Alive! 2016

It’s the last day of 2015 and I’m in the process of reflecting back on what I’ve learned this year and making plans for what I want to learn and accomplish in 2016. Sometimes, I choose a word for the year that guides my intentions. In 2015 my word was Authentic. I wanted to focus on being more authentic (true to myself) and doing more of what I felt was truly in line with my passions, skills, and goals. I’ve realized that being authentic is a constant process.

I opened my private practice, Mindful Art Center, at the end of 2014 and didn’t have a solid plan as to how I wanted the business to progress. I had been working with adults with traumatic brain injuries, and as much as I love that work, it is not the only population that I wanted to work with. I became an art therapist to work with kids. I want to help kids learn to cope with anxiety and depression and live more fully – to build confidence in themselves and grow to be productive and happy adults. Working with kids also means working with their parents and supporting them in their journey to raise a confidant child. Parenting is not an easy job and having support along the way is crucial.

This year I also became aware of Stand with Trans, an organization that supports transgender youth – their mission is “ provide the tools needed by transgender youth so they will be empowered, supported and validated as they transition to their authentic life.” The work and support of this organization, founded by Roz Keith, is invaluable to families of transgender kids.

I created some new fiber artwork this year and participated in a few shows. I feel my work is evolving and I’m excited about where it’s going – new work is planned for the new year.

2016 Alive!

that is my word for the new year – Alive – I want to bring the energy of that word into all the work I do in 2016 and beyond. I want to do work that I love – I want to help others feel alive and live more confidently. I want to create artwork that makes me feel alive and inspired. So, here’s to 2016 and fully living our lives – sharing our work with each other – and inspiring others.

I’m fine… what’s a support system anyway?

What do you do when you’re faced with a difficult situation in which you don’t have any 03_30_2010WEBexperience? Suddenly, you need information, you need help, you need guidance of some kind – but you’re not sure what guidance because you’ve never faced this situation. Most of us search the internet – we type in the word or phrase that describes our situation and get a million results. Where do we start? Too much information can just add to the feeling of overwhelm. At this point, we could really use a support system.

I didn’t fully understand the term “support system” until I needed one myself. When my confusion and worry became so overwhelming I didn’t know what to do next. My situation became all encompassing and felt like I was the only one dealing with this, but when I reached out to a friend during a conversation her objective perspective was invaluable. She offered insight and suggestions that helped me move forward and actively deal with the circumstances. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed our thinking becomes clouded with worry and solutions are difficult to find. I think a lot of us feel so vulnerable asking for help that we suffer alone, and we should never do that. Whether we’re depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or whatever, it can feel scary to tell someone how you feel but this is when it’s most important to open up to someone you trust. Or at least talk to someone impartial who can help evaluate your situation from an objective position and help guide you to a solution, or at least help you find some resources that will help. There are are many anonymous help lines and resources available, I have included a few below.

Right now is a good time to think about your support system and according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on the website Mental Health .gov to Build a Support System this is what you need:

Build Your Support System
Find someone—such as a parent, family member, teacher, faith leader, health care provider or other trusted individual, who:
• Gives good advice when you want and ask for it; assists you in taking action that will help
• Likes, respects, and trusts you and who you like, respect, and trust, too
• Allows you the space to change, grow, make decisions, and even make mistakes
• Listens to you and shares with you, both the good and bad times
• Respects your need for confidentiality so you can tell him or her anything
• Lets you freely express your feelings and emotions without judging, teasing, or criticizing
• Works with you to figure out what to do the next time a difficult situation comes up
• Has your best interest in mind

Take the time right now to think about who is or can be a part of your support system. And the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some guidance, call someone in your support system – even it it’s one person, call them. Talk to them and get the support you need. Remember, you are not alone and you deserve peace and happiness.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255

the Trevor Project
Our trained counselors are here to support you 24/7. If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
An association of mental health professionals from more than 30 countries worldwide who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy. Led by founder and CEO Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, the team is committed to furthering awareness of the benefits of psychotherapy, to reducing harm and stigma, and to supporting mental health professionals in providing quality treatment.