It is Necessary



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Mental wellness is a journey. And it leads us to who we are today. Sometimes our trials frighten and off put others but you are who you are today Because God used your mistakes. He worked them for your good. … everything you’re going through is Necessary.



Embracing This Time & Our Children

We can’t take a week off per se and I do believe in expectations and consequences for my kids but we can start school an hour late in our jammies and have an hour of recess and not have homework for the night. In other words we can adjust the rigid expectations of our “normal” daily live for a new normal for this shortened time. We can then ask ourselves what worked better than we expected and try and implement it when our daily chaos resumes.

For me it’s having books read while we eat and talking about them as the night progresses and making more time to cuddle and even fall asleep with our kiddos because the laundry will get done in the daytime in between tele-sessions and while working remotely.

This is very so very true also because touch is healing. We all need hugs and during this time of social distancing let’s hug our children even more. Let’s also embrace the time GAINED not having to travel to sporting events and school schedules and rigid work schedules and do a little more game playing and movie watching. Children need structure and consequences shape behavior but in a time where we all feel a little stirred up let’s lighten up and do a little more by doing a little less. Schedules will return and this time will be gone. Embrace it.

Waves of Grief

Depression can mask grief and grief can bring on depression. What a messed up relationship these two have. But at least we know the relationship of the former and can be PREPARED to deal with both. What is tough is when the latter comes first.

Kubler-Ross gave us stages of grief but truth is they are more like phases we go in and out of like a wave coming ashore. Always out to sea but not always reaching land.

Grief can tackle when you are happy and hopeful. It’s can hit you like a wave not of acceptance but of despair in a moments notice. It may not come with bargaining or even anger but just intense sadness and longing for the “thing or One” that is grieved. It can come on with a memory, the grief felt by others, a new loss in life, or a TV show, or the look in someone’s eyes from a stranger or loved one passing by, or a song. In other words it comes when least expected and can consume quickly.

What life and FEW books on my way to my doctorate have taught me (but mostly life) is like a wave it will go back out to sea; forever there but hopefully less powerful when it come ashore and it will linger less. But how will you know it won’t linger as long? You won’t. But with each passing wave you will learn more about you and how to cope.

For me some of the lessons are don’t hide or just “push” through it. I’ve learned to let people know where I am unapologetically. Create sacred space with my soul to grieve; not necessarily to heal but to just grieve. Allow others to be there and hold me up. Although I can do ANYTHING; I can’t do EVERYTHING all at once all the time. (Like for real sometimes at my happiest times I do FEEL like I can do everything…SMH). But we CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT grieve in complete isolation.

As the waves hit the shore find your ways to cope and don’t worry if your skills don’t help significantly that time what we know about the waves of grief is you’ll have many more waves to come ashore for practice.

The Veleteen Rabbit

It’s a story so many of us have grown up knowing and yet have we really read it. While on Internship and “becoming Real” myself my amazing supervisor at the time, Dr. Sidne Buelow, had me read the pages out loud. As Rabbit talked to the Skin Horse about what it means to be real I began to understand.

Life’s journey is to become more REAL. The bruises, broken hearts, and saggy body parts are a part of the beauty of becoming our REAL selves.

If life is always easy and has no change than how can we grow and become REAL. Becoming REAL is the process of change, overcoming challenges, and embracing the imperfection that is the beauty of life. All of our journies to become REAL are different.

Today I read this to a patient and we both teared as we reflected on her journey to be REAL. Being REAL is not easy but your perspective can make a difference with how one travels through their journey; much like the Skin Horse.

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

An excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

About Trauma and Getting Help


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Trauma in its simplest form is the experience of something life altering (maybe even shattering) and unexpected that increases anxiety and often has elements of sadness and grief.  Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop from the trauma if symtpoms of flashbacks, fear, hypervigilence, lack of sleep, difficulty concetrating, extreme sadness and withdrawl, and problems in relationships develop over 30 days after the event.  However, not all traumas result in PTSD but that does not diminish their significance to the person or persons having experienced the trauma. 

Often people ask:

“How do I not let things [symptoms] get worse?” 

“Why do I need therapy and how will it help?”

“Can I avoid PTSD?”

“How can I help my loved one?”

Therapy is a very pivital part of the process in helping coping, processing, provide support, and adjustment for individuals having experienced traumas. 

How we can mitigate the damage of a traumatic experience is to seek support of safe others in an effort to process what has been experienced.  Whether that be through formal therapy or utilizing networks in the world around.  

Formal therapy can be provide by a skilled clinician that will guide you towards better coping and help you more effectively move through life and function through your symptoms.  

Often therapist will utilize Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in the form of exposure work, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavior Therapry (DBT), and many many more skills; all of which help processing and improved functioning.

If not utilizing formal treatment I encourage indivividuals to go to support groups (often through churchs or community centers), as well as utilize the internet. 

Medication is also an option to ameliorate sympotms and improve functioning.  I caution that medication will not cure or fix one’s problems or improve coping as a whole but it can help make functioning easier.

If it is not yourself that has experienced the trauma but rather a loved one, friend, co-worker, or employee please consider sharing this information as well being supportive and encouraging. Do not be judgmental and most of all be patient.  Everyone processes events differently. 

Below are some websites and books that may be informative and helpful:

Trauma and Recovery: the Aftermath of Violence from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman

The Body Awareness Workbook for Trauma: Release Trauma from Your Body, Find Emotional Balance, and Connect With Your Inner Wisdom: by Julie Brown

Closing An Entire Book


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In our lives there are many moments we need to move ON or move forward but We hold Ourselves back. We leave doors open, windows cracked, lights on, etc. But occasionally we need to permanently shut all access and be done.

The energy required to shut all access is actually less than the energy we expend leaving all these access points available and keeping ourselves vulnerable. How do you move forward if you are holding on to something that needs to be let go of?

Occasionally we need help. Occasionally we need others to make the access points inaccessible. I often tell patients change doesn’t happen until “the pain we are in surpasses the fear of what awaits us.” Well sometimes things need change before that happens! So what then?

Allow others to help. Close not only the chapter. But the book. It may not be easy but when it’s done it’s easier than always reopening it to see if whatever you thought was there was still there and IT ISN’T. Move forward. Move on. Grieve the loss but let go.

Books should have an ending so we can start another.

Problem with me is I don’t like to read but I do because it’s GOOD FOR ME!

Blinders off. Take it in

So often we spend time worrying about what we have or haven’t done, what will be that isn’t, and what we could do differently. We work as with blinders on. We forget to be mindful of the beauty that is us and that is all around us. It greats us every morning and puts us to sleep every night. When we move too quickly we miss it. My niece rows crew and has the luxury of witnessing the sunrise and sunsets and sometimes doesn’t even notice it bc she is focused on her job.

How many moments in you day are missed bc you are just “doing what has to be done?” What would happen internally if you paused for 5 seconds to take it all in? How would not only your day transform but you transform.

Today I am choosing to take in the sunrise and sunset that she sent me because she and her friend took a moment to take it all in. I wonder our days will look like because we took the blinders off. What will your scenery look like? How will you transform?

Let Them Go and Swim

Parenting is a challenge at all stages. Hopefully we raise our children to learn to be themselves and individuate while always wanting them to remain a part of us. As our children grow into themselves it is important that they know in life that they are allowed to advocate for themselves and individuate and grow into who they are. It is a journey and oftentimes it looks like they are pulling away from others, and in some ways they are, but it also brings them closer to who they are truly going to become. As moms our jobs are to watch our children do the hard and sometimes dangerous work of becoming themselves without always saving them…right away😜. 
Being a parent is much like these two pictures.  The picture made me think of the journey we have as mother’s and children. Children go out into the water filled with sharks and other dangers (🦈 😜) on their own because they must.  Throughout life they will run back a little closer to us, or even check where we are in relation to them. And even though they won’t typically ask for help, we will be very close by forever watching and ever ready when they call out to us. 

Therapeutically, we must allow them access to this journey. And we, as parents, must allow ourselves to be ever present and ever ready but sometimes only watching from dry land. 

AN OBSERVATION: Caring For Our Loved Ones

Families have changed so much over the years to the point where the non-traditional family IS the traditional family and is normal (as a relative term). But one thing remains, when the head of the non-traditional family falls ill the family must create a new tradition…a new normal. 

Emotionally this can be rewarding and difficult. To care for a loved one that has cared so much for their family can be a gift of repayment. To hold their hand, drive them all over the world, wait excessive hours with them for various doctors, encourage compliance as they once did their family member, and more IS love. For some it’s duty but what a better mental health reframe to see it as giving love. 

In the same instance it’s exhausting. The obvious of course is it’s physically tiring but also because loving hard and loving long is exhausting. 

I don’t have any amazing words of advice or mental health antidotes from this but I can say acknowledging the duality and parallel process is healing and transformative. Also reframing this idea of duty and physical exhaustion to giving love and being an example of the love that was given. 

Feeling tired in positive love for the non-traditional family system is “easier” on the mind and body than feeling exhausted physically. 

A very important person wrote this: 

“380 days ago I sat in the Zurich airport waiting to board my plane bringing me back home after coming face to face with religious extremism in Burkina Faso just 5 days prior. I was surrounded by African refugees wearing their nicest clothes, some in burkas others in suits. Some were with their entire families, some were alone. There were kids, men, women, all of them human beings, my brothers and sisters. They were all nervous and excited to begin their new lives in America, the greatest country in the world. I was damned proud to be an American that day! 

When I felt fear creeping up on me I thought back to a fresh promise I made to myself while hiding literally two feet from Al Qaida gunmen that killed 30 people. I conceded they won that night, but if I got out alive I vowed they would not win the following night or any night thereafter. I vowed fear would not cloud my judgment, I vowed not to sacrifice my humanity, I vowed not to hate. I vowed to love, to understand others and to fight for the rights of those oppressed and attacked by ignorance. 

Today as I look around at the racist and blatantly anti-Muslim actions of my government and the hateful ignorant rhetoric of my fellow citizens that support these actions I am ashamed. I am ashamed that we are allowing fear to dictate the policies of this great country. That we are actively allowing fear to tear apart the moral fabric of this country. Ashamed that American values of compassion, kindness and diversity have been replaced by hate, racism and fear. This is not strength. This does not make America better. This weakens us a Nation.

I stand in opposition to this administration and the values it promotes. They win tonight, but they will not win tomorrow.”

This young man, a dear friend’s brother was the victim of terrorist attack. While I prayed for him and my close friend and their family he prayed to live a life of acceptance, compassion, love, understanding, and respect for ALL people. Please read and ponder his words. 

Whatever your political view we all are a part of this diverse world. With so many issues in our world what do these words mean to you? How can and will you make a difference. “They win tonight but they will not win tomorrow.” 

When is your tomorrow!?

(Also posted this on my Facebook page