How to tell if you are grieving & heal your Self from grief

Got Grief? Bereavement, job loss, divorce, break ups, empty nest syndrome, ch cha cha

CHANGES!

Changes can cause grief, you know. If you are all mixed up and don’t know what to do, consider whether or not major change has caused you to grieve.

YOU MIGHT BE STRUGGLING WITH GRIEF IF:

(10) You are considering taxidermy at all. Sure, who doesn’t want a life-size representation of the past? I get it. Don’t though. Please don’t do that.

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(9) You have used your own shirt as a Kleenex. I get it. You’ve been wearing that shirt for days anyway. I’ve been there. This will adversely impact your self esteem and exacerbate the pain you are feeling.

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(8) You wonder when God is coming to pick you up already. Take you home. You keep looking around for someone to save you. Anyone other than yourself.

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(7) You relive the moment over and over again, feeling confused about unrealistic hopes for a totally new outcome despite your best efforts to let it go already. It’s called bargaining and it’s one of the 5 stages of grief. Relax. Bargaining is a natural form of healing from the pain caused by major change.

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(6) You feel silently resentful despite your assertion that you are over it. Are you sitting down? Good…Resentment is a part of the anger stage of grief and is evidence that you are healing from major change.

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(5) You are constantly being asked “are you ok” like you survived some sort of tragedy, yet you feel nothing at all and wonder what that’s about. Denial is 1/5 of the grieving process and is necessary for healing growth.

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(4) You feel mildly startled by the anger inside of you, like you had no idea that much unbridled rage was there and you don’t even know where it came from.

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(3) You are struck by the feeling that everything around you is a metaphor for this profound life changing experience—the sound of silence, the uneven blades of grass, the car pulled over on the freeway with the flat tire—everything you see is connected to the major change that has occurred in your life and the epiphanies are visceral.

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(2) You have considered the notion that you might have lost your mind based on the VARIETY of emotions you feel about any given circumstance.

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(1) You are a human being. Human beings grieve naturally as they grow because growth involves major change.

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HOW TO HEAL FROM GRIEF:

Mindfulness. Major change triggers the cycle of grief to heal your growing pains. Calendar your feelings of anger, depression, acceptance, denial, and bargaining. There is an app for that. iHeal because iFeel helps you heal grief. You are going to be ok. Meditation is a great way to quickly improve your mood and the exciting thing about the iHeal because iFeel app is that it has 5 meditations specific to healing each stage of grief. It’s not easy to go from bargaining to acceptance to denial to anger and then into depression. The order of your grief cycle does not have to be a mystery, though. Download the iHeal because iFeel app and begin charting your own personal grief cycle today.

download the iHeal because iFeel app on Google Play to heal grief

Get it on Google Play

Heal grief now: download the iHeal because iFeel app on the App Store

Available on the App Store

PTSD, Adrenaline Dump & Dehydration blog post

 

If my PTSD were cured, it would look like me not having to go to the Emergency Room anymore for dehydration brought on by adrenaline dump.

 

I used to go to the ER a lot. Even on vacation. I can tell you about Emergency Rooms in Colorado, Washington and California. Mostly I can tell you about Emergency Rooms in New York and Nevada. I went to the ER so many times in 2010, I agreed to have my gall bladder removed exactly 6 weeks before my wedding. I was back in the ER with the same symptoms one week after that unnecessary surgery.

 

Healing my own PTSD has been a long hard journey. I have been able to reduce the frequency of ER visits through a variety of activities: Meditation, EMDR, Self-Hypnosis, Journaling, Reiki, Yoga, Bubble Baths, Potting Plants, Making Art, Reading, etc.

 

When you go to the ER more than once in a month for dehydration, that can feel depressing. When you can go long periods of time without having to visit the ER, that feels like success. Holidays get me. I was ready for Halloween this year. Having missed the past 2 Halloweens with my son in a row, I had a plan: I was not going to get sick.

 

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I won. I did not get sick. I felt amazing. I went to a party. I trick or treated. I was totally there!

 

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And I totally nailed Halloween. I did it. No hospital for ONE YEAR!! I cured my PTSD! Or so I thought…

 

The week before Christmas my son got a little stomach bug that caused him to vomit from about 6:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning. I held him, did laundry and changed the bedding at least a half a dozen times all through the night. My son was such a trooper. Advice that helped:

  1. You are throwing up (he didn’t know);
  2. Mommy and Daddy will take care of you (he relaxed);
  3. Breathe when you can, hold on, you will be able to breathe again soon (thank god, right?).

 

I knew that night when he put his pukey little hand on my mouth that I was in trouble. I was inspired by my son’s ability to shake it off and have a great, even comedic, attitude throughout his sickness. I planned to have that same great attitude and pulled it off the next night for the first several hours. I threw up, cleaned myself up, closed my eyes and meditated. I may have even given some thumbs up out there. But then something happened.

 

I had a memory.

 

At the time, I was thinking: that’s interesting. It was not a foreign memory, but it FELT different this time because of the experience I had as a parent the night before, taking care of my own child. It was the difference between experiencing something as a child and experiencing it as an adult.

 

Interesting…

 

Instead of 100% meditative concentration, I began to go toward the new feeling. What’s that? What does this feel like? Why is it new?

 

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Well I’ll be damned if I didn’t walk up so close to that new feeling that a bucket of adrenaline didn’t dump into my system.  That’s right, a bucket of adrenaline.

 

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At this point, I began to throw up with no breaks in between. As in, I was both throwing up from the flu and from PTSD/Anxiety/Adrenaline dump. I’m talking about thumbs down.  I tried to tell my husband I needed help for at least 20 minutes. I couldn’t get out of the memory, which was now clearly some sort of flashback. I would open my eyes again and he would be looking at me and I would wonder, did I tell him I need help yet or did I faint again? Finally, after only 6 hours of throwing up (I should’ve been almost done!), I told my husband: I need to go to the hospital.

 

And I was right. I did need to go to the hospital. I hit a new record: 3 saline bags to rehydrate me. The flu alone does not explain that level of dehydration. Adrenaline dump does. Had I not told my husband, between throwing up, that I needed to go to the hospital, I would have died from dehydration.

 

Highlights from my last hospital experience: putting an IV into a dehydrated person’s vein is not easy, my arm is still swollen and bruised 2 weeks later; regardless of dehydration,the staff made clear they were angry at how long it took me to comply with the urine sample; the doctor at one point yelled in my face: OPEN YOUR EYES and when I did, he yelled: ARE YOU GONNA HURT YOURSELF?!

 

Did explaining at registration that I am having a PTSD attack help? No, not this time. Not every medical professional knows what that even is, unfortunately. Compassion is not a given. So I went home and tried to take care of my husband who had finally caught our son’s flu and then I just rested right through Christmas. I wanted to spring up and make Christmas joyful and high energy, like a music video. When I was unable to do that, I fought off feelings of self hate and depression and just watched movies under a blanket with my family on the couch. We all took care of each other.

 

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In conclusion, it’s ok to get sick.

 

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XO

~Rachel

Hug Yourself + Love Yourself = Heal Yourself

Ever hug yourself?

 

I do.

 

hug yourself

 

Additionally, I made a YouTube video about it. I’m that girl.

 

Actually, I wrote the script for: Hug Yourself + Love Yourself = Heal Yourself, hours before learning some pretty heinous news.

 

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I am increasingly intuitive like that; producing and directing this movie was healthy for my grieving process. Not sure what else I would’ve done with my seconds, minutes or hours. I made the set and shot the footage in record time. I’d say this one was fast tracked for sure.

 

hug yourself

 

I have PTSD. This means my response to major change can cause me to judge myself pretty harshly. Luckily, grief is here to heal the feelings associated with major change. I will lean into the anger, depression, acceptance, bargaining and denial. I am proud of myself for facilitating a creative outlet for my grief.

 

Last night I wrote my first Haiku:

 

If you’re deserted,

You can have extra dessert.

PERMISSION GRANTED.

 

Also ate 2 brownies last night.

 

Full disclosure, I eat chocolate every single day.

 

If I need something, I am going to give it to myself. I am not going to wait for someone to come and save me. I will save me. I will love me.

 

HUG YOURSELF!

 

I hope you enjoy my latest YouTube video and that you all start hugging + loving + healing your beautiful selves!

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

Eating Grief & Friendship (a love story)

Eating Grief & Friendship (a love story)

 

In my first YouTube video, I mention the health benefits of taking a break from toxic relationships.

 

You can have a healthy relationship with someone as long as they let you have your story. Including your parents, siblings, spouse, friends, etc. If you are not allowed to tell your TRUE story because someone keeps changing it in a way that dismisses or invalidates the very essence of your being, that is a toxic relationship you are free to let go of. You’re welcome.

 

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It’s not easy to let go of or take breaks from relationships. It involves GRIEVING. I’m talking about Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance…in a constant cycle…for the rest of your life. (You’re welcome?).

 

I’ve been spending some time each day multitasking sunshine and reading on my hammock. It’s awesome.

 

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Intuitive Healing is a book that I highly recommend. I’m not that into doctors in general because of my experience with flagrant disregard for emotional health, but this lady seems like the kind of M.D. I could have a doctor/patient relationship with. This book gives me permission to use my INTUITION regarding personal health and wellness (finally!).

 

eating grief

 

Here is an excerpt that I read today from Intuitive Healing:

 

“Here’s a formula for healing everything from anxiety to abuse: Darkness is transmuted into light by love. A practical alchemy. Give yourself latitude in expressing self-love. No rules: just your personal truth in the moment. Suppose you’re depressed. You may decide to enter psychotherapy, take antidepressants, not take antidepressants, go on a meditation retreat, call a time-out with your mother, or build sandcastles on the beach. Follow your intuition. If you’ve lost touch with it—stop. Find someone to help you reconnect. This is fundamental work I do with all my patients. Part of healing is reaching out. If you can’t love yourself (those times may come), you must let others love you until you can. When I’ve sunk the lowest, what has saved me over and over again are the eyes of my friends shining on me.”

 

Recently, I spent some time with my dear friend Liz (the one who taught me about House Plants!), her husband (the one I starred with in my first musical in 4th grade: Christmas on Main Street), and their adorable son, Zev.

 

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It was really special because this was the first time our toddlers had ever met.

 

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They hit it off right away (just like me and Liz and Tim) and are pretty tight now.

 

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Once again, my good friend Liz taught me a bunch of stuff—about wellness, parenting and life. What is resonating with me currently is what Liz taught me about preparing meals:

 

I eat while I cook.

 

What?

 

Yeah, I always do.

 

What??

 

I make a small plate of starters that I nibble on while I prepare dinner, I listen to music and, to be honest with you, I enjoy a glass of red wine. Basically, I make preparing meals as enjoyable as possible for myself.

 

What???

 

She then went outside and fed my husband from her plate of triscuits, hummus and carrots and I could immediately see the frustration in him subside (the charcoal grill was giving him a tough time due to rain and he said he was hungry over an hour ago).

 

eating grief

Liz

Is

Awesome.

 

I mentioned in my PTSD RECOVERY video that it’s hard for me to eat 5 times a day. I wrote a blog about seeing a nutritionist and discovering my eating was disordered. The advice I received from Liz was the most helpful to date: eat while you cook.

 

At first it seemed…wild…excessive…fancy.

 

Then I ate the triscuits and hummus and carrots and it just…seemed…right.

 

I was back on. Engaging. Funny. I realized that I was now winning a battle with a head ache that I did not even know I had been fighting.

 

Liz invited me to partner with her in a weekly comedic podcast similar to one she and her husband enjoy called: uhh yeah dude (but ours will obviously be way better). Liz thinks the world is missing out on how funny and interesting the combination of the two of us always is. I agree. (Liz is smart).

 

Stay tuned for the launch of our podcast. Hopefully we come up with a better name for it than Mrs. Tadpole #1 & Mrs. Tadpole #2 (the names of our characters from my 8th grade musical: Last Chance High).

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

Kelly Rae Roberts, will you be my friend (yes, no or maybe)?

Kelly Rae Roberts, will you be my friend (yes, no or maybe)?

 

Before Disney’s Frozen, there was this:

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

I saw it in a shop window in Boulder City, NV on April 21, 2013 and almost had to sit down because I was so…struck.

 

I was overwhelmed.

 

I felt strong, sad, lonely, inspired, hopeful, angry, joyful and I was not sure whether I was going to scream or cry or scream cry.  So I just looked at my husband and said: she’s coming home with us.

 

She hangs on the wall outside of my bedroom so that we can see each other at the start of each day.  Let it go.  I move forward.

 

I google searched the artist the next day and was struck by how similar we are (http://kellyraeroberts.com/about).  Kelly Rae Roberts gave up her career as a social worker to follow her true purpose and she has a toddler boy.  If I hadn’t gone to law school, I would have been a social worker for women and children in domestic violence situations.  If I hadn’t given birth, I would probably still be practicing family law, but I too felt compelled to follow my true purpose; I just didn’t know exactly what that was yet.

 

There is this cute little stationary store in Village Square in Las Vegas called Alligator Soup.  I walked by it one day and could see them on the wall, even though the angle was not ideal, so I went inside and just stared.  Like a dozen Kelly Rae Roberts pieces staring back at me, calling to me, pulling at my heart.  When the clerk asked me if I needed any help, the tears brimming in my eyes spilled over and I had to take a minute before I told her that oh yes, I was taking some home with me.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“Kindness matters.  The hope and kindness we give to the world not only nurtures us but it becomes a gift for someone else to receive for their own healing.”

 

Every single time I look at it, I pause and am moved by its beauty.  It is hung on the wall when you enter the front door of my home.

 

Kindness is a huge theme in this household.  As an advocate for social change, I understand that it is the loss of feeling, the loss of caring, the loss of kindness and compassion that is my BIGGEST hurdle.  If people don’t care, then things stay the same or get worse.  If things are SAD and people FEEL sad, then they are more likely to DO SOMETHING to change it for the better.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“The whispers of our lives want us to take notice. They may just be whispers, small voices tucked deep inside the pockets of our hearts, but we must hold their possibilities close to our chests and allow them to step into the light.”

 

This piece…you know…I don’t want to say any of them are my favorite because I love all of them…but this spoke to me the loudest.  Obviously because I saw potential in myself that I was not tapping into. An important part of me was in the dark. I owned this piece for 5 months before I allowed myself to say: I am a writer. When that happened, I stopped crying every time I looked at it.  I don’t cry because I am just so proud of myself for having the courage to be ME.

 

Part of being ME involves sharing my light; that fills me up. I could not stand to be the only one basking in the glow of Kelly Rae Roberts, so I started buying them as gifts for family, friends, people I just met…Off the top of my head I can think of 17 pieces of Kelly Rae Roberts art that I have gifted away and I get even more joy out of that.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

So I treated myself to what I consider to be the crowning glory of all Kelly Rae’s: Kindness Changes Everything.  My son pointed it out and said “pretty” for the first 3 weeks this was hung in our family room and I think that his awestruck facial expression alone was worth it.  I want my son to know the truth: kindness changes everything.

 

I started to follow Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog and I noticed that she began to do this “wear your joy” project right about the same time I noticed that I needed to start putting myself back together after the “new mom” phase.  Showering, getting dressed in clothes that make you feel like YOURSELF, smiling when you look in the mirror.  Thank you Kelly Rae Roberts for the wear your joy project.

 

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This is me being kind to myself for my 32nd Birthday.  I am wearing my new boots and Kelly Rae scarf from my mom and enjoying my new Kelly Rae iPhone case that was my birthday gift to myself.  I blow dried my hair! I was beginning to recognize myself again after having a baby, which is a miracle because I very dramatically told my close friends that the old Rachel died and this less passionate, more boring shell of a person was here to take her place. (Thanks for letting me vent, guys!).

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

“Slow down. Breathe in the season. Wish upon a star.”

 

Breathing is a big deal for me.  I don’t always remember to breathe.  This was a Christmas gift from my Aunt Pam and I LOVE it! It hangs in the hallway between my bedroom and bathroom and I can see it from my bed. I see her when I wake up, I breathe and I smile. Thank you, Aunt Pam!

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“Dream. My wish for you is that you feel the full breath of  possibility. And that love and kindness embrace your heart always.”

 

This was my Husband’s 2014 Valentine’s Day wish for me. It hangs on the wall next to my bed. I try to breathe that in as much as possible. My Husband wanted to remind me to give myself the love and kindness I deserve, to protect my own heart as I practice courage on a daily basis.

 

It’s not easy. But it is the right thing to do.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

“Remember who you wanted to be.”

 

I remember when I was in first grade and began to write stories for the first time. We used the rectangular paper with the dotted lines that ensured your printing would be huge and hopefully legible.  I remember watching my classmates struggle to finish the assignment: write 4 sentences, a paragraph if you will.

 

I got bored waiting and wrote a much longer story, mine took up 4 pieces of perforated paper and still I waited for my classmates to finish.  I remember feeling energized, excited and competent.

 

My first grade teacher was one of my all time favorites.  Mrs. Andelora supported my strengths and encouraged me to pursue what came very naturally to me. I think about her all the time. Mrs. Andelora was an amazing teacher.

 

I remember now who I wanted to be: a writer.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts wrote this ebook that has helped me embrace the HOW; it’s called Flying Lessons.  I bought the whole Shabang, parts 1, 2 & 3 and highly recommend it to anyone interested in owning a successful creative business.

 

What REALLY struck me about the ebook was a random link.  The link brought me to Liv Lane’s blog and her blog contained a link that brought me to an entry from 2012 in Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog.

 

BAM!

 

That’s when I figured it out.

 

Finally.

 

Like me, Kelly Rae Roberts was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shortly after her first child was born. We are kindred spirits.

 

When I purchased my first Kelly Rae, Let it Go, I didn’t even know I had PTSD yet…but I knew what this meant:

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

 

The cage…over her brain…the wings…

 

Here is an excerpt from Kelly Rae Roberts’ blog:

 

“I wanted to share this story because I believe in telling the truth of our stories. Not all stories we hold close need to be released, but some do, I believe. And this is one of those stories for me. With every piece of art I create, I release it out into the world in an effort to make more room in my heart spaces for more, new, fresh art. If I hold onto it, I can’t move forward – I need the mental space. Same is true for some stories – they need releasing so that we can make room for new, fresh, emerging experiences and new stories, so that we are no longer defined by a particular story by holding it too close.

Besides, our connections live inside our stories, where we see ourselves mirrored in one another’s stories, where comfort and belonging reside. Some of these stories are private and some are not. Either way, there is just so much, so much beauty in our brokenness and our wholeness. I believe in sharing both.” (Kelly Rae Roberts).

 

The courage it took for Kelly Rae Roberts to speak out about her PTSD caused a visceral response within me because I’m supposed to do it, too. I am supposed to share my messy, complicated story.

 

Kelly Rae Roberts

Kelly Rae Roberts

This is my Kelly Rae Roberts writing furniture.  My Husband got them for me for our 4 year wedding anniversary this May because he believes in me and wants me to succeed.  I cried so hard when we unwrapped the huge package, I could not believe how LOVED this couch made me feel.  Our cat understood immediately and has been napping on it ever since we brought it into the bedroom.

 

The chair sits at my vanity in my bathroom and every day when I get out of bed and get myself ready for the day, I sit in that beautiful chair and declare: “I choose hope.”

 

Thank you Kelly Rae Roberts. For everything.

 

The next creation I launch will be my YouTube video about PTSD and it will be in the month of June in honor of PTSD awareness month.  

 

Stay tuned!

 

It’s about to get real.

 

For more information on PTSD, please visit the website: a gift from within.

 

Thank you for your support!

 

XO

~Rachel

Belly Breathe

Hey, wanna know what my greatest parental achievement is to date?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mZbzDOpylA

 

Watch this Sesame Street video.

 

The belly breathe. I promise you I am no parental expert, but this is my story:

 

As I was staring at the computer screen, watching Belly Breathe on YouTube for the millionth time, holding my son, dreaming about how I used to be a lawyer back when people still talked to me and I still left the house regularly, it hit me that I was not breathing.

 

Why aren’t you breathing?

 

I’m thinking.

 

Can’t you do both?

 

Then I started to really pay attention to the song and it became clear why my 10 month old son has been insisting we watch this song every day for the last 2 months: it’s because we breathe together and we talk about breathing. Someone WAS talking to me, my son, as best he could. I thought he was trying to drive me crazy, pointing and grunting, for me to play the song, screaming and crying, for me to play it again. He was arguing with me: mommy, we need this. You need this.

 

So we belly breathe and we talk about it and we apply it to our daily lives.

 

The second he started talking, one of his first words after the basics was: breathe, with my baby actually putting his tiny hands on his tummy and watching his belly go in and out. Mommy proud.

 

“Breathe Mommy,” he says to me sometimes, when I get to thinking too hard about complicated things. Mommy grateful.

 

Flash forward to May 2014. Jackson is 2, I am holding him BC he is sick, his tummy hurts and he needs mama cuddles. So we are belly breathing, as we do in this house, and my sweet boy threw up real adult size + smelling vomit through my hair, deep into my sports bra, onto this brand new Kelly Rae Roberts couch I got for my wedding anniversary gift and onto the carpet. We sink to the floor together, all the while I tell him calmly:

 

That’s right, great job, you are throwing up and you are ok, yes baby, breathe, that’s right, perfect, breathe baby!

 

I get excited at this point, or ‘cited (!), as we call it around here, BC even though he is just 2 years old, he still remembered to breathe, to focus on breathing when he could, even though he was scared and felt out of control. He let it go. He breathed.

 

We high fived.

 

His Dada rushes around removing blankets and clothing that have been puked on, as we sit together and talk about how he just did an incredible job throwing up.

 

Do you feel better?

 

Yup.

 

Ok. Mommy will always take care of you baby.

 

Thank you Mommy.

 

Mommy?

 

Yeah baby?

 

{make throwing up noise} sick. Kitty sick. I sick.

 

Oh you got sick and now you are just pretending to get sick?

 

Yes, the belly breathe; it’s a practice in this household.

 

XO

~Rachel

 

belly breathe