Elevator Counseling

I love taking the stairs but when the elevator in the hotel parking garage opened as I approached, I knew there was a reason. I turned to the other passenger and said, “Well, I guess the Universe is telling me to take the elevator.” She said, “Do you listen to the Universe too?”

I told her I did.

She said, “I’ve got a question for you. What happens when everything is really negative and bad? How do you focus? How do you get out of that place?”

She had her suitcase and was heading towards her vehicle. “I think what you do is find that one thing that’s beautiful,” I said.  “A smile on a baby’s face. Or the sunrise. Or maybe a sunset. Just find it and focus on that and keep going back to that one thing. And then add one more. When you are in a dark hole, all you can see is shit and darkness.”

I told her, “It’s like if you’re on a diet. You’re not going to make a difference in a day, but in month you’ll start to see change. So, hang on to that feeling of finding beauty everyday for a month, then you will see some light in the darkness.” I wanted to reach over and wipe away her tears.

When she mentioned she was at the hotel for a conference, I asked her what kind of work she did. She was counselor attending a trauma seminar. No wonder she was so messed up. Who knows what sad stories she was dealing with in her world.  For the briefest moment in time, I was able to convey to her through my actions. “Let it all go. I’ve got you.” And I did have her for that very short window of time. Maybe that was all she needed. To be heard. To be not alone. To connect.

Everything about her was raw and vulnerable. I hope she finds some healing and is able to treat herself kindly.

How about if we send her some light? Just close your eyes and send some light and love to this giving person. Will it reach her? Will it make a difference? Maybe it will. I hope so.

 ~~ Resources & Links:

 

 

Sometimes Facebook Makes Me Crazy

I don’t spend much time on Facebook like I did. I go there every few weeks and look at new family photos and then exit the program. There was a time I posted photos and made comments and ‘Liked’ but not anymore.

First off, it took me a bit of time to understand but after I read the posts from family and friends I got sad. Their lives were so full, so rich, so purposeful. They had anniversary photos, new jobs, they had ‘relationship status’ updates from “single” to “in a relationship” and then “married.” Their kids were top-achievers, getting into great colleges, finding employment and getting married. The married children were in contact with their parents, took photos with their children and life was rosy and sweet.


Their holidays were joyful and the only thing missing was Norman Rockwell. Photos of their vacations could have been ripped from travel guides. The more I read, the sadder I became. It’s not that I was envious of my Facebook family, it’s more like I was left behind in the gray room with all the gray colors and gray food. My life — which is pretty full and fantastic, felt sort of …lacking.

It took a bit of detective work  but the pieces fell together and the truth unfolded. There were fights, bankruptcies, illnesses, divorces, job losses and failing students standing there when the camera was put away. This bit of reality didn’t ease my sadness; it just made me realize how childish it all is.

It’s childish for me to compare my standing with someone’s posting on Facebook. kayak2It’s stupid to wish for another life when I have no idea if that person is truly happy or perhaps cries herself to sleep at night. I know where I stand. I know what I’ve achieved and what it took to get me there. I know there are things I want that I haven’t achieved and sometimes I wish I could have a ‘do-over’ but this is where I am – right here and now.

Every now and then I’ll check Facebook to see who’s doing what … and everything I read I’ll take with a grain of salt. No sadness, no comparison, no wishing I had someone else’s good fortune. I know better now.

Fall back, Spring ahead!

Every year we turn our clocks back in the fall for Daylight Savings Time (DST.) This one hour change makes me crazy. The mornings start off with more light but darkness greets me an hour earlier and it’s disturbing.

cropped-cropped-cropped-rainbow-in-felt-idaho2-sm.jpgFor many others, it’s more than disturbing  –   it’s dangerous because depression, moodiness and lack of energy sets in when sunlight disappears. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can send happy, healthy people into a state of flux.

One woman I know had a light box on her desk at work. It substituted for natural sunlight during the winter months. It was her medicine to help her stay sane. Most important of all, it helped her feel grounded when she the rest of her was out of balance.

Remember, for those of us without SAD who feel a shift in attitude due to less light, shorter days, and weather changes we can benefit from additional time outside. Scheduling short walks throughout the day (because if we don’t schedule them …) will help more than you can imagine. You will end up saying to yourself, “why don’t I do this more often?”

The thing is – I’m not ready to say goodbye to the summer even though it’s actually fall. The autumn here has been so warm, colorful and inviting that it’s difficult for me to understand Saturday is November 1. On November 2, the Daylight Savings Time begins.

I’ll change the clock back one hour but I won’t do it with a smile…

 

Sanity: Mental Health in Motion

Sanity is defined as the quality or state of being sane; especially soundness or health of mind. Sanity comes from the Latin word Sanitas. (Merriam-webster.com/dictionary)

There are many ways to keep sane in this insane world. Previously I mentioned flexibility and the ability to change.

Another way to keep sane is to move. The act of moving, whether it’s up a steep mountain, along a sidewalk or inside a mall has healing properties.  Aerobics, dancing, cycling, running, swimming and walking helps :

  • Increase energy
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Keep depression at bay
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Elevate your mood
  • Lighten your load (mentally and physically)
  • Improve sleep

For me movement is a huge part of my world.

Walking and talking is even better and makes for an easy conversation. The ability to share stories, offer comments and learn from others during a walk are benefits that last much longer than the act. When the movement takes place outside there are other elements that add to a good frame of mind. Elements might include fresh air, cloud movement, landscape, people-watching,  children at play, artists at work, and more.

marge-gem lake hike1I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve expressed words of gratitude when I was out walking. There’s a feeling of freedom and appreciation for the world around me when I am moving.

The words that spill so easily from me soothe my heart and calm my soul.

“Thank you so much for this wonderful day…
~For this sunshine
~For the open sky
~For strong legs to help me climb
~For my friend who agreed to join me.”

And then there are times when walking alone works best. It allows me time for introspection, problem-solving, ideas for new blog topics, planning, praying and they all help lighten my load.

Movement is a good thing. It’s a reminder that I am alive. It’s a reminder to take care of this precious body of mine. It’s a reminder to say Thank You.

Thank you for reading, feel free to add your thoughts and ideas on what works for you.

For now  – ITS TIME TO DANCE. Turn on video below and move that body!
(We should both be dancin’, yeah!)

Related articles

Why so SAD?

It’s that time of year again… not enough light because of the fewer hours in the day of sunlight, too many clouds, too much snow, too many hours inside.  If you’re feeling depressed and irritable you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, aptly referred to as SAD.

Symptoms:
You may notice this if you’re feeling tired, depressed, irritable, decreased activity levels and body aches. These symptoms feel more intense during the darkest months of the year. People who live farthest from the equator and have shorter days in the winter months will feel this depression longer.

Treatments:
Exposure to light will help lift  your blues and get your body back into an active state.  Bright lights, especially florescent lights used in the morning and evening will work best. Something a bit more fun may be a trip to a warm sunny climate for a period of time as a way to warm you up and lift your mood.

The important thing to remember is this state of flux is temporary and will leave when the earth shifts and seasons change. If it’s too heavy to live with and the depression is too severe, perhaps a move to a sunny climate is in store for you.  Sunny Florida, Arizona or California will offer some respite during the dreary winter months and may be someplace you move to during the winter months or year round.

Search for the Light:
Phototherapy has been used successfully to get more light into your life. A light box can be used to alleviate some of your depression.  A light box, is designed to offer enough brightness (25x brighter than a normal lamp light bulb) to lift your mood.

Turn to the light …and then turn to your friends and family and let them know what’s going on with you. A social network can be effective and healing in getting you over this low time.

Links:
Feeling Sad and Blue?
Seasonal Affective Disorder
SAD

“Women Comprise Majority of SAD Sufferers” (by HealthyPlace.com)

About 70-80% of those with SAD are women. The most common age of onset is in one’s thirties, but cases of childhood SAD have been reported and successfully treated. For every individual with full blown SAD, there are many more with milder “Winter Blues.” The incidence of SAD increases with increasing latitude up to a point, but does not continue increasing all the way to the poles. There seems to be interplay between an individual’s innate vulnerability and her degree of light exposure. For instance, one person might feel fine all year in Texas but develop SAD when she moves to Toronto. Another individual may be symptomatic in New York City, but have few symptoms in Miami. Some individuals who work long hours inside office buildings with few windows may experience symptoms all year round. Some very sensitive individuals may note changes in mood during long stretches of cloudy weather.
Read entire article at Seasonal Affective Disorder