Dear Martin Luther King …I want to be a Giant Tree.

Dear Martin Luther,

thank you for sending me this Guardian Angel called Mamadou and working in the labour Trade Union.

He is an African living in France and working for the same company for a long time.

He’s got the same sense for Justice and he is giving me dignity and awareness of who I am today and who I want to become tomorrow morning.

Mamadou told me, as soon as you get fixed at your Job, after your Recover from burn out and PTSD, you will become a Giant Tree.

Then, I want to be soon a Redwood Sequoia.

A tree that has developed so much knowledge on how to take care of one self that, no matter what, I will preserve my health. And other people will come to me and enjoy the fresh air of my leaves shadow.

Well, I promise, … I will become a tree and it will be a giant one.

Today is a good day.

Keep it up xx

 

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PTSD Books: Walking the Medicine Wheel.

51+b4Lb21FL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Author Biography:

The focus of my work and writing is on bringing creativity, spirituality, and healing to my work with clients as well as to the larger challenges that face health care and society. I work at Puget Sound VA in Seattle in Primary Care Mental Health Integration and have an appointment as an Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. I am board certified through the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology, the American Board of Integrative & Holistic Medicine and the American Board of Integrative Medicine.

I have worked in a number of practice settings over the years. Prior to moving to Seattle I spent three and a half years in New Zealand where I worked in Assertive Community Outreach at Manaaki House and also served as Clinical Director at Buchanan Rehabilitation Centre, a residential psychiatric rehabilitation program. I also started a holistic psychiatry private practice in Champaign, Illinois. Other practice settings were: Omaha VA in the PTSD Clinic, rural community mental health, and Developmental Services Center in Champaign, Illinois, a program for adults with developmental disabilities.

In my first book, Re-humanizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice and the Culture of Medicine, I sought to provide a “counter-curriculum of re-humanization” for health care providers and to support a “compassion revolution” in health care.

My next book is written with co-author Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow). Joseph and I plan to continue working together for a series of books after Walking the Medicine Wheel: Healing Trauma & PTSD. Joseph and I are also both artists and we plan to bring this dimension into our work together as well.

 

 

 

Self love and yoga.

a3525591-7e0a-45f6-a3d0-3e09f94a7dca_1.fbe55d51e48006605c03034c99694ffaToday I was reading this blog page, talking about suicidal survivor, and I found my self wondering what kept me safe from going down, in last two years. I mean, I’ve been depressive, and bipolar, when younger, and at age of 43, I admit that I am, proudly, NO MORE. During my journey, I’ve been told that bipolar was for life, that you can’t sort it out without medical treatments, or psychological support.

Of course, I have been in psychothearapy, and self discovery. Talking to someone neutral and stranger to you is a good key. Not judgemental. Not involved. That’s a perfect therapy. While you’re talking about your issues, and thoughts, to someone who is listening is magical. Psychotherapy is just THIS. The person in front of you acts like a mirror, she or he allows you to listen to your own words. You finally have a witness to your suffering and that is a good start for healing. Or, at least, understanding. Therefore, UNDERSTANDING, is the beginning of healing. When you become conscious of your triggers, perhaps, you also realize that overthinking leads to paranoia. Ollalla’. Not easy to recognize at which point you became a « paranoid ». But it all starts from you. Forget that a stranger will tell you what’s wrong with you. Or your childhood. You do the job. Most often you just need a guide, a coach or a good listener.

Yes, I’ve been paranoid, especially when working at night shift. I simply hated not sleeping on a daily bases, and going to bed at 9 in the morning, when most of other people started their day. Or not falling asleep until exhausted. Or waking up after 21 hours, and checking news, just to make sure that you didn’t miss anything important. I was so tuned on negative thinking that I felt like there was a conspiracy against me. Like if all my colleagues disliked me and everybody else ignored me. If I existed or not, it didn’t make any difference. Paranoia, you said it.

When I was 23 I’ve started with Yoga for getting a nicer silhouette, but I already felt like this discipline was more than just physical excercise. Since then, I’ve been keeping practicing once a week. That was pretty fine for me, one hour now and then. Not much effort. Beginner classes suited me well. Until I went though my last peak of stress, last year.

When I started cutting my hair shorter, yes, darling. And decided to do my yoga every single day, once back home from work. Sometimes at 22 pm, now 19 pm. Depends on my time management.

So, I’ve tried a few channels, until I finally found my fave one. Not only my body became slimmer, and stronger, but my mind was more focus and could concentrate on my class in breathing and out breathing. Sometimes 30 minutes, or one hour in my weekend days. Leaving time for rest, at least one day per week. It became a wonderful way to distress my frustration and felt like I wanted more. When I read that yoga helps with depression issues I didn’t catch it. What’s the matter ? How can physical practice be related with being anxious or depressed ? ( mental issues )

Body, and mind, are definitely strictly connected.

Often you feel depressed because you have fear, you are not well in your situation and you knoe that you need a change, but you don’t take risk to move out of your (un)comfort zone. Victim status might also be cosy. It’s not your fault.

Practice in yoga means getting used to unbalance. You can fall, you are allowed, and you can laugh at your falling. And try again. Until you do better.

When you work your balance and breathing, with yoga, your subconscious keep focused and you empty your mind. That’s the useful meditative work done.

Tonight a friend told me, that my fear is the fear of existence of other. Oh my, really ? And I happily realized this, if you are reading this article, you shall consider how much you love your Self. Me too, I had this idea that I hated my Self …

It’s not true. You lost your confidence. Or other people made you loose your precious confidence. Often it’s parents or peers. Sometimes strangers. Most often is self sabotage and your worse enemy lies inside.

Until you meet your dragon, and stare at his fiery eyes. And his face is not a mirror, but it helps you to build up your Ego.

Body, emotion, and mind, align again. You become a whole.

Paranoid ? Yes, so what ?

Mindfulness, start small.

self-love-quoteBefore I discovered meditation, my daily routine was jumping out of bed, at last minute, rushing for having my breakfast, and getting ready for going out, and still hurry up to catch my bus. Typical parisian, I’d say. Yes, except I live in suburbs, and this area is located between country and woods. Even more scary.

Not only my way of walking, but also speaking was speed. Truth is that deeply inside, I am shy, and that means that when I have to speak, I feel I am at the center of attention and I am not confortable. This was me, before. « Hurry, hurry. » Consequently, french guests or colleagues tried hard to understand what I was saying to them. And actually, still do. But this is another story for another bed time. The fact of hurrying each moment of day made me more anxious and tired. Until I fell exhausted. Also, speaking my mind was a big trick for me. Simply, I didn’t take enough time to build up my thought, and this is quite typical for firy aries like me.

When, finally, got this audio-book from french psychologist, Christophe André, I was on a quest of the meaning of here and now. Why being mindful ? What is it ? Why are we not living the present moment, all the time ? It looks like our mind is escaping it, in the past and the future, … So, I started this practice for about TEN minutes, in the morning. Every morning. Straight before my coffee. First time, I kept watching the clock and minutes seemed like never passing by. Was I doing right ? Sat down, and focus on my nastrils, breathing IN cold air, breathing OUT warm air. That was helpful. My mind could start concentrating on physical. Thoughts flew away and then came back. « What will I put on today ? » « What will I eat for lunch ? » Then focus, again. Third eye helps. When you close your eyes, and concentrate on the dot between your eyebrows, I admit, that is powerful. So, what?

Yes, my life has magically changed since. And the results motivate me to hold one this practice. Now, that meditating became a pleasant habit, I spend more time on my orange pillow, sitting on the floor, but that doesn’t mean I am doing it properly. If I can, I let my overthinking release and let it go. Ok, I am anxious and a bit stressed, and that’s okay. I simply accept it. When you become aware of it, that’s a good start for healing. Your subconscious records that information and starts working on it, and eventually send orders to neurons to fight against stress. Your body gets prepared in a certain way. When you are so stressed out and you feel like you can’t meditate, just sit down and take ten minutes to RELAX….. that’s EXACTLY the perfect moment to do it.

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Some life coaches call it power hour. The first hour in the morning, where you can write down your journal, reading inspiring quotes, affirmations, doing yoga or work out excercise, and meditate. It’s matter of habits. What time is your clock in the morning? How do you feel now ? Emotionally ? Physically ? Can you imagine advance your clock for one hour ? Ok, ten minutes ? Start small.

If you like, keep on breathing. Darling, you just learnt how to take time for your Self, no matter what. No kids around, or work schedules. Each day is a good day for trying better. You’ll be grateful.

Don’t try, do.

Burn out. Paragraph.

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When I was diagnosed « burnt out » by my doctor, september 2015, I used sleeping 3-4 hours per night, five days a week. In my weekend days, I was so exhausted that I didn’t wake up until I had enough. Recovery sleep, what was that ?

Professionals say that our biological system starts producing melathonin at 22 pm, and recovering every single cell in our body, from 23 pm to 1 am. After that time, it’s too late. That means that if you go to sleep after 2 or 3 am every single night, it is quite possible that you develop health issues, and deseases, due to a weakened mental and physical body. As soon as I got my sick leave, a collegue had a terrible accident on his bycicle, when out for competition, on a sunday morning, he had his chest broken and couldn’t do any sport or walk properly, for a long time; another collegue went to hospital for a few months, and when he came back to work, he had to rearrange his schedules the same then I. He was stressed out, but he couldn’t ever admit to him self. The first, who was also my coach, told me that 4 hours sleep for him was enough. And for a while, he went on smoking weeds to help relaxing him self in the evening, until he finally had to quit, because of addiction. The second, who was in charge of « fake alert » (after january Paris attack), with me, moved to another service after a long recovery time in hospital. Because he was in denial, first, with him Self, he couldn’t see that something was wrong with me. He just told me, once, that I looked like I was going to cry, all the time, and that’s it. Also, he asked me if  I was bipolar.

When home, not only I felt drained, but unexpectedly, I wanted to do more. So, I used to sit on my kitchen table, and write down plenty of « to do list ». Cook, walk, draw, create, clean, iron, fix bike’s wheel, yoga, relax. I checked the list, except for last one, of course. What you should consider as normal, on an off work day, like having fun, going out, or simply cocooning at home, was not considered, and seen as a waste of time. Yes, I spent my rest time keep doing things. What helped me, during my journey, was this article about being anxious. It stated to try to write down your list, and then destroy it. So, I did it. My table is much cleaner now. And my mind, too.

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By the way, the person who really made the difference there, was my manager. During a certain time, she wasn’t there as much as the service required, or I would, due to her family’s configuration schedule, but I can’t blame her. At that right time, I did. I was angry against all management and frustration made me nervous and put me in a bad mood. Instead of leaving, cos there weren’t healthy conditions, to do our job, we felt compelled to replace them (for different reasons, I suppose). When she came back from holidays, she called me on a meeting with her, and asked me if what she heard was true. « Did I really had the courage to claim for a bonus ? » Definitely, yes, I did. We, as a team, did an excellent job, all alone. We had deserved it. Of course, that was the straw that breaks the camel’s back and, finally, bursted into tears. Go away. I was worthy a recognition for the effort. Instead of striking, as we were supposed to do, once the safety conditions are not guaranteed (guests became quite aggressive and they were right to be angry against a lack of service and staff), but we kept on doing a great job, altogether. And not only it didn’t pay off, we’ve been called and judged. That was my chance to blow the whistle. And I haven’t missed it.

That was the right moment when she, the boss – one of the persons I « feard » most– humbly suggested me to ask for help.

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The first reaction that I remember, before burn out, was feeling guilty. I felt like I was not strong enough. Others look was very important and you don’t want to desappoint them, right ? Your will is to show them that you are worthy their attention (and perhaps love ?).

Everybody was tired, but my collegues were holding on. Nobody spent a day sick at home. It was very exceptional, because as a team, we knew that if someone wasn’t there, others would do the job. It wasn’t human kindness, instead, but a sort of spiritual pride. Deeply inside, as individuals, we couldn’t bare not to be necessary. My service was precious, I thought, and I pretended to make a difference, in service, too. How could they manage without me ? Oh, well, they could, and they did. After burn out, there were no reaction, but release. Finally, I could start to breath again. And still do.

breeze : synonims, gentle wind, breath of wind, puff of air, current of air, flurry of air, gust

No more excuses.

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At the time of Paris attacks, january and november 2015, I was already struggling with chronic stress due to toxic work and lifestyle. Anger and frustration made me piss off all my dears, lover and best friends. All I needed was a warm and deep hug, listening, caring, and the way I had to call for it was just screaming and exploding in violent raptus of rage.

My boyfriend eventually ran away. He had two children, divorced, so I repeat to my self that I can’t blame him, if he couldn’t stand by me, upright. Btw he didn’t either make any effort to try to understand what was wrong with me. He just found that we quarrelled too much. Raise your hand if you went through low self esteem issues. « Am I worthy ? » « Will I ever find the right person who can stand by me upright ? » « Will I die alone ? ». « Will I ever find a balance in life ? ». It goes without saying, mental health issues made me loose my job, or did I loose mental health because of that job? Serving people, in a multicultural entertainement environement, made me very passionate about it. Let me be honest with you, I was brilliant, and guests really appreciated my concern at their demands. The fact is that I really felt like I had been damaged, someway, because of other’s fault, too massive tourism flow (low cost budget packages), and severe, partly ghostly, management. The lack of staff, and destroying schedules planning, did the rest. Financial results were all that counted. The same week that I’ve got my sick leave, company’s director proudly announced, on a meeting with occupational medicine and unions, that our team was good, perhaps the best in statistiques. Psychological risks were zero. 

Sure, I felt alone, powerless and, yes, the weakest link. Me, burnt out, no kidding.    

Ok, now, no more excuses. When you put your self in a situation, more times in life, and you repeat the pattern, it’s not just a lack of chance, or others bad will, you shall investigate in depth. C’mon, it’s not your fault, I am not saying this, but it becomes your responsability. “What are you gonna do with that?” There’s some lesson there that waits to be learned by your Self. My first lesson, Self Love. Self care. Self worth. Scary, but true, I admit that at that point of my life, my routine didn’t have any purpose except to soldier on. No sense at all. “Metro, boulot, dodo.” The daily routine of commuting and work was leading me to apathy.

Apathy: when feeling becomes too much.