For the Anxious: How to Slow Down

illustration by Michelle Morin via Pinterest

It is hard to slow down in a fast paced world, where the expectations for us to perform and always be “on” are high. Sometimes, this cleverly gets integrated into how we manage our anxiety – we keep busy, keep hustling, keep proving, striving, keep trying to figure things out.

I remember it dawning on me that I was someone with anxiety. I brought it up with my best friend in University. “I think I have anxiety” to which she said “You think?!” Apparently I was the last to find out.

Before that I remember learning about it in first year like yeah yeah, excessive worrying, got it. It didn’t have much significance to me except for how much of it would be on the exam. But once I realized I was someone with anxiety, I noticed the nuances that I experienced that others didn’t seem to or found odd. Like leaving a party without telling anyone because I felt uncomfortable, talking quickly, having difficulty engaging in and following a conversation when something was coming up like a job interview or something where I would need to perform. It is also things like not being able to relax, even though you have down time or days off.

While I do think anxiety is an overused term these days, I also think that its not uncommon to feel it regularly. For people that have always lived on overdrive, slowing down is way easier said than done. Keeping busy either with thoughts or with tasks is something that helps to manage the anxiety, whether that means indulging it or distracting from it. Both maintain it.

A big credit to learning how to slow down has come from sitting in therapy myself in a space that doesn’t have an agenda, that is focused on me, and allows for co-regulation (for you to regulate to the tune to a calmer, more grounded nervous system). It’s like a safe container for the discomfort. In starting to learn to slow down, this can be so helpful because you have a guide.

Other baby steps are things like giving yourself more time in between tasks or locations so you’re not rushed. It could mean reassuring yourself and talking to yourself like a small child. It could be doing breathing exercises while driving or commuting (safely and not meditation). It could mean encouraging yourself to stay at the party even though its hard because it might get better, or thinking of times when making a connection with someone else turned out well. What could happen if it worked out?

It could be starting to notice more. That’s all, just noticing. Witnessing yourself when you are rushing, or multitasking, or moving quickly through the world. It’s noticing when you get caught up in worst case scenarios, and reminding yourself that things often don’t go as expected (in a good way).

Mark Twain said “I spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened” and damn is that so true. Its like imagining terrible scenarios which your body reacts to, and is in an entirely different world than reality. Spending a lot of time there is exhausting because you’re constantly living awful scenarios that feel very real.

Where there is lots of anxiety, there is also often a lack of emotional regulation from parents who weren’t capable of containing their own anxiety. Our nervous systems tuned into the nervous systems that were taking care of us. We learn unconsciously how to be in the world by how our parents are in the world.

From this viewpoint, slowing down can look like having compassion for your young self who didn’t have the nurturance and containment of their emotional experience that they needed. It can look like orienting yourself towards self respect inwards rather than looking for it outwards.

No anxiety is not the goal here. It is awareness of how your nervous system has been programmed and having deep compassion and healthy anger around that not being your choice, while also acknowledging that you may be perpetuating your own suffering. It is both.

This relearning takes time and practice. We can’t expect ourselves to change a pattern that has been happening for years in one try. Be kind and patient with yourself as you bravely step out into noticing what it would be like if things were different.

This is for Shaila Patel who lights up my tuesdays, inspires me to keep writing, and is the kind of confident woman that I strive to be.

Some Words of Reassurance

I have been thinking for a while about what would be the most helpful to write at this time for you. I decided I’m going to write you a list of reassurance from the heart. These are some of the things I have been thinking about lately, I hope something here lands for you.

I’d like you to know that you don’t have to have everything together, right now or ever. That there is no good or bad, right or wrong way to go about life. It just is.

We don’t get a medal when we have sacrificed ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We just get exhausted and resentful.

There is nothing wrong with you. How do I know? Context is everything. Given things you’ve been through, its quite understandable you have that belief. Having that belief doesn’t make it true.

Everyone can benefit from therapy, and therapy is not always for everyone.

There is way more to life than just productivity. Productivity is a capitalist value that we have been socialized to believe that we must be productive in order to be of value. Perhaps this was intially meant value as in money, however there is much guilt we harbour over not being productive, so I believe that value can also mean self worth. Productivity does not equal self worth. You matter because you exist.

You are always allowed to change your mind.

There’s more to see and enjoy when you slow down.

Uncomfortable emotions and feelings are part of the human condition. They need to be felt.

With ease,

Amanda

Feeling Overwhelmed? Here’s 5 Tips to Work Through It

Step away from the News and Social Media

While its important to be informed about world events, we have had more than our share in these past few months alone. Over-immersing yourself with the news is not helpful as it can be immobilizing where you are unable to take action in any regard. It is okay to give yourself permission to turn it off for a while. It’s self care. Period.

Prioritize Idleness

Take a few minutes where you don’t do anything. Put down the phone, stop and sit and feel into how you’re doing. You are not a productivity machine. Humans have capacities and we also have limits. Getting as present as you can helps get you into your body and grounded back into reality.

Express Yourself

When we’re overwhelmed, we cannot take in any more information. These are the times when you need to get things out. Choose an expressive activity like journalling, talking aloud to yourself or someone else, painting or creating artwork, dancing, etc.

Talk to A Therapist

Talk to a therapist about all the things swirling in your mind. Its our job to help you straighten them out and unload. We can also support you to prevent overwhelm in the future.
I am currently providing virtual therapy during this time. Reach out to me and lets connect!

Recognize Your Power

Recognize that you have the power to choose what you consume and how often. You can change how you take on more than your capacity.

From my heart to yours,

Amanda

What To Look For in Finding A Therapist

Look for one you like as a person, rather than a style of therapy

Study after study shows that the therapeutic relationship is more important than the style or therapeutic modalities used. That is the greatest predictor of change in therapy. While there are effective and wonderful types of therapy out there, if you and your therapist don’t have strong trust and rapport, there likely won’t be much movement. While it sounds simple, trust your gut with your impressions of them.

Look for a therapist that is engaged in their own self work

Some therapists have a great facade of having figured it all out. Be critical of this, because no one has. Sure, we have our specialities and focuses that we may be very sharp at. But everything? Nah. In graduate school, therapists are trained to be generalists, and then find their way from there.
We are, like you, in a steady process of becoming. The therapist can only go so far with you as they have gone themselves. An effective and “good” therapist is one who gets in the trenches with their own stuff, and sits where you do, in the clients chair, often. Be willing to interview your potential therapist by asking them if they are engaged in their own work, and what that looks like.

Look for a therapist that is Registered in your provincial guidelines

Here in BC, the term counsellor or therapist is unregulated. Which means that anyone can call themselves one. A common popular alternative is life coach. While some life coaches are well informed and do great work, they are not upheld to the same ethical guidelines as registered counsellors, and can do a lot of damage particularly around deep emotional work and not recognizing trauma where it lives. A life coach is not the same thing as a counsellor.
Do your research when it comes to what the counselling registrations are for your in your province/state/country. The counsellor/psychotherapist should have a registration number associated with their title.

Look for one that engages in regular supervision

An ethically responsible therapist is seeking supervision and consultation with other therapists. This helps us gain different perspectives in our work, learn and grow. We are held accountable in these groups, and others are able to support us in recognizing how we can support our clients in better or different ways. Be willing to ask your potential therapist if they have a supervisor, especially if they are newer therapists.

Finding a therapist can feel like finding a good pair of jeans. Don’t stick with one that you feel isn’t a good fit, while also trusting that you are giving it a good try before dismissing it. Therapy can be (and will be) uncomfortable at times. Its about being willing to sit through it with someone you trust that is qualified and confident that you can do the work.

My Top 10 Inspiring and Insightful Books

For anyone that knows me, they know that I usually have at least 5 books on the go at any one point. I pick up different books depending on what I’m feeling that day. While it means I have a lot of unfinished books, I also have many that I have read cover to cover, again and again. These are some of those books.

Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This book has been deeply influential in reaching that soul place within, a place we don’t visit as much as we could. It holds a power in its own existence and gives women permission to rest and not tame their intensity. I treat this book like a bible of sorts, as a reference book of spirituality and living true to oneself.

“What is homing? It is the instinct to return, to go to the place we remember. It is the ability to find, whether in dark or in daylight, one’s home place. We all know how to return home. No matter how long its been, we find our way. We go through the night, over strange land, through tribes of strangers, without maps and asking of the odd personages we meet along the road, ‘what is the way?’ The exact answer to ‘where is home?’ is more complex… but in some way it is an internal place, a place somewhere in time rather than space, where a woman feels of one piece. Home is where a thought or feeling can be sustained instead of being interrupted or torn away from us because something else is demanding our time and attention. And through the ages women have found myriad ways to have this, make this for themselves, even when their duties and chores were endless” – p.283

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Arguably the most influential book in trauma research and digestibility of how trauma is stored in the body. A fantastic and very readable tool for self study and understanding regarding being a human being and how things affect us.

“Trauma robs you of the feeling that you are in charge of yourself. The challenge of recovery is to reestablish ownership of your body and your mind- of your self. This means feeling free to know what you know and feel what you feel without becoming overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed, or collapsed” – p.205

Guilt Is The Teacher, Love is the Lesson by Joan Borysenko

This is one of those books that you will feel drawn to or you won’t and that is how you know. I read this book back in early undergrad days, and it spoke truths for me I didn’t know how to verbalize. Joan talks about self esteem, shame, healthy vs. unhealthy guilt, and learned childhood experiences as shaping how we interact with people today and who we believe ourselves to be based on past experiences.

“We stand in the midst of an almost infinite network of relationships: to other people, to things, to the universe. And yet, at three o’ clock in the morning, when we are alone with ourselves, we are aware that the most intimate and powerful of all relationships and the one we can never escape is the relationship to ourselves. No significant aspect of our thinking, motivation, feelings, or behavior is unaffected by our self-evaluation. We are organisms who are not only conscious but self-conscious. That is our glory and at times, our burden” – p.46

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

I remember reading this book for the first time. I read it in two days, and I cried on the train back home from University immersed in the words of Louise Hay. A beautiful book that speaks to our inner child. It highlights how light life can feel if we allow it to be so.

“Almost all of our programming, both negative and positive, was accepted by us by the time we were three years old. Our experiences since then are based upon what we accepted and believed about ourselves and about life at that time. The way we were treated when we were very little is usually the way we treat ourselves now. The person you are scolding is the three year old child within you” – p.79

Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About The Mysteries of Life and Living by Elizabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler

I am a big believer in acknowledging death as a motivator to truly live. This is a compilation of client and therapist’s stories of loss, love, grief and what it means to be human.

“As I thought about the lessons of love, I thought about myself and my own life. Naturally, that I’m still alive means I still have lessons to learn. I, like everyone else I’ve ever worked with, need to learn how to love myself more. One would assume that if you are loved by so many, you would love yourself. But this is not always true. It’s not true for most of us. I’ve seen it in hundreds of lives and deaths, and now I see it in myself. Love has to come from within, if it is to come at all. And I’m still not there.” – p.27

I Am Her Tribe by Danielle Doby

Danielle Doby brilliantly captures a sense of being instantly understood as a sensitive human through her poetry. She highlights the struggles we all can relate to such as relationships, getting through hard times, and connecting to ourselves.

“The light in me cannot always see and honor the light in you. And its because of this. The love of the process. The love of this journey. I keep showing up to practice. For me, its all yoga. Finding steady breath in the unknown. The rhythmic flow when words fall off my tongue and down onto paper. Granting myself permission to say no- without apology. Grounding my feet into the space that was created after he left me. All is not right. Nor wrong. It just is.” -p.57

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood

While I would love to just quote this whole book right here, I’ll have to hold myself back and let you explore the power of it yourself. Single or Taken, this book is essential reading for anyone who loves.

“Thus, apart from a few biochemical imbalances and neurological disorders, the diagnositc manual for psychological afflictions known as the DSM might as well begin: ‘herein are described all the wretched ways people feel and behave when they do not know that they are loved’… When people do not know they are loved, a cold black hole forms in the psyche, where they start to harbor beliefs that they’re insignificant, unimportant, or lacking in beauty and goodness. This icy place of fear is what gives rise to terrorist attacks of all kinds – not just in the form of bombs going off, but also in the emotional assaults that go on within ourselves and our relationships” – p.12

I Need Your Love- Is That True? by Byron Katie

Questioning the stories that we tell ourselves right off the bat, Byron Katie sings a different tune to the ones we typically hear. She has a beautiful way of encouraging you to ask yourself different questions and interrupt the typical loop of thinking your mind goes into. One of my favorite quotes by her is “stress is caused by not accepting reality”

“The thought that kicks you out of heaven could be ‘I’d be a little more comfortable if I had a pillow’ or it could be ‘I’d be happier if my partner were here’. Without that thought, you’re in heaven- just sitting in your chair, being supported and being breathed. When you believe the thought that something is missing, what do you experience? The immediate effect may be subtle- only a slight restlessness as your attention moves away from what you already have. But with that shift of attention, you give up the peace you have as you sit in your chair. Seeking comfort, you give yourself discomfort” – p.9

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Love me some Brene Brown. Her warmth and genuineness shine through in her writing about shame and vulnerability. She is the queen of letting us know that we are not alone in our suffering, and normalizes the experience of shame. Brene helps facilitate self acceptance through her kind words and research.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.”

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

If I had to choose one book for the rest of my life, which would be incredible painful, but this would be the one I would hold on to. This book taught me a lot about filling voids and the impact of childhood relationships with caretakers and how that translates to our relationship to food and other sources of nourishment. Despite the title, anyone who doesn’t identify as a woman can benefit from this.

Of this I am certain: something happens every time I stop fighting with the way things are. Something happens to every one of my students when they stop running their familiar programs about fear and deficiency and emptiness. I don’t know what to call this turn of events or the freshness that follows it, but I know what it feels like: it feels like relief. It feels like infinite goodness. Like a distillation of every sweet fragrance, every heartstopping beauty, every haunting melody you’ve ever heard. It feels like the essence of tenderness, compassion, joy, peace. Like love itself. And in the moment you feel it you recognize that you are it and that you’ve been here all alone, waiting for your return” -p.74

Boundaries by Anne Katherine

Breaking down what boundaries are, how they get violated and how to set them, this book is gold. It is easy to get through and deeply impactful. A must read for anyone who struggles to say no, feels angry at others actions toward them, people pleasers, or those that feel guilty for doing things for themselves.

“In every one of your relationships, you are on a continuum between intimacy and separation. You stand on a slide that tilts you toward either intimacy or separateness. Exactly where you stand at any given moment is the result of your decisions, your feelings, how you handle situations, and the way you and the other person communicate.”

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Book with me for an in person individual therapy session:

Psychology Today Profile:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/therapists/amanda-bowers-vancouver-bc/730673

This website and blog are not a substitution for therapy or therapeutic advice. Please see a mental health practitioner or therapist for individualized therapy.

How Losing My Hair Was the Hardest Lesson of my Adult Life

peonies

I have been thinking about how I would write about this experience for years. This morning, I feel like I’m ready to share it. My intention is not to share this for pity or attention for what I’ve been through. We all go through hard times. It is to share with you how our bodies talk to us and give us clues about our mental well being. I do this best when I express with vulnerability. When we aren’t able to say no, our bodies say no for us.

When I was 25, I lost most of my hair over a month or so. I had no idea why, and it was the most terrifying experience of my adult life. I had never heard of people so young losing hair that wasn’t age related.

At the time, I was volunteering over night and during the week at a local suicide crisis phone line, other days spent working at a busy cafe which involved waking up at 4am after coming home from the same job at 10:30pm the night before. On top of this, I had just broken up with a long term partner, and was quickly involved in another relationship which as comforting as that was at the time, was also overwhelming for me. I was also drinking heaps of caffeine to keep up with all of these things.

I was exhausted. I found myself crying and breaking down all the time. I had my hair up for months trying to disguise the vast difference I felt it was. One customer had said to me “hey what happened to all your hair?” I wasn’t willing to say loudly across the bar that “oh, I lost it”, so i just looked down and said “I don’t know”.

I remember once laying in bed, being able to feel the pillow against my scalp, a new sensation. I cried and thought, if I have to live without my hair, I will learn to love myself regardless. I am here for you, I whispered to myself with my hand on my heart.

I sought help from a Naturopath. I told her that I was exhausted and involved in challenging work while processing a huge transition point in my life. I had adrenal fatigue. I got blood work done, started taking some adaptogenic herbs (they help your body deal with stress), added in some dietary recommendations, and devoured a memoir about a woman going through adversity in her life. Things started to get better, my hair started growing back again, until it wasn’t. A few appointments later, she said something that made me angry because it was so full of truth. She said “You’re doing this to yourself”.

How could that be true, I thought. The longer I reflected on that statement, the more I realized I lacked boundaries in every area of life. I was giving myself to others way more than I was giving to myself. I was allowing others to dictate my schedule in a way that wasn’t serving me. I was allowing the partner at the time to impinge on my boundaries by throwing a fit when he couldn’t spend time with me, and I would fold and use my self care time to spend time with him. I realized my nervous system wasn’t ready to work at the crisis lines when I did.

I learned how deeply essential it was to self regulate my nervous system, and tune in, and speak up when I had had enough. I learned how important it is to have people in your life that respect those no’s. I learned that nutrition and exercise alone are not enough for well being. That we must be willing to look deeper and get out of the self sacrificing groove.

My body spoke for me. And yours speaks for you, too. Perhaps not in the same way, and perhaps so. I encourage you to pay attention to that little voice inside that says ‘I’ve had enough’ no matter how seemingly small the interaction or task. I cannot stress how deeply important that is for your most important relationship – the one you have to yourself.

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Stay tuned for news as I will be accepting private clients April 2020 in Vancouver, BC

This blog and or website is not a replacement for therapy or therapeutic intervention. Please seek out a mental health professional or counsellor for individualized care.

Boundaries

A boundary is how we define the limits of where I end and you begin.

Oftentimes when we have experienced childhood trauma, these lines are blurred or unclear. We feel responsible for others suffering, or guilty for asserting a sense of self. Or on the other end, we close ourselves off from others, we isolate or avoid to protect ourselves. We mask this as the socially acceptable veil of independence, because deep down we aren’t sure how to communicate what we need.

Boundaries are not just saying no when we don’t feel like accepting an invitation to go out, though that is a part of it.

Boundaries are about recognizing old patterns of how we continue to put ourselves in positions that aren’t good for us anymore. They are about naming what that means and what has happened, shedding light on it, for ourselves.

In this process we choose who has earned the right to hear us out and how much we want to explain why (if at all) we are setting that boundary.

Examples of boundary issues could be feeling responsible for another persons emotions, putting another’s needs before your own, agreeing to something you don’t want to do, people pleasing, enduring physical touch or conversations you don’t want to, don’t have the energy for or aren’t interested in. The list could go on, but you get the idea.

Commonly, the biggest issue we have with setting boundaries is our fear of upsetting another person. It can be very hard to sit with that discomfort and uphold the boundary without guilt.

And to that I’d say that guilt is perfectly natural if setting boundaries is new to us. Of course you feel guilty for telling your boss that you are unable to take on that extra assignment when you want to appear diligent and on top of it all. Of course you feel guilty for choosing not to attend your friends party because you are exhausted from all the social interaction you’ve had lately.

When it is new to us to let someone know our limits, or just say no, it could feel terrifying. It all depends on the story we were told about what that means when we were little. Get curious about what happened when you stood up for yourself, said no, said yes, let someone know what you were comfortable with. What were others responses to you?

When we first start to speak up, our reactions to others may start sounding abrupt, awkward or abrasive. We need to have compassion for ourselves in these moments, we are learning a new way of relating. We can practice these responses in safe spaces, be it in front of a mirror, with a therapist or trusted friend.

This is all normal. It’s all an experiment.

Why is this important? Because when we can practice honouring ourselves, really tuning in and listening and then acting accordingly, we can live more aligned and personally meaningful lives.

When we tune into what we want and start listening, we become more of ourselves. We gain a stronger sense of identity, more confidence, more self assuredness, and these can impact the course of our lives.

Boundaries are more than just saying no. They are about asserting and recognizing that you are your own and I am my own and I am not responsible for how you feel or what you think of me. They are drawing a line in the sand of what is acceptable for you. It’s not about controlling the other person, its about controlling the gates to who has access to you and how.

This blog post and blog are not a substitute for therapy or therapeutic intervention. Please see a therapist or mental health practitioner for personalized therapy.

Our Obsession with Getting There

We talk a lot in Western Culture about getting there. And by there, I mean, anywhere but here.


Only three more hours left in my shift

My assignment is due tomorrow and then I can breathe again

I just need to get through this month of crazy scheduling and then it will all be worth it

When the renovations are done, then we can live

When summer comes…

When vacation starts…

When the loans are paid off…

You get the idea.

If we are constantly counting down the time to be somewhere else, once somewhere else comes, how can we actually enjoy it? If we aren’t able to sink into the moments that aren’t as spectacular, what is happening to the rest of your life?

The difference between savoring anticipation of an exciting event and not allowing yourself to live until x,y,z happens is that you can savor the anticipation and not find the time before the event distressing.

You can allow yourself to enjoy the moments leading up, even if they are mundane, as life can be.

You can allow yourself to not want to push time any faster than it naturally goes.

You can allow the fear to be there, the anxiety to be there, the sadness, guilt, anger, shame, loneliness, etc.

Because all of these things are supposed to visit us all sometimes. This is the human experience.

They are supposed to visit. That is normal.

Living in the in-betweens says a lot about how we hold life itself. Not just the glamorous, shiny, adventurous, freeing moments. But the day to day. The regular stuff. The ordinary.

And if we can get better at those in-betweens, the seemingly insignificant moments, the more we will enjoy being alive and welcome what comes, as it does.

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This blog post and site is not a replacement for personalized therapy or therapeutic intervention. Please see a mental health practitioner or therapist for individual therapy.

If You Knew You Were Already Enough

How would things change for you if you really, deep-down-heart-space knew that you were enough. Would you make different decisions? Would you keep different relationships? Would you spend your time differently?

Would you say no more? Would you value yourself more?

We humans, are like quilts. Woven with our experiences, stories, beliefs, past, knowledge. These layers and seams are beautiful. Wrought with experience. Some of the patches are worn, over-relied on for a warmth they cannot provide.

One of those patches is the core belief for many of us that we are not good enough as we are. That somehow, we are fundamentally flawed and someone made a huge mistake. That somehow we are hiding out in the real world and someone is going to find out about our not-enoughness.

To get in touch with our true selves is to ask the question “What would I do if I really felt I was enough?

When we ask this question, we can get under that core belief that has been running the show and find out what our true desires and needs are.

For example, you’re worried about an upcoming presentation. You want to do a good job, recognized for your knowledge and abilities. Everyone at your work is watching.

If you asked yourself “How would this sit with me if I really believed that I was enough? That you have done the work, and how you present will be great no matter what. Well, then you’d probably just sit back and trust yourself. Trust that you’ve done the work, that you have everything you need.

So I ask you, for whatever may be going on in your life right now that you struggle with, what would you do if you felt like you were enough?

Trust that answer.

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This blog and blog post are not substitutes for therapy or therapeutic intervention. Please see a mental health practitioner or therapist for personalized therapy.

Human First, Therapist Second.

Really showing up is hard. Allowing yourself to be seen is hard. Its also deeply transformative. This is what I struggle with in sharing things about my personal life on social media. That said, its what happens in therapy -exposure. Though in a therapists office, that exposure is met with an empathetic, holding presence and not the void that is the internet. And while I am holding myself in kindness and compassion in sharing things, not knowing how they will be received is the hard part.

And these are the risks we take when we show up and allow ourselves to be seen. It is the courageous path because we don’t know the outcome. That’s vulnerability. Not knowing the outcome and still doing the work, still having the hard conversations. Still sitting in discomfort. Still bringing to light what has been kept in the dark. Still trying.

So this is how I’ve been vulnerable lately. I’ve been speaking up about how I feel about things and using emotion words. I do this a lot on my own, I’m always aware of how I’m feeling, but sharing it is a practice for me. I’m great at objectively describing things, but when it comes to personally, I am not as clear, I tiptoe, I guard myself, I’m careful. So I’m working on being more open with my own experience, and its incredibly empowering.

Those that know me are aware of my minor (major) obsession with Brene Brown and her work with vulnerability. She is aspirational to me. Her genuineness and ability to be herself while talking about the hard stuff is how I want to be. I am a constant work in progress, as we all are.

So I am going to challenge myself to share more about my experiences with the tough stuff. My hope is that my vulnerability will serve both of us, and I am willing to take that risk. Social media has enough of the highlight reels. What I value and typically look for is authenticity, humanness, people being real about whats actually going on. Finding others stories, and reading words to describe experiences you’ve never been able to is what got me into psychology. That feeling of being understood for what you’re going through, that you’re not crazy. That’s why I’m here. To show you that you’re not crazy for feeling the way you do.

So this is my offering. To show you that I, too, am human. That I don’t have it figured out. That there’s stuff I’m good at, and stuff I’m not good at. That there’s things that scare me, and things that excite me. That I have moments where I want to run and hide, and others where I want to dance on public transit. That sometimes I don’t stop to feel my emotions and tune in. That sometimes I leave myself. The more I practice staying, the faster I come back, the quicker I tune in. That a few years ago I lost a lot of my hair. That it still hasn’t all fully grown back. That’s vulnerability. That I’m working on being here for myself more, setting boundaries with others and myself, allowing myself to take time to not be so serious about life and relationships, about figuring it out.

Everyone goes through stuff, and I’m right there with you. I am a human first, therapist second.

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This blog and post are not replacements for therapy or therapeutic intervention. Please see a therapist or mental health practitioner for personalized therapy.