February 21, 2010 - 9:47 PM
I heard this great story about spoons in class the other day and was hoping to send you all a link to the website so you could read it for yourself but the website is under construction and the story isn't accessible right now. I'll do by best to sum up the gist of the message but you should definitely check back for the full story.
Sometimes we struggle with things in life that are or aren't visible to others. This can look like sicknesses, disabilities, life struggles, or just stuff. We only have so much energy to put out towards the demands of a normal day. Some of us have a sufficient supply of energy and others of us have to plan our time and budget our energy even if that means not getting everything done we need or would like to. Sometimes this means missing out on activities we'd really like to do. This can be a hard truth but the truth remains that we only have so many spoons. . .
Spoons represent our energy and resources at the beginning of a day. Say you have 12 spoons to spend on a normal day. Getting up and getting ready for the day might take away a spoon. Getting your kids up for school and out the door might take another. It's only 8:00 am and you are already down two spoons. Plan your day wisely. Once your spoons are gone, they are gone. You cannot get more unless you take spoons from the next day, at which case you will start out the next day behind. If you want to have some fun in the evening, you'll have to pass on getting groceries. If you get groceries then you won't get to socialize. You have to decide and spend your spoons as best as you can.
Others may not understand. They may judge how you spend your spoons without truly understanding. So explain your situation to them. Hand them a bouquet of spoons and begin to take them away as you explain your situation. They might understand a little bit better. Maybe you do have an invisible illness or disadvantage in one way or another. Maybe life has you in a place where you only have 10 spoons when you would normally have 14. Maybe you feel like you need 20 spoons (all you students out there!) but you only have 12. We are no strangers to the difficult situations our limited number of spoons places us in. Starting out the day with an awareness of our spoons and our demands helps us balance our lives in the healthiest way possible given our unique situations.
I know for me thinking of my life in terms of spoons opens me up to give myself grace to not have to be so productive all of the time. I can only do what I can do and that's ok. It is better to only do what our spoons allow rather than taking out of tomorrow's, the next day's, week's, month's, or year's spoons. I really can get some of these things done tomorrow. This has been a good lesson for me regarding my life but also when looking at the lives of others and having compassion on them. They have their spoons to manage the same way I do. We all deserve a little grace.
This is spoon theory in a nut shell. Please check it out for yourself!
February 21, 2010 - 9:25 PM
I don't know what's wrong with me. I have been super tired this past month seemingly without reason. I go to bed at a regular time, I get up fairly consistently around 6:30, I get my eight hours of sleep, I eat healthy, take a multi-vitamin, exercise moderately, and allow myself a few minutes down time between homework and or other life duties and sleep. My sleepiness is really starting to become a problem. I am fine as long as I have something to do. Any free minute though and I am struggling to keep my eyes open. I end up doing more and more to keep myself busy to stay awake in the would-be free minutes in my day so I can maintain without being groggy from an ill timed nap.
I'm not quite sure what to do about this problem but I know I need to start exploring my options because it is starting to become a bigger and bigger problem. It is frustrating to think that every five minute or more break leaves me begging for a new fuzzy hoodie, a warm blanket, and the heart felt intention to curl up in a ball on any empty chair or couch and pass out. I feel as if I could sleep my life away.
What can I do about this? I'm getting more sun, so there's my vitamin D. I'm incorporating a healthy and balanced lifestyle as much as possible. I'm (unfortunately) not pregnant yet, so that's not an explanation. Hmmm. . . anyone out there have any tricks or suggestions? I'm willing to try a lot of different options right now. One thing I will not do, however, is go back to drinking caffeine. I've been caffeine free for a long time and I'm not inclined to have my waking hours dependent of a continual stimulant drip. I went out for coffee with a friend the other day and I accidentally forgot to order decaf. It's a good thing I generally sip at coffee rather than chugging it because after I'd downed about a fourth of my latte I noticed that I felt strange and shaky. I realized my mistake and had to forgo the rest of my treat because it was evening and I didn't want to risk loosing a minute of that precious sleep I can't seem to get enough of lately.
I've never had an issue with feeling tired with every break in my schedule before. I'm hopeful that this is just a fluke or that it's related to the amount of activity in my life presently and that I can readjust over spring break and sustain the next 14 weeks of classes before I graduate.
I am eager for your suggestions.
February 15, 2010 - 8:11 PM
About a year ago I took an ethics class. I learned a lot about the unfortunate situations that can come up when you are working with clients. I dug into Oregon's laws the national ethical standards for Marriage and Family Therapists and made sense of all of the legal language. The basic principles are simple: to do no harm, to act in the best interest of our clients, to uphold confidentiality, and ultimately, to respect clients. However, there are times when safety is an issue, and when that is the case, it is considered the ultimate goal and supersedes all other ethical standards.
Ethics can be messy. They are subject to interpretation, are hazed with gray areas, and there are times when the standards are in direct conflict with one another in various situations. So what's a therapist to do? Document! Document everything that might seem a bit sticky ethically and provide the reasoning behind the decisions made.
I have watched my friends and peers get stuck in ethically sticky situations with clients from time to time for a multiplicity of reasons. I had a lot of compassion because there is no easy way to wade through all of the different options and necessary though and action process. It is a stressful to be in a place where one is obligated to act in certain ways.
I know this is part of the job. I've learned about it, I've watched others go through the process, and I've heard and received lots of good supervision from my professors on ethical dilemmas with clients. However, I ran into a situation I was absolutely NOT prepared for and neither were my supervisors. My recent experience did not relate to a client but rather another therapist. I was privileged to some information about another therapist that indicated a potentially serious breach of our ethical obligations as therapists. So I am now obligated to take action. This is very stressful and very VERY uncomfortable! After all, I am only an intern and this individual has years and years of experience and more credible certifications.
On one hand, I wish I could take back what I heard and on the other I am glad that this information was disclosed so I can help in a situation that looks very wrong. I get to help protect the rights of clients and this feels good. Being a tattle-tale doesn't feel so good. In fact, it feels very mean and I wish I could do my own investigation and find out the "facts" and understand the context to make sense of the situation. I guess this is just the therapist in me. : ) But as things sit, I am keeping close connection with my supervisors as they too try and figure out how the information needs to be handled and then follow the directions they give me. What I do know for sure is that I will have no part in asking and trying to understand the situation. I will be reporting it to some ethics investigator for Oregon's licensure board and leave the investigation up to them. I most likely will not learn what the outcome of the information I share will be and although I am curious, I am glad that I won't know.
This is so hard! I know I am doing the right (and necessary) thing but it feels yucky. I guess that's why ethics are in existent. There has to be some governing principles to keep us all in line and obligate us to act when needed because left to our own morality, often it is easy to excuse ourselves out of acting. At least this is the case for me anyway. It's not that I don't have good intentions; it's that these situations are hard and it's difficult to follow through without the have-to standard out there. I am certainly learning and growing through this and I am so thankful for ethical standards that hold me accountable!
February 14, 2010 - 8:33 PM
I'm 24 years old. I pierced my eyebrow and my nose when I was 18 and debated getting my lip pierced too. My mouth never happened for good reason, but I did have both an eyebrow and nose piercing for quite awhile. I still have my nose pierced but made the decision to take out the eyebrow ring (in addition to growing out my spiky short black hair with occasional colored streaks) to look more presentable and older as I moved into the professional role of a therapist.
I have never had my ears pierced. I was born in an extremely small, extremely conservative town and lived there until I was 8. My brother and I were sent to a tiny little private school connected with the church we went to at the time. Piercings were out of the question. So was nail polish, lip gloss, shorts, and "inappropriate" toys such as Barbie Dolls.
As I got older the burning desire I had in my childhood to have my ears pierced faded away. We moved from town to town,went from school to school and church to church. Each town, school, and church, each had its own position on the matter and I never fought with any of the rules or restrictions when they were present and didn't necessarily indulge in the liberties when they too were present.
When I turned 18, I did want to get my eyebrow and my nose pierced so I did. Everyone thought it was so funny that I had these other piercings but I had never had my ears pierced. I thought this was amusing myself and decided that I would keep it that way for the amusement factor. However, now that I've taken out my eyebrow ring and have significantly longer hair, I look and think about how fun it would be to have pretty earrings to match my therapist outfits. I feel like I'm playing dress-up all of the time and it seems wrong to play dress up without earrings.
My husband took me to get my ears pierced for Valentine's Day this year. He told me that he was going to "stab holes in my ears" and that's exactly what happened, except he didn't do it himself. He watched, however, along with my daughter who was so curious I had to tell her multiple times to stop asking questions because the constant flow of "are you scared," "are you nervous," "is it going to hurt," "are you going to scream/ jump/ cry," "are you excited" etc. was starting to drive me a bit nutty. She had a reason to ask though. I am not ashamed so say that I am a total baby when it comes to needles. I HATE THEM! I hate blood, I hate anything that is in anyway invasive to my or anyone else's body. I am definitely a fainter and get queasy quickly even thinking about anything that grosses me out. My daughter had NO problem blurting this and other interesting facts about me, such as my strange and unexplained fear of foamy bubbles, to the guy piercing me. He took her confessions very seriously and had me lie down for the piercings and take deep breaths and kept asking me if I was ok. Thankfully, I was a big girl and didn't have any problems. I was not scared, I did not cry/ jump/ scream/ faint/ or feel sick. My pride would have suffered greatly if any of these things had happened.
My daughter thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole event take place. She was my little narrator :). Brian just sat quietly by holding my coat and purse. He is such a great husband. Nothing says I love you more than paying a stranger to poke holes through your wife. I love him too and next year I think I'll pay to have him get a tattoo so he can be stabbed with a needled over and over again for hours. This would really show him just how much he means to me. :) . . . Joking.
February 7, 2010 - 7:03 PM
We got new neighbors about a month ago. They are a sweet couple who were about ready to have a baby when they moved in. One day a large black tub appeared on their front porch, a few days later, it disappeared into their house. When I saw this I started to wonder if they were planning on doing a home birth. My curiosities were confirmed and I started to wonder what it would be like to hear the labor process so close. I've never seen a birth and since I am so hungry for a baby myself and I was so fascinated.
I did worry about the noises depending on the timing of the birth. First, there is my daughter. She is 9 and I wasn't sure how much she would be able to hear of the noises or how much I wanted her to hear. I wondered if they would be going through labor through the night, affecting all of our abilities to get a good night's sleep for school the next day. So much to think about.
Well, I ran into this couple two days ago. My daughter was home from school because she wasn't feeling good and I couldn't resist dragging her out of the house for a few minutes when I saw a break in the clouds. The sun was out and I just had to get a taste of that glorious vitamin D. My neighbors were enjoying the sun also and I engaged in a casual conversation about the baby to come, and learned they were waiting to have the baby any day.
I went on with my day. That evening I went on a Mom-Daughter date with Shae while Brian was at a meeting. We all came together and came home to the sounds of what sounded like a dog howling. I was straining my ear to hear more. I tucked my daughter into bed and kept silently listening. I didn't hear much else but I had a hard time sleeping that night because I wanted to hear what was going on so badly!
I did eventually fall asleep and I was unsure if I'd heard right since I didn't hear much. . . I don't know quite what I was expecting but obviously I was expecting more or louder or worse sounding or something. I went on with that next day and at the close of my day of busyness I heard the beautiful sound of a newborn baby's cry as I walked past my neighbors' door. They had their baby. I haven't met him or her yet, but it was neat to know they had a successful birth and that I was able to be so close to it.
I only have one more question now that I know the birth happened. . . what did they do with all of the water from that giant tub they filled? Is it in our yard? I'm not sure I really want to know, I think that might be a little weird to find out I was walking through birthing juice, for lack of a better word, as I went from my door to the car and back. Hmm. . . things to think about.