F Pick up the Pieces! Rebuild! Thrive! with PTSD / Bipolar Disorder / Depression

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

'Fuzzy thinking' in depression, bipolar disorder: New research finds effect is real


Bipolar Disorder News -- ScienceDaily


'Fuzzy thinking' in depression, bipolar disorder: New research finds effect is real

People with depression or bipolar disorder often feel their thinking ability has gotten “fuzzy”, or less sharp than before their symptoms began. Now, researchers have shown in a large study that effect is indeed real – and rooted in brain activity differences that show up on advanced brain scans.



























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Your Best Day Every Day: The Potential of Mindfulness


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


Your Best Day Every Day: The Potential of Mindfulness

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Imagine waking up to the best day of your life -- every day. No exception. That's the promise of ‪‎mindfulness‬.



Don't believe me?



Did you know the Surgeon General of the United States meditates daily and considers mindfulness practice one of his four rules for health?





I'm focusing on my emotional and mental well-being. For me, an important part of that is the meditation practice that I do every morning. It's a chance for me to center myself, a chance for me to remember who I want to be every day.

-- Vivek Murthy, 19th Surgeon General of the United States



Did you know that the Chairman and CEO of Aetna, a Fortune 100 company with revenues of48 billion dollars last year, says meditation has allowed him to cope with daily excruciating pain in his arm after a 2004 ski accident?



I don't take any drugs or meds for it. I just deal with it in a different way. Being present in the moment. Understanding that pain is part of my journey ... Recovery is a state of mind. It's not just a physical practice. If you get your mind in the right place, you can almost doing anything.

-- Mark Bertolini, CEO Aetna, on CBS Good Morning



Did you know that mindful focus on present awareness also heightens our sense of wonder and gratefulness? That's the conclusion of Jon Kabat-Zinn the founder of the modern, secular mindfulness movement and of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction training, which is offered at 700 hospitals worldwide:



The only time that any of us have to grow or change or feel anything or learn anything is in the present moment... If you hope to grow and strengthen wisdom and bring healing into your life, you have to at some point come to the realization that this moment is precious. And not only precious, but it's wonderful... It seems like in America there's really only one day a year that you're supposed to stop and be grateful for what it is that you actually have. The other 364 days you run around desperately trying to get more of what you don't have and push away what you don't want. What I'm suggesting is that we reverse that and start to really tune into the miraculous qualities of being alive. And instead of being on automatic pilot, see what would start to kindle the flame of being fully alive.

-- Jon Kabat-Zinn, on Bill Moyers documentary "Healing and the Mind"



And what is mindfulness exactly?



The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts, which Kabat-Zinn co-founded, describes it as: "The intention to pay attention to each and every moment of our life, non-judgmentally."



A key word there is "intention." You see, mindfulness isn't about perfection or reaching some artificial standard. It starts -- and continues- - with the simple daily decision that you want to become aware of what's really going on in you and in your life. Once you're firm in that intention, you just need to make an authentic effort to wake up to what is. That's the practice, and it might be easier than you think. Some people do 45 minutes a day. Some do 10 minutes. But the duration is far less important than doing it regularly.



Did you know mindfulness can free us from fear and anxiety? Professor Mark Williams is one of the co-founders of Mindful-Based Cognitive Theory which has been proven to help people protect against the recurrence of depression. Prof. Williams says we often live our lives based on inference, perceiving what we expect rather than sensing what is.





Our moment to moment attention is governed by guesses of what's likely to happen - which we just confirm... When we're under stress and we are rushing around, we're actually trying to avoid something even though we think we are trying to get things done.... Mindfulness training is about waking up to the actual life we live. It's not trying to get somewhere based on fear. It's a way of discerning what our deepest values are and living in line with those values.

-- Professor Mark Williams, University of Oxford.





Did you know mindfulness also leads to a sense of abundance in your life and to giving ? (And did you know giving is the source of all good things? I think so.)



The source of all abundance is not outside you. It is part of who you are. However, start by acknowledging and recognizing abundance without. See the fullness of life all around you. The warmth of the sun on your skin, the display of magnificent flowers outside a florist's shop, biting into a succulent fruit, or getting soaked in an abundance of water falling from the sky. The fullness of life is there at every step. The acknowledgement of that abundance that is all around you awakens the dormant abundance within. Then let it flow out. When you smile at a stranger, there is already a minute outflow of energy. You become a giver.



Ask yourself often: What can I give here; how can I be of service to this person, this situation?

-- Eckart Tolle





Mindfulness has the potential to help everyone. It won't, of course. Not everyone will take the opportunity.



But anyone can.



Here's the deal. Most mindfulness practice starts with awareness of the breath. Which means no one living is excluded from its benefits. If you can breathe, you can find equanimity. If you can breathe, you can heal yourself. If you can breathe, you can change your life.



Consider doing this 60 second exercise. Take three breaths. Inhale and say "I breathe in healing." Exhale and say, "I breathe out gratefulness." Or just say "healing" on the in-breath and "thank you" on the out-breath.



Then wait. Say nothing. Just listen and feel. What was it like? If you do this three days in a row I bet you'll start to walk with a lighter step. The more you do it, (and if you get trained with a real teacher, not just an enthusiast like me), the better you will feel. Why? Because we choose our lives through how we pay attention. Health, healing and well-being all depend on our awareness.



So don't dilly-dally. Start the best day of your life today.



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Thank You for Breaking My Heart


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


Thank You for Breaking My Heart

Dear ___________ ,



Thank you.



For tearing me apart. For making me question myself, in that month that I lost my faith and spent searching for the answers at the bottom of every liquor bottle. Right when I thought I had my recovery handled, you rearranged my life and were a gift.



Thank you for not believing in me, and for that one time you verbally ripped my heart to shreds on 8th Avenue, in protection of your self.



I see you. I've always seen you. From our first date, when I got so dizzy from déjà vu, and we talked about how we had to have known each other in a past life. To finding out that we had the same birthday. There are no coincidences.



I've always seen you. I am you. You can't run from what you are.



That never stopped you from running. From your heart and from your emotions, from every ounce of truth that I laid out in front of you. From the best sex of your life, ever. Remember that one night? My dirty talk spoke to parts of you that had never been in dialogue before, but shortly after, you pretended not to hear.



When you stopped listening, you never cared that it was me you were hurting because you were hurting so much too. All that pain that you carry around like a shield, in constant battle, repelling your own worth.



I almost hit your Achilles heal. We almost struck a bullseye together. We could've had it all.



If you ever slow down enough to think of me, I hope you'll accept how much I cared. I heard every word you said, and I understood your pain. I understood you.



I'm not sure you'll ever understand why, deep down, you loved me so much too. So instantaneously. Why we were electric, cosmic, short-lived yet legendary.



But I'm done looking for those answers. I'm done looking for you, hoping that I'll run into you one more time at the gym, or on the street, as we always did.



This is to let you know that I've stopped looking. Stopped searching. Because I found what I needed to find: myself. I found a part of you in me, but it doesn't hurt any longer.



The love I had for you was immediate, and it changed my life. I thank you for that. It made me understand what real, unconditional love was, because I never once asked for anything in return.



Sure, I hoped. I hoped you would feel a sliver of what I felt when I looked at you. When we would have those hours-long staring wars, in joyful silence.



Deep down, I know you did. You felt it too.



Mesmerized. I saw Creation in your eyes, and the memory of your laugh will always bring a smile to all of my senses. You are breathtaking. Beyond words beautiful.



One year later, I choose to say goodbye. My heart kisses your heart in hope that it can brave any storm. That you'll receive my peace is my last desire, of thousands, for you. I now retire, though I know that the love that has traveled between our souls life after reincarnated life remains, and so does my gratitude.



My wish for you is that this life gives you all that you can possibly dream of, and that when the next man who comes by tries to love you as much as I love you, you let him. Just let him. It might change your life, just as you've changed mine.



Garrett



Self-help writer, spiritual coach, and healer, Garrett Paknis is the creator of JustEnlightenment.com, where he helps readers find their freedom and live a life full of purpose. He lives in downtown Manhattan, New York City. You can download his free eBook and schedule an intuitive coaching session here.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Verbal therapy could block consolidation of fear memories in trauma victims


Anxiety News -- ScienceDaily


Verbal therapy could block consolidation of fear memories in trauma victims

A verbal 'updating' technique aimed at blocking the consolidation of traumatic memories could protect against the long-term psychological and physiological effects of trauma, according to new research.



























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No room to think: Depressive thoughts may have a negative effect on working memory


Anger Management News -- ScienceDaily


No room to think: Depressive thoughts may have a negative effect on working memory

A new study illustrates the link between reduced working memory capacity and dysphoria, a significant and prolonged depressed mood related to clinical depression. Building on the knowledge that dysphoric individuals (DIs) and clinically depressed people maintain their attention on 'mood-congruent' information longer than people without depressed mood, researchers carried out three studies to test both working memory and processing speed.



























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Reach Your Highest Potential By Checking Your Ego At the Door


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


Reach Your Highest Potential By Checking Your Ego At the Door

Our world is a projection of us. Often times, we get what we give, which is why it is so important for us to remain focused on giving our best each and every day.



But when the ego gets involved, things can get messy and derail those with even the best intentions. Why? Because the ego operates out of personal motive. Unlike confidence -- which involves having faith in your abilities to handle whatever comes your way -- the ego primarily operates out of one's own wants and needs. It seeks approval, appreciation and adoration at all costs and often results in being incapable of comprehending anyone else's perspective. The ego assigns motive, is not open to feedback and sees insult where there isn't any. All in all, the ego is very ill behaved.



As you might imagine, this path won't take us very far in life. You see, the primary difference between confidence and the ego is that confidence has the ability to move us forward, while the ego will only hold us back. The ego is what's behind our tendency to be defensive and avoid self-reflection. Unfortunately, this kind of mindset stunts personal growth and keeps us from fully learning from the lesson or situation at hand. If we want to grow, we must silence the ego and stop allowing it to take over. The goal isn't necessarily to kill it, but to dilute it in an effort to move forward and be content with questioning it when necessary.



Now, I know what you're thinking -- this is easier said than done. It certainly can be. Releasing instead of feeding the ego will be painful at first. But a bad day for the ego is a great day for the soul and self-growth, so don't be afraid to go there. Here's how we can begin to move past it to reach our fullest potential and live happy:



1. Depersonalize

If you are spending precious time and energy trying to get others to believe you are right, they are wrong or that you should be appreciated more than you are then you've definitely personalized your situation. Focus on what you can do to move forward and add value. Focus on earning respect and appreciation for the right reasons. Take the higher ground, but remain humble in the process. If you point that action out to others, the ego has once again taken over and you lose -- so watch your step and remain focused on the task at hand.



2. Get Neutral and Focus on Next Steps

Put an end to defensive responses or reactions. Defense is, after all, the first act of war. If you find yourself in this position, stop defending. Find a place of neutrality and allow yourself to calm down so that you are in a better position to think clearly and make good decisions. Greet change with a simple "good to know", avoid the argument with the reality of the situation and move onward.



3. Avoid Knee-Jerk Criticism

When someone makes a decision or suggestion that you don't necessarily agree with, search for a common ground instead of immediately pointing out all the reasons why their plan or idea is "wrong". Resistance wastes time and energy that could, instead, be spent on validating and contributing to the effort rather than attempting to block it for self-serving reasons. Consider a plan that could work for the group and even prove more beneficial instead of just being right.



4. Learn and Grow from Feedback

At one point or another, we all receive feedback about ourselves from friends, family or co-workers that isn't necessarily positive. And yes, it can be hard to hear at times. However, we must remember that while the feedback alone won't hold us back, an unwillingness to absorb or act on it does. Be open to hearing the viewpoints of others as well as the possibility that you are not perfect. You might just learn and improve upon yourself in the process.



5. Lead by Example

Wondering where to begin or who to work on? Start with yourself! That's right, you go first. Do your part and do it unconditionally. Often times, that which is missing is what we are not providing. Step up, do the work and the rest will fall into place.



So the next time you find yourself getting defensive or assigning motive to someone's actions or decisions, know that the ego is once again at play. Move past it by recognizing it early and consciously changing your mindset. Be mindful of its limiting beliefs and false sense of reality and release it so you can move forward and see your circumstances for what they really are. Once you've freed your mind and rid yourself of egocentric thoughts, your world will become much clearer and the possibilities will be endless.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




























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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gay, lesbian job seekers face discrimination


Relationships News -- ScienceDaily


Gay, lesbian job seekers face discrimination

Discrimination of gay and lesbian job seekers is commonplace within both private firms and the public sector in the UK, new research finds.



























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Depression, insomnia are strongest risk factors for frequent nightmares


Anxiety News -- ScienceDaily


Depression, insomnia are strongest risk factors for frequent nightmares

Symptoms of depression and insomnia are the strongest predictors of having frequent nightmares, a new study concludes. "Our study shows a clear connection between well-being and nightmares," reports the lead author.



























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How to Let Go of Your Fears in Five Steps


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


How to Let Go of Your Fears in Five Steps

Why is it so difficult to let go of our fears? How much easier life would be if we dared to go ahead and we would not worry about everything. You should let go of your fears, not stick to them. It is difficult to know what belongs to you, as you often do not even realize that you have adopted something, and at the same time you consider things as your reality which have nothing to do with reality. Notice what does not belong to you, that is holding you back and eliminate it from your life; do not let it slow you down. The following tasks help me each and every time I would like to conquer my fears.



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1. Write down your fears



If you have the courage to write them down, you are halfway there. Lot of fears are eating us from the inside, and we are so used to them that we don't even realize they exist. They are hidden in our words and in our beliefs. We have made them part of our lives, but remember: you shouldn't stick to your fears, you should let them go.



2. Go into details



Write down the main areas of your life and make lists of your blockages. This task will help you dig even deeper into your fears. I know, you still say that this task is not for you, but if you follow the five steps, you will soon realize it is only your ego tricking you. From your job to you career and to your relationships, take a look at the things that might hold you back. Think of the reasons why you are not taking certain steps.



Don't forget:
your circumstances keep changing all the time, don't camp in the past. Just because something could not happen last year, it might happen this year.







3. Analyze



Now that you have a list of your fears, deal with them one by one. Why are you afraid of it? Because if you don't succeed, it's a failure? Why are you afraid of failure? What kind of image do you have of failure? How were you treated in the past when you failed?



The attitude and the experience you associate with the specific events are important. If in your case it is negative, you only have to change that. The following stories will help you with that.



I know people who have been competing a lot since they were kids, and when they didn't win, their parents praised them anyhow and told them that it was also a part of the journey. If you want to be very good, you have to make a lot of mistakes; it is only the cowards that don't try. It is a myth that you are good only if you do everything perfectly. I think it works this way: you accept that you make mistakes, but you learn, because you WANT to grow.



The second story: a boy told me once that when he accidentally broke a glass as a child, his mother would start to scream her lungs out and say "how clumsy you are, son!" All through his childhood, this boy convinced himself that he is clumsy, because his mother said so, and he has been afraid he might break a glass ever since. Is it a realistic fear? No. Nevertheless, he hates eating out, since he is afraid it will happen again. I asked him to talk about this with his mother. It turned out that her mother simply got a heart attack every time, because when she was a child a wall collapsed behind her back, and since then if anything breaks around her, her reaction is like that. It also turned out that she was also worried that her son might get hurt.

You see how much depends on whether you communicate with others in a clear way? But for this, you need to know your fears and to know how the events of your past influence the present.







4. Change your viewpoint



Face them! Now that you have elaborated on the exact causes of your fears, think about it: is it a realistic fear? What will happen if you fail? Nothing - but if you don't even try, you will think about it for the rest of your life, WHAT IF? I wouldn't wish this kind of life on anyone. Once your attitude is changed, here comes the next step: you should face your fear.



E.g. "I'm afraid I won't be enough."

- Why do you think so?

E.g. "My mother always told me no-one would want me," "My ex-partner told me I would never find anyone better than him," etc.

- Is my fear real? What do I think?



Write down your opinion honestly, why you think you are not enough. If you always write "I'm unlucky in this", "every man is an asshole", "I'll be fooled again, no matter what" and the like, than look a bit further: what happens if you don't succeed the first or second time? Nothing. Is every man really an asshole? Surely not. If you know only one who isn't, you should hope that there are more. This can't be your attitude, since you will get what is in your head. And finally: why would you be fooled again? Just because you failed an exam once, you won't fail again. Just because you got lost in a city once, you won't necessarily get lost again. Think about it. We always learn and grow.



Why isn't your attitude like this: the more times you are fooled and the more negative experience you have, the easier it will be in the long run to see who can stay and who should go. After a while you will be able to spot the people you have nothing to do with you in no time, and you will be able to save many weeks, months, years and great disappointments. Let things happen the way they are supposed to happen, and don't rule out the possibility that something might turn out good at the end of the day. I know it is difficult to believe that you deserve good things, but it is worth a try.



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5. Always have a plan B





A Plan B will calm you down. It will take the pressure off of you, and FINALLY you can relax. What if, for example, you never find Mr. Right or you don't have anyone for years? That isn't a tragedy either. I get plenty of letters from readers saying they are alone, and don't even have the chance to get to know people, but they would like to be with someone. What if you get to know and love yourself first? What if you discover and polish your skills? If you end up alone, make use of the valuable time you have received - let me add, not by coincidence. At times like this you can move on faster than when you have someone on your side. Shape your attitude, one without desperation. Accept the situation you are in and make the most of it. From the very moment you accept what you have and you decide that, not everyone has to live according to the expectations of society after all, you will be free from desperation and fear. This is called letting go. This is about "I've done everything I could and I accept what I have and won't fight it anymore. It will happen when it happens, and until then I 'm enjoying life." Opportunities are stifled by clinging, but if you are open minded and receptive, miracles will come... and we have all heard stories like "it happened exactly when I had given up hope." Well, something like this happens before that.



Have something to add to this story?

E-mail me: oravecz.nora@gmail.com

instagram.com/oravecznoraofficial

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sexual orientation, gender identity linked to eating disorders


Relationships News -- ScienceDaily


Sexual orientation, gender identity linked to eating disorders

Transgender and non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual students are at greater risk for eating disorders, finds a new study. The study used data from the American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment, a survey of 289,024 students from 223 U.S. universities. Researchers found that the rates of self-reported eating disorders were highest in transgender people. Heterosexual men had the lowest rates.



























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WATCH: Permission to Be Successful


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


WATCH: Permission to Be Successful

Most of us have very strong programming about waiting for permission to do something... and many of us may still be waiting for permission to be successful. I hope this video will help you grant yourself that permission.











If you are new to tapping, it will be beneficial to also watch the first episode in the "Tap Out Your Fears" series -- which explains the basics of EFT -- click here.



As with any of my tapping videos, this is an abbreviated process for releasing uncomfortable feelings and enhancing good ones. Some folks may find their fear dissolve after just one tapping session, but for others, it will take some repetition, bringing the discomfort down little by little each time. (Still others may uncover specific issues that are best addressed directly with a wellness practitioner.) In any event, this brief video should help at least take the edge off the discomfort, freeing you up to enjoy life much more. Let us know how it helped you!



For a picture of the tapping points -- and more info on EFT -- click here.



Tapping can sometimes bring up long-buried emotions, which is why I state that, before tapping along, folks must take full responsibility for their own well-being. For more information about that, please read this disclaimer.



Until next time, feel free to tap along with any of the many videos I have on YouTube or the many recordings I have at www.TapWithBrad.com.



For EFT with kids, please visit: www.TheWizardsWish.com.



For more by Brad Yates, click here.

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Regulation process of protein linked to bipolar disorder, researchers find


Bipolar Disorder News -- ScienceDaily


Regulation process of protein linked to bipolar disorder, researchers find

New insight into a protein associated with bipolar disorder has been gained by recent research. The study reveals that calcium channels in resting neurons activate the breakdown of Sp4, which belongs to a class of proteins called transcription factors that regulate gene expression. The main goal of the study was to determine whether a specific type of calcium channel -- store-operated calcium channels -- drive the breakdown of Sp4 protein. Along the way, however, the team also discovered that signaling by these calcium channels is most active in the so-called "off" or "resting" phase.



























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Friday, May 22, 2015

Bipolar and pregnant


Bipolar Disorder News -- ScienceDaily


Bipolar and pregnant

New research offers one of the first in-depth views of how metabolism changes during pregnancy reduce the effect of a commonly used drug to treat bipolar disorder. The blood level of the drug decreased during pregnancy, resulting in worsening symptoms. The new findings can help physicians prevent bipolar manic and depressive episodes in their pregnant patients, which are risky for the health of the mother and her unborn child.



























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Mother's stress hormone levels may affect fetal growth and long term health of child


Stress News -- ScienceDaily


Mother's stress hormone levels may affect fetal growth and long term health of child

Increased levels of stress hormones can lead pregnant mice to overeat, but affect growth of the fetus and, potentially, the long term health of the offspring, according to a new study.



























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Margie Warrell: How To Raise Brave Girls


Becoming Fearless on Huffington Post


Margie Warrell: How To Raise Brave Girls

Too often, somewhere between wearing tiaras and leaving school, we dial down our dreams and reset our sights as the realities of the real world crush in on us.

Read more: Margie Warrell, Leadership, Motivation, Parenting, Mother-Daughter Relationship, Mothers and Daughters, Raising Daughters, Girl Mom, Dream Big, Female Role Models, Thrive, Fearless, Risk, Brave, Brave Girls Advice for Raising Daughters, Parents News




























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Life Lessons I Learned from #AftonStrong


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


Life Lessons I Learned from #AftonStrong

#AftonStrong



It's so much more than a hashtag. #AftonStrong is a cause close to my heart.



Afton Wallace is my second cousin on my mom's side. Her dad, Rob, and my mom are first cousins. My grandma and her grandpa are brother and sister. Afton and I share great-grandparents. I think that's how second cousins work.



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Afton Wallace is more than just my second cousin. In the last year Afton has taught me to live more fully and love more deeply. She has taught me about courage and fortitude. She has taught me what a real superhero looks like. She's half my age but has taught me about the kind of person I want to be: strong, brave, fearless, positive, inspiring, formidable, optimistic, loving, generous.



Afton is a senior in high school in Mississippi. Afton was her high school's homecoming queen last fall, she was named Miss Warren Central High School, she was voted class favorite, was the captain of her swimming team this year, scored a 33 on the ACT (that's the 99th percentile), earned a full-ride scholarship to BYU for this fall, took AP classes her senior year, and is graduating with honors this month [1] . She is quite a smart, accomplished young woman. But the truly remarkable thing is she has done all of this while battling Stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma, a very rare childhood bone cancer that is very aggressive [2] [3].



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Afton was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma on May 22, 2014 and was only given a few days to live. Afton had tumors on her pelvic bone, spine, liver, and kidneys. She immediately started chemotherapy and radiation and her progress far exceeded doctor's expectations. In January of this year we thought things were starting to turn around when doctors declared her to be in remission. However, a short month later Afton relapsed with a significant tumor on her brain. In March scans showed that Afton has numerous tumors growing throughout her body. Since last May, Afton has spent over 120 days in the hospital, undergone 45 radiation treatments, and received 70 doses of chemotherapy. [2]



And through it all Afton has "just kept swimming," her motto from the movie Finding Nemo. Swimming is something Afton knows well considering she has been competitively swimming since she was in grade school and was a star athlete on her swimming team. Afton's positive attitude in the face of insurmountable odds has inspired thousands of people, including me, her older cousin. On her Facebook page, Afton Wallace #mymissionisremission, she and her parents post countless videos of Afton singing after chemo treatments and pictures of her bright, smiling face [4]. Afton acknowledges she has her hard moments as well. "You can have breakdown moments cause everyone has breakdown moments, and sometimes you have them every day," says Afton. "But you have to keep a smile on your face to make it through. You really do." [1]



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As I have watched my sweet cousin face this impossible battle over the last year I am continually humbled by her optimism, good humor, and ability to give to others during what could be some of her darkest moments. As part of her occupational therapy, Afton has been crocheting infinity scarves and donating them to a clinic for abused women in California. She also reaches out to other cancer patients and lifts their spirits. Anyone would be justified in being angry at their situation and not want to help others and maybe sometimes Afton does feel that way, but she does not show it publicly and instead her generous spirit shines through every time.



"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."



This quote by Helen Keller is one of my very favorites. If anyone had reason to give up and wallow in the unfairness of life, it was Helen Keller. Instead she overcame her disabilities to be a social justice warrior and an iconic and inspirational American. This quote exemplifies Afton to me. Afton has opened a new doorway for the human spirit. Before her, I never knew that a young person could be so hopeful, optimistic, brave, wise, mature beyond her years, and heroic. She has reminded me just how precious and beautiful life is. She has taught me to never take a single day for granted. Her parents, Rob and Sheri, have taught me how precious our children are and how to be a rock of strength when everything inside you is crumbling to pieces. The Wallaces have taught me what true courage looks like. They have taught me more about unconditional love, sacrifice, and faith than I could ever learn from any book. And like I said at the beginning, Afton has taught me to live more fully and to love more deeply than I ever would have before her diagnosis.



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Sadly, our hearts all broke on Friday, May 8, when Sheri made the announcement that Afton's latest CT and PET scans showed that her latest chemotherapy was not working and her tumors have tripled in size and dramatically increased in number. There are no more standard treatment options available to Afton and her body may not be able to recover enough to participate in a clinical trial. The doctors believe that Afton has less than three months to live. [5]



I read the news when I was checking Facebook on my lunch break and I broke down in tears. I cried for Rob and Sheri and the devastation they must be going through. I cried for Afton's siblings, Kaylynne, Abigail, Scott, and Katie. I cried for Afton and for the life and future she deserves. I cried for Afton's grandparents, aunts, uncles, 58 first cousins, extended family, friends, and hometown of Vicksburg, MS.



It's not fair. It's not fair when this happens to those who want to live the most and have the most to live for.



I thought about Afton and what I could do to help, and there's nothing I can do except contribute to her GoFundMe page [6]. I thought about how selfless and giving Afton has been through all of this. I remembered that she always felt better after having blood transfusions, and though I have never done it before, I made an appointment for the very next day with the Red Cross to donate my blood. I learned that my blood will help save the lives of three people. If I can't save Afton's life, I can at least help someone else. [7]



Despite the odds, Afton is not giving up and neither are the people who love her. We don't give up. We just keep swimming and we petition our God constantly with prayers for continued miracles.



I can't let myself think far enough ahead into a future that doesn't include Afton. If and when she passes from this life, whether that's 90 days or 90 years from now, Afton will leave a great legacy of love, courage, optimism, enthusiasm for life, endurance, strength, grace, and success.



"... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded." --Ralph Waldo Emerson



Afton, your life has been a success because you made the lives of those who love you better by simply being you.



There are no words in the English language adequate enough to express my deep love and gratitude to Afton and her family. They are a miracle and no matter what happens, we will all be together forever. There is no mutant cell that could ever take that away. Because of God's grace, cancer will never win. It can destroy a physical body, but it cannot harm an eternal soul.



Don't give up. Never quit. Just keep swimming. Just keep smiling. Just keep loving. Give more. Love more. Live more. Enjoy more. Seek out joy. Look for miracles. Never let go.



Those are the lessons I've learned from my dear, sweet, younger cousin.



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This article is posted with the gracious permission of the Wallace family.



Originally published on Iron Daisy



Sources:



[1] MS NEWS NOW | WLBT, WDBD



[2] The Vicksburg Post



[3] WebMD



[4] Afton Wallace #mymissionisremission



[5] Facebook post



[6] GoFundMe - Afton Wallace



[7] American Red Cross

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Mercury Retrograde Dos and Don'ts


GPS for the Soul - The Huffington Post


Mercury Retrograde Dos and Don'ts

There is one golden rule when it comes to Mercury Retrograde phases. Interestingly enough, it's grammatical. If you can commit this simple tenet to memory then you'll find that retrograde cycles of Mercury are not only easier to navigate, but also rich with potential for growth and personal development.



Ready class? Here's the rule. Remember back in grade school when you learned about the prefix "re?" Well, a prefix is placed before the root of a word and this one means "again." All you need to remember is that during any Mercury Retrograde cycle, if you're doing something that begins with "re" such as reassess, revise, revisit, reconnect, redo, recall, resay, refresh, you're right on track. If you're not then stop immediately or else suffer the Mercury Retrograde migraine!



Here's a top list of dos and don'ts that will help you navigate the confusion around any Mercury Retrograde phase:



DON'T initiate. DO finish what you've started.

No matter how fantastic your new plan may be, hold off on the launch while Mercury is trekking backwards. There's a high probability that you're missing crucial information or that whatever you pitch to others isn't going to sound as phenomenal to them as it does to you. Instead, use Mercury's Retrograde as a time to take stock of whatever you've already got going on and do your best to polish up and finish existing projects.



This certainly holds true for writing projects (and Mercury Retrograde is a perfect time to edit and revise work). However, it also applies to all areas of your life, from work, money and relationships. Usually, it's best to not start a new job, get married or begin a new financial chapter in your life now. Polish up your resume, plan your wedding or research investments instead.



DON'T purchase big ticket items. DO comparison shop.

You should not purchase any big ticket item such as a car, computer, appliance or even a piece of jewelry during Mercury's retrograde for several reasons. First, if it has moving or electronic parts, there's a good chance that you'll find a glitch. Repairs are fine (and a perfect prefix) on existing equipment... however no one should have to repair a brand new item! In addition, during Mercury retrograde you might not receive the best bargain if you rush to purchase. If you can wait for your item, it'll be wiser to shop after Mercury is direct. In the meantime, comparison shop and spend more time thinking about what you really want. You might find that you've changed your mind completely by the time Mercury turns direct!



DON'T sign contracts, make verbal agreements or life altering decisions. DO renegotiate, mediate and reconsider existing ones.

This might be the most widely known tip about Mercury Retrograde, but it bears clarification. If at all possible, avoid new agreements! Because once you sign the dotted line or give that handshake, you will likely find that a series of events or misunderstandings cause the initial pact to change or fall apart. Instead, this is a good time to consider a renegotiation. Is your lease up for renewal on your apartment? Now is the time to either shop around or do research on a better agreement to propose to your landlord once Mercury turns direct.



Are you considering asking for a raise? Use this cycle to recognize what you are worth but also to re-evaluate whether or not you're offering your best to the company you work for. If you're not, now is the time to implement revisions. Are you ready to break up with your lover? Even if your mind is made up, you'll want to wait. A life altering decision implemented under Mercury retrograde has a waffling effect. You might go through a "make up and break up" phase that is exhausting. If you want a clean break and you're sure, wait until Mercury is direct. There will be no confusion or second guessing!



DON'T hide under a rock and stop living. DO expect delays and snafus.

Preparation and patience are key during Mercury Retrograde cycles. If, for example, you have a trip planned and you notice it's during a Mercury Retrograde, don't cancel your plans and stop living! Instead, consider the added potential for mishaps and prepare accordingly. Recheck your baggage to ensure you've packed everything vital. Make sure you have all the proper documentation for your trip. Anticipate delays due to the added issue of miscommunication. Roll with it!



In short, Mercury Retrograde cycles are not meant to be the source of endless aggravation. However, if you go against the flow of this cycle you're likely to experience more stress. Taking pause every now and then allows us to gain a new perspective and realize what we might have missed in the past. Now we get a chance to fix it and become even stronger because of it... thank you Mercury Retrograde!



Get a FREE Celtic Cross Tarot reading now for guidance during this chaotic time »

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

How managers and colleagues can help staff who witness workplace aggression


Anxiety News -- ScienceDaily


How managers and colleagues can help staff who witness workplace aggression

Just witnessing aggression or other bad behavior at work can affect our well-being, but the right support from employers and colleagues can limit the consequences.



























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