I'm Dedicated To Caring, Learning, Healing and Growing and Helping You Do the Same
When I mentioned that I made the mid-career change what I didn't say, was that this was after what had been some really difficult and painful experiences. When I was in the midst of them, it was confusing and overwhelming.
I was checking the boxes for the things on the "invisible checklist" in my mind that we seem to inherit as young adults in our culture and yet I was living in a range of discontent or dissatisfaction. I would spin in a cycle of overwhelm from anxiety to disconnect, but primarily some sort of low grade misery. It was like I would check something off that invisible checklist that guided my life and I'd be a little happier, although it was short lived.
I didn't understand this and became resigned to "just surviving" because I truly thought I had all the things that should bring me happiness...completed college degrees, a career, marriage, became a parent, have friends and extended family, along with a new home, yet I would return to some misery.
So I would therefore, it must just be me and that's how it is. I went on "living"."
This seemed to build over time to a point that I notably remember facing the reality that I was facing disability before I was forty years old. Returning to work after a summer off as a school social worker and saying it out loud to the disability insurance rep, brought a layer of reality that was painful. I had to share that I may REALLY need to have disability insurance and face some major changes now and for my future.
At this time, I had thought that I had my mind okay, but my body just wouldn't cooperate. I remember being told that there was no conclusive medical diagnosis for the symptoms I had been experiencing and the joint swelling and tightness, predominately in my hands, which if it kept progressing would likely prevent me from using my fingers.
This was the beginning of discovering and actively yet imperfectly applying this knowledge to take better care of myself, which is much more than change your diet, move your body and lower your stress. The symptoms that had been rapidly increasing, began to calm down.
While I had no idea at the time this way of living and seeing the world was likely related to some health issues I began experiencing, I now in hind sight can see that the pressure, stress and focus on achievements, attributes and what others think of me, left me now knowing, liking or trusting myself.
Although this wasn't the end of it. Through a variety of twists and turns, I eventually discovered a variety of ways to get some results, from physical and appearance oriented focused endeavors to professional relationships, titles behind my name an successful businesses, believing that these would bring me the long missing solution for my low grade dissatisfaction. While some of these things have been healthy and sustainable, there are also some that brought more short term and surface level results and only added to my self-blame and shame.
After what to me felt like the perfect storm, no one on the outside of me seemed to notice. In hind sight I now see that I had was doing the best based on what I knew at the time and in my lack of awareness I was doing what we're all told will get us the happiness we want, only to discover that I was in a place of experiencing more anxiety than ever.
As I was going through this, I was also learning a lot about what stress does to people...the helpful side of stress, or eustress and the problematic side of stress...or the toxic stress. I was also concurrently engaging in professional education and learning how our nervous system works along with trauma therapy approaches. I didn't know at the time how much I needed to experience these nervous system healing techniques. Once I began this process, the shame and self-blame dissipated and has since been replaced with more flexibility and compassion.
Back to the anxiety I loosely referenced earlier, I learned about how my stress response, and thinking that I now know was a dysregulated nervous system that would amplify a harsh "inner critic" thought track in my mind, was a thing and that there was a way to not walk around with a belief that my hair was on fire and no one seemed to see me or notice this.
When I finally humbled myself to seek the healing I needed, I found a lot of validation and felt seen finally and things began to turn around in my life. With helpful support from people who do their own work and have the knowledge and more importantly the skill to really listen and guide me to helping learn about myself, accept myself and my circumstances, process the pain and release the old beliefs and behaviors.
A part of healing is learning. It's hard, if not impossible, to change when you think you've done all that you can do.
Although I believe the most ideal learning, healing and growth is in connection with what I call "trauma-informed shame education," where we can have compassion for our self and others, who we would typically pre-decide, judge, blame or look at as a failing or a problem.
I've come to learn it's crucial to start with yourself for yourself by getting clear about how your life is really going, on the outside and the inside. I've created a Wellness Clarity Wheel that I've revised over time and still use to keep an eye on myself and lead me back to living in moderation and will share with you when you sign up for my Happiness and Health Tips.
Since I've been sharing more detail here and they are more of a surface level story, I want to also share that as a therapist, I used to think that I didn't need therapy. In my training I received the message that I was the expert and should know what to do, while in reality this added o my "imposter syndrome" (yes, I'll share more about this in the future). There are ways that can help us that may totally surprise you. This was the case for me. I had no idea how somatic therapies that clear your nervous system where talk therapy doesn't access can help make needed changes, psychologically and physically so much easier and realistic.
While I'm now a strong advocate for those of us in the helping and healing profession to be on the receiving end of what we do. I don't think it's optional in today's world as a helper, healer or healthcare worker.
While therapy can be a useful and important component for your life experience for healing and growth, it's not all of it. There's so much that I continue to benefit from when in psychologically safe community. I hope to create and offer others this and it's a service for people seeking support in alternative ways that can also complement therapy.
There are many ways to get clear, process, resolve and grow from what feels like difficult and painful experiences and I'm here to offer several options.
Watch for What's To Come
Learn about how to help others with reducing misery and suffering, but also growing. Learning is easier when you have a teacher who not only studies extensively what they teach, but lives the very way intentionally. That's why with an advanced degree and courses in various aspects of personal and relationship health, we am expanding services to help people beyond therapy. I am passionate about the subjects I teach and bring research based applicable information and enthusiasm into all offerings and these days, I only offer services that I benefit from long-term.
Learning is also best in like-minded community. Chris experiences so much growth and resolution to problems and reduction of her own symptoms in community of others who are looking for the same. Therefore seeing the need and knowing the power of connection, we will be hosting community offerings.
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