Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Working with people who struggle with eating disorders can be a challenging task. This story is about a young man who I was helping, mentoring, and adding life skills along the way. He gave this writer permission to share a glimpse of his world with other teenagers who may be suffering from a eating disorder and anxiety. I met him through a referral from a church youth group pastor. The first day I went to his house and visited with his parents. As I was sitting down at the table, I remember seeing a white, iron scale that was in the middle of the table. Then I recall, several note cards with dates and pencil sketched numbers. The young man came into kitchen where we were meeting. He was cold, defiant, and told me, "to get the fuck out of here". I looked at his parents, who were both scrambling for words, and trying to apologize as they were talking over each other. The young man then abruptly sat down at the table. I looked at him, he gave me the deep, dark, stare. Staying in my health, I decided to ask about the elephant in the room, the scale. He then jumped up, and pointed to his stomach, and lifted his shirt up. I could visibly see his pants were almost falling off, and he was frail. At this point, his mother was crying, his father was yelling something, I to this date can't remember the exact details. I then asked if I could open the deck screen door, and gently picked up the scale, and launched it to the back yard. (I honestly did not realize I threw it that far) The teen then started to laugh, and his mother started to laugh. The father was looking like who is this mental health professional in my house- did I get the wrong guy? Scales are only measuring tools for one's weight, right? We need to utilize this tool when we are in a hospital, clinic, or another helping setting. I decided not to make the negative energy about the scale, and the fact that this teen was not eating, and in desperate stages of hospital care- which can be a very good thing, if the client was motivated. The problem, he was not at this positive energy transition in his life. Over the next three weeks, I gleaned first hand how this teen was bullied beyond belief growing up. It was the fifth session that we had a break through, no I did not throw another scale out the back yard! We began to look at the body as a blank CD, and decided we would use his body, and make up songs that he believed were flaws on his body-hence he did not want to eat- but more importantly wanted to loose weight, because of the bullying. Five songs were created, and then the next session, two more songs, or actually lyrics. The next month, he decided to take a music class at the high school. We had to finagle our way into the class, but the school was willing to give him a opportunity. I think it may have helped that I agreed to give a talk to their health class to on addiction education! Over the next few weeks, the family began to see a different kid. I was very eager to see if he was gaining weight, it looked like he was eating again, and he did not purge to my knowledge. He turned 17 last month. I took him to our favorite spot to get milk shakes and play cards. Then something amazing happened. We walked through the mall, and I could see him drift off to Macys. The next thing I know, he wanted to look in the mirror at HIMSELF while trying on a shirt. I grabbed that shirt out of his hand so quickly he said, paid for it right there. He smiled, I was tearing up, but holding it in. Then as we walked out, there was a scale section. "Watch this he said," got up, on, 138 pounds he murmured. I'm going in my own thoughts, this is good right. Gained 9 pounds. Self-Balance-Higher Power-Fun
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Our college mentoring program is one that allows the family to take part in when visiting a prospective college with the future college student. Last week, this writer had the opportunity to head to the mountains of Georgia and visit a beautiful college. Over the last few years I have visited thirty plus colleges with families and my clients all over the USA. Watching a teenager experience what the college tour is all about is amazing. Watching her mom, watch her daughter experience the college visit, is mesmerizing. Parents work very hard to mentor, coach, parent and help provide the vision for their child to go to college. In our program, we assist the family, and help navigate the prospective college student with life skills to achieve a positive educational platform that makes it possible to go to college. As we are walking with the tour group with other students and their families I begin to notice a focus with this teenager. She appears attentive, eager, excited and driven. Then I look back at her mom, and I see the same passion in her. Each building we tour, each panoramic view there seems to be positive energy cloud following us, or a higher power. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
It was a balmy Saturday, in January across the mighty Mississippi river in Wisconsin. A family session was about to begin. I began to take out my yellow memo pad (many of my teenage clients have jokes about this) and start our session. I begin to start with our goal progress when my teenage client throws, yes throws a old, leather, photo album on to my lap. Her mother started laughing, and I could here her brother in the background going, "oh no not this...". Well, this writer is a sucker for pictures as many of you know reading this positive energy blog. I put my trusty, yellow memo pad down and begin to turn the pages. At that second, literally, I was surrounded by two teenagers on each side of me on the couch, a cat on my shoulder, and their mother at our feet on the carpet helping me turn the photo pages slowly, making sure that their was a story for each photo. Now, how long do you thing this lasted? Two hours later we turned the last page of photos. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
Monday, October 3, 2016
Each client is different. Each client is going through something that many of us are not privy to in our life. We all make mistakes, but some mistakes appear to be harder then others. This story begins with a older man who had everything. He was rich, high-profile job, and a family that appeared to be something that many of us aspired to be. Our program is 100% confidential. As I would love to share all of our stories, (I think peoples challenges can only help others) we respect our client's and referred patients wishes. In this case, I am able to share a glimpse of what this particular client is going through. Currently he is awaiting sentencing. This is his first experience in custody and jail. Never has he been arrested for anything in his entire life. His wife is seeking a divorce. The phone rang, as it usually does at this particular time. But this time was different. It was not my client, but a rough, sounding woman voice, who identified herself as a case manager at the jail where he was at. I listened to the woman, and then the phone was given to my client. He was quiet, and afraid, I sensed. I found out he was facing another possible charge. I asked him to thank the case manager for calling me, and go back to the day room and call me right there. He complied with my request, and called. He was in a fight two months ago, which landed him in the hole, and now was feeling helpless, and I could tell ideation was crossing his thoughts. He then shared with me, that he did have the opportunity to gamble last week, but did not. I automatically, made this the premise of our quick conversation. I could tell, he was feeling positive about this choice. We talked more about how he was able to control his urge to gamble and he thought about the ramifications if he got caught gambling inside of the jail. The next comment from the phone gave this writer hope that he indeed was trying to make positive choices. "I wrote a letter to my wife and apologized". I listened more to his words. Our time was coming to an end, as the voice recorder was letting us know our phone time was up. Stay in your health, stay in the moment. Self-Balance-Higher Power-Fun
The body can be a wonderful thing. I think we all agree that we want to take care of our body and keep our self fit, right? This next story comes from a 30 year old woman who is struggling with her body. I met her, (ok to share) last fall where she reached out over the phone. We talked for about hour, and she was interested in gleaning more information about our program. Her husband asked her to seek more support after her recent stay in the hospital. She reports not liking her body since high school, and developed a eating disorder in college. Five years ago she entered herself into a special mind/body program to address her eating disorder. In her words, she was not ready to accept the program and checked herself out after two weeks. Since then, she was not going to any support group, but did have a weekly therapist visit. I began to skype with her weekly, which lead to a in person 1:1. We ended up talking for a long time. She was in a career that made her body visible each day. A beautiful woman, but damaged from the inside. Six months went by, and she was starting to make some progress. Last month something changed. I met her at the lake where we begin our reflection walk, and start our session. She was dressed in her normal work out gear, but her face was different. I also noticed she was carrying something in her hand, that from a distance looked like cookies! I got closer, and noticed no make-up, and I could smell the freshly baked cookies. At first, I wondered if she was impaired, (to this day we both laugh over this) but she was not, and was very eager to see my expression. We walked over to the bench, and she was waiting for me to say something. I looked at her, and eating a cookie, and she looked at me eating her cookie. I think we both laughed at the same time! We continued on our reflection walk, and our session. As we walked back to the cars, she said, "Image is not everything". Stay in your health, stay in the moment. Self-Balance-Higher Power-Fun
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Sunday was a day of age. This writer feels his age daily, but in this case, I was able to experience what it would it be like to be over 60 on a bike going 20 miles or turning the clock back, and being early 20's playing racquetball, running around jumping off walls, and being able to move like a deer. Observing a client bike at the age of 60 and watching 20 year olds play racquetball is how I make the best of my current age. The truth is I am not 60 or 20, but fortunate to enjoy exercise sessions with others. You do not need a addiction to exercise. Yes, if you are working through a addiction of any kind, exercise is the ticket. Our program is based on self as many of you understand. Addiction is the substitute satisfaction of an unmet need, right? Why not substitute exercise with that unmet need, and put positive energy back into yourself? Over the years, when we were out of our health, gambling, self-medicating, purging, unhealthy sexual behavior and stuck in that addiction cycle we did not exercise. The negative energy consumed us. Our fun was gone, life was out of balance. When we look in the mirror, our self-esteem was negative. Sunday I was able to transform my thoughts on what it would be like to be 60. Would I be able to go 20 miles? The answer a resounding, hell ya! Why you ask? Because I am in the moment, balanced, working on self every day and having healthy fun. It's never too late to work on self. Addiction or not. Playing racquetball with two kids in their early 20's. Boy did that bring back memories when I was 20 doing the same thing they were. Age is what you make it. You are in control of your thoughts and can do anything you put your mind to. The healthy mindset is what self can control. Exercise is something that all of you can experience. Start a exercise routine today, and stay consistent with your program. Don't take short-cuts, remember that is how the negative energy starts up again. Find a sport or activity where you can sweat and feel good about self. Trust me, the urges and cravings quickly diminish when you are working out and in control of your thoughts. Self becomes stronger mentally then physically. I am still sore from that 20 mile bike ride, and aching ankles from racquetball. Remember I'm on one wheel when playing any sport now! Stay in your health, stay in the moment. Self-Balance-Higher Power-Fun
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Watching a client come into her own is a reward with in itself! This particular client (addiction behavior) would have panic attacks when she talked in front of a group or had a school project with talking. This client and I would role play talking in front of each other, working on remaining calm, and collective. I think we had over 30 session's targeted on how to deliver a speech or a presentation while controlling our nervous thoughts. The hard work paid off! This young lady, got up and spoke to her class peers citing a poem for 10 minuets. She received a A+ for her poem. Then, she was asked to present the same poem to a much larger audience at a middle school. She accepted the challenge and delivered a beautiful, well spoken, poem. This writer had the opportunity to watch her. She was amazing. Her parents could not believe what they were seeing. They were not surprised in how she created this poem, but she did it clean, no self-medicating behavior needed. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.