Posted in Death, mental illness, New Kids, New World

Our Kids Are STILL Not Alright

Sunday morning, another classmate of one of my children died by apparent suicide. Between my two children, this is 15 children who they know who died by their own hand.  To say this is tragic would be an understatement.  Our kids are not alright!  What follows is an excerpt from a previously published article.  Here I will no longer make excuses for who is “not at fault.”  Because as our children keep dying….WE ARE ALL TO BLAME.  Here’s why:

 

The single most problem, and the reason our kids are not alright is:       Our world.

 

Our world is a mess. Our world is a mess for all of us – and for some of us, it is just too much to bear.  Let’s look at the facts:

  1. For as long as our children have been alive, THE WORLD HAS BEEN AT WAR.

If it’s not a conflict or a war with a name, (Desert Storm, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, etc. etc. etc.) it is “the war on terrorism.” And the worst of all the terrorist attacks have been accomplished right here on our own soil by our own U.S. citizens.  The media does not help in this regard by triggering our fears through sensationalism.  As my son said, “Hundreds of people a year are shot in Chicago and no one cares, but as soon as one guy gets shot in Oshkosh, the whole world is in a state of panic.”  (This also points to media and racial bias which is a topic for another blog another day.)

For our children – the world does not feel safe.

  1. In the U.S. success is determined by external measurements like money, status, power and fame. And some of these measurements are literal – how much money you make, how many time you are Tweeted or your Facebook post gets “liked,” if you have your own reality show or not, and do you measure up to the current standards of “beauty.” For those who do not know their true selves and who have no way of knowing themselves except in comparison to others, success feels like an impossible goal – especially when they look at the TRUTH of our economic situation – which brings me to #2
  2. Education does not mean what it used to. In the old days, a high school education was enough to prepare you for a regular job with a decent rate of pay. Then, college became the necessary gateway to a career, a paycheck and economic security. Then, a master’s degree became the gateway, then a PhD. Now….none of this really matters – and our children know this. A college degree guarantees you nothing, or as a friend of mine told her daughter, “Do what you love because there won’t be any jobs for you after college anyway.” Bleak, but true. As much as politicians are touting the economic recovery and that the “recession is over,” this is not the truth.
  3. The world as we know it is dying. Our children know this and they know that they will be the ones who will be creating the new world. For some, this is just too overwhelming a task. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a player in the Hunger Games and the entire world (as you have known it) crumbles at your feet and you are left with the task of building the new world. While the endless possibilities and the excitement of building something new is enticing for some, for others, it is overwhelming and feels impossible and they shut down under the burden of the task.
  4. And finally…..our children are empaths. What this means is that not only are they feeling their own anxiety in the face of a world that is a mess, they are feeling EVERYONE ELSE’S anxiety. They feel the anxiety of their parents, their siblings, their classmates, their teachers, and the entire world around them. When there is a terrorist attack on the other side of the world, they feel it – maybe not consciously, but they feel it. When a weather system is moving through that will cause people anxiety, they know it – again, maybe not consciously, but they feel it. For those that don’t understand the gift of empathy and who don’t have tools for managing this gift, the emotions come out sideways – temper tantrums, disproportionate negative behavior, anxiety, depression – and you guessed it, suicide.

Today (8/19/19) as I write this, I don’t know what caused that young man to jump off the bridge to his death.  What I do know is that his death should not be in vain (my original post was in January of 2016….and literally nothing has changed to help our kids!.)  His death should be another wake up call for us as parents, teachers, and other adults.

Our children are not alright!

Photo credit: Hans Kretzmann @ Pixabay

 

Our children need our help. While we cannot change the outside world, there are things we can do to help our children, and in helping them, find help for ourselves in a messy and broken down world:

  1. Lead them to resources to help them manage anxiety. Resources that have been proven to help manage anxiety include: meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate and deep sleep, creativity exercises, being in nature, being with others in healthy community interactions.
  2. Here’s a new one:  SUPPORT THEM IN GETTING THEIR BASIC NEEDS MET:  food, clothing, shelter, transportation and safety.  (Thank you Oshkosh Kids Foundation for taking the lead in doing this much needed work!!!!!)  
  3. Another new one:  TRAUMA INFORMED CARE.  Too many of our children are growing up in trauma….not only from the world in general, but in their immediate environment.  Unless treated, this trauma will come out sideways in anxiety, depression, panic attacks, inappropriate and often dangerous behaviors.  Beyond their basic needs, these kids need TRAUMA INTERVENTION and support.  A little mental-health care please!  PLEASE!  School advisers and counselors are not enough.  We need full-blown mental health clinics in our schools so our kids can have some support.  PLEASE!
  4. Support them in knowing their TRUE selves. Self-knowledge increases self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to be ok with our differences in a world of great diversity, and to weather the storm of other people’s judgements.
  5. Help them develop a different set of values. This starts with us. We need to stop valuing ourselves in terms of money, fame, status, power, and physical characteristics. What we are wearing, whose bag we are carrying and what car we are driving DOES NOT MATTER. These external measurements of “success” or “popularity” do not give us happiness. In fact, all they do is create more ANXIETY. If we want our children to be comfortable in a world that will NOT have the resources in which everyone can be a Kardashian, we have to help them find value in the internals – peace, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in knowing and exercising their gifts. We then need to give them tools for finding this inner peace which leads us back to items 1 and 2.
  6. Support them in their dreams. Our children see and know the new world. They see a world that is free from the separation with which we have defined the world. Instead of separation, they see only oneness. They do not comprehend the separation we keep placing between ourselves and others we view as different from us and they definitely do not comprehend the violence that arises out of these perceived separations. Our children do not see race, religion, sexual orientation, or even gender as barriers, they only see this as the miraculous and amazing diversity among human beings and they seek to know more and to honor these differences. Let’s get out of the way and let them do this, shall we!?
  7. Teach them what to do with Empathy.  Empaths are healers and those with this gift (all of our children) possess this gift because they are here to heal our dying world so that a healthier and happy world can emerge. Our children need to know what to do with these feelings and how to stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s pain. Interestingly, this also brings us back to items 1 and 2.

While we cannot change the world, we can change the world in which we are living and the journey starts within. Let us join together to help our children, and in helping our children, helping ourselves so that we can survive in a world in the midst of change and through our children’s dreams, help to support the birth of a new and better world. Then perhaps these children would not have died in vain.

 

Posted in Healing, Inspiration

Cease from Blaming. Look to the Cause.

“It’s Donald Trump.”  “It’s guns.”  “It’s video games.”  It’s mental illness.”

Here we go, pointing the finger of blame at all those things outside of us that must be the reason a young white man killed 26 and wounded 20 in a shooting spree in El Paso.  Here we are, entering into the human knee-jerk reaction to violence – “it must be someone or something’s fault.”  Pointing the finger of blame does one of two things:

  • Places the burden of blame “out there” on someone else’s shoulder.
  • Gives us the illusion of innocence which allows us to go about our day.
  • Allows us to mask our grief and fear with self-righteousness.
  • Allows us to turn away from the event because if it is someone else’s fault, then someone else is responsible for fixing it.

Pointing the finger of blame does nothing to heal the problem.  Neither does it do the critical work of identifying the TRUE CAUSE of violence in our world.  The true cause has nothing to do with Donald Trump or any other politicians. It has nothing to do with guns or the NRA.  It certainly has nothing to do with video games.  And while mental illness has been a contributing factor in some of our nation’s mass shootings, when someone drives 9 hours and walks into a Wal-Mart wearing noise cancelling headphones and carrying an AK-47, he knows exactly what he is about to do and why.  Hatred is not a mental illness.

The truth is that WE ARE ALL TO BLAME for the hatred and violence that now seem to rule our nation.  As scripture says, “We reap what we sow,” – what do we think will happen when we have done everything to create separation in our world and nothing to bring us together?  But even then, we need to cease from blaming and instead look deep within ourselves for the cause and then work toward its cure.

As long as we are looking outside of ourselves or pointing the finger of blame, the violence in our world will continue.  The cause of violence is not outside of us, it is within. It is within us in our unacknowledged fears, unhealed wounds, unresolved traumas and in every single place within where we have forgotten that we are love.

The true cause of the violence and hatred in our world, and the cause of every other “sin” is the false perception of separation.  This false perception of separation is the core wound of humanity.  It is the primal fear that we first experienced when we were expelled from our mothers’ wombs and it is the fear that grows every single time we feel rejected, betrayed, unheard or unseen.  When our needs are not being met or when we are not supported in getting those needs met, we feel this fear.  When we suffer our first loss, we feel this fear.  When we experience trauma or abuse, we feel this fear.  This is the nature of the human condition.  Some have the tools for moving through and healing this fear.  Most do not.  We become resilient in the face of this core wound of humanity when we grow up in an environment where we feel safe and loved.  Many in our world do not have the benefit of experiencing this kind of love.  As a result, many (most) of humanity are the walking wounded – trying to make it through this life while burdened by the ongoing feeling of separation and fear. This is what breeds the violence in our world.  People.  Guns.  Video Games, etc. are merely vehicles through which these unhealed fears find their expression.  If we want to end violence, we first have to heal our fears.

Authentic Freedom Academy is here to support us in learning how to choose love in a world conditioned by fear.  We do this by providing education and training in identifying and then healing the fears that might otherwise cause us to act in non-loving ways toward our world, toward others and toward ourselves.  Learn more HERE.

 

Posted in Inspiration, mental illness

Married to a Narcissist?

It seems like every day another person crosses my path who is looking for support in recovering from being in a relationship with a narcissist. Whether the narcissist was their parent, boy or girlfriend, wife or husband, or boss, it seems that the number of people suffering the after-effects of being in a relationship with a narcissist is epidemic!

(If you believe you might be one of those who has suffered from being in a relationship with a narcissist, learn more HERE.)

In my experience working with those who have been in a relationship with a narcissist, there are two kinds of narcissists – those who were likely abused themselves and who are suffering from an extreme case of arrested development and who are narcissistic in their behaviors, but not necessarily intentionally cruel. Then there are those who are true sociopaths and who engage in their narcissistic behaviors so as to purposefully do harm to another person.  Narcissism is a clinically defined mental illness which unfortunately, is difficult to diagnose because narcissists are masters of disguise.

Narcissists, usually because of a very deep inferiority complex, likely unknown to them, create an external persona that they present to the world and that they have convinced themselves is their truth. Only those closest to the narcissist, or the unwitting and innocent victims of the narcissist’s truth when it comes out sideways, are the wiser.  To everyone else, the narcissist is the kindest, most generous, thoughtful, helpful and supportive person on the planet.  To the innocent, narcissists are nothing if not charming!  To those who have been caught in their web, the narcissist is a monster.

maskpixabay

It has been said that there are three stages of being in a relationship with a narcissist – idealize, devalue, discard. Narcissists are magnetically charming to those they are trying to bring into their web.  They will convince you and others that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread.  You rock their world and they have been waiting their whole life for a child, lover, employee, like you.  Typically, narcissists seek out those they know they can manipulate – typically those who are truly generous, kind, helpful, supportive and empathic.  Once they have charmed you into their web, the abuse begins.  Slowly, subtly, surely, the narcissist begins to devalue you, whittling away any sense of self-esteem, confidence and self-worth.  Everything you do is wrong.  Everything you say is wrong.  Nothing is good enough.  If you wake up and begin to take care of yourself, learning about the abuse you have been in and work on getting help, when you can no longer be manipulated by the narcissist, they start to look elsewhere for their “supply.”  (narcissists are parasites, succubi who “feed” on other people’s kindness, goodness, generosity, etc.) Once they have found someone else to manipulate, then you will be discarded….left with what remains of your soul (if there is any left), and wondering what the hell happened.

Narcissist cannot be cured because they do not believe there is anything wrong with them. (a “cure” is only possible when the narcissist admits they have a problem and are willing to do the work of stripping off the mask to unveil the vulnerable truth within and then work to heal those vulnerabilities, unhealed wounds, etc.) To themselves and those who do not know their truth, narcissists are perfect.  They are the masters of their destiny.  Everyone loves them.  At least that is what they believe (and what they want others to believe).  Only you (and others who have seen the truth behind the mask) know differently.

Recovering from a relationship with a narcissist is not easy. First, one has to realize that the symptoms of narcissistic abuse are akin to PTSD and require the same kind of support.  A combination of therapy, trauma release (EMDR, Brainspotting  and SEVA Acupressure have all been shown to be effective in releasing the effects of trauma) and medication may prove helpful.  Secondly, in recovering from a relationship with a narcissist, one has to accept  all the things they cannot and will never be able to heal or change in the relationship:

  • An active narcissist will never admit they are wrong or at fault and will never say they are sorry.
  • A narcissist will never let you win. If you were married, plan that you will be financially devastated and never get your “fair share” of the assets, etc.  Know that it will take years to rebuild after leaving a narcissist and that you will probably have to go into debt to get there.
  • The narcissist will never stop trying to manipulate and control you. In their eyes, you will always be wrong and everything you are doing will be wrong.  (For the sake of your own mental wellbeing, ZERO contact is recommended when leaving a relationship with a narcissist.  If zero-contact is not possible, then minimal contact is advised).
  • If you try to defend yourself, speak your truth, ask for what you deserve, the narcissist will retaliate. You will not be heard, you will not get what you want and the narcissist will use what they know about your vulnerabilities to reduce you to nothing for trying to name and claim your needs, your opinion, or assert your value.

In short, with a narcissist you can never win (not in the way that winning is measured in our culture anyway).

justice pixabay

But, there is karma. There is justice.  And the Truth always wins out in the end.

In the end, the narcissist will always dig their own grave. Truth cannot remain hidden forever and the narcissist will eventually be found out for who they truly are.  The narcissist can only create so much carnage before others become wise.  Their “success” begins to fail. Their “fame” begins to fade.  Their charm no longer works because too many people have viewed the carnage in their wake.  While this does not heal the pain of being in a relationship with a narcissist, it does provide a measure of comfort in knowing that truth will win out in the end.

And, you will be the ultimate victor for having the courage, stamina, self-love and tenacity to successfully leave, unravel from and heal after being in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you are or have been in a relationship with a narcissist, please seek outside support in dealing with and unraveling from the relationship. Seek out mental health professionals, a good attorney and financial advisor to help you in unraveling and recovering.  Narcissistic abuse is real and if you have suffered from this, please get help! 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Teenage Suicide

The Causes of Teenage Suicide

The topic of teenage suicide has been high on my list of concerns since the first of two suicides of girls my daughter’s age in the seventh grade. Six of my children’s peers have committed suicide in the same number of years.  When the national statistic for teenage suicide is 7 out of 100,000 students of the same age, the suicide rate in my daughter’s class alone is alarmingly high!  FIVE OUT OF 250!  As a parent, and a psychological and personal development professional, I am deeply concerned!  What is happening with our children and how can we help them?

Teenage suicide is an enormous topic and one that will not be solved through a single action (or blog in this case). But as a dear friend and respected colleague recently stated, our goal around the topic of teenage suicide should be ZERO TOLERANCE. None of our children should be left to believe that suicide is the only way out of whatever difficult situation is troubling them.  Preventing teen suicide and providing support for those who have lost a family member or friend to suicide requires the collaborative efforts of many people, social service, educational and government entities.  Before we can solve the problem of teenage suicide, however, we must first explore the underlying causes of suicide.

CausesofSuicideVisual

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it gives us a glimpse into many pieces of a complicated puzzle that when added up, might lead one to believe death is the only possible solution.

STRESS

Our teens are under an enormous amount of stress. Stress related to:

Relationships – peers, friends, family, cliques, boyfriends, girlfriends, breakups, heartbreak, unrequited love, divorce, etc.

Pressure to Achieve – school, pressure to do well in school, decisions about college and career, pressure from the media, friends, family, pressure to belong, pressure to conform, etc.

The World – as I mentioned in a previous blog, “Our Kids Are Not Alright!,” our world is a mess!  Our children have NEVER not known a world at war!  Our economic and political situations are the worst they’ve ever been.  The educational outlook (the reason for pursuing education post-high school) is grim.  Our children know that the promise of a “financially rewarding career” after college is a lie.  They are facing the very real possibility of not being able to afford college (tuition rates are at an all-time high), and that the only way to attend might be through student loans which will leave them forever indebted to the government and never able to buy their own home.  This is real folks!  And our children know it!

Stress untreated = more stress = apathy = anxiety = depression

 

GRIEF

Every death, change, disappointment, hurt feeling, divorce, physical move, school transfer, breakup, change in the status of friend relationships, etc. triggers grief. In our culture we don’t know how to do grief.  We don’t even know what grief is, let alone how to deal with it.  This is no different for our children.  They are grieving, they might not know they are grieving (or the symptoms of grief), and there are few there to help them (we can’t help them if we don’t know how to grieve ourselves!).

Grief untreated = anxiety and depression

ABUSE

Abuse is rampant in our society and many of our children are living in abusive situations – physical, emotional, mental, verbal, spiritual, sexual, being bullied or neglected. Whether they are being abused, or someone else in their home or close-knit circle of friends is, they suffer the effects of abuse.  On-going abuse can lead to PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other “diagnosable” mental illnesses.

Abuse untreated = anxiety = depression = PTSD = panic attacks

 

POVERTY

While teenage suicide is not unique to any specific socio-economic category, poverty adds another dimension of stress– poverty, hunger, homelessness, poor nutrition, access to quality healthcare (or any healthcare for that matter), transient families, etc. all contribute additional stressors in an already difficult situation that might lead to believing death is ones best option.

Poverty = anxiety = isolation = depression = helplessness = hopelessness

 

LEARNING DISABILITIES, PROCESSING and SENSITIVITY ISSUES

According to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), this category should fall under that of “mental illness.” I refuse to put learning and processing issues under this category as it would only reinforce the false perception that if we learn differently from what the Common Core says is the “norm” there is something “wrong” with us.  While some “learning disabilities” are readily identified and accommodations are able to be made (because this is mandated by the State or Federal government), most are not.  Dyslexia, for example, is one processing issue that often falls through the cracks.  This does not even begin to touch learning style differences and sensitivity issues.  HSP’s (highly sensitive people) are not identified in education, neither are accommodations made for them.  When our children learn by seeing or doing and teaching is not adapted to meet their needs, or accommodations are not offered to help them learn, they can’t learn.  And when they can’t learn, they cannot succeed in education.

Not learning=not achieving=not succeeding=feelings of failure=stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

 

MENTAL ILLNESS

See above! No wonder the number of children who are being treated for symptoms consistent with mental illness – depression, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, etc. is at an all-time high.  Our children are suffering and much of this remains unrecognized, unacknowledged and therefore, untreated.  Throw in access to healthcare (or rather, the lack thereof) and a culture that is incapable of processing grief and you have a MESS!  Our children need our help!

Depression    Anxiety    Panic Attacks    PTSD

SuicideMindmap

Preventing teenage suicide begins by treating it at its cause. When we go directly to the cause we effectively eliminate the issues that would lead one to believing death is the only answer.  While this approach ultimately means widespread systemic change, the resources are already here, if we know where to look and if we can figure out how to work together toward this common goal.  While we might not save every life, our goal should be to make teenage suicide rare, instead of what has already happened in Oshkosh where teenage suicide has become expected and almost normal.  This is wrong….way wrong, and as parents and professionals, it is our responsibility to do something about it!

.

Posted in End of the World Prophecies, Inspiration, New Kids, New World, world changes

Our Kids Are Not Alright!

This week, another one of my daughter’s classmates committed suicide. This young woman is the fifth in a graduating class of 200-some students to commit suicide.  Something here is wrong.  Very wrong.

suicidedespairpixabay

I want to begin by presenting what is NOT wrong. The problem is not the school(s).  Oshkosh schools are some of the best in the nation and while our governor keeps whittling away at our budget and other resources that support quality education, our schools have risen above the chaos and are providing the best possible education with the few resources that are left.  In addition, Oshkosh North, the school my children attend, offers a wide range of programs and services to help support their diverse population, many of which have been funded through grants and private donations. The community, teachers, staff and administration have advocated for our students beyond what the budgets would normally provide.

As a subparagraph of the problem not being the school – the problem is not bullying, neither is it a lack of support or counseling services for troubled students. The local schools have an extremely stringent anti-bullying policy and all ranges of diversity are not only honored, but advocated for.  Every school has counselors and social workers on staff who are there to support and advocate on students’ behalf.  The problem is not lack of support.

The problem is not a lack of suicide or mental illness awareness or support. While this may have been somewhat the case with the first two suicides, since that time, efforts, resources, advocacy has been RAMPED UP to educate parents, students, and the community on the challenges of mental illness and the signs of a child or adult in distress.  In addition, there are trained professionals in the community who work specifically to educate the public and to support families on suicide and to support families with a child or adult who is at-risk and to support families who have experienced a death due to suicide.

Finally, the problem is not the parents. I know the parents of some of these children and I can tell you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, these parents have done absolutely everything they could for their children.  They loved them.  They did the best they could to keep their children safe.  They got their children help when help was needed.  They got help for themselves when they were at a loss over how to further help their child.

The problem is not the schools, peers, the lack of mental illness awareness, or the parents.

The problem, and the reason our kids are not alright is:       Our world.

childgunpixabay

Our world is a mess. Our world is a mess for all of us – and for some of us, it is just too much to bear.  Let’s look at the facts:

  1. For as long as our children have been alive, THE WORLD HAS BEEN AT WAR.

If it’s not a conflict or a war with a name, (Desert Storm, Iraqi, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, etc. etc. etc.) it is “the war on terrorism.” And the worst of all the terrorist attacks have been accomplished right here on our own soil by our own U.S. citizens.  The media does not help in this regard by triggering our fears through sensationalism.  As my son said, “Hundreds of people a year are shot in Chicago and no one cares, but as soon as one guy gets shot in Oshkosh, the whole world is in a state of panic.”  (This also points to media and racial bias which is a topic for another blog another day.)

For our children – the world does not feel safe.

  1. In the U.S. success is determined by external measurements like money, status, power and fame. And some of these measurements are literal – how much money you make, how many time you are Tweeted or your Facebook post gets “liked,” if you have your own reality show or not, and do you measure up to the current standards of “beauty.” For those who do not know their true selves and who have no way of knowing themselves except in comparison to others, success feels like an impossible goal – especially when they look at the TRUTH of our economic situation – which brings me to #3
  2. Education does not mean what it used to. In the old days, a high school education was enough to prepare you for a regular job with a decent rate of pay. Then, college became the necessary gateway to a career, a paycheck and economic security. Then, a master’s degree became the gateway, then a PhD. Now….none of this really matters – and our children know this. A college degree guarantees you nothing, or as a friend of mine told her daughter, “Do what you love because there won’t be any jobs for you after college anyway.” Bleak, but true. As much as politicians are touting the economic recovery and that the “recession is over,” this is not the truth.
  3. The world as we know it is dying. Our children know this and they know that they will be the ones who will be creating the new world. For some, this is just too overwhelming a task. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a player in the Hunger Games and the entire world (as you have known it) crumbles at your feet and you are left with the task of building the new world. While the endless possibilities and the excitement of building something new is enticing for some, for others, it is overwhelming and feels impossible and they shut down under the burden of the task.
  4. And finally….this is the whoo whoo part…..our children are empaths. What this means is that not only are they feeling their own anxiety in the face of a world that is a mess, they are feeling EVERYONE ELSE’S anxiety. They feel the anxiety of their parents, their siblings, their classmates, their teachers, and the entire world around them. When there is a terrorist attack on the other side of the world, they feel it – maybe not consciously, but they feel it. When a weather system is moving through that will cause people anxiety, they know it – again, maybe not consciously, but they feel it. For those that don’t understand the gift of empathy and who don’t have tools for managing this gift, the emotions come out sideways – temper tantrums, disproportionate negative behavior, anxiety, depression – and you guessed it, suicide.

Which brings me full-circle. I don’t know what caused that young woman to jump off the bridge into a freezing and raging river to her death.  What I do know is that her death should not be in vain.  Her death should be another wake up call for us as parents, teachers, and other adults.

Our children are not alright!

childfathernaturepixabay

Our children need our help. While we cannot change the outside world, there are things we can do to help our children, and in helping them, find help for ourselves in a messy and broken down world:

  1. Lead them to resources to help them manage anxiety. Resources that have been proven to help manage anxiety include: meditation, mindfulness, regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate and deep sleep, creativity exercises, being in nature, being with others in healthy community interactions.
  2. Support them in knowing their TRUE selves. Self-knowledge increases self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to be ok with our differences in a world of great diversity, and to weather the storm of other people’s judgements.
  3. Help them develop a different set of values. This starts with us. We need to stop valuing ourselves in terms of money, fame, status, power, and physical characteristics. What we are wearing, whose bag we are carrying and what car we are driving DOES NOT MATTER. These external measurements of “success” or “popularity” do not give us happiness. In fact, all they do is create more ANXIETY. If we want our children to be comfortable in a world that will NOT have the resources in which everyone can be a Kardashian, we have to help them find value in the internals – peace, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in knowing and exercising their gifts. We then need to give them tools for finding this inner peace which leads us back to items 1 and 2.
  4. Support them in their dreams. Our children see and know the new world. They see a world that is free from the separation with which we have defined the world. Instead of separation, they see only oneness. They do not comprehend the separation we keep placing between ourselves and others we view as different from us and they definitely do not comprehend the violence that arises out of these perceived separations. Our children do not see race, religion, sexual orientation, or even gender as barriers, they only see this as the miraculous and amazing diversity among human beings and they seek to know more and to honor these differences. Let’s get out of the way and let them do this, shall we!?
  5. Teach them what to do with Empathy.  Empaths are healers and those with this gift (all of our children) possess this gift because they are here to heal our dying world so that a healthier and happy world can emerge. Our children need to know what to do with these feelings and how to stop taking responsibility for everyone else’s pain. Interestingly, this also brings us back to items 1 and 2.

While we cannot change the world, we can change the world in which we are living and the journey starts within. Let us join together to help our children, and in helping our children, helping ourselves so that we can survive in a world in the midst of change and through our children’s dreams, help to support the birth of a new and better world. Then perhaps these children would not have died in vain.

worldhandspeace

 

Authentic Freedom Academy provides empowerment training for those who want to change their world, which starts by changing the world within.

 

Posted in Being Human, mental illness

The Potentiality of Anxiety – Guest Writer, Aimee LaBree Hohn

I met Aimee LaBree Hohn while standing in the lunch line at the Presentation Center in Los Gatos, California while attending my first academic seminar with Sofia University.  Aimee looked down at my nametag and asked, “Are you Lumbee Indian?”  I was startled at her question as I thought no one but my daydreaming father knew of the legendary disappearing tribe with the characteristic grey eyes.  I responded, “No, but my dad wishes we were.”  She countered with, “Oh.  I have a friend in Minneapolis with the last name Lumby who says they are Lumbee Indian.”  Now I was really startled.  “If their last name is Lumby, we’re probably related.  Is it Scott or Annie?”  “No,” she said.  “Now I can’t remember his name…..Oh yeah, Patrick.”  “Um……” (I could hardly talk now as synchronicity was obviously hard at work) “That’s my brother.”  What are the odds of meeting someone 2000 miles from home who not only knows my brother, is dear friends with his wife AND now turns out to be my classmate?  Aimee and I have been great friends ever since and as it turns out, soul-sisters.  I’m so excited to be sharing Aimee’s wisdom as part of an on-going conversation about anxiety and its role in the unfolding of our Soul and our Soul’s purpose.  Thank you dear sister!  I love you!

 

Lynette Cook, Gemini Observatory
Lynette Cook, Gemini Observatory

po·ten·ti·al·i·ty (p?-t?n?sh?-?l??-t?)

  1. the state of being potential.
  2.  Inherent capacity for growth, development, or coming into existence.
  3. Something possessing such capacity.

 

I am honored to have been asked to share some writing by wonderful Lauri, a classmate, soul-sister, and inspiration. The other day, she sent us a blip from Lauren Gorgo’s website describing anxiety as an energetic mimic of high vibrational energy.

I am a highly anxious person. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder at the age of 19. My strange little behaviors—like severe rumination about having AIDS at a non-sexually active 12 years old, and confessing to teachers that I had “damaged” school property with my fingernail—while entertaining, didn’t seem so strange anymore. It is a chemical imbalance (if we’re going with that theory). It was my growing spirituality and intuition that helped me garner tools to survive, and I was graced with some pretty powerful experiences that nudged me toward my path today. I bring my story with me every time I meet with a client and feel compassion for the anxious. It would be nice if that was the end of the story. Far from.

My anxiety takes different forms and rears its ugly head at random. Last year I had a sustained full-body panic attack that left me shaking, unable to catch my breath, crying, laughing, and tired for an entire week. This coincided with a trip I was on to a spiritual place during a turning point in my life. This triangulation was not lost on me. The anxiety was spurring me to make decisions, dammit! Make them NOW! Did I do this immediately? No—but that’s another story called “Don’t Be Afraid to Jump!” I’m working on it. Through talking with others, I realize that anxiety seems to be felt by everyone at increased levels lately. Vibrational shift, we’re hearing. This shift seems to be showing up through anxiety that has no obvious cause—more “Who am I and why am I here?” than the usual “I have to speak in front of these 100 people!” So, I reflected on Gorgo’s theory while driving the other day—a major channeling time for me.

I think she’s right. What came through is that anxiety may be a misinterpretation of energy reception; our brains trying to shut out perceived negative energy that is actually telling us specific things for our positive futures. I believe it is potentiality that we are feeling. I felt nervous energy wash over me as I got the following info about this potentiality:

We are given the seeds of change through the ideas we get; the nervous ticklings, the what-ifs. We are channeling! If we want to change jobs, we need to facilitate it. If we want to get healthy, we need to facilitate it. The time is now. Nervous energy holds unhatched and potential action. Our society teaches us to medicate this, not harness it; to see it as disorder and not creative material. When we are unable to process our ideas, or stifle them, we disrupt the flow from our Creator, our Universe.  What we process as “fear” is showing us the way to love. Even those “normal” anxious feelings are opening doors. What happens if instead of shutting down we honor the energetic message?

Anais Nin’s quote came to mind: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

We experience anxiety and pain when we attempt to stifle our blossoming.

External situations cannot control our emotions when we don’t allow them to. We fear the movement into our true purpose only because we are re-aligning and breaking old patterns. I have been experiencing this through shaking, shortness of breath, headaches, breakouts, sickness, anger. How are you experiencing it?

As we move towards and through the process, we must listen. We must remember to break patterns that don’t serve us anymore. For me, it is certain types of food. For others it may be certain behaviors. We dampen our energetic potential through the tools we use to numb ourselves. It anesthetizes energy and ekes away at the health that we need to create our path. When we crave these anesthetics we are craving the comfort of old patterns. Anxiety swells up to remind us. I imagine you can think of your patterns right now—those old fallbacks that seem to comfort us but actually cycle us into non-action. Remember, though, we must also be forgiving. Breaking the patterns can be like a mourning process. We leave behind rituals that do not serve our brighter future. Perhaps they protected us then, but today we let them go. . . Coffee, this is going to be a hard one.

What if there is more to it? Different types of anxiety? Anxiety also:

Propels us to ACT: Notifying us that something is wrong physically or emotionally that needs immediate attention. People, foods, chemicals, and environments affect us. Our bodies put up alarm bells–fight or flight.

Assures us of TRUST: We must allow decisions to flow. We get anxious if we can’t have the answers, NOW! We can’t dictate what will be, we can merely play our part in the Universal plan. This is a physical response to the dualistic ideas of “wrong” and “right” at any given time and anxiety reminds us to live in the grey area of not-knowing. I heard somewhere once that anxiety is our current fear of a previous result. We fear this negative result will play out again but we cannot know what will happen next!

Encourages us to PROTECT: We can pick up negative spiritual energy/entities. We can experience active or imprinted energies that hold current or historic emotions. For example, if I have an earthbound spirit in my area that holds addiction, sadness, or anxiety, I will react to this. Additionally, I will experience the energy of other humans if I don’t protect myself and hold awareness of how others’ emotions are affecting me. Energy is catching.

I have been sitting with this information to integrate it. It feels like a truth I forgot. My anxiety is particularly bad in the mornings, but lately I’ve noticed this: I slowly wake with hands subconsciously placed on my 3rd and 4th chakras. . . As if through comforting my body’s “anxious” energy, I am also holding power to facilitate change in my life, creative potential, and the love that flows from all of us as we bring our light and service into the world.

Aimee ProfileAimee V. LaBree Hohn is an educator, intuitive counselor, and lover of all things mysterious. She is a student of the paranormal and metaphysical with a background in History and Master’s degrees in Education and Transpersonal Studies (Psychology). She has taught internationally and locally on topics ranging from multicultural education to spirit effects on the human psyche. She utilizes her intuitive gifts, varied studies, and experience to assist others on their paths towards wellness and remembering their spiritual selves. More information about Aimee and her services can be found at www.intuitiveaim.com.

Posted in Body/Mind/Spirit connection, mental illness

Are Panic Attacks Our Soul Trying to Wake Us Up?

It seems that panic attacks have become epidemic in our society.  Having experienced them myself and having worked with others in successfully reducing, if not eliminating, incidents of panic attack, I have come to believe that many, if not all panic attacks are our Soul trying to WAKE US UP!

lightlady1

Soul

I define Soul as the uniquely creative way in which we have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives.  The Soul is there for our own fulfillment, specifically when engaged in service to the betterment of the world.  The Soul is God’s way of living in and through us and it is through the Soul that we participate in God’s on-going plan of creation – specifically, it is through the Soul that we become the people God made us to be and it is through the Soul that we assist God in making the world a loving, peaceful, harmonious, healthy and safe place where the needs of all species are met in abundance.  Since the Soul comes from God and is indeed, the Presence of God within us, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Soul Drive

The Soul’s desire is for one thing only – that we become the fullest expression of the unique person God made us to be.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where we all see our life experience through the false perception of separation.  As a result, we live in fear.  Fear thwarts our ability to hear, see, and know the Truth of our Soul.  Our own fears are then compounded by the fears of others who might attempt to suppress, ignore, criticize, or condemn our Soul.  We all experienced direct experiences of being shamed or punished for trying to express or live our truth.  As a result of these experiences, we hide our Soul away.

Soul Shouting

As we work toward locking our Soul away, the Soul fights back.  And the ways in which the Soul fights back are not pleasant.  As I mentioned before, the Soul is a force to be reckoned with.  She might start her fight quietly through withdrawal, mild depression, a series of mild illnesses.  But the harder we try to silence the voice of the Soul, the louder she becomes.  Chronic pain, unexplainable illnesses, ulcers, digestive disorders, auto-immune disease, anxiety, high blood pressure, clinical depression, panic attack.  People have even died in their attempts to silence their Soul.

Soul Waking

Many of these symptoms, panic attack most especially, is the Soul trying to wake us up.  Even for those whose panic attacks come as a result of trauma (PTSD), I would suggest that the panic is there as a way of encouraging you to get help in releasing and healing the trauma so that your Soul can lead you to the life you were meant to live.

Soul Truth

One thing I have learned about the Soul is that it never lies.  In fact, the Soul is all about the Truth and is impeccable with Truth.  Truth, more than anything, is what the Soul wants us to know.  As such, in the birth of the Soul, Truth is what the Soul is trying to help us see – the Truth of our pasts, the Truth we’ve covered with deceit, the truths we’ve rejected or suppressed, the Truth of who we are and who we were meant to be and in coming to know our own Truth, we come to know the Truth of others.

Panic Attacks

So, if you are experiencing panic attacks, or know someone who is, you might consider the possibility that the panic attacks are a result of your Soul trying to get you to know your Truth, and then seek support in getting to know your Truth.  Some truths may be difficult to see and to know (like past experiences of abuse or trauma), but it is only in naming and claiming ALL your truths that your Soul can find its place in the world.  You were made to know joy, to experience love, to know peace, to feel safe, and to find fulfillment through your own uniquely creative gifts through which you find meaning and purpose in serving the betterment of the world.

Lauri Ann Lumby assists men and women in the birth of their Soul through one-on-one mentoring, classes and workshops.  Starting July 7, 2014,  Lauri will be offering a Soul-Support class specifically for “The New Grown-ups” (also referred to as Millennials, Indigos, Crystals, New Kids, etc.).  To learn more, click HERE. 

Posted in mental illness

How to Spot a Narcissist

I have seen a disturbing trend among clients reporting behaviors of partners that seem to be consistent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  While I cannot make a diagnosis, the reporting is frequent enough to warrant discussion on this mental health issue.  Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a Borderline Personality Disorder that, according to the National Institute of Health, occurs in 7.7% of men and 4.8% of women.  (To learn more about statistics and correlates, click HERE.)  Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental illness and while treatable, because of the characteristic nature of the disorder, few acknowledge that they are in need of help, let alone, seek it out.  Effective treatment and support, however, is available for partners or past partners of those suffering with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as they are often the party who suffers the most in these types of relationships.  The following is a poem which describes the experience of being in relationship with a narcissist, along with additional information and resources on identifying narcissism and getting support. (please note that the poem is told from the perspective of a woman with a male narcissist as a partner, please translate to fit your own personal experiences.)

Narcissist
Narcissist

In the Company of a Narcissist

Eyes meeting across a crowded room,

A spark, and then a stir.

Moving mountains to find her, she was sold.

Charismatic, charming, tall, dark and handsome.

*

How could she be so lucky?

A wallflower, ripe for the picking

And the picking begins….subtle at first

Then increasingly urgent and insistent.

Nothing she does or says or wears is right.

Everything, it seems, is wrong with her.

*

She “should have known” by the car he drove –

Or the bragging of all who stopped to stare, the list of conquests

and all the women who worshipped him.

*

Behind the bravado, a deep, impenetrable insecurity and a bottomless pit of need.

Never enough. Never good enough. Always her fault.

All about him, his needs, his wants and desires.

Sulking in the corner when attention directed away from him.

All-out tantrums when things don’t go his way.

*

Punished if she dares to speak her truth, hold him accountable, point out his lies.

“You’re crazy!” or worse, feigned concern with puppy dog eyes,

“I’m not sure how you will make it without me.”

*

First charmed, then groomed, then poisoned,

The wallflower plucked by the narcissist and left on the shelf to die.

*

Narcissism, a borderline personality disorder from which very few recover.

Many absent a conscience,

A master-thespian, playing the role of who he wants you and others to see,

defending the illusion, all for his selfish gain.

*

But there is hope for the wallflower – when the demon is named for who he is.

And she is not alone.  There are others who have walked in her shoes,

who have successfully freed themselves from the tyrant’s grip.

*

Returning to themselves

Their own truth

Their inherent value

And the truth of their worth.

Stronger and wiser from the pain

And anxious to help another sister’s return.

*****

Narcissistic personality disorder (extracted from mayoclinic.com) is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, which is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:

  • Believing that you’re better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

To learn more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, click HERE.  If you are in a relationship with someone you suspect may suffer from this disorder, or if you believe you may be suffering from this disorder, please seek help and support.  Effective treatment is available for those in relationship with a narcissist, and supportive measures are being discovered to help ease the underlying issues leading to narcissistic behaviors.

Posted in mental illness, Midlife Journey

Mental Illness Awareness Week and Midlife

October 7th began the recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week.  In honor of this very important drive for awareness and advocacy in the field of mental health, I want to address some of the mental health issues that tend to show up during the midlife and menopause transition.  Join me in building awareness of mental health issues and the valuable resources that are out there to support those who struggle with mental health concerns.

mental illness awareness week

It Might Not Be PTSD

I recently had a conversation with a friend in which they shared their recent journey through their father’s death. This friend expressed feelings of being “wrecked” and suspicions that the symptoms they were experiencing might be a form of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  As a Spiritual Director and Midlife Mentor, I have witnessed many who have experienced similar symptoms – anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, mood swings, obsessive thoughts, even panic attacks which have mysteriously surfaced during similarly significant losses.  While I am not able to diagnose the existence of lack thereof of PTSD, what I suspect about my friend, and what I have witnessed in both myself, and others I have accompanied through the transitions of midlife, is that more likely than not, what we are experiencing is ultimately our truth trying to find its way out, and that the harder we resist our truth, the more persistent and painful are the symptoms that present themselves.

Mental Health Issues

Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, mood swings and sleeplessness all fall under the category of mental health issues and depending on the degree to which we suffer from these complaints, may qualify as mental illness.  It is NOT a bad thing to experience mental illness.  In fact, the benefit of having a diagnosis is that we can then find effective treatment, support and medication where necessary and appropriate.  It is imperative, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, to SEEK SUPPORT and then, to become your own advocate in the way of education, treatment and insurance coverage (where available).  Mental illness is treatable and many experience satisfactory and enduring results which greatly improve their quality of life.

A Complement to Mental Health Treatment Options

As a complement to traditional interventions for symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attack, sleeplessness, obsessive thoughts, mood swings; and the oft-experienced physical symptoms of acid reflux, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, auto-immune disease relapses that often show up in conjunction with midlife, it may be helpful to begin to explore your own inner truth.

  • What are the past losses/changes/transitions that are in need of identification, grieving, healing and release?
  • What are the heretofore ignored or suppressed dreams that might be trying to find their way into the light?
  • Have there been past experiences of sexual, emotional, mental, physical, verbal or spiritual abuse that are calling to be revisited and healed at a deeper level?
  • Are there sexual orientation issues that are seeking to be known and lived freely in the world?
  • Are you being invited to realign your life choices and direction with your own desires instead of those of some outside perceived authority?
  • Are you being invited to identify and claim your own needs?
  • Are you being invited to take responsibility for your own life instead of being the hapless victim of some outside malevolent force which seems to be out to get you?

Midlife, unparalleled with other periods of transition, seems to unleash within us all the hidden and unspoken truths that we have silently hidden in the darkness.  If we have to COURAGE to go into those places of darkness and EXHUME our unrecognized truths, in seemingly miraculous fashion, we are often freed of the previously judged as unpleasant symptoms.

If you are looking for healing and support of mental health related issues, contact your local NAMI chapter, ask your physician for assistance, find a mental health professional in the form of a psychotherapist, behavioral counselor or therapist, and if you suspect your symptoms may be related to truths unexpressed, contact Lauri Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or find a spiritual director/life coach/personal mentor/ anam cara near you.

Posted in Inspiration, mental illness, Midlife Journey

Depression’s Gift

According to the NIMH (National Institute for Mental Health) 23.8 million adults in the United States suffer from depression.  This figure does not include anxiety disorders in which depression is also a component (GAD, PTSD, Agoraphobia, etc.).  As a woman who has struggled with depression, I understand the frustration in finding accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.  I also understand the day-to-day challenges of depression and how it can interfere with our relationships, our happiness and our desire for personal fulfillment.  Learning to accept depression and how to manage its symptoms has played an important role in my midlife journey and one of the topics explored in my most recent book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself.    In anticipation of my upcoming book release celebration, I share with you this poem (not in the book) that expresses one of the ways in which I have made peace with my struggle with depression.

http://www.funerium.deviantart.com
http://www.funerium.deviantart.com

Depression’s Gift

Copyright 2013 

Depression staring back at me

Through inky, fluid, darkness

Imprisoned between antique silver frame,

Pressing toward me through the darkness,

Depression’s feature’s in relief against ebony curtain.

***

I reach toward the guilded/guilted frame,

Steadying myself beneath her glare

Ashamed to let others see the darker side of me…

Imprisoned in my home…

Paralyzed by despair…

Thoughts obscured by a cloak of darkness…

I Inquire of the part of myself I keep hidden from the world,

“What is it you want from me?”

***

Tired of hiding from myself.

Tired of shielding the truth.

I Boldly step into depression

Piercing through the darkness of the blackened mirror.

Depression brushing over and through me like a heavy mist

Grasping and clinging like a spider’s web

Reaching the extent of its grasp as I continue walking

Depression snapping back against the mirror that now stands behind.

***

Suddenly bathed in light

I behold the treasure that lays hidden within.

Depression’s gift to me.

Understanding that it is because of depression and its strange bedfellows of obsession, anxiety, panic and worry that I have learned

Compassion.

***

Reaching for my open heart and outstretched hands

I Gather toward me the precious treasure depression has left for me

which is now my gift to the world,

We make for our return,

Thanking depression along the way.

The birth of the Soul includes finding our way through all of the pieces of ourselves we keep hidden from the world, and finding our way through the inner obstacles, fears and insecurities that keep us from the life of purpose, fulfillment and peace that God intended.  As Midwife to your Soul, I offer programs and services to assist you in moving through these inner obstacles.  To schedule a one-on-one session or workshop, contact me at (920) 230-1313  or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.