“When thinking about life, remember this: No amount of guilt can solve the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future.” ~Unknown
I was buckled in on a small, twenty-person airplane, and we were heading toward the runway, when I looked out the window and saw the airplane wheel was wobbling.
I gathered my courage, unbuckled my seatbelt, and approached the flight attendant, who told me to sit back down.
“I think there’s something wrong with the wheel,” I said.
He looked out the window and said, “It’s fine.” But then he radioed the pilot, who turned the …
“And some days life is just hard. And some days are just rough. And some days you just gotta cry before you move forward. And all of that is okay.” ~Unknown
I have always struggled with low moods. I guess that considering that I spent close to twenty years of my life inactive and depressed, this could be seen as progress. But that still didn’t feel good enough.
I wanted to feel more balanced, light, and happy, and I wanted to achieve it in natural ways without having to take any kind of medication since that hadn’t worked for …
“Never make the mistake of thinking you are alone—or inconsequential.” ~ Rebecca McKinsey
I can still remember it as vividly as if it happened yesterday.
Our kitchen was small. Only enough room for a few people, and there were four of us kids scrounging to get our hands on the rest of the leftovers. It wasn’t a fight, but I can say with certainty that there was an underlying assumption that whoever got their hands on it first was able to claim it, so there was competition.
I grabbed my spoon first and then went to the fridge to …
“Growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before. You’ve never seen this version of you. So give yourself a little grace and breathe through it.” ~Kristin Lohr
I was kinda sorta showing up.
To the outside world, it looked like I was doing all of the things. I was smiling. I was talking about exercise and eating well. I was posting happy, positive vibe quotes, but I wasn’t really showing up for myself.
I had experienced a miscarriage at thirteen weeks. This was supposed to be the safe zone. I had told family and friends. My husband and I …
TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of sexual abuse and may be triggering to some people.
“Recovery is a process. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes everything you’ve got.” ~Unknown
We are often told in therapy that we need to dig deep and explore our feelings until we find the root of our problem, as though we’ll finally have peace and relief just because we’ve found the “Nugget of Trauma.”
The problem with long-term childhood trauma is that there was not just one Nugget, or one moment that we were left reeling from. For many of …
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” ~Lao Tzu
In the middle of a storm, it is difficult to see any way out. But on the other side, we usually can recognize a silver lining—something we gained from the experience that enhanced our lives in some way.
When my husband unexpectedly died and left me a single mother to three young children, I could not conceptualize anything good coming out of it.
Yet, years later, I am here to tell you that the gutting, heart-wrenching experience taught me invaluable lessons that have helped me to not just survive but …
When life gets challenging, we often make things even tougher by being hard on ourselves.
We berate ourselves for feeling down, as if we should be positive and happy all the time. We minimize our feelings, as if we have no right to be struggling since things could be so much worse. And we hold ourselves to ridiculous standards, pushing ourselves to do more, keep up with everyone else, and respond to life’s stressors with perfect composure.
Or at least these are things I’ve done.
I know that life is messy and I’m only human, but sometimes I expect more …
“A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings.” ~Mandy Hale
I feel so alone right now. Like, crawling out of my skin, I’ll do anything I can do to not feel this way alone.
I haven’t felt this way in a long time. Thank goodness I have tools to take care of myself. Let me explain.
My earliest childhood memory is my mother’s empty bed. The sheets are white, untucked, and messy. The duvet cover is loose and hanging halfway on the floor. The room is quiet, there’s no sign of mom, and I …
TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with accounts of sexual harassment and assault and may be triggering to some people.
“There can be a deep loneliness that comes from not having a family that has your back. I hope you can find supportive people who show up for you.” ~Laura Mohai
I feel and have felt extreme sadness, anger, isolation, and fear over several sexual harassments and assaults in my life.
The first time I was sexually assaulted I was seven. I was at a friend’s birthday pool party. My friend’s dad put his hand down my swimsuit and grabbed my …
“What seems to be clear is that we humans are an accumulation of our traumatic experiences, that each trauma contributes to our biology, and that this biology determines, to some extent, how we respond to further traumatic events as they emerge in our lives.” ~Shaili Jain
The stigma of mental health is decreasing. That’s wonderful, but the way we’re doing it is wrong and damaging. We are ignoring the trauma that is so prevalent and pervasive in our society.
Think about how many times you’ve read something equating mental illness to cancer or some other disease. People say that taking …
“If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness.” ~Tara Brach
This morning I received a WhatsApp message, and I found myself immediately blown into a state of fury. On the surface the message didn’t seem inflammatory or dramatic; it was a simple request from another parent asking me to do something that wasn’t convenient for me. On the surface it didn’t seem like this message warranted such …
This post is for anyone who stresses themselves out trying to control life. Which I’m guessing means it’s for most people.
It’s easy to convince ourselves we have power over things we don’t—as if we can force people and situations to go our way simply by trying or pushing harder.
The world would feel a lot safer if this were true. If people did what we thought was best, situations worked out as we believed they should, and nothing challenging or painful ever caught us off guard.
But some things are simply uncontrollable, and it’s exhausting and futile to obsess …
“There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.” ~Robert Henri, The Art Spirit
In my twenties, I worked for a Fortune 500 company at 401 North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. It was fun to work in the city, and my office overlooked Lake Michigan—I never got tired of the stunning view. Weekends were spent with friends eating at unique ethnic restaurants and visiting comedy clubs, blues bars, art galleries, museums, and …
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” ~African Proverb
It is just past ten in the morning on a Tuesday.
My wet boardshorts and blue tank top are drying at lightning speed in the sweltering South Indian sun.
I am feeling alive and exhilarated after my surf session in the surreal blue, bathtub-warm Arabian Sea.
Surfing waves consistently has been my goal for the past two years, and I’m doing it. Which is pretty awesome considering that I never thought I would surf again.
The trauma and fear from a surfing accident ten years ago, …
“We can all make powerful choices. We can all take back control by not blaming chance, fate, or anyone else for our outcome. It’s within our ability to cause everything to change. Rather than letting past hurtful experiences sap our energy and sabotage our success, we can use them to fuel positive, constructive change.” ~Darren Hardy
I parked my car and began to walk toward the mall while covering my puffy eyes with black sunglasses. I was fresh out of a session with my therapist, where I had hit a breaking point. We both came to the conclusion that I …
Do you ever feel like calling into the day? And I don’t just mean work. I mean everything. I mean turning it all off for a while. Freezing the full gamut of this messy human experience—the regrets, the fears, the adulting, the drama. The constant onslaught of anxiety-inducing news and personal problems to face.
When everyone needs you and everything worries you and nothing helps you feel better, it’s tempting to disconnect. To numb out, shut down, or give up.
But we can’t, at least not for long. And really, that’s not what we want. Or at least, that’s not …
“When it’s time for something new, you will feel it. You will feel a desire to let go, to shed layers, to move, to re-create. You will know because there will be subtle shifts all around you. You will release the old because you are really clearing the path for what’s ahead. Trust the process.” ~Brianna Wiest
I landed myself in the ER three days short of my twenty-fifth birthday, due to a mental health crisis.
It was January, always a difficult month for me. The holiday season tends to be stressful, and I’d recently visited my parents back home, …
“As traumatized children, we always dreamed that someone would come and save us. We never dreamed that it would, in fact, be ourselves as adults.” ~Alice Little
Like most people, I used to run away from my pain.
I did it in lots of different and creative ways.
I would starve myself and only focus on what I could and couldn’t eat based on calories.
I would make bad choices for myself and then struggle with the consequences, not realizing that I had made any choice at all. It all just seemed like bad luck. Really bad luck.
Or I …
“Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities.” ~Terry Josephson
I was affected by the deadly poliovirus when I was six months old. Most people infected with it die. Even today, there is no cure for it. I miraculously survived, but lost my ability to walk.
During the first twenty years of my life, I evolved through crawling on the floor, lifting my leg with my hands, wearing prosthetics, using canes, and finally learning to walk, painfully, with crutches. As I grew up, I experienced post-polio syndrome, which weakened the other parts of my body.…
“I can’t believe what I’m managing to get through.” ~Frank Bruni
My worst fear was inflicted upon me three months ago: a cancer diagnosis—non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Out of nowhere!
Truth be told though, lots of awful things that happen to us come suddenly out of nowhere—a car accident, suicide, heart attack, and yes, a diagnostic finding. We’re stopped in our tracks, seemingly paralyzed as we go into shock and dissociative mode.
My world as I knew it stopped. It became enclosed in the universe of illness—tiny and limited. I became one-dimensional—a sick patient.
And I went into shock. To the …