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Here’s for Anxiety!

Image result for pics of scared people

So, I was sitting in the bathroom, phone in hand, scrolling through my emails when I heard it. The problem was, I was home alone. No husband, no kids- just me, alone. My ears perked up and I sat in total silence. After a considerable amount of time of nothing, I went back to my emails.

This time, the sound was distinct, right outside of the bathroom door. The floor was creaking. There was someone standing outside of the door. Mind you, I have no clue why I was still in the bathroom, I was fully clothed, I had just gotten dressed and decided that it was a good time to check my email. However, being home alone and someone outside of the door, I was now stuck.

My brain went back about 15 years, the first time my child told me the house was haunted. Why my brain decided to go there is beyond me. I’m not the kind of person who worries about such things. But then again, perhaps I am because that’s what happened. Then I thought about my son and his night terrors of the “shadow man”. Both my girls swear they’ve seen him/witnessed him as well.

So, now in my brain, as my anxiety kicks in, it’s me against a supernatural shadow fella who’s patiently impatiently waiting for me to leave the bathroom. I realize it had to be the shadow guy because nobody else was in the house, the dog would have barked.

You would have thought that at this point, logic would have set in, but it didn’t. I am now ready to combat a shadow ghost, in which I don’t even believe in- unless we went spiritual like angel/demonic, but that would creep me out even more.

So, ghost against me. Got it. My adrenaline was ready for me. If the typical response is fight, flight, or freeze, I am most definitely a fight girl. So, now I’m ready for a supernatural war in the midst of my home. I decided to make the first move. I yell at the guy from behind the door. No, I’m not lying.

“Get!” is what my brain decided to say. By the way, this is the same response I give the cat when she’s in my way.

Pause. Nothing. Moments later the floor creaks and I hear the weight of his feet shift. Game on. We’re full-fledged heading to combat.

As fast as my somewhat large body can carry me, I bust open the door with all my might. Granted, it takes absolutely no might to open a bathroom door. However, in my defense, I have no clue to how strong shadow men are, so I had to use force. Don’t judge, this is my story.

In addition to the fact that I had to use my strength, my voice decided to be heard. I didn’t expect to yell at the guy, but hey, why not?

So, if you can picture me, hair in a bun, holding a phone, coming out of the bathroom as if the house were on fire and screaming, then you can visualize EXACTLY what my dog saw.

Yep. She looked at me and I looked at her. How the dog was able to stifle her laughter I have no idea. Perhaps she accepted the fact that I am not a normal human. Regardless, the relief I felt that there was no random shadow ready to attack was nice, but it didn’t outweigh my embarrassment as I felt the need to explain to my dog my situation. Which therein lies my other problem…

Mindfulness

As a DBT therapist the practice of mindfulness exercises is a regular part of my daily routine. The way most of my consumers experience mindfulness when they first start looks a little like this:
They picture themselves walking down the beach with a warm breeze enveloping them. “Oh I forgot to pull the meat out of the freezer. Crap! I am supposed to be mindful for 5 minutes, let me start over”.
They, again, are walking down the beach. “The beach seems sunny. I want sun but it’s supposed to rain today. When in the hell is spring finally going to be here? Shoot. I wasn’t mindful. Grr. Okay, I’m on that stupid beach again.”
The feel the warm breeze against their face, the sand on the bottom of their feet. “The floor needs vacuumed. Maybe I’ll do that when I’m done being… You’ve got to be kidding me. What’s wrong with my brain that I can’t be still for not even a single minute? I hate Mindfulness!”
The problem with this is a few things:
1- Visualization like that is only one method of mindfulness. Mindfulness exercises can be anything that gives one hundred percent of your focus to the actual moment you’re experiencing. When I paint, I’m focusing one hundred percent on the canvas and what I’m experiencing with the canvas. Every brush stroke, every detail, my mind is clearly focused. That is mindfulness. It can happen with any platform. It just has to be purposeful and focused.
2- Mindfulness takes practice. One doesn’t just wake up and stop the hustle of their brain just because they want to sit and clear their mind. Thoughts happen. Accept that and watch them exit as soon as they enter. It’s okay. Why are we judging our thoughts? As you see in the above examples we tend to start judging our thoughts and then that leads to judging ourselves. How is that beneficial to anyone?
3- Mindfulness isn’t as weird as people think. I’ve had a ton of people ask me if mindfulness was Buddhist practice or against Christianity. The answer is, all religions practice mindfulness. All mindfulness is, is focusing on the present moment. What am I doing right here and right now. Or, what can I focus on right here and right now. For example, if you happen to like imagery, you don’t have to be on a beach, but only picturing yourself on one. On the flip side, if you’re in Walmart buying bread, you can focus on the very floor tile you’re standing on, purposefully noticing each scuff mark and mouse dropping you can see.
I encourage everyone to practice mindfulness. Eat something with purpose. Pay attention to things like texture, smell, taste, the sound of it, and sight of it (this can lead to weight loss!). Practice when you tie your laces. Imagine trying to teach a two-year-old the hows and whys of tying a shoe. Practice while you’re stressed. How does my body feel, where is my tension? Etc.
Mindfulness is amazing because you actually get to experience life instead of just exist in it.

My therapist thinks I’m awesome tee-shirt

My therapist thinks I’m awesome shirt

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Addiction Statement Tee-Shirt

Tee Shirt

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