Do you ever notice that your struggles can become your identity? Like all you feel, think about and focus on are the things that you are struggling with? You may forget that you are a runner, a musician, an artist and simply feel like all you are these days are the things that you struggle with. Well my friend, I see you. I see you for your passions, talents, interests, and desires. I see past your struggles and see the real you. I embrace the real you and want to celebrate the real you. As humans, we have the unique power and capability to be more than one thing. We can be a mama and an amazing career woman. You can be a painter, a math genius, a dancer, and a chef! You name it, you can be it. That's the beauty of being human...we are dynamic, ever changing, evolving beings who have moved through adversity to become the aspirations we dream of. So why the pep talk? Well...working in the mental health field and now the coaching field, it has been an overwhelming theme that our struggles can take over our lives and cause us to feel trapped in the identity of the struggle.We can inadvertently begin to protect ourselves from the outside world as a means to heal during this time...only to later realize the loneliness of isolation during a struggle. When I worked at CFSS, we would question ourselves and the work we did to explore if it was rooted in protecting or promoting and ensure we were creating a balance of both. You see, life is all about balance, about the Yin and Yang, the highs and lows, protecting and promoting. When struggling with your mental wellness and mental illness, it is important to remember this balance. Remember that as much as we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones during these times, we need to create equal practices of promoting LIVING. We have to create opportunities to challenge our state of being unwell with moments of feeling alive. Depending on your struggle you can control the circumstances and design of the things you do the make you feel alive, that allow you to EXPERIENCING LIFE. Doing things that put you in nature, that give you butterflies in your belly, that create opportunities for laughter, to feel your body being alive. Pre-Pandemic, when working with children whose lives became their struggles, we often filled parts of the day with joy. Skateboarding, hiking, attending concerts and music festivals, learning to play an instrument, swimming, snowboarding...you name it. Some may wonder, why would you bring a child who refuses to go to school, who is harming themselves, who is smashing up the house to do a fun activity for treatment?...well the proof is in the pudding :) When I feel like crap, I'm having a down day, I feel like I didn't do my best, or I regret a decision...and I beat myself up over it, I tend to spiral further. But if I honor the lesson or honor the experience I am having and ask myself what would make me feel better and do it, I feel better and move on. It really is quite simple. So I challenge you with this: When you are having a hard day, a difficult season, are in the pits of your illness or pain, ask yourself what you need. Do you need to protect yourself in these moments or promote your sense of life? This week on the Empower 2 Heal Podcast, our featured guest Jarred Madison Frey, the host of the Bipolar Bachelor Podcast, joined us just a week after a manic episode that lead to a hospital visit. I was reminded by the beauty of deciding to protect yourself or promote living life during this conversation. One may think that recording a podcast should be rescheduled to when Jarred was feeling top notch, but I tend to disagree. Sometimes we need choices and may need things that present themselves in a moment of difficulty, something to help us hold onto our true self outside of just the hard moment we are in. I was proud to interview Jarred in a moment that showcases the true and raw reality of living with mental illness and the hope that can also be connected to these moments. Join us in Episode 42 >HERE< to learn how Jarred is walking through his life experiencing mental illness, and still finding ways to thrive.
***Trigger warning, this episode discusses suicide attempts, psychosis, and mania.*** If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of self harm or sucicide, please know you are not alone. You can reach out to our national suicide hotline at 800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
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With much love and gratitude,