EMDR explanation

 

I’ve had a lot of family, friends and followers ask for more information on my EMDR therapy. I found this on Facebook today, and thought it perfectly summed up the practice.

I hope it clears some things up! I encourage anyone with PTSD to pursue this treatment, it has worked wonders for me.

Wishing you the best of luck,

Kate and the Kids.

Advertisements

The most relatable wedding vows I’ve ever heard.

img_1706Last night our little family attended my cousin’s wedding. The happy couple tailored their wedding to their unique style, and almost everything was unconventional. The one thing that really stood out to me were the vows they recited. They were unlike any I’d ever heard before, but something all of us live everyday.

I quote these loosely, as I was too emotional to remember them word for word.

“Will you anger, annoy, or frustrate your partner?”

“I may.”

“Is this your intent?”

“No.”

“Will you cause physical, emotional or mental pain to each other?”

“We may.”

“Is this your intent?”

“Absolutely not.”

img_1553I’ve heard a lot of sugary-sweet wedding vows. I’ve heard funny ones, I’ve heard very personal ones. These were by far the most honest, real, raw vows I had ever heard, and are something every relationship can relate to. I could say these words to anyone I love- my husband, sister, mother, even children. The ones we love most are often the ones who see us at our worst, but facing challenges with the best intentions will set us up for the most realistic version of success.

Of all times to hear these vows, they came at the tail end of our vacation. They came after a long road trip in a packed minivan, and cramming six people in one hotel room for four nights. After sharing one hotel with our extended family, and running into people we knew everywhere. Trust me, their words hit home. Family can be annoying, stressful and frustrating- but it isn’t our intent. At the end of all of it, we love each other immensely.img_1626

I will carry their words with me, and keep in mind that people make mistakes. Forgiveness is a huge part of every relationship. When you really love someone, you must try to be patient if they explode some intense feelings in moments of weakness, but trust that their intention is not to hurt you.

Their vows came to me at a time when I really needed this reminder. I hope they help you as much as they helped our family.

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the kids.

Lets talk quantum physics and health.

img_1512Vacationing in New Hampshire has gifted me a ton of down time to get reading. I feel like I never have time to sit down and focus, but I’ve plowed through a book per day since leaving home.

Yesterday I read about chakras. When I picked up the book, I had little to no understanding of what they were.

I have appreciation for holistic medicine and healing practices within reason, but I’m always searching for the scientific proof. Hearing that chakras dealt with energy, I assumed it was an intangible spiritual source. Once I cracked the book and started reading about chakras on a molecular level as based in quantum physics, I definitely had my interest peaked. I had a hard time putting the book down, and read it cover to cover while my kids swam in the hotel pool.

So, a quick overview: there are seven chakras that deal with energy in the body. Much like layers of tissue interconnect to make your physical body, layers of energy connect and flow too. Energy comes from the electrical impulses generated by the neurons in atoms. When energy in any given chakra is blocked from being part of the interconnected flow, physical and emotional repercussions occur.

I am in absolutely no way an expert on this- I picked up my first book yesterday and continued researching on the internet.

Of the seven, the solar plexus chakra really struck a chord with me. This chakra is located in your abdomen about two finger widths above your belly button. This chakra corresponds with self confidence and self worth. When this chakra is out of harmony, we feel driven to keep up appearances and strive for prestige to hide that we do not respect ourselves. Sometimes, even hate ourselves.

Physically this often manifests in stomach issues, eating disordered and fatigue. Emotionally it causes issues with self esteem, trust, responsibility for making decisions and sensitivity to criticism.

The chakra is often blocked by repressed anger and issues with control and power.

Reading through this chapter, every line caused aching in my stomach and chest. I struggled for so long with the inability to explain how I was feeling, feeling alone, dealing with the physical pain- everything. Everything hit me hard. I never knew others felt this way, let alone wrote books about it or practiced healing it on a global scale. It was the ease of being accepted, but also the heartbreak that these awful feeling effect more than just me.

One of my favorite things in the world is learning new words and phrases. In this case, I feel like I’ve gained a huge communication tool that will help me express and identify my feelings. As we know, acknowledging a problem is step one in fixing the issue.

I’m not capable of healing myself. I need the support of my family and friends, guidance from my therapist, supervision from my medical doctors, and tons of research on all of the options available to me.

Not very long ago, I had a friend who took his own life. I think about it everyday, and constantly wonder what could have been done differently. What if he had these words and phrases to communicate his feelings? What if he had support, the right kind of help, knowledge, hope? I’ve been in really dark, really low places. I’ve had the thought that people would be better off without me. I’m not putting up with those thoughts anymore. I’ve seen the hurt suicide causes as a ripple effect, and I would do anything to prevent my children from feeling that kind of hurt.

My family keeps me driven to succeed, to be healthy. I want the best for them, and I’m really starting to believe that their best life includes having me in it. I want to have a healthy body, to play and be active with them. I want to have a healthy mind where I can process issues in an effective and productive way in order to provide for them. I want to be spiritually healthy, where I can spread positivity and bring my children joy in mindful moments.

These desires are what really drove my interest in researching chakras. Since all energy is connected, each healthy goal depends on the success of the others. Health is work, health is actively making better decisions, health is being educated.

I’m spending some time working on my solar plexus chakra. I’ve researched, and feel that a good starting place to unblock this chakra would be meditating, using self love affirmations, focusing on healthy eating instead of binge/restriction cycling, and being more active in decision making. (I often let my husband take the wheel in family decisions, but it’s time to be involved and empowered.)img_1541

This is just a start, there’s so much more to improve on. Success is about small steps every day. I challenge you to learn one new thing today, whether its researching an interest online or picking up a book. If you’re at a loss, look up the 7 chakras- see which ones speak to you.

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the kids.

Sixty to eighty thousand.

Humans have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day. For a long time, most of my thoughts were self degrading, negative, terrible things. Learning to change those thoughts is a very long, very work intensive process, but it’s the key to living a whole-healthy life.

img_1490

Buddhists have a phrase they use- “second arrow.” It basically means that when a person makes a mistake, it’s bad enough. When they continue beating themselves up for it, they lodge a second arrow into their heart. Living with a brain of negativity made my heart more of a pin cushion filled with millions of arrows.

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) has helped me release a lot of the hostility I held for myself, but new insecurities pop up daily. One hour of weekly EMDR with my therapist can not undo years of hurt plus the daily bad thoughts. img_1481

This week I’m on vacation with my family, and I’m determined not to let my arrows bring down my time with my family. We are making so many amazing memories, we’ve had so many laughs. I’m not letting this time be tainted by my own negativity.

My initial reaction while on vacation is to think about “what will our pictures look like?” I attempt to micromanage what my children wear, how they act, where we go, and of course my own appearance. It puts so much stress on everyone, and results in volatile emotional breakdowns when things don’t meet my expectations . This is the first trip we’ve taken since being diagnosed officially with OCD. After being diagnosed, I was able to get the correct treatment and medication, and spend a whole lot of time trying to control my symptoms with EMDR. We are at the end of day 2 of vacation, and there have been zero fights, zero tears. I feel like I finally have a handle on those negative thoughts.

img_1485I preach a lot about mindfulness, which to some sounds like a hippy dippy yoga term. I used to think the same way. Getting educated on what mindfulness actually is has changed my mind completely.

Today we took the kids sledding. In the past my thought cloud would have been consumed about the way we looked, making sure everyone was smiling, being preoccupied about good pictures, being uptight and uncomfortable. Today I was able to focus on just what I was doing- sledding. Minute by minute I thought only about the moment I was in. I didn’t think about the future pictures, I didn’t think about my insecurities from the past. I took photos as they happened instead of forcing them. I was part of the family, not an outsider watching them have fun. It was the best vacation day we’ve had in years.img_1469

We have been forced into a time where multi tasking is expected to be a necessity. I specifically remember in high school, being told we would need to be able to seamlessly do multiple tasks to be successful. Most job postings even list multitasking as a position requirement. In our “down time” we are usually watching tv and scrolling our phone. Multitasking has taken over, and has trained our brains to take on too much at once. It paves the way for multiple thought tunnels, and we feel the need to fill all the tunnels at once. This makes mindfulness incredibly difficult.

img_1500I tend to picture this as the train map at the T-station. We’ve been trained to put a thought on every track of the map. Soon we realize the trains we have put on are our anxieties, sadness, insecurities and negativities. We are multitasking our thoughts. Mindfulness is focusing on just one line. Sledding was my redline today. Staying on one track brought me to happiness. In the past I would have tried to process all the lines at once, getting overwhelmed and confused. Staying on one line, keeping my mind zeroed in on one thing- that’s mindfulness. It’s appreciation for the moment we are in, and the effort of enjoying it to the fullest.

The more I practice mindfulness, the more I notice the positivity in my life. Focusing on our activity today put my body issues and depression on the back burner. I spent more time being happy than being hit with second arrows.

We only get 60-80 thousand thoughts in a day. Let’s work on making more of them happy thoughts!

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

Dealing with Shame Boomerangs

Dealing with Shame Boomerangs

Have you ever tried to push a bad thought out of your mind, but it just kept coming back? How about being anxious about something in the future, but even when you tell yourself ‘I’ll deal with it later,’ the thought pops right back into your brain? Sometimes negativity and unprocessed feelings result in a shame boomerang; no matter how far you throw them away, they just keep coming back.

 

I’ve dealt with shame boomerangs for my whole life. I would try to forget about mean things people said about my weight, but they bounced right back into my mind time and time again. I wanted to repress the times I embarrassed myself, or was deathly socially awkward- but the memories kept flying right back at me, slapping me in the face.

 

I’ve made a lot of process with my past using EMDR. I find the more work I do reprocessing old trauma, the amount of painful flashbacks decreases.

 

That doesn’t stop current day boomerangs.

 

I deal with a lot of stay at home mom guilt. Every single day I feel bad that the house isn’t clean enough, but I also feel bad when the baby spends too much time in her pack and play while I clean. With only my husband bringing in income, I second guess every purchase- even food and household necessities. I spend the whole drive back from the grocery store beating myself up over how much I just spent. There’s also a huge misconception that because I stay home with Anna, I have a ton of time on my hands. At first people were very supportive of my weight loss, now they want to know why I don’t spend my whole day working out since “I’m just at home all day anyways.”

 

These thoughts, this shame- it doesn’t just hurt when I experience it initially. My boomerangs come back all day long, sometimes for weeks at a time.. And there are new boomerangs added daily.

 

In order to avoid feeling like a boomerang juggler, I’m finding that I need to process and resolve the shame as soon as I can. Don’t put off for later what you can process right now. Spending time with Anna/ putting her in the play pen and our financial woes are themes that aren’t going away anytime soon, but I can still process the small events. When I leave the grocery store, I have to accept that the financial decisions I made were necessary, and my worrying will never bring the price of milk down. Sometime money just has to be spent. I also have the ability to make daily choices regarding my time balance with Anna, the trick is to make a smart decision and stand by it.

 

Shame boomerangs are solved by being more confident in your initial decisions, processing negativity as it appears, and taking care of things in a timely fashion. Don’t let yourself be buried by all the things you put off dealing with.. They’ll always come back to haunt you. Face it now, be strong today, take steps to make it a better tomorrow.

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

Let’s be honest, It’s not always pretty and happy- But It’s never too late to turn it around.

Let’s be honest, It’s not always pretty and happy- But It’s never too late to turn it around.

I spent yesterday with my sister and her husband. At one point she asked me how I was doing. I told her I was doing fine, laughed and asked her how SHE was doing. I didn’t get it at first. She gave me this “try again” look, and asked me again; How are you doing?

 

When she explained her concern, she cited that I hadn’t been blogging enough. She knows when I have good days because I want to share my positive energy and lift others. It’s the times where I go radio silent that she worries. The truth is, I “blog” every day, but most of my rough drafts don’t make it to the internet. Unless my writing has the ability to make a positive impact or help others, I don’t want to share it.

 

I’ve found that most of my writing this week has not been helpful for others, but it is helpful for me to write my feelings down. I’ve needed to vent, but I don’t need to do it on a public forum. Things have been crazy for us lately. The kids have been sick, I’m disappointed in a friend, hurt by a family member, and always stressing out about keeping our family organized. Knowing these are the events I’m going through won’t help you, but I hope the way I’m coping with them will.

 

The first thing that I had to learn this week is that when people in your life make bad decisions, it isn’t your fault. It isn’t your child’s fault, nor your spouse. It is that one person who made the decision’s fault. It’s normal to be angry, disappointed, and sad- but it’s not okay to take those feelings out on the people you are close to. I found myself in a moment of irritability and snapped at my son. I immediately realized that I’d misdirected my anger. I changed my tone, apologized, and we continued our conversation without issue. It is not his fault I’m on edge, and he doesn’t deserve to absorb my bad energy.

 

IMG_4735.jpgThe second lesson I had to learn to live was the age old “accept the things you can not change.” My son has a chronic illness. We manage his symptoms, but the days can be trying. There is no use in stressing and obsessing over it. We take him to see his specialists, we follow his treatment plan. Losing sleep over my frustrations doesn’t help anyone. It also applies to the relationships of my friends and family. It breaks my heart to see people be malicious to each other. It hurts to see them end their friendships and marriages, but there is nothing I can do to stop their choices. I just have to be supportive when they need help getting through the process.

 

 

IMG_5055Finally, I learned to practice what I preach. I let my goals go this week by trying to keep the other people in my life together. I’m stressing out about getting the kids packed for our trip this week, I’m trying to be accomodating to my husband’s short term overnight work schedule, I’m focusing on spoiling my niece who will be arriving next month, I’m worrying about the strongest person in my life- who happens to currently be going through absolute hell. I missed a few workouts, I ate some things that made me sick. I didn’t take time to breathe. I’m not sleeping. I KNOW what I need to do, but it’s much easier said than done.

 

It’s a new week, and a new day. I can recognize my own problems, so I need to take the initiative to do better. Going forward I’m letting go of other people’s problems. I’m putting myself back at the top of my priority list. I’m accepting that I can not control others. I’m going to be that bad ass mother that I know I can be, and totally run my shit. I’m taking my life back this week, and I’m not planning on dropping the reins again anytime soon.

 

What are you doing different this week? Where can you take the control back? Where can you let go of negativity?

 

Wishing you strength, empowerment and positivity.

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

 

Teaching My Family Self-Care

Teaching My Family Self-Care

 

 

We talk a lot about self-care in my home. I fully believe that everyone needs time to recharge, including my husband, children- even my pets.

 

This morning my son had a rough start to the day. Jacen is always incredibly well behaved, I can count the number of times he’s been in actual trouble on one hand.. Not bad for an eight year old, but today was one of those days.

 

I set a rule yesterday and Jacen broke it this morning. He got himself into a spiral of anger and bad decisions. This situation called for duel treatment- punishment for past decisions, and encouraging self-care to stop future bad decisions.

 

Self-care is incredibly important for children. They are learning new things about their bodies and emotions every day, so time to reflect on those things can be extremely beneficial. They’re also very scheduled during the school day, often putting their own desires or interests on the back burner during class time. Self-care time is an opportunity to say “you know earlier I wanted to build my lego set, but I had school. It would make me happy to do that now.”

 

My eight year old son isn’t going to pop on a $20 face mask and pour a glass of wine. Sometimes self-care has to extend further than a Facebook Meme. Jacen likes to read, take naps, and do science experiments. Arielle prefers to draw, listen to music and go outside. Every child is different, but it’s a great opportunity to let THEM take the reins. I learn a lot about my kids when I stop directing them to activities, and let them ask for things instead. Even my one year old needs some time to run freely and explore between her scheduled meals and naps. Self-care is all about taking a few moments for yourself. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It certainly doesn’t have to be an expensive facial.

 

Tonight Jacen is coloring cat mandalas. These coloring books are intentionally indicate to induce mindfulness. I can already see a change in his body language. He is certainly upset that his tablet has been taken away, but without his self-care time the anger of his punishment would have snowballed his bad attitude even further. Watching him color on the floor, I notice that his breathing is calm and steady, not angry and fast. The color in his face has returned to normal instead of his frustrated red. His hands hold the pencil gently instead of being clenched in rage. His body is already reflecting the change after just 30 minutes of downtime.

 

Taking time for ourselves isn’t limited to times of high emotions. In fact, getting in a self-care routine reduces stress, anger, and anxiety as a preventative measure. I’ve made the change of taking a few moments to myself everyday. Sometimes that means letting Anna cry it out in the pack and play while I take a shower. She’s in a safe place, it’s okay to take a break. It usually includes blogging, although not all of my first-draft rants make it to the internet. I just like being able to ink my feelings, so I can get them out of my chest. My husband likes to drive, scroll Reddit and tinker with fixing things for his self-care time. My mom drinks her tea in the morning while she reads the newspaper. My sister snuggles her labradoodles. There are limitless options, and something for everyone.

 

There is no age restriction for self-care time. Everyone needs it, and I’m seeing a positive change in our family dynamic as we each start to take time for ourselves regularly. I encourage you to try it out in your home. Let me know in the comments what you like to do for your self-care time!

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.