My baby graduated high school this weekend! It brought up so many emotions for me. I can’t help but feel weepy and nostalgic as I reflect on her life – and who I was when she entered my life.
In case you don’t know my story… I found out I was pregnant with her my senior year of college.
I was not stable mentally and taking a pretty heavy dose of Depakote at that time – something you definitely should not be on if you’re going to get pregnant, due to major risk of birth defects. I was encouraged to terminate the pregnancy.
30 years ago, I stood at the bay window behind my left shoulder, and I watched my grandpa die on our front lawn. This was a pivotal moment for me.
This is the reason that I freeze up when there’s an emergency – even a mild one, like when my child gets a nosebleed. This is the reason that I space out from time to time. This is the reason I can’t have a proper reaction to sudden loss and I dissociate (as if there even is such a thing as a proper reaction to loss).
I spent a good 25 of these last 30 years kind of thinking that watching someone die at a young age is normal, that it’s my life’s burden, and I should just get over it and power through.
But my body knows better. Spring carries an undercurrent of sadness within the blooming beauty. When I smell honeysuckles, I experience fear, betrayal, abandonment, and sadness all over again. Every year since 1991, I typically find myself teary at some point in the middle of the month of April. The tears come without warning. And then I remember what month it is.
I don’t share this simply to bleed vulnerability all over the internet and incite sympathy. I say this because I know many of you have also experienced trauma, something that makes you feel alone at times, or different, or a shell of who you are.
Just like with mental health and nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all to trauma. You may not be even be able to acknowledge it consciously. It may be showing up in ways you don’t expect; it may manifest as a chronic mental health issue or a physical ailment.
While 100% healing may never be a guarantee on this earth, a path to healing IS possible. Part of my path is sharing my story, hoping that it makes someone else who is struggling feel heard and understood. Even if our traumas are different.
Your pain is real. Your feelings are real. Your mystery symptoms are real.
April 16, 1991 was a cruelly tumultuous day in my childhood. While it’s a day that forever shaped my perspective of this world, it also brought restoration and healing and purpose I wouldn’t have had without it. It brought me to where I am today, fiercely advocating for wholeness and healing – mind, body and soul.
This is the first “listener request” episode! Many listeners asked for an episode on the topic of dealing with narcissists, and this one is powerful! Download and listen here or get wherever you get podcasts.
Sandra Beck is an author, coach, speaker, radio, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and also an expert on narcissism. She has done countless trainings and written much on the subject.
No matter who you are or where you live, we can all agree that the year 2020 shook things up. For many of us, 2021 is already proving to be just as challenging. You may have started off with good intentions, resolutions, goals, plans, or a word of the year. You said you were going to exercise more, eat better, read your Bible every day, or cook more meals at home. But it’s so hard fighting back the negative beliefs, those lies that tell you you aren’t doing enough, you’re lazy, you’re unmotivated, or you can’t stick to anything.
Maybe you are sticking to your goals. Maybe you’re really killing it in 2021 and you feel motivated – but you know something is missing in your spiritual life. You’re still plagued with a need to be better, do more, and perform.
I’ve once again teamed up with my friend Heather Creekmore, author of Compared to Who and The Burden of Better, to bring you ReFOCUS 21, a 21 day wellness course aimed to give you a fresh focus. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit, so our desire is for you to start renewing your mind in the way you think about body image, health, and diets. The group starts on February 1 – and each day’s content will be delivered straight to your inbox!
Upon joining, you’ll gain access to all the materials we’ll be discussing throughout the 21 days. Each day, you will receive two videos (one from Heather, one from me) to encourage you with a new perspective on physical, mental, and spiritual health. Topics range from nourishment, to balance, to habits, to movement, to satisfaction, and so many more!
Everyone has experienced trauma in some form in their lifetimes. The fact that trauma is stored in the body is well-documented, and the various tools and therapies being developed for healing continue to amaze me. This is why I was so excited to take an entire podcast episode and devote it to one revolutionary healing method!
Zach Herrin is a Licensed Professional Counselor trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). In this powerful episode, we discuss how trauma impacts our lives, the affect of grief, and how EMDR can be a powerful tool for healing. Download here or find it wherever you get podcasts!
Why is a trauma focus important in counseling?
How do you know if you have trauma?
The connection between grief and trauma
The history and science behind EMDR
Who can benefit from EMDR
The methodology behind EMDR
Kids and EMDR
The importance of emotional vulnerability
Learn more about Zach’s practice at solacecounselingcenter.com.
I may sound like a broken record, but learning to handle and process trauma is such a crucial part of whole body healing. In the latest episode of the Sparking Wholeness podcast, I speak with Suzanne Simpson, owner of Renewed Life Counseling, all about the effects of trauma in our life and how to break free.
Suzanne is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Life Coach, author, and speaker who works with people to help set them free from emotional traumas so they can live a more victorious life.
Her newest book, Lost & Restored: Healing Your Heart with the Father, is a faith-based approach to digging into your life’s events that have significantly impacted you.
No amount of sugar or substance can make my brain buzz the way a dose of hypomania can. The ideas, the thoughts, and the LIFE that course through my head – all those are amplified in a time of crisis or extreme change. Being thrown off my daily routine or sleep schedule is a risk to my mental health. So throwing me into a global pandemic and giving me access to information 24/7 can really shake things up.
I find myself hopping around from medical research sites to conspiracy theory groups to political commentaries and read over all the comments and opinions. I am an excellent mimic. In order to manage my symptoms early on, I found a way to adapt to acceptable behavior and commentary, so I wouldn’t have to stand out any more than my buzzing brain could allow. I know what I shouldn’t voice in public or on social media, at risk of anyone thinking I am “crazy,” the C word accusation being one of my biggest threats. I fear other people’s opinions of me more than the average person, because deep down inside I know that my brain functions differently from everyone else’s, and that is scary. So I turn inward, and obsess, and research some more, and head down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, at the expense of my sanity.
At first the racing thoughts and buzz are a high, and they fuel me and energize me. At some point though, my brain reaches breaking point and I have to make it stop. I’ve been down these roads long enough to know where they end – in verbal explosions or in heavy medication to shut it all off.
So I fight. I maintain my mind by shutting off my triggers. I stop researching, stop listening and reading to anything that will throw me into a black hole of information. I take naps, and I go to sleep early. I’m fortunate in that I’ve never struggled with sleep. I can always breathe myself to sleep. In for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, out for 8 seconds. I burn off the energy through heavy exercise. I write, I dig into my feelings and name what is going on instead of escaping through obsessive behaviors.
The thing about bipolar disorder, is that it manifests differently in everyone. Everyone struggles in a unique way, and everyone has different triggers.
*To hear more details from others who suffer and how they manage, click to listen to Episode 29 of the podcast on my show page or subscribe on iTunes.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tools for finding stability during times of major stress or life change. Before I list them, here is the caveat – these tools aren’t always effective in the middle of a full-fledged episode. It is really hard to tell someone who cannot physically get out of bed due to depression, “You should just lace up your shoes and go outside. Why are you just laying there?” Or telling someone who’s manic, “Slow down and go to sleep.” It doesn’t work like that. These are physical illnesses that affect the physical function of our bodies. Our brains aren’t capable of telling our bodies to do what our bodies need to do. This is why we have to be on the offense and employ these tools REGULARLY, during times of stability, so that they are habitual and instinctual. The sooner we can tighten up these strategies at the beginning of the roller coaster climb or at the beginning of the dip downward, the better off we will be. Continue reading “Being Bipolar in a Global Crisis”→
I was thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down and talk to Melissa d’Arabian, Food Network host and author of the bestselling Ten Dollar Dinners, about her newest book Tasting Grace.
In her book, Melissa describes 16 invitations that transform the way we view food and our relationship with food.
I don’t know about you, but I have felt burdened by all the food rules lately. Everyone has an opinion on what is “good” or “bad” food. This book was a breath of fresh air in shaping my perspective on food as a gift and a joy.
In my interview with Melissa, she talks about why she chose to write this book, the intentional process she went through in forming it, and she shares some of her views that helped shaped the invitations in this book.
If you are feeling caught up and confused in the “eat this, not that” culture we live in, this book and episode of the podcast offers a fresh and balanced perspective. Food can unite us, and we can utilize what we’ve been given to be filled with more gratitude – and grace.
If you love this interview, I can’t recommend the book enough. It is a love letter to food and the Giver of good things. For more information on Melissa, check out her website here.
Be sure to subscribe to the Sparking Wholeness podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts! To access my show page, click the tree to the right!
I’ve been in a pantry cleaning mood lately. I didn’t say organizing. You can ask my husband – organization is NOT my skill set. But I’m trying to make use of ingredients we have hanging out in the back of the pantry. You know those things you need for a recipe, you use a tiny bit of, then you forget about them? Those things.
So when I found green lentils that, for the life of me I can’t remember what we used them for, I decided to go searching for a way to cook them.
I found the original recipe here, and apart from the green curry paste, I had all the ingredients I needed on hand – total win. I added a few different things to the recipe, took away some others, and the result is a flavorful, hearty dish that is thicker than soup but just as warming. Continue reading “Green Lentil Curry”→
The biggest transformation that happened for me this last year had nothing to do with my body and had EVERYTHING to do with how I see my body.
If you want to lose weight this year, great. If you want to take a different approach to health by balancing things from the inside out, that’s something I will continue to share about in 2020.
Just remember – someone else’s before and after doesn’t tell the full story. What looks like “discipline” may actually be disordered eating. What looks like gaining weight or hitting a plateau may actually be a year of grief and stress. We can’t measure success or failure from a picture.
What’s always missing in these before and after pictures is the DURING.