Friday, October 31, 2014

Dr. Andrew Saul on Depression and Mental Illness

A quick share today on the topic of what has become known as "mental illness". Dr. Andrew Saul discusses what we will not ever hear in our standard health care or mental health care.

My disclaimer is that I have not found animal products or synthetic supplements to be helpful. I have found a plant based diet and plant based, organic supplements to be supportive of creating health for myself. And while I do not endorse nor support the use of animals in testing for anything…the outcome in this video cannot be denied.

For more on learning to live a high nutrient lifestyle based on 20 years of research check out this video, Forks Over Knives (this is just a clip. you can purchase the full documentary for a very nominal cost at the connected link or at amazon)

Friday, September 12, 2014

When We Don't Have "Helpful Help"

From a Facebook note I posted recently….

Not everyone has a supportive network to "help" them; in particular when community, friends and family do not support our chosen path and are often part of the pattern of dysfunction that keeps us feeling helpless and hopeless. Of necessity some of us must learn to figure out how to heal our lives on our own. The good news is that even then we are not really "alone" because the Universe always brings us the teachers we need in order to learn the lessons we need. The thing is to learn to be the student who is ready. 
Survivors of early life drama, trauma and dysfunction often struggle with the idea that we "need" someone to "help" us find our way. 

And - this is a very NORMAL place to be because in the drama, trauma and dysfunction we often did not learn how to see ourselves as capable. 

In fact many of us learned that we were incapable to effect change in our lives because our power was taken from us early in our lives. 

We grew up believing a big, fat lie that told us we are not good enough and will never be able to do anything right enough. 

So - it can be a bit of a challenge over-riding that old programming but the biggest part of that challenge is learning to recognize when I was "there" by checking, challenging and changing the story I was telling myself about whatever the challenge I was facing was. 

1. Was I focused on what I "had no choice" about? Was I "feeling" powerless? Did I "feel" hopeless? 

The truth is that as a child - I did not have a choice about pretty much anything. Life happened to me, things were done to me and for me; but I never had a choice. I learned to tolerate the intolerable; I developed a very high threshold for being mistreated so the lesson became learning to recognize when something "felt bad" so I could choose to leave those situations instead of trying to "work it out"

I learned to recognize when I was feeling hopeless and that in turn helped me to recognize when I was feeling helpless/powerless and this helped me to find my hope by finding my power. 

I learned to recognize and utilize the support and resources I DID have and trust that I would have WHAT I needed WHEN I needed it. 

I learned to remind myself that feeling powerless is far different than actually being powerless. 

2. Was I feeling as though I had the answers for everyone else? Did I know exactly what others needed to do (yet struggled with knowing what to do for myself and my life)? Did I believe that in order for my distress to stop - others had to abide by my expectations? 

Learning to let go and let life unfold naturally was easier said that done at first. But in time and as I learned to recognize that I was taking on things that were not mine to take on - I found I was better able and prepared to deal with my own things. 

All in all - the lesson I learned that became a truth that set me free?

The lessons that enabled me to see that I was all I needed? 

Was when I realized that I already hold all the knowledge I need within me by way of the universe/inner wisdom/still small voice that lives within each of us and - that by becoming open to recognizing the struggles I faced in my life as my teachers?

I became the "student who was ready". 

Tip: learn to ask "what is the lesson I need to learn here" when things feel unmanageable, difficult or overwhelming. Practice going deep within for your answers instead of looking for that knight in shining armor on the white horse to rescue you. 

We don't have to wait to "hit bottom" to figure this out but of course sometimes that is the lesson we need in order to learn this.

A list of related posts on being the student who is ready can be found here and learning to use feelings of overwhelm to guide our path here

Is this easy? 

Not at all. 

Was it worth it?


You go. :)

Best always, 


Tip: choose one thing instead of many things to work on and when this has become your new "normal" - choose another. 

Baby steps each day gets us where we want to go but thinking about all we should do? Often prevents us from getting anything done. 

ONE thing. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Grief and Loss

On grief and loss - I know the pain that feels as though death would be the only relief and have found a new life after that kind of inner devastation. 

Let those big feelings out. Don't try to contain them for they will consume you from the inside out. Find a way to safely express your anger, angst and pain through some physical form. Run it out, walk it out, scream it out. Throw something and let it make the loud noise against the wall as you fall to the floor sobbing.

Let go of those unable to sit with you or your pain. Let them go that you can find yourself. Dont try to find comfort from those who are not comforting. Give yourself a soft place to land each day. Visit the trees. Walk in the grass. Breathe with the clouds and know that with time it will hurt less and the hurt will come less often even though we know it never goes away completely.

Know that you are not alone.

Friday, August 1, 2014

As It Goes…

So, as it goes, things change. Life is an evolution and for me a marvelous, exciting and sometimes challenging experiment.

I've been writing here at A Journey since April 6, 2009 where I began to chronicle my journey out of the darkness  and into the light after a lifetime of seeing myself as a victim who had "no choice" and realizing in this amazing journey that I no longer had to live as a victim and that there was life far beyond "recovery" and survival. 

Then for awhile my path shifted and as the student who tries to be ready, I found myself drawn to other adventures like creating the Empowering Solutions page and podcast.

I tried my hand at guest blogging at a few places and was able to contribute on some issues that are very dear to my heart like the abuse and dysfunction many of us come from  , finding our own path to personal empowerment  and sharing a bit of my story as it relates to how I experienced the nearly 2 decades of my life when I was told by doctors that I had a brain disease, was ill and would need "medication for life" and the resulting years of protracted withdrawals when another doctor decided I no longer needed them as a trauma survivor. (NOTE: NEVER let a doctor tell you that you can "just stop" these drugs; this is very dangerous. I was fortunate to have the tenacity to go through this and come out the other end ok; many are not able to tolerate the impact of cold turkey or even a short taper. Get informed to be empowered - you can start here if you need resources.)

I wrote about how I came to choose a new paradigm for myself and this has led to my coming to terms with realizing that I had never been "sick" and that it was the drugs I was being given that actually was the source of the symptoms that seemed to get worse instead of better, even though I was following "doctors orders" to the letter.

As time went on my focus shifted to healing myself and my psyche from the damage of being told I was "ill" and the realization that I am not what they told me I was and had been so terribly harmed and made ill by those I trusted with my health and my life; my doctors and those I sought out for support and help in my journey.

In following the inner drive to make meaning of these experiences, in time I found myself shifting my focus from this blog to the Facebook platform where I have met hundreds and thousands of amazing people on their own individual journey's.

Here I found a camaraderie of persons who have experienced their own journey to well being in many different ways. To each of you - I am in awe of your strength and courage and in complete gratitude that somehow our paths have crossed. In support of those who have wondered about the use of psychiatric drugs I created a workshop and website and was invited to contribute a chapter on using the internet and social media to find support.

Time moved on and I was seeming to lose my voice, I was unclear to my path and my purpose and realized along the way that in order for me to regain my footing and clarity that it was vital that I stop trying to create new things and start focusing on letting go of the old so I could embrace the new. 

So here we are.

It's nearly autumn 2014 and my journey is again changing directions as I focus on continuing to reclaim my health, create my best life and rediscover my voice.

I don't have a clear vision of what my path is just yet - but I do have a desire again to write now and then so - stay tuned; my hope is that we will continue to travel this path together.


May you be well, be happy and live in peace.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When Things Are Changing

As things go - when something is not "flowing" I have to pause. 

In the past - I would have looked "outside" of myself to try to discover what I could do to "fix" things. 

I would work harder.

Push harder. 

I might even try "blaming" something or someone for why things are not working aka "flowing" the way they have in the past. 

Yet - one of the life lessons I have learned as I committed to being the student who is ready…?

Is that when things are not working - I've learned….

That working harder won't make it work better.

That pushing harder - only makes it harder. 

I've learned to let go that I can see what remains, what might come back and…

What new thing might emerge.

I've known and felt for some time that as much as I have loved writing here at A Journey and sharing on twitter and at the Empowering Solutions page on Facebook and the podcast at Blog Talk Radio…

I've felt a sense of discontent that if I ignore it only leads to more discontent.

A good friend and my own Life Coach has helped me to see that when things are not "working" that the Universe is trying to direct me to some sort of change. 

For the past many months I have felt that I was to let some things go…

In order to be ready to receive what might be next for me in my Journey.

If you are on my mailing list here then you will receive any future updates from there as well as by subscribing here (to the left) for blog post updates.

So - once again…

I'd like to say that This Blog Is Not Dead….and encourage you to visit the archives here at A Journey, at the Facebook Empowering Solutions page here and the Blog Talk Radio podcast here. 

Thank you for your continued engagement and encouragement to continue doing this work that is not work - I am always so grateful to hear your stories and testimonies of how A Journey and Empowering Solutions have impacted your life. 


Saturday, December 21, 2013

The "Disorder" in PTSD… and Some Empowering Solutions

We may be afraid and thats ok. 

Our fear becomes a problem only when we allow it to dictate our actions and interfere with our future. 

And asking or expecting others to change or accommodate us so that we don't have to face our fear? 

Serves to enable us in our avoidance and lets the fear control our future. 

Heres the thing I discovered

Is that "avoidance" is the "disorder" in "PTSD". 

The truth that set me free?

Knowing and learning that we can learn to calm our parasympathetic nervous system; that we don't have to "go

That we can take our life back from trauma. 

Tip: start noticing when you are feeling "amped" or as though you need to run away, fight back or shut down. 

Then start removing yourself from the "trigger" before you actually bolt, fight back or shut down. 

Develop the skills to use tools to bring these feelings of anger/fight, fear/flight and freezing/shutting down to a manageable place like:

  • Deep breathing 
  • Dancing it out 
  • Punching it out
  • Walking or running it out
  • Writing it out (without sending it :) )

The thing to remember is that most of us have been taught to run to others, to "ask for help" when we are feeling emotionally overloaded instead of being taught the life and coping skills to manage our feelings and that - leaves us feeling both powerless and hopeless for anything better.

These exercises when practiced over time - will empower you to be in control of your emotions vs your emotions controlling you. 

Keep in mind that this first step can take some time as we learn and choose to be in awareness of how we are feeling vs the disconnection that can come with experiencing chronic trauma over time. 

The key?

Is to practice this over and over and over….taking small steps instead of expecting big results "fast". 

Knowing that you are empowering yourself vs needing someone to tell you what is "wrong" and how to "fix" it. 

Heres the bottom line about dealing with "PTSD" issues that I discovered to be empowering….

Learning to bring things down to a manageable level before we "react" allows and empowers us to shift from "reactive" to "responsive" where we can consider our options and respond via choice vs the basic human need to engage in fight, flight or freeze as our only options.

So there you go. 

It's simple, yes. 

Not nearly as complicated as I was taught to believe it was. 

Is it easy? 

Nope. Not at all. Especially at first. 

Is it effective?

Yup. :) 

Is it empowering?

You bet. 

Discovering that I was in control of myself, my reactions, my choices….that I did NOT have to be in therapy or on drugs "for life"? 

Empowered me to start seeing myself as the creator of my "best life". 

May you discover your own "empowering solutions" and find freedom from your fears. 

Best always and forever,

Susan :) 

Resources Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues. Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past… And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. 

 Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list. 

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seeking Happy

Many of us are seeking happiness in people, places and things.
"If I get a new job and move to a different state then I can get away from all this bs"

"If I could just take a vacation - then everything would be ok"

"If I had this house, car, clothes, job, business ….then I'd be happy".

The problem I found with that? 

Is that if I wasn't happy with who I was by myself I would never be happy with that "someone" and in fact that relationship would go down the toilet just like all the rest of them did. 

I discovered that moving or changing jobs distracted me for awhile but in time things were the same as they were before. 

I found that no matter what I had, what I owned or what I did to make a living - if I was not happy where I was I would not be happy there. 

Happy happened when I learned to make it happen. 

And when I got happy with me

I no longer needed to be a "we".

I started looking at where I could move to instead of what I could move away from.


I discovered that I had everything I needed already; that I didn't need a new house, car, job or clothes. 

How have you found happy? 


I Was Looking For Happy In All the Wrong Places

Happiness is a choice? Then why am I not happy?


Visit the archives to the Empowering Solutions podcast here for real life solutions to real life and relationship issues. 

 Follow the Empowering Solutions community page here for daily tips on learning to live beyond the drama and trauma of our past… 

 And the Empowering Solutions blog is here for articles and essays on life and life issues. Please subscribe at the top for blog updates and join our mailing list. 

 Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!™  
 Thanks for following, reading and sharing!

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