Victim Blaming

Seeing so many loved ones trying to cope with this horrible pandemic has brought to my attention that people often blame the victim. I have found myself being quite guilty of this as well. It’s probably happening to a lot of us.

The truth is that this terrible virus can strike at any time, to anyone. You can double mask, wash your hands for half an hour and STILL get it. Nobody is immune from contracting and/or spreading it. So, why do we constantly blame the sick???

I’ve seen it in my own life. I often get asked “why do you feel so bad, you look fine” or “if you would just lose weight all of your problems would disappear”. That’s a topic that will get its’ own post in the future.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s HIV was labeled as the “gay disease”. We now know that this assumption has been completely and utterly dismantled. Yet we still have people, albeit they are fewer, who still blame people for having HIV.

It’s kind of insane, isn’t it? It’s also very infuriating. We should get angry when we hear of it happening. I have had to put myself in check lately for seeing people contracting Covid after I see them not wearing masks in pictures. It is irresponsible, still, to not wear a mask in public. But mask or not, absolutely nobody “deserves” to be sick and possibly die from Covid.

This darn virus does not discriminate. It is in our face, shredding families, depleting health and making us a group of lonely, judgmental, crappy humans sometimes.

We all need to feel love, give love and be kinder. Yes, we need to be kind to others. Yes, we need to be less judgmental. Yes, we need to be more compassionate.

During these extremely stressful, difficult times in our lives we need to spread kindness. Hug who you can safely. Tell friends and family you love and admire them.

Treat yourself to some self care activities that bring you joy. Take a moment to reflect and try to judge less and love more. We all need it.

-Becca

Self care during weight loss

As a therapist, I was used to practicing self care as needed. I would take a candlelight bath with my essential oils, diffuse oils while doing mindfulness exercises/meditation, treating my stressed muscles to a professional massage etc.

My current therapist has me reading The Self-Compassion Diet: A step-by-step program to lose weight with Loving-Kindness by Jean Fain, LICSW, MSW. What. A. Concept.

Self-compassion as part of the weight loss process? Wait a minute…what do you mean by self-compassion?? I seriously am not sure what or how that plays a role.

It makes so much common sense that when you feel good, you do good. And vice-versa. At least that’s how I tend to be. Bad food behaviors lead to self-deprecation which lead to more bad behaviors.

I’ve been reading for a few days and I’ve already caught myself, subconsciously, saying nicer things to myself. I’m beginning to start baby steps towards reframing my thinking. “You are ok. You are satiated”, I have silently whispered to myself. Or, “Be aware. Plan your meals. Know your calories” and “it’s ok Becca. You made a mistake. Don’t dwell on it. Try again”.

And you know what? It really helps!! I know right?! Who knew that when you start to treat yourself with kind words, behaviors begin to follow. I know this is just the very beginning. After all, I’m only on chapter two.

I’m committed to making the time to practice the techniques in this book. I have a feeling it will help me a lot. One day at a time. One meal at a time. One moment at a time.

I am absolutely worth more than I give myself credit for. And I’m sure you are as well! Join me on this journey. I feel it’s gonna be a hell of a ride!!

Keep up the good fight!! We got this!!

-Becca

Chiari Follow-Up

I met with my neurologist this week for my yearly exam. There was both good news and not so good news.

My Chiari has not progressed. That is GREAT news!! I was really happy to hear this as I am not a good candidate for surgery.

The not so great news was that he said “this is probably the best it’s gonna get”. Managing my symptoms with medications, proper nutrition and better lifestyle habits is what I’m left with.

What’s a girl to think??

Do I resign myself to living with the hand that I’ve been dealt? Do I refuse to give up and keep fighting? Do I just throw in the towel. Well, that last one is a definite NO!

I have decided to accept a combination of understanding and accepting what I am meant to live with WHILE fighting for a better life and relief. I am the only one who can be responsible for the nutrition and lifestyle elements. I trust my neurologist to provide me with the best medication he can find. He is an excellent, caring doctor. Such a rare treasure sometimes.

I’m still fighting a healing ankle. It has left me very frustrated but I am trying super hard to keep some activity going. I just hope I’m not pushing myself too much. I am a “use it or lose it” kinda gal. I see an orthopedist tomorrow and I’m hoping to get physical therapy going.

I told you all that I would be an open book and be as honest as I can. And I do. Fighting this Covid Funk, as I call it, is still a struggle. I know I’m not alone.

Please reach out if you need to talk. There are always professionals available. My therapist has helped me a lot.

Welcome to my newest followers. I hope you feel this is a safe space. I enjoy comments and feedback from readers. Privately or publicly.

Take care of yourself and each other.

-Becca

Food Addiction and Coping

Anybody that has struggled with their weight and food intake knows exactly what I mean. It’s an awful, vicious struggle. And I’m here to say: I hear you! I’m with you! I feel you! Let’s do it together!

I am beginning to understand what my weight loss struggle means to me. One thing I have identified is that I try to “cope” with food. What I mean by cope is trying to lessen or satiate feelings of doubt, depression and self deprecation.

Some people try to self medicate with elicit drugs, smoking, drinking, over exercising (why couldn’t I have chosen THIS), hyper sexual activities etc. All of these can be negative coping skills. It’s an attempt to just make yourself feel “better”. Even if it’s only for a moment.

The problem is that the overeating just leads to feelings of guilt. Then the depression and self deprecating thoughts kick in. This leads to trying to cope by eating. It’s a roller coaster I do not wish for anyone.

Through therapy, I am beginning to realize how all of this affects me and my spirit. It’s part of the self-actualization process and it’s a bit$$!! But worth every minute! It’s tough to learn things you don’t care for about yourself. It’s extremely difficult for me to share the depth of my thoughts with all of you. If I even help one person by putting myself out there, it’s worth it.

The last couple of weeks I have begun reading “The Self-Compassion Diet”by Jean Fain LICSW, MSW. I’m not very far into it yet but one significant thing I’ve noticed is the theme of being kinder to myself. What?! No!! I seriously have no idea how to do that! But, I really need to. More importantly I’m worth it! And so are you!!

This book is assigned homework from my therapist but I see why. She recognized my lack of self esteem pretty quickly. It’s not a way to live. Trust me. So I will continue to work on it. I will begin implementing the recommended techniques to reframe my self talk when I finish the book.

Please remember we are all worth self-love. We deserve love from others. We all carry internal AND external beauty. In our own ways.

On a side note I wanted to mention that I am extremely grateful for the emails, comments, positive feedback and constructive criticism from my readers. I take your words to heart. I ponder the depth of them and realize how grateful I am to have created this little community around me. Especially during this awful pandemic.

What is one way you could improve your self-talk? Today, I’ll say that I am a very loving friend and I have beautiful feet. Yes, I said feet.

Until next time…

-Becca

Self-realization

Self-realization is defined as “the fulfillment of one’s own potential”, according to the Oxford Dictionary via Google.

What a statement! Fulfillment of your own potential. What does that even mean?! I’m not a “guru” of any kind and do not claim to know all the answers. I will explain what this means to me and my plan to get there.

The beginning of this realization process includes attending regular therapy sessions. Most of the time I go every other week. If this “Covid Funk”, as I call it, starts to haunt me I will go once a week.

Being a therapist myself means that I truly value the quality of self improvement that can occur during sessions. It is not for everybody. I get that. If you find this works better for you through a pastor, priest, yoga, meditation etc GREAT!! The goal is to find the things that are holding you back from achieving your highest potential in life.

This doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy, have a big family etc. It is about you becoming your best self. Self-discovery is a beast sometimes. Realizing your mistakes, negative traits and/or behaviors is extremely tough. I feel like if I don’t become aware of these things and work to improve, then I am not being the best “me”.

This week my therapist truly sucker punched me with some hard truths I needed to hear. It hurt to my core to admit she is right. I cried for awhile, alone, in the solace of the late night hour. But it was very cathartic. We have not yet begun to delve into how I change these behaviors. I have a feeling that will be discussed during next session.

I had to come to the realization that these behaviors have played a large role in the loss of some friendships. Most of them I knew were going to end at some point. But there are a couple I need to be accountable for my part in the destruction of a 20 year bond.

The next step in my self-realization process is to implement change. This is not a negative thing at all. It can feel like a weight that is sitting on your chest making it hard to breathe because it hurts so much. But, the hurt will pass and what will happen is almost a rebirth.

I have attained this experience at a few significant moments in my life. One example was going from being a group home kid to a college student. It took a lot of therapy and work to learn how to adapt to such a drastically different environment! I am a much better person because of it. I look forward to that feeling you get when you know you’ve made some positive changes in yourself.

My last step is to complete some goals, be a better friend/family to those I love and fulfill some dreams. My dreams may have changed a bit because of disabilities but that is ok. We can only do what our brains and bodies will allow. I just need to motivate and push myself more.

What do you do to try and motivate yourself?? I value your insights. 😉

Live your best life

-Becca

The Kindness of Neighbors

I am incredibly grateful today for living in such a wonderfully giving community.

My home is made up of four disabled adults. We all currently have injuries, conditions and ailments that prevent us from completing certain tasks. One of these tasks is shoveling snow. Ugh! It’s so pretty but such a pain to deal with.

Last night Mother Nature was kind enough to dump about a foot and a half of fluffy white snow on us. Our house has a very long walkway and a wide driveway. Even if all four of us tied each other together we would not be able to put a dent in that. it’s a lot of work and it’s very heavy.

Thankfully, our neighbors stepped in to help. The gentleman next door brought over his snowblower and did our driveway and walkway. This man, who I am leaving nameless to protect his privacy, is one of the most giving people I’ve had the privilege to know. He and his wife have been so incredibly kind to us for many, many years. They give of themselves to the entire community here. Truly phenomenal couple. I am blessed to call them friends.

The other neighbor I absolutely HAVE to thank is our little guy who lives down the street. This 14 year old young man comes to our house, after every snowstorm, and cleans up our walkway, clears the snow off of our cars and does not expect to be paid!! Incredibly rare quality nowadays. We do give him some cash because he’s definitely earned it. He is a unique young man with a heart of gold.

In just a short 24 hour period I have been lucky enough to witness the kindness of others. I own the responsibility of paying it forward. I will in any way I’m able.

Take care of each other.

-Becca

Coping With Grief

Grief is such a HUGE process. It is different for everyone. There is no standard as to how long it takes to “get over it”.

What a horrible, terrible thing to say to someone, right? “Just get over it. It has been (# of weeks or months”. There is no exact time frame for the grieving process. It is going to take how long it is going to take. The question that is left is “How do I cope?”

We know that there are five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Going through these stages is not a linear, fluid movement. It is perfectly normal to bounce back and forth between these stages before getting to acceptance.

It is entirely possible to be at the stage of acceptance and then end up getting triggered by a memory and become depressed again etc. This all sucks!!! There is just no sugar coating any of it.

Losing someone we love is heart wrenching. Watching those we love try to cope with loss is also quite difficult. In recent years my family has had a few people pass away. Depending on the depth of my relationship with them, I struggled. Some days I still do. And that is ok.

With this ferocious pandemic happening we are all coping with loss or watching those we love try to cope. My mother in law has lost three of her friends to Covid. Watching the anguish and despair in her eyes is utterly crushing. She is in the over 70 group and we know they are some of the most vulnerable population. She pushes through. Day after day. We all do. She is the moving picture of tenacity!

There is no possible way to comprehend the need for therapeutic services coming up in the next few years. There will be a large group of survivors that will have anything from depression to PTSD to anxiety etc. Use the services that you can get your hands on!!

For me, there are two essential things I do to cope with grief. One is I connect with support. What do I mean by support? Therapists, parents, siblings, family, friends, church, temple, music, art, creativity. The list is endless. My supports are my family, friends, therapist, psychiatrist, books, movies, music, crochet, knitting and my pup Gracie. She is a ray of sunshine during my darkest days.

The second essential I need to cope with grief is HOPE. Without it, there just isn’t much left. It is incredibly hard to have hope some days. It is extremely vital to me and I do my best to hold on to it. Hope that my loved ones stay safe. Hope that I can grieve and accept loss. Hope that there’s a better tomorrow.

I wish, for all of you, that hope still lives in your heart. Hold on my friends. We will get through this!

Please reach out for help if you need it. You do not have to walk through anything alone. There is zero shame in needing to talk to someone. Whether that is a therapist or just a friend. Just don’t go it alone.

Sending you all vibes for health and happiness.

-Becca

Coping With Failure

First and foremost let me start by saying that failing at something does not make you a failure!! It does not define who you are, who you can become or your destiny.

Everyone is just trying to keep their head above water during this horrible, stressful, depressing, isolating pandemic. I do not work outside of the home. I am at home 24/7, almost 365. Since March of last year, everyone has been trying to survive. We are all trying to get through this.

During this time I have challenged myself to accomplish certain things. Some I’ve been doing well at and others I have failed. Miserably. I have been beating myself up for days, weeks, months over these failures. This stops today!!

Failing at a goal is not a definitive action. It is not over. It is an opportunity to try again. And again. And again. And again. Yes, it may take falling totally and completely on your arse to get back up and keep going. We all have obstacles. It is how we choose to endure, survive and thrive that truly counts.

It is quite difficult sometimes to get to this frame of mind. I am not there at full speed yet, but I am getting there. That is what I value about myself. My tenacity. My veracity to never give up. I have been doing it all my life.

From the child abuse, the group home life, college, marriage, career, grad school, brain surgery. Everything has been in “survival mode”. I often wonder if I’m ever going to get to a point of complete and total peace in my heart. Until, or if, that ever happens, I will continue the fight!!

Don’t ever give up on yourself!! You are valued and worth every fight!! And so am I.

Sending you all wishes of success and peace in your heart. We can get through all of this.

Love hard. Forgive often. Judge less. Be kind.

-Becca

Speed Bumps

Boy did I hit a HUGE one last Thursday!!

You all have been on this road with me. You’ve sent me notes of support. Such caring words I will always be thankful for. You all know the deep sadness, frustration and “CF(Covid Funk)” I have been trying to cope with for months.

Well, last Wednesday morning I had a great conversation with a good friend. He’s always someone I’ve felt who is my biggest critic. I kinda hate him for it but it’s only because he’s right. I expressed my emotions, self-criticism and negative self talk. He responded kindly and truly made me feel like I’m not alone. He beats himself up too. Just in a different way.

I have goals like anyone else. I am worth it!! Yes, yes I am!! So, I got up and got dressed, stretched, put in the ear buds, kicked up the 80’s hair band mix and went for a walk. Yay me!!! I overcame my depression!! I beat up the devil on my shoulder and took control.

As I’m walking I’m practicing positive self talk. Not quite as corny as Stuart Smalley from SNL but I sure felt just as lame! I begin to think how absurd I must look to others walking by with my mouth moving and no noise is coming out. I just KNOW this one neighbor up the Lane was watching. I’m all up in my positive feels, jamming out and then BAM!! Rolled my effing ankle!!!

I’m laying on the pavement, screaming with pain. I ended up with a fun ambulance ride with two of the BEST EMTs I’ve ever met!! Left the hospital with an upper ankle sprain diagnosis, an air cast and a set of crutches. “If you’re not better in 4-6 weeks see an orthopedist” the PA says as she walks down the busy hallway. I could just see the poor exhaustion in her face and eyes. I really wanted to just tell her I’m so sorry but I was afraid I’d make her cry. At least five people checked in with Covid symptoms.

I’ve been pretty much just sitting on the couch for the last few days. I’m icing, stretching, drawing my alphabet with my foot, alternating Tylenol and Advil. Overall I am healing well and quicker than I anticipated. Thank you Dave!! He filled in as my virtual physical therapist. But I’m incredibly impatient!! I’m really motivated again and just pissed I’m benched!!

The point of telling you this is to point out that this is just a “speed bump”. You slow down as you approach it, you creep over it and gradually speed up as it’s over. I’m at the “creeping over it” stage. But when I get on the other side, watch out world!! My transformation is just beginning:)

Have you ever had any speed bumps in your life, work, personal development? Feel free to share.

Until next time…

-Becca:-)

Fear of Weight Loss

Yes this is a very real thing. For many people. There are a lot of “whys”. They are different for everyone. I am going to touch on mine today.

Number one, top of my list, is getting attention from men. I know this seems extremely backward from where I should feel. As a woman, I “should” get hit on, right? I “should” feel flattered and bewitched by it. I do not. Not at all.

When you have any type of trauma history, and it involves men, it makes total sense. Some of you may not “get” it and that’s ok. It should still be respected as valid.

Having a 100 pound security blanket is my way of protecting myself. “If I am fat and ugly no man will want me enough to hurt me”. “If I’m fat, I’m too heavy to kidnap”. These are thoughts that run through my brain constantly. Day in and day out.

This past summer, my brother in law noticed I had lost some weight and gave me a nice compliment. I proceeded to put back on 20 pounds. My distorted thought patterns created that reaction.

These self deprecating thoughts and behaviors are a reasonable expectation with my history. It also means they need to be addressed and it is time to heal those wounds.

This is where the therapy comes in I was talking about the other day. I know that from being a practicing therapist, it’s a beautiful thing to see a client have a breakthrough. So, that puts me at an advantage because I know what to look for in my own therapeutic successes. I will get there. It takes time and it may ache a little but it’s worth it.

Most importantly, I am worth it!! And so are you!

How do you take the time to heal? What works for you?

Thanks for being with me on this journey. I appreciate all my new followers.

-Becca