loved one during their final moments of life. Or maybe you experienced something that you had never experienced before and did not know how to deal with it or lacked support to help you deal with it.


Regardless of the reason, you may feel stuck. You may have even tried to talk to your family or friends about it and heard things such as, "You aren't over it yet?" or "Give it time" or "Put your big girl/boy pants on". While your support system likely did not intend to be insensitive they were and you were left feeling invalidated as though you have done something wrong and don't know how to make it stop.



Willow Tree Counseling | WTC | Fargo, ND | Erin Grahn MA LPCC LAC | Why Am I Stuck?


Feeling stuck stinks. Often times people will beat themselves up because they are stuck. But what most people do not realize is that significant events, unfamiliar events, or emotionally charged events can cause changes in the activity of the neurotransmitters in the brain. This in turn results in physical changes within the amygdala, which is one area of the brain that involves emotions. When our amygdala becomes overly taxed it requires that more resources from my brain focus on that in order to try and resolve the issue in which we are stuck. It also plays in a role in our ability to manage our emotions, concentration, thoughts, and behaviors.


The good news is that you DO NOT HAVE TO STAY STUCK. Yes, you read that right. There is no reason to remain stuck and there are means of getting 'unstuck'. And it is ok if you feel skeptical about whether you can become 'unstuck'.


Let me explain. When we experience events in our lives we either do or do not have the tools and resources to navigate that experience. For example, if I have never experienced the death of a loved one then I may not know how to grieve or what my own grieving process looks like. My emotions and thoughts may feel foreign and unfamiliar. I may doubt myself and start to tell myself that what I am experiencing is not ok. In turn, I start to isolate. I become more and more depressed, or anxious, or have difficulty sleeping due to recurring dreams about death. In this example I did not have the necessary skills to manage what I experienced.


When we lack the skills and/or resources our emotions and thoughts do not have the opportunity to progress. Instead our emotions and thoughts, and subsequently behaviors, remain stuck at the starting gates.


When this occurs people will benefit from engaging in counseling. Counseling provides an individual with an opportunity to identify what they are experiencing, what they want to do with the experience, and identify ways to achieve that goal. There are several types of counseling that can be effective in assisting individuals in becoming 'unstuck'. Some of the methods include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which addresses thoughts, expectations, and how that impacts our emotions and subsequent behaviors. There are other therapies too, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR ... which is also much easier to say) which is not a 'talk therapy' and can be effective for certain concerns when 'talk therapy' fails. And sometimes education about different options is appropriate too.


And not all change requires that an individual take medication. If medication is something that may assist you in your journey then you have an option to speak with a professional who understands the in's and out's of medications and can assist you with this.


There are also other options, such as utilizing exercise, nutrition, and homeopathic means to assist in your journey.


Whatever option(s) you feel best meet your needs, seek it out. Because there is hope. There is life. And you need to be able to experience it in a way that provides with you purpose and meaning.


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