3 tips that have saved me and might save you too!
It’s taken me nearly 2 weeks to write about this — not because I didn’t want to — but because I didn’t feel ready to.
For Harry Potter fans, coronavirus has felt like Voldemort to my mind. Writing about the virus that I wish didn’t have to be named has taken me lots of mental and emotional processing time. And perhaps you can relate. It went from being insidious to pandemic within weeks.
Suddenly my daughter’s school was canceled “indefinitely.” My heart lept into my throat when I read the school district’s email. I was moving into my new therapy office that day. I brought Clorox wipes with me and cautiously wrapped the wipe around the door handle as I walked into my new space. I saw one client and then got a notice from my supervisor that the county mandated us to start seeing clients via telehealth.
Suddenly the seriousness of the matter hit home — literally.
As a mental health professional, I highly value western doctors that get that health is not just about the body.
“Okay, take a deep breath and cough for me,” the white-haired doctor said as he pressed a cool metal stethoscope onto my bareback.
“Hmmm, no signs of wheezing at all. And you said this has been going on for a month?”
He invited me to step off the high check-up table. “Why don’t you sit beside me in this chair?” He was facing his computer, but quickly spun around and looked me in the eyes with all the sincerity in the world.
I will admit, I was hesitant when this much older, rather brusk mannered fill-in for my regular MD walked into the room. I judged him for his age. I feared that he would be too old-school. That was until his hazel eyes stared into mine with empathy and compassion I didn’t know I was so hungry for. His eyes reminded me I wasn’t just hungry — I was starving.
It almost killed me too
I, like you, have been fighting my negative emotions all of my life.
Somewhere along the mucky maze of societal conditioning and dysfunctional family patterns, I started to doubt most of my feelings, especially the so-called bad ones.
My self-doubt led me down the bleak road of emotional repression. However, as I repressed what I deemed the icky, I also began to repress what I deemed good. For my emotional brain, it became too challenging to veer off the emotionless road of repression into the colorful field of expression. It was easier to just treat all of my emotions with the same doubt and mistrust. Maybe you’ve been there too?
I sought him out because I wanted to work on my trust issues with men.
The first time I sat down on the couch in his plant-filled office, I sobbed. His doughy body and cherub-like face were warm and inviting. I took comfort in the fact that I wasn’t at all attracted to him. He felt like a father-figure to me. I was able to open up with him the way I wanted to be able to open with my own father.
It was in the quiet moments between my emotional unraveling that he inserted his desires. “Maybe you should try not having sex right now. What we have here is intimacy. This relationship we are fostering in this room is authentic. You don’t need sex for real intimacy.”
His words elicited mixed feelings. They were soothing to my ears but stirred up a deep discomfort in my soul.
Why the break-up of a family is one of the most painful losses.
I wept on my yoga mat. Deep, heaving sobs that wouldn’t stop. The song the yoga instructor played about unraveling your ego only adding to the deluge of my tears.
I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I could remember.
When I was 29 I had a dream about a blonde, curly-haired girl. She was sitting at the foot of my bed, looking at me with her big crystal blue eyes. “I’m your daughter,” she said to me. I remember waking up confused. My daughter? Other than her blue eyes, she looked nothing like me.
Three years later I gave birth to a blue-eyed baby girl. It took three years for her blonde curls to grow in. In quiet moments, when she sat in the living room reading books or playing with toys, her blonde ringlets rippling around her eyes, I remembered that dream and felt a wave of comfort wash over my soul. The daughter of my dreams had become real.
8 clearing rituals to keep your giving tank full.
Like most other empaths and HSPs, I’ve spent my whole life caring for others.
I’ve also spent my life fighting fatigue and depletion, desperate for ways to replenish my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy.
I’m the oldest of four siblings and the first of 13 grandchildren. Being the oldest meant I was the go-to family and neighborhood babysitter, advice-giver, and mother hen of my friend’s circle in my early and late teens and nurturer and caretaker to everyone that crossed my path.
I’m swiping left to six-pack abs and beer slinging selfies.
I want a man who tells me he is in therapy on our first date.
I spent my 20s dating the man who was too cool to work on his childhood issues. He smoked a joint or drank a beer or tried to turn me on when memories from his past haunted his psyche. This man thought disengaging from his emotions made him super strong. He was strong, even sexy when he fought off his emotions with fleeting pleasures. But eventually his rock hard ego cracked, and instead of showing me his vulnerability, he became detached and pushed me away.
It can be heart-wrenching to witness someone is dissociating from deep pain. I desperately wanted to heal this man. The more I tried to help him, the more he pushed me away. Eventually, he left for someone who cared less about his self growth and more about the pleasures of the moment. I walked away from our relationship feeling confused, used, and even emotionally abused. I grieved the emptiness I felt during our time together and the hopes I had for him to show up as his whole self. The man of my 20s left me with a gaping hole of longing for real emotional connection.
3 ways I serve my anxiety that have saved my fearful ass — every time.
I thank my lucky stars I was born an anxious, colicky mess.
No really, I do.
If you think I’m crazy for loving my anxiety, then stop reading.
No, I mean it. Stop.
If you’re cursing your own anxious nature with made-up profanities, because the regular, run-of-the-mill curse words are used up, then read on. I got you.
Your words have power. Choose them wisely.
Gaslighting, Codependency, and Narcissism ring a bell?How about these:
10 Ways to Tell if You’re Being Gaslighted.
What to Do if You’re Dating a Narcissist.
How to Break the Cycle of Codependency for Good.
These titles are similar to the uncountable articles I see on a weekly basis by writers who have no mental health training whatsoever. Many of these terms (aside from gaslighting, which I’ll talk about later) are used when a therapist is diagnosing a client or as a specific part of treatment (i.e. codependency is a commonly used term in addiction treatment). These are words that any good therapist would never casually drop to a client in a therapy session — unless it was part of the client’s everyday lingo or they had a therapeutic intent for doing so, like offering psychoeducation on what narcissism or codependency is as it relates to the client’s mental health. A therapist would also never (well, they should never) diagnose someone that is not their client (i.e. saying the client’s spouse sounds like a narcissist would be an absolute no, no!).
Do you live as if your life depends on it?
Just like you, I often wish there was a shortcut to living the good life; but alas, there’s not.
All this talk about mindfulness makes it sounds like it’s a new buzzword; a new chic meditation style that can bring us instant enlightenment.
I wish mindfulness was the easy path to inner bliss, but it isn’t.
If you’re discouraged about reading on, just hear me out — at least for another paragraph or two?
Soul Writer. Single Mama. Life ponderer. Nature Lover. Therapist. Introvert. HSP & Empath. Life is my playground and each day a blank canvas.