Articles — Health and Fitness

Responding To Trouble

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Responding To Trouble

I find it so interesting that different people can have exactly the same things happen to them but each will respond in a different manner. One person might get drunk. Another might attempt suicide. A third could seek professional help. A fourth may discuss the situation with a friend or neighbour. A fifth person might not even pay attention or notice that there is trouble. That’s what makes us human. We each have thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we have learned over the years in order to navigate life. So, now that there is such easy access to news from...

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But What If…?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health Pandemic

But What If…?

Over the past few weeks, the world has been experiencing a pandemic which has stolen almost everything that we previously called “Normal”.   No one seems to understand the virus and we are certainly getting very mixed messages from sources that previously we would trust and respect without question.     Articles that I wrote in the past addressed depression and anxiety.  You see, there has likely been degrees of depression and anxiety throughout recorded history – and perhaps even before that.   Those who experience depression are often “stuck” in the past.   They focus on the things that happened which are...

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Things to Ponder

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health Pandemic

Things to Ponder

The pandemic can be difficult to navigate and if we aren't careful, we might find that we are developing an anxiety disorder. It is very important that you not only remain physically healthy but also enjoy good mental health so you might find the following to help you. A little anxiety is a good thing because it can keep us sharp! It encourages us to prepare for a situation so that we won't make mistakes or look stupid and helps us to stay safe. Anxiety can be experienced by children, adults, seniors and animals. We learn from others and often...

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Be Your Own Health Care Professional

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

Be Your Own Health Care Professional

I grew up in an age when rural Saskatchewan doctors made house calls. They also did hospital rounds and ran a clinic. They usually knew their patients well because they delivered many of them. Lab work and x-rays were done in one location - at the local hospital. Specialists were almost unheard of and that meant that the local doctor needed to deal with pretty well everything. Things have changed so much! Now clinics have huge waiting lists of people who do not have a family physician. Those who are ill and do not have a family physician often end...

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

When I was growing up I remember hearing people talk about soldiers who had gone off to war and then come home with problems. They used the term "shell shock" to describe this condition of extremely negative symptoms that included flashbacks, sleep difficulties and exaggerated startle response. Often the returning solider would withdraw from others or try to escape memories through use of alcohol, drugs, or suicide attempts. They had become "stuck" in a situation of helplessness and hopelessness. Since I began studying to become a psychologist I have learned a great deal about what we now call Post Traumatic...

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Suicide Risk

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

Suicide Risk

According to Alberta Health Services, this province has a higher rate of suicide than the national average. In fact, suicide is a leading cause of death in Alberta surpassing motor vehicle collisions, AIDs and homicides. Most people don't have a lot of training or experience with suicide. As a result, a great deal of fear and helplessness can accompany the thought that someone might be suicidal. There are several things that you should know about suicide: Treat every threat as serious - Never ignore, minimize or promise confidentiality when someone talks about suicide. Listen carefully and do not interrupt. Think...

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Why A Psychologist?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Why A Psychologist?

I have seen over 7,000 clients in the past few years. They do not all live in Medicine Hat. In fact, many travel long distances for their appointments. You might be wondering why people seek the services of a Registered Psychologist rather than just trying to solve problems on their own. Here are a few of the reasons: 1. Education - All Registered Psychologists hold a master's and/or doctoral degree that focusses on a number of areas including the study of cognition, emotion and behaviour. This initial 7 to 11 years of university is supplemented by professional development training during...

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Health: How Are You?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

Health: How Are You?

I am often surprised by how many people avoid being around others because they don't know how to answer the question "How Are You?" Some people who have been ill or on a medical leave really don't know how to respond to the question. They think that the other person might be judgmental, especially if they say that they have been suffering from depression, anxiety or another mental illness. Other people think that it is none of the other person's business and want to keep things private. Following are some ideas about the question "How are you?": This is likely...

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The Personality Disorders

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

The Personality Disorders

Have you ever met someone who seems to have thinking patterns that are distorted, emotional responses that are problematic, lack of impulse control and interpersonal difficulties? Although it I important not to try to diagnose this person, it is a good idea to know that there are ten different personality disorders and it is not uncommon for someone to have more than one of them. Cluster A personality disorders are described as "odd, eccentric" and include: Paranoid - This person has a great deal of suspiciousness and distrusts others. Because of their fear of being harmed, they try to protect themselves...

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How Are You?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

How Are You?

So often people ask, "How are you?" and we automatically reply "Fine" when we really don't mean it. It has become such a habit that we aren't really being honest about our situation. Well, often people ask us as a habit and don't really want to know anyway but there are times in our lives when it is important to have a clearer answer. Following is an excellent communication system that will help you to understand yourself and tell others the truth about how you are feeling. It is especially helpful when you are talking with your physician, an insurance...

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Is Your Perception Accurate?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

Is Your Perception Accurate?

My younger sister has had Multiple Sclerosis for about three decades. Her health has declined so that she has been in a wheelchair for the past eleven years. In August she was airlifted to ICU because of a seizure that signaled progression of the illness. I took a week off to be at her side. On the first day that I was with her husband and son, I cried and said, "I feel so badly that I have had such a good life and she has had such a horrible life". The reply that I received as not what I...

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Adjustment Disorder

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Adjustment Disorder

A few years ago I was in Seattle and was surprised to learn that the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks which were built in 1911 are second largest in size after the Panama Cannel. These nicknamed "Ballard Locks" provide a link for boats travelling between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal that connects eastward to Lake Union and Lake Washington. Tourists and locals can descend steps in order to watch salmon pass between fresh and salt water through glass panels situated below the water line. I was curious about the way that the...

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Binge Drinking: How Much Is Too Much?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

Binge Drinking: How Much Is Too Much?

There has been a lot of media coverage lately about the changes recently made regarding Alberta's drinking and driving laws. The penalties are not only stiffer but the .08 blood alcohol content that was used in the past to define "intoxicated" is being lowered to .05. But what the professionals are concerned about lately is not the term "intoxicated" but the term "impaired". You see these are two very different terms that need to be understood clearly. "Intoxicated" is a legal term that is used in the legal system. "Impaired" is a more general term that is used in health...

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Say What You Want

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

Say What You Want

So often people tell me how upset they are about things that are happening in their lives. They rehearse all of the details of their troubles over and over again and are convinced that things will not change or get better. Then they complain that other people seem to be avoiding them. No wonder! What do you think would happen if, instead of saying what you don't want, you would say what you do want? You really have nothing to lose by doing this. You see, repeating negatives over and over again is depressing! And you have a far better...

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Be the Communication Center for the Family

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

Be the Communication Center for the Family

My sister used to be the most active individual. She loved to drive what we called her "stinkin Lincoln". She liked to dance and party and visit other people. She was the one who would keep the community laughing, celebrate a new babies birth and support those who were grieving. Well, over the years she has given up on most of those activities. Her Multiple Sclerosis has stolen mobility to the point where she spends month after month in her farmhouse, lying on the couch or sitting for brief periods of time in her wheelchair. The Liberation Treatment that she...

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Get the Help That You Need

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

Get the Help That You Need

Sometimes when people are ill, they slide into a state of accepting things the way they are - even if they aren't working for them anymore. There are several things that those with Multiple Sclerosis patients can do that will improve their life: Renovations: Sometimes changing a doorway or removing a wall can provide an individual in a wheelchair a great deal of freedom that would otherwise not be experienced. Some of my clients have told me about how wonderful they have felt knowing that they can get into a shower or use toilet facilities once renovations were completed. Special...

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The New Liberation Treatment

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

The New Liberation Treatment

My sister and her husband are in Mexico this week. On Monday she had the surgery that has been dubbed "Liberation Treatment". It was about 1984 when Deb had her first MRI and officially received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. She had been struggling with symptoms for a number of years but no one seemed to be able to identify the source of the problems. Her balance and eyesight were both negatively affected. Deb went through so many tests and none of them led to identification of the source - until the MRI. Since then, her health has deteriorated and...

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How to Have a Good Day!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

How to Have a Good Day!

Today I was the guest speaker for the Multiple Sclerosis Lunch and Learn group. The ten guests and caregivers stated that they appreciated the following article which I gave them as a handout. A thought to ponder for each day of the month: 1. Plan to have a good day - mix decision and determination 2. Be kind to yourself - be your own best friend 3. Go outside in the morning - but not in the direct sunlight 4. Trust yourself - you know what works and what doesn't work for you better than anyone else 5. Schedule things...

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Do the Bureaucrats Really Understand Enough to Try to Help in a Helpful Way?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

Do the Bureaucrats Really Understand Enough to Try to Help in a Helpful Way?

Today I talked with my sister who was very upset. Debbie stated that the Canadian government had set up a new program for disabled in which savings by the person would be matched. The problem, however, was that the only financial institution that would set up the account was the Bank of Montreal (now known as BMO). Deb and her family live on a farm that is several miles south of a village in Saskatchewan that has only a Credit Union. Because she isn't mobile and hasn't left the house in over two years, she didn't know how she would...

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The Problem is That You Don't Have Control

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

The Problem is That You Don't Have Control

Over the years I have watched my sister fight Multiple Sclerosis.  There have been various stages and each brought its own set of challenges. Long before we had a diagnosis, Debbie struggled with unexplainable physical problems.  It began over two decades ago, when she experienced a problem with her vision.  The doctor thought this had been caused by the reflection of sunlight on the hood of the car while she was driving.  At unexpected times, a spot would interfere with her vision and she would have no control over this. A few years later, when their son arrived, Debbie was very worried...

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Is Your Diagnosis Accurate, a Problem Or a Result?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Is Your Diagnosis Accurate, a Problem Or a Result?

Life can be confusing and complex. Sometimes I have clients begin therapy with me after they have been given a diagnosis for a mental illness. They do not always believe or understand the way that this diagnosis was determined or even think that it is accurate. Their "depression" or "anxiety" or "ADHD" might not actually be the "problem" or might become an additional problem to the original one with time. When people tell me that their "problem" is divorce, or anger or not getting enough sex I usually help them to understand that these things are usually the "result" of...

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Where Should We Focus?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

Where Should We Focus?

My sister has Multiple Sclerosis and over the years, I have been extremely sad to watch her health deteriorate. She has gone from walking, to a cane, to a wheelchair and now, to spending most hours of the day lying down. Until a few months ago, she could use the internet to communicate with others but now, she only has the energy to use her right hand in the early morning hours. Today, when I talked with Debbie, she told me how difficult it is for her to have limited choices regarding what she can do in a day. After...

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Health Psychology - How to Deal With Illness and Surgery

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness

Health Psychology - How to Deal With Illness and Surgery

Recently I had surgery and it reminded me of the intricate manner in which body and mind interact. From the time that my physician recommended the operation until it actually occurred took four years. The waiting was difficult and somewhat unsettling at times. It took three ophthalmologists and four bookings before I actually saw the operating room. In the meantime, I needed to schedule a week away from the office, ensure that the refrigerator was full and arrange for someone to be with me during the procedure. There were pre-operation interviews and a medical history to complete. I was always...

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These Are the Heroes!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis

These Are the Heroes!

I hate it when people are rude. I hate war and abuse and systems that don't work well. But today, most of all, I hate Multiple Sclerosis because it has attacked my sister. Debbie was a very lively, risk-taking child who adopted a carefree "do it my way" lifestyle. She lived every day as though it was her last - having fun, taking chances and stretching the boundaries. One day, as a young adult, Debbie went to the doctor because a bright spot was blocking her vision. She was told that her eye had been burned from the sun's reflection...

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Nature Vs Nurture

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Nature Vs Nurture

One day I asked my friend, Paul, "Why are you so smart?" He replied "Well, both my parents are doctors so I inherited the genes and I was raised by parents who are both doctors so I had a good environment for learning." In the 1970s there was a debate about whether genetics or environment contributed the most to one's personality. Twins separated at birth and then studied in adulthood were used as evidence that biological inheritance was more powerful than environment. Often twins who had never met were found living in the same type of house, being married to...

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