Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Declaring Our Independence

Each year on July 4th, I celebrate my independence from my eating disorder once again.

It doesn’t matter how many years have passed, or how many other (and possibly even greater) challenges I may have faced since then. I still celebrate my recovery from “Ed”, as many eating disorder sufferers today term their disease, with all the gusto and force of the newly recovered, hardly believing my good fortune, scarcely comprehending the courage in what I have just achieved.

“This”, I find myself thinking to myself once again, “is worth all the hard work and effort and the years of struggle it took to get here. This is worth the time, the expense, the pain and suffering of the in-between days when I was neither as sick as I had been nor as well as I might yet be.”

In other words, each year, and yet again, I rediscover that recovery is worth it.

There are so many incredible experiences that I have had since that I could never have had while I spent my days engaged in the endless ruminations over weight, calories, numbers, sizes, shapes, portions, and reflections in a coated aluminum pane of glass that my disease required of me.

There are so many bright lights, interesting sights, fascinating people, fun hobbies, rewarding work, and loving connections that I never was able to participate in while my time was wrapped up with “Ed”.

But I can and do participate in them now.

While today, on some level, it is hard to believe that it took me as long as it did to choose to work as hard as I knew I was capable of working towards my own recovery, I liken that to the process that one goes through from denial to acceptance when they are dying, whether it be an emotional or mental, or a true physical death. 

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes about this process when she outlines her research into the Five Stages of Grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and acceptance. I went through all of these stages, and sometimes out of order, and definitely multiple times, on my own path towards choosing and then achieving recovery. Some days I was very accepting of the fact that I was ill and needed to work hard and follow the advice of my treatment team in order to heal. Other days I was not as accepting, for whatever reason, whether it was because I was scared I wouldn’t know who I was without a day consumed by “Ed”, or whether it was because I didn’t feel quite as sick that day and I thought that maybe it wasn’t as serious as my team had made it out to be.

There were also many other reasons.

But whatever the reason, I grieved, erratically but in time fully, and when at last I woke up one day to discover that I had been in sustained recovery for quite some number of days, I felt the impact of the independence I had won for the very first time.

120702-fireworkssIn those first moments of awareness, all the fireworks on the planet would not have been enough to express my triumph, or my joy. Every Fourth of July since then, as the fireworks explode overhead, another, identical set of fireworks explodes in my heart, and I count my blessings, and I thank myself yet again for displaying the bravery and the perseverance and the vision to pursue my recovery like my life depended on it….because it did.

Looking back, I can see that now. Even if I had managed to survive the ravages of my eating disorder and somehow settle into “maintain”, I would not have been living. I would have been existing, trapped in a cycle of endless painful application for acceptance from a part of me that would never willingly have given it, no matter how nicely I asked.

Today, I can ask for and receive my own acceptance, and all in the space of a few moments. I have learned how to extend the same kindness and compassion that I offer to others to myself as well. No longer do I find my principle source of self-esteem in what I achieve, but rather I take it genuinely from not even who I am, but from the simple fact that I am.

I am a human being. I have faced death, and not just physical death but death of all my hopes and dreams, and I have survived. Not only have I survived, but I have won my independence. Today my work and my passion is to share with others what I have discovered about the power of the human spirit to not just survive but to triumph over adversity. Through my work, through how I live my life, and most of all through how I celebrate the Fourth of July each year, I am living proof that recovery is not just possible, but real.

And I wish the same for you.

If you are struggling to overcome a significant life challenge such as an eating disorder, and you don’t want to wait until the next Fourth of July to get started towards your goal, then Southlake Counseling can help. At Southlake Counseling, we not only have more than two decades of training and expertise that supports us in our life-changing work, but each member of our staff also brings to the table their own personal experience of recovering from a significant life challenge. In other words, we get it, we have been there, we understand what it takes, and we can help you to get there too. If you are ready to say “no” to staying stuck and say “yes” to celebrating your independence, we look forward to hearing from you! Contact us at www.southlakecounseling.com for more information.

Be Well,

Kimberly

 

 

5 Reasons to Love Your Female Brain

There is no freedom like seeing myself as I am and not losing heart. –Elizabeth J. Canham

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. –Lao Tzu

When I was developing the Southlake Counseling website, my team asked me to share some of the quotes that kept me going when I was working on my own recovery from an eating disorder. They planned to post these quotes on the new website to encourage visitors to embrace their own potential to fulfill their recovery, health and wellness goals.

As I pondered this assignment and reflected back on my recovering years, I realized that one of the biggest recovery goals I set for myself almost right from the very first day I started trying to beat my eating disorder was this: I wanted to have an experience of actually loving myself.

LOVING MYSELF. It sounded so wonderful.

However, while marooned in the depths of my eating disorder, it also sounded like way too much to ask. Tolerate myself maybe. Throw myself a kind word every now and again, perhaps. But love myself? Hah. As if. Nevertheless, my therapist had encouraged me to add this biggest of my big recovery dreams to my goal list, and so I did.

Recently I read a book that would have helped me so much during the growing pains years as I began to practice self-love and learn the art of self-care. The book is called “The Female Brain”. Written by Louann Brizendine, M.D., “The Female Brain” took me on a fascinating genetic journey through my own female brain, allowing me to have an experience of each of the quotes I mentioned earlier in a brand new way.

You see, loving myself, which can also be rephrased as “seeing myself as I am” and “knowing who I am” requires first studying myself, learning about myself, and attempting to truly comprehend “why I am the way that I am” from both a biological and an environmental perspective.

As a therapist I may get myself into hot water with colleagues for saying this, but over the years as I have built my own practice at Southlake Counseling, I have come to believe that too often we attempt to treat ourselves through an understanding of our environment only.  We enter into therapy and immediately begin to delve into the experiences of our environmental past. What happened when we were a child, a teen, a young adult? Where did we go wrong in handling our first relationship, our first job, our first promotion?

These are important historical questions to ask, for sure.

But even the excellent present-day problem-solving data these environmentally focused answers give us will remain forever incomplete without a complementary investigation of our underlying biological origins. To truly know ourselves, to understand why we are the way that we are, why we do the things we do, and why we are so uniquely lovable exactly as-is, we must also strive to study and comprehend the aptitudes and interests embedded into our genetically unique brains.

Speaking to this point, Dr. Brizendine highlights in “The Female Brain” how, while approximately 99 percent of male and female brain genes are identical, the one percent of our respective genetic codes that is gender-different will give us more trouble than all of the other identical 99 percent combined if we don’t learn how to understand, accept, and support these DNA differences from both the female and the male perspective.

So for this first of a two-part post for this month, I give you five reasons to love your female brain.

p.s. If you are a female, you are likely already eagerly skimming down to the next section to find out all the great things your brain can offer you! If, however, you are one of my male readers, you may catch yourself thinking that you are being overlooked.  Don’t worry. Stay tuned for part two of this post and you will get your day!

5 Reasons to Love Your Female Brain:

  1. You have an exceptional ability to read and accurately interpret facial expressions and verbal and emotional cues
  2. You are naturally oriented towards collaboration and defusing or preventing conflict
  3. You have an innate ability for relationships and a natural empathy towards others
  4. You have a smart and savvy inner “partner picker” that stands at the ready to help you pick wisely when you are ready to choose a mate
  5. Your brain can take you into any career you want to focus on (yes, ladies, if you love math, science and technology, your brain will go toe-to-toe with the guys any day!)

If you found this list interesting, I also highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Dr. Brizendine’s “The Female Brain”. You will thank me later – I promise!

Be Well,

Kimberly

If you are struggling to make sense of your inner mental and emotional life and often feel like you are on ever-shifting sands, Southlake Counseling can help. There are many genetic as well as environmental factors that can affect mental and physical health and emotional and relational wellbeing. Southlake Counseling’s comprehensive individual and group services and our highly trained, empathetic professional staff can partner with you to help you troubleshoot areas of concern and make the most of your strengths, gifts, and dreams! Visit www.southlakecounseling.com to learn more.

Your Say Yes to Life Weekly Motivator: Who the “Beautiful People” Are

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

The woman who wrote this, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, was one of the foremost medical researchers into the end of life stages. By the time she penned this quote, she had known pain and suffering both in her own life and through the countless lives her work touched as she struggled to make sense of what the dying need from the living in their final months, days, and breaths.

She was a doctor, a healer, a teacher, a researcher, and most of all a friend to those who were striving to embark upon their final transition with dignity, support, and grace.

She knew about beauty, because she lived it, lived with it, lived immersed throughout the course of her career in the essential precious fleetingness that is human life. Through her work she became quite literally steeped in the beauty of courage that is awakened within us in those first moments when we realize that yes, death really will happen to us too.

Dr. Kubler-Ross witnessed firsthand how we do rise to our own occasion, when the unthinkable thinks of us and comes to call. We do surprise ourselves with how strong, how resilient, how peaceful, how resourceful, how courageous, and yes, how beautiful, we truly are. We do amaze ourselves by how well and easily we can find gratitude for the unavoidable, peace amidst the painful, and acceptance even in the face of loss or regret.

We do look defeat, suffering, loss, and the unutterable depths that death invites right in the eye, and relatively fearlessly proceed through the Five Stages of Grief – denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and regret – not necessarily because we want to (although some of us do) but rather because we must, because that is what being human demands of us.

Dr. Kubler-Ross witnessed this, time and again, as she diligently researched and recorded the grief process that families go through during the final stages of life. She learned about beauty – true human beauty – not from the airbrushed pages of a high gloss, high fashion magazine, but from those from whom physical beauty had long since departed, leaving behind mottled hands, rattled breaths, bedpans, and dedicated caretakers who rearranged their entire lives to bring comfort and companionship to a loved one’s final days.

In every moment one of her dying patients took another labored breath, Dr. Kubler-Ross found another piece in the missing puzzle that is life. We live because we can, because we are able, because life is not just what we do but who we are, and because it is in our moments of most intense suffering when we can finally catch glimpses of our own remarkable beauty, which is the same beauty that all human beings share, and the very same beauty that gives us the willingness and the courage to wake up and try yet again.

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

How would your life – your experience of being you – change if you were to reframe your assessment of your own beauty in these terms?

Where have you known defeat, suffering, loss, unimaginable depths, and have exerted such superhuman courage to survive them that you are still amazed you had it in you?

Where have you experienced a seemingly endless series of insistent “I can’t’s” in your life, followed by the most unbelievable experience of “I can”?

In what ways have you survived the unsurvivable, be it the loss of a loved one, the break-up of a relationship, a job suddenly ending, a natural disaster, a mental or physical illness, an occurrence where, when you first learned of the tragedy, you thought, “I will never recover from this” – and yet here you are, still standing?

Are you….perhaps…..beautiful?

If you told your story, not knowing it was yours, would you be inspired, listening?

If you are struggling to process or progress through a painful loss or a period of suffering or questioning in your life, Southlake Counseling can help. Our compassionate, highly trained staff has more than two decades of experience with supporting people just like you through to seek a higher level of wellness, self-care, and vision for all the richness your life can hold. If you or someone you love needs support to say “no” to unresolved suffering and “yes” to a rekindled desire to live in the presence of your own wise beauty, we invite you to contact us at www.southlakecounseling.com.

Be Well,

Kimberly

 
 

Declaring Our Independence

Each year on July 4th, I celebrate my independence from my eating disorder once again.

It doesn’t matter how many years have passed, or how many other (and possibly even greater) challenges I may have faced since then. I still celebrate my recovery from “Ed”, as many eating disorder sufferers today term their disease, with all the gusto and force of the newly recovered, hardly believing my good fortune, scarcely comprehending the courage in what I have just achieved.

“This,” I find myself thinking to myself once again, “is worth all the hard work and effort and the years of struggle it took to get here. This is worth the time, the expense, the pain and suffering of the in-between days when I was neither as sick as I had been nor as well as I might yet be.”

In other words, each year, and yet again, I rediscover that recovery is worth it.

There are so many incredible experiences that I have had since that I could never have had while I spent my days engaged in the endless ruminations over weight, calories, numbers, sizes, shapes, portions, and reflections in a coated aluminum pane of glass that my disease required of me.

There are so many bright lights, interesting sights, fascinating people, fun hobbies, rewarding work, and loving connections that I never was able to participate in while my time was wrapped up with “Ed.”

But I can and do participate in them now.

While today, on some level, it is hard to believe that it took me as long as it did to choose to work as hard as I knew I was capable of working towards my own recovery, I liken that to the process that one goes through from denial to acceptance when they are dying, whether it be an emotional or mental, or a true physical death. 

Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes about this process when she outlines her research into the Five Stages of Grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, grief, and acceptance. I went through all of these stages, and sometimes out of order, and definitely multiple times, on my own path towards choosing and then achieving recovery. Some days I was very accepting of the fact that I was ill and needed to work hard and follow the advice of my treatment team in order to heal. Other days I was not as accepting, for whatever reason, whether it was because I was scared I wouldn’t know who I was without a day consumed by “Ed,” or whether it was because I didn’t feel quite as sick that day and I thought that maybe it wasn’t as serious as my team had made it out to be.

There were also many other reasons.

But whatever the reason, I grieved, erratically but in time fully, and when at last I woke up one day to discover that I had been in sustained recovery for quite some number of days, I felt the impact of the independence I had won for the very first time.

In those first moments of awareness, all the fireworks on the planet would not have been enough to express my triumph, or my joy. Every Fourth of July since then, as the fireworks explode overhead, another, identical set of fireworks explodes in my heart, and I count my blessings, and I thank myself yet again for displaying the bravery and the perseverance and the vision to pursue my recovery like my life depended on it….because it did.

Looking back, I can see that now. Even if I had managed to survive the ravages of my eating disorder and somehow settle into “maintain,” I would not have been living. I would have been existing, trapped in a cycle of endless painful application for acceptance from a part of me that would never willingly have given it, no matter how nicely I asked.

Today, I can ask for and receive my own acceptance, and all in the space of a few moments. I have learned how to extend the same kindness and compassion that I offer to others to myself as well. No longer do I find my principle source of self-esteem in what I achieve, but rather I take it genuinely from not even who I am, but from the simple fact that I am.

I am a human being. I have faced death, and not just physical death but death of all my hopes and dreams, and I have survived. Not only have I survived, but I have won my independence. Today my work and my passion is to share with others what I have discovered about the power of the human spirit to not just survive but to triumph over adversity. Through my work, through how I live my life, and most of all through how I celebrate the Fourth of July each year, I am living proof that recovery is not just possible, but real.

And I wish the same for you.

If you are struggling to overcome a significant life challenge such as an eating disorder, and you don’t want to wait until the next Fourth of July to get started towards your goal, then Southlake Counseling can help. At Southlake Counseling, we not only have more than two decades of training and expertise that supports us in our life-changing work, but each member of our staff also brings to the table their own personal experience of recovering from a significant life challenge. In other words, we get it, we have been there, we understand what it takes, and we can help you to get there too. If you are ready to say “no” to staying stuck and say “yes” to celebrating your independence, we look forward to hearing from you! Contact us at www.southlakecounseling.com for more information.

Be Well,

Kimberly

 

 

Your Weekly Meditation: Being a Work-in-Progress is Underrated

Being a work-in-progress is underrated.

Mother Teresa struggled with depression for most of her life and ministry, often wondering whether God even existed. Princess Diana struggled with an eating disorder even as she visited families suffering from AIDS. There are many more stories where those came from – of imperfectly great human beings reaching beyond their own insecurities, inadequacies, and limitations to stay connected and offer what they could to participate in the world we all share. You are the same. We are all the same. In little and small ways, as we live our work-in-progress lives, hurt is healed, anxiety eased, hope rekindled, and progress made.

This week I resolve to: appreciate myself for the work-in-progress that I am.

Your Weekly Meditation: Hard Work is Not a Substitute for Grace

Hard work is not a substitute for grace.

We live in a very industrious, hard working world. We do work so hard! Sometimes we work so hard that we forget to cut ourselves any slack at all. Hard work is not a substitute for grace. Grace is the small still voice inside of us that quietly observes, “You are so tired right now. Why don’t you take a rest.” Grace is the gentle unseen arms that move to hug us – right before we push them away, saying “But I haven’t achieved enough yet today to relax or receive.” Grace is that moment when we look up and spontaneously ask ourselves, “Does this task REALLY matter to me?”, even if we do not give ourselves the gift of waiting long enough to hear our own answer.

This week I resolve to: pay attention not just to my outer to-do list, but to the inner direction that guides me subtly but unerringly towards my heart’s true priorities.

 

 

Your Weekly Meditation: There is Always a Moment of Pure Innocence

There is always a moment of pure innocence.

Sometimes we do things or say things that we regret. Sometimes we don’t say things or do things that we wish we had said or done. We are not going to live perfectly – nor will anyone else around us live perfectly. But we can always find that moment of our own innocence. We can know that we are doing the very best that we can do in that moment as we live. We can learn from less-than-perfect experiences and carry that wisdom forward with us. We learn to forgive. We learn to embrace the present moment. We learn to love. We truly learn to live through our moments of imperfect innocence.

This week I resolve to: find my moment of innocence when anxiety, pain, fear, anger, regret, or loneliness lets me know I am judging myself for any action or decision I can no longer change.

Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: May is National BPD Awareness Month

This month, we recognize the power of education and awareness efforts to save lives.

In 2008, May was designated as National Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month by the U.S. House of Representatives. H. Res 1005, spearheaded by Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) and Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), passed unanimously when put to a vote, and this year we celebrate the 4th year of ongoing awareness and education efforts by committed researchers and survivors to better serve affected individuals and their loved ones.

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD as it is commonly called, affects an estimated 18 million Americans. Approximately 10 percent of BPD sufferers will commit suicide before adequate treatment is provided. 33 percent of youth who commit suicide have displayed prior symptoms associated with BPD.

When BPD first begins to rear its head in early adulthood, this brain-based psychiatric illness can have devastating results. Loved ones watch, first with puzzlement and later with fear and hopelessness, as their loved one begins to exhibit the severe emotional instability that characterizes BPD.

As BPD progresses, rageful outbursts, recurrent attempts at self-harm and suicide, extreme fear of abandonment (imagined or real), impulse control issues, and severe relational chaos become the norm rather than the exception. In the wake of the interpersonal devastation BPD causes, loved ones of a BPD-affected individual often feel unable to cope.

The good news is, there are several national organizations that are now actively engaged in year-round initiatives to connect BPD-affected individuals and their loved ones with sources of hope, inspiration, treatment, and ongoing support.

The National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) has posted information about the history of National Borderline Personality Month and ideas for how to share information about BPD in your community.

Activist Tammy Green, herself a survivor of BPD, serves as a spokesperson for the NEA-BPD and urges BPD sufferers and their families not to retreat into silence and secrecy, but to reach out, speak out, and connect with others who may be able to offer support and assistance. As Tammy states in her article “BPD 2.0 – The Next Wave”:

Onward my friends. We are in this together. And what a wonderful ride it is, if only we will allow it. There is much to celebrate, and much to do.

For survivors like Tammy, it is all too clear how critical education and awareness-building actions are for sustaining affected individuals and their families through the often deadly progression of the disease. She urges affected individuals and their loved ones to educate themselves about the disease, and then pass what they have learned on to others as well.

This month, in recognition of the powerful impact awareness and education can have in the lives of those who suffer, consider sharing information about BPD in your community. I encourage you to use the NEA-BPD literature, posted on their website, to inform others about how BPD develops and progresses, and current recommended treatment programs that can help.

The NEA-BPD offers a wealth of printable and downloadable posters, graphics, and handouts that you can share both with your online social network and in your local community.  Consider accessing the following resources to share information about National BPD Awareness Month this month:

The McLean Hospital BPD Family Guidelines flyer is a comprehensive 11-page lifesaver for families of BPD-affected individuals.

The BPD Fact Sheet gives the latest statistics and initiatives underway to better support BPD-affected individuals and their families.

The BPD Brief offers a comprehensive overview of the origins, symptoms, and current treatment options.

The BPD Awareness Month Flyer is designed to reach out to those who are suffering in secrecy and silence with a message of hope.

Most importantly, if you or someone you love is suffering with BPD, or is displaying symptoms frequently associated with the onset of BPD, do not wait. I encourage you to contact one of the following national organizations for information about BPD support and treatment resources in your area:

National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI): http://www.nami.org/

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): http://www.nimh.nih.gov/

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD): http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/

And if you live in or near Davidson, North Carolina, visit www.southlakecounseling.com to learn more about our specialized BPD treatment programs. At the Southlake Center, we offer a full course of individual and group Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) options for BPD-affected individuals and their families.

Be Well,

Kimberly

Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: Good News – BPD Brains ARE Different!

This month marks the 4th anniversary of May as National Borderline Personality Awareness Month.

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is a serious psychiatric illness which affects an estimated six percent of the population – approximately 18 million Americans. BPD is an excruciatingly painful emotional dysregulation disorder that can be both debilitating and deadly.

Affected individuals frequently first begin showing signs of the illness in early adulthood, often suffering for five years or longer before an accurate diagnosis is made. In that time period, BPD sufferers are 400 times more likely to commit suicide than non-affected peers. Affected individuals often cycle in and out of psychiatric care centers, encountering blame, shame, and stigma instead of the knowledgeable treatment BPD demands and deserves.

Symptoms of BPD include recurrent suicidal urges or attempts, chronic emotional instability, relational chaos, intense and persistent fear of abandonment (real or imagined), impulse control issues, rageful outbursts, and self-harm. While some BPD-affected individuals are able to function well in certain areas of life, others are unable to hold down a job or maintain basic relational connections.  Medical professionals estimate that as many as one in five out of every patients admitted to psychiatric care centers are suffering from undiagnosed BPD.

With these statistics, it is clear that much work remains to be done to better understand the origins and development of BPD, and what type of treatment most effectively assists affected individuals with recovery.

What is already known is that BPD is often passed from parent to child, with a nearly 70 percent likelihood that an affected person has had a parent who also suffered from the illness.

What has not been understood to date is whether or not there are true grounds for treating BPD as a brain-based illness, but recent studies at Baylor College of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Medical Center are now changing that.

In 2008, Baylor College of Medicine conducted a first-of-its-kind research study that aimed to identify whether the brains of BPD-affected individuals function differently than the brains of non-affected peers. This study paired a BPD-affected individual with a non-affected partner to play a game of trust. Researchers used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to measure how the brains of BPD-affected individuals processed emotional and relational cues from their non-affected partners as the game progressed.

To do this, Baylor research scientists measured blood flow to the anterior insula of the brain, the region that is thought to be responsible for sending up a “red flag” that something is wrong.  As the games of trust progressed, fMRI scans showed that when trust was broken, the anterior insula in the brains of non-affected individuals would register increased blood flow. No such activity was measured in the brains of BPD-affected game players, which for scientists was a clear signal that BPD sufferers do not process relational cues with the same acuity and intensity as non-affected peers.

The outcome of the Baylor study showed that BPD-affected individuals lacked the basic ability to pick up on social cues from their non-affected partners. Scientists now believe this difference in brain function is responsible for the persistent and often pervasive relational instability which BPD sufferers exhibit.

In a second study conducted just one year later in 2009 at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, research scientists snapped into place yet another piece of the brain-based puzzle that is BPD. In the Mount Sinai study, researchers set out to discover why BPD-affected individuals experienced chronic inability to self-regulate emotions. Paired against a control group of non-affected peers, 19 BPD sufferers viewed a series of pleasant and disturbing images, and researchers used fMRI scans to measure blood flow to the amygdala, or emotion processing center of the brain. When BPD-affected participants viewed the disturbing images, blood flow to their amygdala far outpaced amygdala responses of their non-affected control group peers.

Mount Sinai researchers are using this information to better understand the origin of the extreme emotional reactions BPD sufferers often display. The hope is that in the future, this information can be used to target medications and treatments to better serve the recovery needs of BPD-affected individuals.

Both the Baylor and the Mount Sinai studies offer good news to BPD-affected individuals and their loved ones. With now conclusive evidence that brain-based differences exist between BPD sufferers and non-affected individuals, a new and hopeful horizon for better treatment options for BPD sufferers is coming into view.

To read more about the Baylor study: CLICK HERE

To read more about the Mount Sinai study: CLICK HERE

If you or someone you love is suffering from BPD, or if you have or observe in a loved one symptoms that match those outlined in this post, I urge you to contact Southlake Counseling today for assistance in recovering from this painful but very treatable disease. Learn more at www.southlakecounseling.com.

Be Well,

Kimberly

Your Say Yes to Life Monday Motivator: The Importance of Following Your Dreams

Marianne Williamson once wrote, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

A few years ago, I received a note from a former client. In her letter, she wrote to me, “Kimberly, thank you for following your dreams, therefore providing me a safe place to recover.”

When I first conceived the idea to use my own experiences recovering from an eating disorder to open a treatment center to help others heal, was I a bit daunted by my dream?

Absolutely.

Were there days I thought, “what was I thinking – I must have been crazy. I just can’t make this work.”

Of course.

Did I quake in my own shoes a bit as I commenced to learning what I needed to know about choosing a location, hiring and managing staff, learning about financials and recordkeeping, marketing and public relations, and designing the kind of program I would have wanted to attend when I was in the midst of my own healing journey?

Without a shadow of a doubt.

Yet today, Southlake Counseling has been in existence for more than 12 years, and we have helped literally hundreds and hundreds of people reach for their dreams within the safety and support of our walls.

It is important to follow our dreams. We all have dreams, and in those dreams, we see the very pinnacle of who we can be, expressed as that stretch-goal we call a dream….the one we think is very nearly impossible but which simply will not go quietly away.

Our dreams show us who we really are, and what we are truly capable of.

The only obstacle standing in between us and the culmination of those dreams exists in our own minds, in the place that insists, “But that is impossible. You can’t do that.”

To which we eventually must say, “Oh really? Says who!” if we want to ever have the opportunity of a lifetime to live out our own vision for who we are.

This is why we are so addicted to reality television. We see other people going for it, succeeding, crashing and burning, getting up, trying again. We see that their motivation, be it money, fame, self esteem, health, love, self expression through the arts, seeing the world, is so powerful that they are willing to expose their innermost intimate thoughts and fears in front of us all in order to reach for their dreams…..just so they can know if it was really possible to be all they can be or not.

This is also why we are alternately horrified or inspired by their example, depending on where we are in our relationship to our own unexpressed dreams.

It can be such a rush to celebrate a hero, but at some point our longing awakens to be the hero we are celebrating.

This is why the note I received from that former client was so meaningful to me. It is why I love the quote from Marianne Williamson, because I can look back and see that all the courage and perseverance it took to follow my dream of opening Southlake Counseling has not only liberated me to embrace my highest vision for my own life as truth, but has liberated others to follow in my footsteps in their own lives, as I have followed in the footsteps of Marianne Williamson and others who came before to inspire me.

You never know who is watching – your spouse, your children, your best friend, your boss, your colleague, the homeless person on the corner, your own self – when you take your dreams by the hand and say “lead me there”.

You never know who you will inspire and liberate. You never know who you will meet – outside and within yourself – when you switch off the reality television show and jump in to live it for yourself.

At Southlake Counseling, we have a personalized “Say Yes to Life” Wellness Program that encompasses all facets of life from body to mind to heart to spirit. At Southlake Counseling, we define “wellness” as the pinnacle of your ability to say Yes to the challenges, choices, opportunities, and relationships in your own unique and unfolding life. Saying “Yes to Life” means saying Yes to placing your health and wellness goals first in your own life. When you are living in the presence of your own remarkable wellness, you can also fully enjoy and be present for your loved ones, your colleagues, your peers, your community, and your world. If you are dreaming of a life lived fully, contact us today to find out more about saying “Yes” to your dreams through a personalized wellness plan designed just for you. www.southlakecounseling.com

Be Well,

Kimberly