June Converse

My Journey from Awareness to Acceptance to Authenticity

I tried to determine the best way to describe the Wise Mind concept from Marsha Linehan’s DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) mode. This particular treatment/coping modality has been the most helpful to me. Ms. Linehan has developed many tools to help someone like me calm myself and make rational decisions. Over the next several weeks, I will “show” you some of these and how I use them in my daily living and daily struggles.

To begin, let me quote someone else.

One of the tenets of DBT (Dialetical Behavior Therapy) is recognizing Wise Mind. We all have moments in life where we are overly emotional, moody, or reactive. In DBT, this is called Emotion Mind. “When in emotion mind, you are ruled by your moods, feelings, and urges to do or say things. Facts, reason, and logic are not important.”

The opposite of Emotion Mind is Reasonable Mind, a state in which we operate “by facts, reason, logic, and pragmatics. Values and feelings are not important.” In this state, we might approach people in the same way that we might handle an arithmetic problem – systematically.

Wise Mind is the perfect balance between reason and emotion. Individuals living in Wise Mind are able to utilize both reason and emotion, taking the middle path to cultivate emotional sensitivity and a calm, cool collectedness.

To read the entire article (which I highly recommend) check out this link: http://therapeuticoasisofthepalmbeaches.com/living-in-wise-mind-dbt-skills-for-everyone/

Who Are You? Who Am I?

Well, you and I aren’t wholly emotional or rational. But, in my experience, we do gravitate toward one extreme or the other. Wise mind requires effort from all of us.

I, obviously, lean toward an Emotional Mind. My husband, on the other hand, is more Rationally Minded. This often makes us a nice mix – and it’s often oil trying to mix with water.

Some Examples to Make You Laugh

To demonstrate the way our minds work – and clash – I wanted to share some very true stories from our home. These are funny stories – well, they are funny now. At the time, it was not too fun. Anyway, feel free to laugh at our expense.

The Vacation

We decided that an all-inclusive beach resort would be the best vacation for our family this year. We originally planned a cruise but once we priced that, we realized it was more expensive than other, equally enjoyable destinations. [By the way, that’s WISE mind.] We all got on board with the all-inclusive and the challenges began.

Rational Mind Approach – my husband, God bless him, presented me with a spreadsheet --- I am NOT joking. He came to bed one night with an extensive spreadsheet that analyzed every tiny detail of about 20 resort locations. When I asked him which sounded the most fun, his response was to point at the spreadsheet column labeled “activities.” UGH.

Emotional Mind Approach – the one nice thing about the spreadsheet was the links to the resorts. I ignored his analysis and starting clicking. This led to more and more clicking. It was all about pictures to me. I chose three that “looked” good. Sadly, I’d done so much clicking that I was suggesting resorts NOT on his spreadsheet. Shame on me!

Rational Mind Approach – Dave jerked the laptop from me, added my three selection to his spreadsheet and began his analysis. Jeez! When I asked him when he’d have a decision, he rolled his eyes and said, “Give me a few weeks.”

Weeks?!!??!?! It’s a beach resort – just choose one. Am I right? My emotional mind says I’m right!

Can you see a conflict coming? One of the ways my emotional mind works is that I want to CHOOSE. And, I don’t want too many choices – my emotional mind becomes jumbled and frustrated. For me, I wanted to do a couple hours of searching and comparing and then, come on, pick one! Pull out the credit card and start looking forward to our trip.

Dave likes to spend weeks (literally) analyzing, shuffling, adding places, subtracting places. He reads review after review after review. Uh oh!

Wise Mind – here is how we settled this … we agreed not to discuss the vacation AT ALL until he was ready. Once he was satisfied with all his mathematical analyses, he would present the top three … then I got to choose using my emotional mind! In the end we landed here: Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa in the Dominican Republic

We’ve been to several all-inclusive resorts all over the Caribbean. This resort was one of my very favorites and one of the few I’d go back to. The Rational Mind and the Emotional Mind found a Wise Mind we could share!

The Bee Hive Business

bees on honeycomb

Let me be honest – this is not my story – this is my best friend’s story. But, it’s a classic and a perfect representation of Emotional/Rational/Wise Minds.

Emotional Mind – “Hey, honey, I was thinking we could start raising bees?”

Rational Mind – “Bees?”

EM – “Someone I know said they got started and it’s easy, cheap to get into and they are making $ at it. Here, I did a little research. Thought I’d order a hive tomorrow.”

RM – “And where, darling, do you plan to put these bees?”

EM – “Well, in the back. There’s plenty of room at the bottom of the hill.”

RM – “You mean the bottom of the hill that we can’t get to because it’s so steep?”

EM – “That’s an easy fix. Get Danny over here to put in steps. The hives won’t arrive for a few weeks.”

RM – “Honey – Darling – Sweetie Pie – we live in a neighborhood. You know, with neighbors. We live on a regular ol’ spot of land. We can’t start raising bees.”

EM – “But but … this friend of mine does it and he’s making money. It’s not expensive. We can order them and give it a try.”

RM – “Let me put together a spreadsheet first – analyze the cost of bees, supplies, maintenance. And then we have to figure out how to distribute the honey. I’m sure there are all types of laws regarding food distribution.”

EM – “Hold on. We buy honey at the local farmer’s market. Don’t tell me they obey any laws. They just throw their honey in a jar and hope. Come on. Let’s buy some bees. It sounds like fun.”

And so on ….. thankfully, one of the hallmarks of many emotional minds is that they can get easily distracted. We distracted our Emotional Minded friend with a new, more viable idea.

Admittedly, in this story, what I labeled Rational Mind is more Wise Mind. But you get my point.

Which is Better?

Emotions are critical to survival. Logic is critical to good decision-making. I read a book once where the protagonist created a spreadsheet describing his perfect mate. He fell in love with the exact opposite.

Emotions need to be tempered by logic or I’d be helping our friends raise bees. Logic needs to be tempered with an emotional element. Resort A may have been the best choice according to the spreadsheet but fun, relaxation and “feel” can’t be programmed.

I imagined telling my daughter that she had to buy a wedding dress with the Rational Mind method – build a spreadsheet of length, material, style, cost, etc. Then click and order. Those things are important (especially cost) – but what makes a wedding dress special is the way it makes you feel. The Wise Mind makes the best decision every time.

So What?

I’ve gotten much better at recognizing when I am making decisions or judgments out of pure emotion. Now, I wait a day or two and allow my emotions to settle. I also have a few DBT tools in my pocket that help me stand back. I’ll share these over the coming weeks.

I also lean on my rational husband to help me find balance. And, he leans on me to bring in intuition and feeling.

Resources:

Marsha Linehan’s Book: DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets:

Also, ask your therapist or call a therapy center in your city. There are often small group classes in DBT skills. The classes and skills practice are worth the time and money if you find yourself letting emotions lead you around by the nose.

Just before I hit "post" I stumbled across this worksheet. I have not used it YET ... but it looked promising. https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/WiseMindWorksheet.pdf

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ

I am not a therapist. I have no relevant diploma. I have no fancy letters behind my name. I am a sufferer with years of therapy. I am an expert only in the sense that I am enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks. But hard knocks are an excellent teacher. If you suffer, I highly recommend you find a professional to help you and develop a personalized treatment plan. This blog is MY experience and while I pray it’s helpful, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat anyone for anything. (Well, I am a great math teacher—especially fractions!).

The last two posts I have shared with you a problem that occurred while vacationing in paradise with my family (husband, daughter, son and future daughter-in-law). Basically, I got my feelings hurt in three ways (having breakfast alone every morning, my children not reading my novel, and my family playing without me). I used Tara Brach’s R.A.I.N method to settle my elevated emotional state. Now, let me move on to what happened next …

My husband showed up for breakfast and I started out calmly trying to tell him that I wanted him to spend more time with me – i.e., at least come to breakfast so I didn’t have to eat alone. That went fine but when it came time discuss my hurt feelings about my kids not reading my book and not playing games (which I brought along to play while hanging by the water), my hurt resurfaced and tears ran down my cheeks.

What I wanted my husband to say – what I needed him to say – was “You’re right, honey, it would hurt anyone’s feelings if their own children ignored their achievement.” AND “I think playing games sounds like fun. Let’s do that this afternoon when it’s too hot to be in the ocean anyway.” AND “I appreciate your getting up early every morning and making sure the family gets the best chairs in the best spot.”

What he said was ….. drum roll …. “Do you think you should take some Xanax?”

boxers

KAPOW!

All right, now let me say right now that my husband is wonderfully supportive, always always in my corner, has had to handle a lot of turmoil because of bi-polar disorder. He often – usually – says the right thing or at least doesn’t say the wrong thing.

But, I guess he’d had too much rest or too much sun or too many frozen beverages. Because what he did say was exactly the wrong thing to say.

Gaslighting

Do you know the term gaslighting? I think it actually comes from the movie Gaslight, which was produced in 1944 with Ingrid Berman and Charles Boyer.

The exact definition is: manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

There is even an article on it in Psychology Today: (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201704/7-stages-gaslighting-in-relationship)

Now, my husband does not manipulate me in any way. In no way do I want to make light of the psychological effects of such manipulation. I am not a victim of gaslighting. But, this one episode made me feel like I was losing my sanity.

Feeling Crazy

Let me see if I can explain this better. I often worry that I’m “crazy”. My husband (and others) assure me that since I do worry about it, I’m not. According to him, only truly crazy people think they aren’t. I don’t know about that but it sounds good.

Anyway, when he asked me if I needed Xanax, it was as if he said, “You really are crazy and you need to be medicated.” This forced me to question if I was wrong to believe my kids should read my book, or wrong to want my family to spend time doing things we all enjoy, or wrong to want to eat breakfast with my husband. Was I just wrong? Was I being too emotional and was there no “rational” reason to be hurt and angry?

What made it worse is that the statement was from my husband. Remember, I said earlier that he is always calm with me, always patient, always helping me manage my distress. So, when he said this it felt like he was saying, “Okay, you’re going too far into crazy-land. Take a chill pill.”

Now What?

I spent the entire day in a bad place. Angry one minute. Despairing the next. I tried to stay in a shell as much as I could but there was no way my family didn’t notice that mom was distressed.

I was “over it” the next day – or at least, had put it on a back burner of my heart. But when we returned home, I felt …. I’m struggling to find the exact right term … distant, discordant, distrustful. It was like we existed on two different planets. I was on the “I’m getting mentally healthier planet.” He was on the “my wife’s got some serious problems planet.”

We got along fine. It was that I no longer trusted him to see me correctly. I felt like he saw me through the lens of mental illness. And, while I still struggle and always will, I am much healthier and able to recognize my symptoms and implement management strategies.

Help!

I began to seriously think we needed couple’s counseling. I felt so far away from him. We peacefully coexisted but we weren’t a team or a couple. Not a good place. At one point, I wondered if he’d notice if I moved out.

Thankfully, I had an appointment with my therapist. I told her about the entire scenario and she validated that my feelings are always right. She further reinforced that I did an excellent job using R.A.I.N to handle what in the past would have been debilitating emotions. When I mentioned my husband’s comment about taking a Xanax, this is what she said …

“For most of your marriage, he has lived with someone who didn’t handle overwhelming emotions in a productive way. You have gone through a significant change. You are a different person and he needs to re-learn this new you. Because you have changed, your relationship must also change.”

I likened it to a couple facing the empty nest or a couple with their first child. Life no longer looks the same. My often-unbalanced-self has left the home and we now must re-create our lives with this new, intuitively-grounded-self. Do I live in a perfectly adjusted wise mind? Heck no! But I’m better able to see when I’ve gone wonky and I’m letting emotions control the world. I also am able to sense when I’ve let my boundaries lapse and make the necessary adjustments.

I use R.A.I.N. faster and because of that, I am able to understand where my emotions are really coming from. That allows me to address the real problem.

I have been able to explain all of this to him and we are in a better place. Counseling may still be warranted – and he’s more than willing – we’ll just see.

This episode was very difficult but I think I learned to do better about figuring out what I need and asking for it in a very specific way. I think my husband is doing better not jumping to a “she’s just being too emotional” mindset. After 26-years, we will make it. One day at a time.

A Note To Dave

Dave edits these blogs so I can’t keep any secrets. So, Dave, thank you for all your years of rescuing me from myself. I think I can handle the life vest now! I don’t believe I could have ever faced all of these issues without knowing you are in my corner.

Also, feel free to write your own comments at the bottom of this. Every story has two-three-four sides and I never want you to feel your perspective is discounted.

Dave’s Comments:

So, to be honest, your statement of “Okay, you’re going too far into crazy-land. Take a chill pill.” was probably dead-on. I certainly didn’t “mean it” that way or certainly in any derogatory way, but that’s probably a pretty accurate statement and I certainly understand why you felt that way. I was shocked at the time that it upset you, because I’ve probably said that 20 other times over the past few years and every single time previously you have said something like: “Ya – that’s probably a good idea”.

The other thing from the “other perspective” is this: You stated “I got my feelings hurt in three ways (having breakfast alone every morning, my children not reading my novel, and my family playing without me).” I strongly supported (in my mind at least), the point about the kids not reading your novel. I said that I was very disappointed in that – didn’t defend them and thought it was a crappy thing to do. While I know they didn’t do it to hurt your feelings, it was something they should have done just to be nice if nothing else. I totally get “why” this hurt your feelings – and I feel those were totally “rational” and valid for anyone. The other two I’m not sure I “get”, but they’re still your valid emotions. From my perspective, the breakfast thing is really unfair as you went out of your way proactively to encourage me to sleep in every day since I was so tired and stressed from work. You even went so far as to say things like you enjoy your quiet time in the morning with your coffee – I bought-in that you were truly OK with it. And, I genuinely appreciated it (and still do). I believe (although wouldn’t swear to it) that I told you upfront if you ever wanted company, feel free to wake me up. And, on the ‘playing without you’ or playing the games you brought, my perspective is you simply should have asked to play games– we would have all been very happy to play. And, we did end up playing them and we all had a great time. Yes – it would have been nice for one of us to bring it up or suggest it earlier, but no one was trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. On the other activities, I did ask you virtually every time if you wanted to do it (although I knew you probably didn’t) so not sure what to do there – I know you want us to do stuff like that………. So, while I see two of them from a different vantage point, I do understand your perspective on those two as well – I really do. I just didn’t see them that way at the time. Reflecting on it now, I wonder if one thing hurt your feelings and the other two were mostly kerosene being thrown on the fire? NOT saying they didn’t hurt your feelings – just wondering if you could have handled them OK if the reading piece didn’t happen……

I love you – and I love your progress – and agree it’s a good thing for me to re-evaluate my going-in “take” when I see you being “too emotional” from my where I sit. JYou are a different person (as am I). And, yes – we’ll make definitely make it. We both need to tweak and adjust as we navigate the journey ahead, and that’s part of the joy of the journey. I look forward to sharing it with you.

Resource:

Tara Brach has many excellent resources. Use this link for an excellent article specifically on RAIN: https://www.tarabrach.com/articles-interviews/rain-workingwithdifficulties/

She also has several YouTube videos on this topic. Simply search: Tara Brach RAIN

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ

I am not a therapist. I have no relevant diploma. I have no fancy letters behind my name. I am a sufferer with years of therapy. I am an expert only in the sense that I am enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks. But hard knocks are an excellent teacher. If you suffer, I highly recommend you find a professional to help you and develop a personalized treatment plan. This blog is MY experience and while I pray it’s helpful, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat anyone for anything. (Well, I am a great math teacher—especially fractions!).

Last week, I wrote about hurt feelings turning to anger while I sat in a paradise. I walked through the R.A.I.N process and stopped when I got to I[nvestigate]. In order to investigate, I had to ask myself: What am I believing about myself? How is this situation feeding my story? That sounds easy but is in fact quite painful.

The caveat, however, is that I’m supposed to ask those questions “with kindness.” I’m not supposed to beat myself up or get on a negativity train. Hmmm, now that’s more challenging.

Allow me to quote Tara Brach from Working With Difficulties: The Blessings of RAIN (https://www.tarabrach.com/articles-interviews/rain-workingwithdifficulties/)

“We need to offer a gentle welcome to whatever surfaces. This is why I use the phrase “Investigate with kindness.” Without this heart energy, investigation cannot penetrate; there is not enough safety and openness for real contact.

Imagine that your child comes home in tears after being bullied at school. In order to find out what happened and how your child is feeling, you have to offer a kind, receptive, gentle attention. Bringing that same kindness to your inner life makes inquiry, and ultimately healing, possible.”

Let’s give this a try:

I[nvestigate] with Kindness:

Immediately, when I asked myself “what I’m believing”, my brain/heart/soul shot these exact words (these were rapid fire thoughts):

  • “You’re a terrible mother. Why would your kids bother with reading your book?”
  • “Or maybe they did read it and it sucked so bad, they are pretending they didn’t read it because that’s easier.”
  • “Give up writing. Give up everything. Just hide in the house because every time you try, you disappoint or are disappointed.” (note: disappoint is a trigger word for me)
  • “You depend on Dave too much. Don’t be a wimp. If you want the kids to read the book, then say so.”
  • “Dave’s not having breakfast with you because you are so high maintenance that he needs a vacation from you too.”
  • “Everybody would have more fun if I wasn’t here. I wish I could go home.”
  • After this, I went to “proving” all of this true by remembering the times I was a terrible mother and the times I was high maintenance and other times I let people down.

Brutal. Can you tell me how to handle those comments with “kindness”? I’ve not yet mastered that aspect of R.A.I.N.

I took several sips of coffee, woofed down an ooey-gooey roll. I swallowed past lumps in my throat and forced myself to pretend my child had come to me with this scenario and these horrible thoughts. What would I say?

First, I acknowledged that emotions are just that – emotions. They are not right or wrong, good or bad. Negative emotions are the soul’s way of alerting us to investigate, step back and open up. I asked my “child” if it was hurt feelings or true anger. It was easy to realize the problem was simply hurt feelings. I also admitted to jealousy – the rest of my family is athletic and likes paddle-boarding or rock climbing or white water rafting. I don’t enjoy these so I often feel left out. My emotional brain labels this as “ostracized.”

I asked my child-self: “What is the best way for you to handle this? Can you label what you need and then ask for it?”

Surprisingly, that was simple too. I needed my husband to spend more time with me on this trip. I wanted my desires to be a priority every now and then. (Note: I had brought games to play at the beach and four days later we had not opened them.) I wanted my family to do something I liked even if for just a little while.

Uh oh – my emotional brain was triggered and spouted this: “If you have to force them to play games with you, then they are doing it out of obligation and not because they want to. That will be worse. You’ll know they don’t want to be with you and that you forced them. Maybe it’s better to just be ignored.” ---- A blog for another day ---

Anyway, I shut that down to deal with later. I resolved that when Dave finally came to breakfast, I’d tell him how I felt.

He arrived and unfortunately I was still in turmoil (although RAIN was helping) … he saw my distress and asked what was wrong. I wanted to be calm, to just tell him what I needed. I think I started out all right but then emotions welled and I was harsh and teary. UGH.

You will not believe what he said to me … that will be next week’s topic … but let me just say that it’s been six weeks and we, as a couple, are still not quite back to normal.

N[on-Identification]

Let’s move on to N in RAIN. “N” is ‘non-identification’. Again, let me quote Ms. Brach because she’s much more concise than me:

Non-identification means that your sense of who you are is not fused with or defined by any limited set of emotions, sensations or stories….there’s nothing to do for this last part of RAIN—realization arises spontaneously, on its own. We simply rest in natural awareness.

What did I realize? Did R.A.I.N work for me in this scenario?

I realized that I can relax simply by anchoring myself in exactly what is. Right now, I am sitting on a hard chair, my shoulder muscles are screaming, it’s raining and the cat is taking a bath on the table (which I hate). These are truths. There is no emotion associated with what is. Emotion only arises when I seek to judge what is. I do believe that RAIN helped me calm and reflect.

I also think that if I’d had a few more minutes to ruminate and handle myself more gently, I would have been able to talk to my husband with a calm request for what I needed in that moment. Instead, he arrived, said the wrong thing and I went backwards.

I’ve used RAIN many times – as a matter of fact, I use “R[ecognize] Reality” and “A[llow] Reality” as my go-to calming strategies. It works every time. When I move to investigate, I struggle to be gentle. I often end up beating myself to death, validating my “crazy” and scheduling a therapy session.

In the next post, I’ll tell you what my well-meaning husband said that negated all the R.A.I.N. but did not bring the sunshine!

Resource:

Tara Brach has many excellent resources. Use this link for an excellent article specifically on RAIN: https://www.tarabrach.com/articles-interviews/rain-workingwithdifficulties/

She also has several YouTube videos on this topic. Simply search: Tara Brach Rain

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ

I am not a therapist. I have no relevant diploma. I have no fancy letters behind my name. I am a sufferer with years of therapy. I am an expert only in the sense that I am enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks. But hard knocks are an excellent teacher. If you suffer, I highly recommend you find a professional to help you and develop a personalized treatment plan. This blog is MY experience and while I pray it’s helpful, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat anyone for anything. (Well, I am a great math teacher—especially fractions! J).

My Goal for Myself and This Blog

Over the last month, I’ve been considering what I want to accomplish with this blog. Over the last two years, I’ve tried to show what life is like inside a bi-polar mind – the good and the bad. When I embarked on that writing plan, I had several goals in mind: a) show people they are not alone in their internal pain and struggles, b) help people put words to their struggle, c) share new insights into coping strategies, d) help people better understand the struggles of those they love. Based on feedback, I’ve at least partially achieved these goals.

But – and this is a big but – if I can share not only my struggle AND my process for working through the pain AND how I use my ‘problems’ to meet my life goals then so much the better. I still struggle – daily – with excess emotional energy (my term) and when I let this energy take over, I lose sight of myself and often make bad, painful, hurtful choices for myself and others. My goal for myself is to continue to intentionally seek balance between ACCEPTANCE and TRANSFORMATION. My goal for this blog is to help anyone who also needs or wants this balance.

A Few Technical Things

The next few paragraphs may be boring … but I think they are necessary as an explanation for how this blog will change and hopefully become more useful to all of us.

Do you know what the DSM-5 is? It’s the manual of “mental disorders” physicians use to designate the proper diagnoses for you and me. Can you guess how many pages are in the DSM-5? Seriously, jot down a guess.

The copy I most recently held has 525 pages … and the print was so small I had to find my strongest reading glasses. That’s 525 pages of labels. Just the eating disorder section has 10 different codes and a myriad of subcodes.

The table of contents is 9 pages. Take a look at the table of contents – it’s fascinating: https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/.../DSM/APA_DSM-5-Contents.pdf.

Once the proper (hopefully) diagnoses are assigned, the provider moves to the ICD-10 code book. This huge book assigns each diagnosis an alpha-numeric code. It is primarily used for insurance reimbursement.1

For example, I have two DSM-5 labels and these have associated ICD-10 alpha-numerical codes:

  • Bipolar II is F.31.81
  • Eating Disorder, unspecified is F50.9

If there are 525 pages of diagnosis options, then how many treatment options must exist? I suppose it’s unlimited. So far, in my various treatment settings, I have been exposed to: ACT, DBT, CBT, EMDR, RAIN, EFT. That’s just the treatment modalities that use an acronym. Alphabet Soup. I’ve also learned about schema theory, Jungian theory – etc. etc. etc.

No Treatment Plan is Perfect

What I’ve discovered is that NO MODEL is the answer to all problems. YET EVERY MODEL has something of value to offer. Thankfully, I have been able to pull nuggets from each treatment modality to put in my toolbox. But, over the last year or so, I’ve forgotten about these tools, these techniques, these helpful nuggets. It’s not that I’m not using any skills – I have to actively use skills in order to have quality relationships with myself and with others.

But, I have gotten into a rut and therefore my coping mechanisms have become less effective, less interesting. In a word: boring! Therefore, I’m going to revisit all the wonderful – helpful – healing techniques my great therapists have taught me. I’m going to crack open the pages and pages of notes. I’m going to re-read the books on my suggested reading lists.

Read or Transform?

Reading about a strategy is educational – but not transformational. My life goal – and one of my most important values – is to attempt to see myself honestly and ACCEPT all that I am. It doesn’t stop there. I also seek to improve my life and my relationships. I strive to TRANSFORM.

The Upcoming Journey

I’m hoping you’ll come along with me on this re-discovery journey to healthy strategies. Each week, I’ll continue to write about a specific painful struggle I’m facing. But I’ll also present a strategy to implement. It is my hope that these strategies will help me reduce suffering and direct me to a positive outcome. Maybe the strategy will work – maybe it won’t. Either way, I’m meeting my goal to hold all that I am with tenderness.

Suggested Reading

I have so many books that therapists have recommended. Some of these are now sitting in front of me and I am committed to re-reading them and using the author’s expertise. I’ve included that list below2. My shelves are full but I’ve selected these to get started:

These resources were not chosen at random. They are on my shelf only because a professional recommended it to me.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ

I am not a therapist. I have no relevant diploma. I have no fancy letters behind my name. I am a sufferer with years of therapy. I am an expert only in the sense that I am enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks. But hard knocks are an excellent teacher. If you suffer, I highly recommend you find a professional to help you and develop a personalized treatment plan. This blog is MY experience and while I pray it’s helpful, I am not qualified to diagnose or treat anyone for anything. (Well, I am a great math teacher—especially fractions! J).

NOTES

1 The DSM-5 and the ICD-10 system are used for insurance reimbursement. This, of course, assumes you have insurance coverage. We all know that insurance coverage for mental health issues in the US is either wholly inadequate or non-existent. That is a topic for another day. Whether you have insurance or not, your provider will use the DSM-5 and ICD-10 system for your records.

2 There is also a tab on my website. I will keep this tab updated with any resource I utilize.

All of my novels, at least so far, have an element of mental illness within a character. Decide to Hope is the most autobiographical in that I struggle in many ways exactly as the female protagonist.
- J.C.
June Converse with purple hair
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....
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