Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

 

 

Wig Travels

Hello Friends! I went on vacation last week and my wig joined me! I thought you would like to hear of “her” vacation and cruise!

Flying into Miami, Marion (by Jon Renau-my wig) spent the flight in a cozy place in her lady’s luggage, wrapped and tucked in a special box. Her lady traveled a red eye with no makeup and hair; but at 4am in the baggage claim-lady put on her makeup with the treasures in carry on baggage. Waiting for a bus outside the Ft Lauderdale airport Lady is chilled with some wind and Marion popped on her head with several human beings watching. Marion pretends to be a hat sometimes, she keeps Lady’s head warm.

Marion got her picture taken in front of Hard Rock Stadium hours before Super Bowl. Other wigs are impressed. She toured the amazing mansion of Vizcaya in Miami and looks fresh and bouncy as if she had not flown a red eye.

Marion got her picture taken previous to boarding a huge cruise ship as she did not look like Lady’s other hair.

Marion’s lovely locks waved in the breeze as the ship left the pier and did a big U turn in the harbor to maneuver in the right direction.

Marion toured the big ship and waved in the breeze as Lady sunned on deck with a bathing suit and hat (that fits lady’s head even with a wig!)

Marion spend the next morning relaxing in the room as Lady got a facial but she joined the ship for a great burger lunch and then after more exploring, dinner and a fun comedy show that night.

The next day in Jamaica, Marion stayed on the ship as Lady was horseback riding and didn’t want to lose her to island living but back on the ship, she rejoins Lady for dinner and another entertaining musical show.

The next day in Grand Cayman, Marion stays back because Lady is riding a wave runner and swimming with stingrays and for sure would stay in this lovely haven. But back on the ship, Marion and makeup join Lady for dinner and a comedy show.

Here’s another day at another island Cozumel; Marion relaxes in the room as Lady will be snorkeling and exploring a Cenote. Marion doesn’t mind staying back because she is happy with her new owner 🙂 and the Cenote has bats that poop so Marion is a little afraid of bat dung staining her locks.

The last day on the ship, Marion spends a lot of time with Lady because the skies are cloudy and somewhat rainy/windy and is not the time to stay on deck. Marion gets to see two movies along with eating a yummy lunch and early dinner. She watches karoke which sometimes is good/bad depending on the singer LOL- but Marion never looks bad.

Today as Marion gets off ship with Lady, she anticipates a fun outing to Everglades National Park -Marion finally gets to tag along!-Lady quickly tucks her in a pink backpack for safety during an airboat tour but she is back in place afterwards. She finally went on an exciting excursion!

Many people observed Marion’s on and off adventures and wonder what it all means but Lady loves Marion and they get along so well that they don’t care what others think.

 

You Are Enough-Be Vulnerable

Hello Friends!

It’s getting close to the New Year and I want to leave you with a few thoughts consistent with my last post.

In treatment with my clients lately I’ve been focusing on helping people increase their awareness of shame and how to combat it. Shame keeps us stuck, it keeps us from reaching out, it tells us we are not enough, we are not important. Shame is paralyzing and keeps us isolated.

Many people deal with depression and suicide thoughts and feel ashamed because they think that there is something wrong with them, they think this is something they deserve, they are suffering in silence and it is not necessary. According to the National Institute for Mental Health shares statistics that 17.3 million adults had at least one major depressive episode (2017-data courtesy of SAMHSA). Depression is no respecter of persons; these numbers indicate anyone is vulnerable to develop depression whether it is situational or genetic factors.

Situational depression can affect people through illness, marital change, employment change, or death of a loved one; even a move away from loved ones could affect developing depression. In addition trauma can affect a development of depression too.

There isn’t a reason to be ashamed for having depression or suicide thoughts. These things affect many people.

I suggest listening to Brene Brown on YouTube; she has a couple of really excellent TEDtalks about shame and vulnerability. These are also very popular, getting millions of views. She emphasizes the way to overcome or silence shame is to be vulnerable. As a therapist I see this meaning: talk to someone about your struggles. Find social support somewhere that you can speak openly about your struggles and discover that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

PLEASE REACH OUT IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING- it works.

 

Taking Care of You

Hello friends!

I’ve been absent for a bit, I apologize for my delay. I’ve been contemplating where to go with my blog for a couple of reasons.

First, I’ve realized that many people that are influencers often give away or resell their clothes after one photo shoot…(that doesn’t really appeal to me. I love my clothes and usually keep a quality piece for many years so that seems wasteful in my opinion although I know I cannot judge others…this is just what works for me).

Second, someone I knew from kindergarten through high school committed suicide about two weeks ago, no one knew he was suffering, and I’ve been thinking how to help others that struggle or suffer alone.

I thought for a time I might focus on offering advice for others how to deal with life when you have difficulties that seem too hard to bear. I am a therapist IRL working at a mental health/substance abuse treatment center for young adults, and I feel terribly sad knowing that people suffer without anyone knowing or without resources.

Here are some tips I’ve learned while studying DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy-created for people with Borderline Personality Disorder but very helpful with people struggling with suicide and self harm thoughts.

(A past client of mine created a little flip chart for therapists to reference when feeling like we are burned out and one page I particularly enjoy is:)

LOVE YOURSELF LIKE A NEW PUPPY: Prioritize good sleep habits, Nutrition, Exercise, Connection with people you enjoy (add:honest discussion about what is going on with you), Focus on practices that promote calmness and well being, Meditation, Journaling, Talk therapy, quiet time alone doing an activity you enjoy. (These ideas are gleaned from DBT)

Many people struggle with depression, anxiety, or suicide and self harm thoughts but that doesn’t have to mean your life is not worth living. Talk to someone and let them know what you are going through and get some help. Speaking up can be scary but after that, the darkness fades if you share it with someone. The burden is lighter if you share.

Dressing for Fall Weather

Hello Friends and Happy Wednesday!

We are nearly halfway through our work week! I do enjoy my work and I also enjoy my weekends, how about you? I love remembering it’s halfway!

I thought it would be fun to describe what I do to plan for a fall day that is 36 in the morning and 65 in the afternoon- 65 is such a mild temperature and could even pass for short sleeve shirts but the morning would not.

Something I try to do is layer….I wear my coat in the morning so I’m not freezing; then when I get to work I shed that but lots of times have a cardigan over a short sleeve shirt or light long sleeve shirt so I’m not too haute! (Remember my last post when I forgot and wore a huge sweater LOL)!

Today I tried something new for me, I wore a bright orange tank top but paired it with my leopard cardigan. So my arms are bare under the cardigan and it’s not too warm in my office or outside but perfect with the cardigan over the top! I also think it will work well in the afternoon because my cardigan sleeves are not a heavy blend.

I got my tank originally about four years ago from Nordstrom Rack and it’s such a pretty color, it deserves a rotation in my wardrobe. This is also super affordable; thrifting or shopping our closets are the most economical and ecologically friendly things we can do. The cardigan is fairly new, (I’ve been searching forever for a leopard cardigan) and it’s from Chicos, but I’m guessing it will last for years. I’ve had items from Chicos before and am still wearing them years later, so it’s definitely a piece to keep in my closet. I added some fun earrings that interestingly enough are fairly old (affordable) but also Chicos but look fun with the tank and cardigan; I wore some pre destructed jeans that fit my butt well from Nordstrom (Kut) and my boot like shoes from Target.

Here I am, ready for any weather that might pop up this time of year! And I’m shopping my closet! So this is a win win!

Have a great week friends!

It’s Haute at Work

Hello Friends and Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday I wore a cute chunky sweater, it’s so comfy and warm (along with my cute leopard sneakers and jeans) because it’s November right and mornings are super cold (30 degrees)…

But as I walked into my office, I was hit with a wall of heat. WTH, my work temperature changes so much from season to season; I remember taking a cardigan to work in July because the AC is cranked so high my fingers are numb but then I leave the building and my black car with black leather interior is 103 degrees! It’s such an adjustment right??

So yesterday I had forgotten this phenomenon and wore a warm sweater! This is bad, I can’t even shed a layer!

In the afternoon, after I’ve met with five clients and had my door shut all day, I told my co worker that I was dying of heat. I also noticed as I was in the bathroom earlier, that my neck and chest were bright red (heat does not make my rosacea happy). She suggested I keep my door open, although I have a lot of computer documentation to do (as I’m a therapist) and I find it hard to keep the door open with people walking back and forth in the hall and still focusing on my work.

SO….I asked our kitchen (I work in a residential mental health facility) if I could have a bag of ice.

They fixed me up real good; a ziploc bag of ice and I’m sitting cool. I stuck it down the back of my jeans and I was able to keep my door shut and get my work done. After 10 minutes I poured out 1/2 cup of water and then back in my office with the ice bag down my front.

Problem solved!

 

(Today I wore a coat -early morning temps- but underneath have two light tops and am wearing sandals-I’m prepared today!)

Fairly Fairy Tale Distorted

Hello friends!

Happy Monday!

I hope all of you had a good weekend! I had fun with my family in our annual Halloween party. Each of us makes some kind of ghoulish food that is actually edible and it’s super fun. We had this party on Saturday and it really made my weekend 🙂

I thought I would share something interesting I discovered last week. My granddaughter was doing her daily reading (she is a 4th grader and is supposed to practice her reading every day). She read Snow White aloud to me and then asked me what I thought.

Me being a therapist all of a sudden realized! Holy crap, what’s up with fairy tales? Here is a story of a woman who daily asks her mirror “who is the fairest”? as if that’s a contest one person can win. Then one day as she has aged, her mirror lets her know, there’s a new contestant and BTW you lose now, game over!

Really??? And to top that off, said older woman decides to pursue murder as a way of solving her problem of aging and not being the “fairest of them all”???

This sounds like a modern day problem, but I’ve heard this story forever. I’m just now getting a little bit of insight that we have some jacked up ideas in our culture…like women need to be beautiful and number one beautiful all their lives, like it’s a contest and winner take all, even to the extreme. That actually doesn’t sound like a fairy tale, that sounds like things I’ve heard for years. But this crap is what we’re also teaching our young people.

My granddaughter asked me what I thought of her reading and I told her it’s actually ok for women to age and it’s ok for someone to be younger and prettier than me. It’s a normal part of life and I’m happy anyway even if there is someone younger, (like everyone under 55) and prettier (that’s always gonna be a thing right? I don’t have to buy into that dumb contest), wrapping my arms around her mother and telling her I love that she is younger and prettier and it’s ok that she is and I’m ok the way I am….

And we don’t need to hire a huntsman to hunt down the competitor.

Boom (images are of the Disney Movie) and picture is me and my two daughters

Quest for Curtains

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

I’ve spent the last month and a half shopping online and brick/mortar for high quality yet also inexpensive black out curtains for my bedroom.

My redecorating is taking almost a whole year and this was one purchase I didn’t want to break the bank!

When we bought this home in 2008, I still worked graveyard shift while completing graduate school and we needed blackout curtains so I could sleep during the day. We got some ice blue curtains (matched our decor then) with a heavy lining from BED Bath and Beyond but honestly spent way too much on them and they did NOT block light like I wanted. But because we spent so much, I couldn’t make a change for a long time.

It’s been almost 12 years so I feel free to dump the old curtains! Yay!

I have searched Amazon, JcPenney, Walmart-several brands of curtains (sometimes not knowing if they would work-getting a package-opening one and draping then over the rod and they don’t block light-which has been super frustrating) and it’s really been a lengthy process!

Thank goodness for my patient husband-“what’s this charge to Amazon”? “Oh it’s more curtains, don’t know if its going to work” 🙁

But finally, one day returning my purchase from Amazon (conveniently through my local Kohl’s) I walked out of the store through their housewares/drapery aisle and saw another brand I hadn’t tried yet. They were “buy one get one 50% off” which was nice as they were a little more than the ones I had considered before. They didn’t have the color or length in store, so I ordered online. Hoping again, this would finally be the one that worked.

They came about a week later and EUREKA! They are excellent at blacking out all light! They are also a beige curtain so match my new tonal decor! (It’s ok for curtains to say they’re blackout if they are a dark color-like that’s so obvious! But a light color and blackout is tricky!

I’m so happy to share my find with you! The curtain is SUNZERO extreme theatre grade black out curtains

I hope this helps you! Saturday and Sunday mornings there is no light coming through and it also seems to insulate from sound. We had a terrible wind storm the other night and it did not keep me awake during the night-I could hardly hear it. These curtains are the best!

(The last picture is a before with old curtains)

 

I’m An Animal (print lover)

Hello Friends and happy Monday!

I’m done venting about my travel fails and on this Monday back to fashion blogging LOL!

I’ve noticed a lot of different animal prints are on the runway, in magazines, and on the sidewalk lately. I’ve added to my animal print collection in a few different ways.

I discovered two fun new pieces from Target the last two weeks. The first one is a leopard print jumper! It’s such a great piece and I wore it with my white sneakers on my fated flight to North Carolina last week, but don’t hold that against this cute jumper. It’s easy on/easy off, has a little stretch to the material, and zips up the front. It’s a super cute addition to your wardrobe at a great price-$30 ordered online.

My next piece is a darling faux fur leopard bag with gold metal handles. I discovered it in a North Carolina Target- (on a trip for essentials, doesn’t that always happen when traveling??) and I can’t wait to use it. It would be so cute with a floral top/distressed jeans or a floral dress with fun heels. I even think it would be gorgeous with my yellow suit! I’ll take pictures of some examples and add them to this post.

Don’t be afraid of leopard. It’s one trend that has been steady for years and years. Get yourself some pieces and have fun!

The Perfect Summer Skirt

Hello friends!

I thought I would share my journey to find the separates which makes this slinky slip skirt perfect for summer!

I found this slip skirt at Nordstrom during their anniversary sale. I was originally looking for a special pleated leopard skirt (but the leopard skirt was sold out) so randomly I found this blue/rust slip skirt also on sale. I don’t always like to dress like everyone else and this skirt seemed a great way to get on the slip skirt trend but still have something that everyone doesn’t have.

My only problem is that I couldn’t find a top to complement the skirt. All my ideas seem to include sweaters or cardigans and it’s way too hot to wear anything like that now. I tried on several tops at Nordstrom also on sale but most of them were see through which doesn’t work for me. I looked at Target, JCPenney, and anywhere else I could think.

Then! Luckily it was my birthday and Express sent me a $20 reward. Now I didn’t actually want to spend any money so I scoured their racks looking for a top that was on sale and within my reward amount. (I’m so cheap these days! LOL)

Finally I found a textured top, kind of a waffle weave shirt with a boat neck and somewhat of a curved hem in natural color which I thought would be great along the silky shine of the skirt. I then added my white sneakers (they have gold cut outs, so are somewhat unique from JCPenney awhile ago).

These items are all a perfect match and I’m amazed how well this skirt works in the heat of summer. It’s so silky and breezy, it’s like having a little fan around my legs and kept me very cool (makes me wonder if I’ll get cold in the winter, maybe that’s why the cardigan would work?) and it’s such a pretty color that I really had fun wearing it. I’ll wear it often and enjoy myself. It’s such a fun trend that I didn’t think would work for me, but I tried it out and love it!

Try this fun trend out for yourself!