I love a good epsom salt bath! As a mama of kiddos with Lyme, epsom salt baths with added essential oils have saved the day on many occasions. I love that they not only detox the body, but that the magnesium also provides a nice calming effect. Magnesium can help calm anxiety, anger and sometimes even overstimulation.
When we were in the middle of battling Bartonella (tick bite disease that creates anger and anxiety), we called epsom salts magic crystals, because they were magic. On so many occasions we would put our screaming child into the bath and within 20 minutes, the same child would be singing and playing in the bathtub. Ahhhh. Th power of magnesium. A few drops of a calming essential oil and the effect was that much better!
A year into using the baths, I was finally able to convince my non-bath taking husband to try them for his Lyme symptoms. On bad days, my husband wore a back and knee braces due to joint paint and inflammation. Soaking in an epsom salt bath with Lavender made the anti-inflammatory properties of the bath that much stronger. Now he too can benefit from the power of magic crystals.
My article today is talking about using epsom salt baths for chronic illness, but that absolutely does not have to be the case! Calm the body and calm the mind...maybe throw in a good book while you're at it. I encourage you to try an epsom oily bath today if you haven't already. Epsom salts are easy to find in the pharmacy section of your grocery store or via the Amazon links below.
How to Create a Peaceful Essential Oil & Epsom Salt Bath
Baking Soda (optional: neutralizes chlorine & other chemicals)
Start with the bath water running. Then add the salts, baking soda and essential oils. Stir rapidly until everything feels dissolved and well distributed. As you stir, you will release the aroma of the oils, which means for that brief (delicious) moment you get the aromatic benefits too. Next, insert child or adult, sprinkle in a few toys (or book) and wait for the transformation!
The following are guidelines to help you determine what ratio will help best.
Please keep in mind any health concerns that you may have before using Epsom salts.
*1/2 cup Epsom salts and ¼ cup baking soda for children under 6o#,
* 1 cup Epsom salts and ½ cup baking soda for children over 60#
* 2 cups Epsom salts and 1 cup baking soda for 100# and over
**When choosing what essential oils to use in the bath, think about what you are trying to accomplish. Some of you have a small regular sized bathtub and others use a large soaking tub. I find that 4 drops of essential oils in a soaking tub work well for my 8 year old son. Adjust your oil amounts to suit your needs, remembering that less is more.
Make sure to drink liquids during or immediately following the bath and to rinse off the salts before toweling off.
Guest Blogger Katie Chandler, MSW Explores What Happens When Trauma Meets Lyme...
A patient presented with neuropsychiatric Lyme disease. She had been misdiagnosed for over 10 years. Now 27 years old, she was unable to take care of herself and is living with her parents. Some of her symptoms included depression, anxiety, OCD, and insomnia. She was seeing a Lyme specialist and undergoing treatment, but she was not gaining the ground her LLMD expected to see. Lyme co-infections, such as Bartonella, Babesia, and Erlichia, can have psychiatric manifestations. These manifestations include self harming, suicidal tendencies, and Lyme psychosis, which this patient presented with as well.
As I began talking with her and hearing her story, other symptoms came to light that were not Lyme related; internal dialogues, losing track of time, intrusive dreams, being known by different names with different groups of people. With enough evidence, I was able to diagnose her with Dissociative Identity Disorder stemming from a background of childhood related abuse and trauma.
I began treatment with getting history and building trust. As the trust was developed, my patient was able to open up more about her background. These sessions could be difficult, and often times in the week following, she would seem to have set backs in Lyme treatment or experience more DID symptoms.
I began to work with her using components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. During these sessions, we would talk about the weeks stresses and at the end of the sessions, we would place the anxiety, unknowns, worries and fears into a box to be held safe until the next session. This allowed the patient a way to not hold onto and struggle with the stressors throughout the week. Instead she was able to focus more on self care. Then at the next session, we could reopen the box to place in new events, and feelings, and to re-frame other stressors placed in the box previously.
Many times patients are unaware of the toll that trauma or other stressors take on their physical health. This allows the Lyme infection to gain ground when the body's immune system is in a constant state of fight or flight. Stress hormones have been found to inhibit the production of cytokines, the agents of the immune system that respond to danger. This causes these cells to overreact and create an inflammatory response that is over the top, often creating a greater problem than the original danger. Unresolved emotional issues and negative emotional patterns can put a huge stress on the immune system. Clearing these emotional issues can be highly beneficial in releasing the immune system from suppression. The body maintains this fight or flight mode by pumping the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones. While short term exposure allows the body to do tremendous things, long term exposure is detrimental to your health.
Discussing the emotional issues was very helpful to the patient. It allowed her to come out of a constant state of fight or flight.
Another technique that I recommended to my patient was Fascial Counterstrain, which allows the blood to flow back into the brain and calms the parasympathetic nerve. With the parasympathetic nerve inflamed, the body is unable to relax as easily or as quickly as it should. In a sense, the inflamed nerve acts like a stopped up drain slowing the release of the tension and stress. With the Fascial Counterstrain, the parasympathetic nerve was able to be calmed and soothed. Without its overreaction, the patient was able to talk about and work through the childhood traumas more easily and with fewer reactions.
As I worked with my patient to confront the emotional stresses from current events, and from past trauma, she was able to more easily handle life events. As she was able to handle events better, less stress came from having fewer setbacks. As she had less stress, her body was able to devote more energy into fighting the Lyme and other co-infections. This feedback of reducing stressors freed up the person as a whole to gain traction in healing physically and emotionally.
Katie Chandler, MSW
Lyme Literate Counselor
Using Yoga to Help with Physical and Emotional Stress By Gabrielle Anderson, lmft
I fell in love with yoga 15 years ago. It was love at first sight. I am antsy by nature and sometimes make my family crazy with my constant fidgety motion. Finding the yoga practice that worked for me has been an amazing journey.
Yoga's Role in Helping The Body Heal
Back in the late 90s, I found my first yoga experience via a VCR tape. From the very moment I tried it, I was hooked. I quickly learned that I like a practice that balances sweat and hard work with a spiritual calming. When I became ill with Lyme Disease, I was often too weak to practice in a studio or gym, small stretches like “child’s pose” or “rag doll” helped get the kinks out of my back, legs and shoulders. I was able to control some abdominal discomfort with twists and when my strength improved, I spent many months working out residual joint and bone pain on my mat.
Is it Anxiety or Energy? Using Yoga to Wring our Stress
I am healthy and strong again and love incorporating yoga into my routine a couple of days a week. When I miss too many days of my practice, I feel a tightness in my chest accompanied by a buzzing feeling first thing in the morning. To many this would feel like anxiety. I now know that this is energy begging to be moved through my body. The stretching, deep breathing and detoxing properties of yoga can really make a difference in how I manage daily stress. What are the chances that your anxiety could be helped with yoga? Interesting question, whichs begs to be answered!
Advanced Yoga Classes are for the Most Part Silent
Because I have been a student of yoga for so many years, I find myself gravitating to the more advanced classes with more challenging poses. What has become curious to me is that advanced classes are less about flexibility, skill and strength and more about the discipline of the mind. An advanced class may or may not be about flexibility and skill, but it absolutely speaks to the ability to quiet the mind. What a wonderful tool to learn and practice, especially for those of us who are always running somewhere or doing something. Yoga is great for teaching us to quiet our minds and be mindfully present.
How Can Yoga Help You?
If you have never attended a yoga class, see what is in your community. Many yoga studios off a discount for “new students”. Getting a reduced fee monthly punch card can help you test drive a new studio without committing fully. If your health conditions do not warrant a class, but you are still interested in trying out the healthful benefits of a yoga practice, try taking sessions from a yoga therapist. A yoga therapist will guide you through a routine tailored just for you and your health goals. During a session, you will be given 1:1 attention and will have a home routine to take with you and try out on your own. Whether you take a class with others or hire your own yoga specialist, becoming curious about yoga may just help improve your mental and physical health.
Gabrielle is the owner and a therapist at the Family Therapy Center of Northern Virginia, llc. as well as the owner of Intentional Oils. She is a married mother of two and avid yogi.
Can Essential Oils Really Enhance Physical and Emotional Wellbeing? By: Gabrielle Anderson, lmft
My Own Journey Through Essential Oils
There has been a significant amount of hype and excitement over the past few years about essential oils and their impact on physical and emotional health. With so much information out there, what can one expect and believe?
Like many who use essential oils, I found myself desperate to find something that could help the many problems my family was facing. Topping the list were symptoms such as brain fog, joint pain, inflammation, lack of focus, anxiety, and insomnia. Although antibiotics and western medicine was helping, I wanted more options. This is when I discovered the power and support of essential oils.
When one Blend of Essential Oils Does not Work, Try Again!
We have found that a blend of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint, known as LLP, can ease joint pain on contact, or when rubbed down the spine can help uncomplicate symptoms associated with seasonal changes. Although Lavender is used in a diffuser for many to fall asleep, Cedarwood and Bergamot work better for our children. Three out of the four members in our family use an essential oil blend for focus and attention and they are all different! Blending oils is often about trial and error and requires patience and research, but well worth the time and effort. If one oil or blend does not work for you, ask questions, become curious and try more options.
Essential Oils Recipes to Try at Home*
In a 10 ml roller ball bottle carefully add…
20 drops of Lavender
20 drops of Lemon
20 drops of Peppermint
Top it off with your favorite carrier oil**
Sleepy Time Diffuser Blend
Fill up a one-room diffuser with the necessary filtered water. Then add…
2 drops of Cedarwood
2 drop of Bergamot
This blend is a great helper for those who not only struggle to fall asleep, but also feel separation anxiety during the bedtime ritual. Every diffuser is different. Use the above as a guide.
Experimenting with essential oils can be both fun and empowering. Start by choosing one symptom to target. Before you know it, you may begin to feel empowered and excited to start on a new path of health and wellness.
*Remember. Essential oils are powerful. Less is more. Carrier oils help extend the oils over a larger surface area without using too much of the essential oil itself.
**A carrier oil is a natural oil added to a blend to help spread the essential oils around over a larger surface area. Examples of carrier oils include fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, etc
Infectious Anger: Seeing Anger as a Secondary Emotion By: Gabrielle Anderson, lmft
Understanding anger can sometimes be a difficult task. Anger is what therapists call a secondary emotion, meaning there are usually if not always, other emotions or conditions underneath anger. One can feel disappointed and nothing else, just disappointment. Sadness is another example of a possible primary emotion, or confusion.
Anger as a secondary emotion often has a goal in mind. It can be a vehicle and can help give strength and direction to a task or cause. It can also be used as a tool to keep people at a distance, to disguise how one really feels about something or maybe even to protect oneself from the real driving emotions. But sometimes anger is not about protecting or supporting a primary emotion at all. Sometimes the primary piece of the anger puzzle is INFECTION.
The Angry Face of Bartonella
As a therapist I always say if something doesn’t make sense in the therapy room, I probably do not understand the whole picture. There have been times over the years that I have looked for the primary emotion underneath anger and have found nothing. This is not how anger works. I remember seeing a couple for marriage therapy a few years ago. The wife’s anger and level of reactivity did not make sense to me. I tried and tried to understand the angle from which she would speak, but could not understand the primary emotion. Finally I suggested that I meet individually with the husband and the wife to determine what pieces of the puzzle I was missing. It became quite clear to me within 10 minutes of speaking alone with the wife that she had many symptoms of Lyme Disease and Bartonella. After talking, she agreed to obtain an assessment from a Lyme Literate Doctor and was told that yes in fact she did have both of these infections. This was the missing link. Bartonella was the primary factor in her anger. I did not have to do many sessions after this discovery because the cause of her anger was coming from infection.
How many times do we miss this very important piece? When my children were being treated for Bartonella, the rages were significant. When I was being treated for Bartonella, I was edgier and more snappish and rude than I have ever behaved in my 20 years of marriage. Learning that an infection can absolutely create edginess, anger and rage is extremely important information to know. Understanding the origin of anger is crucial in knowing then how to respond to it.
Blood Sugar Rages: Feed me Protein…Now!
The majority of the children I see in my office with Lyme Disease struggle to keep their blood sugar regulated. These children require small tiny meals throughout the day or three big meals with small tiny protein laden snacks in between meals. All food is not the same when you have Lyme Disease. The child with Lyme Disease must have their carbohydrates balanced with protein. Pretzels, dry cereal and goldfish snacks can initiate an imbalance in blood sugar unless balanced with protein. Cheese sticks, nuts, milk, edamame, peanut butter and meat are examples of foods that will help the child stay balanced. Blood sugar rages are like no other temper tantrums. Small children often times experience these rages with kicking, screaming, hitting, scratching and “I hate you”s and can rarely de-escalated in the moment. Balancing the blood sugar seems to be the only true answer.
The Thursday and Friday Fatigue Phenomena
Many times parents come to me feeling bewildered; confused as to why school sees such a different child than they see at home. Parents report that while their child is labile, emotional, scattered and even rageful at home, somehow the teacher sees them as being an angel in the classroom. As a professional, the quick and easy response might be to blame mom and dad by assuming their parenting techniques or family atmosphere must be at fault. Quite often this is not at all what is happening.
When children have a chronic illness, they will often learn to compartmentalize the severity of symptoms and will save them for their safe place, which typically is home. Sometimes children fatigue by Thursday and Friday and have more anger and more rageful episodes towards the end of the week primarily because they have been holding it together in other environments and can no longer suppress all of the symptoms. Having Lyme disease or PANDAS can be tiring in and of itself. School is a child’s workplace and can be exhausting. When parents can help minimize afterschool activities and can create spaces for rest and recuperation, children can have the opportunity to not be fatigued at such a scary level.
Putting the Pieces of the Anger Puzzle Together
What are the pieces of your anger puzzle or the puzzle of your child's? Maybe you can relate to one or more of the above explanations for anger. Understanding that anger is secondary to something else bigger can make sifting through emotional information much more efficient. Remember the secret therapists all know: If something does not make sense or seems bigger that it ought to be, dig a little deeper.
Gabrielle Anderson is the Director and a Therapist at the Family Therapy Center of Northern Virginia, llc
She and the other team members can be contacted directly from the Center's Meet the Team page.
While on my own personal journey to learn more about the pros and cons of consuming gluten, I ran across a common theme: clouding of the mind, also known conventionally as mental fog or “brain fog,” due to the consumption of foods containing gluten. Conversely, I found that many who were omitting gluten from their diets, either voluntarily or on a physician’s recommendation, noted improvements in memory and mental clarity. If you’ve ever put your car keys in the freezer by mistake, looked for your car in the wrong section of the parking lot, or simply couldn’t think clearly for seemingly no reason at all, you may be able to relate.
Often chalked up to a “normal part of getting older,” symptoms of brain fog include mild confusion, forgetfulness and/or the inability to think clearly. But this doesn’t have to be your fate!!!
Foods to Eliminate & Eat When Trying to Control Brain Fog
Certain foods such as artificial sweeteners and dairy have been linked to mental fog, but more and more physicians are discovering that mental fog is quite strongly linked to gluten intolerance. Within weeks of eliminating gluten from my own diet, I noticed an ability to think more clearly.
Luckily, there are several foods that have been associated with improved cognitive performance that are naturally gluten free. Tired of losing your keys? Here are six foods you can reach for to clear up mental fog and boost your brain health:
1. Avocados: Avocado is high in oleic acid, a fatty acid that plays a role in protecting neurons. Along with other omega fatty acids, oleic acid helps make up the myelin sheath, a lining on neurons that helps information in your brain travel at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Avocados also increase healthy blood flow which promotes increased brain function and improved heart health. Throw some avocado on your salad or spread some on your sandwich and super charge your brain for those holiday events.
2. Blueberries: Also called “brainberries” by Dr. Steven Platt, MD author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits and vegetables and are known to improve memory and cognitive function. They have memory-protecting properties and have even been associated with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Add some blueberries to your breakfast and you may not need to check that to-do list several times throughout the day.
3. Beans: Not only are beans wallet-friendly, they also help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing how your body processes carbohydrates. Our brains need a steady stream of energy and beans do the job. By adding more beans to your diet, you add some carb-like texture to your meals without consuming any gluten.
4. Nuts and seeds: One ounce a day can reduce inflammation, provide you with a great source of protein and satisfy your appetite. In addition to having a high fiber content, nuts and seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, and brain-boosting omega fats, having a positive impact on your brain and heart health. For an easy snack on-the-go, reach for almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (pumpkin seeds are specifically beneficial for men).
5. Wild Salmon: High levels of omega-3 fatty acids in addition to astaxanthin, B vitamins, and amino acids make wild salmon a winner for improving cognitive function. There is a wealth of research supporting omega 3’s role in brain health preservation while B vitamins and amino acids boost everyday brain function.
6. Dark chocolate: The powerful antioxidant properties of dark chocolate and natural stimulants help enhance focus, improve concentration and stimulate the production of endorphins, helping to not only support brain health, but improve mood, too. One to two Hershey Kiss-size pieces of dark chocolate a day will provide all the benefits you need. So, don’t feel guilty reaching for that piece of dark chocolate – it will help you think more clearly and cheer you up.
Valerie Tunks is a certified coach at the Family Therapy Center of Northern Virginia, llc
She and the other team members can be contacted directly from the Center's Meet the Team page.
In our house, I call myself the Tick Police. Before going out to play, we have rules. First is the natural tick repellant (search this blog for the recipe). This works great; even keeps mosquitos and gnats away. But, I do not trust it completely. Before going into the woods or higher grass, our children have to be in long pants that are tucked into their boots…even in summer. If we are in the woods, everyone wears a ball cap. Our neighbors have complained about multiple tick bites, but we have had ZERO in our neighborhood this year. Taking precautions in an endemic area is vital to staying safe and well.
My 8-year-old son has had Lyme disease twice in his short little life. He was born with gestational Lyme and then was re-infected by a tick bite when he was in Kindergarten. I use the term Lyme loosely; he also had the cohorts Babesia and Bartonella. Although I take my job as Tick Police very seriously, my son was bitten by a tick outside of our control and was bitten at school. Our administrators have been very supportive of our Lyme disease. My husband and I have never felt judged for multiple tardies when our kiddos were at their worse. They believed us when we said our son (and daughter) had Lyme and needed to be screened for an IEP. It really was no surprise to me that our principal already requested for our schoolyard to be sprayed and was willing to do what it took to keep his students safe. Sadly, he mentioned we were one of five schools targeting ticks. How many school are in your county? I know we have MANY that were not treated.
What to do About an Attached Tick
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Association (ILADS) is an educational body of medical physicians and other professionals. Their objective is to teach each other how to prevent and treat tick borne diseases. This association provides volumes of research and makes thorough recommendations for treatment protocols, both acute and chronic. ILADS recommends initiating 3 weeks of preventative antibiotics within 72 hours of an attached tick, especially for those living in an endemic area. I think of this protocol as being very similar to a nurse or doctor accidently getting pricked by a needle in a hospital. Medical professionals have the option of taking prophylactic antibiotics too; just to be sure to catch an infection before it has time to do anything harmful. What makes this information muddy and murky is the lack of comprehensive understanding within the general medical community. Some pediatricians refuse to give immediate prophylactic treatment to a tick bite unless a rash or other symptoms are present. Unfortunately, less than 50% of people infected with Lyme disease will show a rash.
My son has been in a good place for a number of months now. Adding 3 weeks of antibiotics to his herbal cocktail didn’t thrill us; but it had to be done. To help his sensitive little body, we increased his detox baths to daily and made sure there were NO food dyes in his antibiotics. He is doing great.
Specific Suggestions for Lyme Disease Prevention in Children
To summarize the information in this post, please keep in mind the following ideas...
Our children need us to protect them. Increase their chances of safety by taking well calculated precautions; not based out of fear, but rather from education.
Educate your school administrators and ask questions. See if any ticks have been spotted. Ask for the schoolyard to be sprayed. The Loudoun Lyme Disease Commission has guidelines for schools to follow, but your school may need to know you and others find it necessary and vital for these to be explored.
Take every tick bite seriously. Our county is an endemic area. Be careful and mindful of how easy it can be to stop infection with immediate antibiotics. Don't be afraid to advocate for your health and the health of your child and help educate your physician to new statistics and protocols coming out of ILADS.
This blog entry is full of photos and is an art therapy blog. This is the work of a mother whose 2 children suffer with Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease does not only traumatize the direct victim, but can also traumatize those who love the family member and have to watch her/him suffer with symptoms.
Notice how anyone of any age can participate in art therapy or sand tray therapy. It only takes a creative open mind and a bit of courage to do it. Sometimes art and sand tray therapy create an instant relief and other times they are vehicles of expression. Regardless of its purpose in that moment, art therapy can help sooth the brain's limbic system and bring about a deeper healing than talking alone. Often clients will say that art in and of itself helps get the topic started.
Art Therapy: Painting
This was an earlier painting. It was created by the mother 9 months into the treatment of her children. The children were experiencing "Herx" reactions, meaning their symptoms were becoming increasingly worse and more complicated. The red underneath is the mother’s heart. After painting this, mom stated “It feels like my heart is being ripped out through my chest”. Watching her children endure OCD, depression and debilitating fatigue was excruciating for her. Seeing her once very active children stay indoors and in a wheelchair was heartbreaking.
Here is a portion of her sand tray. She and her husband are racing to save their children. The deer preparing to attack her son represents her constant fear of reinfection. Because her family used to enjoy camping and hiking together, the threat of another tick bite feels always present. Her daughter struggles with suicidal thoughts and cycles of dark depression. Mom is racing to save her from sinking deep into the quick sand. What a beautiful way to depict how one feels without have to really talk about it. What you cannot see is the sniper in the corner pointing his rifle at the father. Mom feels like no one really understands their journey and that doctors have blamed her or her children for symptoms that they do not understand. She states that getting help outside of their Lyme Literate Doctor has been scary and seeking out specialists feels risky due to the lack of knowledge in the medical community.
Art Therapy: Oil Pastels & Chalk
Along the same theme as the above painting, mom reports that it feels like her daughter is being "ripped from my womb". This woman talks about missing her child and the way things were. Watching her once honor student become lost to depression, suicidal thoughts and isolation scares her. She drew her daughter as a middle school aged child within her womb. Mom states that not being able to protect her children from the every changing symptoms of the disease is terrifying. This opened up a dialogue about how vulnerable she feels and feels her children are and that she feels there is nothing she can do to protect them.
Art Therapy: Collage Painting
This is one of the latest paintings created by this mother. Sitting in front of the easel with the only directions being to express the emotions of her week, she decides to paint a big thick tornado. This tornado was trying to destroy her family and their home. It managed to create casualties along the way, leaving blood and a broken, displaced heart. She had the idea to rip apart the tornado and piece it together showing that though it was still a piece of her and still relevant to her family, it did not define them. Recreating the structure of the tornado seemed to bring with it a balance of control and honesty. Controlling it's shape and removing the funneled power source felt empowering but anyone looking at this creation knows that the pain is still intact. Therein lies the honesty.
How Full is Your Pitcher?
Years ago when I lived in Savannah, a friend of mine bought a "relaxation deck" of cards for me from a quaint downtown boutique. The cards each had a message to relay with a correlating image. My absolute favorite is the picture of the water pitcher. The idea is that we each have a finite pitcher of water. When we are constantly giving to those around us, we deplete our pitcher. Unless we refill, it will become empty and we will then have no more water to give.
Those of us with special needs children know about the finite pitcher of water. Some of you give away your water by making gluten free, dairy free, low sugar adjustments to your cooking routines, others of you give at the CST meeting at school, trying to portray why the administration needs to invest in your child, others give it massaging sweet little legs that are too restless for sleep. It seems water flows even more freely when discipline is a struggle or your little guy has out of control OCD or even fits of rage.
How do we fill a pitcher that seems to need an endless supply of water? What do you do when the pitcher can't make it back to the sink? Compassion fatigue is a risk for every parent with a chronically ill child. If you have two or more family members who are ill or if one of your loved ones' symptoms are significant, the task becomes that much harder.
Success lies within a varied strategy. If we are going to fill our pitchers, there needs to be more than one source of water. What fills you? Friends? Reading a good book? Going cycling? Don't just pick one, pick a handful. Write a list of all of the activities that make you you. They can be small, quick activities or long drawn out events. Some cost money, others cost time. Remember the things you used to do and also the things you want to do, but haven't. The more we fill up our pitchers, the more we have to give. Sounds counterintuitive, but it really does make a difference.
The next time you feel like you don't have the time to go for that jog, ask yourself. How full is my pitcher? Am I at risk of running out? It is hard to take care of yourself when you see how much those around you are hurting and suffering. It is difficult to leave them to ease your own pain, but it is crucial. Parents of a chronically ill child are less likely to be selfish and more likely to give to the point of exhaustion. Taking care of yourself does not have to be a selfish event, but a necessary stepping stone in watching your family rise to the next level of health and maintenance.
I encourage you to sit with a friend or loved one who really knows you. Someone who can help you write an honest list of the things you need to do to keep your pitcher full. Not just for the sake of giving. Of course this is important. Your family is struggling. But more importantly, you are worth filling. You are more than a giving vessel, you are worth being filled just for the sake of having fresh water within yourself.
Unless specified, Gabrielle Anderson, lmft is the author of these posts. Gabrielle is a Therapist and the Director at FTC. She is a married mother of 2 and has experienced chronic infection in the practice, herself and in her family.
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