Getting help when you need it

A “normal” writing idea for my blog has escaped me this week. I’m thinking its because Robin Williams’ suicide hit me harder than I expected. robin williams I’ve felt depressed before. It sucks. Haven’t we all on some level at some time in our life? I can honestly say I’ve had times in my life when I had suicidal thoughts. I’m not ashamed to admit and share this. It’s part of my human experience. I just could not see the direction I needed to go and I lost hope. I bet many of you have had some form of this experience.

Some part of me knew I’d never go through with it. Some part of me knew help was available and I could get it. I did get help. Therapists are amazing people. The one I worked with helped me see that I had choices. Options my depressed brain at the time could not see. I think that’s what often we are seeking. To know we have choices, there is hope, and we can feel better. I don’t condemn or condone Robin’s choice. I’ve never been diagnosed with clinical depression. I can’t possibly imagine what that must feel like.

Honestly, I don’t ever want to.

The choices to be made for our life cannot be made by anyone but us. I can’t possibly know or understand the indescribable pain he must have felt to decide that the only way out was to end it. That was his choice.

If you’re reading this and you’re feeling depressed, feeling helpless, and feeling hopeless, there is someone waiting to help you. Always. 24/7. Call a friend. Get a counselor. Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255!

There are people put on the earth just for the sole purpose to help others through their pain.

You are human. I am human. You and I are not alone. We survive by celebrating together during the good times and helping each other through the tough times. People want to help you. They really do.

Your life is worth so much to so many. Look at the effect Robin Williams has had on the world this week. Don’t underestimate how important you are to humanity, or to at least one other human being.

That number again, 800-273-8255.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me,

If this struck you and you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”. Please forward it to them.

I love hearing from you.

susan small sig 05:14

Get Outside and Nurture Your Life

Grief is important medicine

To hear the audio version of this blog, click here. This post was initially written in draft form before the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15th. I think it’s even more pertinent now. My heart goes out to all affected. And since we are all connected, this does affect us all.

We had to put my fiancé’s 15 year-old golden retriever Jazz to sleep this past week. We knew the time was coming and it was somewhat expected, but somehow, when that day actually came, we weren’t really ready.  grieving the loss of jazz

It was hard. It was peaceful. There was a sense of relief about not having to worry about him anymore.

In the car on the way home from the vet, my fiancé said he’d learned a lot from Jazz. I asked what.

He said,” that there’s nothing worth getting worked up over and to just go with the flow.” Animals are just so wise.

Now you may be thinking that this doesn’t pertain to what happened in Boston. Someone or a group deliberately placed bombs in a crowded venue where they knew people would not expect it but would be hurt and/or killed. How do you not get worked up and just go with the flow on that one? I don’t have an answer for that. I wish I did. I can’t comprehend it. I sit with the knowledge that not everyone’s brain works like mine and that even though I couldn’t imagine thinking that doing something like that was okay, there are those in the world who think differently.

But for most things in life, going with the flow and not getting worked up is so helpful. Can you think of a place in your life where this might pertain?

We started the grieving process for Jazz a few weeks ago when his health started failing. The late Elisabeth Kubler-Ross is well known for her work around death and dying, specifically the 5 stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. According to her, these are all part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we’ve lost. They are tools to help frame and identify what we may be feeling.

They are not, however, steps on some linear timeline in grief.

Not everyone goes through all of them in a prescribed order. They are one response to loss that many people have but there is not a typical response to loss as there is not a typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.

While grieving has not been well accepted in our culture, I do think there is a slow shift taking place as people are recognizing that it is important and needed for us to heal.

It is absolutely one of the best forms of self-medication we can give ourselves. To experience the loss fully, in whatever time it takes, in whatever form it takes, over and over again if needed. To go with the flow of it, and not get worked up.

Some grief we carry for a lifetime, and that’s okay. It’s part of being human. Experiencing loss helps to remind us what’s important in life and where to put our energy.

I invite you to fully grieve your losses in whatever form that may show up for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

So many of us think we are being “needy” when we ask for help. We’re people. We’re human. We actually do need help sometimes. But we also give to those who need help. That’s human nature too. Giving and receiving. If you don’t get the help you need from the first person you ask, ask another until you do. It’s healing.

For those of you who have lost an animal family member, you know that the love, connection, and bond go so much deeper than the spoken or written word could ever communicate. That connection is a beautiful reminder that we are all part of the same fabric, nothing is separate from anything else. Just look into the eyes of that beloved animal, and you will know.

We are grieving our dog’s loss in our own way, our own time, and the loss in Boston too.

Enjoy chasing sticks in the river and rolling around in smelly salmon carcasses Jazz… for we know that’s what you’re probably doing… going with the flow and not getting worked up about a thing.

For more information about the stages of grief, you can check out Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s website here.

Feel free to share a story about an animal friend you've lost. That can be part of the grieving process too. Join the conversation on the blog by leaving a comment below, or email me,

I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.

As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.

Bloom On!

Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom…

How to Thrive during the Darker Days of Winter

Click here if you want to hear the audio version of this blog. Most people I know love summer time. It’s warm, you can spend hours upon hours outside, and wear shorts and flip-flops.

When it gets colder, however, it takes much more effort to put on those layers of clothes plus a different attitude to get out in it.  Thriving during the Darker Days

The decreased sunlight affects many of us too. People often find themselves with less energy, feeling more down, or with decreased motivation.

Some people even suffer from a form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Some symptoms for SAD include:

Depression, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, a heavy “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs, social withdrawal, oversleeping, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, appetite changes, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating.

Two websites with information about SAD include the Mayo Clinic and Mental Health America.

**Any information I provide here should not take the place of sound medical advice from a doctor. If any symptoms you are experiencing do not lessen or get worse, I recommend contacting your physician for guidance.**

Of course we may all experience some level of these symptoms at any time of the year, but you know yourself best. And you know if something is excessive or way off kilter for your normal way of feeling.

Here are a few tips to help you thrive during these darker days of winter.

Light, light, and more light. One way to combat the decreased light is to actually add more light to your life. This could be done any number of ways. Maybe you have a fireplace in your home. Add some light and a heat source. You can always bring in candlelight to any room of your home. Just make sure to blow it out when you leave. Why not try energy-saving fluorescent lighting. You’ll not only help the environment; you’ll be adding some really bright light to the room.

Then there’s the happy light kind of light. This can help tremendously, but use it as directed. A friend of mine found out that if she used it all day long in her office she was awake for hours in the middle of the night. If she was unhappy before, she was definitely not happy until she used it correctly.

If you can get outside at all, natural light from the sun, even on cloudy days, can provide a much-needed boost.

Vitamin D may also reduce the production of cytokines, which are proteins that increase inflammation and have been shown to be a possible risk factor for depression. Ask your doctor to have your level checked. If it’s not where it needs to be, getting it at the right level could make all the difference for your world.

I can’t speak highly enough about getting outside in nature to perk up your pansies. Even when it’s cold. There’s something about reconnecting with fresh air, the trees, and the snow if you have it. Just taking a walk allows your mind to chatter, worry, and work on its to-do list. But then something amazing happens. It stops talking and quiets down. Very often, a peaceful feeling will come up, possibly an insight about a problem you were working on, or a creative burst or idea about a project. Nature is miraculous. When you connect with it, you connect with yourself.

There’s also the whole thing about wrapping your mind around  decreased daylight. When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time. What we think about the darkness matters. If you think it stinks, it will feel stinky. Period. Your thoughts create your feelings. What thoughts can you think that will bring you a better feeling? Now go think them.

Why not spend 2 minutes visualizing yourself in Hawaii, Mexico, or some warm and sunny vacation destination. Literally see the green landscape with all those trees and flowers, smell the ocean, feel the warm, perfect temperature sun on your skin, taste the yummy different foods you would eat, and hear the birds singing. Take those sensations with you into your day. You can always stop and take a few moments to vacation in your mind.

Or literally take that mid-winter vacation to a warm sunny place if you can. It can break up winter and help you get through it knowing you got some relief from the cold or dark.

These are just a few ways to make it through your winter.

Want even more ideas for thriving this winter? Sign up for my free weekly newsletter at and I’ll send you the entire How to Thrive during the Darker Days of Winter e-book too.

Your Turn: What one thing do you do to either thrive or just survive during the darker days? Leave a comment below, or email me,

I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.

As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.

Bloom On!

Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom…