May Mental Health Awareness Month

For me, 2019 was my year of focusing on my mental health. I’ve continued to do so in 2020, ensuring I am checking in with myself. It is so important that we can recognize when we’re not quite feeling right.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and how fitting, for the times we all find ourselves in, and, with Mother’s Day right around the corner. I know for myself, my “mom brain” has not felt like itself many times since quarantine started. My thirteen-year-old daughter has been telling me that “this is going to be the best Mother’s Day ever!” I have no idea what she has up her sleeve, likely along with her sister, but I do look forward to it! I’m sure my son has made no plans – in typical teen-boy fashion. Just to give you a glimpse into the banter that is pretty typical in our home, I had said to my daughter: “So, if it’s the best Mother’s Day ever, does that mean I get the whole house to myself for an entire day?” Without skipping a beat, she replied: “You’re not that lucky!” Lol! Awww well, after seven weeks, does it even matter anymore? Well – yes, yes, it does.

Our mental health can leave us feeling as though we’re in the middle of a mental tornado, stuck drifting out at sea, or surrounding by flames. Or, we can feel like we’re floating on our backs, sailing, and feeling the warm sun on our skin, our thoughts drifting and passing through the mind. I don’t know about you, but the latter sounds pretty much like an oasis.

And, here’s the thing – yes, some contributing factors within the mind are beyond our control. However, so much of what manifests within our bodies in illness or dis-ease, are a by-product of our emotional climate and not necessarily our mental environment, and there’s a difference. More often than not, it is grief that clouds our mental game with emotional clout. We have thought patterns and beliefs that become so engrained; we can’t imagine our life without them. We become so accustomed to the negative self-talk, bouts of anger, and personal judgments, that to imagine a fulfilled and joyful life seems like a dream that’s meant only for other people. Or, we believe that – if only we were wealthier, skinnier, faster, more beautiful, etc., that we would find happiness.

This past year, for me, has felt like a real-life coming of age book, full of challenges, personal triumphs, and some regret, too. In a lot of ways, I still feel like there’s lots of mental growth that needs to happen. Just today, I realized how much emotional gunk I’ve worked through the past year. I found hope in The Grief Recovery Method that helped me move forward in a significant relationship in a healthy way, not to mention, work through many other relationships using the tools I learned, too.

Additionally, I experienced flashbacks to a traumatic experience I had long buried that came up during, of all things, my reiki levels I & II certification. And, it’s still an ongoing process of healing through the utilization of new tools I will forever have in grief recovery, as well as through reiki. During my reiki master training, I experienced even more healing of that traumatic experience. Grief recovery and reiki have been the perfect blend of healing modalities that have allowed me to process my emotional blocks in a healthy, productive, life-changing way.

The progress of my healing was brought to light this week. The accountability group I joined six months ago met online for our last official call. We come from all walks of life, with varied backgrounds and challenges. What these women shared with me was how, from when they first met me, there was this negative aura around me. And, since that time, I’ve turned into Pollyanna (i.e., an excessively cheerful or optimistic person). What was shared, took me a couple of days to process and digest; because, on this call, we all shared how we see each other, what we love about them, and where they shine. It can feel uncomfortable to have a bunch of women shower you with compliments; it’s not something we typically experience, right? But, it was in their sharing that I recognized, for myself, how far I’ve come in my healing. Just as hurt people hurt people, healed people help others heal, which is why it’s so important that I make my mental health a priority. In doing so, I am at my best, so I can hold space for others in their healing.

How I Make My Mental Health a Priority

Not long ago, I had a session with a healer. She shared how sadness was the emotion that came up during the session, which wasn’t a surprise to me. As we talked, I shared with her that sorrow (i.e., grief) is one of the feelings that’s always been present in my life. She felt it came up for me even before my dad had passed away when I was eight. And, as I reflected, my earliest memories of myself are me hiding to cry, under my bed, in the linen closet, even the kitchen cupboard. I did not dare cry or, I would be given something to cry about (as children are often told). And so, like many children, I grew up hiding my sadness, and even as I sit here and write this today, I often find myself doing the same at the older, wiser, and more evolved age of forty-one. Our child wounds run deep, friend. And, it takes inner-work (i.e., action) to pull those weeds up from the root.

I’ve found myself led toward healing modalities that have equipped me with tools and education I can utilize on an ongoing basis and share with others. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. Since my mid-twenties, being of service and aligning that with my skills and education has been burning in my heart. And, everything I’ve learned this past year has positively impacted every aspect of my life – more than I imagined.

These days, with grief recovery, reiki, meditation, journaling, exercise, and self-help books, I’ve found myself feeling more like myself. I remember when I was trying to find a way to be of service when my kids were little. I worked overnights as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home when I was pregnant with our second, and later transitioned to home healthcare. I honestly wouldn’t have had to work at that time, but for me, it was essential to feeling like I was of service in a way that didn’t include diapers and breastfeeding. Later, I would choose entrepreneurship. And, thank goodness I did; it laid the groundwork and foundation for what I’ve created in my life today.

My Message To You

My message to you today is this: I am no one special. There is nothing extraordinary about me. I put my pants on the same way as you. I struggle with the very same things as a parent, mom, spouse, etc.. I have days I know I’m not being patient or have had unkind thoughts. This is what it is to be human.

All that said, what I am now, that I never felt as strongly as I do today is: empowered, confident, and very intently sure of my inner-knowing. Discovering these qualities within myself had taken years of excavating (when I started digging into my emotional wellness in 2014). But, only because I hadn’t discovered grief recovery until 2019. My growth this past year has been ten-fold. And, you know what – it can be for you, too. 

You may not identify yourself as someone grieving. And, had someone asked me in 2014 or even as far back as 2001 (when my life was going off the rails) if I was grieving – I would have said “no.” Looking back, I know my emotional state, and my behaviors (especially after having children), were textbook for someone grieving. I was not practicing self-care (often not showering for days), had regular, angry outbursts, found myself pouring myself into entrepreneurship, which was a preoccupation for being present. I also sought help from a physician during that time who simply thought a pill was the cure. For many, many years, even after trying therapy, too, I felt like I was on an island. And, I felt like there was something wrong with me.

Once the health issues started in late 2013, which carried on through the years without resolve, I felt like I was “crazy.” I understand why people resort to going from doctor to doctor to doctor – hoping one will finally listen or do what is necessary to find the issue. And, you know what? I’ll let you in on a secret. Not a single doctor ever asked me: “What happened to you?” Not one doctor asked me: “How did you get here, to this point, in your declining health?” Not a one. Why? Because physicians are not trained, therapists. And, physicians are not educated in grief in medical school either. And, likewise, unless a licensed therapist seeks further education on grief on their own, traditional schooling does not include it. It’s why there are dozens of licensed therapists who sought certification with The Grief Recovery Institute.

Changing the Conversation

The collective conversation around mental health needs to change. It is my mission to spread the message that we start talking about mental and emotional health (i.e., grief) like we do about the weather. I am very honored and proud to now offer a way to spread this message. As one of around 150 advanced grief recovery method specialists in the world (and the only one in ND), I feel like I can offer something very special to North Dakotans from the comfort of their own homes, and also, to anyone – anywhere.

The question to ask yourself is not what it costs you to take this action. The better question to ask yourself is: “What does it cost me, in my life, to not take action.”

If you’re willing to invest years, time, and money into therapy and anything and everything else under the sun and have yet to get results, why not consider this? I urge you to get in touch with me. Could I sell ice to an Eskimo? Sure. I’ve sold Kirby vacuum cleaners. However, if the Kirby would’ve been grief recovery back when I was going door-to-door, I wouldn’t have needed to sell Kirby’s in the first place. You discover so much more going through this method than I can even put into words.

If your gut is nudging you to contact me as you read this – listen to that whisper. Our guided intuition will never steer us wrong. Having the ability to understand and have that inner-knowing has been one of the many gifts I’ve received from doing this work on myself. Reach out to me via email at victoria [at] theunleashedheart [dot] com with any questions or book a free consultation HERE.

This blog post goes out to all of those who are struggling with emotional and mental illness right now. Not to mention, all the mamas, the desire-to-be-mamas, and the earth mamas of angel babies this Mother’s Day. I know it’s not a joyful occasion for so many and my heart is with you.

Mind your mind, but first – listen to your heart.

much love, victoria

P.S. Resources: 

  • My website – there are many articles on my blog about grief, and there is also access to free, educational PDF’s like The Free Guide for Loss 
  • The Grief Recovery Institute
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 – if you’re thinking about suicide or know someone who is
  • Crisis National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255
  • 24/7 Crisis Counselor – Text “HOME” to 741-741 
  • Better Help – affordable, private, online counseling
  • FirstLink211 – an online resource specifically for ND and parts of MN

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