As I’m getting older I’m finding that I’m getting more emotional – more prone to tear up. These tears show up in interesting places – in meaningful moments with my kids; in conversations with close friends and family; and in meetings where I’m interviewing potential staff for Qualia. Yup, that’s right, I often get choked up right in the middle of an interview, with the candidate looking on wide-eyed.
Today is an amazing day. Across the nation people everywhere will be participating in Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, a day to reduce stigma and create social space to discuss the important subject of Mental Health. As I considered what it was I wanted to dedicate my voice to for this day, I also considered the tremendous progress that having such a day as today means. It means that as a society we are improving. It means that those who have been suffering in silence for generations, or all their lives, can begin to emerge from the isolation and connect to and be understood by others. It means that the cloak and fog of fear, misunderstanding, prejudice and discrimination can begin to shed from the topic of mental illness. So congratulations to this generation, congratulations to all those who contributed to this progress and who together with the leaders of this movement have taken a stand for justice and anti oppression for this population. Woo hoo!!
January 28th begins Bell’s “Let’s talk” campaign aimed at reducing stigma around mental health issues. Here at Qualia, we are committed to providing a warm and safe atmosphere for those struggling with mental health concerns. Part of our mission is to provide education to people so that mental health stigma will be reduced. As part of this initiative, I would like to provide some education on labels, stigma and mental health issues.
The “Positive Data Log” is something us Therapists like to use with Clients who are just simply not giving themselves enough credit. One common “thought trap” we humans tend to fall into is to simply ignore information that disproves what we already believe…and keeping our bad mood in place. For example, if I get to work and see someone well dressed, I may think to myself “wow, I am so unattractive…why don’t I ever look like that?” And, to no one’s surprise, my mood is likely to deflate. Depending how the rest of my day goes, I may find myself in a mood of discouragement, envy, or even sadness. If I am someone who struggles with low self-esteem, I am likely to find my belief that “I am less than others” now firing on all cylinders, and wrecking my day.
Setting a budget is actually freeing! You may think that it is going to restrict you. However I hae found just the opposite to be true. I am fairly good with my money (I am a bookkeeper, after all). In my earlier life, I never set a budget or really needed to worry about money. However, once kids came along things changed. I began to say to them, “we can’t buy that toy, we don’t have enough money” or “No I can’t buy you that candy, money doesn’t grow on trees”
I heard a great quote a week ago, and it’s had my wheels spinning: “Indecision is paralysis.” Indecision. Is. Paralysis. So, so true. To start the new career path….or stay in this one. To end the toxic relationship….or stay in fear of the fallout. To start moving toward financial health…or keep on avoiding it. To finally see a Therapist about that personal flaw that keeps hurting me…or just think about it. The situations are endless. All of us will experience the struggle of indecision at some point in our lives. Probably multiple times.
At our last Qualia Group Clinical Staff Meeting one of the many fabulous clinicians that work here shared of a clients recent moment of triumph which the Clinician had the privilege of witnessing and partially facilitating. The Clinician shared of the CBT techniques he and the client had used to uncover truth and gain insight into the clients life. He described the “Eureka!” moment the client had and the deep emotional and cognitive growth that occurred in that moment. To me he described what I commented to be a Sacred Moment.
Amidst the flurries, the smell of pine, the twinkling lights and the red bows, there is no denying that the holiday season is upon us. While for some this time of year is full of giving, sharing and love; for many others, whether we celebrate it or not, it is truly difficult. Whether it’s the former, the latter, or somewhere in between, it can be a time of self-neglect for many. Often, even when it is joyous, we are rushing, worried about gifts, family issues and MONEY. When it is difficult, we may feel lonely or disconnected, remembering a lost loved one, feeling nostalgic for a happier time, or watching other people, but not ourselves, rejoicing in one another’s company.
I’m quaking in my boots. I’m having a deeply human experience that is very, very common, and I thought I’d take you with me through it for a few minutes.
I had a crappy morning today. It wasn’t the kind of “crappy” that we give ourselves the luxury of whining about, like bad news from the doctor, or a car accident. It was that other kind of crappy, the one we judge all over ourselves for, where I didn’t sleep all night, the house was a mess, the kids were immature little vortexes of need, and I had untold number of work hassles to weed through. It was the kind of crappy that I had the maturity to know was not a “real” problem, and that I knew I should stop whining about and I had already harassed myself with the “shut up already” speech (see, even us Therapist types don’t get it right much of the time). And to top it all off, when I TRIED to do what I thought I should do – – which was the whole “this is not a real problem, now let it go, let it go (insert Frozen song here), get a Starbucks and move on” thing- I spilled my mature, calm coffee all over my work clothes without one sweet sip making it to my mouth. And with that, there went even more of my precious few hours today to take care of the work hassles. Or any of the other things. Grrrr. Bad morning!