Monthly Archives: October 2019

The Difference Between Pain & Suffering

Pain

Pain is a physical or psychological event that happens to you. According to Meerwijk, Ford, and Weiss (2013), neural networks for psychological pain overlaps to some extent with brain regions involved in physical pain. For example, if you break your leg or a loved one dies these are events that happen to you and can be very painful to experience. Expereincing pain is a part of being human.

Pain is Inevitable

Suffering

On the other hand, suffering is how we react to the pain. Suffering is the interpretation or story that you tell yourself about the pain. For example, if someone is treating you poorly and causing you emotional distress, you have a choice of how you react to their behavior. Your reactions to physical or psychological pain, through your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, are what is or is not causing suffering.

Suffering is Optional

Click on the video for further explanation:

Reference
  • Meerwijk, E. L., Ford, J. M., & Weiss, S. J. (2013). Brain regions associated with psychological pain: implications for a neural network and its relationship to physical pain. Brain imaging and behavior7(1), 1-14.

Please share this post. You never know how you may be helping some in need! To contact me, Catherine Cleveland, about mental health counseling services please call me at (585) 432-0313

I am More Than Your Labels

This guest poster, who wishes to remain anonymous, enlightens us on how we use labels to define others. Labels can feel judgmental and can dehumanize. Labels create “us and them.” Labels isolate. What labels have been used on you?

My alarm goes off, time to start another day

As I exit my bed, I grab my binder from the nightstand along with a baggy sweatshirt and loose pants

I head to the bathroom where I avoid the mirror and shower at all costs.

These parts are not mine

This is not fair

As I head to school I wonder how many times I might be stung by the verbal bee today

A substitute in math and inevitably role call

My dead name

This name is not mine

This is not fair

It’s time for therapy and upon arrival my dead name is said aloud for the waiting room to hear

A clipboard with assessments where I am asked to put my name and gender 

The gender binary is everywhere in here

This gender is not mine

This is not fair

At the stroke of 3 o’clock, the therapist enters the waiting room

We walk down these winding halls…

To my surprise a safe space sticker and an ALLY button accompanies this stranger

Can this name be mine?

These pronouns feel right

“What name do you like to be called”

This stranger identifies their pronouns and preferred name

“Tell me about what makes you, you”

This name is mine

These pronouns feel right

This stranger does not realize that for the first time today

I am more than transgender

I am an artist, an avid reader, hopeless romantic, and enjoy color coordinating my shoes.

This name is mine

These pronouns feel right

I am me and that is perfectly okay

Please share your comments on this thoughtful and enlightening post. Please click here for more information on mental health counseling.

I Now Respect Myself

The author of this post, Dawn M. Stone, has given me written permission to publish it and use her name. Thank you, Dawn. Your words will effect change in someone’s life!

Mom

So here we are after major surgery number 2. She is in Eastside nursing home and rehab center. I was feeling very upset that she is basically in a nursing home. Then I worked through my feelings about it. Anger towards her and her boyfriend for not taking the time she needed to heal in the first place. And that always presents guilt…that I didn’t do enough to help her.

I Remember, I am enough

But then I remember that I am enough. I do my best every day to be a good person, a good daughter, mother, sister, etc. And I am forgiving my mom as she was doing her best too. I bought her a card and she loves it and has shown it to the rest of the family. The card says that when tough times are happening we do our best to get through them. I hope that when this is over, you can see yourself as I do, a strong, brave, and amazing person. And I will be here doing everything I can to support you and care for you, and hope for the best for you. She loves it so much. And I was able to Express to her how I really see her, as my strong, independent, and brave mom who takes problems head on.

I Thank You

I thank you, Catherine, for helping me to see past guilt and shame, and become the person I am today. I know I did a lot of the work, but you have given me a lot of tools to use. I am almost constantly mindful of how I am feeling and how I am handing what ever is going on.

I Look Forward to Every Day

I look forward to every day and I think this whole situation could have really had me an emotional and physical mess, but instead i know when i am overwhelmed or when the negative feelings try to take over my mind and I deal with it in a healthy way. And I even joke, boy it would be a good day to get drunk, but I know that is not how I chose to deal with life and all it throws at me anymore.

I am Strong

And, I love that my daughter believes I am strong and amazing like I do my mom. Because i believe i am too. More and more people respect me and i know that is because i now respect myself. I know I am not perfect. Far from it. But i am ok with that today. Everyone is a work in progress, and I love that i can walk this journey with confidence and joy now. Have a wonderful day, my friend.

Thank you, Dawn. You words are deeply touching and I appreciate how hard you work especially in the face of difficulty. Respectfully, Catherine

Mental Health in Farm Culture

In a recent meeting with my mental health research colleagues, I brought up the topic of the epidemic of the unresolved depression that farmers and members of the agriculture community experience. My colleagues’ responses were, “I had no idea.”

Significance of Depression

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”  ~ Sigmund Freud

If you Google farmers and depression (or suicide) you will soon realize this epidemic is actually a pandemic of global proportions. However, when looking for statistical resources on the emotional health issues on the farm, much of the research is being done outside of the US. Although this research may be generalized, it is not currently addressing the emotional health problems we have here, in our own agricultural community.

In our WNY rural culture, it is normalized to avoid negative feelings and “push on” because it is what the job demands. For some, talking about “feelings” feels vulnerable, which is often considered a sign of weakness. And, when you do try to talk about your emotional pain and sadness, you may get responses such as, “everything will be okay,” “suck it up,” and “prices are bound to get better.” Although these sentiments are well meaning, it can feel very isolating and make things psychologically worse for the sufferer.

Here is the Problem..

When you do not open up about your emotions or your depression and anxiety, these emotions will continue to plague you. Your unattended negative emotions will always surface inappropriately in ways you may not realize including lashing out at loved ones, avoiding close relationships, deprecating self-talk (for example, calling yourself worthless), and severe depression to the point of attempting or completing suicide.

What is the Solution?

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional health problems relating to stress on the farm or ag business, your first step is to begin by being vulnerable (only to safe people; if you are a Brene Brown fan you know what I am talking about). Vulnerability is having the strength (not weakness) to talk about your sadness, pain, anger, and despair. My colleague Jodi Lathem and I have been working closely together to develop an affordable local resource to specifically address the needs for improving emotional health on the farm. Beginning October 29, 2109, Jodi and I are introducing a small group counseling programs offering a safe space to talk specifically designed for farmers and ag business owners, managers, and laborers. Also, included in the programs, is a women’s specific group for women suffering or supporting someone who is experiencing severe emotional distress. 

It is our goal, not only to recognize the problem, but to offer a solution that may not have been previously available to the hardworking farmers in our community.

Catherine Cleveland is a former farmer, a mental health counselor, and the founder and director of Cleveland Emotional Health in Geneseo, NY. She is currently researching the interaction of physiological responses and emotions as a doctoral student at the University of Rochester. For more information, please email me at clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com

Jodi Letham is an agriculture colleague and organizer of Women in Agriculture and Group Counseling for Farm Owners and Managers

Improving​ Emotional Health on the Farm

You are not alone. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to reach out for help. My name is Catherine Cleveland and I am a mental health counselor. I once was a farmer and I am the widow of an overworked and highly distressed dairy farmer.

As an outreach to the farming and agricultural community, two new groups have been added to the schedule to help support the needs of this unique community and their emotional needs.

Watch these powerful documentaries!

The first group addresses the emotional health needs specifically for women in agriculture. Click here to learn more on dates and times.

The second group focuses on the emotional stressors of farm owners, managers, and workers. Click here to learn more about dates and times.

For more information about the mental health crisis in the farming community, please watch the documentaries. With special thanks to Jodi Letham for helping organize and outreach to the farming community.

Please Share!

Please share this post with friends, family, and on social media. You never know who’s life you may be saving.

Group Counseling for Farm Owners/Managers

This group is specifically designed to help farm owners, managers, and laborers work through emotional issues. Issues can be related to stress, anger, depression, dispair, thoughts of suicide, and problems with relationships.

Farmer’s Group Session Details

  • Dates: every other week beginning Tuesday, October 29, 2019
  • Time: 7:35pm – 9:00 pm
  • Location: Cleveland Emotional Health, 61 Main Street, Suite 4, Geneseo, NY 14454
  • Group Size: 6-8 members (additional groups will be made available to accommodate interest)
  • Cost: $20/group (less than your co-pay!

Register Today!

Contact us with questions. We are here to help! (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com

Please share this blog post on social media or directly with someone you think will benefit. You never know, you could be the catalyst to improve (or save) someone’s life!

Women in Agriculture​​ Group​ Session

Please share this blog post on social media or directly with someone you think will benefit. You never know, you could be the catalyst to improve (or save) someone’s life!

Is your voice being heard? Are you getting the help and support you deserve? Women in Agriculture Group is a safe, supportive, collaborative, and confidential space for you to get the emotional help you deserve.

Women in Agriculture Group Session Details

  • Dates: every other week beginning Tuesday, October 29, 2019
  • Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
  • Location: Cleveland Emotional Health, 61 Main Street, Suite 4, Geneseo, NY 14454
  • Group Size: 6-8 members (additional groups will be made available to accommodate interest)
  • Cost: $20/group (less than your co-pay!

Register Today

Contact us with questions. We are here to help! (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com