Category Archives: Peace

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:

What’s Hair

Hello Friends and happy Friday! I hope everyone has some relaxation planned this weekend! I’ve mowed lawns and mopped floors this week, so that Saturday I can spend in my yard doing a little rose pruning. I think it will be relaxing 🙂

I’ve been following Rachel Hollis and have a strong interest in her Start Today Journal but have not bought said journal. She has a podcast detailing how to do the journal without actually buying one and I listened to that.

I finally decided to write down 10 of my dreams in the manner Rachel recommends.

The interesting thing about this exercise…I realized that none of my dreams have anything to do with my hair.

My hair (possibly in conjunction with my autoimmune disease-I am not sure) has been falling out at a terrific rate. I was a bit distressed by this until I went over my 10 dreams and got a little perspective.

One thing I realized, it’s not important, in the whole scheme of things whether my hair falls out or not.

I am an exceptional wife, mother and grandmother

I have XXXXX dollars in the bank

I am financially independent

I am a world traveler

I am a marathon bicyclist

I am spiritually connected to God

You see, there is nothing about my hair! There is also nothing about my looks. This was very helpful for me. I highly recommend Rachel Hollis system or really any of your choice that prompts you to list your goals in present stated form. I AM or I HAVE

We can all be our best person and that has nothing to do with my HAIR!

(I’m wearing my Halo in this picture FYI)

Dodging the Punches

Hey friends!

I thought I would share some of my difficulties lately and how I’m dodging the punches.

Someone very close to me is involved in the dissolution of her marriage due to a emotionally abusive spouse. Her spouse also knows my ex husband (I divorced him about 17 years ago).

I have found out that her husband and my ex shit talk about me throughout some family events (involving my adult children and grandchildren- those are most events I continue to be around my ex husband). I also found out that my ex inquired (to the person close to me) wondering if she was being unduly influenced to leave her husband by someone he did not name (I’m guessing it is me) and I have been super angry and negative being re exposed to abuse and emotional manipulation by my ex husband.

I have a difficult time managing this again, the negativity and emotions this stirs up is overwhelming for me.

I have a stressful job and do not need the additional negativity that this information affects me.

How do I manage? I have been focusing on things I can control to help myself. Can I control other people? No. Can I control outside events? No. Does other people’s shit have anything to do with me? No. If someone else is a douche, does that have to affect me? No.

Can I control what I focus on? Yes. About a week ago, I was listening to a podcast of Rachel Hollis interviewing Brendon Burchard. I was so impressed I subscribed (it’s FREE!)to Brendon’s podcast “The Brendon Show” and also bought his workbook “the high performance planner” and his book “High Performance Habits”. In 2018 Brendon reads his whole book as part of his podcast (so you can listen to his book for free!) and it’s so inspiring. It reminds me to live according to my own values. I especially like the planner and the ways I daily remind myself to set an intention, remind myself the person I want to be, a way to demonstrate excellence to myself, ways to coach myself through the day and ways to determine if I have been successful in my day (along with three goals to keep my focus every day).

This has been a huge support in dealing with this new situation and previous triggers from my abusive past marriage.

If any of you out there are struggling, I strongly suggest looking this up and listening. Everything will be ok, you can do it, you are strong enough, you are smart enough, you matter, you are important.

Brutal Deliverance

Hey friends!

All this week I’ve been in a work paid training to assist my clients in moving beyond their trauma. The intervention is DBT PE-Dialectical Behavior Therapy- Prolonged Exposure.

The last two days we discussed (8:30-430) rationale for treatment, statistics showing drastic improvement or elimination of PTSD symptoms and structure of the intervention.

Today and tomorrow we watched videos of actual sessions (signed release of clients in video to use for training-no names) to help us understand how to administer the treatment.

One thing about watching the videos of sessions is that we as participants are privy to the terrible trauma a few people have experienced to be able to help many people move out of the terrible trap that is PTSD. I am happy to do this to help others; interestingly enough while understanding information yesterday, I realized -holy shit- I have trauma I haven’t taken care of. It would be good if I did this intervention/therapy myself and can also share with my clients the benefit of this work.

I got a referral from my boss to see someone trained in this PE and hopefully I can begin soon.

Yesterday after sharing my thoughts with my husband I slept well. I have some relief already I think.

I’ll share more of my journey as time goes on in the hopes that others can find peace as I do.

Shopping blues

Hello friends!

I’ve had a weird experience lately, I’ll cal it the shopping blues.

I went to Marshall’s, JCPenney, Target, and Old Navy and only found one blouse that I really liked. I got the one at OldNavy but sheesh am I depressed?? Really only find one thing to buy?

Granted I didn’t hit H&M or Ann Taylor but not a ton of time as I had an eye appointment yesterday after I got off work. Maybe I wasn’t really putting my whole effort into the experience?

Sometimes that happens to me and I think maybe I’m overwhelmed with work and need to watch some movies, go for a walk, get my toe nails done, play with grandkids, chat with friends, more movies, sleep in, garden, (maybe do my laundry and clean- not necessarily) -that’s my plan of self care and I think I’ll be back online shopping in no time 😜