Category Archives: Be Brave

Torpedo Tube

Yes I had an MRI today

I wasn’t that worried about it to begin with because usually they ask if you want something to calm you down. Today I did; I thought it would cause me pain to lay on my back that long.

But I got there and they said “oh we don’t do that anymore”! You are kidding? The comfort and peace of your patients is no longer important? No it’s not.

Okay so I didn’t start to freak out until 5 minutes before.

And the MRI was for my lower back so I knew I was going ALL THE WAY IN.

I practiced my mindfulness deep breathing and somehow made it through with only a (felt like) bruise on my head and foot/nerve pain like always.

I’m really proud of sitting in the torpedo tube for 40 minutes and returning without any permanent harm due to my wildly creative imagination.

Swimsuit Triggers and Focusing on Joy

Here we are: summertime, swimsuit time, and it’s hard to let go of judgmental thoughts of my body.

I remember the first time being worried about wearing a swimsuit. I was at a youth activity (maybe I was 14?) at a pool about an hour away from home. For some reason I didn’t have a suit, so my mom gave me money to rent one. Yikes a rental suit.

It was a one piece with huge cut outs on the sides and I felt super self conscious wearing it.

I’ve always been very physically active so I’m guessing I looked fine. I don’t have the wherewithal to make that judgment looking back and that’s ok. I did struggle with acne -seems like I did forever (obviously that’s not a fact) so I had judgements about my face.

Every summer I try to find a swimsuit I can feel comfortable and try not to judge my body. I play in the pool with my grandkids, I play in the ocean, I play in the lake, I play in the sprinklers. I love the water-I wear lots of sunscreen because the rosacea on my face doesn’t like the sun but I love the water.

The last couple of years I’ve purchased two piece suits to practice nonjudgment about my body; plus it’s easier to find separates that fit my top and bottom better.

Here’s another summer where I am triggered to judge my body as not good enough and I’m trying to be mindful of those old crazy thoughts (that are not facts) and in the moment to just enjoy the water. Just enjoy the water.

Here I am off Grand Cayman trying to hold a stingray

Here I am in Jamaica riding a horse in the ocean.

Here I am in Tulum Mexico in the prettiest water ever.

Yes I think it’s more important to enjoy.

I know who I Am

Last week I participated in part two of a training at my work for DBT with clients with psychosis.

The trainer was on zoom and next to her name was (they, their).

I made a comment on some content and the trainer referred to me and my comment as “they just said”…. I responded in private chat to refer to me as she/her yet the trainer did not acknowledge what I asked.

I was stunned. I was angry. I am not a they.

This goes back to an irrational thought I have due to my hair loss and my hair style -(not wearing wigs anymore because it causes me more neck pain and headaches) that I am not feminine “enough”. It’s an irrational “not enough” thought.

I know this is a thought and is not a fact. Logically I know this; and when this person referred to me as they, this thought raised its ugly head. It’s an ugly thought, it’s not a fact.

I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me. I know who I am. I am not neutral; I am a woman, friend, daughter, mother, and grandmother. I am worthwhile and important and that doesn’t have anything to do with my appearance.

I can note my appearance because my hair curls in the front like my dad, my lips have the shape of my mother, I have dark eyes like my great grandmother. My children have physical traits of mine passed on. My appearance connects me to my ancestors and to my progeny.

After this happened last Thursday, I had two strangers comment flattering about my appearance/hair and two people I know comment flattering about my appearance/hair. It reminded me that one person’s opinion is not a fact. I see this as a sign that my Heavenly Father knew my heart and tried to soothe my wounds and remind me who I am.

I KNOW WHO I AM

Adventure with a hint of danger

So I get a chance to take a last minute trip tonight (return flight Saturday night) with my son, daughter in law, grandchildren and DIL’s parents. My DIL works for an airline and can fly free along with her immediate family and parents-I can fly with a small charge.

Because I am flying kind of “stand by” there is always a chance I could get bumped if the airline sells the empty seats.

Our destination after the red eye flight tonight is Fort Lauderdale. A beach. Sand. Sunshine. I know, it’s so awesome and I’m very lucky.

There are a lot of open seats on the way there so chances are low of getting bumped. On the way back home there are fewer open seats and a higher chance of being bumped, having to get a hotel and stay in FL by myself.

At first that sounded scary.

Then I remembered my solo trip to Washington DC for a training and getting lost one day and close to death on a tour the next day. I survived. (Obviously) this is another blog post.

I also remembered another solo trip to Boston for a training and taking a trolley tour to see some of that beautiful city. No problems-I survived.

So I think to myself: SELF-you can do scary things. Be brave. Go to the beach for a day. It will be an adventure with a hint of danger.

What’s up Danger?? 😂

The Long Week

So tomorrow I go back to work. I’ve had the last four days off. The storm is coming….

Several therapists-co workers are off this week, both our psychiatrists, three of our directors, and several mentor staff…

Tomorrow morning I have a process group with perhaps 30 people. It’s less than ideal but many people are on PTO.

I am just taking the attitude that I can only do my best and then…

It’s only four days (I have Friday off) and what I can’t do-does not matter.

Frodo eventually returned the ring to the fires of Mordor. I can get through four days.

Survivor 2020

Lots of women right now are on social media talking about their Covid weight and how they’re planning on, participating, or advertising a new diet.

I think we all need to congratulate ourselves for living in 2020. It’s been stressful, it’s different, sometimes it’s scary, we are isolated from other people, they are also weird natural disasters going on, along with political and racial conflict too.

Oh and masks! Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask. Who knows right?

Maybe it’s ok to say-Hey thank goodness it’s almost September and I’m a survivor. My body and my mind are strong and I can do hard things.

Isn’t this more important than the stupid number on the scale?

I am surviving 2020-that’s the most important thing.

I AM ENOUGH

Hello friends!

It took me a month or so to be brave to make this post.

At first I thought-maybe I should try to lose weight and then I caught myself. No not that. That is not right. I am enough.

Then this morning (when the stars aligned so to speak) I thought: my eyes are puffy. I have this red spot on my neck. Nooo not that again. I am enough.

It was also difficult to take a picture and be happy with one. I am enough.

I am enough, without makeup, with hair loss, in my body that is brave experiencing autoimmune disease, in my changing body, in my age. I am 56…..

I AM ENOUGH (even with all the pictures I did not like)

Domestic Violence

Last week I spent about three hours with a client that finally shared with me that her partner assaulted her the night before our session.

She gave all kinds of reasons why he did it; she did something wrong, he said he was sorry, she didn’t want people to talk about her, she didn’t want him to get in trouble, she didn’t want her family to beat him up, she’s not the kind of person to call the police, and she can take care of herself.

It’s so difficult for someone in an abusive relationship to speak up! They blame themselves or think they deserve to be treated the way they are.

My neighbor’s daughter was murdered by her ex boyfriend. It’s so tragic and terrible.

A little more than a year ago, I worried my daughter’s life was in danger from her husband; when she told me (finally) what was going on-I (with help from others) packed her up and moved her out of harms way in a few hours.

The time that women (usually a victim is a woman but not always) are trying to leave a relationship is the most dangerous and the time when that person is at high risk of being hurt or killed.

I am enclosing a link to a domestic violence website and a PDF of the cycle. Please speak up and get help. There are so many resources out there for you.

The Hotline

Domestic violence cycle

Ambiguous Loss and Covid 19

Hello Friends.

Life has changed so much since I last posted and there are daily changes.

About two weeks ago, I noticed that I feel sad and overwhelmed when I wake up and then I thought “things are still the same, it’s not a bad dream”. This feeling is similar to the time that my son died and many years ago when my dad died.

I remember waking up (during both these events/timelines) and being hit with a wave of sadness and feeling overwhelmed and discouraged (similar to how I feel now) and not knowing when the feeling would end or if it would end.

I think many people have feelings like this now with Covid 19. It’s terribly difficult wading through an emotionally painful, difficult experience and not knowing when or if it will end. I recently discovered this is called “Ambiguous Loss”, coined by Pauline Boss, Ph.D., and Emeritus Professor and Clinical Supervisor of Marriage and Family Therapy, at University of Minnesota.

I was part of a webinar training based on her book about a week ago and I wanted to share some newfound insights. Ambiguous loss is described as “An unclear loss that defies closure…often times it does not have validation or clarification or resolution”. Boss’ research includes information from POW experiencing crisis from Vietnam, 911 families, military deployment, and families of loved ones with dementia. Most every person right now has experienced some type of ambiguous loss-losing connections with loved ones who are physically absent but emotionally present whether they are sick or well, people experiencing job loss or co worker relationship loss, and healthcare providers going into a situation where they can be at high risk.

There are physical symptoms of ambiguous loss including depression, anxiety, family discord, confusion, grieving, hope, hopelessness, shock but it’s important to remember all these symptoms are NORMAL. She identified the ways all of us can shift from experiencing despair to hope and I will list them below with an example of what I am doing.

  1. Finding Meaning- I realize that my family relationships are very important to me (how are we pulling together?) and connecting in some way helps me distract from the world.
  2. Tempering (Adjusting) Mastery-learn to hold two opposing ideas at the same time-I have a lot of anxiety listening to the news about Covid 19 AND I feel peace when I don’t listen to the news and connect with others or reach out to help someone else (be cautious to blame oneself or others).
  3. Reconstructing Identity-try to recognize how my roles have changed before, during, and after Covid 19 (separate myself from Covid 19 and don’t stay in a role that doesn’t work-working from home and doing therapy by video-“no shoulds”)
  4. Normalizing Ambivalence-and I love this one because my webinar had a quote “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Tolkien   Try to acknowledge yours and others feelings, try not to judge yourself or others, and listen to each other. It’s actually kinda cool to think I’m sort of like Frodo and this is an adventure (I choose the word adventure instead of tragedy) I have never experienced.  Here’s another example:I want to see my family and friends, but I don’t want to get sick or get them sick.
  5. Revising Attachment-try to acknowledge how difficult it is separating social ties through social distancing and try to do new ways to strengthen or create other attachments, maybe through Facetime or Zoom or Marco Polo.
  6. Discovering Hope-I also love this one because Hope is increased through strengthening our connection spirituality. Whether you have a Higher Power or believe in God, discovering hope is huge and can comfort us. I know I feel comfort and peace when I connect with God by reading my scriptures, or praying, or listening to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints General Conference talk. I have found life is so much less stressful when I connect with God.

 

I hope this information is helpful for all of you to manage this stressful time in our world which is new for all of us.

My hopes and prayers go with all of you my friends.

 

 

Isolating Together

Hello friends!

I haven’t posted for some time as I’ve been dealing with some pretty terrible neck pain along with our continually changing world.

The last couple of months I’ve had two sets (six shots each) of “diagnostic” shots in my neck to determine if “therapeutic shots”-shots of electricity to burn my nerves in the bulging discs of my neck will decrease my pain.

The last two weeks I’ve had these therapeutic shots and isolated at home on my bed because of the pain but I know not everyone is comfortable or ok in isolation.

I have many mental health clients that struggle mightily with depression; and isolation makes this worse. One thing that helps somewhat: everyone is going through this right now. If you struggle with depression or suicide thoughts, you are not alone-many people in our country or world right now are struggling with isolation and we can support each other.

Here are some ideas to stay connected during this time:

Join an online book club, watch live Facebook comedy shows, FaceTime your friends or family, get outside and go for a walk or a bike ride (isolation does not mean don’t go outside), read a good book-libraries have online resources too, visit a museum online, take an online course, learn how to speak a new language-there are many apps to discover, take a virtual national park tour, learn how to cook, learn how to sew, finish those crafts that you never had time, write your life story ( I wrote mine at 18 years old-there’s more to update!) scrapbook your photo memories, do some family history research online, call a relative you haven’t spoke to for a long time, and there are lots more ideas of things to stay busy and emotionally healthy.

I am adding a few ideas I have found online: