Tag Archives: reflection

Mental Illness Isn’t Sexy but it’s Real: Lets Talk About It

stigma

We have a problem.  A really big problem.  A problem that is difficult to talk about but easy to minimize.  A problem that is so insidious that some of us don’t even acknowledge that there is a problem.  Or that some of us deem it “their problem”.  Or we ridicule those who acknowledge, accept, and attempt to fix the problem.  And the problem is just getting worse.

Mental Illness is real.  It is not a sign of weakness. A lack of faith.  A cry for attention.  An issue that we can afford to keep defunding and expect everything to be OK.

The prevalence of mental illness is becoming more and more apparent as care is becoming more negligent.  Ignoring mental illness doesn’t make it go away.

Recently I have seen more attention being given to mental illness as people begin to talk about it a bit more on social media, sharing their stories.  And what I have gathered is that a stigma that has long kept people silent is being overshadowed by the deep pain people are feeling due to the crisis we have here in America.  A crisis that I believe goes beyond just race, and gangs, and police but to the very root of our humanity.

Our humanity is bleeding.  It is hurt and the pain has consequences.  It leaves scars that often hide an infection that runs so deep that the fever is often left “unfelt” and untreated until it is too late to get it under control and in a rage, we burn.

We need help.  

The scars must be opened.  

The infection irradicated.  

The wound aired out and allowed to heal.

It will be messy.  It will hurt. It will stir up feelings and emotions long buried and ignored. It may cause us to dislike others as well as ourselves.  It will be unpleasant and very uncomfortable.  But it is necessary.

It is irresponsible to let this infection ravage our very humanity.  We only have so many limbs we can afford to sacrifice while we refuse to get treatment for what ails us. Stubbornly disregarding the tale tale signs of the angry red welts on our arms indicating the infections relentless march in our veins, making its way to our heart.

Our humanity is crying out for acknowledgement.  And dressing it up and plastering a smile on its face does not negate the suffering reflected in its sad eyes.
We must talk about it. Not we should.  Not we could.  But we MUST.

If we as a people are not mentally well than where does that leave us?  It leaves us battered, bitter, bruised, and belligerent, and eventually; if unacknowledged, unaccepted and untreated long enough, at risk of losing our very humanity.

Let’s talk about it.

We are worthy of being holistically well.

Yulinda Rock

F Balance, Be Intentional Instead!

plates

I fell hook, line, and sinker for the elusive goal of obtaining balance.  I even wrote a poem about it here.  But what is balance actually?  As I think more about my life and how it is in constant flux I become anxious for the need to get it all lined up just so.  I picture myself walking on a tight rope, focus honed in on the task at hand.  Unable to move left or right for fear of free falling.  Rigid in my movements.  The flexibility to adjust? Drastically limited.  And what I come away with is a life filled with restraint.  No room to breathe too deeply because I may throw off my weight distribution on the rope.  No freedom to take in my surroundings because a loss of focus can mean disaster.  Although the acrobats ability to balance may be awe inspiring it should not be marketed as a way of life.

My takeaway?  Balance is a generic term used to imply control.  If every plate is not spinning, if you are not constantly adjusting; micro movements meant only to keep all the plates in the air, then you have no control over your life!

Who came up with this BS?  And why did we fall for it?   I personally fell for it because being the quintessential control freak that I am, having the ability to balance all things seemed achingly appealing.

Look at me !  Look at me!
Spinning all these plates while hopping on one leg!
I’m superwoman!
I’m Awesome!
I’m unfulfilled and miserable…

What changed my mind? Life.  Life changed my mind.  Being a humble overachiever (does labeling myself humble make me less so?) I decided to not only work full time while pursuing a doctorate but to also participate in a school principal program while going through a divorce and adjusting to being the custodial parent of three children.  Why?  Because I thought I could.  And somehow I managed to keep all those plates spinning for awhile. But as life would have it, I was thrown a HUGE curve ball.  My youngest daughter got sick at a crucial time in my program and I had to make a choice.  I dropped all my plates except one. She became my focus.    But I was plagued by an extreme since of guilt. I was unable to keep my balance.  I dropped the ball, broke the plates, jumped off the tight rope. I failed.  I felt this way for a long time and no mater what anyone said, in my heart I was a failure.  We are suppose to be able to balance right?  That’s what successful adults do!

Then I called Bullshit.

I asked myself, what would I tell a client?  Would I think of them as a failure for dropping the plates?  And my answer was, Of course not!

So is my life balanced? NO. And it most likely never will be, at least not for long.  There will definitely be times where I will need to be more focused but my goal is no longer to spin plates just so, or walk a tight rope with precision but to be intentional in my movements.

So I say F#%k Balance and live life intentionally!  

No more doctoral program, no more principal program.  No more guilt.  Dropping those plates was the best decision I ever made.  Now instead of balance I am becoming more adept at focusing my attention on my intentions.

There will be days when the house is clean but the workout was skipped. Days when you go on a date with your mate but you couldn’t make it to your friends party.  Days when you spend hours cutting out paper-dolls with your littles but that chapter in your book didn’t get written.  Days when dinner is frozen pizza so you can write that chapter you didn’t get to yesterday.

There will always be some give and take, some ebb and flow, some ups and downs.  And ever so often the moon will be full, the kids will behave like angels, you actually will WANT to work out, your attempt at a new recipe will be NAILED, your mate will take out the trash without prompting, the wine will be chilled just so, and the breeze will smell like fresh flowers and not biohazard; that bliss point will be reached.  Aligned scales!!

And you know what’s even more wonderful and ironic? That usually happens without you even trying!

So allow yourself room to adjust, to grow, to live, to breathe!
Jump off the tight rope.  Find your path and walk it with intention.

You are worthy of being holistically well.

Yulinda Rock

Wednesday Wisdom

wednesday-wisdom

Being vulnerable does not make you a sucker.  

Asking for help does not make you weak.

Engaging in therapy does not make you a heathen

Accepting support does not make you a leech.

Crying does not make you soft.

Wanting comfort does not make you needy

Missing someone does not make you clingy

Being angry doesn’t mean you’re out of control

Wanting to feel safe doesn’t mean you’re controlling

Wanting the clamor inside your head to be quiet does not make you crazy.

None of theses things are inherently negative.  They are Human. You are Human.  You have a right to feel however you feel.  The goal is to become self aware.  To use discernment so we are not victims of others or our own mismanaged emotions.  Acknowledge them.  Accept them.  Deal with them.  I can help.

You are worthy of being holistically well.

Yulinda Rock

 

 

Be an authority over your own thoughts: A hard conversation with myself

mindfulness-is-not-concerned-800x563

Woke up this morning and felt unsettled in my spirit.  I found out something that made me start to question myself.  It was causing feelings of bitterness and was disrupting my productivity.  These thoughts were stealing my contentment.  I tried to swallow down the frustration but it got stuck in my chest.  I could feel it tightening.  My head started to hurt and I felt my hands contracting into fist.  I started asking the questions?

Why not me?

Why are things so difficult for me?

Why must I always struggle?

Where is my break?

Why is everyone else prospering and I’m having such a hard time?

And on and on.

Then I stopped. I stopped and checked myself.  Sure, life isn’t fair, but my journey is my own and I have the choice to either use my energy to focus on someone else’s journey or I can laser focus on my own.   So I changed frustration into inspiration, and I began to answer the questions that plagued me.

Why not you?  Why not you, what? Why was that opportunity not afforded to you?  Why are blessings not falling down on your head? First, you are blessed.  Second, because that is not your path.  You know that is not your path but instead of boldly embarking on your own road you allow your focus to shift to others.  Stop being afraid.  Stop trying to control everything.  Trust yourself.  Believe in yourself and move forward.  Eyes straight ahead. No distractions.

Why are things so difficult for you?  Seems like you are focused on the wrong thing, again. Instead of asking yourself why are things difficult focus on what you can do to be more proficient.  Are things really difficult or are you just not helping yourself to make things easier.  Sure, things have not been a cakewalk but you must acknowledge that your own thoughts create way more difficulty for you than your actual circumstances.  Change your perspective, change your life.

Why must you always struggle? Define struggle? You mean why are things not easy? Why must you WORK and put forth EFFORT? Why can’t Yulinda simply exist and have things just so? Yeah it would be great if you could just snap your fingers and everything fell into place but…So how about we reframe this.  You have certain goals.  You want autonomy and freedom of expression.  You have made the choice to work for yourself.  That takes dedication, discipline, perseverance, persistence, courage, and a lot of other adjectives. If you truly want this than make it happen,  no more excuses.  You’re not struggling, you’re hustling.  Keep going!

Where is your break? Seriously? There are no breaks.  You CREATE breaks by positioning yourself in a way that makes getting a break more likely.  That definitely will not happen while you are sitting on Facebook feeling some type of way about other people’s success. Get busy!

Why is everyone else prospering and you are having such a hard time?  Again, seriously? Why are you focused on other people.  Clap for them while you go perform for you!  Your issue is focus.  It is not where it belongs.  You should not have time to pay attention to other people’s success.  You should be creating your own.  You are worth the work.  Acknowledge that. Accept that.  Go do it!

Don’t let your thoughts derail you.  Confront your negative thoughts.
Re-frame them. Reshape them. Then, re-calibrate.

You are worthy of being holistically well.

Yulinda Rock

 

 

Stress Management as a Family Unit

family-guy-fox

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger: Dealing with stress in the family as a family.

Strong families are beneficial to not only themselves but to the communities in which they reside; they are the building blocks of society.  Unfortunately even the strongest family can be shaken by stress.   However, the stress itself is not so much the problem but how it is dealt with.   The mismanagement of stress can lead to fissures in the foundation of the family system.

Effective communication is the best tool for a family to use to successfully navigate stressors, and often the most underutilized.  People tend to deal with stress in silos.  Opting to go it alone opposed to coming together to tackle it as a team; from the teen being bullied at school, to the father being burnt out from work, to the mom feeling unappreciated, to the sibling that feels left out.   These individual issues will ultimately affect the entire family, often leading to misunderstandings, unmet needs, hurt feelings, resentment, and bitterness.   In a household there is no such thing as “that persons” stress.  Everyone in the house will be affected in one way or another.

So the solution is to communicate.  But that is often much easier said than done.  Communication between two people is difficult; communication among an entire family is a special challenge but not one that can’t be navigated successfully.  Being able to listen for understanding opposed to responding is a skill that can be taught.  Fundamentally people want to feel heard and understood.

As a Youth/Parent/Family coach my role is to help the parent(s) or guardian(s) think critically, foster effective communication within the family system, create and facilitate solutions to daily challenges, as well as how to thoughtfully manage larger stressors (divorce, sickness, marriage, job loss, death, etc.) all in an effort to build and maintain a family that is solid. The first step to becoming a stronger family unit is to identify, acknowledge, and address any areas of need.

I offer a workshop for parents to provide a dynamic atmosphere were we come together as a team to support and encourage one another as we become skilled in stress management. This workshop will teach about effective communication, establishing healthy boundaries, and creating self-care systems as a means of managing stress and maintaining healthy relationships within the family.  Some role-play will be used to demonstrate effective listening and as a group we will brainstorm realistic self-care regimens that an entire family can benefit from and support.

The onus of responsibility when managing family stress falls squarely on the guardian. The first step is accepting that responsibility, the next is obtaining tools.  Stress will never go away so we might as well learn how to deal with it and manage it.  I can help.

You are worthy of being holistically well.

Yulinda Rock

Help for the helpers

therapists need therapy

On occasion I will share personal experiences in an effort to make of myself a mirror. To reflect back my struggles and my growth so that others don’t feel alone.
I help because I understand
I understand because I’ve been there
and I return there with the hopes of bringing someone else out with me…

It’s difficult being in the helping profession when you yourself are not on solid ground. I have experienced some trials and tribulations and as much as part of me wants to hold on to anger and bitterness, as much as I feel I have a right to these emotions; that they are some how righteous, I also know that clinging to them is hindering me. It is negatively effecting everything I do, from my business to my children, and it is time to shift. Oh it won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

Choosing to be ok when things are falling apart takes way more courage than we ever give or get credit for.
Fighting to change your narrative, smiling through your tears, turning screams of frustration into declarations. Those are the acts of soldiers and I’m battling right along side you.

I can’t effectively be As Solid As A Rock for others when I am crumbling. So today I rebuild.
Because I too am worthy of being holistically well!

Yulinda Rock

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Minority mental health

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. What I find interesting and sad is that I bet almost no one knew. As a matter of fact I didn’t know until literally minutes ago. Minority mental health and mental health in general is often overlooked, undervalued, and overly minimized. With everything that’s going on in the US and the world in general, I can’t help but wonder how much of the Earth’s pain is due to under-recognized, undiagnosed, and untreated mental illness. The constant barrage of anger, sadness, fear, frustration, rage, confusion, and despair on my personal Facebook timeline leaves me seething with indignation that mental illness is always sacrificed on the altar of budgets, consequences be damned. I’ve been dealing with my own fear which has led me to be stagnant for some months now. However, I cannot in good conscience sit back and do nothing. For the voices that often go unheard, the very least I can do is listen.
We are all worthy of being holistically well. . .
Yulinda Rock

“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.”
― Warsan Shire