Hands down the best grief book I have ever read is Megan Devine’s It’s OK that You’re Not OK. What do I like about it? It validates your feelings. Truly. I find that often when we are grieving, we end up babysitting other people’s feelings. When they ask if you’re OK…do they actually want the truth or do you find yourself saying “Oh, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking”, but really you just want to say “Today sucks. I got an email from Target reminding me that my baby registry isn’t complete, and it was a slap in the face because there isn’t a baby to get gifts for!” Megan is a psychotherapist that has experienced her own loss, and has firsthand knowledge how uneducated our American culture is when it comes to grief and death. I highly recommend this book and have gifted it many times to friends and family. So here is my review of the BEST GRIEF BOOK!
I’m on Week 2 of training for my first ultra marathon 50K…and it’s been full of high highs and low lows. Some days I find my training runs easy and great, and some days it sucks. While a lot of training is mental, outside environment can sure affect how difficult your run will be. This week alone I’ve had: my earbuds quit 8 miles in to a 10 miler, a skunk chase me off the trail, terrible weather, and blisters. But it is what it is.
Also, my coach wants me to track my elevation gains on my runs. Bless her. On my run yesterday it was zero. Today, I ran 10 miles and it was 10 feet. Welcome to the Midwest, where the most elevation I get is jumping over a culvert mid-run. Onward and upward to week 3!
If you saw my post from yesterday, you know I started a new adventure in ultra marathon running. Since I am completely new to this, I thought I would start sharing things (products, training elements, etc) that are working (or not working) for me.
Every Wednesday I’ll do a “What works Wednesday”.
And since the reason I started this blog is to share my knowledge of mental wellness resources, I’ll be doing a “What works Wednesday” for that too!
First, let me start by saying that I’ve been a “runner” for most of my life. But picture this
I ran through middle and high school to stay in shape for team sports, college and graduate school to cope with stress, and in adulthood to well, get away. Like literally to have an hour to myself away from work and mom responsibilities. I usually run daily and I run until I’m ready to call it good. I have previously run a couple of full marathons, half marathons, and 5K’s, but certainly do not have a decorated record of races. Running maintains my mental wellness, much like an oil change is to car maintenance. The research overwhelmingly points to the mental health benefits of exercise and I can vouch for that personally.
Second, most of the most enriching things in my life have come from things I did on a whim. Now, if you knew me personally, you’d find that hard to believe. I research the shit out of every purchase I make, every trip I plan, every thing I endeavor to do. And if you want to annoy me, force me to make a big decision on the fly with little warning. I mean, as an 8 year old I remember making a pro/con list in my head of whether I should get jelly shoes… you know the cheap, sparkly plastic shoes that every little girl wore in the early ’90’s that have since made a comeback (sigh). I later regret buying them as they cut the back of my heel every time I ran in them on the playground. I digress. Attending graduate school, changing career fields, going on a date (with my now husband) were all things I “acted on a whim”.
And now I can add applying for my first 50K and having my training tracked on a podcast, to the list. So here we go! I am going to figure out how to mother two little humans, work my full-time job, and train for my first ultra marathon!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned with age, is that my intuition knows me better than any research could.
Why the heck did I name my blog “A thief called grief?” Yes, it rhymes. Yes, you have to remember that golden rule of “i before e except after c” when you are typing in the name to the search bar. But although “thief” conjures up a negative thought, the idea behind the name is simply this–once you have grieved, whether it’s a loss due to death, loss due to divorce, loss due to whatever crap life throws at you, the old you is gone. At least for me it is and was. The old you was stolen, and now you’re on a new journey. This site is not just for someone who is grieving due to death. This site is for anyone trying to find their way after the theft of their “old life”. Welcome! I hope you learn something while you’re here.
For most people, if you or a loved one have ever been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, then I guarantee you know how important self-advocacy is. Learning about your health condition becomes a full-time job…in fact, the more rare your condition, the more time you will spend learning. My parents taught me early on (in high school) how to advocate for myself, so I was shocked when I started working in healthcare, to discover how little patients knew about their own health. And not only did they not know about their own health, they never questioned anything and often had little input when asked if they had questions.
I accompanied my grandma to one of her doctor visits when I was in my early twenties and embarrassed the shit out of her when I asked the doctor questions about his plan of care. I’ll never forget when he left the room to grab something and as soon as the door shut, she turned to me and said “what are you doing?! Why are you asking him questions? Just be quiet!” and I said “but you told me you had questions, so why don’t you ask them?” and she said “it doesn’t matter if he answers my questions, he knows best”. And I was stunned. I learned then just how much privilege I had that 1.) someone had taught me early on how to talk to a healthcare professional 2.) I knew I had the power to speak up and felt that I could without being punished for it. Here’s the thing, whether it’s a the doctor’s office, at the car repair shop, or on the phone with insurance, you deserve to have your voice heard and to get what you want. Now obviously, there are constructive ways of doing this and I’ll show you how.
Mental Health Recovery https://mentalhealthrecovery.com/info-center/how-to-self-advocate/
Patient Education vs. Patient Experiences of Self-advocacy: Changing the Discourse to Support Cancer Survivors https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4598253/