ACT: A Mental Health Strategy for Overcoming Obstacles

Sometimes you are just rolling along and – WHAM! – you are broadsided by an unexpected obstacle. It might be a physical obstacle, such a being stuck in traffic. Or it might be another kind of obstacle, one that is more ‘internal’, an emotion or a way of thinking that is having a negative impact on you.

No matter the obstacle, there is a simple and practical strategy that can help you move through the obstacle and either get back on track, or find a new track all together!

Continue reading “ACT: A Mental Health Strategy for Overcoming Obstacles”

Run Towards The Danger: Informing Your Relationship To Your Memories

Run Towards The Danger

Sarah Polley‘s recently released book is titled ‘Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory“.  One particular line stood out for me in the Winnipeg Free Press article and interview with Polley by Deborah Dundas:

“In order for my brain to recover from a traumatic injury, I had to retrain it to strength by charging towards the very activities that triggered my symptoms.”

It resonated with me because of the experience that I shared in my recently published book, ‘Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing‘. In March of 2020, a shocking phone call from a friend about her son’s suicide triggered a trauma – a distressing memory – of a suicide in my life. What transpired was 14 months of physical and emotional pain. My body and brain seemed to ‘shut down’.

I ‘ran towards the danger’ during my EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). “This therapy involves focusing simultaneously on spontaeous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements.” (WHO Practice Guideline) 

I was referred to Dr. Kelly Penner Hutton by another therapist. The name of her business was very appealing: Peace of Mind Therapy and Consultation. I was in desperate need for some ‘peace of mind’!

As we processed my distressing memories – or confronted them, to use Polley’s word – the bilateral stimulation allowed for the gradual desensitization of them.

I have not read Polley’s book yet, but I will. Even the subtitle has meaning for me: ‘Confrontations With a Body of Memories’. The operative word, I think, is ‘Body’, because that is where memories live.

Interviewer Deborah Dundas writes, “When I …remarked that the exceptional trauma she’s experienced in her life could have broken many people, she said she’s also been ‘absurdly lucky’.”

Polly responded by talking about the people in her life who have been there for her, making her life feel ‘charmed’, rather than hard.

In Not Crazy, Just Human, I do the same thing. The good humans in my life have been, are, and will continue to be, the ones who ‘anchor’ me back to who I truly am. I hope I do the same for them, as they ‘run towards the danger’.

At the end of the WFP article, Dundas quotes Polley, “I think the hard experiences you have early in life make you who you are and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ” Dundas adds, “You become someone strong and resilient. If you dig deep enough, if you run towards the danger, as Polley does, the advantage might just be a life that, in the telling, makes a difference.”

I could not agree more!

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity! 

 

 

Not Crazy, Just Human: Cut Yourself Some Slack during the Holidays

Not Crazy, Just Human -Book Cover

Over the next several months, we will be sharing some of the learning from “Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing”.

This first excerpt is timely. The holidays can bring all sorts of joy and also all sorts of stress. Remember to be kind to yourself can help!

Cut yourself some slack

One day last summer, I went for lunch with my brother, Devin. I am so grateful that we have always been very close. (Other than when he was young and annoying, of course!).

While we ate our Thai food during lunch last summer, Devin shared about a time ten years ago when he went through a tough situation.

“You were there for me, Der. You were always there for me. I want you to know that I am here for you too.” That was good to hear. He continued, “One day, when things were getting better for me, we were out for coffee, and I started talking about the tough situation again. I remember you saying, ‘Oh, I wondered when that might come up again.’”

“Did I really say that,” I asked. “Like in a ‘mean’ way?”

“Yes,” Devin said. “It was as though you just wanted to talk about something else—about something good, and you did not want to keep talking about that same bad situation. I am only telling you this because it might be affecting you now …  if you are being impatient with yourself, if you are judging yourself, if you are trying to just get over this, it could be damaging you.”

I thought about that a lot when I got home. Thanks, Dev. That was a huge gift to me. Even though I do not remember saying that a decade ago (and really do not ever want to be that way with others who are sharing something with me), it was a good reminder that if I don’t want to be that way with them, I should not be that way with myself.

So ,,, when you feel challenged, worried or irritated, or when you say or do something you really wish you had not, remember to be kind to yourself. Pause, put your hand over your heart, and speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love.