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TouchStone Health Photo
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Archive for the ‘Grief’ Category

Showing Up Authentically

Posted on: May 22nd, 2020 by TouchStone Health

by: Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.

This post is looooong overdue.  It has been 10 weeks from today that I had been seeing patients in clinic when COVID-19 had changed our lives.

It’s been such an interesting time and for anyone who knows me, you know I love the word interesting as it is a great umbrella word for a variety of experiences.  What’s so bizarre and difficult to wrap my head around is the variance of experiences in the past 2.5 months.  How this virus can be life threatening to some and not to others, how the isolation has been horrendous for some and absolutely welcomed and enjoyable for others and the financial implications for so many people and businesses.  The only thread of consistency is that we are all connected in this, that this experience has affected us all and that among the variances, we are in it together.  We all know that life will never be quite the same hereafter- how businesses will run, how we interact with each other and ultimately how we perceive others.

With so much disruption, it is jarring, especially for those who are wired similarly to myself.

The reason I called this post Showing Up Authentically is that I ask people in my practice to do this.  I value authenticity and to ask it of others, which means I need to always ask it of myself….especially when it’s hard to do so.

When stress happens we often do one of three things.  We fight, we flee or we freeze.  My response when all this began was to fight.  My nervous system was spun.  Sleep was altered with the dreaded 3 am wakeup where my mind racing, the wired but tired feeling throughout the day was present, causing great levels of anxiety, the change in appetite and cravings were not great, to put it politely and the overall heaviness of this new and very unwelcome reality was felt.  But with time, the fight died off and the freeze took over, a feeling very new to me – numbness, fatigue, lack of motivation and deep sadness.  Collective grief was spoken about a lot in that time and was a great analysis of what we were all experiencing.

But like all things, there is a season, thank goodness there are seasons in nature and in life…as that fight and freeze response had passed to the present reality of acceptance and even finding joy with the changes that have come from all of this.

The point of this article is to remind you that you are not alone and that whatever season you are presently in – whether that be fear, joy, uncertainty, anger or ambivalence…you are not alone.  It’s been an honour to connect with people over the last few weeks and months, hearing their experiences, sharing in their story and supporting them…as it’s been really hard for many.  There is so much information out there, that many of us are in mental overdrive.  It’s hard to digest it all, knowing what to trust, wondering when things will change and how it will all look.  With all the mental chatter, it takes work and effort to connect with ourselves on an emotional level, really listening to what we need and giving space to feel it.  For me, as a health care practitioner, I’ve struggled with feeling some of these not so pleasant feelings and grateful to have given room for them to be felt.

Everything has a season and this has been one of the most bizarre seasons of my life.  I think many can relate to that.  The more we share, the more we open up about what is honestly going on in our lives, the more we remind others that we are in this together.  Showing up authentically is easy when things are great but not when things are tricky.  I hope however you are feeling, wherever you are at, that you are remembering your goodness, your worth and that you are not alone.

 

March Return & My Less-Than-Perfect Maternity Leave

Posted on: February 25th, 2020 by TouchStone Health

Written by: Dr. Melanie Reidl, N.D.

I’m feeling excited and energized about my return to Touchstone in March. After 6 months of maternity leave, it’s feeling right to step back into a career that brings me joy, challenges me, and allows me to help others.

In this post, I wanted to share a little bit about my time away from Touchstone. The honest truth about this maternity leave is that it’s been HARD. And it hasn’t been because of my beautiful baby girl, as you would expect it to be.  Since our sweet girl entered our lives in September, she has brought more joy, fulfillment, and love than we could have imagined. She’s literally been my sunshine on cloudy days.

Starting in November, my family was presented with several challenges and difficult news. In summary; Our family dog became very ill and we had to let him go, my grandfather’s cancer returned and he passed away, and I faced unexpected complications related to a past injury that required multiple visits to my orthopaedic surgeon, a surgery, and, during that time, left me extremely anxious about my health.

We’re all doing well now and I’m certain we’re through the worst of it. However during those difficult weeks I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘why is this happening?’ and ‘why all at once?’  Now that I’m through it, I feel that it was meant to be a test of my strength and resilience. It also forced my husband and I to work more as a team to care for our girls, to reach out for support from family, and to really APPRECIATE our blessings.

I am more grateful than ever to have my health, my two healthy babies, my husband, and my incredibly supportive family and friends.

I feel more motivated than ever to help you, my patients, through health (and life) challenges when I return to practice in March. If you’re currently facing a health challenge (or other life challenge), I am here for you, I will be present for you, and I will provide the most compassionate care that I can. 

Children’s Book for Grief

Posted on: May 20th, 2014 by TouchStone Health

When a good friend of mine went through the worst thing you could imagine happening to a parent, I wanted to help.  But what can be done or said in times like that?  When speaking with my friend, what I learned was that some of the most difficult moments in that time came from the words/actions from others.  Death makes us uncomfortable, difficult situations make us awkward.  Often we try our best fill that space with words, but they can be unhelpful and in some cases not appropriate.

It’s hard to know what to say or what to do when you can’t make a situation better…so I did what I knew I could and wrote a book.  The book was for their 3 year old son who was struggling with all that was.  The book was my love song to him and his parents…to let them know of all the things I would do if I could.

beeThe little boy is shown what would be done for him by various animals.  A rabbit would hop alongside him, helping him feel the freedom of jumping through the grass; an elephant would wrap his trunk around him, letting him feel the safety of his caress.  With each page, the boy is shown of all the wonderful things that would be done to show him love.  At the end of the book, you meet the person speaking…as she ponders what would she do or say to help him feel better.  She realizes, like I realized with this family, that sometimes all we can do is let them know we are thinking of them, that we love them and that we wish we could make it lighter.  Even if that can’t be done…we can share our love.

Conversations like this are not easy.  It’s hard, very hard.  But my hope is, is that this book opens up the discussion for how we support others when they are hurting.  Making the call, even if there are tears on the other end, is helpful.  Bringing over food/treats/gifts, even if you don’t know they will be useful is helpful.  But mostly just showing up, even if it’s awkward is often the greatest gift of all.

My hope is this book touches others they way it was intended and hopefully will help to continue the dialog of supporting others through grief or difficult situations.

If interested in purchasing this book, please visit the Children’s Book page for more information.

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