Back to School Blues

Back to School Blues

School blues

Labor Day has passed and September is approaching an end. School has been back in session for a few weeks now and we have another year of  learning ahead of us!

Although the beginning of the school year is typically thought of as an exciting time, for some kids the transition of going back to school can be stressful. The pressure for our youngsters to perform well academically combined with the new school week routine can result in our kids experiencing waves of moodiness, anxiety, and grief. As exciting as it can be to start a new chapter with school, it can also be really sad to let go of the freedom that comes with summer. Summer is the time of year where kids typically get a break from academic pressure and class work. When the school year ends up rolling around, this can be a grim reminder for kids that they will soon be assessed for their academic performance and compared against their peers. This pressure to do well in school can make children feel anxious about starting the new year. This is especially true if they have had a tough time with school in the past. 

That being said, I want to let you know that we have tools that can help our school goers feel a little more comfortable about starting a new year. Below we have included a list of suggestions that you can help incorporate into your youngsters’ routine to help them feel ready to tackle their back to school blues!

Plan School Outfits the Night Ahead of Time

Looking your best can really help you feel the part when you are feeling a little unsure of yourself. Planning out an outfit ahead of time can ensure that your school goer has plenty of time to pick the perfect outfit and make their best impression on the new school year. This can not only help boost their confidence, but it also saves the time and stress of picking out an outfit in morning.

Make Your New Teacher Something

Teachers are a big part of our kids’ lives. They are the trusted authority figure that kids turn to during the school day when their guardians aren’t around. That being said, it can be intimidating for kids to make connections with teachers when they haven’t really gotten the chance to get to know them yet. One way to break the ice is by making them a little gift to tell them a little more about you. This could include a drawing of your kids favorite place, food, etc., or even an origami sculpture of their favorite animal (there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube!). This can help your kid feel like they are actively making an effort to connect with their teacher, which may help them feel a little more comfortable heading back to class.

Create a Consistent Routine

The school year comes with lots of expectations and responsibilities. Getting ready in the morning, doing homework, and organizing materials can be very overwhelming for kids if they are not involved in a consistent routine. Routine helps kids feel that they can better navigate the fast moving pace of a school day. You can help implement routine by delegating consistent times for important daily tasks, such as waking up, breakfast time, packing lunch, and completing homework at night. Don’t forget to also schedule in some time to unwind after school. Success comes with good rest! 

Plan Fun After School Activities

If your youngster is feeling anxious about attending school, one thing that can help them distract from this stress is to plan something fun that they can look forward to when they get home. School can be frustrating for kids because they have little control over their environment and they are asked to complete tasks that they may not necessarily enjoy doing, such as doing math problems, writing stories, or taking tests. By planning a fun after school task, kids get the chance to be rewarded for all the hard work they accomplished during the school day. This also reminds kids that they can still have fun during the school year, even though summer is over. Some fun activities could include hosting a playdate with a school friend, going to a park, or trying a new craft.

Have Conversations About New Environment and Staff

Make sure to check in with your school goer about their feelings regarding the new school year. Starting a new grade is a totally new experience with a different teacher, classmates, and classroom expectations. This is a lot to take in! By taking the time to talk to your kids about their new environment, this can provide them the space to process their thoughts and feelings about it that they otherwise might not have had the opportunity to do. 

Discuss Realistic Expectations for Academic Performance

As we have already discussed, the thought of grades and test taking can be very anxiety provoking for school goers. Many kids feel pressure to perform, especially if they have struggled in school in the past. In order to avoid guilt or shame from grades, have discussions with your kids about realistic expectations for their grades that are attainable for them. This can help kids avoid holding themselves to unreasonable standards and help them feel supported throughout their education. It also may be helpful to have a plan if they ever start to dip below your mutual expectations for their grades. This can let your kid know that it’s not the end of the world if they are having a hard time. Additionally, this also lets them know that they have someone in their corner that loves them and supports them no matter what!

To Learn More or Book an Appointment

Interested in learning more mental health tips, tricks, or facts? Check out our blog or head to our resource page to learn more.

For more parenting resources, check out from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

If you are interested in seeing a See You Through It Counseling therapist, book an appointment.

To discover what the therapists at See You Through It Counseling offer, please go to our team page to le

How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

How to Cope with Seasonal Depression

How to Cope with Seasonal Depression Alyssa Scolari 1

Am I the only one who feels like this winter has been so rough? And it’s not even because of the cold, per se. I don’t hate the cold, and if it snows, you’ll find me bundled up in my backyard kicking up fresh powder with my dogs – one of my ultimate happy places.  But this winter hasn’t brought snow. The older I get, the more global warming has turned my town into less of a winter wonderland and more of a gray, damp mud pit. It’s dark, wet, and just cold enough to be uncomfortable, but not cold enough to snow. Without having snow to get me through, this is the first year where I’m noticing seasonal depression is getting to me.

I realize, however, that many folks have seasonal depression every year, regardless of whether it snows or not. The lack of sunlight leads to staying indoors more, which leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, which leads to less socialization, ALL of which contribute to depression. I know many of us are struggling this time of year, counting down the days until Spring and Summer. But no one wants to live like that – waiting for the days to pass so we can finally feel a sense of peace. There are so many ways to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (a fancy term for seasonal depression or the winter blues), so let’s get into it!

  • Go outside! Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it’s unpleasant. But part of the reason seasonal depression hits us so hard is because we become deficient in Vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight. So bundle up and get outside for a walk, even if it’s just for ten minutes during your lunch break. The more sunshine you can get, the better off you’ll be. Even on a cloudy day, if you go out for a walk, you’re still absorbing some sunlight and doing your mental health a world of good. 
  • Adjust your circadian rhythm to be more aligned with daylight. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle. In the winter, it gets dark early at night. If you can get to bed earlier and wake up with the sun, you’ll increase your daily sunlight intake and decrease your risk of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. 
  • Buy yourself some indoor plants. You don’t have to be a plant expert to be able to take care of indoor plants. Some plants, like succulents or snake plants, require minimal care, but the presence of them in your home has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. 
  • Use a sun lamp. Sun lamps (and light therapy in general) have been shown to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sun lamps are designed to mimic sunlight and can often provide great relief if you’re suffering from the winter blues.
  • Plant daffodils and hyacinths in your yard if you can! These are some of my favorite plants! Not only do they come back year after year, but they begin growing from the ground between the months of January-February, right in the dead of winter. There is something so refreshing about going outside and seeing the daffodils and hyacinths grow taller with every passing day. They bloom very early, when it’s usually still cold out. The bright blooms are one of the biggest comforts for me when I’m struggling with depression. 
  • Buy yourself flowers each week. Winter is damp, gray, and dreary, but having fresh blooms in the house during the winter usually brightens my mood instantly! 

You might notice that these recommendations have a common theme: Connecting with nature. We don’t talk nearly enough about how medicinal nature is for your mental health. In the spring and summer months, we are usually outside much more and are therefore connecting with nature without even realizing it most of the time. In the winter, however, we have to be more intentional about connecting with our planet. I have been religiously using almost all of the above recommendations and have noticed major improvements in my seasonal depression. If you, like me, have been struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, I hope that these tips can help provide you with the relief that you deserve. 

Your Feelings Are Not Always the Facts

Your Feelings Are Not Always the Facts

Your Feelings Are Not the Facts Blackwood 1

One of the most important takeaways from 2022, for myself and many others, has been this: Your feelings are NOT always the facts. 

This is one of the more challenging concepts to learn on your path to healing – at least it certainly was for me. When you struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, OCD, or any other mental health disorder, we often (or sometimes all day long) have these intense feelings that cause us to believe things that simply aren’t true. For example, if you’re battling depression, you might go to sleep every night feeling hopeless and unworthy of love and connection. If you have PTSD, your brain can make you feel like every stimulus in your environment is a threat, consuming you with fear and anxiety. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder consists of intrusive thoughts that make you believe beyond a doubt that something horrible will happen if you don’t act on a certain urge or impulse. If you struggle with Anorexia, Body Dysmorphia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, or any other types of disordered eating, you may find yourself feeling like you are broken beyond repair. Similar to eating disorders, chronic illness also has us believing that we will be broken, defective, or sick forever.

But none, I repeat, NONE of these feelings are factual. Feelings lie to us sometimes, which can be hard to wrap our minds around, especially if you’re a very intuitive and empathic person, like I consider myself to be. Personally, this past year, my battle with a chronic health condition called endometriosis has brought me to my knees. I have had two major surgeries occurring at both the beginning and the end of the year. In the midst of my health struggles, I started to feel hopeless. That voice in my head started to tell me that “sick” was just going to be a part of my personality now. 

After my second surgery, which to date (fingers and toes crossed!) has been successful, I still had trouble believing I would be okay. I kept believing that another bad thing was just waiting around the corner for me. I felt on edge, hypervigilant, and believed that maybe the surgeon missed something or maybe the rest of my life would consist of surgery after surgery. But here’s the thing:

These were my FEELINGS. My feelings, while very valid and understandable, are not facts. So what are the facts here?

1.    Parts of 2022 were terrible to me. But I’ve also had massive growth and joy in other areas of my life. I created the most beautiful garden in my backyard, my business expanded, and I even went on my DREAM vacation to Fiji.

2.    I have a chronic health condition, and it has caused me severe pain and lots of loss. But my second surgery was very successful. The surgeon, who is one of the top doctors in his field, was confident that I would be okay. So many women in similar situations have had success under this doctor. 

By looking at the facts, I am by no means discounting my feelings and fears, but rather, I’m not letting my feelings or fears rule over me. If I just paid attention to my feelings, I would be a ball of panic and anxiety on a daily basis. However, when I take a minute to consider the facts, I notice my feelings shift from despair and panic to hopefulness and optimism. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should ignore your difficult feelings. You need to make space and time to honor and acknowledge your feelings, but I don’t want you to get stuck there! It’s important to learn how to manage your feelings, all while recognizing that feelings are very different from facts. 

So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed or paralyzed by negative feelings as a result of a mental health disorder, please make yourself a cup of hot tea, take some deep breaths, and remind yourself:

“My feelings are valid and understandable, but they aren’t always factual. I may feel awful, but that doesn’t mean I AM awful and that doesn’t mean tomorrow, the next day, or even 10 minutes from now won’t be better.”

Poodle Science: Accepting Who We Are

Poodle Science: Accepting Who We Are

Poodle Science Post 1024 × 1024

Diet Culture

Did you know that the diet industry is a $70 billion, that’s billion with a B, industry? Did you also know that 95% of diets fail? I’ll let that sink in for a second!

People spend more than $70 billion in a year on a product that will fail more than 95% of the time! Would you buy a car that wouldn’t work 95% of the time, a house that had a 95% chance of collapsing into a pile of rubble, or buy clothes that had a 95% chance of falling apart on the first wear? Of course not! Yet that’s what millions of people in America do each and every single day when they go on a diet. They’ll spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on something that will ultimately fail them.

Poodle Science

When I begin treatment with clients who have an eating disorder, like Anorexia; Binge Eating Disorders; or Bulimia, one of things I introduce to clients is Poodle Science. I was introduced to this concept by Tianna Smith, a a wonderful dietitian based in California. For the non-dog lovers out there, a Bullmastiff is a HUGE dog that usually weighs 100 pounds or more while a Chihuahua is a small dog that usually weighs around 6-7 pounds. Because of genetics, it would not matter what kind of diet or exercise you did with a Bullmastiff, it would NEVER weigh anywhere close to the 6-7 pounds of Chihauhua. Not only that, that Bullmastiff would probably be pretty miserable from the lack of food and constant exercise. And yet, it would never come close to having the bodily figure of a Chihuahua.

At SYTI counseling, when we work with our clients in therapy, we talk to them about Poodle Science because the same concept applies to humans. We have a biological blueprint based on our genetics that determines the shape and size of our body. Some people will naturally be 100 pounds while others will naturally be 150 pounds or more. Like the Bullmastiff and the Chihuahua, it’s an impossible fight for a 150-pound person to try and get down to 100 pounds. All you will do is fail, be miserable, and in some cases do incredible harm to your body. By accepting your biological blueprint, you are going to lead a happier and healthier life. So, the next time you see or hear diet culture in the media, brush it aside and be proud of the beautiful body you have!




I really wish that we were talking about Pascal, the chameleon from Rapunzel. He is one of my favorite Disney characters! Has anybody ever discovered a stuffed animal Pascal? I’ve looked high and low but cannot find one anywhere! So if you know where I can buy one, please let me know. Clearly it’s a very urgent matter! 

But I digress. What I really want to talk about today are the human versions of chameleons – those whose thoughts, beliefs, and opinions can change depending on their environment. Pete Walker, author of Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, first coined the term “fawning” as a trauma response. Fawning is essentially described as being a chronic people pleaser. Some trauma survivors will engage in fawning, or people pleasing, as a way to diffuse tension if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. But what I don’t think many people know is that fawning extends beyond saying “yes” to everything and everyone’s requests. People pleasers are also the kind of folks mentioned above – the ones who tend to have different beliefs or different personalities depending on who they are around.

For example, someone who is fawning could look like your friend that tells you all the time she is a Democrat, but in a room full of Republicans she will quickly turn into one of the most passionate Republicans the world has ever seen. Someone who is fawning might also look like that cousin of yours who complains constantly about how much she hates this one person in her friend group, but the second she hangs out with that person she acts like the two of them are best friends.

As a whole, the public generally doesn’t take kindly to people who behave like this. It creates a sense of mistrust and frustration among people when they see that somebody acts one way one minute, and is completely different the next minute.

Now I am not saying that every single person who engages in these types of behaviors is fawning, because that simply isn’t the case. But what I am trying to say is that sometimes people aren’t trying to copy others and sometimes people aren’t changing their beliefs and values out of a desperation to fit in. What this behavior actually could be is fawning, or in other words, a type of trauma response.

I myself can be like this when I feel threatened in some ways. Recently, I found myself in a situation that felt tense, uncomfortable, and downright awkward. The people around me were in a heated discussion about something that I actually found offensive.  On a good day, or even a so-so day, I might have chimed in and dared to have an opposing viewpoint. But on this day in particular, I was already having such a bad day, and between the topic of conversation and the harsh tone of everyone’s voices, I was triggered beyond belief. I did the only thing I could do to try to get the conversation to come to a close: I simply agreed with them. Yep, against everything I believe in, I became the person that I thought that they wanted me to be and I agreed with what they were saying, even though, if you were to ask me to speak on that same subject any other day of the week, I would have given you a completely different opinion.  

I didn’t agree with them because I had an overwhelming desire to fit in, and I didn’t pacify them by siding with their beliefs because I wanted to make friends with them. It was more so that I felt emotionally unsafe, and feeling that way put me in such a high state of emotional distress that I said whatever I could to get myself away from the situation. Fawning, like fight or freeze or flight or any of the other trauma responses, is a survival tactic. I wasn’t able to fight or flee the situation, so I became a chameleon and I blended in with my surroundings in the best way that I knew how. 

Millions of folks do this. I’ve watched it time and time again, and while a younger version of me might get annoyed and accuse that person of not being genuine, the person I am today realizes that so many people engage in fawning because they have found themselves in situations that trigger their previous traumas.

While I have come a very long way in my PTSD recovery, I was reminded by this event that there is more work to be done. Even though I am tempted to sit in a pit of shame and self-loathing, I’m refusing to do so because my brain did whatever it could to keep me safe in the moment, and that is no reason to feel ashamed. So here I sit, pouring vulnerability onto the page in the hopes that I can educate other people on this type of trauma response, as I think it is often misunderstood and creates a lot of tension in relationships.

To those of you who have never engaged in fawning and don’t quite get it, please be patient with us. 

And to those of us who struggle with fawning, let us try to have more compassion for ourselves. We have brilliant minds, built for survival. And although fawning doesn’t always serve us well, it did keep us safe and alive for many years. We are all a work in progress, but please oh please, don’t forget to love yourself throughout the journey just as much as you’ll love yourself once you’ve arrived at your destination. 

“I’m So OCD About It.”

“I’m So OCD About It.”

22Im so ocd about it22

**Trigger Warning**

I am quite guilty about having talked like this in the past: “I’m so OCD about it.” About what? How clean I like my house to be, how I organize my closet, etc. I can even recount many times at the gym where I would be in the middle of a fitness class – God forbid the instructor accidentally lost her place and we ended up doing 11 kettlebell swings with the right hand and 10 kettlebell swings with the left hand. I’d be the first to say out loud: “Oh my gosh, we’re uneven, we have to do one more one this side – I’m so OCD about it!”

A lot of us do this, but as I got older and started becoming more seasoned as a therapist, I realized how wrong those comments were. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be a crippling mental health disorder in which we find ourselves having to act on certain impulses in order to quiet the thoughts in our head that just won’t seem to stop.

Yes, people can develop OCD symptoms around cleanliness, disorganization, and numbers, like I mentioned above, but the obsessive thoughts can also be much more than that. You see, when I would make those comments like the ones I mentioned above, I would laugh, my friends would laugh, and we would go about our day. But the truth is, I was joking about an issue that runs so much deeper and is more serious than most folks know. While many of us joke about having OCD, the truest form of the disorder is brutal.

Of all of the things I have battled throughout my life, the one I talk about the least is my OCD, mostly because I know that my OCD is a result of my trauma and in treating the trauma, I am also treating the OCD.

But truth be told, OCD is an absolute beast, one that lives with you, follows you everywhere you go, and keeps you from sleeping at night. It’s the worst friend you’ve ever had, but cannot seem to get rid of. It’s counting how many times you chew your food before you swallow, it’s making sure you step on the scale 3 times just to make sure the scale is right. It’s this irresistible compulsion to say your prayers exactly the same way every night, fearing that something bad will happen to you if you don’t.

This elusive beast comes in many forms, and what I named above are only a few symptoms that people with OCD may struggle with. Looking back on my childhood, I know that my OCD began as early as 3rd grade, where I remember washing my hands so much and for so long that my skin would bleed. As I got older, my obsessions then became about people breaking into our home. I would have to check the doors at night, dis-arm the alarm that my mom already armed, check to ensure the garage door was shut, and then re-arm the alarm. After about 3-4 rounds of doing this each night, only then could I be assured that the doors were truly locked and the alarm was truly set.

And have I mentioned intrusive thoughts? I could write an entire blog post on intrusive thoughts so I won’t dive too deeply into this, but they often couple with OCD. For example, if you’ve ever been driving your car on a highway and suddenly thought to yourself: “What if the car next to me runs me off the road and I crash into a tree and die?”, this is an intrusive thought. Or maybe worse, you’ve even pictured the entire event taking place in your head. This is also an intrusive thought, and you are not alone if you have them.

Often times we develop compulsions to quell our obsessive and intrusive thoughts. Some examples include:

-Driving to work: Did I check the stove to make sure the gas isn’t on? (after having checked it 20 times before leaving) Am I sure my dogs are safely in their crates? What if there is a fire and my house burns down?

-Driving home from work: Did I really blow that candle out in my office or did I just imagine it? Let me turn around, I have to check, I can’t be responsible for burning down the building. *drives back to office, confirms that the candle is blown out, starts driving home again* Okay but what if I imagined that? Did I really blow out that candle? *Gets home from work 45-60 min later than expected because I have to act on my compulsions*

It’s terrible. It’s exhausting. This is the case for so many folks with OCD. It’s not just about wanting your house to be neat and orderly. It’s about needing to do certain things to avoid horrible things from happening and to quiet the brain.

I understand things so much differently now. I used to have the attitude of “I’m not changing the way I speak just to save other’s feelings” but the older I get, the more I realize how much of an impact words have on myself and others (I am a therapist, after all!). Intent does not equal impact – and even if I was just joking all those times when I said “I am so OCD about it”, I realize that it is nothing to joke about.

1. If you have been diagnosed with OCD, know you’re not alone and there is no shame in sharing the thoughts and compulsions you are having. In fact, speaking them out loud takes the power away from them.

2. If you have never been diagnosed with OCD, but resonate with some of what I’m saying in this post, please reach out for help. You don’t have to live like this forever and managing the symptoms truly does get much easier.

3. If you have no experience battling OCD, but often say phrases like “I’m really OCD about it”, maybe consider trying to change your words. What else could you say instead? “It makes me feel frazzled and disorganized when my house is a mess” or “I prefer my closet to be organized by color because it makes me happy” are just a few examples. The beautiful thing about language is that there are millions of ways to say something without using words that might minimize the beast that is OCD.

To learn more about obsessive compulsive disorder, please visit

*All information about OCD is derived from my training as a clinician. No articles or websites were used to create this post.*

Boundaries vs. Threats

Boundaries vs. Threats

Add a heading 2

Let’s break it down, shall we?


Boundaries are limits that we set with other people or sometimes, even ourselves. The point of setting a boundary is to protect our own physical, social, and emotional health. Setting boundaries with others can look like:

-“Thank you for the invitation, but I can’t go out this weekend.”
-“I won’t be joining you for the holidays this year due to the pandemic.”
-“I have let you know repeatedly that I do not want to speak about this topic. If you continue to bring it up, I am going to leave the party.”
-“I have told you that I am not comfortable meeting up without masks. If you are not able to wear a mask, let’s wait to meet up until it’s safer to do so.”

Again, boundaries are put in place to honor ourselves and protect all aspects of our well-being.


Threats are designed for us to get the things we want and/or need, often at the expense of someone else. Threats typically come in the form of a warning that someone or something might be harmed if we don’t get what we want. Some examples of threats might be:

– “If you are going to continue dating that guy, then I’m going to stop asking you how you’re doing since you’re only going to get hurt.”
-“If you don’t spend the holidays with us this year, then I’m not buying you those shoes you have been asking for.”
-“We aren’t having sex at night anymore since you clearly can’t even have the laundry done by the time I get home from work.”
-“I’m paying for this wedding so I think I should have some say in where you have it.”

Threats are about securing our wants and needs by taking something away from someone if things do not go our way.


As you’ll notice in the section on boundaries, none of the examples I provided were about doing harm to the other person in any way. The only thing a boundary should do is help us to protect ourselves without doing harm to others. The line between threats and boundaries starts to blur when we start punishing other people for not getting our way. There is no punishment happening when we tell others, for example, that we aren’t comfortable meeting up with them unless they are wearing a mask. There is punishment happening, however, when we withhold sex, threaten emotional neglect, or hold money over people’s heads in order to get what we want. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to tell the difference between a threat and a boundary. Many people feel that they are one in the same, but that could not be further from the truth; and it is important to suss out the difference so that we are taking good care of both ourselves and our loved ones.

Have Mercy

Have Mercy

Have Mercy

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is my favorite day of the year! Yet, it’s also one of the hardest days of the year for those of us who struggle with being elbow deep in diet culture and eating disorders.

The day after Thanksgiving leaves so many of us feeling guilt and shame over our bodies as a result of what we consumed yesterday. Eating disorders and diet culture, at their core, are really all about having control; and in a world that feels more out of control than ever before, I am sure that the urge to over-exercise and restrict food intake as a way to make up for the the calories consumed yesterday is extremely strong.

So I’m here to ask you one thing, and that is to have mercy on yourself. 

When you find yourself opening your eyes in the morning and immediately thinking about what you ate yesterday, have mercy on yourself.

When you tell yourself that you need to work out as a form of damage control for the food you consumed, please have mercy on yourself.

If you feel as though the only way you deserve to get through the day today is by eating lettuce that you later end up purging, please have mercy on yourself.

If you find yourself staring in the mirror and pinching and poking the softness on your body, wondering if your stomach is more doughy today than it was yesterday, have mercy on yourself.

When you find yourself starting to feel hungry, but do not feel as though you deserve to eat because you enjoyed yourself yesterday, have mercy on yourself.

And finally, if you find that you cannot stop chastising, telling yourself that you were out of control yesterday, and calling yourself names that are shame and guilt inducing, I beg of you, please have mercy on yourself.

You do not have to spend the day obsessing over how to reverse what you ate yesterday because you did absolutely nothing wrong. One huge meal will not, I repeat, will not have any effect on your weight. You deserve to nourish your body today, whether that means having three full meals with snacks, or snacking throughout the entire day.

Try to check in with your body and listen to what it needs. If we tune out the noise of diet culture, we will discover that our bodies already have the answers to the questions that we have been asking our entire lives. So be extra kind to the body parts that you hate, for those body parts have kept you healthy, safe, and alive far before your brain developed enough to allow diet culture and eating disorders get in the way.

When the guilt and the shame and the urges to restrict, purge, over-exercise, or body check start to creep in, please remember to have mercy on yourself. Not just today, but always.

You Just Want Attention

You Just Want Attention

You Just Want Attention

I don’t know how many times I have said this in the past, nor do I know for how many more months I’ll continue to say this, but damn, times are tough. I have more clients than usual who are in a state of suicidal crisis. While I am by no means negating the prevalence of the coronavirus, I do think it is important to point out that the number of suicide attempts and suicide completions far outweigh the number of covid cases in our world. Again, I say this not to take attention away from the seriousness of the pandemic, but to also point out the suicide pandemic that receives little attention.

As a therapist, I am frequently in contact with other care providers who work with my clients, such as doctors, school counselors, and parents. Lately, when suicidal urges increase among my patients, I find more and more doctors, school counselors, and parents having the same response: “I really think he/she/they is just doing this for attention. I don’t think there is any real threat here.”

This statement really hits me like a ton of bricks….not because I feel judgment towards the people who are saying it, but more or less because I find it to be so sad that we have quite literally shamed, chastised, and ignored people for wanting and needing attention from others. When people tell me that they don’t think suicidal urges are anything to be concerned about because it’s just a plea for attention, my response is usually
“Yes, this very well could be for attention, but that doesn’t make those urges any less real. And why risk it? At the end of the day, if you’re child/patient/student/spouse/parent is saying this for attention, then that means something is very wrong and we do need to give this person the appropriate level of attention and care.”

Why do we do this? Why do we condemn people for wanting and needing attention? Why is it such a bad thing to want attention from someone else.? I’ll be the first one to admit it: I love attention. I need it. I crave it. And most of all, I deserve it. I deserve to have others know when I am hurting so that they can help me. When my pain isn’t heard or validated, my suicidal thoughts and urges only become louder.

Now with this being said, I do acknowledge that there are people who can be manipulative with their words or are seeking attention in dangerous or unacceptable ways. I’m not suggesting we should be okay with this. What I’m suggesting is that we stop writing folks off when they say they feel suicidal. Sure, it could be an attempt at getting attention, but often enough, the attention that people happen to be seeking is much needed, even if it’s not necessarily needed in the form of crisis intervention. And besides, why risk it? Why label a suicidal person as ‘attention-seeking’ and then just wait and see if he/she/they really mean it? 

I’ll say it once more – life is hard right now. Like, really friggin hard. And the more I speak to doctors and school staff and parents and other providers, the more I see how hardened we have become to the needs of others. All I ask is this: let’s stop shaming and criminalizing others for being “attention-seeking”. Instead, let’s ask ourselves what kind of attention this person might need and how/if we might be able to help. Let’s all do our best support each other through this so we can all make it out on the other side of this pandemic happy, healthy, and most importantly, alive.

Back to Basics

Back to Basics


Are we all drained right now or what? We’ve got election stress, COVID-19 anxiety, and good old seasonal depression waiting for us right around the corner. Not to mention we are all fighting battles that others know nothing about.

As we head into the colder months, when the flu meets COVID and political tension rises as power shifts from one President to another, let this be your gentle reminder to take the time to get back to the basics of your life so that you are well-equipped to handle what may be coming down the road.

-HYDRATE. Drink drink drink – not beer, not wine, not tequila (okay, maybe tequila). Drink water. As much as your body is telling you that you need. Take notice of how often you’re going to the bathroom and if you need to be consuming more water.

-SLEEP. I know, I know, it is so difficult to be in a regular sleeping routine when life feels like such a jumbled mess these days. But the world is going to keep turning, regardless of whether or not you get sleep, and nothing earth-shattering is going to happen if you log off of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for a while to give your body some R&R. Or maybe something earth-shattering WILL happen – and you’ll find out about it after you have slept. Try not to feed the urge to know everything that is happening in the world the second that it happens.

MOVE. Gyms have stricter regulations. It’s dark by 5pm. The weather is getting cold. We want blankets, and hot chocolate, and Christmas movies, not long walks or cardio or yoga. But as great as all the holiday vibes can be, sitting on the couch or in bed for hours on end can lead to a black hole of depression that can be so hard to get out of. So break up your day a little – go for a walk, stretch, take a 15 minute mild yoga class, or blast heavy metal music and go crush some weights. Either way, the movement will mitigate symptoms of depression and anxiety and will help your body to feel its best.

EAT. November is upon us so everywhere you look you’re going to see diets and holiday fitness programs all designed to help you avoid weight gain during the holidays. This season of life is stressful enough for all of us, don’t throw a diet into the mix and start detoxing or counting calories. If anything, be intentional about eating. Don’t skip meals. It doesn’t matter if all you did was sit on the couch all day – you still deserve and need to eat.

CONNECT. Make plans with friends and family in whatever way feels safe for you these days. Don’t use COVID as an excuse to feed into your depression and stop connecting with your loved ones.

LOOK AROUND. Shut off the TV. Put down your phone. Look away from your laptops and desktops and smart bikes and smart watches, etc. Look around at your environment. Love up on your partner. Snuggle with your pets. Stand outside for a few extra moments after getting out of your car just to feel the crisp air on your face. Be wherever you’re at. Tune in to your surroundings and let the stress of the world melt away, if only for a moment.

In these difficult times, I struggle to maintain all the of above, especially the last one! But when we feel overwhelmed with life, it’s crucial for us all to get back to the basics of living so that we can build strength for the future. So take the time to rest up everyone, for when we wake, we will get back to trying to change the world!