Sunday, May 01, 2022

Read-Aloud Visits with Dr. Deborah Serani


 

Book an in-person or virtual author visit with award-winning children's picture book author, Dr. Deborah Serani. Contract, rates and school instructions available upon request.


CONTACT 

Dr. Deborah Serani at deborahserani@gmail.com

or

Amanda Shofner, Free Spirit Publishing Publicity at publicity@freespirit.com or 612.746.6848. 




Thursday, April 07, 2022

Self-Injury Awareness

 

What do these high profile individuals have in common? Singer, Fiona Apple; Comedian, Russell Brand; Actress, Drew Barrymore; Actor, Johnny Depp; Actor, Colin Farrell; Actress, Megan Fox; Actress, Angelina Jolie; Singer, Demi Lovato and Princess Diana....

Before finding emotional health, they struggled with self-injury.

Self-Injury is a deliberate, non-suicidal behavior that inflicts physical harm on one's body to relieve emotional distress. Self-injury has a paradoxical effect in that the pain self-inflicted actually sets off an endorphin rush, relieving the self-harmer from deep distress. It's important to note that self-injury does not involve a conscious intent to commit suicide - and as such, the clinical term for this behavior is called Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI),  NSSI can take many forms from cutting, picking, burning, bruising, puncturing, embedding, scratching or hitting one's self, just to name a few.

In its simplest form, NSSI is a physical solution to an emotional wound. Generally, it is a deliberate, private act that is habitual in occurrence, not attention-seeking behavior, nor meant to be manipulative. Self-injurers are often secretive about their behaviors, rarely letting others know, and often cover up their wounds with clothing, bandages, or jewelry.

Symbolically speaking, deliberately injuring one's self can be viewed as a method to communicate what cannot be spoken. With self-harm, the skin is the canvas and the cut, burn or bruise is the paint that illustrates the picture. Most individuals who self-injure are struggling with emotional expression. This clinical experience is known as Alexithymia - the inability to recognize emotions and their subtleties and to understand or describe thoughts and feelings. Many other self-harmers are struggling with internal conflicts, may have anxiety, depression, may have experienced physical or sexual abuse, or other more serious psychological concerns.

Statistically speaking, approximately 4% of the population in the United States uses NSSI as a way of coping. Individuals who self-injure are represented in all SES brackets in the United States with the behavior usually starting in adolescence. Girls and women tend to self-injure more than boys and men, but this may be represented by the fact that females tend to turn to professional help more than males.

Those Who Self-Injure Are Often Trying To:

* Distract themselves from emotional pain

* End feelings of numbness

* Offset feelings of low self-esteem

* Control helplessness or powerlessness

* Calm overwhelming or unmanageable feelings

* Maintaining control in chaotic situations

* Self-punish, self-shame or self-hate

* Express negative thoughts or feelings that cannot be put into words

* Self-nurture or self-care


10 Tips for Reducing Self-Injury


1) Create an Emergency Kit. Place positive things in your kit like photos of people you love, notes to yourself or from friends or family, a journal for writing, markers or art supplies for artistic expression, an inspirational poem, beloved stuffed animal, upbeat music, favorite scents, things like that.

2) Use positive imagery. Visualize yourself moving through your painful moment without self-harming. Research shows that using positive visualization can keep you in-the-moment which is a key tool for recovery.

3) Hold your ground. Sensory Grounding experiences like holding something soft, listening to soothing music, drawing or writing, for example, can interrupt the trance-like state that often comes with self-harm, shifting you towards more positive behaviors.

4) Reboot your mindReframe your thoughts toward helpful statements, also known as Cognitive Grounding Skills, like "Who am I really mad at?""What is setting me off?" or "I am safe and I am in control." These can re-orient you to the here-and-now.

5) Know your triggers. Become aware of what issues bend or break you. Try to dilute your exposure to them, call upon others to help you move through them and remind yourself that you can emerge from them successfully.

6) Take a detour. Reroute self-harm by using less severe forms of sensations. Holding an ice cube, tearing or shredding paper or a sheet, snapping a rubber band against your skin, sucking a lemon peel are ways to dilute the need to experience pain.

7) Move your body. Consider the adrenaline rush of running, dancing, holding a yoga pose, jumping rope to offset urges to self-harm. The rush of adrenaline has been known to produce the similar chemical surge that comes from self-injury.

8) Forgive yourself. As you try to interrupt your self-harming behaviors, know that it may not come as easily some days as others. Should you find that you've lapsed into self-harming, remind yourself that change is a process. Learn to forgive and be kind to yourself as you start anew.

9) Be supportive.
 If you know someone who may be self-injuring, offer support and try not to shame or criticize the NSSI behavior. Self-injury behaviors can be successfully treated, so help your friend or family member by encouraging them to seek help.

10) Consider calling a therapist. Remember that having an urge to self harm is not the same as actually self harming. If you can distract yourself from self-injury, you are well on your way to recovery. However, if the urges win out, not allowing you to reduce your self-harm behaviors, consider working with a professional.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Prolonged Grief Disorder

 


For adults, the death of a partner, parent, child, sibling, or friend can be devastating. For a child, death of a parent, sibling, grandparent or a beloved pet may leave an indelible mark - and cast all the today's and tomorrow's in unrelenting heartache.

After a death, many experiences unfold. First is grief, a personal response to the loss. As the emotional and physical experience of loss is expressed, mourning occurs. And finally, bereavement is the period of time where grief and mourning are deeply experienced - and adaptation to life after loss begins.

Taking time to grieve and mourn is a widely accepted way to move through a death. But for some, the experience is marked by enormous emotional and physical pain. Instead, the bereaved child or adult is overwhelmed by a profound, heightened state of immeasurable yearning and a mourning that feels timeless.

Learn more by linking here -> Prolonged Grief Disorder at Psychology Today

Friday, February 11, 2022

Valentine's Day and Broken Heart Syndrome


Valentine's Day is not always a candy-coated day of love and romance.

For many who've lost a loved one, suffered a breakup, or are on the brink of separation or divorce, this day is anything but sweet.

The emotional and physical challenges may result in Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, more casually known as Broken Heart Syndrome.

Learning about Broken Heart Syndrome can help you heal from the pain and trauma of love and loss - and make it through emotional calendar events like this.

Learn more about the facts about Broken Heart Syndrome here

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

"Sometimes When I'm Mad" by Deborah Serani Book Tour



 🌟📚VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR 📚🌟

"Sometimes When I'm Mad" by Deborah Serani and illustrated by Kyra Teis and published by Free Spirit Publishing.

Thanks to iReadBookTours.com


Wednesday, December 01, 2021



Whatever holiday on your calendar in December - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa - it is sometimes is a challenge to stay positive in the midst of the commercialism and general hub-bub. Here are a few ways to stay positive during the holidays:

1. Avoid overscheduling yourself. Use an agenda to keep track of your holiday commitments so that you can physically see what you are committing yourself to. Along with your commitments to others make sure to include some downtime for yourself - even if it is half an hour here and there. Knowing that you have some personal time will help you to stay positive.
2. Lower your expectations. Don’t strive for perfection, good enough is okay. Don’t expect your family to be perfect during the holidays. Be realistic about who they are and what your relationship is like with them all year around. That is especially true of blended and step-families.

3. Make a budget and stick to it. The price of the gift is not equal to how much you love them. Focus on the people that you care about instead of the stuff that really doesn’t matter. Beware of the joy-to-stuff ratio: more stuff does not equal more joy.

4. Spread your socializing in the months after the holidays. Don’t try to pack a year’s worth of socializing into a few weeks. Start a new tradition with friends and make a date with friends for mid January or early February.

5. Get as much sleep as you can. Schedule one or two pajama days for yourself or for the whole family - stay in your pj's and stay home and give yourself permission to rest and enjoy some time together without rushing about.Holidays are for celebrating what is truly important to you, your family, and friends. Make it the holiday you want it to be and chances are you will keep a positive attitude. 


Monday, November 01, 2021

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day - November 20th

 

In 1999, Senator Harry Reid, a survivor of his father’s 1972 suicide, introduced a new resolution into the US Senate. With its passage, the US Congress designated the Saturday before Thanksgiving as National Survivors of Suicide Day - an awareness day that reaches out to thousands of people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

National Survivors of Suicide Day has evolved into a global awareness day called International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day thanks to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. 

Sometimes called "Survivor Day," this November 20th will find children and adults affected by suicide loss gathering around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and heal. Last year, there were over 400 Survivor Day events in 20 countries.

To find a local Survivor Day event near you, link here
Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide. 
Every 41 seconds someone tries to understand that loss. 

If you need help, are suicidal or feeling hopeless, please call 1-800-273-TALK. 



Tuesday, October 12, 2021

October is National Depression Awareness Month: 8 Facts on Pediatric Depression

 





1) Depression isn’t a weakness or a result of laziness. It’s real. Depression is a very real illness that affects the emotional, social, behavioral and physical health of children and adults. There are genetic and biological factors that predispose a child for depression, but life experiences also influence its development.


2) It affects babies, children and adolescents. Pediatric depression is a significant health concern. Evidence suggests that up to 1% of babies, 4% of preschool aged children, 5% of school-aged children and 11% percent of adolescents meet the criteria for major depression.


3) Depression will NOT go away on its own. A serious mental illness cannot be willed away or brushed aside with a change in attitude. Ignoring the problem doesn’t give it the slip either. Depression is serious, but treatable illness, with a success rates upwards of 80% children who receive treatment.


4) Good parents don't always detect if their child is depressed. Most children who suffer with depression keep their thoughts and feelings masked. The only way for parents to understand depression is to be aware of the age specific behaviors and symptoms. Depression is not a result of bad parenting.


5) A depressed child is usually not a loner. It’s important for parents to know that children often mask their depression. So a child can present as happy, social or untroubled on the outside, though internally she is struggling terribly with negative thoughts and despairing feelings.


6) If your depressed child refuses help, there are many things you can do as a parent. If your child won’t go for talk therapy or take medication, there are ways to help. You can seek therapy - separately - with a trained mental health specialist to learn how to help your child in spite of the fact that he won’t attend sessions. Make sure you reach out to your child’s school for support, and consider touching base with other places your child spends time. In a crisis situation, you can drive your child to the nearest hospital emergency room, or contact family, friends or the local police for assistance in getting him there.


7) The risk of suicide for children is very high. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in adolescents ages 15 to 24, and is the 6th leading cause of death in children ages 5 to14. Suicide is significantly linked to depression, so early diagnosis and treatment of pediatric depression is extremely important.


8) Depressed children can lead productive lives. In fact, many high profile people, including President Abraham Lincoln, Writer J.K. Rowlings, Artist Michelangelo, Actor Harrison Ford, Choreographer Alvin Ailey, Actress Courteney Cox, Entrepreneur Richard Branson, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Rocker Bruce Springsteen and Baseballer Ken Griffey, Jr. have been very successful in their chosen professions – despite struggling with depression in their young lives.