With Life There Is Challenge | How I Manage the Emotional Swings that a Parent Experiences

June 3, 2019 | by Tricia Parido | Master Coach at Turning Leaves Recovery Life and Wellness Coaching

 

So, 2019 has, so far, turned out to be a year filled with reward! For our family, this is very welcomed as none of us are strangers to facing challenges, big and small. With this there seems to always be a gamut of emotions; fear, uncertainty, frustration, overwhelm, anticipation, anxiety, relief, joy, satisfaction, and down right over the moon happiness.

In the last 6 months, we have had college graduations, career advancements, press recognition, recovery milestones, the first opportunity to produce a film, a miracle birth, and a newly appointed Attorney at Law. None of which came without struggle, sacrifice, hard work, perseverance, sadness, or anxiety.

Every one of us has had to overcome over the years. We have embraced what it means to be a blended family. We have looked grave diseases in the eye and tackled them head-on. We have faced financial hardships and pooled funds. We have taken devastating side effects and educated ourselves about how to lessen the severity. And we have embraced the need to be prepared for the unknown. Luckily for us, we have each other.

What I think is crucial to talk about, I mean really bring a full illustration to, is what it can look like when a family unit is faced with cancer, rare auto-immune disease, chronic illness and the aftermath they leave in their wake. As parents, we are just not prepared for the emotional distress of not being able to “fix” or “cure” our children. Or how derailing the “I don’t know what to do” can be psychologically. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but this comes from the perspective of one that endures on a personal level daily as well as a parent watching their children endure as well.

Watching a child battle cancer, win, embrace the lifelong side effects, such as survivors’ guilt, poor immune functions, and infertility for 14 years (half her life), for me was not only emotionally trying, it was strength building and awe-inspiring. Because you see, our daughter did all of this with faith and grace. Her early teens spent in hospitals and clinics. Chemo, a bone marrow transplant and a lot of immune therapy put her AML into remission. As a family unit, we all were humbled by just how fragile life can be. A large family with 5 children operated as if we were pros. Nobody shied away from pitching in to keep the home safe for her. She went on in determination to be successful in all she wanted to achieve. So, this year, when she miraculously became pregnant without any extraordinary measures and gave birth to a healthy baby, I was reminded again of just how incredible life is when you embrace each day as if it were the only one you have.

Walking beside a child who has diligently worked their whole life to become an attorney only to feel it all slipping away as the control over her own body functions, sight, speech, swallowing, and more, became severely impaired during the most important time of her journey, the Bar exam, was heart-wrenching. I felt disempowered, unable to do anything more than guide her toward paying attention to what was happening at any given moment. Meaning, watching what she was doing at all times to see what, if anything, contributed to an increase of symptoms. I could do nothing but listen to one doctor after the other come up with no real or logical answer. I could only be empathetic to her fears and frustrations. That is until her symptoms became life-threatening. She could not swallow. The next stop, the ER and admittance to the hospital until they figured it out! The diagnosis, a rare auto-immune disease, Myasthenia Gravis. The treatment protocol; symptom control medication, high levels of steroids, and major surgery to remove her thymus. What did she do? Embraced the reality, worked hard to manage the anxiety, kept her expectations realistic, did a great deal of research, studied differently, and persevered! Now an attorney and with her prognosis in from pathology she knows she will have a normal life with everything she wanted. She just must listen to her body more intently than before.

As an individual that has faced one ongoing / incurable auto-immune disease after another since the age of 18 and having experienced a few life-threatening moments, I could empathize with the emotions our daughters were introduced to. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the raw fear a parent endures keeping them in a state of fight or flight when they can do nothing for their child except trust complete strangers to have their best interest and well-being in mind. Thankfully I engaged in psychological study and therapeutic work over the years that enabled me to develop a strong sense of life balance rounded out by impulse control, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance.

These life skills, that I practice almost every minute of every day, on the surface sound quite simple. I always know my core non-physical feeling and what is driving it. I use the art of pause as often and for as long as is necessary to formulate an appropriate response to keep from being reactive. I validate assumptions through positive inquiry. I monitor my stance ensuring I am operating as a learner instead of a judger. I listen to my gut because my intuition serves me well. And I trust my ability to be in an internal locus of control.

What is important for you to know is that I have devoted more than 6 years of my life creating this way of living. Studying coaching as a psychological practice, maintaining my credentials as a Master Addictions Coach, Addiction Treatment Counselor, Professional Life Coach, Interventionist, and Case Manager with high levels of ethical regard. Writing and improving my life coaching “curriculum” Building Milestones every step of the way. Observing and tracking data for how it not only works in my life but how it serves those that seek to work with me in their lives. I don’t know if the work will ever be truly finished. I believe that I can always pursue improvement. What I can say is that I have concurred many things that used to terrify me. I have learned how to take what I can use and leave the rest. And finally, I know how to do what works and be effective.

Of course, you don’t have to be faced with situations quite this extreme to feel the need for guidance and support. Parenting and family units present with challenges in unique ways every day. If you are feeling stuck, alone, anxious, overwhelmed, or lost, just call. I am happy to help you determine which way to turn.

Are treatment approaches missing entire groups of people that deserve to find support programs?

May 22, 2019 | by Tricia Parido | Master Coach at Turning Leaves Recovery Life and Wellness Coaching

 

I have received a lot of calls lately from people seeking to find a recovery program that will meet their needs. The most recent shared with me that they were turned away from a county mental health program they were interested in participating in because their severity didn’t match the counties protocol. The story was quite a bit longer than just that but left me perplexed.

So now I find myself asking, “Are the standard treatment protocols missing highly prevalent groups of individuals?” As an industry, the addiction treatment and mental health programs have the basics covered for those cases that meet the severity for higher levels of care, sure. However, what about the people who may meet diagnostic criteria but are highly functioning and their lives are not in a shamble? Or, where does the co-dependent woman or man with attachment issues who no longer know who they are outside of their roles in daily life that find themselves engaging in a multitude of addictive behaviors that don’t include illicit drug abuse or alcohol dependence engage in a program?

Sure, all the people I mentioned and other versions of struggling individuals can seek therapeutic intervention, weekly counseling, and even trauma work through EMDR. I believe completely in the importance of doing so. These therapies provide emotional healing for the underlying causes that have led them to where they are today.

The industry standards are teaching people with chemical addiction what it feels like to be sober and counseling them through past traumas. Which can also be said for individuals that face life with mental health disorders such as bipolar, and severe eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. But what about going forward?

Yes, there is a lot of transitional aftercare programs available, and they are becoming more and more commonplace, which is fantastic, for the standard treatment clientele. At Turning Leaves Recovery Life and Wellness Coaching I offer an amazing Treatment Transition to Life program that allows clients to engage with a personal Recovery Coach for a significant period developing crucial life skills.

Which brings me back to the not so normal clientele needing a more interactive and engaged level of guidance, whether that be in conjunction with or without any other therapeutic intervention. What are the treatment options for the person that wants to shift the momentum of their life from mundane daily chores and daily errands that habitually have become coupled with a bottle of wine, impulsive purchases, and overindulgence of sugary treats? Sure, there is an immense number of “retreat” style interventions, but can it really be expected that a jam-packed weekend (or week) filled with one successful speaker after another will ultimately help a person change their life long-term? Especially when most of the people I am describing usually don’t see the behaviors I mentioned as part of the problem. They just feel stuck, sad, lonely, and anxious. And ultimately, they just want someone to help them feel otherwise.

What I am getting at is this… treatment approaches need to be looking at a broader population. A lot of people are struggling. They just don’t all fit the same mold. But what I know to be true is that these individuals thrive when presented with the same approach as those that fit the images of addiction and mental health disorders that have been adopted by society.

I have, in my practice, made it my mission to provide effective programs that foster life long manageable and maintainable skillsets for everyone that I have mentioned in this article. Every client regardless of how their recovery needs could be classified is partnered with a Certified Life Coach, Certified Recovery Coach, Certified Food Addiction Coach, or a Master Addictions Coach. The coach works hands-on with each client during the Building Milestones curriculum period and throughout the designated program whether that is the Treatment Transition to Life, The Not So Normal Faces of Addiction, Life and Wellness Fitness and Nutrition or any other option that meets their needs.