My baby not allowing me to be great!

So for those of you who don’t know me don’t know that I’d given birth again to a little girl about 15 months ago. She’s my fourth child, first with my new husband. She’s the baby of six, were a blended family. The older kids are ages 22 to 11. So yes I definitely started over.

I’m starting over I had to make some sacrifices that at the time we’re ok. However as the baby turned into a toddler and I grew restless I became more aware of the sacrifices and later became frustrated.

Frustrated?

Yes. Frustrated!

My frustration grew because a part of me was restless and ready to get back to building my dream. The other part couldn’t move because I had a toddler attached to my hip. I felt trapped by responsibilities as a mother and wife and abandoned by my hopes and dreams. Then one day it hit me.

My dreams or even the fire for my passion doesn’t have to burn out. Instead I have to accept that today is my reality of being a repeat mom and that my dream is either on hold or my passion has to be modified.

This means that you can balance your life and the roles you have and still pursue your dreams or passion.

How?

  1. Radical acceptance. Accept your reality. Embrace your role and know that it can’t be changed. It’s a blessing to be a mom, wife, employee or employer, a friend, daughter, etc. This role is something out of your control so let go of the emotional reaction towards it.
  2. Ask yourself what can I do now that will keep my dream alive without losing hope? This is where you look at avenues that will allow you to pursue your dream or perhaps just plan out your dream until the time comes that you can make some things happen. For me I attend trainings, I write out my dreams as a reminder. I do vision boards. I participate in groups that allows me to connect with those who have similar dreams. I may not be able to go full force but the slow and steady is where I’ve come to accept.
  3. Boundaries. Set boundaries in your life that allows you time and space to balance your work- life schedule. When you’re so busy in one role over the other it leaves no time to put up those hats and enjoy yourself. Thus you become stressed, frustrated, and resentful towards your love ones. This is where you say no work calls after 6pm, dinner time is at the table for connecting, kids in bed by 8 so you can have some time with your yourself and then your partner before you end the night. You set the rules. Take care of you.
  4. Communication is always the key. Talk to your spouse/partner about your feelings. Don’t hold it in because again you’ll start to develop resentment. Instead discuss the importance of the dream or passion and how support is viable so that you can achieve your dreams even if you have to modify how to achieve them or move at a slower pace while you finish out your role as a mom to young kids.

So the next time you think your kid isn’t allowing you to be great reframe that and say my kid is allowing me to be a great parent in this moment. My dreams and passion isn’t gone. I just have to change the way I achieve them or my timeline to achieve them has changed and that’s ok.

You’re all great

Xo

Tahiyya

If you need help with your frustration in parenting and want to learn how to balance your needs with the needs of others please contact me to schedule you a FREE 15 minute consultation.

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

 

 

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

I’m scared

I’m scared…You hit a brick wall while traveling this Road called life. It just got real and now you need to see someone and it needs to be now.


“I’m scared”.

You have all these questions in your head. You have all these thoughts speed racing through your mind. What if they can’t help me? What if I don’t like them? Will I have to tell my secrets? Will things get worse? Cry!!!

“I’m scared”

So you decide to treat the issue yourself. You self soothe or better yet self medicate with your choice of drug, alcohol or process. A nice way to put addiction. It works for a while but when you’re off your “high” the problem returns.

“I’m scared”

Finally you give up and give in and decide to give therapy a try but still holding on to that pacifier. You’re not sure how things will go so it’s your back up plan.

“I’m scared”

But things take a turn. The therapist is really nice. The therapist offered you a space of safety to work on healing and recovery. The therapist helps you to get out of your head and really feel the emotions so you can now do some problem solving and get back on track with living healthier, happier AND without the pacifier.

“I’m not scared. I’m recovering. I’m happy”

Taking the first step to therapy can be scary. But it’s always worth a try.

Tahiyya xo

If you’re ready and looking for a place of safety to address the brick walls in your life or to remove the “pacifier” to stop self soothing and medicating. Please contact Tahiyya Martin here. She is a licensed professional counselor associate and licensed clinical addiction specialist associate in North Carolina. She offers free 15 minute phone consultations.

(Photos: All rights reserved. Photos may not be reproduced or used in any manner). 

The dark is my light. A look at depression 

The dark is my light. It’s where I’m comfortable. It’s where I’m allowed to be nothing, do nothing, say nothing. The dark is my light. 

The dark is my light. It’s where my soul cries out from pains of my past. It’s where my secrets gather around me to choose which one to think about today. The dark is my light. 

The dark is my light. It’s where my inner voices meet up to congregate about my past, my pain, my failures, my life. It’s where I’m warmed by my blanket and I lay here lonely but not alone. The dark is my light. 

Sincerely 

Depression 😔

Depression can make you feel like the dark is your light because you’re trapped in the dark and light can’t seep through. But it can. 
Getting help for depression isn’t easy. Heck getting help for anything isn’t easy but it is doable. 

The first step to battling depression is to know that you have depression. That includes denial about depression. 

The second step is to seek therapy. A therapist can help you with identifying the origin of your depression as well as help you with regulating that depressed mood using mindfulness and cognitive techniques. In therapy you will develop a plan of action to increase your awareness of your depressed symptoms, acknowledge that they are there, and then get active in redirecting those thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and urges. 

The third step is to get active in life. Exercise daily. Enjoy the sunlight. Meditate and journal your thoughts. Smile when you’re happy and cry when you’re sad. It’s ok. Honor who you are. Be present in the moment. 

If you or someone you know struggle with depression or the dark is your light or you want to know more about how to start the third step please call and schedule an appointment with me at 910-435-5325
If you live out of state and is looking for a therapist closer please use search engines like Psychology Today and Good Therapy to find a qualified therapist. 

Get help. It’s ok. 
Tahiyya xo

Resources
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

1-800-273-8255

https://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/resources

The many faces of anxiety Pt1

Hi I’m Tahiyya and I have anxiety!

Before working in the mental health field the closest I got to knowing what anxiety was is when my granny would talk about taking her nerve pills. Nerve pills. I didn’t know what nerve pills were. I assumed it was for her nerves in her body. Little did I know it was for being nervous. Anxiety.

My granny didn’t appear nervous. As a matter of fact she was very strong. She was quick with the tongue and didn’t take no junk. My granny never showed that she was worried about anything.  She slept good at night and go up early the next morning with the chickens. My granny sat on the porch and watched the people and enjoyed her fresh air. If she wasn’t on the porch she was watching the news or The Andy Griffith Show. Granny didn’t look like she had anxiety. Silent Sufferer.

Granny’s story is just one of many when it comes to the faces of anxiety.  In the older generation many took nerve pills which were actually anxiety medication. The older generation kept their worries to themselves because that is what they were taught to do by their parents. In doing so they were able to walk around as if nothing was worrying them. You would often hear the saying, “I’m going to leave it in God’s hands”. However you would hear your grandma (and sometimes Grandpa) praying every night over the same thing aka worry.

Let’s look at other faces of anxiety.

Perfectionist. Always busy trying to make things look good out of fear of rejection. Unable to sleep at night as your thoughts are consumed with plans for the next day, what you forgot to do that day, who is going to be upset, how you could have said this or said that, what you are going to do tomorrow, and much much more. You panic at the thought of not being in control because if you don’t have control it won’t be “perfect”. When you wake up in the morning everything is in “perfect” place from hair, makeup, clothes, and smile. Yet inside you are consumed with overthinking, overanalyzing, and rumination of thoughts.

Overachiever. The overachiever is sometimes paired with the perfectionist characteristics. Always trying to outdo what you have done previously. Looking for ways to achieve more in life, love, health, status, finance, or some part of life just to get the satisfaction or approval from others and/or self.  Your thoughts are consumed with achieving more, doing more, succeeding more and being better; getting it right for the people’s admiration. You thrive off feeling as if you are in control of your success or failures. Yet you look calm and collected. You don’t look like you are anxious. Again this is another face of anxiety; high functioning anxiety. Think of Olivia Pope

Worry Warrior. You look worried even if there’s nothing to worry about. You look nervous even when the environment is stable. Your sleep is filled with things to worry about even when a threat has not been preceived. Your conversations is about worrying and not feeling confident. You are hypervigilant. You hide from success and failure because you worry about the outcome of both. Sometimes you are on “nerve pills” just to calm down the thoughts of worry that is in your head. Another face of anxiety.

Always angry (irritable). You go to bed angry. You get up angry. You don’t want to be bothered so you either isolate yourself through being mean or physically remove yourself from others. Your thoughts are all over the place with worry and assumed thoughts of what others think of you. Heck sometimes these thoughts are of what you think of yourself. When you return to your center, it is filled with anger. The anger masks the anxiety that lives within you; the fear of outcomes that you have no control over. The fear is deep because anger plays the protector. Another face of anxiety.

The indecisive one. You are afraid to make decisions because you worry that it may not be the right decision. You are always looking for cues as to which way you should go with your decision. You fear that if you make the wrong decision people will reject you therefore you walk on eggshells when it comes to decisions.

The phobia one. Certain events, items, people, places trigger the anxiety in you. Your mind is consumed with being in the presence of the person, place, or thing. The thought of the person, place or thing puts you in a state of fear and often prevents you from living happily or from having fun.

These are the faces of anxiety. It is very important to understand which face or faces you wear in order to get the best treatment out there. Although similar techniques can be used to treat the different faces the techniques are tailored to the trigger that sets off the different types of anxiety. Check me out on FB Live on 5/11/2017 at 7pm to find out how to manage the symptoms!!!

Hey ladies! If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety please contact me at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com to schedule an appointment.

Don’t live close to Charlotte, NC then you can utilize teletherapy (North Carolina natives only).

If you are not local please check out these resources.

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders#1

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20024562

https://www.adaa.org

Until next time;

Tahiyya xo