Not There Yet

Our life is a journey. I learned to stop asking are we there yet and instead just sit back and enjoy the ride. At least that’s what my mommy told me. She also told me not to make her pull this car over. She told me that repeatedly. Did your mom tell you?
I like it better when I am just riding. No where to rush off to. No need to rush. No need to hurry. No need for the split second thinking involved in speeding up for a yellow light. Can you make it before it turns red? It was red when you looked up, wasn’t it? Did anybody see?
Today we are all steady rushing around. No time to smell the roses. No time to smell the coffee. It’s usually instant anyways. Straight into an insulated mug it goes. How do you drink your coffee?
I have a bedtime. I like going to bed early. I enjoy good sleep. Don’t you?
That was a nice little distraction. But I just gotta ask one last question…are we there yet?
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Online Therapy Sessions for Social Media Addiction

Have you ever wanted to decrease the amount of time you spend on social media and being distracted by the internet? Was the task much more difficult than you imagined it would be? You are not alone.

I have been free of my social media addiction for several years now. I quit in 2013 and life has transformed in so many ways:

  • I have increased productivity and creativity;
  • I have more time for friends and family;
  • My mental health has improved greatly;
  • I am more aware and compassionate.

If you would like to live a more fulfilling life, you can start today. I offer therapy sessions via Skype, weChat, and Google Hangouts in several different timezones. No matter where you are connected in the world, help is here.

Please contact me today via email ingramr88@gmail.com to set up your first session and build a happier life.

Peer-to-Peer Therapy: India’s Approach to the Mental Health Crisis

If you haven’t heard or read, India is suffering greatly with providing mental health care to the millions who need it. To help us understand how much of a crisis they are in, remember that India has a population of 1.2 billion people with only 43 mental health hospitals.

In order to combat the crisis, communities started introducing peer-to-peer therapy. Peer-to-peer therapy is talk therapy provided by a neighbor. In order to qualify as a counselor, you do not need a college degree or certificate. Those wishing to be community therapists take a class that instructs them on how to perform talk therapy. After the session, community counselors then go on to provide talk therapy for their neighbors.

This seems like a remarkable idea. Neighbors helping neighbors  during a crisis. What do you think about peer-to-peer therapy? Would you be willing to give or receive help for depression or a mental illness from your neighbor ?

 

To listen to the NPR radio show about peer-to-peer therapy in India, click here.

The Power of the Individual

As news reels roll tape after tape and radios play session after session of all the chaos that’s going on in the world, it’s no wonder that some of us are starting to feel a bit insane. Or if you are like me, you may be feeling completely insane. For those of you who are also like me and are not currently connected as the rest of the world, you still get your dose of updates from friends, family, and co-workers.

The swirl of chaos I hear makes me question where I stand in all of this. I am a human being. I am part of a collective whether I chose to be affiliated or not, whether I voted for a particular party or not, I am still part of society. I am part of the collective. We reflect society. Individuals reflect the collective. Amidst all of the chaos, I can only think more deeply about the truth behind such a statement. I can think about this in two ways.

#1: If individuals reflect society then our individual change and progress will make a great impact on society. The power lies in our hands. We can make an individual change that will be reflected by society.

#2: If individuals reflect society then society would therefore reflect the individual. If that is true then what we see in society is the truest reflection of ourselves.

Upon accessing all of the uproar and protests on the news today, I am not upset at any one candidate or any particular party affiliation. I look at this new world we live in with eyes of curiosity with the above statements in mind. What must be going on in the state of the individual for us, the collective or society, to be in the state of chaos that we are in? Are individuals more fearful, mistrustful, and depressed than before? Individually, are we in more of a chaotic state than before?

The most important fact is that real change and growth for the collective or society rests in the hands of the individual. The individuals make up the collective. There is no one else to blame as life is not a game of blame. This is not about where to assign responsibility. This is about accepting your power as an individual.

Going Without a Mobile Phone in 2017

A few days into the New Year of 2017, I decided it was time to ditch my mobile phone device, my smartphone. This was not my first time thinking about the idea of being phoneless. For a while in 2015 and 2016, I played with the idea of going backwards in time and getting a flip-phone.
At any rate, I decided that today was good as good as any. I guess I did have some middle ground I could rest upon, Google Voice. Before totally giving up my mobile phone, I set up a google voice number for instances where it seemed almost dire. (Use your own discretion as to what is deemed dire. Dire in my case was needing a number for potential clients could call and leave messages for me. )
How to Go Without a Mobile Phone?
Step #1: Open up and Tell People
This step, especially as Step 1 may seem a bit weird. Let me assure you that you will want to be as prepared as possible when doing this. Doing this step first also strengthens your resolve for the time after you have stopped using your mobile phone. You will appreciate knowing possible objections to your decisions and criticisms from others as knowing them will help you come up with creative alternatives.
Step #2: Plan Your First 30 days
Having a plan for your first 30 days will help ease the transition for yourself. For just 30 days, try to calendar out for usual interactions you would have by phone. For example, make a plan weekly to communicate with your friends and family. Going mobile less, time can be your friend or your enemy. Trust me, you want time to be your friend. Having time as your friend means that you stay committed to time contraints as much as possible and you want others aware of your commitment. When events or such circumstances require that you be at a place at a certain time, being mobile less, you do not have the option to text or call to let someone know you will be late. Planning ahead is how you make time your friend.
Step #3: Know Your Limits
Knowing yourself and your limits is crucial. Know that sometimes, you will need to communicate with others that are not immediate to you. Let’s face it, in this day and age, you are probably never less than 10 feet away from a person with a mobile device or access to a telephone. Use your resources wisely. I do not advocate using unsafe measures but I have been know to walk up to a stranger or a store to ask someone to use their phone if I get lost. Know that there are limits. Know when you need to reach out for help or when you need access to a phone while you are out. Lastly, have confidence that you will be okay. Even in emergency situations, think clearly and act fast.
What have I learned since going mobile less?
I learned that there are not nearly as many emergencies that pop up that require me to have access to a phone. I also learned that I have to rely on my instinct and myself when faced with a problem or issue instead of relying on instant communication. I have learned a lot of random things going mobile less:
  • I learned how to navigate my surroundings better;
  • I learned that not everything is an emergency and that eventually everything works itself;
  • I learned that life is more interesting when you are looking up and not down at a phone;
  • I learned that I am much more resourceful than I ever could have imagined.
If you think going mobile less is for you, give it a try. Even if you don’t think it’s best for you, it won’t hurt to give it a try and see what you learn. Let me know if you have tried to go mobile less before or if you are going mobile less now.
Good luck!

Experiencing the Unexplainable

29 days into the New Year of 2017 and already something feels really awry. I am not just talking about the political environment, no. Something else is happening inside of me and maybe you at this very moment. Stick with me as I tried to describe it.

The very beginnings of it started maybe two months ago. This sudden, very heavy cloud of dread started to form over my head. I noticed that I was more anxious than usual, more irritable than usual, and more frustrated that usual.

These feelings were not the run of the mill, usual feelings that are mostly fleeting and have some basis to understand them. No, these feelings seemed to have come out of nowhere and STRONG.

At work I was mechanically going through the motions but something felt amiss. At home, I was unsatisfied and hardly able to do anything because I was so tired when I got home, more tired than usual. I also felt confused because given my lifestyle, I would seem to be a happy person with minimum worries. I am married to a great husband, I was gainfully employed at a law firm as a paralegal making okay money, and living in a nice neighborhood in a rather affluent small town. Even at my job, I sat down in an air-conditioned office, rarely saw clients and had much autonomy. But something felt very wrong.

One day on my way to work in November 2016, the clouds of dread totally descended upon me. I began crying heavily and soon I was having a full blown panic attack around going into the office. I was paralyzed with anxiety and fear that I could not get into words but it felt like that if I stepped foot into the office, I would drop dead. The fear was so real that I decided I would rather die now so I insisted upon trying to jump out of the car while we were driving. My husband jumped into action to grab me, locked the doors, and pulled over.

All I was able to tell him between choked tears was that I simply could not do it anymore. Do what anymore, he asked? Life, I replied. I could not do life anymore. Not in this way. I crumpled up into my chair, hoping that my soul would leave my body, rendering me lifeless. I stopped caring about any and everything at that moment.

My husband became silent and began to drive. I had lost track of all sense of time and responsibility but soon, I noticed that the car had stopped and my husband was on my side of the car pulling on my arm for me to get out. We were at the Emergency Room at the local hospital. I don’t remember what he said as I was totally checked out but I assume he told them what he just occurred and that he didnt know what to do. They took me back into a room for me to undress into a hospital gown while they took inventory of my things. They involuntarily admitted me into a psychiatric in-patient program where I stayed almost two weeks.

Fast forward to the beginning of January 2017. My employer was nice enough to let me return to my job as if nothing happened and was very helpful to help me get back up and running again, of which I was grateful. Life was still going on around me. Trump was still president-elect and people were still mad about it. Future still had a number one song on radio play and I still couldn’t understand what he was saying. Time had not stood still. As I tried to settle back into the swing of things, something still felt off. Each day I would come home tired as ever, frustrated and confused. A few days into the New Year and once again I had another panic attack about going into work. I would sit in the car and cry my soul out, hurting from a place deep inside that I could not put into words. At work, I was not focused as all I could think about was when I would leave and how I did not want to come back ever again. This kind of thinking and feeling was not conducive to productivity which made me feel depressed.

One day, I decided that enough was enough of feeling this unexplainable dread. Enough was enough of not knowing or feeling lost. Enough was enough.

I couldn’t even articulate what I had had enough of. I just knew I had to try something.

Simply going to work, coming home, watching the news, and trying to be present with friends was not enough. So one fateful day, I typed up my resignation letter to my nice kushy job and quit. According to my surprised husband and family, I quit without rhyme or reason. When asked why, I told several different reasons but none contained the real reason. The reason couldn’t not be articulated. To my boss I told her that I wanted to go into self-employment. To my co-workers I told them that I may be moving soon. To my husband and family, I told them it was because I wanted to be a housewife. None of these reasons were lies but neither were they the truth.

So why did I quit? And what do I expect to gain from quitting? How will I sustain myself or help bring in income for my family? These are all the same questions that others have asked me including my family, my husband, and quite frankly, myself. Stay tuned to the blog as I tell you my journey of self-healing and explaining the unexplainable. This will not be a story that is retold by me. This is the documentation of a story unfolding.