Why #MentalHealthMatters Today

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Today is World #MentalHealthMatters Day.

As I compose my thoughts at my kitchen table, watching children going home from the elementary school I live close to and pondering what I can say that will invite the masses to look at the subject of mental health issues in a different way, I thank God that I have lived through my own challenges and have arrived at a point to where I can help others who may have a loved one who is having mental health issues or they may, in fact, be having trouble themselves.

I had taken the time to listen to and view a webinar that was offered by Ruth Buzcynski, PhD and the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) as I am always interested in learning how to deal with my own diagnosis and how to help people in the best way that I can when they come in for massage.  Often times when people get massage, they open up to their therapist, and when this happens, it can sometimes be overpowering, as even though I have learned volumes going through my own journey to mental health wellness, I am not a psychologist, and I personally don’t like to cross the line into the area of advising clients.  So I tuned in to see what I could learn, and thought I would write my blog on the latest information from the top experts, but my mind keeps drifting back to the children who were just recently walking by, and there goes one more!

Those of us who love Idaho LOVE our way of life, and now, we have been ‘found out’ by the rest of the Country for our quality of life.  Idaho has always been known to be a great place to raise a family, and it still is.  As more and more people from the ‘outside’ are drawn to us, we are going to have to embrace where our mental health system (or lack of) truly stands, and with the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation, I personally believe that this State can either stand up and take the lead on creating a model mental health care ‘system’, or we can some how try to explain and justify being 6th in the nation for highest suicide rates.

6th.

In the Nation.

So how can we make simple yet effective changes?  We’ve got to start having ‘the talk’.  Not the stigmatized talk, not the ‘Guns vs Mental Health’ dialogue, but the honest talk – from those who have the experience – those who are in the ‘front lines’, so to speak.  Open, honest communication – heart to heart, soul to soul.

So that our children can continue to walk home from school in safety.

So that our children can go to school safely.

So that our children can be children first, before becoming responsible citizens in our community.

Talk to your children today after school about mental health.  Simply ask them what they think mental health is, and you may be surprised.  Will this change the world over night?

No.

Of course not.

But it will give you insight into what your child perceives in their experience, and it will provide you an opportunity to talk about the importance of taking care of one’s mental health just as much as their physical health or their spiritual health.  Answer their questions as best as you can, and if you don’t know, make a project to take some time to do some research together and find out facts – not myths and fables.  Talk to them about effective ways of dealing with the stress that they face in their young lives.

The 20% will be thankful that you did, and so will your child.

www.borderlinebook.us

 

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The Mind/Body/Spirit Connection – A Three-legged Stool

 

41598584_254221698464505_2987942381992542208_nGood morning Treasure Valley!

Where are you at right now, this very moment in time, when you ready this post?

At work, taking a break to read my words?

At home, taking care of little ones?

On the road?  If you are on the road, STOP reading while you are driving, your life is important!  The information will be here for you to read during your leisure time.

Leisure time – do we even have that anymore?

In this ever changing, quickly growing, rapidly expanding world we live in, we cannot afford to lose our health.

To live a fully integrated ‘healthy’ lifestyle, you truly need to attend to all three components of overall health ;

  • Physical health.
  • Mental health.
  • Spiritual health.

These three areas are like a three-legged stool, if you neglect one, and it becomes weak, the other two cannot support YOU!

Our minds are bombarded with so much negativity and fear during the day – fake news, information coming to us faster than we can think of it by the touch of a button, all that is required to live a ‘successful’ life. This leaves our brains and our system on overload much of the time, and we need to allow our brains time to ‘flow’ in the realm of pondering and creativity. Do you take time out of your day to just close your eyes for one minute, disregard your thoughts, and relax?

Our bodies take the toll of what our daily existence requires – get up at 6 a.m. to hit the gym, showered and dressed and on the road by 7:00 – 7:15, fighting traffic to get to work, then we put in our eight hours of paying our rent here on this beautiful planet Earth. We now have social media to keep up with along with our other duties, and if we have young children, we must navigate attending their many activities that we have filled their little lives with, and then scramble home for dinner, homework, bedtime for the kiddos, and find a wee bit of time to relax and prepare for the next day before we get up to do it all over again. Are you finding time in your week to take care of your body with some physical activity? Perhaps biking, hiking, walking for just 15 minutes to a half hour a day will help your body maintain it’s many duties. There is a Buddhist belief that if you have a problem, and you take a walk for 20 minutes, your problem will be solved.  Are you taking care of your physical body?

Our spirits – Our greatest gift that we came into this world with, our very souls. So many people who come through my doors are doing so much to take care of the ‘outer’ world, that they have totally neglected their ‘inner’ world. There are many ways to nurture your spirit, my favorite is to take time each morning and evening to pray & meditate, read scripture, remember to thank God for allowing me another day on this Earth, and to remind me that I am here to do His work. Painting, sculpting, writing poetry or music, playing a musical instrument, knitting, etc. all help your spirit to slip into that realm of existence where our thoughts run free and we remember our dreams.  Do you allow time for your spirit to express and manifest itself in this world?

Taking care of all three of the legs of your ‘stool’ will help you to balance yourself in this very demanding and hectice life we now live, and restore your soul. Why not challenge yourself this week to do some self-care and act on each of these three areas? After all, you are the only one who can truly take the best care of you, and aren’t you worth it?

How do You get People to Talk about Mental Health?

Mental Health.

Not an easy subject to openly talk about as it conjures up words such as:

  • Suicide
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Bi-Polar
  • P.T.S.D.
  • Schizophrenia

and images such as:

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or

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or

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All images of beings filled with unhappiness, discontent, fear, and more.

Yet depression can strike anyone.

Poor mental health can come from surviving traumatic incidents in life – from losing a loved one, going through divorce, being in an accident – there are numerous events in life that can create long lasting depression and anxiety.

Although we all may experience depression, some of us may feel its effects longer than others, and it just might not shake itself away, and we become consumed with it.  Our thoughts are generally dark, we see no hope in the future, and we feel as though we are a burden to our families, our friends and this world.  A terrible way to feel.

But still we keep silent, as more and more of our teenagers try taking their lives, or are so unhappy with their worlds that they reach out in anger by hurting others.

How do we come to discuss depression and all that comes with it, and tackle the ‘elephant in the room’?

After losing my own mother to suicide at a very early age, and watching what happened to my family after her untimely death, and going through my own ‘dance’ with the mental health system of the State of California, I decided to write about how I got to that point, as I have never had a substance abuse problem, was a ‘good’ Christian girl, and yet, it still happened to me.

I wrote this book to help others understand what the mental health system is all about, how a person is changed by the ‘ride’ in hopes of bringing the subject to light, as I believe it will be those who go through a system and survive that may be able to enlighten for others what this subject of mental health is all about.

It is my sincere hope that my little story will help others in a big way, and encourage others who may be fighting depression and considering suicide to think again.  My life may not look exactly like I thought it would, but I am very thankful that I survived my own attempt at suicide.  If my book helps someone hold on, change their mind about getting help, and continue living, even if it is just one person, sharing my story is worth the risk I take every time I talk about mental health.

Recovery is possible.  It can be very hard and humiliating work, but it is possible.

Please consider purchasing my book, ‘Borderline – Swan Song of an Unfinished Life’ during this week of National Suicide Awareness.  Available at www.borderlinebook.us, www.broadside.net, and at www.hometownreads.com/books/borderline.

Other ways you can help?  Attend the NAMITreasure Valley 1st Annual 5K Walk/Resource event on September 29th, 2018 and learn more.  I would love to see you there!

 

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OH! The Places You’ll Go!

Life.  What a trip! (originally written in April 2018)33902756_2096036390616879_8529919549389144064_n

I was all prepared to take the next step in my business to provide secondary income to my massage practice, ‘Body Blessings Massage & Aromatherapy’, which I have owned and operated for several years, and put my entire heart and soul into the last two years.  I believe holistic and alternative healing modalities should be considered just as important as the traditional Western medicine.  In fact, I believe in this so strongly that I have been donating free monthly massage to participants of both the Wyakin Foundation – www.wyakin.org as well as the Idaho Veterans Wellness Center, a ‘baby’ non-profit in Boise, for the past three years.

I have poured almost every single second of my time into either advertising my practice, building my practice, working with my clients, tending to the books, or keeping the studio clean and supplies stocked.  After being sick seven times this last Winter season, I realied that I would need to cut back to 2-3 days and offer something else, which in my case was my ‘bath-erapy’ line that I conceived many years ago while living in Northern California.  I had developed the name, created the labels and had them approved, researched the costs for insurance and getting trademarks created, and was ready to file the paperwork to create a ‘B’-corp, and then – out of the blue – I was pulled unwittingly into a fair housing issue where I have been living the past 19 months, and ended up having to go to court and moving.  Not expected, certainly not desired, and now, once again having to rebuild my life by finding a decent place to live, as well as answering the age old question I am asked when something occurs that threatens my housing – ‘Were you taking your meds?'”

Yes, I have a mental health diagnosis – P.T.S.D. – since 1994, and possibly Bi-Polar III.  I have been taking medication since that time, and after the most taxing time in my life, when I lost custody of my beloved son and was systematically cut out of his life and had fought so hard that I lost myself in the process – my housing, my direction in life, as from the moment I first felt life inside of me, my main concern was being a great Mom, since my own mother had taken her life when I was just eight years old.  I made a conscious decision at the age of 23 to get into counseling to understand the dynamics of my family and a that time, I thought if you went to counseling, that guaranteed your life would be ‘normal’ – married to one person, raising a family, attending church – living the ‘good’ life, preferably in Boise, Idaho, my hometown.

I ended up on Social Security Disability some years ago, and if I had it all to do over and knew how going through the Social Security process would be a completely humiliating and long, drawn out process where I would have to lose everything first – I would have done my best to find another alternative.  At the time, I did not know how to recognize my anxiety and to deal with it, I only knew that I pushed myself like crazy to make all ends meet – holding down a full time job, working a part time job, raising my child alone – I would end up ‘hitting the wall’, and I thought that I was ‘flawed’ because I would become overwhelmed with all of life’s responsibilities.  When my P.T.S.D. gets activated, which manifests in me by unstoppable heavy crying, and my anxiety climbing to the point that my train of thought turns into an ocean full of fish swimming every which way – I  cannot stay focused – and then I would experience periods of depression. – I have come to understand that the Mental Health system is NOT designed to help you gain mental health.  It is a system to medicate those who face trauma and climbing out of it is a hard, hard job.

I wrote a book titled ‘Borderline – Swan Song of an Unfinished Life’ about my ‘dance’ with the Mental Health System of the State of California last year and thought I would be marketing it at the recent ‘Ride for 22’ and ‘Indigo Art Festival’, two events that deal with the subjects of Veteran Suicide and Mental Health Awareness.  I had been planning and preparing for both these events since the beginning of 2018 when I first heard about them.  It all seemed like perfect and divine timing!

It isn’t that I want to spend every second of my life discussing mental health and suicide, but the fact that these two awesome events came up and that I could have a presence to hopefully help others understand the mental health system from an insider’s point of view, including a section that offers ways to actually help those who are in panic or having anxiety attacks or suicidal, but these two events were back to back, and it seemed like a golden opportunity.

In fact, I am starting to wonder if it is at all truly possible, as now I am back in a position where I will have to rent a room from a stranger to live in, and since I had to close my practice to deal with this unexpected and unwanted life circumstance, and NOT willing to go BACK through the system again from homelessness to having my own business and maintaining my own apartment again, I have to stop and wonder just exactly WHAT my beloved State of Idaho is actually going to do to develop a healthy and productive mental health system.

Jesus, Take the Wheel! (August 27, 2018)

I found a very safe and quiet room to rent in the neighborhood I am very familiar with and want to stay in for half of what I was paying, and I found a case manager from a local agency, someone who I can call if I get in a pickle with my anxiety and she is there to help.  That is a huge blessing in my life, as I do my best to handle it all on my own, and not ‘bleed’ into my family relationships.  That can be quite the challenge when my anxiety monkeys start to swing to and fro!

I am taking a ‘time out’ from my massage practice for personal healing, and very thankful for the Borah High classmates of 1977 for stepping up to help me move and cover storage costs until I got back on the ground – what an awesome help that was!  Very thankful for a few others who helped guide me through the anxiety, and for the first time that I have experienced an episode, I was able to sort through and process some very important nuggets for my always expanding tool box – to learn that there are people in my corner who care enough to step up and help, and I believe that some of my family members and close friends understand that there are times when I need a little guidance, a little direction, and I took the time to research some PTSD support groups on Facebook to see what others deal with, sorted through some very good explanations of what it is like when I ‘go there’, and I believe they may now see more clearly that it is not something I can always manage, even while taking medicine.

And manage it I must, for it is my responsibility to do so to the best of my ability.  For my own self care and best chance at personal happiness and success in life, for my family members, and most importantly, for my beloved child who is now 27.

It is not an easy thing to speak of, and now that I am starting to move forward and begin speaking with NAMI, promoting my book, and doing my best to fulfill my promise to God all those years ago that if He brought me through it, I would do my best to help others with the experiences I have endured.  Now that time is here, in my own little hometown in my beloved State of Idaho.

My walk may be filled with perhaps more obstacles and challenges than some, but I have come to believe that my soul must be very important to God, because that ol’ Devil certainly does like to try to lead the dance….but he HASN’T finished the dance yet, and that, my friend, is truly the most successful thing that I have accomplished in my life.  I expect the more I do this work and express what I believe is my Father’s work, the more challenges I will face, but as I enter closer into my 60th year on this Earth, my definition of success is, on some days, just giving thanks that I am still here, and as I always like to say, ‘I am not important to the masses, but the ones I am important to love me massively,’ as I do them.

What challenges will come before me in this life?  I obviously do not know, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

If you know someone who may be experiencing depression, please – guide them to get help. There are a myriad of ways you can do this depending on your comfort level, from simply just listening without judgement to becoming a volunteer at your local suicide hotline to keeping that number in your cell phone and simply asking that troubled person if you can make that call for them.  Life is challenging and difficult, but well worth the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Journey…A Thousand Participants

Last day of the #TheseHandsCreate campaign – organic campaign created by Ben Brown – an international #hashtag campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of massage therapy and for the therapists to share our ‘stories’. Most therapists I know have come to the profession from either the fact that they are the empath of the family unit, or they have experienced trauma, or both. Those of us that respect and honor our craft do our best to meet our clients at their place of need, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We all need to keep in balance to win our race with Life – a race that we run only by ourselves. Do your best to take care of yourself on all levels, as we live in very taxing times. Allow creative space for nurturing and sustenance of the soul, restorative time for nature and working out, and of course, do the best in your job that you care capable of, even if you do not like your current position, as all work moves toward the greater good and you may learn lessons in a job that you do not like that end up being blessings in a job that you love.
 
I look forward to meeting those of you face to face that I have not yet met, and to seeing my clients again soon.
 
Until then…Take Care of You!

…..#aromatherapy, #himalayansaltstone, #medicalmassage,

#massagemendsthemind, #massagebybodybless4u.life,

#massageismorethanaluxury, #massagechangeslives, #painrelief, #polaritytherapy, #pregnancymassage, #relaxation, #stressreduction, #sportsmassage, #swedishmassage,

#veterans, #wyakin, #takecareofYOU!

How I Prepare the Day for My Clients

Keeping a positive mindset for my clients is of utmost importance to me, as 80% of my clients are generally in pain, and pain can color a person’s perception of the world that may not be totally accurate.

Each morning after waking up, I spend time reading and studying the Bible, talking with God, and praying to show up as His hands, heart, ears and mouth, and I strive to bring a bit of joy to each person who allows me to work with them.  I work out to keep my body in condition to deal with the demands of massage therapy.

 

I believe that bodywork requires a level of trust, and I want my clients to feel comfortable in my presence.  With every new client, I do an intake where I can learn a bit about their body and it’s particular needs.  On the first visit, I do a bit more talking than I generally do, as I guide them through the massage to let them know what to expect.  I do my best to establish ‘sacred’ space for them, a place where they feel comfortable, free of judgement.

I end each massage with a centering prayer, and hope that the short time they are in my presence they feel relaxed, safe and supported during their session.  I then share some self-care tips as it is always my goal to help others take care of themselves.

#TheseHandsCreate, #Aromatherapy, #HimalayanStone, #Pain Management, #Pregnancy, #Polarity, #Sports, #Swedish