Holiday Depression

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The unspoken truth of the holiday season…

Depression.

Let’s face it, the expectations are high, kids compete with kids and parents compete with other parents. Commercials don’t make it any easier. Go into a store and there’s a constant reminder of what the expectation is whether you can afford it or not.

You can’t escape the demands of the holidays. Religious or not, rich or poor, family or none, Christmas is expensive and can be awfully lonely.

So many discuss who they spend their holidays with. So many others discuss what they’re getting their loved ones or not.

People forget that there are people out there who feel fortunate to get a single phone call for Christmas.

I’ll never forget counseling a guy one time. He was thrilled. Happy as can be. I asked him what the cause was for so much happiness and he told me, “Well, I didn’t think I was getting anything for Christmas. My family disowned me due to the alcohol. I am too poor to cook. So, I went to the church dinner, played some cards, and the next thing I know, someone handed me a gift. They knitted me a hat!”

He pointed toward his head and showed me the blue and white knit beanie that he had on. He then said, “You know, Christina, this is the best Christmas I’ve had in ten years!”

A knit hat thrilled him. Weeks leading to that day, I was talking to him about ways to pass the holiday without focusing on his own demise. That’s right, Christmas brought on feelings of depression that were so thick he wanted to die.

Being a hundred percent honest, the holidays are very hard for most people. There’s hustle and bustle combined with a ton of pressure and a lot of feelings of loneliness and despair.

Every life has value and purpose. If you find yourself struggling through the holidays, find a local church to eat dinner at. Call an old friend. Write a letter to someone serving in the military. Find a way to distract yourself from the season.

If it’s due to money, please don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are a TON of programs out there. Don’t worry about your pride, we all need help sometimes.

If you’re one who loves the holidays, don’t forget to reach out to people who may be alone on Christmas. A phone call or two. A plate of food for a friend can make a huge difference. Remember all it took was a knit hat to make someone’s holiday special.

A Frame of Mind wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy holiday season!

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A Frame of Mind

So, I’ve been asked a few times how my first day went. More than that, I’ve been asked, “What EXACTLY is your business?” The truth is, I’m not really sure how to explain it. It’s unique. So, I’ll try my best…

First, my first day went well. It was interesting to see the reactions of everyone who came. Most of what I heard was, “Oh my goodness, the only place I have been able to find these is on Amazon…” This is true. I am trying to stock therapeutic items in a place where you can learn about them, ask questions about them, see them face-to-face and eliminate the guessing game of having them shipped.

So, what is ‘A Frame of Mind’? The best way to describe it is we are addressing mental health by encompassing every aspect we can. I think the only thing we don’t address is medications, however, we do carry some supplements. So, basically it looks like this…

People can make an appointment for therapy. I’m fully licensed and trained in multiple areas to do therapy. I currently accept Blue Cross and I also accept Medicaid. I will be accepting more soon as I am just opening.

I offer cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, family therapy, and also I am doing a trial on virtual reality therapy to address trauma, anxiety, and phobias (yes, you actually get to wear a headset and practice talking, addressing fears, etc.). The virtual reality therapy is NOT covered by insurance at this time. I use it to supplement therapy, or as a cash only therapy in itself.

Next, I offer group therapy. This will be conducted after normal office hours because I can’t have people roaming the store while we’re doing group.

A store? Yes, it’s small, quaint, but full of items that enhance therapy, help with mindfulness and self-soothe, including sensory items, advertise mental health and removing the stigma, and incorporate family togetherness.

What else? We also offer a place for people to relax, drink coffee, shoot the breeze, listen to music, beat on the drum, or even paint canvas or river stones.

In addition to what is described above, ‘A Frame of Mind’ offers a therapy incentive program. Some of the items we sell in the store have a ‘green dot’ sticker on them. Every person that has been to therapy 10 times is able to get a ‘green dot’ item from the store for free. Why? I do this because I believe that achieving your mental health goal is worth celebrating!

We don’t have a lot of space, but in the space we have, we do a lot of things. We are adding a few more therapeutic type activities as time goes on, but for now I think this is the most accurate description of who we are and what we do- with more to come.

‘A Frame of Mind’ is working hard to help people accomplish their life worth living and we approach mental health non-judgmentally as we celebrate everyone’s success.

 Any questions, please feel free to stop by, say hello, message us, or give us a call. (231) 340-2263.

Thank you everyone for supporting us!! (Nan, thanks so much for the flowers!)

The Grief of a Miscarriage

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It was Monday, January 14th.

A day that I never once even considered the vs. in Jeremiah (1:5). Nor have I ever considered Psalm 139:13. However, after feeling a little strange while doing group at work only to find myself bleeding at 5 weeks 4 days pregnant, the verses became a strange reality.

The baby’s name was made official that morning. We were excited to be parents again. We were making arrangements for what to do with the furniture in the house. I had already bought the paint for the living room. Each night, up until that date, me and my husband stayed up fantasizing on what this child was going to be like. We would debate over baby names, what sex it was going to be and why, and how we were going to tell the news to everyone.

They say there’s a glow to you when you’re pregnant. After Monday, January 14th, I started to speculate on that glow. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” I was sitting in the hospital, tearful, because I knew what was going on and I didn’t want to experience it. The hospital staff were arrogant and rude, treating us like we were ignorant. That’s very typical for the hospital when they see me and my husband together. They assume we’re on Medicaid and that we don’t understand things. Making comments like, “Good thing you have three at home. You’re almost 38 it’s not like you needed another one.”  “Is this the baby daddy?” Or the, “Christina, you probably tested early, it’s not going to be any different than your period was.” I’m not dumb. That was all I could think. My doctor knows. Stop patronizing me.

I stayed silent, focused on that glow. After the medical staff left the room, I looked at my husband and said, “It’s because you’re carrying two souls. That’s where the maternal glow comes from. The mom is no longer sheltering her own soul, she has the baby’s soul too.” My husband thought that was an interesting philosophy.

On the car ride home, I was silent. My husband was surprised I didn’t give the hospital staff a piece of my mind, like I typically do. I just wasn’t feeling it. My heart was hurting. I went to bed, exhausted, drained both emotionally and physically.

The next day I wasn’t prepared for what I experienced. I never could empathize with a woman having a miscarriage before. I knew they had to experience grief of some sort, but I never truly understood how it felt. I remember sitting on the couch willing myself not to have to use the bathroom. I think I went twice that day and that was only because I couldn’t wait any longer. Each time you go, everything maternal fights with everything physical. Your heart tries to hold in what your body is getting rid of. It’s a conflict of interest.

You’re ingrained to protect your young and so you try with all your might. The agony of having to use the bathroom forces you to give in to what you’re opposed to. With tears, you feel the glow start to leave you. It’s not instant, it takes a little bit of time. A couple of days. But you feel it slipping away. You’re left feeling empty, hollow even.

The whole time, I was cursing the hospital. I felt bitter, angry, that they could say some of the dumbest things ever. It was nothing like having a normal period. This was far more intense and to be quite honest, never had I had a period where I saw the sac of a fetus and an umbilical cord before. It was a ridiculous statement on the doctor’s behalf, and I hated her for minimizing my pain and every other woman’s pain who has experienced this as well.

That Tuesday is when the phone calls and comments were made. First thing’s first. I have never experienced real grief for someone extremely close to me before and I don’t wish to. I’ve cried at every funeral I’ve ever attended, since I was a small child. I am a true empath and can understand and feel pain regardless if it’s my own. I have learned that if I ever experience grief of someone close, I know I will isolate. I didn’t want to see the comments. I didn’t respond. I avoided. I hated seeing the words I’m sorry. I didn’t believe them. They felt fake. Perhaps not fake, perhaps distant or obligated. Almost like, “I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, glad I’m not.”  Or “I have to say something because I’m her friend.”

My daughter convinced me to post it on fb. She was frustrated with me for not sharing my feelings with her or anyone for that matter. I am used to being the one that people talk to. I’m not comfortable being the one to talk. I write. That’s how I experience emotion. I write everything. I had written a little. She wanted me to share, so I could avoid the texts. That sounded reasonable and like a relief, so I did. I never read the comments. I left them alone to sit.

When I started to talk to people, I realized I wasn’t the only one in this position. I realized that most people have a difficult time identifying what it is they’re feeling. People don’t feel that grief is real when it comes to a baby one has never physically held. Abortion is legal and people do it all the time, it’s not a big deal. But the truth is, it is a big deal. When you are expecting, everything changes. Life styles change, plans change, your body physically changes. It’s with you constantly and on your mind even more. When that gets ripped away, it’s difficult.

So many women are talked to like they’re dumb for caring. I was told, “It’s not a big deal, you have time make another one.”

My thought was, “And risk going through all of this again?”

I was perplexed. I was told, “Well this one didn’t work out, hopefully next time I see you, you’re actually in labor.”

“Um thanks.”

“Good thing you have three!”

“Again, thanks.”

“I’m glad this isn’t your first at your age.”

My thought, “Would you say that to someone where it was?”

“30-50 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.”

“Thanks.”

“Good thing you didn’t need another one.”

“Thanks, but really who NEEDS one to begin with?”

These are normal “condolences” to women who are in the process of grieving. Sure, the grief may not look the same, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to. I’m sure grief doesn’t look the same from when your parent dies to when your dog dies, but guess what, people understand it’s still grief.

What’s worse. When a woman suffers with a miscarriage, they then have to tell the people they let in on the secret. It’s humiliating because one day you were all excited, the next time you see them you’re empty- like you lost your glow.

Does life go on? Yes, it does. Me and my husband are okay. In fact, we’re happy even. We had a really tough week that week. It took two for me to decide if I wanted to try for a fourth child or not. I talked to the doctor and let her know my concerns. She assured me I was healthy, able-bodied, and should have no problems carrying a child full-term. But the choice is mine.

When and if we decide to try again, and when and if we get pregnant, I will pray everyday that this does not happen to me again. I will not give it another chance if it does. I don’t think I would be able to. It hurts too much.

However, through this experience I have learned that it’s better to not say anything than it is to try and help when you don’t know what to say. If you know a woman going through this experience and you don’t know what to say, but feel you must say something, here’s a list of a few things you can say.

“I’m sorry for your pain.” (be sincere)

“I’m sorry for your loss.” (be sincere)

“Dude that really sucks.”

“Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?”

“I bought you a candy bar.”

“Make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”

“Screw the doctors! They’re dumb!”

“Did you watch ___________ tonight? It was hilarious!” (This is my personal fave. Takes your mind off the crap your mind is focused on).

Regardless, just because you don’t understand what they’re going through, doesn’t make it okay to say whatever you please. The woman you’re not understanding is losing her glow and it breaks her heart. Remember the human.

My therapist thinks I’m awesome tee-shirt

My therapist thinks I’m awesome shirt

This tee-shirt is for sale in all sizes S-XXL. Please add $2.00 for XXXL and XXXXL. The shirt is made in white, but if you would like gray, pink, or blue please let me know in a message in paypal. As always shipping is free!

$20.00

My therapist thinks I’m awesome tee shirt

Therapist thinks I’m awesome shirt!

This tee-shirt is available in sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL. Please add an additional $2.00 for XXXL and XXXXL. This shirt is in white, but can be made in light blue, pink, or gray. Please specify in paypal message if changing the color. As always, shipping is free. 🙂

$20.00