Suffering in Silence

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There is so much opportunity in this world for support. 

The question you may be facing right now is where to start? You think about who can be there to help you hold space to share your story. You are hoping to feel better and to heal.

Taking the first step with a therapist, a family member, a significant other, a friend, or maybe even a coworker can bring up many feelings such as excitement and anxiousness. You are building up the courage to be bold because on the inside there are fears, tears, torments & chaos. You finally decide to self disclose and uncover a part of you that you may not want to talk about, because, let’s face it… it is hard to talk about our mental well-being. When you finally sit face to face with the person and begin share your inner conflicts, you become hopeful to have some form of relief. Sometimes it goes very well, and other times, it may not bring the relief you needed.

Your support of choice may say a variety of things:

“Aw, I hope you feel better.”

“You are strong and you will get through this.”

“You have x, y, and z so you should be fine.”

“I’ll pray for you.”

“Just pray and you will be okay.”

“It’s not a big deal, it could be worse.

“I am here for you if you need me just call.”

*Ignores your message and redirects the conversation.*

*Holds the silence with you* “What does it mean for you?”

“How can I hold you in this pace and support you?”

“Is that all?!”

We all mean well, but sometimes the people we choose will fail our hearts. Perhaps we put too much pressure on them. Maybe they are nervous and want to fix it for you. Maybe they are facing the same thing, and are afraid to share the same fears. They run away and avoid that reflecting mirror you are holding. So many reasons, but whatever the case may be you still feel unsatisfied. The trap of the enemy ensnares you when this happens. The most critical part of your mind says, “My voice did not matter after sharing. Look at how quickly my messages was swept under the rug.” This could have been a therapist (we aren’t perfect), this could have been a mother, a sister, a brother, a friend, or even a lover that has failed to give you what you were trying to seek: 

SUPPORT & EMPATHY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. 

Now you find yourself sitting alone in your room. You reflect on what just happened. Your mind begins to play tricks on you. 

“Well, (insert person’s name) totally thinks I am crazy. I mean did you see the look on their face!?”

“Am I am overreacting?”

“What was the point to share myself?

“I held this in for so long.”

“I am tired of the silent suffering.” 

Research says therapy is helpful and reaching out for support is a good thing. But why does reaching out feel like it was a bad thing once we try? Why do we feel lost and unsatisfied?

For one thing, we forget we are responsible for our feelings, and we cannot have someone cope with our pain and take it away from us. They can only listen and help in the way you tell them to. Another thing is that you should be very proud of yourself and show yourself more compassion. Because you know what? You did all that you can do with that pain inside of you and you were able to give some of it out of your body. Just because it was not the outcome you may have wanted, you made a direction towards healing.

Never minimize your efforts. Examine and acknowledge the pain of it hurting when you finally give part of your pain away. When someone shuts down and is not able to respond with empathy or care according to what you needed or how you see it, it is still hurtful. That hurt feels very lonely. The focus on the other person places you to going back to square one:

Suffering in Silence

We find many ways to suffer in silence. We hide in it, and sometimes it is comfortable.

Here are 3 ways silence operates in your life:

  1. Suppression: You are not happy with the way life is going. On the outside you look fine, but on the inside there is a lot going on. You want to feel loved and feel supported. By the time you let it out, and the listener fails to reassure you, you go deeper into negative thinking. This is when the silence has a sound and it is attacking yourself with mental messages of “It does not matter. I do not matter. So what is the point? No one cares to help me.” Now more weight is holding you down and you may begin to feel less motivated to seek help. Suppressing the silence will make your stories die.
  2. “I am Strong” Persona: You hide behind your “I am strong” superhero cape. Because isn’t it true? You are strong, and you are fully able to get through it? Perhaps with time, but let’s challenge this with a question. How long can you carry more of your own burdens as you live your every day life? Playing the life of fantasy and becoming a superhero can only last so long. Even Superman had a weakness. When the kryptonite is revealed and exposed, Clark Kent could no longer function to his full capacity. He could not help others and he could not help himself.   
  3. Rationalization: According to how life is externally, you should not be feeling this way… right? This is where your mind could say, “It could be worse, at least you are not homeless,” or “There will always be someone worse off than me.” Thinking logically and overanalyzing does not always produce positive results. These form of statements can force your mind and body to numb your feelings. Numbing is not healthy. Denying your feelings can be harmful in the long run. We have feelings because it brings signals to our body and our mind. It is our metal detector. It helps to detect when something is harmful or confusing.

Now, you may be wondering how to end the silence once and for all. It will take continual effort on your part.

Lets look at 3 ways to break the silence.

Stay open to the possibility that you will be seen and be heard.

LaTianna, Drama Therapist & Change Artist

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1) ​​Do not give up.

Keep seeking until you can find the right therapist that is clinically sound and empathic. The same applies to other relationships. Tell them what you need and be truthful when they are not being supportive. Sometimes others do not know how to handle what you tell them. 

2) Get into movement.

You are sensing in your body that something is not right. The more you are unable to figure it out in your mind, it is important to get that energy out of you by trying a creative activity.

​​You can journal, paint, create a monologue, dance, make a collage of feelings, run, exercise, sing, complete yoga. As long as you are in movement, the energy you are holding onto can be released for temporary relief.

3) Attend community events & groups.

It is possible to find group support. Some groups are anonymous (for example co-dependent anonymous{Al-Anon}, AA, etc.). Community mental health agencies can provide opportunities to use your voice. If you want a creative community, try out open mic nights or groups that like to get together and use music and poetry.

​​Consistently attending a group once or twice a week is better than keeping silent. You can also ask your healthcare provider to see if they have any leads. You can also join one of my meet ups.  

The core of suffering in silence is that voice of SELF-ACCUSATION and the STIGMA that is found in sharing your mental health needs.   

LaTianna, Drama Therapist & Change Artist

I am here to tell you that there is hope, even if you do not feel hopeful. There is community, even if you have not found the right one yet. It may take time to build in the same place. It may take another place. Do not give up. Listen to your intuition. I I hear you and this is why I write this to you.  Please share your story and use your voice.

Here are some resources you can try.

You can also book your free 15 minute consult with me here

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Living Well: 3 Things To Do

“Wellness seeks more than the absence of illness; it searches for new levels of excellence. Beyond any disease-free neutral point, wellness dedicates its efforts to our total well-being – in body, mind, and spirit.”

– Greg Anderson

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This quote spoke to me today and I reflected on the following: What would make life well balanced and better? What does a positive wellness lifestyle look like? Can it be found in things, in people, or within yourself?

Things do not last forever and you cannot take it with you to your grave.

People change their views and opinions, and you cannot always rely on others. They have their own free will to come into your life and to leave your life.

You can never get away from yourself. You are in charge of your body, your will, and your emotions.   

It seems to me that the only thing we can control is ourselves. Should this be the starting point to the road of health and happiness?​​

Well, it sounds like a great place to start! Good health does not come from the absence of something, but rather preventative and maintenance care. It is wise to not delay on adding wellness activities into your life. You are important! If you can give yourself some TLC, you will find yourself more full to spread that love you hold. You being healthy is not only good for you, but also the people around you.

3 SECRETS TO THE GOOD LIFE STARTS WITHIN YOURSELF IN THREE INTERTWINED AREAS: 

THE MIND

Our brain is always activating messages simultaneously to make us respond to our emotions, life experiences and daily functioning. The way we think can influence our mood. Our mood can lead into actions (positive or negative). These actions can be reinforced as a behavior. Ongoing behaviors will reveal your character. You get to choose what you meditate on every day. We have the ability to learn new ways of how we think and how we perform. It will either be optimistic or pessimistic/ positive or negative. Research has demonstrated that positive thinking is essential to healthy living. Joelle C. Ruthig & associates found that greater health optimism was associated with a stronger sense of control over one’s health and greater engagement in health behaviors, whereas a realistic view of one’s poor health was associated with weaker perceived health control and less great health behaviors. (July 2011 Journal of Psychology and Health article)

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THE BODY

As you begin to identify healthy ways you want to train your mind, your body will begin to respond with the changes. We only get one body in this life. It is your temple. What are you filling it with and what type of outside maintenance are you completing? It is a no brainer that exercise is important. I encourage you to find new activities that can be a challenge for you. This can help you stay motivated in the fitness realm. Food is also important. Start off with a food record to evaluate your food intake and mood for one week. Each day write what you ate,and write about how it affected your mood and how it affected you physically. Did you get tired? Energized? Happy? Sad? You may just find a pattern of stress eating or a pattern of not feeling well after eating, or you feel well. From your records, begin to spice up your life with new dishes and meals that are healthy and not as pre-packaged or take out. Start small, and do not deprive yourself from things you love. Keep your sweet tooth! Balance is everything.

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THE SPIRIT

Hearing this phrase you automatically think, “I must go to church.” This is not necessarily true. Activities that create a sense of belonging, self-awareness, and deep thinking is important for everyone. Some find it in church, temple, religious ceremonies, yoga, prayer, nature, meditation, deep reflections while jogging, etc. There are so many ways to feed your spirit. The main thing is that you need to personalize it and create meaning. If it has no meaning, you will not value your experience. This could lead you to take things for granted. Even practicing gratitude can help throw away that nasty attitude.

That concludes my 3 secrets to a life well-lived. Your mind, body, and soul are connected, and working together. Start by evaluating what small things you can change and go from there!

If you need a community to help you stay accountable to your goals, join HeART & Style

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12 Loving Ways to Build A Better Body Image. No More #BodyBullying

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This is not just a client issue. It’s a child and adult issue. It’s seen as political warfare. The media continues to have a heavy influence on what is seen as physically beautiful. Skinny, symmetrical faces tend to be placed on a pedestal. Extra bonus if you are a light complexion within your race. Super extra bonus points if you can reach a Kardashian figure 8 look.

So what do these social media messages mean for young children that still developing physically, mentally, & emotionally? Researchers seek for answers, and these are the following relationships found:

  • Girl Scouts did an online survey in 2010 with over 1000 girls ages 13-17. 9 out of 10 girls felt pressure by fashion and media industries to be skinny.

National Eating Disorders Website

  • Numerous correlational and experimental studies have linked exposure to the thin ideal in mass media to body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and disordered eating among women.
  • Of American elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight. (Martin, 2010).
  • Pressure from mass media to be muscular also appears to be related to body dissatisfaction among men. This effect may be smaller than among women but it is still significant.
  • Conversely, Black-oriented television shows may serve a protective function; Hispanic and Black girls and women who watch more Black-oriented television have higher body satisfaction.
  • Body image concerns often begin at a young age and endure throughout life. By age 6, girls especially start to express concerns about their own weight or shape, and 40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. (Smolak, 2011). Furthermore, over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives (Neumark- Sztainer, 2005). It is important to note that the age of onset differs depending on the individual, and these body image concerns may start younger, or never come up at all.

These statistics is to spark a conversation between you and your loved ones. There is no sole reason as to why negative body image runs rampant among youth and adults. We can only see its impact from our point of view. We see the messages play out in our lives and in our loved one’s lives. Please take note that the media, your cultural background, and your social connections can all play a direct and indirect part into one’s body image development. If you find yourself, or someone you know trapped in the following cycle, they may have an issue with how they love their own body.

  • You physically pick at your body and focus on the things you do not like about it.
  • You look at your body and feel disgusted.
  • You feel bad after eating a meal. (And you know you are supposed to eat 3 meals a day for a balanced diet.)
  • You have a hard time looking in the mirror. Or, you may avoid mirrors entirely.
  • You consistently find yourself going on the scale to then base your mood off of how much you weigh.
  • You have automatic thinking patterns that circulate shame: ” I hate my body…” “Look at how fat I got…” “I shouldn’t have eaten that…”
  • You are upset/disturbed by comments of others when they make a statement about your body. (“You’re too skinny…”, “You’re too fat…”, “You used to be smaller…,” “You used to look so different…”, “Wow your legs are super toned…”, etc.)
  • You believe your value is based off of how you look.
  • You compare your body to other.
  • You compare the old you to the current you, and putting yourself down makes you feel frustrated and sad.

It is time to learn new ways and move from being a victim to becoming a victor at building a healthy body image. An image you feel proud of–flaws and all. To let go of perfection and to appreciate your body is the way to a healthier mindset and action towards a happier you. If you tend to ignore your thought life, your current beliefs will crystallize overtime. Any message from others that agree with how you see yourself will become stronger, creating a stronghold. Being a prisoner to your poor mindsets will not get you far in life. Using a lens of negativity towards your body image can lead to long-term harm. Not caring can get you caught up in fad diets, unhealthy eating patterns, poor boundaries with how people treat your body, overexercising, depression, and anxiety. If a distorted body image continues, it can be diagnosable towards an eating disorder, or a body dysmorphic disorder. Not only is this a mental health issue, it is also a medical health issue. Truth be told, not everyone you see is skinny on purpose. They can also be bullied about their body image. There could be a chronic illness that is making them struggle with their smaller weight, and they will need guidance on how to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

This brings me to my first point on how to build a better body image that is loving and affirming.

#1) Do NOT judge what you see. Some of us may be having a thyroid issue or another chronic illness that is frustrating. Bullying people who are small is just as bad as bullying people who are bigger. A judgment made towards someone’s body is a curse. Focus on blessing others and being kind to them and to your own body. Radical acceptance requires you to let go of how you and others see. You let go of that right to judge your body for the worst. It is time to just it through a lens of self compassion and loving honesty. Love every part of you, inside and out. Even if you have to say it in the mirror and hold yourself until you believe it. Just do it; you and your body are worth it.

#2) Focus on what you love about your body. Can you quickly name 10 body attributes you love about yourself? Did it take you some time to answer that question? Identify what you love and repeat it out loud. Keep it in a journal. Do this Daily. Work out your mind so it aligns with your body. Need help with mindfulness and body image? Check out this resource. [mailerlite_form form_id=2]

#3) No more watching the scale: Say bye to your scale and remove it from your house. We fluctuate between 5 pounds daily, and to have your mind on the number is not a healthy way to change anything about your body. When losing weight the right way, you look at how clothes are fitting you rather than a number on a scale.

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#4) Enjoy your body… NOW! You may have a goal to lose or gain weight in a healthy way, but do not wait for the end goal to finally like your body.

#5) Remember, your body image is only a component to your self esteem. This falls under the ‘do not judge what you see.’ Many people are very successful with their work and life passions, but they may have a hard time loving their own bodies from time to time. To assume a low self esteem would be wrong. They have shown high capabilities in other ways that helps their self esteem. Think about enhancing our self esteem by working your body image. If you can succeed in other things, you can defnietely build loving body image and enhance your quality of life. Don’t lose yourself in what you have already accomplished while trying to get better in this area.

#6) Let go: Do you have old clothes that you are waiting to fit again? Let it go. Collect it and donate it. Are you living in the ‘glory’ days of when you were a different size? Let it go. No more meditating on it. You only have the present moment. Tomorrow is not promised, so why stay in a fantasy world of ‘how it used to be’?

#7) Do not become your worst enemy: It’s not attractive to body shame yourself. It may be easy to do because it’s where you find false comfort; however, the consequences are long-lasting. Just think about it – if your current partner or potential suitor is trapped in your messages of you saying ‘I’m too big’ or ‘I’m too small’, you are going to push them away. Can we say pity party for one? I think so. Have good boundaries and seek support in a different way. Find a supportive friend that has been shown to be trusting to talk to and to assist you in getting better with what you say about yourself. Having that accountability can quickly change things as they can help you pinpoint how frequent you make negative statements about your body. Eventually, you will get better at catching it for yourself and make better verbal remarks.

#8) Make Exercise fun: Exercise should never be a chore! Find something that brings you joy and do it! Some things my clients enjoy: Running, Deep Sea Diving, Dance Fitness, Martial Arts, Hiking. No matter the activity, the only motivation should be to have fun.

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#9) Enjoy your meals by taking out that extra guilty conscience. We eat to nourish our bodies, not condemn. If you need help in planning meals that better suit your overall health, I recommend making an appointment with a nutritionist, or a specialized representative that focuses on weight management. It’s all about mindset and self control. Take action and follow through with things that enhance your quality of life.

body-image-diet

#10) Dress in a way that is fashioned for you.

Developing your own personal fashion style according to your lovely body type is key to feeling good about your body. Putting on clothes that are too loose or too tight can make you feel the discomfort. These feelings of discomfort can lead to negative thoughts about your body and how you feel about it. Remember, clothes should never own you, you own the clothes! If you need to book a stylist, contact me for fashion therapy services.

#11) Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. The visual arts is very powerful. Become a critic, and control how much you see. For example, if #fitnessmotivation on instagram is making you feel less than, you need to cut it entirely. Become an advocate for body positivity by sharing statistics. Inspire a change. Someone out there needs a voice that will bring light into this topic.

#12) Surround your self with uplifting people.

Anyone that makes you feel low, or if you feel like you have to lower yourself to feel as if you belong is not a good fit for you! Find your tribe that uplifts you and nurtures you. Find that tribe that also corrects you for the better. Anyone in competition of you, especially with body weight is NOT a true friend.

If this article helped you in any way, let us know below. Sharing your story brings a voice into the conversation and can bring good health and healing for others.

If you need a community to help you stay accountable to your goals, join Body Love.

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