2018

 

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Hello, beautiful people and Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s 2018 already.  To be completely honest, I am glad that 2017 is over.  What a year?  I literally isolated myself, especially from social media, as much as possible to recuperate from the highs and mostly lows of a year that literally has left me using punctuation marks to describe my life.

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If you’ve ever watched the movie Monster-in-Law with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, there’s a scene where the ladies meet for the first time and chat over tea.  During the conversation, Jane Fonda’s character reaches for the question mark necklace around J Lo’s neck and ask, “Why the question mark?”.  Jennifer responds candidly and freely with a bright smile “Oooh, ’cause I just don’t know?” ended with a carefree laugh.  I swear this is one of my favorite scenes of the movie.  I love Jennifer’s character, Charlie, and I connect with her so much.  She had different jobs and ventures going on at the same time while trying makes sense of it all and embracing the changes as they come.  Charlie went to the beat of her own drum without any apologies.

 Life is full of situations and experiences that are interesting, frustrating, challenging, fun, exhilarating, along with so many other adjectives.  Last year, I struggled with the not knowing and trying to figure it out.  I felt a lot of internal and external conflict because I realized that I lost myself.   I lost “beating the rhythm to my own drum.”  I missed the relationship I had with myself.  I stopped feeding my soul and continued taking on obligations that were depleting me.  I felt like I was suffocating and my body and spirit were suffering because of my unhappiness and discouragement.

 I stopped making my happiness and peace the priority.   So I decided before I go into to 2018, I need to make a change.  THERAPY.  If you’re new to my blog, I am a marriage and family therapist, and I am a believer and supporter of psychotherapy.  There’s this negative stigma associated with counseling and therapy, but there are really great therapists out here who know what they are doing and genuinely care.   Don’t get me wrong, there are some people out there who should not be practicing.  But there are doctors, hairstylists, teachers, spiritual advisors and so on who are really whack yet they are still working.  If someone sucks at what they do find someone who knows what they are doing.

Okay, I’m off my therapy soapbox.  Anyway, therapy has been great, challenging, and needed.  I actually feel like I can breathe again.  I am looking forward to getting back to Brandi.  I must say that it feels great getting back to the blog as well.  I have missed being here and thanks to you who are still hanging out with me!

I look forward to blogging with you this 2018.

Brandi

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Burnout & Venting

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Good day, beautiful people!

I really miss blogging. And I want to take a moment to be transparent and vent. My life as a crisis counselor has pretty much dominated my life.  Over the past few months, there has been a spike in the number of children going into crisis.  I literally feel pushed to the max.  Outside of the piles of paperwork and the countless hours of driving to a crisis, I have the responsibility of making serious decisions about what is  best course of action to help the child and their family.

It’s difficult explain to parents that their child needs to go to a psychiatric hospital to be evaluated. I hear and see so many heartbreaking and disturbing things that I have nightmares about them. I have encountered negative and sometimes unethical helping professionals who give those of us who do what we’re supposed to do a bad name. To be honest, I have seen more negative than positive in the workplace. It irritates me to see people who are supposed to help others have no genuine concern about people. They literally make my skin crawl because they are the most judgmental, insensitive, and power hungry.

The longer I work in the mental health. The more I question if I should keep doing this. I’ve been burnt out before and I took a hiatus for over a year and a half just to find myself and take care of myself. I enjoy being able to help others. And when I did “talk” therapy, I loved being able to be a part of my clients’ healing process. Helping others comes naturally for me which is great. The challenge for me is that I don’t help myself as much as I should.

Self-care is one of those things I have to literally fight for. I have found out that companies do a poor job with supporting helping professionals. I have gained too much weight for my comfort and health as a result of work. My body has been suffering as a result of my high stress job. I had a conversation recently that those working in my field are over worked and under paid.

I recently transitioned to part time and do my assessments via the Internet. I have been transitioning to a vegan diet and I work out more. I also get more needed rest.

Has anyone been burnt out? What did you do to recover?

Thanks for the vent session!

Much love,

Brandi

Here are a few photos on my journey as a crisis road warrior!

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Autism Awareness

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Hi everyone!

I  am super excited about sharing some information and resources about autism.  When I first started my training as marriage and family therapist, I worked primarily with children who were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder during my graduate internship.  In graduate school we had an opportunity to learn about this disorder, but we never got a chance to really go in-depth.  For me, the best way to understand more about autism to actually get experience working with children autism and I did tons of  research.

Back in the day, not long ago, autism related disorders were all grouped as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Some of theses disorders were called Asperger Syndrome, autistic disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder.  There has been a recent change in the name for autism in the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5)  that has now grouped all of these disorders into Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Over the summer, a young lady named Kathleen saw my blog and reached out to share her story and online resources.  Kathleen was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and she is a part-time high school student and volunteer-intern-extraordinaire  at EducatorLabs. For more info about Asperger Syndrome click here. Thank you, dear, for sharing resources and I applaud you for all of the hard work you are doing to educate us about Autism Spectrum Disorders.  I would like everyone to educate and familiarize yourself with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  If anyone else knows of any other resources, please reach out.  I enjoy spreading awareness about mental health!

Talk to you soon,

Brandi

Recommended Resources

Autism Speaks Resource Guide

http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/resource-guide

Career Assistance for People with Autism

http://www.hloom.com/career-assistance-for-people-with-autism/

National Center for Autism Resources & Education

https://www.disability.gov/resource/national-center-for-autism-resources-education-ncare/

Autism Educational Materials

http://www.autismweb.com/materials.htm

AutismNOW Transition Planning

http://autismnow.org/in-the-classroom/transition-planning-for-students/

Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism

http://www.saveonpoolsupplies.com/landing/aquatic-therapy-for-children-with-autism.aspx

Autism

http://healthfinder.gov/FindServices/SearchContext.aspx?topic=81

Guide to Flying with an Autistic Child

http://www.e-aircraftsupply.com/aircraft_products/file/guide-to-flying-with-a-child.aspx

My Life in Crisis 

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Suicide, depression, psychosis, self – mutilation,  trauma,  abuse, homicidal thoughts are just a few situations that I encounter on a daily basis with children and adolescents.  I spend countless hours in emergency rooms, schools, homes, and  hospitals responding to crisis.  If I am not assessing, I am on the road or doing a lot of paperwork. Over the past few months, I have been adjusting to my new role as a crisis counselor.  This is why I haven’t been blogging on a regular basis like I normally do.  I want to send  a  special shout out to a blog sister of mine who actually reached out to me recently because of my hiatus.  Thanks  Hil for checking on a sister…please go support and follow her https://hilthethrill.wordpress.com.

 

I wanted to share my look from yesterday. The goal for my crisis style is to be professional and chic.  I make sure that I am comfortable so, no heels allowed. So, I rely on cute sandals and flats. My outfit is from Rainbow plus. I recently got my pants for $7. My beaded necklace is from Walmart $3.

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I got this tote last spring from TJ Maxx $24.99. I needed something that was professional and efficient for what I have to do. It holds a lot. I found this cute little key chain at a fundraiser. It adds a little flair to tote.

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I have been wearing my hair in Havana twist. They are super convenient for my busy schedule. I wore some pink lipstick to add a little life to my face when I don’t have time or energy to add any other makeup.

Six Steps to Becoming Empowered

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Hey ladies and gentlemen,

I want to take a few moments of your time to share some simple ways of becoming empowered people.  I truly believe that a lot of us have labelled being empowered as achieving a certain level of success, status, and popularity.  If that was the case, then suicide rates and dissatisfaction with life would not be prevalent.  I want to share some personal things that I have done in my process of becoming empowered.

  1. Choose to be authentically, genuine.  I have yet to meet a person who is empowered and phony simultaneously.  I have met people whose words appeared positive and their actions seemed kind.  But something was off.  There is this natural energy that comes from a person who is truthful in character, word, and deed.  If there is one thing that I do hold myself accountable for is authenticity.
  2. Celebrate Others.  On this journey of empowerment, finding beauty and inspiration in others is important.  I have seen that people who have a hard time celebrating and appreciating others have issues with jealousy, competition, and comparison.  You have to choose to be inspired by others instead of crippled by insecurities.  Choose to shine your light by shining on others.  I look to find beauty and qualities in others because I grow.  It’s simple to celebrate others.  Pay compliments, show support, and share what inspires you about a person.  Be authentic in celebrating others. Shine light on others and you’ll shine light on yourself.
  3. Celebrate Yourself.  In this journey of being empowered.  You must take time to celebrate yourself.  Celebrating yourself is not being narcissistic.  It means taking time to appreciate your awesomeness.  I have been guilty of not celebrating my talents and abilities because the people who were around me were not content with themselves.  Celebrating yourself is owning everything about you–your strengths and flaws.  Pamper and splurge on yourself.  Celebrate small successes and accomplishments.  Allow others to celebrate you.  Choose to not accept negative thoughts and voices and remind yourself of those qualities and traits that make you unique and special.  Love yourself and don’t back down.
  4. Invest in Yourself.  The most valuable asset that you have is your life.  Take time to feed your spirit, your body, and your mind.  Your spirit, body, and mind are all connected and thrive on each other.  Your total well-being is essential for being empowered and whole as a person.  Make it a priority educate yourself on your passions, goals, and desires.  Seek to be balanced in this unbalanced world.  You only have one life, one body, one mind and one spirit–each one is vital to your sustainability.
  5. Surround Yourself with Positive, Balanced-Seeking People.  People are essential in your journey to empowerment.  We are created to be relational beings, and our relationships either enhance or drain us.  Some relationships offer nothing.  Toxic and unhealthy connections could hinder and sometimes abort our journey to being empowered.  The beauty is that we don’t have to allow our special relationships to remain that way.  It is important that we connect with people to are actively working on being better and healthy.  Support is great and having good people around you helps push you to be better.   When I see those around me improving, it inspires me to be better. One of my favorite scripture verses is from Proverbs 27:17 is “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens of a friend.”
  6. Check Yourself.   This step, to me, covers all of the other steps.  Checking yourself means staying aware of your choices, feelings, thoughts, actions, and behaviors.  Sometimes we can easily get off balanced for different reasons– some are in our control and others are out  our control.  Make sure that we evaluate ours lives.  Are we doing things to better ourselves?  Are we happy and content with our actions and behaviors? Find ways to handle life changes.  Be honest about where we are and where we want to be.  If there are areas that need improvement, own it and grow.  Evaluate what energy you are giving and receiving.  Get help if you need it and receive help.

Being empowered is a beautiful and freeing way of life.  The journey is not about being perfect.  It’s about being better, healthier, and whole.

We’re in this journey together!

Brandi