Five Words

For the next few weeks I am going to write about 5 words that I woke up with this morning and shared with my Facebook Group Victorious Women. These 5 words resonate with me in some way on both the negative side and positive side of my life. I want to share with you these words with hopes that you find them as a prompt to write about the word in your journal.

Freedom 💥

Peace ✌🏾

Creativity 🌈

Love ❤️

Mirror (Reflection) 💠

Each of these words have a place within you. Find that place and write about them. Allow the words to speak to you. Allow yourself to speak to the words.

Follow me in the next five weeks as I write about these words (1 a week) and how they filled me for the week.

#journalPrompts

Tahiyya xo

Who are you


Who are you?
Who are you behind your "best" profile pic that took several tries to get just right?
Who are you behind your family vacation photos where everyone is smiling that "perfect" smile?
Who are you behind your philosophical posts you give everyday?
Who are you behind the awesome victories you post that you definitely deserve?
Who are you behind the phone, the laptop, the keyboard, tablet or iPad?
Who are you?
If you're not who you portray yourself to be or really don't know take the the weekend to unplug and connect to YOU! Your authentic YOU
#unplugged #haveAGreatWeekend #selfReflection #wife #mom #therapist #woman

Tahiyya xo

Looking to do some self discovery to redefine who you are, embrace who you are? Looking to develop the roadmap for your life. Contact Tahiyya at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com

Tahiyya is a wife, mother, therapist, blogger, and human. She loves to help women of all ages with self discovery in her coaching program Life, Love, and Health. Tahiyya also treats anxiety and mood disorders as well as addiction, binge eating, body image issues, maternal mental health, relationship challenges, family challenges, and ADHD in her practice in Matthews, NC. http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

Fried chicken and brownies: Tale of emotional eating 


So it's the weekend and I had Saturday dinner at my mom's. Like all black families when we gather we eat. Yes we eat at funerals. We eat at weddings. We eat at baby showers. We eat at any type of gathering where family and friends get together. Eating has become a source for comfort. Food is comforting.
The foods we eat have become a part of our emotions. You know you that question "what do you feel like eating?". My husband asks this question all the time. Of course I will answer with the food of choice based on how I'm feeling. If I'm feeling sad I want some good 'ol cooking like fried chicken and add the dessert to make everything right…brownies. There have been days where I've needed to calm my anxiety and I'm heading to the local Chinese restaurant for General Tso or Sesame chicken and white rice. Again food choice is based on my emotions. The other night I was mad at my husband and needed a McDonald mango pineapple smoothie. Emotional eating.
Emotional eating is when you're eating to cope with your emotions instead of eating because you're physically hungry. Emotional eating satisfies you and your emotional needs for the moment however the cause for the emotion is still there lingering. It's the same as addiction, self medicating to cope with challenges, emotions, thoughts, and situations.
Recovery from emotional eating does exists. Here's a list of ways to manage the urge to grab that bag of potato chips when you're bored or the gallon of ice cream when you're sad

  1. Use STOP. I spoke about this skill in another post called STOP. The Stop skill is a DBT skill that is used for distress tolerance or when you're in crisis and need to take a step back in order to problem solve and respond without impulse to urges (https://nocouchneeded.com/2017/07/24/stop/).
  2. Give a name to your emotion. Most time when we are emotional eating we are not even aware that is what we're doing. We get so wound up in our emotions that the eating is done unconsciously. Instead when you're feeling mad, sad, glad, happy, etc. put a name to that emotion. Say I feel…! Sit with the emotion. Allow yourself to feel it. Don't escape from it with food.
  3. Talk it out. Instead of running to get that pineapple mango smoothie talk it out. Express what you're feeling and thinking. Then work on resolving the problem with a solution not with food. You can definitely do this with a friend for support.
  4. Go for a walk. When the emotions hit you and food is on your mind redirect your thoughts to walking, running, jogging, or some form of exercise. Exercise is a form of healthy coping to help fight off the urges.
  5. Listen to your body. The body will tell you when it's hungry. So if you're eating and it's not because you're hungry stop and get in tune with your body. Listen to what it's saying and feeling (I'm bored or I'm sad or I'm stressed). That's your que to use a healthy coping skill to manage the urge to eat and do some problem solving.
  6. Lean in to the urge. If the urge to to eat is becoming overwhelming then lean into the urge with an alternative. Try fruits and vegetables instead of that cake and ice cream or that bag of potatoes chips. It's ok. You will beat it next time.
  7. Develop a stress management plan. Stress is the reason why many of us emotional eat. Talk to a professional about developing a stress management plan that will improve the stress in your life thus leading to urges to emotional eat.
  8. Seek professional help. There are therapists out there that can help you address the root of the issue and help you develop healthier coping skills to overcome emotional eating. It's ok to go to therapy. We're here to help and support you. #noshame #noblame #nojudgment

If you or someone you know struggles with emotional eating or food addiction and would like to know how to start recovery contact me today!
http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

Tahiyya xo

Check out

Breaking Free from Emotional Eating
http://a.co/cHCNPzy

He calls me sister: My dad has dementia

abuThis maybe the first time I’ve written about having a father with dementia. My dad was diagnosed with dementia about 14 years ago. For many, many years it was extremely hard to go see him. I hated to see my father in the condition he was in. I could see his eyes searching for answers as he asked questions and we would provide him answers that he was unfamiliar with or caused more confusion. I hated to see how the spunky, I don’t take no shit, fashionable man was now becoming withdrawn and wearing dickies and a t-shirt as if to be retiring; from life. His spirit seems to be leaving his body.

The hardest part came when we had to put him in a facility about five years ago. He was already depressed but now depression grew as he could not remember any visits from family or friends. Those family and friends visit did become less and less so now he really believed he was all alone. I remember visiting him one day and one of his buddies was sitting with him. He said to my dad, “see you do have family. I told you they come to see you”. I learned that day that he was telling residents that he didn’t have family ☹

This weekend my dad had an episode in which he was not himself. I visited him on yesterday to talk about the incident only to know what I already knew; he would not remember.

Caring for an adult parent can be very hard for a caregiver. Often you feel alone and isolated. You feel overwhelmed with decisions, thoughts, emotions, and trying to balance your own life. Sometimes caregiver guilt seeps in as you find yourself putting off going to see the loved one if they are in a facility or spending less time with your parent because it is hard. For me anxiety was my biggest issue because I was trying to balance making sure everyone was happy and that the right decisions were made or that I would show up to meet everyone’s needs as they related to my dad.

My dad calls me his sister. He sees his daughter but he’s “18” so I can’t be his daughter and be older than him (which is funny every time he says it). So he calls me the next best thing…his sister. Learning this I was sad but I saw the symbolic meaning that he knows that I am so one that cares for him and because I’m not his mom the next person would be a sister.

As his sister I want to share FIVE caregiving tips to help you with self care

  1. Start a daily self care routine. This can be something as simple as meditating for 5 minutes daily; taking a walk alone, getting a hobby, or watching a good movie that has nothing to do with your reality. I like cartoons.
  2. Find a support group for caregivers of parents with… (ie Alzheimer, Dementia, Cancer, Aging, etc.). There is nothing like knowing that you are not alone and can surround yourself around other people who are going through what you are going through. I am a strong believer that people heal through connection.
  3. Ask for help!!!! I was (still am) not a person to ask for help. I would rather get a pulsating headache then ask for help. Over the years this affects your own health when you allow your own issues get in the way. It’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help does not say anything except you care enough to get the best for yourself and meet your caregiving needs.
  4. Accept help. If someone asks to help, accept it. I used to say no thank you. I got it. I got it would lead to more than I can handle and then feeling anxious and later depressed. Again, accepting help does not speak about your character except that you are not stubborn and that you are trying your best to meet your own needs and the needs of your parent.
  5. Take a break. When you feel that things are getting out of control for you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually take a break. There are respite programs out there that will sit with your love one while you take a break. If they are in a residential facility talk to staff. Trust me. They do understand.

Caregiver stress, anxiety and depression is real. It can be managed if you start caring for yourself. Remember how can you take care of others if you are neglecting caring for yourself.

If you or someone you know needs support with managing the caregiver stress, anxiety, and depression please seek care. Here’s a list of resources. I am also a licensed therapist and I do work with families and individuals with Anxiety and Depression and caregiver stress. I will be honored to help. Contact me.

Resources for caregivers

www.alz.org/care

www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com/

www.alzheimers.net

Tahiyya xoxo

STOP

This week I believe everyone’s anxiety has been through the roof. I have really put my DBT training to use and I have been teaching the STOP skill. Not only have I used it with clients, I have actually had to use it for myself. Often we become so quick to react to our feelings and thoughts instead of mindfully responding. STOP is a skill that will help you respond and not react.

So let’s look at exactly what STOP is.

Stop

STOP is a distress tolerance skill that is taught by DBT trained therapists. A distress tolerance skill is a skill that helps an individual that is heading into an emotional crisis and they need help to tolerate the emotional pain. The STOP skill allows one to become mindfully aware of what is going on and to take a different course of action if possible. In other words I like to say it stops you in your track so that you can step outside yourself in order to bring awareness to the situation that is causing distress and bring awareness to yourself.

S= Stop. Freeze in your tracks. Don’t react to the situation just because your emotions is driving you to do so. 

T= Take a step back. It is time to step away from the siutation. Take a break by breathing in through your nose; out through your mouth. Deep calming breaths. Don’t react. 

O= Observe. Take notice of what is going on with you inside and out. What are you feeling? What are your thoughts? What exactly is the situation? What are others doing and saying that are around you. 

P= Proceed mindfully. You should act mindfully; with awareness. Consider your thoughts and feelings when making a decision. You should also take note of the feelings and thoughts of others and the situation before responding. Ask yourself “Which actions will make matters better or worse?”

This skill can be applied to any situation that you believe is distressing such as relationship conflict, urges to self harm or use substances, urges to participate in an addictive behavior, fear provoking situations, anger provoking situations; or any feelings or thoughts that makes you uncomfortable.

As a therapist I help clients put this skill to practice by practicing in session how to use the skill to respond to situations and not react. Reaction is on impulse and usually driven by our thoughts and feelings. Response is with awareness and driven by being mindful and being informed.

If you find yourself struck with an event that is distressing and need to get yourself in check, try the STOP skill. If you find yourself needing some help, hey I am available by phone or teleconference. I provide skills training, coaching, and DBT therapy.  I’m just an email away so schedule today!

 

Tahiyya xo

Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets by M. Linehan.

http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

 

If you like what you are reading and want more; hey follow the blog. I love helping others by teaching new skills, educating and bringing awareness, and just being me…Tahiyya:)

The black woman and depression: It’s not always sadness

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Growing up in the black community crying was not an option. Many families did not know how to embrace emotions because for generations we were not allowed to show emotions. For hundreds of years emotions were a sign of weakness (crying) or short lived (happiness). Over time the one emotion that we were good at showing was anger. Anger showed on our faces even if we were not aware of it. Anger seeped in our conversations even when we tried to be friendly. Anger even showed up in our work as we used it for energy to be productive in the fields. Anger was the go to anger for protection against all the sadness and pain we were feeling in our generational past and even today.

So let’s fast forward to today. In my own personal experience I remember saying “I don’t have time to cry”. That was my go to saying when I was feeling sad, hurt, embarassed, frustrated, or even happy. Crying took time. Crying meant that my sadness was real. So I would quickly resort to being withdrawn and always irritable (another form of anger). I see this a lot not just in clients but also in family, friends, media, characters on television, and on social media posts. Again anger was a way to be protetive of yourself against the vulnerability that came with being sad. However behind that anger was a deeper rooted issue. Depression.

Depression does not always show up as not wanting to get out of bed. It is not always crying for hours or days. It is not always feeling blue. It is not always skipping out on family and friends or things that you love to do. It is not always feeling and admitiing to feeling suicidal (that’s another upcoming post). In the black community depression can show up in those above mention ways but it also shows up as anger. It shows up in spending time with family and friends and feeding your pain with drama to make you more irritable. It shows up as the attitude. It shows up at the dinner table as  we take in more food than we normally would on a good day. It shows up as pretending to have it together. It shows up as emotional suicide as we cope with the red wine every night. It shows up as smoking a blunt or doing a line or two in order to make it through your day. It shows up in yelling  at our kids for simple things. It shows up as being withdrawn from our kids or other love ones. It shows up as the mask that we wear and call it being independent; strong or “that bitch”.

I like to tell people that no matter how we internalize our thoughts and feelings it will show up. Crying makes it obvious and with the stigma behind tears in the black community we dare not cry; not even over spilled milk.  We better get angry! 

We better get help. There are different ways to getting help for your depression instead of getting or feeling angry.

First seek professional help to assess for depression or depressed mood. Talk about what you’re feeling and thinking and how it has affected your day to day living. Sometimes this may include getting a formal diagnosis and medication if the medical professional recommends it (I’m not a doctor so I can’t talk much on medicaiton).

Second find a therapist that specializes in working with depression disorders. There are different types of therapy that can help such as talk therapy, DBT therapy, CBT therapy, and experiential therapy (these are the modalities I use). Your therapist will assist you in developing a course of treatment to help address the underlying issues and develop skills to cope in a healthier manner.

Third utilize your support system. In the black community we also have the stigma surrounding going to therapy and keeping our flaws to ourselves. Let’s end that stigma. It’s time to  connect to those love ones that will be there to help you get through your tough times; make you laugh, and hold you accountable for your treatment. Healthy relationships and connections can lead to healthier recovery.

Fourth develop a routine of getting outside and getting some exercise. This can be something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day. Exercise helps with the whole body; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Fifth and lastly know that you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay but what’s most important is that you acknowledge what you are feeling and seek the appropriate care.

Ladies we don’t always have to be strong and independent. It is okay to take care of ourselves and get our mental health in check. Sending lots of love and hugs xoxo

 

Tahiyya xo

 

If you or someone you know is depressed and feeling suicidal please get help and call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Other resources

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting: Terrie M. Williams …

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America: Charisse …

If you live in the Matthews and Concord area and need a therapist please contact me at www.tahiyyamartin.com/contact

 

 

Seeking Safety

Trauma occurs in many different forms from sexual abuse/assault, physical abuse/assault, emotional abuse and neglect, birth trauma, to witnessing and being a victim of acts that are distressing psychologically. When one experiences a traumatic incident they are usually in a crisis and the behaviors that follow can seem abnormal to other people. Often as time goes by the body will begin to respond to the traumatic experience as well (The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van Der Kolk MD is a good book to read to understand this concept). 
In the past, clients that I have treated who have been victims of sexual abuse and physical abuse often talk about both physical and emotional symptoms for example high blood pressure and recurring nightmares or headaches and anxiety. This is very common. The body does keep the score. 
In treating trauma it is very important to first help the client with building self compassion, empowerment, setting clear boundaries for self and developing safety as well as identifying supportive, healthy relationships. No matter the theory or approach used to treat trauma safety has to be established in order for one to trust the process and work on their recovery. 

So here’s just a few tips on helping to get into a safe place when symptoms of trauma become overwhelming 

  • Do some breathing work and focus on your breaths. You want to breathe in to fill the lungs and breathe out to empty the lungs while focusing on your breath. 
  • Close your eyes and visually imagine a safe place. My safe place is being near water. I would close my eyes and imagine myself near flowing water (while working on my breath work)
  • Self talk use self talk to help you deescalte your symptoms (rapid beating heart, hypervigilance, running thoughts, etc) and get into your safe place. You’ll remind yourself that you’re going to your safe place or to slow down your heart beat or to being yourself into the present. 
  • Call your supports. Sometimes hearing a nice familiar voice of someone that can soothe you back to safety can be a great idea. When I’m Recovery or going thorough emotional healing building a support system is very important. 
  • Seek a professional. Therapy is a great place to learn how to manage intrusive thoughts and other symptoms of PTSD when self care is not enough. 

Dealing with trauma and trauma related symptoms can be distressful and challenging but know that you can get through it. You can seek your safe place. 

Tahiyya xo

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma and the trauma related symptoms please seek help. If you live in NC and would like to make an appointment to see me please call me at 910-434-5325 or email me at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com. 

Seek Safety 

Trauma is my name 

“No one knows the troubles I’ve been through. They don’t see the scars hidden beneath my spirit. They don’t understand the…

💥Hypervigilance 

💥Anxiousness 

💥Running thoughts 

💥Sleepless nights

💥Emotional roller coaster 

💥Irritability 

💥Feeling trapped in my own body

💥Reoccurring nightmare

💥Don’t feel safe

💥Boundaries broken

💥Withdrawn 

💥Walking on eggshells 

💥Loud voices are frightening 

💥Shame 

Instead they see the smile that hides the pain. They see the loving and kind me. The always on top of things me. The beautiful on the outside me. I can’t tell my story. I can’t share my pain. I can’t show my shame. Trauma is my name”

Are you hiding behind the pain of trauma? It’s time to get help. 

Here’s some resources just for you!

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/

http://www.mntraumaproject.org/resources-for-clients

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://www.amazon.com/Courage-Heal-Survivors-Sexual-Anniversary/dp/0061284335

Summer makes me lose my shit!

Summer time is quickly approaching. The trees are full and green. The grass grows quickly every week. School lets out for summer vacation. Pools are opening up for kids and adults to splish splash all day. Camps are enrolling children for daily get aways. AND for my house…this means it is time for the kids to be home and utility and grocery bills to go up!!!

I have never been a fan of summer. Although I love sunshine and thunderstorms I hate the heat and humidity in North Carolina. I hate the critters that the summertime brings (aka snakes). There’s nothing like coming home and finding a black snake wrapped around a tree in the driveway and your husband is on the road!!! Oh My God Why!!!!!!

So during the summer my anxiety is on ten  from mommy guilt, wife guilt, work guilt and of course from my phobia of snakes. My cat ran away six months ago so there goes my pet therapy!

Oh sh$@ It’s Summer!!!!


Summer makes me lose my shit!

There’s no relaxing during the summer. The kids take a break not only from school but also from doing chores as well; at least that’s the way I see it. The hubby is gone all week so I’m left to entertain kids who have expensive taste and believe money grow on trees…literally. I am playing the role of working mom trying to build an empire to leave to these kiddos. There’s more cleaning and less me time (gonna miss just sitting alone enjoying the morning after the kids run off to school). And every stick in the yard is a snake waiting to strike (this phobia is serious). 

Mommy guilt. Wife Guilt. Work Guilt. 

Am I good enough?

Are the kids enjoying their summer?

The house isn’t clean enough! Nothing is getting done!

The light bill is going to be high?

Will there be enough food to last for the week? Ugh I have to go back to store!

Am I being a good mom because I’m working during the summer?

I need a break already; we all have cabin fever. Is this bad?

Should I give my son/daugther his medication during the summer?

Should I take my medication during the summer?

I bet my husband is enjoying not being here!

Is that a snake over there! Get the moth balls!!!

and so on and so forth!!!!

Summer makes me lose my shit!

This summer I am choosing not to lose my shit! As a woman, mom, and therapist I completely understand how being a mom during the summer can be stressful. Here’s a few tips to help:

  • Don’t bother with schedules. What does keeping a schedule do for your? Why is the schedule important during the summer? It is okay to not be in control. Relinquish your control over daily operations.
  • Utilize park time. There’s nothing like taking the kids to the park to get out the house for a breather. While the children are playing use this time to do some brisk walking or light exercise to get your body moving and mind clearer or get an escape in a fantasy book. Join a mommy group to meet in the park for play dates. Join a walk and talk therapy in the park to help work on some “mommy issues” while the kids enjoy their play time (mental health is important).
  • Meditation. Since the kids will be home it may be a little difficult to get that morning meditation in that I’m used to getting. Well I plan on making it a family meditation with my youngest son and six month old. Meditation is good for calming any anxiety or thoughts that tend to flow through your mind when you take a quilt trip OR quiet the thoughts of your snake phobia!.
  • Get creative. While the kids are home get creative about the time you are spending together. Understand that not all fun times have to cost you an arm or leg. Mommy groups on Facebook are great resources to find some local happenings in your town to help keep the kiddies entertain.
  • Affirmation. We all tend to question how we are as parents. I do it all the time. As a matter of fact I just did it last week. It is very importnat to do some daily affirmation around being a mom. So what if the house isn’t clean today. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. So what if the kids had to eat a sandwich and some potatoe chips for dinner. It does not make you a bad mom. Ease up on yourself.
  • Self Care. The summer is overwhelming when you have all the kids in the home at one time and you are trying to do your best in keeping everyone sane. However it is most important to take care of yourself. Write down a summer self care routine that will rejuvenate you each week. Post it up on your refrigerator. Do the routine each week.
  • Relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You are a good mom. You are a good partner. You are a good You! And all these negative thoughts (like snakes) are in your mind!.

 

Have a funtastic summer!

Tahiyya xo

 

If the summer causes you to lose your shit and you are facing some mommy guilt, wife guilt, work guilt and intersted in working through guilt with some Walk and Talk Therapy in the Park contact me today!  You can reach me by phone at 910-434-5325 or email at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.

***local residents of Matthews and Mint Hill, NC and surrounding areas only***