The Circle of Wellness Newsletter 9/23

The Circle

The Circle of Wellness with Diana

Monthly Reflections

For better or worse, social media posts about mental health, paired with the ease of consulting “Dr. Google”, are influencing many people to self-diagnose. Not a week goes by without a client mentioning that they’ve seen some post or a video about a mental disorder that matches their symptoms and wanting to know if they have the same condition. As a clinician, while I may appreciate the self-awareness as a result from social media postings and online searches about mental health, I can’t dismiss the potential harm that self-diagnosis will cause.

When a client brings up information that may indicate some mental health concerns, I generally ask more questions about the symptoms from the video or the post that had resonated with the client, and I always educate the client on the process of determining a diagnosis, emphasizing that it is not as simple as matching symptoms from a checklist. Mental health disorders manifest differently for everyone and depend on a multitude of factors, life experiences, gender, overall health, other emotional and mental states, and much much more. I do, however, reassure the client that it can be important information and the first step in figuring out if something is actually going on.

Potential dangers of self-diagnosis:

  • Accurately diagnosing mental health conditions is a complex process, requiring years of education and training to truly understand the nuances. Social media tends to simplify this process and often reduces psychological theories or disorders into brief snippets or common stereotypes.
  • Some clients who self-diagnose come to therapy expecting to receive that same diagnosis from a clinician, but people may not realize how certain diagnoses could affect them long term. For example, some diagnoses could limit the type of life insurance policy someone can get or hinder their ability to obtain security clearances for their job.
  • Another problem is that anyone, regardless of their qualifications (or lack thereof), can post what might be interpreted as “expert advice” on mental health issues online, which can lead to widespread misinformation.
  • A person may develop certain harmful side effects or symptoms because they expect that they will occur with a particular mental health condition. In other words, a social media post saying that people with these symptoms have a particular disorder could cause someone to feel that they do, in fact, have the disorder or cause them to engage in behaviors that confirm it.

Potential benefits of self-diagnosis:

  • On a positive note, social media can bring together a sense of community and belonging for those who are looking for mental health answers. Searching for online videos and communities of people who share similar symptoms, can be rewarding and encouraging to address their own issues.
  • Self-diagnosing through online searches and through social media, can help people identify how they feel and what they’re struggling with. It can also be the only place for some people to gain access to mental health information.
  • People typically have a general idea about anxiety and depression, but social media has been highlighting the importance of discussions about trauma, neurodivergence, autism, bipolar disorder, and OCD that have often been highly stigmatized.
  • For professionals, a client self-diagnosis can provide more context, more information they have about the client, how they experience their mental health issues, which in turn helps clinicians to be able to better help their clients.

If you feel you may have a certain mental health disorder or have been experiencing a number of emotional, mental or behavioral issues, seek out a professional help and don’t rely on social media posts to get a correct diagnosis.

News and Announcements

I’m currently accepting new clients for Psychotherapy and Personal Development remote sessions. All current clients receive 20% discount for Personal Development or MARI services, and newsletter subscribers receive 10% discount as new clients.

School is back in session so sticking with a set bedtime schedule is imperative to keep your kids well-rested and ready for learning. Create a soothing environment for your children right before their bedtime: play quiet games, read, tell stories, talk about your plans for the next day. Avoid invigorating activities, TV, social media, and switch their bath time to earlier in the evening so their bodies have a chance to cool down from a hot bath and get into a relaxed mode.

Research and Information

Executive functioning is responsible for so many things like: planning, decision-making, judgment, impulse control, working memory, task initiation, task persistence, organization, processing speed, flexibility, time management, and emotional regulation.

If a child struggles with executive functioning skills, they might find it very difficult to do any number of things like: keeping their room clean, remembering to turn in an assignment, showing up on time, finding the motivation to start or finish a task, or remembering to take out the trash.

Because their brains process things differently, it’s important to parent them from a unique perspective as well. Keep in mind executive functions are skills, so they can be learned.

Find out how to help your children with executive functioning challenges in this article.

Suggested Readings

We all struggle with self-discipline and motivation at times. Finding the right recipe to keep you going is often difficult. The Power of Self-Discipline is a toolbox to keep you in motion and in action towards your goals. The book provides direct techniques to ensure that your actions match your intentions. You’ll learn the main emotional, psychological, and biological obstacles you are battling and confront yourself with a series of direct questions that force self-awareness and action.

Get this book here.

Useful Links and Resources

Ashwagandha is a plant native to Asia and Africa. It’s also commonly known as Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha seems to counteract our sympathetic nervous system and decrease the excessive release of stress hormones, helping our bodies to cope with stress and come back into balance.

Research supports that ashwagandha can help:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Enhance cognition and focus

Get ashwaganda here and experience its benefits for yourself.

Recipe of the Month

Fall is here and so are various flavorful apples. In today’s recipe, we’re stuffing a spiced honey cake with whole apples to make a delicious autumn dessert. This recipe is quite simple, using the ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. My family loves it so I make it often with either apples or pears.
Apples Stuffed Honey Loaf

  • 3 medium size apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 3/4 cup flour, regular or gluten free, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp apple pie spice blend
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup regular or coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup regular or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Optional sugar glaze


  • Combine wet and dry ingredients separately.
  • Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture and stir well.
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Slice each apple top to bottom into slices about 1/4 inch each, keeping the apple form still intact.
  • Place apples at the bottom of the loaf pan.
  • Pour batter over apples and shake a loaf pan to distribute it evenly.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
  • Cool completely before removing from the pan and applying a sugar glaze.

Homework Corner

Your homework for this Fall is to review all the assignments you’ve done so far this year, whether the ones from my newsletters or the tasks you’ve accomplished on your own. Autumn is when we look back and take stock of our progress. Write down what you felt was difficult to achieve, what blocks you’ve encountered and what you’ve been able to overcome this year.
Afina wants to remind you that Fall is a wonderful time to bundle up and go on a weekend adventure. 

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