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My first real job out of college was the ideal scenario for me. It was a company that I loved, the culture was a perfect fit for me, I was empowered by my managers, and I excelled in the areas of my influence. The company grew to a point where our founders decided to sell. Not surprisingly, with the sale came some staffing shifts, so I volunteered to temporarily shoulder a particularly burdensome responsibility on top of my regular duties, until a new person could be hired. We already had approval for the new hire, and I was told they would be interviewing for the position within a few days.
My entire work day was spent on these new responsibilities, which forced me to work late most nights in order to not fall behind in my regular responsibilities. At first, I handled it fine. It was only temporary, after all, and I can work through just about anything if I see a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But as the days turned to weeks and eventually months, life began to take its toll. Essentially I spent so much time on a task I didn’t enjoy, that I was underperforming in the things I did enjoy. I felt as though I was being punished for being a good employee.
When the weekends came around I was so mentally exhausted that I was constantly disengaged from my family. Internally, I was frustrated that it was taking so long to resolve my situation. Frustration eventually turned to hopelessness, and because nobody likes to feel hopeless all the time, my emotions shut down. The only emotion that remained was anger. I did my best to control my anger, but would often get upset at my wife or daughter, with little or no justification for it.
What I was experiencing was burnout, which is essentially mental or even physical collapse. It’s mainly brought on by overwork and stress, as in my case, but can also come seemingly out of nowhere. People who suffer from burnout often feel as though the effort they put in is more than they’re getting back. This leads to a loss of motivation, and loss of hope. People with high expectations of themselves, a tendency toward perfection, and who place high value on achievement may be more susceptible to burnout. Work and personal life factors (such as parenting) are also major contributors.
The key to overcoming burnout is recognizing it, and stopping the cycle before your brain develops a habitually depressive state. It’s important to talk to loved ones about the way you’re feeling, and make time to do healthy activities that you love. When you get home from work, you may want to sit on the couch and watch TV. This is a mindless activity that doesn’t require you to really engage with anyone, so it’s appealing. But in order to build up your healthy brain activity, you need to engage with the world around you and actively focus your brain on things you enjoy, rather than your daily stresses. Some healthy activities may include:
These activities, and many others, can help your brain clear out the stresses of your day. Taking time to reset your mind after a long day of work or a stressful day at home with screaming children is crucial to maintaining balanced brain chemistry, and breaking the cycle of depression. The key is to do something mentally engaging that you enjoy, and that isn’t stressful.
Final Note to Parents About Burnout
I’d like to say one last thing to anyone suffering from burnout as a result of parenting (especially you stay-at-home moms who keep this world turning). Many parents feel that taking time for themselves is selfish, and they’re bad parents if they aren’t always with their children. The fact is, when you’re suffering from burnout, you’re not in a place to give your children the love and attention they need. When I’m burnt out, I get angry with my daughter for making messes. She’s 3 years old, for crying out loud. Any rational adult knows that my daughter isn’t being bad; she’s being 3! But when I take even 30 minutes for myself, I am more in control of my emotions and handle the messes just fine. So in short, taking time for yourself is not selfish. It’s best for you, and your children.
As with just about anything, overcoming burnout and other depressive symptoms is easier to talk about than to accomplish. If you or someone you know is suffering from burnout and needs guidance on how to improve your life and your relationships that are suffering as a result of your depression symptoms, let us help. You’re not broken, weak, or flawed, and your symptoms don’t have to be permanent.
“I don’t know what to write. Most people who read this won’t know who I am, so why would they care about my experiences?” These are the thoughts I’m having as I write this article about anticipating failure. Ironic, don’t you think?
The term “anticipating failure” is pretty straightforward. It simply means you expect to fail. I spent many years, confident in my ability to fail. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends who have had confidence in me, and have expressed that confidence in appropriate ways. But there are many who either don’t have this support system, or they’re unable to hear the voices of support because they’re so deeply entrenched in their depressive behavior.
Our brains look out for us by warning of the natural consequences of our actions. I know that touching an electric fence is going to cause me pain, so I don’t touch electric fences. But just as the brain lowers our motivation to do harmful activities, someone suffering from the anticipation of failure may also experience lower motivation to do healthy, constructive activities, because they assume putting in effort will only lead to disappointment and emotional pain. They feel stuck, and powerless to improve their circumstances.
Perhaps the most difficult part of anticipating failure is that, in order to overcome it, you need to experience success. Success comes through effort, and a depressed person often thinks, “No matter what I do, I’m going to fail, so why try?” You can see how these thoughts lead to deeper feelings of depression. Fortunately for me and everyone else who has in the past or currently struggles with depression, this cycle can be broken and healthy brain activity restored, and it doesn’t necessarily require medication. You may just need a support system.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depressive thoughts, please don’t wait to get help. We’ll set you up with a support system of trained professionals and show you, step by step, how to address and overcome your depressive thoughts and behavior.
You’re not a broken person, and depression is not a personal flaw. Please don’t sabotage your happiness because you’re afraid of failing in your recovery.
I had just laid my head down to go to sleep when my cell phone rang. It was my friends roommate, telling me that my friend was suffering from a panic attack and she didn’t know what to do. I sat up, got dressed and drove over to their apartment building to find my friend frozen with fear, sitting in the front seat of her car. She couldn’t speak in full sentences, and each word she was able to force out of her quivering lips was difficult to understand. But through her shaky communication, I was able to piece together what had happened.
She was driving down the highway, and passed an oncoming car. The headlights from the car cast a shadow that looked like someone was standing in the road in front of her. It was so quick that she didn’t physically react to the shadow, but her mind did. For a split second – the tiniest moment – she thought she was going to hit someone with her car.
It’s important to note that she didn’t actually hit anyone. There was nobody to hit, thank goodness – only a shadow. But that didn’t matter. Her brain set in motion a series of events that paralized her with fear in a way she had never experienced before. Because she had never experienced acute anxiety, she couldn’t recognize what was happening to her, and was powerless to stop it. Such is the case with many who suffer from acute anxiety.
Acute anxiety is described as severe and, sometimes debilitating feelings of panic or fear. Though certain circumstances can trigger this anxiety, it can also happen out of nowhere, with little to no justification for it. Acute anxiety is recognized by its accompanying, brief panic attacks (an hour or two, perhaps even shorter), and usually hits when someone is in their early twenties. But it can happen to anyone, anytime.
For my friend, her acute anxiety was short-lived. But for many, it can become so common that it causes behavioral changes that last long after the episode is over. Sadness, anger, numbness, flashbacks and nightmares are common in those who suffer from acute anxiety – even when they are not having an attack.
As with many emotional disorders, what causes acute anxiety varies from person to person. It can be brought on by alcoholism, genetics, or even poor nutrition. Most acute anxiety attacks are set off by some kind of trigger, but in severe cases a person may experience them seemingly out of nowhere. It’s common for someone who has suffered a traumatic event to experience acute anxiety to some degree.
Doctors run various tests to determine the type of anxiety someone may be suffering from. Because the feelings brought on by acute anxiety often resemble asthma or heart issues, they usually try to rule physical conditions out first. The type and severity of anxiety can usually be determined by an evaluation of frequency, length of time, accompanying behavior changes, and impact on a person’s ability to function.
There are many treatments for acute anxiety, including psychotherapy and medication. It’s also common for doctors to instruct sufferers to avoid certain foods and include exercise as part of the daily routine. From what we’ve seen in our clinics, the most effective programs are those that teach people how to leverage the brain’s natural process to overcome this behavior. This is the driving force behind Candeo’s Online, Depression & Anxiety Treatment .
For my friend, what really perpetuated her fear was not knowing what was happening to her. She started feeling anxious, was unable to recognize it, became worried about what it was, and it spiraled downhill, fast. What broke the cycle was talking with someone who understood what she was going through – someone who could help her recognize what she was feeling and could reassure her that it wasn’t a flaw or weakness that caused it. Many people experience acute anxiety every day. They want help, but are paralized by fear to the point they won’t ask for it. If you or someone you know suffers from acute anxiety, know that it doesn’t have to be a permanent part of your life. By practicing and using a few simple processes that we can teach you, you can learn to recognize when you’re starting to feel anxious, and how to stop its negative impact on you.
I have really come a long way.
Back in the depths of my addiction, only 3 years ago now, I was depressed because I was distant from my friends, had no connection with girls and was engaging in this unwanted behaviour frequently. Read more…
Just wanted to let you know that the long slow development of brain-circuitry necessary to help me change habits which have been with me for almost 40 years (in regards to masturbation) and over 13 years (in regards to viewing pornography with some regularity) has been slowly happening. I’ve been practicing Candeo principles diligently for almost two years. Read more…
We get asked a lot about how to tell if you or a loved one is addicted to pornography. We even came up with a Self-Test so individuals can assess the severity of their behaviors. We decided to also make up an infographic that is a little more shareable. Let us know what you think, share it with your friends, and we hope it helps.
When a person first is exposed to pornography or sexual behaviors it is often done through curiosity. However, due to the high amounts of addictive neurochemicals that are released, particularly with internet pornography, it can quickly become addictive. Students in the Candeo program report going from curiosity, to using it recreationally, then as a source of self-medication, and some to dependency. With dependency, a person’s brain starts viewing these behaviors as a necessity — such as food and water. They also report that they found themselves needing it more and more – just as it was a drug. And they found themselves being led to other types of risky sexual behaviors — which put their physical and mental health in danger, as well as damaged their relationships.
I just have a little insight that I wanted to share.
Recently I went ice skating. I hadn’t done this since I was a kid, so I didn’t think I’d be very good at it. However, I took to it very easily – much better than a lot of my friends who came along. I realised as I watched their approach that the main difference was that once I accepted that I was certainly going to fall at one time or another, and that it wouldn’t actually be so bad, I was able to let go of the wall, lean forward and really get into the feeling. Read more…
Because of the “all or nothing,” “perfection or failure” mindset many sex addicts tend to have, it’s easy to get caught in the insidious trap that tells you, “I have to overcome this right now, once and for all!” When struggling individuals first begin applying the principles found in the Candeo program, many quickly experience a level of initial recovery success. Then, when this success doesn’t last, they can become discouraged and even hopeless. As a veteran of this rollercoaster ride of temporary success/euphoria and relapse, I know how devastating it can be. One of the keys to recovery success with any addiction or negative behavior is to remember, “Recovery is a journey, not an event.”
Candeo Co-Founder, Dr. Bernell Christensen
As a therapist, I’m often asked, “Is sex a need or an appetite?” This is a great question and one that I’m going to answer with a simple response—”Yes”—it’s both.
As you will learn in the Candeo program, every human being is born with the capacity for sexual desire. It’s a basic instinct to sustain our own species through procreation. And just as important, we also have the innate need to experience deep connection and intimacy with another human being. Sexual thoughts and desires are very normal and natural. It’s only when these thoughts and desires become exaggerated, that they turn destructive.