Music and Mental Health

Music and Mental Health

Music can be so powerful.  It can make you smile, laugh and cry.  It can bring back memories.  I know whenever I hear songs from the 90’s I’m taken back to high school sock hops.  Music can be therapeutic too.

Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month?  I decided it was the perfect time to share what I call…

My Coming out Story

Obviously now I’m open and posting about my and G’s struggles with mental illness.   Sure didn’t used to be that way.  Instead I was embarrassed and ashamed.  I must have done something wrong for us to be like this.

I remember the turning point for me.  As silly as it might sound, seeing the movie Frozen changed it all.  I still member sitting in the movie theater with tears running down my cheeks.  The whole concept of Elsa hiding her magic, concealing it so others wouldn’t know she was different, just really related for me.  When she sang, “Let it Go”, so many of the lyrics resonated with me.

The Lyrics

“It’s a kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen” I felt so alone in this battle.

Let it go lyrics
The Lyrics

“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in; Heaven knows I’ve tried” We tried so hard to keep it all in and keep it hidden but it was hurting us and getting harder.

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.”  Don’t let anyone know about our problems.  Be good and keep it hidden.

“I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway” Why are we worrying so much about what other people are going to think?

“The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.  It’s time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through” What could I do if I talked about it openly?  How much different could things be?

Let it Go

It really hit home for me that it was time to stop hiding and “Let it Go”.  I was Elsa Let it Goexpending so much energy trying to be “normal” that I should be using to help G, and myself, learn to live with the illness.   Once Elsa embraced her magic, she learned that she could control it and I felt once we embraced our illnesses we could do the same.

Embrace it

Now anxiety and depression are just a part of me, they don’t define me.   OCD is just part of who G is.  She’s 8, she’s blond, and she has OCD.  It just is.  I often relate it to being diabetic.  Our bodies, and a diabetic’s body, don’t produce the right amount of a chemical that we need to function.  We need to learn to modify our life (eating differently, fighting the compulsions) and sometimes take medication to help us; and that’s OK.  There’s no shame, no stigma to physical illnesses.  There shouldn’t be any with a mental illness either.   If I can share our story, our struggles, and our victories and help others who struggle and educate people, why shouldn’t I?  After all, if I don’t speak up, who will?

Do you have a song that really resonates with you?

Choices

I’m Human

I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook lately about how I’ve been struggling with making the right choices.  Many might wonder,

“Why are you telling us this?”

“You’re the Coach!  You’re supposed to be perfect!”

Heck no!!  I’m HUMAN!  Everyone makes poor choices and falls off the healthy lifestyle wagon from time to time.  That’s called LIFE!

Not in it for the short term

not short term lifestyle change choices

If I was in this to just focus on losing weight this month or just doing this 30, 60, whatever day program then yeah I could probably be perfect for that time period.  But is that livable?  NO!  I’m in this for LIFE so I need to make it livable.  Things will come up in life where for whatever reason we can’t or just don’t want to, make the right choices.  And that’s OK!

 

Example

For example, yesterday we celebrated L’s birthday with her friends. There was pizza and cake. The stress and anxiety the party caused me led me to make very poor choices. Boy did my body feel it last night!! I’m not beating myself up for it, it’s life, I’m human. But I am moving on and today is a new day and back on track!

The important part of a healthy lifestyle is to make the right choices MOST of the time!  And to get right back on track after making some poor choices.  I love this saying

eat like crap smash phone choices

 

Just because you make one poor choice doesn’t mean you need to continue to make them.  The longer you take to get back on track they harder it will be.

Make the choice TODAY to be healthy!!

I’d love it if you took a moment to comment below with a healthy choice you made today!

Back to Basics (I fall off the wagon sometimes too)

Time for some honesty

As I’ve shared previously, I’ve been on a healthy living journey for about 18 months now.  It’s not always easy and I fall off the wagon just like anyone else.  I’m only human after all.

I’ve been going through the motions for a few weeks, probably months now. Things have been rough at home.  My husband has been working late most nights.  G’s OCD has come back just about as bad as before we went to Mayo Clinic (you can read about that here if you are interested). Thankfully, now we have the tools to get her back on track but doing all those exposures is exhausting for her and me.  This leaves me open to falling back into my anxiety and depression, which leads to my bad habits.

I’ve let it get the better of me. While I’ve been getting in my workouts they’ve been half-assed and my eating has been WAY off track.  I’ve resorted to comfort food way too many times.  I don’t know why I believe the peanut butter when it tells me it will make everything better.  What?  I’m the only one who can hear the peanut butter?  I can tell that I’ve slacked, both on the scale and in how I feel.

New day, new attitude

portion fix containersBut that ends today!! I pushed hard in my Hammer & Chisel workout this morning (notice all that sweat on my shirt?) and I got my Portion Fix containers back out. No more half- assed workouts and no more “eyeballing” portions or resorting to comfort food!   Yes, I’m having issues in my home life but that should be a REASON to work out and eat right, not an EXCUSE! I need to be strong to help my little girl and myself!

 

Why am I sharing this?

– For accountability! Yes, I’m a coach but that doesn’t mean I don’t need help.
– Because I’m human! I fall off the wagon too. diminishing intent
– To show you that you can start or start over too, at any time!

You don’t need a New Year or month or whatever. Just a new day! What have you been putting off?  Start now!

Want to join with me? Contact me today and we can do this together!

It’s All About the Attitude

 

Happy Friday!!!  It’s supposed to be a beautiful day here and I’m looking forward to enjoying it.  Today is Guest Reader day at G’s school as part of March is Reading Month.  I’ll be taking off the mom hat and putting on the Black Belt hat and reading to the 3rd and 4th grades today.  I’ll also demonstrated some karate

reading black belt
Me reading to the 3rd grade classes

by breaking two 1” thick bricks (yes I can do that! Amazing, right?!)  It’s crazy that I’m more nervous about reading and talking to the kids than I am about breaking the bricks!  Talking in front of large groups (even 8-10 year olds) gives me a lot of anxiety!  But I can’t expect G to fight her OCD monster if I don’t fight mine!

Crazy morning

We had a somewhat crazy morning here.  First L, got up late so she was rushing a bit.  G loves to go out and ride her bike or swing before school.  Doesn’t matter if it’s 7:30 in the morning and still cold.  This girl loves to be outside and active.  Her teacher and I have also come to realize that on the days she doesn’t do this, she has a much harder day at school.  Anyway, apparently her bike helmet was contaminated because she left it on her bike last night instead of bringing it inside.  Makes total sense right?  So she tries to put water on it but Daddy catches her and doesn’t allow it.  So what does my creative little girl do?  Takes the helmet to the back yard where there is a sled that is filled with rain and melted snow and dunks the helmet!  I mean, that water is so clean, right?  Anyway, we see this and make her do an exposure right away like we learned at Mayo Clinic (to read more about our time there check out Mayo Clinic Saved My Family)

After dealing with this I was getting a late start to my workout and then to make it even better the Beachbody on Demand site I use wouldn’t load (maintenance or something I guess).  In the past I would have just said “screw it” and gone about my day.  But I know how much I need that workout to clear my head and set me up for a good day.  Thankfully I’m doing Hammer and Chisel right now and there are sheets listing all the moves to track your weights.  So I pulled that out and just did the moves on my own.  The site started working about ½ way through so I fast forwarded it to where I was and finished out my workout.

Then I grab G’s lunch out of the fridge to put in her lunch box only to realize it’s L’s lunch!  When I packed L’s lunch I must have grabbed the wrong container.  So after dropping G at school, I drive up to L’s school to switch the lunches. Thankfully I work at G’s school doing lunch and recess duty so I can just take her lunch with me then.

The moral of the story

Anyway, moral to this long winded story is don’t let the problems define your attitude!  In the past this would have made me stressed out and grumpy and just ruined my whole day.  Today I made a choice not to let it bother me.  I solved all the problems, all is well and I moved on!  I decided not to let my attitude be the problem!

How do you shake off a bad morning?

It’s all about the attitude!

P.S. In case you are wondering if I broke the bricks

(If you listen you can hear my daughter defending me when it didn’t break)

Mayo Clinic Saved My Family

The Backstory

My daughter (now 8, oops! 8-1/2 that 1/2 is important!) was diagnosed with OCD at age 5.  Looking back now we started noticing signs as early as 3 years old but we just put them off to being a toddler or just a little eccentric.  Just as she was starting kindergarten we realized there was something wrong and we needed help.  We found doctors (took some trial and error to find the right ones for her) and we started therapy and then added medication. We continued on this road trying different medications, increasing doses, changing doctors and therapists, for 3 years.  We’d have some small improvements here and there, but mostly it went downhill.

In August 2016, our therapy team at the University of Michigan decided she needed a more intensive program and recommended some of the ones I’d heard of (Rogers, McClean, etc.) My daughter wasn’t even 8 and we just couldn’t see going to a program, moving away from home, for weeks or months. Thankfully, someone in my support group told me about Mayo Clinic. They have a 5 day intensive outpatient program which sounded perfect for our needs, at least as a starting point. I called Mayo and started the application process. Within hours of receiving the information they required from our doctors, I received a call from Mayo Clinic to schedule our week.

The process was very easy and smooth and we didn’t have to wait long at all to get in. We were very lucky that our insurance covered it (and our insurance isn’t great) but I think they billed the insurance around $4,000 which was well worth it if we would have had to pay. Obviously this didn’t include travel, hotel and food.

The Program

Our week there was brutal but so rewarding. It was honestly one of the hardest and best experiences of my life. We drove (just the 2 of us) from Michigan to Minnesota. Our relationship, which had been very strained, improved so much during this trip; it was a very bonding time for us.  The first morning we met with one of the therapist in a “getting to know you” type of appointment. That afternoon we started group sessions. There were 3 other families there and the kids ranged from my daughter at 8 years old to a 19 year old. The families were wonderful and we all bonded very quickly.

Every day we had 2 group sessions. Basically you would plan an exposure, do the exposure and talk about how it went and then plan to do one on your own outside of group. At the next session you would discuss how the one on your own went, plan and do another and then plan another on your own. So we were doing 4 planned exposures every day. It was great to learn better techniques for her to cope and how to help her. They also helped us with a behavior/consequence plan for at home and school; essentially earning things for hard work. They assume that you are there because you don’t have access to a good therapist so they are teaching you to fight the OCD/Anxiety without one.

The Take Away

elephant
Pinky the Elephant in DeForest, WI

We left Mayo Clinic feeling so much stronger and ready to fight. I swear I couldn’t believe the amount of change in my daughter in just a week.  It was like I brought a different child home.  Even on the drive, things happened that on the way there would have caused a melt down and now it was barely a hiccup.    She even took time to be goofy with this giant pink elephant statue located at a random gas station in DeForest, WI.

I myself even learned so much on this trip.  I was worried about how I would deal with it alone, along with my own anxiety and depression.  I learned that I’m even stronger than I thought.  I learned how to deal with everything, both her issues and mine, so much better.  Best of all, I got my little girl back and our home life is so much better now.  She has set backs and by no means is the OCD gone or always controlled but now we have the tools and knowledge to fight back.

I can’t recommend Mayo Clinic enough. If OCD or anxiety are ruling your lives, please look into it. I’m happy to answer any questions I can.

For more information, please go to their website here.