Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm not a Runner

I'm a pretty active person. I love to hike, river raft, practice  yoga, ride bikes, and even lift weights. I've been hitting the gym 5 days a week for 10 years, but when anyone mentions anything about running or races, I quickly reply "Oh, I'm not a runner".

I've tried running a time or two. I've gone to the gym equipped with my ipod fully loaded with my workout music. I would hop on the treadmill, insert headphones, and quickly increase my pace to a respectable jog.  At first, I would enjoy the rhythm of my feet in sync to the music. I would start to find a groove where I really felt like I was "getting it". That would last for about 3 minutes, and then I would feel my heart pounding in my chest, and my lungs would tighten up, and I became convinced I was going to drop dead right then and there. My hand shot out and pounded the red STOP button as I gasped for breath, and I walked away, promising myself "I'll never do that again". I was sure that if I were a "runner" this thing would come easier to me. If I were a runner, I would be able to go more than 3 minutes. If I were a runner, I would think it was FUN instead of a near death experience. Can you relate?

About 2 months ago, my sister brought up the possibility of our whole extended family running in a 5k on Thanksgiving morning. "It will be so much fun!" she said, "Anyone can do a 5k".  In a weak moment, I agreed. I decided that any self respecting person could run a 5k, and I promptly recruited my husband and all of my children to join in. Now there was no backing out. I downloaded this handy little app called "Couch to 5k" on my iphone that very day to solidify my commitment. 

The next day at the gym, I hopped on the treadmill ready to do battle. I opened the app and almost laughed. I was going to warm up walking for 5 minutes, and then alternate 1 minute of jogging and   a minute and a half of walking for the next 20 minutes, and then cool down for 5 more minutes. This seemed lame. I felt insulted. Really, WARM UP to jog for 1 minute? But I was committed, so I decided to try it anyway. It was super easy for the first 2 weeks. I felt great. No knee pain, no near heart attack, nothing. And I was now running for 5 minutes at a stretch. I only had 3 weeks to prepare, so I wasn't totally ready when the race day arrived, but I finished with an average pace of 11 min and 59 seconds per mile. Faster than walking;) I call that a win.

Now its been 6 weeks since I started the program and I can run 22 minutes! I am running! What took me so long to get here? What can I learn from it? Why am I telling you guys about it?

All those  years when I would tell people "I'm not a runner" what I really meant was

'Running is hard for me"
"I'm not as good of a runner as you are"
"I'm not confident I can do this running thing perfectly, so i'd rather not try"

 I was taking counsel from my fears instead of trusting in myself.

How many things in life are you not doing because you are afraid of failure?
Have you always wanted to dance, or play the drums, or learn martial arts? Have you envied the sewing projects your friends post online? Have you ever thought about signing up for a dance class, but opted to fold laundry instead?  How could you possible do something as selfish as dance when there are meals to be prepared, children to be taxied, and bathrooms to be cleaned? And then, because someone really should learn to dance, you sign your daughter up instead.

Why do you think there are so many over scheduled kids and under-satisfied moms in our culture? Because it is easier to enroll our children in all of the things we are afraid to try than it is to risk vulnerability and try something new ourselves.  When therapists work with children, they often use puppets to create a safe space for kids to talk about themselves without really talking about themselves. In parenting, our children too often become our puppets. Things outside of ourselves that we can manipulate to communicate our real thoughts and feelings without risking vulnerability.

My challenge to you today is to stop. Stop avoiding things that are uncomfortable because of perfectionism.  Perfectionism is the great thief of joy. Perfect is good, done is better. The truth is that you will miss every shot you do not take, so why not take the shot? Whatever it is that you have been avoiding because you are afraid of imperfection, JUST DO IT. Start today. The thousand mile journey (or marathon, or 5K) begins with one step. Take it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You Are the Expert

I was 18 when I married and barely 20 when I gave birth to my first child. (I narrowly escaped the title of teenage mother). I was outwardly full of confidence, but inwardly completely ignorant. In many ways, I still held the attitudes of a teenager in the sense that I was determined to do things the opposite of my parents just to prove that I was an individual. This left me feeling pretty alone, so I looked to books and experts to tell me what was best for my baby.

I became a regular in the parenting section of the local Barnes and Noble . I would grab an "Everything" bagel at neighboring Noah's Bagels in the Fremont Hub and then head next door  and just park myself there for hours, reading every parenting book I could find. (Money was too tight to actually buy books and the internet still involved a dial-up connection). Many of my friends were raving about the "What to Expect..." series of books. Wouldn't it be cool to just read a book written by an expert on babies that would tell me exactly what to do at every juncture of the first 2 years? Then there was Ferber, promising to "Solve Your (my)  Child's Sleep Problems," once and for all.
Half of the women in my family felt that the most important thing I could do was to "get that baby on a schedule".  My grandma said "When you have a baby, there is nothing else to do." I was overwhelmed, confused, stressed, and a little desperate.

The two topics that I was struggling with the most were how to get this boy to sleep and how to get him to eat. I was breastfeeding exclusively and co-sleeping, both of which were uncharted territory in my inner circle. In the midst of this confusion, I sought help from a gifted Lactation Consultant named Jannaki Costello. I sought her out as another expert, someone I was hoping would tell me WHAT TO DO. How long do I feed this baby? Do I let him sleep, or wake him up? How do I know if he is getting enough? Will I screw him up for life if I overfeed him? Jannaki didn't tell me any of those things, she simply said "Be a baby watcher, not a clock watcher. You are the expert on your baby"
That was life changing advice. I stopped looking outside of myself for the answers and started looking in. I realized that no one knew this little boy like me. I had created him. I had carried him inside my body for 9 months. I knew him better than anyone else on this earth. I knew when he was happy or sad or tired or hungry. When I stopped studying books and started studying HIM, I started to recognize the difference in his cries. I knew which cries meant hungry and which cries meant tired and which cries meant overwhelmed. I knew when his giggle was about to turn into a hysterical scream. I knew that the ducks at Newark Lake were like medicine and that Target was poison. He loved long walks and hated the mall. I knew his heart and I knew his spirit. The clock and the doctor didn't matter so much anymore. All that mattered was my child and our family. I was free.

I am not suggesting that I never read another book or consulted another doctor. I love to learn new things and stay abreast of the latest research. But now, I wasn't easily shaken or confused by the variety of opinions out there. I sought specific knowledge that I needed to BECOME the expert on my child and I applied with prudence only those pieces which I knew would serve me and my family best. I saw my doctor as a valuable source of medical advice and diagnostic expertise. I received his recommendations with gratitude and respect. That doesn't mean I always followed them. I recognized that he was the expert on medicine, but I was the expert on my son. He presented me with information and choices, and I ultimately decided what action I would take.

We must BECOME the experts on ourselves and our families. We must restore not just the happiness and health of Moms, but the confidence as well. We must re-enthrone Mom as the expert on herself and her children. Many women live under the false assumption that their doctor or their psychiatrist are the experts. They are not. They cannot be. They do not know you or your child as intimately as you know them.

When you visit your doctor, he visits with you for 5-7 minutes if you are lucky. More likely than not, you don't even see him. You meet with his medical assistant or nurse. In that 5-7 minutes, he is supposed to diagnose your problems and prescribe the right solution. We put so much faith in the doctor's ability to get it right every time that we obey them with God-like reverence and then sue them for millions if it doesn't work out. That is not fair to doctors or patients. Doctors are pretty honest about their expertise...after all their business is called a PRACTICE.  They are still practicing....on you. They have not arrived an omnipotence or omniscience. They are not responsible for our health. It is an illusion created by modern society to help us feel safe, as if our lives are in the skilled hands of someone else who is All powerful and all-knowing.

The reality is that every single individual is responsible for their own health and well being. There are many experts in many areas, but only one expert in YOU. What if you don't feel like an expert? That's okay, the only real choice is for you to become the expert on you. Educate yourself, listen to your body, watch your family carefully, and equip yourself with powerful tools to aid in healing. Seek expertise and advice when needed, but never again surrender your innate knowledge and power to an outside expert. Heal yourself first, then use what you learn to reach out and bless the lives of those you care for.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

If You give a Pig a Pancake

I talked to to a friend the other day who is really struggling with depression and burnout. Let's call her Jill. She's been struggling for a number of years. Jill has worked in the mental health field, so she knows what she's dealing with. She knows what the prescription options are enough to know she doesn't want those. She even has a pretty good understanding of how to take control of her situation naturally. Nutrition. Sleep. Exercise. Sunshine. Essential Oils. So why doesn't she just do it? Why don't we all just do it?

I observed an interesting phenomenon on this blog. When I shared the story of my depression, there were hundreds of page views. Everyone identified with my suffering. When I shared the simple solutions to my depression, the steps I took to climb out of that pit, there were less than 20 views. I've spent the last couple of months wondering why that is. When so many people are suffering, why not make the change? I think it can be summed up in one word.

Overwhelm. In a world where there is so much going on all of the time, especially for you, my audience, who are mothers, you simply do not have the time or energy to do one more thing, even if it's the thing that will save your life. As mothers, you are the hub of the home. You are the fixed point around which everything else rotates. The children, the meals, the budget, the cleaning, the driving, the doctors appointments, the school work, the church activities, and a hundred other things.  Given that load, how could you possibly take on one more thing?
It reminds me of the book "If you Give a Pig a Pancake".

Are you familiar with it? It's a hilarious children's book full of circular logic.
Here's a small excerpt:

"If you give a pig a pancake. she'll want some syrup to go with it. You'll give her some of your favorite maple syrup. She'll probably get all she'll want to take a bath. So she'll ask you for some bubbles. When you give her the bubbles, she'll probably ask you for a toy. You'll have to find your rubber ducky. The duck with remind her of the farm where she was born. she might feel homesick and want to visit her family...." 

And it goes on and on and on. The pig's needs are endless. Everything the girl does to try and help simply creates another need until finally at the end of the story, the girl is tired and exasperated and the pig is hungry all over again! Sound familiar? When you as a mother are struggling with depression or anxiety, that's how life feels-like an endless, bottomless pit of needs that cannot possibly be filled. Susie needs a friend. Joey needs help with math. Sally's had a runny nose for a month. Totally spaced the dental cleanings 2 months ago. Make cute treats for the class Halloween party. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. And since we are afraid that the needs can never be met, we stand still and choose not to even try.

But what if it's not endless and it's not hopeless and it's not hard? What if your perception has been all wrong?

My experience with healing from depression and obesity has been exactly the opposite of the pig. My experience has been that as soon as we take the first tiny step, the clouds part and the light shines in. When the light shines in, we feel more hope. When we feel more hope, we have more energy. When we have more energy, we take more action. When we take more action, life just keeps getting better and better and better. It's not a simple addition problem. My health is at a -10 and so I must take 20 steps to get to a positive 10. It is more like exponents. I am at a -10 and I take one step and God multiplies it and magnifies it until my tiny step has become a giant leap.

So my question for you today is this:

"What is holding you back? What is keeping you from taking the first step? How long have your health challenges been an issue? What are they costing you and your family? In money, time, relationships, and joy?"

I want to invite you to join me on a free webinar on Thursday, October 23 at 7:00pm MST. I will share my experience and much of the research that led me to choose the path I did to deal with mood and focus issues for myself and my family. Click the link below for details and to request samples of the essential oils I like best for mood support to try yourself.

Eventbrite - Manage your Mood naturally NOW!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Yin and Yang

The other day, I took my youngest daughter to a class at the library that was geared specifically for homeschoolers. While we were there, I ran into an old friend, several years younger than me. She was trying to hold a conversation with me while simultaneously answering questions from  her three elementary aged children, chasing a toddler, and holding a 14 month old baby. We chatted for a few minutes as we walked to the parking lot and she asked:

"Do you really miss this?" 

"All of my friends tell me that I should enjoy it now, because I will be sad when they grow up. Do you miss when your kids were little?"

I thought for a few moments  before I replied...

Yes and No.

 I absolutely miss snapshots in time. I miss the smell of milk breath from a newborn baby.

 I miss reading "Madeline" to a chubby preschooler. 

I miss fall park days filled with screeches of delight to "push me higher mommy!"

I miss sun soaked summer days at the river dripping with the smell of Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen. I miss pirate themed birthday parties and snuggling at night. These are the best gifts of motherhood. The reality is, they don't come alone.

They come mixed in with sleepless nights when I thought I would die if I didn't get just one solid hour of sleep. Arms and shoulders so tense and painful that they may fall off if I have to pick up one more toddler. A constant nagging fear that one of my babies will be drowned or kidnapped at the busy pool.  The temper tantrum when I said no to just one more popsicle.  The suffocating emotional intensity of so many people needing all of me all the time so that sometimes I wished I could just disappear. These are part of motherhood as well, and they in no way diminish the beauty of the gifts. 

I have been learning a lot lately about the Yin and Yang. So many times is life, we want things to be black or white. Right or wrong. We see the theme everywhere around us. Either children are good or bad. Smart or dumb. Marriages end in either divorce or Happily Ever After. Families are happy or broken. People are rich or poor. A favorite song from childhood talks about "Brown paper packages tied up with strings" and that's just how I wish life could be served. Wrapped and tied neatly in a box. But that's not reality. Reality is that happy families have disagreements. Successful marriages have good days and bad. Kids have strengths and weaknesses.  

A man I deeply respect once said:

"There seems to be a superstition...that Marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and beautiful wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear the divorce courts are jammed."

"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed."

"Life is like an old time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed."

"The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

Now stick with me as we explore another aspect of this journey we call life. I especially want to speak to those of you who have a child who is "Special needs". What comes to mind when you hear that term?  I imagine that a long time ago, someone wanted people who experience life differently to stop feeling like they were less than others. To feel valued and included. And so they assigned this euphemism - special needs. I am the mother of a child who fits this label. I cannot speak for all mothers. I can only speak as the mother of my child. I want to share some things that may be uncomfortable for you to hear but need to be said. Every child is special. Some children are different. I do not believe that the difference is either good or bad. It is simply different. When we use the term "special" it creates something of an unrealistic expectation for the entire family. The child isn't sure what to think, because everyone is calling them special, and they feel anything but. They feel broken and frustrated and crazy and more than anything, they wish they could just be NORMAL. Whatever that means. I'm going to use the term "different needs".

As a mother, I love this child just as passionately as I love my other children. Perhaps more fiercely because I am accustomed to fighting for her needs to be met. But I also wish sometimes that we could just be normal. The reality is that life with a different needs child is exhausting physically, emotionally, and mentally.

The needs are relentless and there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth from both parents and children. There are endless support programs for the child, but no one tells you that the one will change the whole in ways you never imagined. The marriage will be strained. The siblings will be affected. Nothing is ever easy. And there is no medal at the end. But there shouldn't be, because I am no hero. I am totally imperfect in my efforts. And that's okay. I still love her to the moon and back. 

Today, my goal is just to create a space where we can open a dialog about the fact that life is full of good AND bad and everything in between. They co-exist. We are not perfect or failures, saints or sinners. We are all human. Yes, motherhood is beautiful and amazing. Its also smelly, exhausting, and overwhelming. And i'm perfectly okay with that.  Perhaps if we could be more open and honest about our reality, we could all experience more authentic relationships where we feel safe sharing things as they really are. Lets stop pretending like everything is supposed to be perfect. Let's stop photoshopping our lives.

 Lets share them - dirty dishes, screaming children, burnt cookies and all. I would love to see those on Pinterest! The older I get and the more I learn, the more I love the Yin and Yang. I believe with all my heart that if we could accept this duality of existence, it would go a long way in allowing us to heal ourselves, our families, and our world.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Essential Oils Smell Gross

Essential Oils smell gross. It's the single most common objection I hear from people who don't want to try the oils. Some of my friends will adamantly disagree and rave about how they are drawn to cypress and how they can't get enough of Frankincense. I've got a little secret to share here if you promise not to tell any of my oil loving friends- I disagree.  Many essential oils smell disgusting (especially geranium) and to me, Frankincense just smells like a really old tree. So why on earth would you pay $100 for a tiny bottle of ancient tree smelling liquid?  As I spent some time pondering this, it occurred to me that healing often comes in ugly packages. Stick with me as I elaborate.

I've shared my story with you before. My life was hugely impacted by severe depression. I struggled with confidence, body image, trust in relationships, faith in God and a whole host of things as a result. I was blessed to be swept off my feet by a kind, romantic, handsome guy who loved me with his whole soul. That was powerful in deed. But the true key to my healing came in the form of an incredibly difficult birth which produced a screaming, back arching, refusing-to-nurse baby girl who turned my world upside down that day and every day thereafter for more than a decade. I don't mean in a pretty way. I mean in an oh-my-gosh-what-was-i-thinking kind of a way. She has been the source of my deepest pain, but as it turns out, also the key to my greatest healing.

We love to read as a family. It has been the main source of education for each of my children-the reading of great books. When they were younger, we would frequent the thrift stores in search of good books. I was generally on the lookout for those volumes that looked "nearly new' or "gently used".  My oldest son, however, repeatedly brought me books that were on the verge of death - tattered spines, darkened pages, and frequently smelling of old age. "Not that one", I would say, "that one looks too worn".  He looked at me, perplexed, and then he taught me a lesson I would never forget, "I know mom, I look for the oldest books because then you know that someone really loved it. That's how I know it will be good." We made some of the most amazing discoveries thanks to his unique approach. We have acquired rare editions of classics like Make way for Ducklings, Hans Brinker, The Little Prince, and Heidi to name just a few. He inherently understood that those things that look unappealing on the surface often contain that which is most precious.

This past week, I had the opportunity to hear and see a woman named Stephanie Nielsen speak about her experiences as a victim in a plane crash that burned her over 80% of her body and left her in a coma for 5 1/2 months. She shared the feelings of despair, hopelessness, anger, and self loathing that accompanied her long recovery. She acknowledged that her appearance was drastically changed by what she went through. Some may find her less beautiful now than she was before the accident. She also believes that because of what she went through, she can share a unique message with all who suffer or are hopeless or in pain. She shares the message that you can overcome hard things and come out better and stronger on the other side. That many times life gives us beauty for ashes.

And so we come back to the oils. Do I love the smell of frankincense? Absolutely not. Does it look like something that is "worth" $93? Heck no. But what if I told you that it had the power to dispel clouds of despair, soften a troubled relationship with  your father, support your body in producing healthy DNA,  amplify the effects of other oils when severe infection is present, support memory in old age, and level unstable mood swings. Would you be willing to overlook the package in order to have all those benefits right at the tip of your fingers or in the pocket of your purse? Me too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

When Mom Explodes

I am going to be really vulnerable here and share a moment that was definitely not one of my finest. Hopefully you can laugh a little and learn a lot.

First I must set the tone. Our school life is complicated. I have 5 kids attending 4 different schools/programs, none of which offer bussing. Half of those children are home every other day, so we also home school. Basically, I am either driving or helping with school work all.the.time. So,I was a little on edge yesterday when I went to pick up the two youngest from their mutual first day of school.

I planned to zip across town in the same 12 minutes it took to get to school when we visited over the summer. I imagined they would skip to the car with huge smiles on their faces, weeping tears of gratitude that I had provided such an amazing opportunity for them at great personal sacrifice. We would have stimulating conversation all the way home about the things they had learned and I would glow with pride. The reality looked a little different.  I exited my subdivision and entered a parking lot. They call it a highway, but really it was a parking lot. It took me 35 minutes to make the 12 minute trip. I pulled into the parking lot 20 minutes late and the kids were nowhere to be seen. I had to go find them in the building and they were both sitting looking pretty angry.

As soon as they saw me, it began.

"You're late!"
 I'm sorry.
"I'm starving"
 I'll bet.
"Can we stop at Taco Bell?"
 No, that's junk.
"Can I make popcorn at home?"
 No, It's dinner time
"What's for dinner?"
"I'm exhausted!"
 Me too.
"Can you buy me some chips?"
 No, that's junk.
"Why do we have to stop at the store?"
 For your sister's project.
Will you buy me orange chicken there?
 No, that's junk.

It went on just like that for another two hours. Nonstop. All the way up Chinden road, through Garden City, inside of Wal-mart and the whole time I was making dinner. I am generally a pretty patient person, but I could feel the adrenaline rising inside of me; my chest tightened, my fists clenched, and then the moment arrived. I had had it.

My 12 year old daughter is typically a delight to be around. She and I are buddies. She does what I ask and tells me I'm wonderful and it's all good. Not on this day. She was the whiner in blue and now, two hours later, she was texting on her phone instead of doing the chores I had asked her to do. So I requested that she give it to me. She declined. I demanded. She argued. I grabbed the phone. She argued....and then I snapped. And I threw her 5 year old hand-me-down iphone 4 across the hardwood floor and it shattered. And the whole family saw, and then ran for their safety.

Since we have a pretty good relationship, I went and talked to her and we patched things up. I realized that I was probably in need of a time-out since I really had nothing nice to say to anyone. Once I retired to my room, I regained enough sense to realize my emotions were out of control and I could probably use some oils. I used my trusty Zyto Compass to see what oils might be helpful for me at that moment and made what I think is a pretty groundbreaking discovery. The Back to School blend for moms. Here is what I scanned for:

*Fennel-Supports the individual who has a weakened sense of self. The individual may feel defeated by life's responsibilities. It teaches that life is not too big or too much to handle. Through attunement with the body's actual needs, fennel curbs cravings for experiences that dull the senses. (Facebook anyone?)

*Basil-The smell brings strength to the heart and relaxation to the mind. Basil oil supports those who are under a great deal of mental strain. It addresses emotions of anxious, weary, overwhelmed, tired, drained, and exhausted.

*Cypress-Cypress encourages individuals to cast aside their worries and let go of control so they can enjoy the thrill that comes form being alive. Cypress shows how to have perfect trust in the flow of life.

Are these not things that every mother needs to transition Back to School? Do you feel defeated by traffic and homework? Do you need to flow with the never-ending stream of projects and volunteer requests? Of Course! I applied a few drops of each oil massaged into the bottoms of my feet and after that I truly felt much better. I took several deep breaths and rejoined the family for the evening.

There is a humorous postscript. The owner of the broken phone came into my room after I had oiled myself and asked to be scanned as well. She scanned for Geranium-The oil most useful for restoring feelings of love when trust has been broken, especially with a mother or father. Guilty.

So, here are my words of wisdom. Get the oils in the Mom's Back to School Blend and apply them BEFORE the crisis occurs. If you forget to apply, be sure to have geranium on hand to repair the damage.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Antidepressants Don't Work

At least not the way you have been led to believe they do. When I was first prescribed Prozac, I was told by my psychiatrist that I had a genetic predisposition to depression. It was purely a chemical deficiency in my brain. Seratonin is the neurotransmitter that promotes positive feelings and my brain simply didn't make enough of it. So, following this logic, the drug wasn't changing anything about me; it was simply supplying a chemical I wasn't capable of making on my own. If you are taking Prozac, or Paxil, or Effexor, or any of a host of mood altering drugs, you've probably been told a version of this story and bought it hook, line, and sinker.  But it isn't true. Its actually been disproven several times by the very scientists who used the theory to market antidepressant medications. You can read the nitty gritty in the book "The Emperor's New Drugs" if you want to know, but I don't want to dwell there now.

I've said before that I felt that Prozac saved my life back then, because I took it, and my depression improved. That means the doctors were right, right? wrong.  The chart above depicts the findings of a huge meta-analysis performed by Irving Kirsch Ph.D. of the drug companies' own results from the clinical trials they used to gain FDA approval for their drugs. Based on their own data, both antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy produce a significant improvement compared to doing nothing at all. That is well documented. What came as a surprise is that 75% of the drug improvement was actually placebo effect. In other words, the Drug was only 25% more effective than the placebo. This was not an isolated study. This was the compound result of 3000 studies done by the drug companies themselves. When results were sifted further by omitting patients who "broke blind" during their trial, the difference between drug and placebo is even less. (Breaking blind means that the patients in the placebo group figured out that they were receiving the placebo due to the lack of side effects. Since they determined that they weren't receiving the active drug, the placebo effect was eliminated.) Their final conclusion is that drugs are 17% more effective than placebo for those with the most severe depression. For those with mild to moderate depression, there is no discernable difference.

Back to Prozac and the placebo effect, it turns out that Lilly (the manufacturer)  knew all along. In the official Summary of Product Characteristics for Prozac, it states that "in the fixed dose studies of patients with major depression, there is a flat dose response curve, providing no suggestion of advantage in terms of efficacy for using higher than the recommended doses" (more is not better). But in the very same document, they make a recommendation that if patients do not respond to the 20mg dose, doctors may increase the dosage gradually up to 60mg per day. Why would they recommend such a thing? Keep reading.

In a separate study reported by Otto Benkert at the University of Mainz,  Depressed patients who failed to respond to antidepressant medication were given an increased dosage of the drug, following which 72% of them improved significantly by showing at least a 50% reduction in symptoms of depression. The catch is that the dose had only been increased for half the subjects. The others only thought the dose had been increased; in fact it had not. Yet the response rate was the same 72% in both groups. So a patient whose dose of the drug is increased may indeed show more improvement, but this effect may be due to the patient's knowledge that the dose has been increased, rather than to the chemical effect of the medication. In other words, doctors are advised to increase the dose (and the likelihood of troubling side effects) as a means of strengthening the placebo effect.

I hope you are disturbed. Very disturbed.  Doctors, Psychiatrists, and medical journals were all shocked by the meta-analysis. Guess who wasn't surprised at all? The drug companies. They were fully aware of the relatively small difference between the placebo and the drug. The "miracle" of anti-depressant medication was one of the most successful marketing hoax's of modern medicine. Who perpetrated the hoax? The pharmaceutical companies were not alone. They were aided and encouraged by none other than the FDA. The FDA receives 40% of its funding from fees charged to pharmaceutical companies to approve their drugs. If the FDA keeps approving drugs, the drug companies keep inventing new ones and paying fees and everyone is happy. It seems like a victimless crime, right? Unless you consider the thousands of people (including myself) who have suffered needlessly with side effects and the billions of dollars spent in treatment and prescriptions with little to no value. I highly recommend that you purchase the book and read the whole thing so you can join me in educating the world.


If you are struggling with depression and you need tools that can help, contact me!

If you are ready to get off the prescription antidepressant side-effect roller-coaster, be sure to seek the support of a competent medical professional who is knowledgable about alternatives and supportive of your decision. The withdrawal symptoms of the drugs (unlike the therapeutic benefits) are quite real. They generally involve dizziness, sweating, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, racing heart, and a host of other ugly things. But they are not permanent and there is another way. 

Quality supplementation and CPTG Essential Oils have provided real benefits for our family and so many others.  Here are the products that are most helpful for supporting stable, healthy mood and energy. The tools that I have found most useful are a grounding blend, an invigorating blend, an uplifting blend, and a calming blend. You can learn more about specific oils and purchase essential oils on this website.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Win the War on the Home Front-Ready for Battle

I've had tons of requests since my last post from women who want to know HOW to use natural medicine and essential oils to overcome depression without prescription drugs. Stay tuned, because over the next few weeks, I am going to walk you step by step through the strategies I used and continue to use to truly take back control of my mental, physical, and emotional health.  If you are drowning in the darkness of mental illness, following these steps can save your life. But I want to let you in on a little secret- No matter where you are on the spectrum of motherhood, these strategies are guaranteed to help you up-level your current situation and find more peace and joy in your journey.

Morning Ritual
You are the commander of an army. Every single day, you have to go to battle with absolute confidence that you will come off victor. You don't fight against armed enemies, but your foes are just as daunting. You battle against armies of needy children, oceans of dirty dishes, and mountains of laundry. If you were a general, commanding a huge army, would you wait to be awakened by the enemy at your door? Of course not. That would be sure defeat. Great generals rise early, before their troops, to prepare themselves for the day. And so must you. Enter the morning ritual.

Make a practice of rising before your family and nourishing yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.

The strategy must start the night before. Turn off the Computer, turn off the TV, put down that awesome book you are reading, and go to bed at a decent time. I have to be asleep by 10pm to be a functioning person.

Set an alarm to wake you 30-60 minutes before your family normally wakes.  

If this seems impossible because you can barely roll our of bed as it is, you need to add Lifelong Vitality to your diet. This has made all the difference in my ability to wake up on time, actually feeling rested and ready for the day. The amount of time is up to you, but you need to have time to do the following:

1. Connect spiritually with your higher power. This may look like prayer, scripture study, meditation, or a combination of all of the above. The purpose of this step is for you to ground yourself in who you really are and ask for divine help with the tasks and trials you will encounter today. Sandalwood essential oil is my favorite to support this connection. 

2. Read 10 pages of something that awakens your mind. Twilight does not count. I use this time to read personal development books. It could be a book about how to process emotions, or how to raise an organic garden, or how to improve my presentation skills. You choose, but it must stretch you and it must make you excited. If you are having a hard time staying awake and alert, consider a drop of peppermint and wild orange on the back of the neck and inhaled.

3. Move your body. If you are just starting, 10 minutes of stretching may be all you can do. Start there. Walking is one of my favorite exercises. Its free and accessible to anyone. The ability to move in a rhythmic fashion while taking in the beauty and fresh air outside helps me think and process what's going on in my life. Yoga is another great practice. It helps you begin to practice mindfulness, which is another key strategy to overcoming depression and anxiety. If you experience any soreness or discomfort, deep blue will become your best friend.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hope Beyond Depression...My story

There's a picture of me in my childhood scrapbook, laying on the floor, hand on the telephone, asleep. I was 8 years old, waiting for a friend to call and ask me to play. She never did. When I look at that picture, I keenly remember the feelings of loneliness. Those feelings were a constant companion throughout my childhood. When I was about 13 years old, I developed a deep sense of hatred for myself and turned to anorexia and bulimia as a slow form of suicide. My parents noticed that something was wrong and took me to see a counselor. She was amazing. I felt heard for the first time in my life. She referred me to a psychiatrist who made a diagnosis of chronic depression, and prescribed Prozac. I took the Prozac and continued counseling. After a couple of months, I felt happier but I was still chronically disorganized and couldn't ever remember to write my name on a school assignment.  The psychiatrist diagnosed ADHD and added Ritalin to my treatment plan. I was now more organized and focused, but I was experiencing racing thoughts and sometimes I felt trapped, like I would die if I didn't get out of a situation. I reported this to the psychiatrist, who added Clonozepam to my cocktail, to treat anxiety. And I was fixed. Or so they thought.

The drastic change in personality from taking those drugs really bothered me. I didn't feel like myself. I was afraid that my conscience had disappeared. So periodically, I would stop taking the drugs....Which triggered withdrawal symptoms....and lectures from my mom.... and conflict at home.  I played this game of medicate-the-symptom for the next 15 years, through marriage and 4 pregnancies. I sought treatment form multiple doctors and psychologists throughout the process.My depression, anxiety, and executive function issues remained a constant factor in spite of the medications. I suffered from severe postpartum psychosis after the birth of each child and felt increasingly hopeless. Suicide was always a viable option in my mind. Whenever life became too hard, I would begin to devise a plan for this ultimate escape.  In what felt like a herculean effort in 2003, I finally sought treatment at The Amen Clinic in Fairfield, CA. I felt sure they would offer the ultimate solution. They scanned my brain and diagnosed PTSD, ADHD, and Clinical Depression and prescribed 2 new drugs. At this point, I also began a battery of supplements including 5 HTP, L-Tyrosine, Fish oil and St. John's Wort.  It wasn't the magic bullet I was looking for. I had gained 100 pounds over the course of 8 years as a side effect of the drugs and the depression. On the outside, I was a great mom. We blew bubbles, and baked cookies, and did homeschool, and took field trips. I made quilts, and planned play dates and taught primary. My husband was perhaps the only person who knew what was really going on.

In 2004, I met a woman who had just moved into our area. I met her at a church activity and she intimated to me that she "used to be" Bi-polar II, but she was "cured". I thought she was crazy. Depression cannot be cured. It can be treated with drugs, but never cured. She was adamant. She had used natural medicine to cure herself. We left the area soon after, but I was haunted by her claim. Could I really be cured? Soon after we moved to Boise, Idaho I found an amazing healer named Dr. Charles Wilcher. He is a Homeopath, Naturopath, Accupuncturist, and Chiropractor. He looked at my symptoms through so many lenses. He used accupuncture needles to open some blocked meridians, prescribed Homepoathic Sepia, and recommended a supplement for adrenal support. I started a program of regular exercise and in under 6 months, I was off all my drugs. I wasn't perfect, but I was on my way.

About 5 years later, I was introduced to another healing modality that would change my life. Essential Oils. This time the stakes were higher. It was my child whose mental health was at stake. It felt like a horrible dream. Deja vu, only worse. Having been through the medication game myself, I was determined that she not repeat my experience. The change for her began with a book called Emotions and Essential Oils and a drop of basil. You can read more about her story here. Suffice it to say that that drop of oil was the beginning of a miracle. Essential Oils have allowed me to support not only myself but many of the people I love through the physical and emotional ups and downs of life. We have dealt with everything from normal grumpy days to severe depression and manic episodes. Click here for more information about essential oils for emotional healing

Its been 10 years now since I have taken a drug. I have continued with regular exercise like a religion and educated myself about the powerful effect of diet on mood and focus. I used the sepia Dr. Wilcher recommended for about 3 months, then outgrew the need. I have used the services of talented therapists and holistic healers when I felt the need. I have been supported by essential oils that have become good friends on this journey. I have maintained my mental health through 4 moves, the loss of a business, loss of a house, 4 ADHD kids, a daughter with Traumatic Brain Injury, and a host of things that could have pushed a normal person over the edge, but I survived.  I have not only survived, I have thrived. I have raised 4 children, maintained a strong marriage, created a school, and built a thriving business. I am bruised, but not broken. I am alive.  My message is that there is hope beyond mental illness and prescription drugs. It requires a strong support system, faith in God, faith in yourself, and a willingness to try new things. It is a choice you only have to make once, but a battle you may fight every day of your life in the thoughts and actions you choose.  For me, for my daughter, and for countless other people who want another way, I am grateful that there are powerful tools at our disposal. There is Hope and there is Healing and there is Cure for those who take control of their own Physical and Emotional health so they can have Peace and Joy in the journey.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Good Enough Mother

Perhaps you, like I, have been caught in the trap of trying to be the ideal mother. I tried to read all the right books, buy (or more specifically NOT buy) all the right baby accessories, sign up for all the right classes, and be present every time my baby needed me. And I trusted that all of these decisions would create the ideal environment for my child to grow and develop into a healthy, happy adult. I was convinced that if I failed to meet any need, that child would grow up permanently damaged. So, you can imagine how exhausted I became.

This isn't really me, but it could be! I was so exhausted and so discouraged that I wanted to give up, since I had probably already ruined my kids for life. Then, My therapist told me about the 'Good Enough Mother". He asked me one day "What if Good Enough was really the Ideal?" It sounded like a paradox to me. I have never aspired to be "Good Enough" at anything. You might as well aim for last place in a marathon or the night crew at McDonalds. Good Enough is lame. Or so I thought. 

The Good Enough Mother was a term coined by a pediatrician turned psychoanalyst named Charles Winnicot in England in the 1950's. He spent his career studying what would be the ideal setting for a child to be raised in. He divided mothers into three groups- Ideal Mothers, Neglectful Mothers, and what he termed the "Good Enough Mother". 

Ideal Mothers need no explanation. They are perfect, They do everything right. They are present 24/7, they never raise their voices, they are 100% happy to meet their baby's needs anytime day or night.

The neglectful Mother is also easy to identify. She never holds her baby, regularly ignores his cries, and provides inadequate food. 

The Good Enough mother is in between the two. The good enough mother provides "holding place" for the child. She is loving and attentive as much as she can be. She bathes and feeds and talks to her baby. She also sometimes hates the baby. She becomes frustrated and sometimes resentful. As the baby matures, (4-6 months), she responds to baby's cries less and less readily. She allows him a few minutes here and there to learn to self soothe. She allows him to gain confidence in the knowledge that he is "other" from her. She may provide a security blanket so he can comfort himself when she is otherwise engaged. She is perfectly imperfect. And she is the ideal mother. 

Isn't that liberating? You don't have to be perfect! You just have to be Good Enough! Once I decided that my aim was to be Good Enough, life became so much more do-able. I felt like I could breathe. The birthday doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough. Their education doesn't have to be excellent, just good enough. My home doesn't have to be perfect. Just good enough. I don't have to be perect. just good enough.

This is such a juicy topic that I would love to hear from you in the comments. What do you think constitute "Good Enough" in your life? 

 Maybe today you are not feeling like you are enough. Here is an oil blend just for you... 

Blend 2 drops each bergamot, fennel, frankincense, geranium and ylang-ylang 
Apply to the core of the body of the bottoms of the feet 
Repeat the affirmation: I love and accept Myself. I am enough.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back to School Balance

Have you seen the Back to School supplies lining the store shelves? If you have older kids, that probably fills you with relief as you imagine peaceful days in a clean house while your children learn and play on someone else's watch. My husband's favorite commercial of all time shows a father walking through STAPLES with children in tow, shopping for school supplies. The children are all frowns, but the father is grinning from ear to ear as he dances through the store while "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" plays in the background.

That's not my life. We have chosen to homeschool with the help of some fantastic part time support programs.  So when the school supplies show up in the stores, it's time for me to not only fill out registrations, but pay tuition as well as order books. It's time to choose a math program, make student planners, set up learning spaces in the house, and prepare myself for 9 months of strict schedule adherence. That's the easy part. The tricky part is figuring out how to deliver 4 children to their respective locations at 4 different schools on 4 different schedules. Then add in an early morning religion class and three afternoon choir rehearsals along with driving hours for two new drivers.  I looked more like this.

Are you feeling stressed yet? So was I. As a matter of fact, as I focused on my children's needs for the coming year, I had a full blown anxiety attack, something I haven't experienced in years. My wonderful husband noticed my distress and asked sweetly "Do you want me to rub some oils into your feet?" I love that man. He grabbed a bottle of Balance and began massaging a few drops into the bottoms of my feet and I immediately felt grounded. My heart rate slowed, the spinning in my head stopped, and I could think. Then something really cool happened. I received a text from a friend who is undergoing chemotherapy with this message

"Can you come rub oils into my feet? Last time you did, I felt almost human again."

I was supposed to be planning the year, making dinner, balancing the budget, and entertaining company all in the next two hours. I wasn't sure if I had it in me, but my husband had great insight. "You are feeling anxiety because you feel out of control, like you can't manage the school year. Serving someone is something you CAN do. It will make you feel better. Go. I will make the soup".

So I grabbed my oils and I went. And guess what? He was right. I felt a hundred times better. This experience confirmed to me again the importance of focusing on our own health and state of mind first. Do my children need a great education? Yes. Do they need dinner? Yes. Does the budget need to be balanced? Yes. But more than anything, I need to be balanced, so I can do all of those important things.  If you are feeling like the picture above, and you are new to doTERRA,  and you want to try a little Balance, send me a message and i'll get you a sample.

Want to go a little deeper? Join us for Chakra Balancing with Essential Oils this Thursday at 7pm in Meridian. RSVP for details.

Friday, July 25, 2014

WHY Heal mom First?

Here is a picture of me and my oldest daughter.. Perhaps you can see the resemblance. It is obvious that I have passed on huge amounts of genetic coding to her. She has my facial structure, my eyes, my build. She shares a preference for short hair and funky colors. She somehow inherited my habit of incessant hair twirling. She is fantastic at analyzing literature, public speaking and cooking as well. All characteristics which we share. So you can see that we pass on both physical and behavioral characteristics, good and bad.

If we accept the fact that we "pass down" these characteristics to our children, is it also reasonable to assume that we pass down predispositions for health or illness? Why does your doctor always want your family health history before he will see you? He understands that disease runs in families. So if you are looking to heal some health issue in the family you are raising, there's a good chance that the foundation for that issue was laid before that child was even born. Of primary concern is the health of the Mother. For instance, A child born to a  mother who was exposed to second hand smoke during her pregnancy is significantly more likely to develop asthma in their lifetime. What you may not have know, is that the child of that child, who was never personally exposed to second hand smoke, is also at increased risk for asthma.  So, if we want to create families that are physically healthy, the most important place to start is with the health of the mom. 

Now i'd like to talk about emotional health. As I have filled out numerous intake forms over the past 15 years, I have been shocked by one question they always ask-"What was the mother's attitude toward the pregnancy?" It seems like a very abstract question of little relevance over a decade later, doesn't it? Here is why it matters. What if I were incredibly stressed during my pregnancy because I was experiencing financial struggle, or I was working full time and felt a lot of guilt over that? Those emotions create chemical changes inside of my brain that in turn create physical changes in my body. The fetus forming inside of me is exposed to all of those chemicals (increased cortisol, decreased seratonin) and that child's brain forms differently because of that exposure. If I am totally hooked on root beer floats during a pregnancy and consume them with reckless abandon, the child I am carrying is at elevated risk for diabetes, low thyroid, and a host of other metabolic problems. My intent here is not to create guilt in mothers who had difficult pregnancies or whose children are (heaven forbid) already born. I simply want to establish that there is a logical basis for focusing on the health of mother before we look to her children. Fair enough?

Now stay with me as I bring this out of the abstract and into the raw truth.  I get a call from a mom who has a child who is creating a lot of discontent at home because he has some behaviors that she thinks are consistent with ADHD. He acts impulsively, has intense emotional outbursts, and can't seem to get his school work done to save his life. He annoys his siblings,  bullies the neighborhood kids, and makes his scout leaders cry. She wants to know what she should do to help him. I can give this mom a protocol that has been demonstrated many times over to help with the symptoms she has shared. They are scientifically proven to alter brain chemistry and improve behavior.  They also require buy-in from the child, some changes in diet, and consistent application. And where does the responsibility for all these things fall? You got it. On mom. On the tired, frustrated, discouraged, burnt out and sometimes angry mom. She has been trying her best to function on not enough sleep and no time to herself. These factors are surely making the child's symptoms worse as he picks up on her agitation and impatience. She struggles to provide consistency which he so desperately needs. She has nothing left to give, so how can I possibly ask her to give more? I can't. Not until I help her reach a place of balance and peace within herself. When she is well supported and her needs are being met, then, and only then, can we begin to address her son's problems, which likely look very different from a place where she is balanced and happy. So if you have a child who you desperately want to help, and you are consulting every specialist you can find to heal him. Do me a favor, help yourself first. He will thank you in the end.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Upside-Down Parenting

I had an interesting experience the other day. I was having a conversation with one of the children in my life, and the child was hurling what they perceived to be damaging and intensely hurtful insults my direction "YOU think that YOU are God's gift to this family. YOU think that YOU are more important than anyone else. YOU think that somehow what YOU need is more important than what anyone else needs. It doesn't matter what I want if it doesn't agree with what YOU want. It doesn't matter what I want to wear if it doesn't agree with what YOU think is okay. YOU are a FAILURE of a mother."

A short year ago, these statements would have sent me into emotional turmoil. I would have been sobbing hysterically by the time we reached home. But on this day, you know what I sad? "You are absolutely right. All except the last part. I'm not a failure. I'm a great mom." And I believed every word.

Does that sit okay with you? Do you understand why it is right that a mother's needs should come first? That my dress standards supersede the children's fashion whims? That we have salad for dinner and not pizza every night? It's because I AM God's gift to the family, and it is my divine calling to make decisions that will be for the best and highest good of every member of it. I am not advocating greed and selfishness. I am advocating that the proper order of family life be restored. But I didn't start out this way. I grew into it. Let's go back in time about fifteen years....

I was part of the attachment parenting movement that was really flourishing in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid 1990's. The phrase "attachment parenting" was coined by Dr William Sears, who advocated wearing babies in a sling, as close to the body as possible, to promote closeness and connection in infancy. He taught that everything a baby really needs comes from his mother. Milk from mother's breast, warmth in her arms, and love from her heart. I loved wearing and nursing my babies. Dr Sears was an amazing and well balanced advocate for families. 

From this beginning, however, came an outgrowth of more extreme views, which went from respecting and loving the child to an almost worship of the child. Instead of promoting a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship, there came a demand for Mother and Father to sacrifice all privacy, intimacy, routine, boundaries, preferences, and pre-conceived ideals in order to accommodate the uniqueness (whims) of the child.  Refraining from physical punishment wasn't enough-a child could be equally damaged by a  time out or even a strong "NO." Parents needed to respect the actions and words of the child as an expression of their individuality. Don't stifle creativity for cleanliness. Just let them flourish. This created an upside down world where the child became the leader of the house, and Mother and Father assumed the responsibility of creating an environment that "fit" the personality of the individual child. This worked okay until child #2 came along. Then #3 and #4,  and with four small people under the age of 6 running the house 24/7,  all hell broke loose. 

I had four beautiful, free spirited, happy children, but I was depressed, full of anxiety, overwhelmed, and overweight. I was doing all the right things according to all of those books- we were building forts, and reading books, and taking walks, and baking cookies, and playing in the sprinklers,  but I was not okay. I was taking numerous prescription drugs in an attempt to lift the dark cloud of depression and anxiety, but I was still a mess. I was staying up late to get a few hours of "me"time after the kids went to bed and self-medicating my feelings of emptiness with sugar cookies and Haagen Dazs Ice cream. I swear I had an honorary Phd in Child development from all of the books I had read in an effort to create the perfect childhood for my kids, but I myself was a mess. So what was was the solution? I had to decide that it was okay for me to focus a little time on myself. Okay to put the kids to bed early so I could spend time alone. Okay to take the kids to day care at the gym so I could exercise for an hour every morning. Okay to feed them broccoli when they demanded Macaroni and Cheese. Okay to put me first.

If you are struggling right now in the same place I found myself and wondering how to climb out of the pit of overwhelm and depression, I am so glad you are here. I hope you will find tools and knowledge that will allow you to take control of your own destiny and claim health and happiness for yourself, and consequently for those you love.

Here are a few recommendations for those suffering from depression who need help now:

If you are local, Click on my "classes" page and find a time that works for you. All of my classes this month focus on some aspect of emotional healing for moms.

If you are not local, or cannot make a class, message me. I would love to connect with you and help you find a natural solution that will work for you.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Mom's under Attack

 You've all seen them...the professional family pictures taken outside with beautiful smiling parents and model-worthy children in matching outfits. They look like this:

The people in this photo are probably really kind people. They are probably wonderful neighbors and friends, but what do you feel when you see that picture? Come on, be honest. Do you feel the slightest twinge of "Why can't my hair be that perfect?" or 'Why don't my kids look like that?" or "She probably has a clean house." or "If only I wore a size 4, I could look that cute." Or maybe you just think "What a happy family, she must be a great mom."

I want to talk today about families and mothers. I happen to believe that families are the most important institution in the universe. They are the place where we learn everything about life, love, work, play, and more. In modern psychology, it seems like the family you were raised in is either the key to your success or responsible for all of your failures. 

In Western Society, the traditional family is under attack...From both sides. 

"Both sides?", you may ask.

 Yes, both. 

On the one hand, we have those individuals who believe that the traditional family unit is a relic of the 1950's. They see the gender roles as biased and constrictive. They believe that stay at home mothers are leeches who don't contribute to the economic health of our society and who really just need to get a job. From my perspective, this is such a ludicrous belief that it doesn't even register on my radar.  

There is also a less visible and in my opinion equally damaging belief which states that mothers are the most powerful figures in society and that it is of utmost importance that they be well educated, fit and healthy, beautiful, organized, faithful, and basically perfect in every way. And if mother is perfect in every way, then it naturally follows that her children will be too. If she just teaches them correctly and manages her home well, they will be happy, successful, hard working, beautiful, and well behaved. And what if a child is less than perfect? The mother must find some way to fix them. A new discipline system, a better chore chart, a new hobby, a tutor, more homework "support", a restricted diet. Another book, another blog, another specialist, another drug. And somewhere behind closed doors, mother is crumbling. She is so busy fixing everyone else that she has lost herself. She has become a casualty of the exalted calling of motherhood.

I have been caught in this trap. Two years ago, I found myself completely disillusioned and wondering where I had gone wrong. Let me clarify, that my husband, my children, my home...They were all perfectly normal. Not perfect, but normal. From the outside everything looked fine...

but on the inside, I was crumbling. I have had some amazing guides on the path to wholeness. As part of my personal journey, I have had the opportunity to learn much and to work with other women who are experiencing the same feelings of confusion, overwhelm, and frustration. I have found some powerful tools and hope that they can be of use to you as I share them here. "Heal Mom First" is the outgrowth of my quest to find and reclaim myself; one moment, one day, one week at a time. I am passionate about healing families, but I now understand that the only way we will heal the family is if we Heal Mom First.