We’re opening back up!

Hello friends and family!
It’s been a while, but I wanted to share the good news!! A Frame of Mind will be opening back up for face-to-face appointments starting June 8th.

There will be some changes (by law we have to), but we are excited to see people face-to-face again.

We are opening at this time by appointment. If you would like to make an appointment, please call us, jump on the portal, or email us and let us know.

We are asking that people wear masks at this time. We don’t like them either, but we are trying our best to keep us safe, our clients safe, and also mind the law. 🙂

We have hand sanitizer at the desk available for your use, and we are sanitizing the machines for bill pay, etc in between each customer.

You may shop our store while you are here for your appointment, or you may call and make an appointment to shop it. We are not opening it in between, because we are so small, we cannot guarantee 6 feet apart. Which is why we ask for you to make an appt.

We ask that you come alone to your appt. unless you are a minor and then we ask for only one guardian.

If you have any questions, please contact us and as a small business, we want to thank everyone for their love and support!

231-340-2263

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The Invisible Illness

The Invisible Illness

            You’re sitting at a restaurant and you see a family with a child. This child has breathing tubes in and out of his mouth and strange sounds emulating from some type of machine. When mom goes to feed him and the child kicks or screams you say to whoever you’re sitting with, “poor thing”. An hour later as you go to exit the restaurant, you paid no attention to the tantrums of this young child, because you felt bad for everything this child had to go through. You walk up to the mother and give her a pat on the back and say something to the extent of, “you have such a wonderful family” or “you are such a good mother” or something like that to give her a piece of encouragement. You leave the restaurant feeling good about yourself and the world in which you reside.

            A week goes by and you find yourself at the grocery store. You are killing time and just decided to pick up a few things to add to tomorrow’s dinner. Immediately you feel the jolt of a cart hitting your leg. The pain isn’t immense but you definitely feel it. You are slightly irritated as you turn around to a mother with a red face. Her hair is in total disarray and she seems to be fumbling her groceries around as she tries to bargain with her child to stop ramming into things with the cart. You notice the child pays no attention to what the mother is saying, and the mom quietly mutters an apology to you as she quickly slams her items into the cart and appears more than ready to leave the store. You mutter to yourself, “that kid needs a good swift kick in the butt” or “if I had that child…” You leave the store disgusted with society and ready to condemn all young mothers who have no idea how to raise their kids. You are proud of how well you did as a parent and you are quite certain you could educate at least half the world on how to be a great mother.

            Here is my question to you; “If you had that child, what?” I would like a response to that. Honestly. I would like a response. The problem is, if you had that child you would be going through the same exact problems this mother is going through, or you would be a child abuser. I guess the choice is yours. See, society tends to judge parenting on what they see, not what they don’t see. The mother at the grocery store could be ten times the mother you or the lady at the restaurant was because she can tolerate her child’s illness, though she gets absolutely no credit at all. Children who have invisible illnesses get picked on, judged at school by teachers and students, get discriminated against by society, get told constantly how “bad” they are, and the parents of these children have it no better. They are constantly condemned for not measuring up to parental expectations. They are constantly told how to raise their kids and are often called, “bad mothers” by others.

            These mothers hurt. Not only do they hurt due to the way society treats them or their ill child, but they also hurt because nobody recognizes the pain they and their child experience. They are constantly put down, scolded, or pushed away from society. These mothers try to shop during off hours, they don’t go out to eat for fear their child will cause a problem that offends patrons, they constantly endure ridicule, and quite frankly they don’t deserve it. Invisible illnesses such as Autism, separation anxiety disorder, selective mutism, childhood depression, oppositional defiant disorder, Asperger’s, mental retardation, etc, are not easily recognized by appearance. These children look “normal” (I DESPISE that word!) so people expect them to act as such.

            My point is to not fall victim to being a complete and total idiot. If you go to the store and you get hit in the leg with a shopping cart, and mom looks extremely overwhelmed, smile at her and tell her she’s doing a good job. Chances are- she really is. She’s loving a child that society rejects. She’s loving a child with an invisible illness, and that can be just as difficult, if not more, than loving a child with a visible one. And the next time you say you would spank that kid, think of a child full of breathing tubes- would you hit him for being frustrated about his illness? Nope. Now try again. 

Update on Telehealth

Due to the statewide lockdown, A Frame of Mind is doing all appointments via telehealth.

Though this is not our preference, we are doing what we can to keep everyone healthy.

We will update everyone as we gain more information, but we hope to resume all services after April 13th.

We will let you know if things change. Current clients of ours, we’ve sent you links to our portal where you can login and tap the video icon at the time of your appt.

Cash clients, we will invoice your email ahead of time, please make sure we have access to your email address.

Anyone can reach out to us at christina@aframeofmindbodyandspirit.com

For scheduling please contact Brandon@aframeofmindbodyandspirit.com

A Frame of Mind and Covid 19

Alright, customers, clients, and friends- due to the Covid 19 outbreak A Frame of Mind wanted to keep everyone updated on what our plans are during this time while kids are off and everyone is avoiding illness…

If we had access to a cell phone number or email, we sent you a link to join our portal. With that, you will then have access to our HIPPA approved video-conferencing.

Even though A Frame of Mind plans to stay open, we wanted an option to make everyone feel comfortable and still be able to get counseling even if they (or we) are sick or stuck at home.

In order to use this feature, it will be scheduled during your regular scheduled appointment. You MUST let us know that you will not be coming in as soon as possible and that you would like to video in.

At the time of your scheduled appt. you will log in to your portal and click the video icon. As soon as both of us are online, the session will start.

If you are a cash-only client, you will need to update your email (or text number) in the portal (or send it to us and we’ll update it) if we don’t have it, and we will invoice you well before your session. You will then pay the invoice and then follow the instructions above. The invoice must be paid before the session begins.

If you didn’t get the link to the portal and would like to get on our portal (or you are new to us and would like to make an appt.) you may go to www.aframeofmindbodyandspirit.com and go to the schedule an appt. link. From there, click log in, and it will take you to the portal to start your account. You may have to hit my name (provider Christina Cooper) to get to where it will let you start an account.

To remind everyone the best way to stay healthy is to not panic, wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, don’t share beverages or swap spit in any sense, take your vitamins and practice self-care.

Judging your trauma

Don’t judge someone else’s trauma or compare your own.

That’s the point of this post.

Trauma is one of those things that I totally understand. I’ve lived through trauma, experienced it, suffered from it, and grew from it. One thing that saddens me about trauma survivors is there judgment regarding either their own trauma or someone else’s.

For example, someone discusses their trauma and another person wants to “do them one better.”

By doing so, you just totally invalidated the first person’s experiences. Regardless if you feel your trauma was worse, it doesn’t matter. Theirs was still traumatizing.

Each person has a different threshold for pain. Some people go to the delivery room and need medications, an epidural, etc. Some don’t. Some go in and give birth like it didn’t make a difference in the world. Push and done. We are all different.

The one thing that is the same for everyone is that we all experienced trauma. Some people’s trauma is different than others, but when push comes to shove we’ve either all dealt with it or will at some point.

I’ve heard people judge themselves saying, “I know I should feel happier because nothing big has happened to me, but for some reason, I feel so…”

The truth is, you need not judge yourself. There is no way you should or should not feel. You’ve dealt with stuff that is hurting you and it’s okay.

Just because you weren’t kidnapped in your life, or tortured, doesn’t mean you didn’t experience things. For example, I’ve never experienced a house fire. I’m glad, I don’t want to experience that. I hope I never have to. That said, because I never experienced a house fire doesn’t minimize the fact that I experienced other things. Each person has their own struggles to deal with. I don’t want someone else’s struggles and they don’t want mine. We were not meant to be the same.

So, feeling bad because you “should” be okay because you haven’t really gone through anything and you feel bad for not feeling good about life, is simply nonsense. Don’t compare your trauma. Don’t minimize other people’s struggles either. If you’re not feeling great, don’t feel bad for getting help, just get help. It’s okay.

What’s not okay is ignoring your trouble. It’s only going to get worse. You will feel worse. My point, if you need help get help. If you don’t, don’t talk about those who do. My belief is every person in the world would benefit from “getting help” and don’t judge yourself or anyone else for handling or not handling their problems. Each life is built differently.

Make sense?  

Let’s talk love

Thoughts to ponder…

Did you know love is one of the strongest emotions? In my opinion it is only second to hope, but just a little stronger than hate.

Did you know that even though love is often depicted as glorious, it’s often not good for you?

The emotion of love is simply an emotion. A feeling. Similar to nauseas. It means nothing but is depicted as meaning so much more than that.

It truly means nothing.

We describe “that amazing butterfly feeling” as love.

Again, this is not the case. That’s just anxiety.

Love, in all its complexity is simple, really.

Most people I’ve counseled in the past were shocked when I said that love could be unhealthy. That is was just an emotion and not that big of a deal.

I think that’s important to know, because like any other emotion, it goes away.

In my opinion, the love for a child should be titled something else, because there’s something more innate to that. However, romantic love is not the same. It leaves, just like any other emotion out there does.

That’s why they say marriage is hard work.

Some days you feel the emotion of love. Others, as most of you know but don’t want to admit, have also felt the same feelings with your partner as hate, anger, jealousy, etc. Love is no different.

The reason I say this is not to discourage love, the Lord knows I’m a romantic. No, it’s to encourage people who are in an unhealthy relationship with love to realize that they can actually control this.

Our society has extremely unhealthy visions of love. Admit it, we were all a little infatuated with the Twilight Series. However, we didn’t want to think about the fact that it was actually disturbingly horrible if you go to the root of it.

As kids grow, they too learn to depend on this unhealthy situation, thinking it’s supposed to be like this because it’s ‘real love’.

We talk about mental health in regards to anger, pain, trauma, grief, etc. Perhaps it’s time to work on the emotion of love.

If that’s the case, we’re here to help.

Give us a call, walk-in, message us, whatever works for you. We can set something up. As I said, love isn’t always your friend, it’s only an emotion, and it can be controlled. We can help you with that. <3

All the cool kids are doing it

“All the cool kids are doing it.”

This was a saying I remember hearing a lot about in the 80’s/90’s. I tried to use it on my mom numerous times to no avail. My mom was relentless. It sounded something like this…

“Mom, can we have a boy/girl sleepover? The  boys can sleep in my brother’s room.”

“NO!”

I whine. “But Mom, EVERYBODY has boy/girl sleepovers. You just want me to be a dork! You HATE me!”

“No, but I’m no fool either. Now if you don’t quit now, you will NOT be having a sleepover!”

(I sigh, roll my eyes and stomp off to my room- making sure she hears my door shut).

“Cool kids” or “everybody” often lead us to things that weren’t necessarily good for us.

We came from a generation where ‘no means no’ with no explanation needed and ‘because I said so’ was good enough.

Things have changed.

My daughter came home from a friend’s house. I asked her why she came home early. It sounded like this…

“Mom, I need you to come get me.”

“You okay.”

“No, just come.”

“I’m on my way.”

She gets in the car.

“What’s going on?” I ask.

“They were vaping.”

“Oh…” I looked at her confused. My friends smoked, did drugs, drank, I didn’t always leave, I just didn’t participate if I was uncomfortable. If it was too bad, I left.

“Mom, I HATE being around vaping! It’s disgusting. It smells disgusting…”

“I thought it doesn’t smell?”

“Mom, I can smell that crap a mile away. It makes my breathing hurt, just when they do it. I can’t imagine doing it myself!”

“Wow. So you decided to leave?”

“Yeah.”

“Will your friends be upset at you for leaving so soon?”

“I don’t care what they think. Mom, I don’t like it so I’m not going to be around it. That’s my choice.”

“Nice! I’m really proud of you. Thank you for being so strong!”

Another circumstance looked like this…

My son comes home from school with a strange look on his face.

“What’s up?” I ask.

“Mom most my friends don’t believe in God.”

“Okay, so how does that work for you?”

“I pray louder when I eat.”

“Huh?”

“They always ask me what I’m doing so I tell them I pray.”

“You’re not ashamed to pray in front of them?”

“No, just because they don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that I have to be stupid too!”

“Nice. That makes good logical sense. I think you are very brave!”

“I’m mad at them.”

“Why?”

“They’re going to the devil.”

“Whoa. Don’t assume that. People can change. How about you pray for them too?”

“Yeah.”

The irony, is it’s not just my kids. I talk to a LOT of kids. They are warriors for their beliefs. Often, I hear people talking about this generation in a negative way, like they’re soft. They may not be as rough and tumble as we used to be, but they are standing up for themselves when they are brave. That is amazing!

How does this tie to mental health?

Back in the day, we swept our feelings under the rug. Boys didn’t cry, girls weren’t taken seriously. People would turn a blind eye to trauma. Like this generation, things have changed.

The cool kids, well they’re seeking help when they need it.

Therapy isn’t just for insanity, or extremely mentally ill as some people may think.

People come to therapy for a variety of reasons and not just for depression.

They come to therapy for:

Financial advice

Talking about how to make friends

Dating advice

How to achieve goals

How to tell their family they want a change

How to propose to the person they love

For someone to listen to anything they have to say, without being judged

My point, EVERY PERSON IN THE WORLD could benefit from therapy.

So, this time I agree. All the cool kids are doing it. Especially the ones who want a positive future.

It’s time. The New Year has come. Make your appointment today.

Holiday Depression

Image result for free pics of depression

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!

Holiday Grief

Image result for free cats and dogs pictures

Today, I would like to discuss a thought on grief.

It seems everyone realizes that grief is about the experience of loss, however, this loss isn’t always the same.

Grief doesn’t have to mean death. It could be someone grieves their loss of home, youth, marriage, or life as they once remembered (think empty nesters).

On the flip side, and what I kind of want to focus on today, is when grief does mean the loss of a life, but in this case not a human life.

As the holidays approach, I would like to remind everyone that the loss of an animal is also a great cause for grief. I think we need to be more mindful of people going through these types of losses.

I hear people (and I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past) kind of snicker when someone is grieving a pet. They may think to themselves that it’s not like they experienced a “real loss- it’s not like they’re human”. The truth is, they have.

Some people only have their pets as companions. Some people may not have been able to have children and so their pets are their children. Sometimes pets are the only family members they have. Others, the pet is their best friend. Perhaps the pet was their children’s best friend and so it’s another member of the family. Not everyone feels that way and that’s okay. What’s not okay is not acknowledging the person’s grief who did lose a furry friend.

Think about the commercials for a moment. I see just as many people getting puppies on Christmas type of commercials as I do engagement ring commercials. That’s how prevalent animals are to our lives. Cats or dogs are often a child’s first friend.

I guess my point is to encourage everyone this holiday season to remember their friend’s who’ve lost pets. They are struggling just as much as people who’ve lost people or relationships and sometimes that can be overlooked. Remind them that it’s okay to feel their grief without shame.

Christmas Magic

Green Christmas Tree With String Lights

I was feeling a little nostalgic yesterday. I was thinking about Christmas as a kid and how magical it was.

My parents were “extra”. They went all out for Christmas. I never had a bad Christmas. As kids, we were NEVER spoiled, except at Christmas time. My parents were so clever that I think I believed in Santa until I was a teenager.

In my mind wandering, I kind of started to think about how nice it was to have so much magic in our home. The excitement, the anticipation, the true knowledge that this one time of year was going to be a spectacular event. From sleigh prints outside to Rudolf’s nose lit in the house, Santa was something else.

I know I was fortunate to have magnificent Christmas’ as a kid. In some sense, I try to do the same for my kids. However, the truly magnificent part is the knowledge that Christmas doesn’t have to be exciting for just a child. Just because Santa kind of goes away, doesn’t mean Christmas isn’t magical.

In some ways, Christmas is even more exciting. You get to be that magic that people feel. And the cool thing is, it doesn’t have to be limited to Christmas. You can bring the joy, surprises, and warmth that so many don’t feel. Even better, it doesn’t have to cost a dime. It comes from a place so much deeper than that. It comes from your heart.

So, like the Grinch’s heart grew three times bigger that one magical year, mine will too. Who would have thought? The magic of Christmas time not on Christmas. What a concept! I hope that you will join me and offer your loving kindness as a little Christmas magic throughout the year.

Exciting News!

Exciting News!!! A Frame of Mind is at it again! We are adding Single Session Therapy to our practice!

What?!

That’s right! Starting Wednesday Nov. 20th if you want to talk to a therapist, but don’t want to commit to THERAPY, we have what you need! $50.00 is the price, you have something going on in life and want help RIGHT NOW, come on in. No assessment, no telling an entire history of personal business, no diagnosis, no loads of paperwork, no dealing with insurance, no appt. reminders and scheduling conflicts. Zip, Zero, Zilch. You need a listening ear and you want it now- We’re here. We’re available.

*Scheduled appointments are our priority, walk-ins welcomed around scheduled appts. Want to know how long the wait will be (if any) you can call ahead. Or stop by. 2836 E. Apple Ave. Muskegon, MI (231) 340-2263

A Frame of Mind has therapy the way you want it.

We’ll post a lot more about this in days to come! Stay tuned…