Climate change and mental health…

Watching tv last week, I came across The Running Man from 1987, the one with Arnold Schwartzenegger.

In the year 2019, America is a totalitarian state where the favorite television program is “The Running Man” — a game show in which prisoners must run to freedom to avoid a brutal death. Having been made a scapegoat by the government, an imprisoned Ben Richards (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has the opportunity to make it back to the outside again by being a contestant on the deadly show, although the twisted host, Damon Killian (Richard Dawson), has no intention of letting him escape.

Anyway, I got caught up in it out of curiosity. It also scared me a bit because certain components rang true, like competition for resources and the culture of greed and instant gratification. I started to kinda freak so I do what I do these days…I found a TED talk!

Here’s the link-give it a listen!

Britt Way discusses the ways climate change affects your mental health. Common themes between the movie and TED talk: fear, fatalism, hopelessness. Here are the notes I took as I watched, some are quotes as indicated.

  • PTSD and suicidality increase after disasters like extreme weather events like Katrina, Sandy, Irene…
  • Young people are questioning whether they feel it’s right to bring children into the world given what they will face
  • “Bangladeshi child adds 56 metric tons of carbon dioxide to their parents carbon legacy over their lifetime while an American child, in comparison, adds 9441 to theirs.” So we also have to think bigger than just ourselves…
  • Climate change “multiplies the stresses that marginalized communities already face.”
  • Did you know that there are climate psychiatrists? They specialize in PTSD associated with weather events, but also “climate linked pre-traumatic stress.” Whoa!

As always, I find climate change scary and overwhelming, so I believe that those climate psychiatrists are for real! She closes with the following, and it’s important!

We cannot afford to treat the psychological impacts of climate change as an afterthought (just) because the other issues, of science, technology and politics, and economy, feel hard and while this somehow seems soft.”

I know what she means…the objective content is easier to swallow than the subjective, though no less important.

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Living with depression…

Yesterday morning I was hit by a tidal wave of sadness. I’m talking sobbing and hyperventilating, and throughout the day, moments of tears creeping back into my eyes. It was a challenge to do my job, but after a good cry and some toddler hugs, I was able to pull myself together for a while.

Still feeling overwhelmed at rest time, I decided to ask friends for a little support.

I posted this on Facebook and asked friends to send me their joy. And I’m so glad I did. I was the grateful recipient of kindness, inspiration, and yes, joy!

Some might say I was looking for attention, or having a pity party, and that’s fine. I was having a tough day and collected some good vibes. The joy was shared freely and honestly, and I’m so glad I have people in my life to lift me up now and then!

Sometimes I am bossy…and I’m not sorry

Doing the right thing is hard sometimes.

You already know what you should do, you just know an easier way.

Just go for it. What are you waiting for?

“I’m young enough…”

“There’s still time…”

“I don’t know what I want to do…”

“It can’t hurt to stay with him/her a little longer…”

“It’s not that bad…”

What are you waiting for? You have an opportunity to do something now, something of your own choosing. So just do it.

And you have the benefit of learning from others…such a gift! Learn from them, learn from me: take your life and shape it to be what you want, and get started now. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have the chance to remind yourself of that everyday.

Becoming the best version of myself…

This is my third post resulting from my meeting with Louise, and I found this one hardest to write for some reason…

She says things that I once thought of as cheesy or goofy, and though I’m coming around to her way of thinking, speaking like her is a different story.

So I’m going to give it a try. No, I’m not. I’m just going to do it. Not yet though, I’d like to break it down for you first. She described to me three parts of defining who we are and how to be the best version of ourselves.

What I am…essence and spirit of our being, a gift, sharing, compassion, light, kindness, presence.

What I have…gifts I’ve been given, make up, joy, compassion, unique talents.

What I do…you write, you create, you share. You live a good life as an expression of who you are.

When we hold back who we are, we get depressed, anxious…we have to go back to the beginning, to the source, to be our best self.

It’s funny, because I have always been one to think about my past and value it for shaping me as I am now. Some people say to forget about it and move on, that it doesn’t do any good to dwell on it. And while wallowing isn’t productive, I think reflection is, and I feel like Louise validates that with these words. So here is a glimpse of how I see myself, or define myself, or at least begin to…

What I am…open, vulnerability , fallibility, dedication, anxiety, adoration, pride,

What I have…resilience, hope, creativity, potential, emerging courage, opportunity

What I do…caring for children and families, teaching, parenting, illuminating the strengths of others, listening, sharing, writing, “creating energy and consciousness of goodness and wholeness, and compassion, kindness and sharingas Louise describes.

This is the essence of who I am and what I am, at least right now in this moment…

You know what’s really amazing?

When you are struggling, and you talk yourself out of insecurity, self-doubt, and you talk yourself into believing the best of a situation, giving the benefit of the doubt to someone, and then…you find out you were right to do it.

Sometimes, you just have to listen to that cheesy voice in your head trying to pump you up, keep the faith, and believe the best of people, because sometimes, the cheesy voice is right!

So keep listening to yourself…that voice might just be right, and though you won’t always know it for sure, that’s ok.

More on my meeting with Louise…

Because she is not just my mentor, she is a psychologist, and I had just come from therapy, and also, so much of my personal journey is wrapped up in my books…we discussed some of my…stuff. Here is a list of the topics mentioned and her warm and wonderful words that followed:

  • Self-published my book…why? Fear of rejection and desire for independence. Louise responds, “rather than fearing rejection, maybe you feared acceptance. The spirit does not have rejective qualities.” (Wow. Mind blown. Nailed it.)
  • A future book about death, animal kingdom, energy, coming from kids. Again, her response is beautiful, “one cannot create or destroy spirit, it always is. It always is and will be, instinct, intuition, spirit.” She goes further to state, “the body is just a carrier of our spirit, you think and feel the energy, it is formless.” And one more statement, “When we function as [just a] body, then we lose spirit, and it’s the spirit that unites us.”
  • In discussing the artwork of my book, I share how Jess and I became friends in 10th grade, and she stopped me and said, “that’s why you became friends in 10th grade, you were meant to come together,” to share your gifts with the world, to share your light, your compassion. She follows it up with more, “When we trust in where we come from, it’s magical…magic, magic, magic.” She reveals the simple idea that maybe I lit a spark in Jess…
  • And my dear friend…I told her how I had been numb and closed off until his kindness…sparked something. At some point, there was a defining moment when I allowed the light in, she says. I’m not so sure, and she goes on to say, “his kindness and light lit a spark in you, it sparked and it’s going to keep on sparking others. [What came] before the spark isn’t there anymore. You came alive and you awakened. You can’t go back. You have the strength to continue being who you are no matter what anyone says.” She reminds me that his friendship was a gift at a time that I needed it most, that I shared my gifts with him as well. She tells me that I don’t need him anymore, I have my own light now. She reminds me that nothing can diminish the gifts he shared with me, that they’ll always be with me, and mine with him.
  • We also briefly discussed the nature of a wolf, being part of the pack, “Even though I am a wolf, I still have my own individuality.” She breaks it down quite simply, “My worth is my pack. You do, do, do. Empire becomes your identity.” And warns, “Do not lose your essence even though you are part of a pack.” I hope my dear friend reads this…it’s how his family seems to operate, a pack defined by the empire they’ve created.
  • And finally, for now (yes there’s more, so much more), she emphasizes the need for patience in this world, in this life…”patience for the innate process of growth.”

Meeting with Louise…

Where to begin…well, if you haven’t read my rules to live by post, start there please.

I was excited and nervous to meet with her, though both feelings faded quickly upon seeing her. She is very calm and peaceful. She remembered me from years past and gave me a hug right away.

Its funny, only 24 hours later, and I’m having troubling recalling details…not that it wasn’t memorable, but because our meeting was so jam packed with…warmth, joy, gratitude. Right away, she whipped out my children’s book and told me how wonderful it was, especially the artwork (yay Jess). She was moved by the story of kindness, taking risks, compassion and sharing, calling my story a gift. She loves the flow and the wording of the book, and affirmed my choice of using animals to express my message, “the laws of nature, its instinctual in the animal kingdom to work together. [Using] animals in the story removes shame, removes judgement.”

The ultimate reason for the meeting was book 3…she has granted me full permission and is willing to support the process in any way needed. When I asked her about compensation, her response was beautiful:

“Sharing your joy, your compassion, your light is my compensation, watching you get free is my compensation. I live in spirit. I live in light.”

She shared so many things with me that I might just have to list different bits…

  • “I am light. I am spirit. I am kindness. I am compassion. I am sharing.” She relates this in regard to expression of who we are, and adds, “that’s the basis of who we are and what we are.”
  • She shared with me that she loves to read, and read that after the Mayan calendar ended, 12/21/12, “new energy emerged, came together.” She calls it “the best time to be alive, a time of renewal. [It is a time that is] safe to figure out who we are, get back to the essence of who we are.”
  • And as we were talking, I used the word try, which she quickly reminded me to remove that word from my vocabulary, “you do not try, you just do.” She gave me a little list: try, trying, tried, can’t, won’t, and but. Instead of won’t, she replaces it with “choose not to” and reminds me about the word but, “the truth is stated before the but and then what comes next negates it.” She suggests using and as a replacement.

There is so much more, but I have to collect my many thoughts…stay tuned!

Feeling…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

So I mentioned that I had some good news…I’ve been thinking about how to share some of my “wisdom” with others and I kept coming back to Louise and Sam’s rules for life that I blogged about previously. Louise Dietzel has an office in my state and so I decided to write her a letter and ask if I could share her rules in a children’s book (Sam passed away years ago).

I carefully crafted a letter reminding her of our previous encounters years and years ago. I explained to her that I have been healing from depression and that I feel a need to share what has helped…I asked for an opportunity to discuss sharing her rules.

And now for the best part: the minute she opened my letter and read it, she called me. I was in the midst of making pancakes and cutting up melon while 5 kids set the table. To say it wasn’t a good time would’ve been an understatement. But I took the call, listened and answered and asked if I could call her back in a little while.

After I hung up the phone, I started to jump up and down. I was smiling ear to ear and couldn’t find any words to describe the feelings…the kids asked, “do you have to go pee?” I smiled and told them that I was really really excited. It’s only a couple weeks later, on the eve of my resulting meeting with Louise, that I finally found the word to describe how I was feeling after that phone call:

SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS

Stay tuned to hear about my wonderful meeting with her!!

One person can make a difference…

I truly believe one person can make a difference, and I use this blog to do this in my own way (hopefully it’s working😉). But when I see others who think the same, I like to bring attention to it.

Now this guy has a voice, notoriety, a well-established platform and an Emmy…but it’s for his work with sharks. I want to highlight his why…and he has conveniently provided a little film for us:

WATCH THIS!

I love this film because he is open and honest and vulnerable, sharing how he always felt different. I think it’s important to share our stories to help others, and to remind young people especially, that being different can be a good thing. Accepting your own weirdness or quirkiness can unlock a whole new world for you, and it can free you to find your niche, where you feel belonging and connection and find your passion!

And of course, there’s a beautiful message here about conservation which is incredibly important…all creatures of the sea are connected and impacted by humans and what we put into the oceans. And one person CAN make a difference!

Sometimes I surprise myself…

It’s been a weird week with a few bad days that culminated in something amazing happening, but more on that later…

I’m finally detaching myself from my dear friend, and I think it’s for good this time, but more importantly…I’m doing ok…and that’s the surprise.

Long story, but he is no longer able to have me in his life, though I know it is not his preference, which helps me. It makes me still feel valued…the last time I saw him, I got to hear how he was taking time for hobbies and reconnecting with friends. I feel like he’s been listening and has some newfound resilience built into his world now.

I also was able to tell him how much he’s meant to me and changed my life. And while I still feel a little unsettled and wish I could see or talk to him, I’m focusing on my relationships, my work, and myself.

And I’m surprised at myself. I’ve been trying to let go for the past year, and just felt like I couldn’t…and while I still don’t want to, I now know that I can…I’m going to be okay, due in large part to the healing prompted by my dear friend. My dear friend that I will never forget, always care about, and wish well 😊