Some things

​to think about

The perks of in-person appointments

Modern-day psychiatric care is all about convenience and connection. That’s why we built bonmente to be technology-forward and accessible! The proven benefits of telemedicine have been widely documented and it’s certainly here to stay. But what about those who picture themselves in a cozy therapist’s office… resting on a comfortable couch… having profound breakthroughs during an in-person therapy appointment?

We see you!

Even in a world of premier virtual care, it’s important to know that in-person appointments are available if that’s what you prefer. In some cases, an in-person appointment can actually enhance your healing journey for many reasons. Let’s explore a few.

SHARING SPACE ENHANCES HUMAN CONNECTION

Being in the physical presence of another person deepens human connection, even if it’s just a reassuring handshake or a friendly smile. In-person appointments bring you face-to-face with your therapist allowing you to feel the warmth of their presence, which can be incredibly comforting. These types of appointments foster a more profound sense of human connection, helping patients feel heard, valued, and supported on their healing journey.

YOUR THERAPIST CAN READ YOUR BODY LANGUAGE

Body language can reveal a patient’s emotional state. Signs of anxiety (e.g., fidgeting, nail-biting), sadness (e.g., slumped shoulders, no eye contact), or agitation (e.g., restlessness, clenched fists) can all be indications of something more. In-person appointments lets you communicate with subconscious subtle cues, like a knowing nod or an empathetic glance, which can promote understanding.

On the other hand, defensive body language, such as crossed arms, closed-off postures, or avoiding eye contact, may signal resistance to talking about specific topics or a reluctance to open up.

EXPERIENCE REAL LIFE 'AHA' MOMENTS

Ever had that lightbulb moment when everything suddenly clicks into place? In-person sessions create an environment where breakthroughs feel more tangible. It’s as if the universe aligns with your therapist to make those ‘aha’ moments all the more profound. In-person appointments also offer a physical sanctuary, a dedicated space where you can be entirely yourself without the distractions of the digital world. Think of our beautiful Long Beach office as a safe space for healing.

“Sometimes, digital screens can be a portal to endless distractions,” said Ana Jimenez, a provider at bonmente. “In-person appointments eliminate the temptation to check your notifications, allowing you to be fully present in your healing journey.” 

Our goal at bonmente is to connect patients in need with excellent, highly skilled mental health practitioners. All of the care we provide is convenient, consistent, and comprehensive. Whether it’s in-person or online, we have appointments available that lets you get down to the business of getting better from the start.

We have select in-person availability for a few bonmente providers. Reach out to our team today if you or someone you love would prefer an in- person appointment.

IS ‘RUDENESS’ A SYMPTOM OF ANXIETY?

Anxiety is a master of disguise. The butterflies in your stomach before a big date. The knot in your throat during that intense meeting. Even that pep in your step as you walk with nervous excitement into a party. And now, thanks to the pandemic, the ever-present freak-out thoughts go everywhere with us too.

Is everyone vaccinated? Wearing a mask? Symptom free? Honest about it?

Social situations were tough to navigate before the pandemic, especially for people with anxiety. How many times have you hugged the wall at a social gathering and avoided eye contact at all costs? Maybe you settled down enough to engage in a chat only to have to run away mid-conversation? Throw a mask on and so much for deep breaths to calm yourself!

It’s okay. You’re not rude; you’re just anxious.

Be kind to yourself and know this:

1. Everyone experiences anxiety.
2. Social anxiety is real and the pandemic hasn’t made it easier. 
3. Your behaviors are likely coping mechanisms you’ve developed to manage anxiety.

Sure, avoiding people may give the impression of “being standoffish” or “stuck up,” but the reality is people with anxiety find communication and socialization almost paralyzing at times. To cope with anxiety, someone might cut a conversation short, avoid eye contact, or even fail to find words to carry on a conversation.

Anxiety can crush good manners.

When you live with anxiety, you’re all too familiar with the feeling of always being on edge. You might feel like you can’t relax. Every interaction is a potential minefield and you’re always one wrong move away from complete disaster. This can lead to some behaviors that others might see as rude or impolite, even for those who have the best manners and intentions.

As we’ve said many times before, mental health can be messy and complicated. By being open about what’s really going on, we can build more honest relationships and foster better understanding.

Rude or Anxious? Canceling plans to stay home

One of the most common things people with anxiety do that can come across as rude is canceling plans. You might feel comfortable socializing with one person, but plans involving more than that can cause your comfort levels to plummet and your anxiety to skyrocket. You may even cancel at the last minute because you don’t feel like you can handle being around other people. Anxiety is powerful… but so is honesty.

If you’re working on developing better anxiety management skills and are finding you’re canceling plans more than keeping them, let the host know from the beginning. Something like, “I’m looking forward to spending time with you, but if I have to cancel, please know I don’t mean to be rude. I’m working on managing my anxiety, but sometimes it gets so bad I can’t keep commitments.” Being honest takes away the uncertainty that could otherwise inform someone’s perspective of your behavior.

Rude or Anxious? Forgetting to reply

You don’t mean to “ghost” people, but you forget to reply… way too much. It’s usually because you’re so consumed with your thoughts that the outside world falls totally off your radar. You might be worried about an upcoming meeting at work or overthinking a fight you had with your partner, and next thing you know, it’s been two weeks and you get a “wtf” text.

Not replying to someone’s text or email can come across as being rude, but anxiety makes it easy to lose track of time or get so caught up in thought that you never respond. If “ghosting” has become a problem for you, try to identify a communication method that works best for you. Maybe texts get lost in the abyss but leaving emails “unread” helps remind you to respond. Maybe phone calls are a powerful enough interruption to snatch you from your own thoughts. Maybe you need to allocate 10 minutes each day to give some attention to replying – set an alarm, start the timer, and take care of what you can in that time.

Rude or Anxious? Leaving events early

Social anxiety can make you think about leaving before you even arrive. It doesn’t matter if it’s your grandma’s small get-together or the annual office holiday party, you might feel so overwhelmed and anxious that leaving is the only way to avoid a full-blown panic attack.

      

     In some cases, you’ve stressed so much about the event beforehand that you’re too exhausted or too nervous to try when the moment arrives,” said bonmente’Lorena Hernandez, LCSW. “Leaving is literally the easiest way out, but it’s not the best.”

Think about why you do the dip. Does the small talk wear you out? Is it just too hard to pay attention? Is the pressure to “perform” exhausting? Do you feel like all eyes aarre on you and being extra judgy? Figuring out why you’ve gotta get outta there is the first step in finding a way to stay. 

If you just can’t muster the mingle, give your early departure some grace and avoid the Irish goodbye.No need to make a big scene as you head out, but a quick text letting the host know you had to go takes away any tinge of rude that your absence may leave behind.

Rude or Anxious? Avoiding eye contact

Looking at another person directly in the eyes can be extremely unsettling for someone with anxiety. It can feel like full blown scrutiny or powerful judgment. Not to mention if someone is looking in your eyes, they can probably see your anxiety all over your face!

Eye contact has long been interpreted as a sign of interest or respect, which is why a lack of it can be considered rude. If eye contact turns you into stone, turn it into a game. Try quick glances at someone’s eyes while chatting and then look away. Or make your target their eyebrows or the top of their nose instead of the eyes. Or put attention on a different focus in the room, like a light fixture or a painting… or that really great TikTok you saw earlier today.

Rude or Anxious? Zoning out of conversations

To the person talking, zoning out can come across as a lack of regard for what they’re saying. We all know how active listening makes us feel heard, but anxiety can turn active listening into a preoccupation that discombobulates your attention. You spend all the time you should be listening worrying about what to say, then worrying that you may say something dumb. And if you manage to actually spit some words out, your brain immediately starts replaying the whole exchange, and you get so wrapped up in the cycle of fret that it’s impossible not to zone out. 

But zoning out isn’t a act of rudeness as much as it is a coping mechanism. By zoning out, you decrease stimulation and try to give your overwhelmed brain a break. If you get caught zoned out, just tune back in with a “Oh gosh, I lost my train of thought there. What did you just say?” Sometimes zoning out can be a symptom of ADHD, so if it’s happening all the time, consider a professional evaluation.

Less Stigma, More Support!

Every day can be a balancing act for someone with anxiety.  You’re always trying to do what’s best for yourself while also considering how your condition might affect others. The truth is your discomfort or desire to be at home alone has nothing to do with your kindness and good intentions.

Mental health issues like anxiety can make you want to run and hide, to keep your emotions to yourself. But you deserve to overcome anxiety and thrive. If you or someone you love is looking for anxiety treatment in Long Beach, CA, our team is on the line waiting to talk with you. It all starts with a phone call – make it today!

SWEATERS, LATTES, AND YOUR MOOD

Fall is officially here! Cue up sweater season, daydream about apple picking, and roast a glass for the return of the ever-popular pumpkin spiced latte.

 

Things are changing all around us. The long summer days are fading away and a chill has started to settle in the air. Some people have been ready for fall since summer started. Others are already counting down the days until spring. No matter what your favorite time of year, embracing the change of the season helps you to be present and focused on the moment.

Despite the mood boost that may come from sipping on a pumpkin spiced latte, depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders tend to stick around regardless of the season. It’s that lingering gloom that’s the difference between having a bad day and suffering from depression.

As we welcome a new season of growth and change, it’s the perfect opportunity to do some self-reflection. Here are a few ways to check in on your mood this fall.

Evaluate Your Routine

Depression and other mental health disorders can creep up slowly and manifest in different ways. Sometimes depression can trigger small behavioral changes. Maybe you find it easier to polish off that pint of ice cream on the couch after an awful day. All of the fall activities and after-school commitments make it easy to skip the gym. Before you know it, these little things add up in BIG ways and add a heaviness to your mood.

Routines are essential at any stage of life, from childhood to adulthood. The key is creating healthy habits that lead to a lifestyle you can maintain. Start by writing down your daily routine and look for rituals you repeat.

  • Are they serving a purpose?
  • Do they bring you joy?
  • Do they cause stress?

Find ways to revamp your daily routine to pave the way to living a healthier, happier life.

 

Identify Your Emotional Triggers

What throws you into an automatic bad or anxious mood? A sound? A smell? The way the wind blows? Triggers are unique emotional responses to stimuli in our environment. As the saying goes, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Just like a flower, our well-being is linked to our environment. Our surroundings influence our behaviors and impact the way we feel. If your personal environment continuously sends cues and triggers that affect your mood negatively, it’s time for a change!

Take some time to reflect on areas of your personal environment that are holding you back from thriving. Identify your triggers (words, people, places, etc.) and be on the lookout so you can respond consciously instead of acting on reflex.

Practice (And Prioritize) Self-Care

We’ve all got way too much to do and not enough time to do it. It is so easy to put yourself second in order to meet the demands of everyone else, but studies show that does more harm than good. Self care means consciously doing things that support your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Acts of self care include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, exercising, and going to necessary appointments. Self care also includes having brunch with old friends or going to visit a family member you miss. And at bonmente, self care means learning healthy ways to cope with emotions and being proactive in addressing mood shifts.

If you’re struggling to prioritize your self care, therapy can give you the tools and support you need to thrive in every season.
 

​“Therapy promotes understanding and communication, allowing people to improve their relationships, outlook, and self-esteem, ,” said Riz Ahmad, a psychiatrist at bonmente. “Participating in therapy is probably the most significant act of self care someone can do for themselves to improve their life.”

Turn Over A New Leaf This Fall With Bonmente

Sometimes taking the first step and reaching out for support is the hardest part. That’s why were doing things differently at bonmente. Our technology-forward practice utilizes telepsychiatry to give patients secure, confidential, and convenient access to expert practitioners. 

Let us help tease apart the messiness of mental health and give you the tools and support you need to move forward. Take control of anxiety, depression, and other common mental health disorders to unburden yourself of constant worry or sadness. Show yourself some love and reach out today for personalized support.
 

THOUGHT LOOPS: BREAK THE CYCLE

It’s a perfectly normal day. You’re driving to work or to dropping the kids at school, maybe even going to the gym. Nothing is particularly bothersome.

And then your brain, being the busy body that it is, decides to plant a seed.

Something like, “what if the brakes failed right now?” Or perhaps something less catastrophic and more critical like, “why am I such a loser that I can’t even be on time?” Maybe it just sends up a flare that ignites the “oh gosh, I have a deadline in 3 days” worry.

Once it grabs your attention, that negative thought takes hold of your whole thought process, maybe even changes your whole mood. It can trigger anxiety, affect sleep, impact relationships, and sap your productivity. It’s a ride no one wants to be on.
 

So, how do you break the cycle?

 
“Understanding why you get stuck in these loops is the first step to getting out of them,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at bonmente. “Thought loops are your brain’s way of trying to get to an egosyntonic state, meaning your mind is trying to confirm deep-seated beliefs, fears, or insecurities that you have — even if they’re unfounded.”

Understanding why you get stuck in these loops is the first step to getting out of them.

By giving the intrusive thought attention, you are trying to work through it. But that’s the trap. What you really do is solidify the loop. 

Here are some tips for breaking the loop. 

1. Come back to the present.

 
When your mind takes off on its own imaginary journey, reign it in by deliberately focusing on the moment. What sounds are you hearing? What smells do you notice? What does that license plate in front of you look like? Is there wind? How would you describe the shirt you are wearing right now? Put your attention anywhere else, and the most readily available, innocuous place is typically the minute you’re in.
 

2. Be curious about the thought.

 
When an intrusive thought loop hijacks your focus, the natural inclination is to provide a counter to the unwanted suggestion, or a strategy to manage it, even if it is unlikely or untrue. Say you’re getting ready for a social outing and you brain sneaks in with, “I bet you’re going to say something stupid to embarrass yourself.”
Your next thought will most likely be about some strategy to avoid embarrassing yourself. If you want to avoid the thought loop, make the next thing you ponder the thought itself.
 
  • Is the thought serving you? 
  • Is it harming you?
  • What’s the purpose of the thought?
  • Is it true? Absolutely true?
  • Who would you be without the thought?
  • How would you feel without the thought?

3. Prepare for the next one. 


According to a study published in the journal Science, nearly half of our waking lives are spent thinking about something other than what we’re doing. Every time our mind wanders, it gives intrusive negative thoughts an opportunity. Expect it to happen again and again, and make a plan to deal with it when it does. Refine your approach as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

If thought loops are out of your control, remember there is help. 

The best way to break intrusive thought loops is through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches you to identify core beliefs that trigger these types of  automatic thoughts. By challenging those core beliefs with professional guidance, you learn to manage the intrusiveness and decrease the distress the thoughts cause. 

bonmente can help you break the cycle of negative thought loops and keep anxiety from spiraling. Schedule an appointment with our mental health providers today.

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