A dear friend and magnificent therapist, Jane Thatcher, has opened up shop in Broomfield, CO! She's a therapist, professional musician and owns a music school--she's a force! Her focus clinically is motherhood, anxiety, depression and religious trauma. She utilizes traditional talk therapy as well as writing therapy (did I mention she works w homeless individuals at the Denver Public Library doing creative writing?!?!) She's amazing!
In the last few years I have experienced a brand new humanity. In honor of being painfully authentic, and not perpetuating perfection myths, I'll share something personal. Being pregnant over 2 years ago now was a nightmare. I was sick (and I mean peeing while throwing up kind of sick!) from week 6-40. All the women who I knew who said being pregnant was really one of the most special times in their lives were now coming out of the woodwork to say how difficult it was for one reason or another. You name it: pre-partum identity crisis, not-being-a-fun-wife, feeling vulnerable about the upcoming inability to focus on a career they had long suffered for, wondering if they'd actually love this fetus when it eventually came out, depression, etc. It was shocking...why didn't everyone talk about this when I was non-barfy? Did they think they needed to make it look pretty, that somehow their experience pregnant (and I'll write more about post-partum later) reflected the love of their baby?
The more I barfed, peed, cried (often all 3), the more I said "this is really hard", the more women wanted to talk.
I say this in the hopes that we all (husbands/ partners as well) decide to share the struggle rather than perpetuate the myth of perfection. Go out there--- cry in public b/c it's your 3rd breakfast of the day and dammit, this one better stay down b/c you have a 9am meeting!
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Linked-in.... the list goes on and on and on. These platforms can be so incredible to share our lives but also so hollow when it comes to real connection not to mention the pressure to stay current on people's lives. I recently have been met w a rash of "ohh, I saw your trip, it looked amazing and the baby is adorable, that dish you cooked for your Dad's bday looked awesome!" (said by someone who has not called my phone or emailed me or even texted me in eons) and in response to "how have you been?', I've been met w friends and acquaintances saying, 'well you saw that guy I went to dinner with last weekend.." EEEEK...I did not see that guy, should I be scheduling time before a coffee w a friend to research their social media for things I should know? When was ‘catching up” not realllly catching up. I really would love to chat about that trip or have you meet my baby or share that recipe of the pic you 'liked'...shoot, I'd even love to cook it for you but didn't even know you were that interested in my life.
The question is: am I flattered? Yes. Were they probably bored at work or unwinding after work? Yes. Big question: When you receive 'likes', do you really feel liked? If we as humans are really pack animals, as we’re designed to be, we need to spend less time “liking” and more time doing that which really shows care and love: picking up the phone, scheduling a coffee.
Think about the last time you really felt connected to through social media…and is there more you’d like.
An incredible older adolescent and adult psychiatrist has finally planted roots in Golden, CO!!!! I'm pleased to announce Dr. Heather Newman to Golden, CO! I endorse her philosophy towards patient attentiveness and care and her approach to medication management 100%! Take a peek at her website: www.frontrangepsychiatry.com It's always a gift to have another like-minded, loving practitioner to entrust with the women I care so much for!
When we are under extreme stress, nearly 1,500 biochemical reactions occur in our bodies. Some body mechanisms speed up, others nearly shut down. Many have heard of this as our “fight or flight response.” What many don’t know is that this doesn’t just occur during a car accident or a physical attack; it occurs on some level, during a stressful meeting with a boss, or argument with a spouse or child. Oftentimes, these intense reactions which we are wired for to take us out of unsafe situations happen day after day on a less intense level. Unfortunately, after this stress response our bodies are still activated, still trying to process the byproducts of our stress response, making our bodies actually want to “fight” or “flee”. Our lives aren’t getting less stressful or complicated. Last time I checked, we can’t flee from a boardroom or fight our boss, thus we need to combat these reactions the best way we can. The answer is exercise. Exercise helps our bodies expedite the cleansing of the byproducts of our stress response so we don’t suffer physically. For example, when we’re stressed our gastrointestinal system slows. This can cause constipation, diarrhea, or ulcers. Stress even affects our reproductive system. Our body doesn’t want to foster a new life if it feels that it is under attack. Intellectually and emotionally, the “smart” part of our brain shuts down so we can think like an animal would (to fight or flee) and that can effect our information possessing system that we require we’re expected to be productive at work or listening to our children.
I don’t expect anyone to start a regimented running plan, but there are emotional and physical benefits to simply walking. The meditative effects of walking, the bilateral stimulation of the brain, has shown similar information integration properties and benefits as REM sleep (our dreaming sleep). Dr. Francine Shapiro, a California psychologist, found one day while walking and thinking about something that was troubling her, that her eyes began to track right to left in sync with her walking. She found that after her walk, the disturbance she felt previously had nearly disappeared. This began the basis for the widely accepted treatment modality, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Repossessing, EMDRIA.ORG). I challenge all of you to move at times when it’s the last thing you want to do. Sitting by yourself stewing over what went wrong in a conversation or situation has not reaaaaallly ever worked, so literally just walk it away!
Our family is our comfort and safety in an oftentimes chaotic world. I use "family" in the very loosest sense of the word. In the words of an incredibly inspiring client, they're "your people". They are the people who protect us and for whom we'd go to the ends of the Earth to protect. We stay awake in bed until all hours waiting to hear our teen pull into the driveway, buy all organic for the new addition to our family, interview 20 doctors to find the best care for an ailing parent.
We also protect each other by not saying things that we know could potentially cause stress or sadness. As a therapist who treats many families going through divorce or a significant loss, I see the elephants that everyone talks about with me but not with one another. In cases of a death of a loved one, I hear mom talking about how much she misses dad but has not said a lot to the kids because she doesn't want to make them hurt any more than they are. I hear the kids say that they think about dad all of the time but don’t want to make mom feel worse. I encourage families to be open and vulnerable with one another about their feelings. For a father going through a divorce to not hide his red eyes and tell his kids that he didn't plan for he and mom to not be together any more. Just because hurt, disappointment and grief are not spoken of does not mean they cease existing. We all know this but we assume our issue is different; our words will hurt or burden “our people”. There is cathartic power in telling your family how sad you are, giving them permission to grieve with you because chances are that they are grieving with or without you.
A true leader in a family is the one who can teach their family that it's a testament of strength to be genuinely "there" with them. If there was more sharing and les "sparing" each other from sorrow, there would be a lot more intimacy between us and "our people" and a lot less money paying therapists’ boat payments. My challenge to you is to sit down over hot cocoa, or a stiff scotch and talk, out loud, to those you love.
The beauty of my skin is that it facilitates my very East Coast facial expressiveness to shine through. From the furrow in my brow when I’m confused or annoyed, to the creases around my mouth when I smile, my skin denotes my mood. No grocery store clerk has ever asked me “How are you doing”, and believed my “I’m good, thanks”, on one of those not-so-good days. I am just not that good at faking it. I’ve never had a poker-face. The abilities to hide my facial expressions would require thousands of dollars in Botox. So, now I don’t even try.
Our bodies hold the truth. Whether we’re feeling nervousness in our bellies from starting a new relationship, stress in our shoulders from staring at a computer analyzing our finances, or mental exhaustion after a long fight with our significant other, we all have some emotion with which our physical bodies are coping. The same goes for our skin, which enables our facial expressions to represent our mood.
My hope is that you allow your skin to truly represent who you are. There are so many pressures to “be happy”, to “look your best” and essentially be someone you’re not at certain moments, it will always be a challenge to allow our outsides to match your insides. We need to teach ourselves that we can show what we are feeling in our belly, eyes, and heart.
Expressing accurately how we are feeling should translate into how we use words as well. When asked how you are, what would be the shame if your face and words matched how you were actually feeling? In reality not every day will be your “best”, nor will it be the best for the person whom you are speaking, therefore share your world, let your expressions and your words be genuine to who you are and what you’re feeling at this moment. Authenticity is freeing and will improve your every day relationships, bringing you and those you connect with, closer. All it takes is a little less emotional Botox, and a little more you being you.
My life's Goal
I, Sarah Barkley, am a psychotherapist here in Golden, CO. I specialize in adolescents, families and women. Nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than seeing someone wake up and see their beauty... whether for the first time, or once again. I believe in therapy, I believe in the struggle, the work, the discussion, the questions, the tears. If it's a life worth fighting for, one must fight for it. I've never met a life not worth fighting for.
Women Who Run with the Wolves- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Any woman needing to "get her groove back"/ to see that she doesn't need to apologize for wanting more/ needing more/ being fierce
About the book:
Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. Though the gifts of wildish nature come to us at birth, society's attempt to "civilize" us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller, shows how woman's vitality can be restored through what she calls "psychic archeological digs" into the bins of the female unconscious. In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Estes uses multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories chosen from over twenty years of research that help women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype.
The 5 Love Languages-Gary Chapman
For anyone wanting to connect better with those important to them. SUCH A SIMPLE APPROACH! A necessary read!
New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman guides couples, families, parents in identifying, understanding, and speaking their other’s primary love language—quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.