• family,  flawed but authentic,  friends,  Health & Wellness,  lupus,  mental health,  race,  religion,  that joe,  United States of Tara

    Hidden Gifts

    This past year or so I’ve been trying to find the gifts in whatever life hands me. When I’m stuck in traffic, maybe it’s that I got to hear something really great on NPR before I reached my destination. If I dropped and shattered a favorite heirloom glass serving bowl, maybe it’s that when I swept the floor I found the missing earring I’ve been looking for under the fridge. You get the idea. The game is thus: can I find the gift no matter how deeply it’s hidden, because I really and truly have to believe in a God that cares about me so much, He would only give…

  • family,  friends,  Health & Wellness,  mental health

    Holding Space for the Broken Hearted

    The sister of Empathy is called Holding Space. They hold hands a lot and hang out together watching old episodes of M.A.S.H., sharing a bag of BBQ potato chips, and wiping their red-tipped fingers on their jeans. Empathy, as we’ve discussed, is when you can feel what another person is feeling by making them human to you because you can identify their experience with something that’s happened in your own life. Holding Space is when you give that other person all the room they need to process their emotions without judgment, shame, or irritation, and you don’t try to fix the problem. Think about when you’ve gone through something challenging…

  • family,  flawed but authentic,  hard!!,  mental health

    The Harm of Othering

    (Are you a Person of Color? You will see the * periodically throughout this piece. Please know as you read I am talking about family dynamics and not systemic racism, which is a completely different kettle of fish.) I’ve been thinking about you. And about me because I am you. And about how all of us fit together in this Earth Experience, this thing called, (as Prince said), Life. I don’t love labels so I try to avoid them, but sometimes they are helpful when you’re trying to get down to the nitty-gritty and see what’s what. There are other words we could use like “crazy” and “lazy” and “selfish”…

  • flawed but authentic,  Health & Wellness,  mental health

    Being Yourself

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be yourself, to own who you are, since I wrote my last post. I’ve heard from several people who have asked some variation of, “Yes, but *how* do I start being who I want to be and not who I’ve been acting like?” I don’t know that I have the magic answer, but I do have some ideas to share, as I sit here on the couch in my yoga pants and slippers, unshowered as of yet at 11am on a Wednesday. Maybe it’s time to sit with being uncomfortable. Change, most of the time, means not being in comfort.…

  • art,  mental health,  that joe

    Oh, Fall, You Cruel Mistress

    I love this time of year, I said, in super serious sincerity. Jeans. Boots. Chunky sweaters. (HAHAHAHAHAhahahaha just kidding. It hasn’t been lower than 75 and it’s going to be 93 on Friday.) Hot drinks make more sense (because I drink them even in the sweltering heat of summer). Less people at the beach, which leaves more room to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets. The promise of holidays around the corner and the chance to see family. Things feel, I don’t know, more cozy. And then it all starts to tilt sideways. The first thing that happens is my mind starts to whirrrr with the possibilities of ideas. This part is…

  • Health & Wellness,  HSP,  mental health,  that joe

    My Tribe of Highly Sensitive People

    I had the experience the other day of being in a room full of people who are similar to me in many ways. It’s a new feeling for me to be in a group I truly identify with. This is happening to me more and more as I seek to spend my time doing only the things that are important to me. I keep letting go of activities (and sometimes people) that keep me from thinking and feeling actively though life. I don’t want to be numb anymore. Life’s too short to waste and I only want to spend wisely. I feel a great sense of peace with this lifestyle…

  • flawed but authentic,  mental health

    Say One True Thing

    How many days did I sit in silence and say nothing about my sadness until it turned to desperation? How many nights did I lay awake, worrying and running through emergency evacuation plans that I’d never need before I spoke out loud to someone, anyone, that I thought there might be something wrong? I couldn’t tell you, the number is too high. When your thoughts are lying to you about who you are and how the people around you feel about you, find one true thing. When you don’t know who you are anymore and it feels like it’s been years since you felt like yourself, look for it –…

  • family,  flawed but authentic,  Heal Something Good,  mental health,  photos,  that joe,  writing

    When the Water Calls

    When my kids were young, when we first came back from Germany, when my marriage to the other guy was being held together with tape and googly eyes, when I couldn’t breathe, when I couldn’t think, when I wasn’t on meds and needed them badly, when I was dissociating, I took the kids to the beach. My feet, which had walked way too far and way too long to get there, were suddenly surrounded by rushing water and the Space of Nothing I needed. The water was cold and fast and then pulled at my soul before it receded, taking my fears, confusion, disappointments and grief with it on its…

  • health,  mental health,  san diego

    This Thursday’s Meetup Class – Managing Mental Health

    This week’s class is super close to my heart. With all the “getting-well” I’ve been doing these past three years, managing how my brain is responding to the changes I’m making has been sometimes challenging but mostly exciting. I’m really looking forward to this week’s group and going in more depth about the process I’ve used and what might work for others. Getting your head on straight goes hand-in-hand with healing the other parts of your body, especially your gut. See you there? PS. The photo above reminds me of what it feels like when I’m trying to find the direction I want to go with my life. This way?…

  • book,  Heal Something Good,  health,  lupus,  mental health,  photos,  thyroid

    Pre-Order Heal Something Good

    You guys. I’m oh-so-close to being done with Heal Something Good, the book I’ve been working on for the past three years. This has been a labor of love. My last book, Not Otherwise Specified, was such a deep journey of mental discovery that I would never call it “Light” or “Nurturing.” I mean, the subject matter includes suicide attempts and graphic material. It’s an important book for what it is and I continue to get letters of appreciation from people who have found it helpful on their own journeys, which is why I leave it up and available. But. But! Heal Something Good is light and nurturing and full…

  • flawed but authentic,  health,  lupus,  mental health,  photos,  thyroid

    What I Am

    “But, what do you have? What are you?” Oh, right. This is the part where I’m supposed to list all the illnesses and diseases and disorders I’ve collected over my lifetime and use their proper medical terms. This is how we measure each other up, to find out where we fall in the Diagnosis Scale. Are we the same? Are we different? If I told you, would you have an immediate recognition of how I feel right now because you’ve got “IT,” too? Using this shorthand is not meant to be insulting or belittling. It’s meant to cut to the chase and find out where your battle scars are. It’s…

  • current smarts,  health,  lupus,  mental health

    Creatively, Mentally, Fabulous

    We’ve heard many times that it’s the crazy ones that are creative and there are studies that may seem to prove such findings. A post came up a few months ago by Scott Barry Kaufman about the link between creativity and Mental Illness. He has a book out called Ungifted, which may tell you without reading the post above what he thinks is true about said link. Here’s a main takeaway: “There are many eminent people without mental illness or harsh early life experiences, and there is very little evidence suggesting that clinical, debilitating mental illness is conducive to productivity and innovation.” And later: “…my colleague and friend Zorana Ivcevic…