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I want to start this blog today with us going on a journey. I want us to start that journey only if you are in a safe place. A place that you know there is no reason to truly fear. Maybe your room, or even that favorite nook that you drink your coffee in the morning. Man… I love coffee! 

So it is here that I would like to ask you to close your eyes, but now that wouldn’t really work would it lol? But after you read the next 3 lines please do this and close your eyes. Thank you!

Go with me if you will… To a place that you have been, that all of us have been. A place where you felt weak, unable to act, I mean the serious ability to not move. Where you felt powerless. 

Please really take 30 seconds and sit there and feel that…

Now when you are done, remember you are in that safe place that you started. I want you to track your emotions and what you felt. Maybe even write out a list of five things going on in your body, and mind. 

My guess is that you felt a slew of emotions, one of them being pain. And I would almost bet the house that many of you had a specific person that you felt that pain come from. 

This brings me back to the adage “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. That saying folks is crap! Seriously! 

How to deal with bullying, no one, and I mean no one is better than anyone else. People are People! Everybody is a people! lol

All actions have consequences, and a person’s actions remove or add privileges to their lives. The counter to that is also true, some people who didn’t act, catch the consequence. Therefore, people that don’t deserve good stumble into good, and people that don’t deserve bad get caught up in bad, which was not of their own making.  

How should you deal with a bully? Next time someone is intentionally hurtful or even harmful: 

  • When safe, remember that feeling that you had with the exercise above.
    • What you felt in the exercise above, is the driving force that is being used to spew the hate to hurt another human being.
    • I hope that you have chosen to not hurt others, but if you have… STOP and get help! You are worth it too!   
      • Remember, hurt people, hurt people.  
    • The person’s action of hurting you, at the core, has nothing to do with “YOU”! 
      • Always strive to be the best version of yourself you can be! You, yes YOU, have so much to offer and give! (And I don’t care what you say about you not having worth! You do! I don’t care who YOU are or what YOU have or haven’t done. If you have breath, you have worth.) If you get honest and stop intentionally harming yourself and others, you can be free! 
    • When people do hurt you, DO NOT hurt in silence.
      • Silence is literally trapping pain inside. Pain that will eat you alive. 

So, in short:

  1. If you are not safe, get safe!
  2. If you are safe, remember to stay safe!
  3. If you have pain, TALK to someone you trust!
  4. If you don’t have someone you trust, get involved with professionals that will create a healthy team around you: counselors, spiritual leaders, teachers, grandma’s/grandpa’s if you don’t have one look for somebody else’s!  Remember, we are better together!  

National Suicide Prevention Week

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Suicide. It is a painful, traumatic event. An event where a loved one finds themselves in such a dark place that they feel there is no way out. While this is not true and there is always a way out, the path out is rarely illuminated without another person there to help guide that hurting person out of despair. 

As painful as it is to acknowledge, when I look up the statistics for our home state, Montana, I see that we are back in the #1 slot for suicide per capita. This is a terrible place we find ourselves in. One that can be downright frightening, especially if you have a family member who struggles with mental illness or suicidal thoughts/tendencies.

Fear is crippling. Fear on the side of the one suffering from mental illness, or the family member, loved one, friend, co-worker, or even acquaintance of the person suffering from the illness. 

This is where the rubber meets the road! This is where we can and must act! Swiftly, precisely, and with no regard to our own personal time, or inconvenience. This is our time to save a life! The wonderful thing we have on our side is that, while the person struggling with suicide is still alive, they are so often looking for that person to share their time, and illuminate their path out! Just a simple act of giving your time and attention can lead to a person finding freedom from hopelessness!

Words into Actions: Dealing with the REAL! 

I love to say that people are people! It doesn’t matter! Nothing matters, other than that we are all people! We must remember that, and hold to the fact that no one is better than anyone else. 

This is where I like our “U’s” or “US” from last week. 

The U’s:

Understandingly– Knowing that if we ask a question, we don’t in any way control the answer, if, in fact, an “answer” is what we seek.

Uniquely– Each person in our lives is Unique! This is such a cool thing, and when we see it and stop attempting to make those around “Us” “UN” unique we win. 

Underwear(ly) or at least (ee)- We all put it on one leg at a time, and at the end of the day they all stink! 


With Suicidal concern:

These are some important things to remember in the moment. Ask the person a few questions:

  1. Do they have suicidal thoughts?
  2. Do they have a plan to harm themselves?
  3. Do they have the intent to carry out that plan?

Do’s and Don’ts:

Do Document that plan
Do Call 911 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room
Don’t leave them alone
Don’t rest until they are in capable hands at the local emergency room 

Make sure that they have a plan of recovery when they leave and be their support getting them into therapy post-release. They need a person to be there and speak for them, and you could be the person who saved a life! So great to give!

Back To School

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Back to School! My goodness, I am such a nerd! Back to school was just refreshing, and new! It meant new supplies, new clothes, new books! It was the smells, sights, and sounds of fall beginning to emerge! To confess, after finishing primary, secondary and now 6 years after completing graduate school, I still find myself wanting the experience yet again.  

Now, as a parent myself, I find I’m having this crazy desire to live vicariously through my children in this process; happy as a lark when we get the new school supply list for my sons or daughter. Looking back, my parents were always unusually happy during this time of the year as well. Curiosity strikes as I write this, and a question comes to me… Did they have this strange affinity for the new school year as well, or… Were they excited to get my sister and I back into a normal routine? Now that I think about it I can relate to both perspectives! LOL

All that said, it was a beginning, a source of hope, the hope for what was old and tired. And folks, this year we have a lot of need for a season shift, bringing some new to what has become very old to many of us. “Our physical health in jeopardy requires our mental health needs to be nurtured excessively”! 

As fear runs rampant, attempting to take our joy, I challenge myself and all of you to strive to find the excitement and little joys in our lives! As simple as the smell of new shoes, you know the ones that you keep putting back into the box, just to care for them. I propose this is the same smell on a smaller scale as that awe-inspiring and much sought after NEW CAR smell! I mean come on, who in their right mind ever got into a new car and said: “um… what is that smell”? Lol NO ONE! LOL 

This year 2020 has been a year of struggle, and uncertainty. Even going back to school this year is clouded with the unknown. We have things that have never been on a school supply shopping list popping up. MASKS! 

Now, I have had the honor and privilege of starting several school years as a therapist in multiple schools. I have heard many pep talks and seen rallies that got us all pumped up for the challenges ahead. One of my favorites was when someone in the staff assembly showed the video “Cowboys Herding Cats”, linked here We all rolled! We laughed until it hurt, and we needed it! Now, imagine, if you will, adding a variable: the need to keep masks on the cats! WOWSERS Batman! Add social distancing on top of that! Equally as strange, let’s throw in many kids who will not even be capable of face to face learning. Setting aside personal bias, or even thoughts of what is or isn’t going on in the state of the world, think for a second about how many of these children may feel very overwhelmed by this transpiring as it unfolds in the fall of 2020.  

So much of what we have known until now appears to be changing. We have uncertainty breeding into more uncertainty. It is during these times that we need to have love and grace for one another! Our kids can launch into this year successfully, with all the newness and joy that we have experienced in the past! That just takes one ingredient: TIME!

We can give one another our time! That is all that we truly need or desire. I challenge myself, and all of you that I hope find this helpful, to give those you love time. Investing in relationships is difficult. Not because the other person is a difficult person (and trust me, I know that that is hard to believe) but because there is a history with the others in our lives. The struggle with all of those around us has one thing in common. “Us”. This is myself included. There is a great side of this though, that “Us” is the solution!

Always work toward an Us mentality,  (More on all of these this month!)

The U’s:

Understandingly- Knowing that if we ask a question, we don’t in any way control the answer if, in fact, an answer is what we seek.

Uniquely- Each person in our lives is Unique! This is such a cool thing, and when we see it and stop attempting to make those around us “UN”unique, we win. 

Underwear(ly) or at least (ee)- We all put it on one leg at a time, and at the end of the day they all stink! 

This month let’s focus on getting some excitement back in our lives! There are a lot of things to be “Un” excited about. Be it the COVID-19, the racial tension and fear on all sides, or even the upcoming election. The thing I really want you all to know is that the “Us” doesn’t have to fall prey to any circumstance. The “Us” can change everything one conversation at a time by implementing the U’s. So let’s start all traveling to the place all of “Us” can succeed in, togetherness!

– Joshua Holloway