Tag Archives: Catherine Cleveland

Pack Your Bags: Are You Going on a Guilt Trip?

There is nothing that ruins joy and calmness quicker than a wave of overcoming guilt.

According to Brene Brown, the definition of guilt is that “I have done something wrong.” Guilt is an emotion that is part of both the cognitive and physical experiences of the mind and body. In other words, unprocessed or unresolved guilt can cause multiples of unnecessary psychological and physical suffering. Simply put, Guilt makes you feel bad, or worse, that you are bad (shame).

For this article, I want to start by separating “I am doing something wrong” into three different categories: 1) Remorse: I have actually done something wrong; 2) The Punishing Ego: What I am thinking and feeling is wrong; and, 3) Manipulation: allowing others to make you feel bad about yourself. 

1. Remorse: I have actually done something wrong

Let’s start with the first one: I have actually done something wrong. When you have done something wrong most of us experience remorse (deep regret). I am sure that you can think of many examples, here is one: You are having an online affair, and you got caught by your significant other.

In this situation, you can do one of two things. A) act like it was no big deal and deny your behaviors; or B) address the situation, admit and apologize (make amends) to the person that you have hurt. 

Be honest with yourself. Which response would you choose, A or B? Why do you think people would pick A? Because it can be painful and even terrifying to face your guilt. Choice A may be more common than you think. Regrettably, this is a type of avoidance that has long-term side effects.  

Avoiding what you have done wrong will not dissipate your guilt. Rather, avoidance (or denial) will perpetuate guilt for a long time; and, if you practice deflecting guilt for things you have done wrong, then the side effects become cumulative. Meaning the effects get worse over time.

However, if you know someone who states they do not feel guilty or says they feel justified in what they are doing, they may be one of three things. 1) In denial of their guilt, 2) the guilt is not in their conscious awareness (repression), or 3) they are purposely suppressing it (shame). 

Furthermore, if someone genuinely does not feel any guilt, be cautious with this person. They are likely to have a personality disorder (PD); meaning that they have difficulty functioning well in normal social interactions. For example, in addition to difficulties with feeling remorse, another symptom of a PD is a person who will make you feel bad when you have done nothing wrong (see manipulation below).

Scapegoating

 Another tactic that some people will do to justify when they have done something wrong is scapegoating. Scapegoating is a way to make someone else feel lesser than you. Scapegoating is also a form of externalization. Externalization is a way of removing the guilt from one’s inner world by not allowing the guilt to live inside them. One way to scapegoat or externalize is to blame others for your actions or behaviors. When you externalize your guilt, you think you have distinguished it; but what you are doing is suppressing then projecting it. This means that you have taken it from your conscious awareness and buried it in your unconscious (avoidance). 

But, just because you have suppressed or buried your guilt does not mean that it goes away. 

For instance, imagine that your car is making a noise. If you ignore it, what will happen? That’s right. The noise will get louder and louder or something will malfunction or eventually break. Just like ignoring guilt for things that you have done wrong the problem does not go away. Unresolved and suppressed guilt can make you mentally and physically ill. Meaning the guilt is still there and tends to surfaces as anxiety. 

One way that humans manage their anxiety (and trauma) is through addictive behaviors, such as substance abuse or behavioral addictions (e.g., gambling, shopping, porn). These addictions help keep the guilt and related anxiety from surfacing into the conscious awareness.

Making amends for your remorse

However, making amends for what you have done can only happen when you start by being honest with yourself and admit that you were in the wrong. 

A question was posed to me: but what if the person that I have hurt is no longer alive?

I recommend writing a letter to the deceased. The letter is designed to express your feelings about what you have done rather than keeping them bottled up inside. This type of reflective writing can help to clarify your thoughts that you might not be aware of when speaking or thinking your thoughts. 

2. Punishing Ego: what I am thinking and feeling is wrong

The punishing ego (also known as the superego) is a type of guilt that is not always in your conscious awareness although it is based in similar concepts of remorse guilt – I have done something wrong. 

Here are some examples:

  • You want to break up with someone or end a bad marriage, but you are worried about what others will think of you. This guilt can be so punishing that even the thought of leaving an oppressive relationship (to have a better life) will raise your anxiety above what you can tolerate. So instead, you decide to stay put and avoid (medicate) the guilt.
  • You are angry at someone you are supposed to “only love.” When this happens, unconscious guilt tells you that you are not allowed to feel anything bad toward this person that you love. For example, you are angry at a parent, a child, or a significant other. Nonetheless, all humans have multiple and complex emotions, and acknowledging how these emotions manifest in your body prevents unnecessary guilt and suffering.
  • A colleague of mine, D. M. Stone shared her story of guilt. She stated that she was taught that “women are always supposed to be nice and the peacekeeper of the family.” This is a type of sociocultural genderizing guilt. “Women are the glue that holds the family together. Women are supposed to put their own needs aside for others. If you are confident enough to speak up [in any situation] and stand up for yourself, you are then labeled as a bitch.” This type of punishing guilt can prevent women from feeling worthy, confident, and empowered. 
  • What do you punish yourself for?

Guilt has a way of burying many emotions, and emotions are very human. Everyone experiences some kind of emotion all the time. This type of repression (avoiding/burying emotions) is very cultural (meaning we learn from role models and socialization). And, just like remorse guilt, repression (out of conscious awareness) of emotions (anger, fear, guilt, shame) can cause or exasperate chronic pain and chronic illness. Often, medical providers will treat patients complaining of chronic symptoms with medication or surgery without first asking the patient, “Tell me, what is going on in your life.”

3. Manipulation: Allowing others to make me feel bad about myself 

When someone is saying or doing something to you to make you feel guilty, this is a form of manipulation. For example, “you’re the one who put me in a bad mood.” (As stated earlier, manipulation can sometimes come from someone that is abusive and may have a PD; but not always).

Another example of manipulative behavior is when someone uses terms such as always or never; “you are never there for me” or “you are always nagging at me.” This is often heard when couples are arguing and are trying to make the other feel bad (guilt).

Fortunately, you are the one who gets to choose how to respond to manipulative guilt. Ideally, the response toward manipulation should be to never engage with the manipulation. However, what people tend to do is feed into it the manipulation. You likely defend yourself, maybe get angry, even take on the behaviors of the manipulator just to get them to back off. However, the person who is trying to manipulate you to feel bad has not earned your explanation. In other words, practice not engaging with the manipulator.

Remember, manipulation words that make you feel bad can be very harmful and are emotionally abusive.

What Guilt Does to the Mind and Body

When you are feeling guilty, the guilt can contribute to recurring deficits thinking (putting yourself down). For example, you may be ruminating (living in the past) and/or, worrying about something that has not yet happened, may not happen, and acting as if it is happening (anxiety).

Guilt is one of many emotions; emotions live in your body. Unprocessed emotions (such as guilt) are the same as avoided emotions (suppressed). Experiencing your emotions (not expressing) is a human necessity. Emotions are there, whether you avoid them or not. And, as explained earlier, unprocessed (avoided) emotions (guilt, shame, anger, sadness, etc.) can cause or exasperate physical pain and/or illness sometimes known as chronic symptoms or medically unexplained symptoms.

Kicking Guilt to the Curb!

Getting rid of your guilt allows you to feel more joy and experience less human suffering. But remember, you cannot change what you are not aware of and do not accept (seek counseling). And what are the consequences of experiencing a long life filled with guilt and other disruptive emotions?

So, what can you do? Kick your guilt to the curb. Give it up. Do not let it own you. Make amends if you need to. Pay attention to how often you feel bad. Ask yourself why am I letting this consume me? Also, ask yourself, does your feeling guilty serve a purpose? What are the benefits of my guilt? Maybe maintaining your guilt is what is keeping you connected to your loved ones?

Using Mindful Awareness

Mindful awareness is simply being aware of what is happening in the present moment without judgment. In the case of experiencing (rather than avoiding) your guilt, the goal is to practice and develop mindful awareness of your guilt from an intrapsychic perspective. In other words, paying attention to the physical experience of your emotions in the present moment without judgment (or guilt :-).

Acknowledging guilt 

Being mindfully aware of when you are feeling guilty. What type of guilt are you experiencing? Is it remorse, the punishing ego, or due to manipulation? Maybe it is a combination? Where do you experience the guilt physically in your body? For instance, did you have shortness of breath, racing heart, tightness in your chest, tightness in your stomach, sternum, neck, back, or head?

Facing guilt 

Start by asking yourself: how is this [guilt] serving me? Then answer yourself by saying: It’s not! By just asking and answering yourself, it can be profoundly helpful. Facing and processing guilt also changes the wiring of your brain (neural connections). And it is a great way to reduce unnecessary suffering. 

Remember, do not defend yourself to someone who is using manipulation to make you feel bad about yourself or is telling you that you are doing something wrong when you are not (it is their opinion/reality, not yours; do not take it on). Most importantly, own up to your guilt if you have actually done something wrong. Make the necessary amends. Make your life one that is guilt-free.

Please share this article on your social media. You never know, you could really help someone that is feeling alone in their psychological pain and grief.

For more help, click here to register for a counseling appointment. (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com

If you like this article please subscribe. I publish about once or twice per month. If you would like to write an article about your personal experiences, please feel free to email me a draft!

Developing and Improving Self-Confidence

Low self-confidence seems to be an epidemic in our culture, especially among young women. 

Nonetheless, low self-confidence does not discriminate against anyone, at any age.

What does self-confidence look like?

  • Self-confidence is when you know you are on your life’s path, not someone else’s. It is knowing that failure is expected and that you can learn and grow from your failings. 
  • Self-confidence is facing your anxieties and emotions while you keep moving forward, rather than avoiding showing up in your life and shutting down. It is reaching out to others for support and being supportive of others. 
  • Self-confidence is knowing that life is not meant to be easy and that there is nothing wrong with us if we do not feel happy all the time. 
  • Self-confidence is accountability for your behaviors, attitudes, and actions.

What self-confidence is not…

Self-confidence is not self-centered nor arrogant. It is not putting others down to make you feel better. Self-confidence is not judgmental, and it is not blaming others for one’s problems.

If you ever find that, at times, you (or someone you know) are overly judgmental of others or getting angry with loved ones, this may be defenses to prevent yourself from addressing your own pain and fears. 

What can you do to improve your self-confidence?

  • Start by accepting that you are human and flawed, although a work in progress. 
  • Face and accept your emotions, especially pain, anger, and fear. They are part of who you are because you are human. 
  • Avoiding your emotions is what causes a lot of your anxiety because it can make you feel out of control or overwhelmed at different times in your life.
  • Pay attention to and accept what is going on in your internal world.

Can you answer this question: What do I want for myself and for my life? If you do not have an answer at all for this question, you may be focused more on your external world, a world that you can influence, but cannot control.

Self-confidence is knowing that you are on your life’s path, and not someone else’s.

What is your life’s path? 

My good friend, Laura B. is on her path!

Knowing your life’s path is an ongoing work in progress. Your life’s path is not set in stone but is meant to shift and change as you develop and grow throughout your lifetime. It is never-ending. Being on your path gives you a sense of accomplishment & worth, frustration at times, and a sense of pride and joy. Finding your life’s path (and not someone else’s), is your road to self-confidence.

Finally, when you develop & grow your self-confidence, you become a role model of confidence for others. Especially for your loved ones and family members! 

Do you know someone that is suffering from low self-confidence?

Please comment and share on your social media. You never know, you might just change someone’s life.

Contact me, Catherine Cleveland, for more information on my mental health counseling services (585) 432-0313

The Physical Impact of Avoiding Emotions

It is not commonly known that emotions are stored on your body. When an emotional event happens, such as verbal or physical harm, you have a visceral response from the sympathetic pathways of the central nervous system. These responsive pathways can be experienced as an impulse of either fight, flight or freeze.

Using your imagination from your own experience, which one (or ones), fight, flight, or freeze, have you experienced as a result of harmful or potentially harmful events? For example, if someone is being verbally abusive, my impulse is to shut down and not respond (freeze). This impulse, I feel, protects me from an escalation of the situation. I believe that if I stay calm, maybe the aggressor will deescalate or at least not get worse. It is kind of like paying dead when you cannot escape the big scary bear that wants you for their dinner.

Some other examples…

The fighting impulse can look like yelling and temper to keep at bay a potential predator. The flight impulse is when you feel so uncomfortable (social anxiety) that your body wants to get up and run out of the room. These are just a few examples and of course, your sympathetic impulse in response to perceived harm is unique to you.

Whenever you are experiencing any kind of trauma (even the cultural trauma of COVID-19), it is always felt in the body. However, you may not be aware of what happens to your body in these emotional states. But the body remembers. As Bessel van der Kolk postulates (see video below), the body always keeps the score.

So, what can you do? The first step is to pay attention to what the emotion is that you are experiencing in the face of harm. Fear is likely present in the moment. Anger toward the aggressor is the most common after someone has harmed or oppressed you; however, you can be experiencing several emotions at once. The next step is to pay attention to what your emotions feel like in your body. The consequences of not properly processing (avoiding) your emotions from past events are the continuance of your version of fight, flight, or freeze. Emotional avoidance causes you suffering and disruption in your daily life. Another consequence of unprocessed emotions is high levels of anxiety, which again, can disrupt your life, your experiences of joy, and prevent you from having or reaching your goals.

Keep in mind, that chronic avoidance of emotions and anxiety can eventually manifest as physical pain or other chronic health issues.

Please watch this…

For more information on mental health counseling, please contact me (585) 432-0313 or email me

Please subscribe (upper right of this page), share on your social media, and Like.

The Healing Power of the Present Moment


Online Video Appointments are Available!

During these trying times of social isolation and fear of the unknown, many people are experiencing anxiety due to this unexpected cultural trauma of the COVID-19.

Undoubtedly, if you are feeling high levels or chronic levels of anxiety, it can mean that most of your energy is focused externally and not in the present moment. In these times, it can be helpful to take a pause and ask yourself, “Have I been letting my fears take over? Am I overwhelmed?”

Without Judgment

A great technique to alleviate your anxiety is to turn your energy and attention inward and enter the present moment. As you focus on your inner world, without judgment, and with compassion, it is a place of the present moment, a deep inner peace. The very act of pausing and inner energy focus can calm the mind that is anxious about the future and the unknown. Ask yourself these questions. How am I right now in this present moment? Am I safe? Am I okay in this present moment?

Try building these small moments of self-connection and inner energy into your everyday life. The more you do this, the more you will be able to find your inner peace and self-compassion. When you can find satisfaction from being in the present moment you won’t feel so disconnected and anxious.

Also, In the present moment, you can release yourself from concerns of the past and the future and simply be with yourself, right where you are, right now.

Please watch this video…

If you are feeling overwhelmed, please contact me for an appointment (585) 432-0313. You can also register as a patient online Click Here. Please subscribe to and share this blog to continue to learn about better mental health!

Check out my online Alleviate Anxiety Course.

A Letter to Myself

Dear Dawn,


I am writing this letter to you(me) to remember all the things I have accomplished in my life that I want to express my gratitude for, my homework for trauma group at work. First and foremost, I am grateful for choosing to have and love my children their whole lives. I am grateful that while I was never perfect as a parent, I chose to make my children the most important people in my life and still do. My heart bursts with joy and love when I think about them, remembering all the joy they have brought me. While I crave grandchildren, my children are and always will be enough to fill my heart with love.

My Boundaries


I am also grateful for all the work I have put into the relationships with my family. My boundaries with my sometimes dysfunctional family are always being worked out, but I am so glad that I am my authentic self now and that I no longer go along to get along. And sometimes, I react with more careful thought, rather than emotion, to family members when boundaries are being tested. Even if others haven’t changed, I have. My healthier interactions are now a reflection of my true and authentic self. I will always be a work in process, but now that I respect me, and others respect me too. 


I am proud that I take care of myself too. Self-care is so important to me that my swimming 3-times per week has become no longer enough. Now I am going to look into a couple of after-work classes or morning yoga.

I am Grateful…


I thought writing this letter would be easier. I have come through so much and I am so grateful that I somehow came through each adversity stronger than before. I have a more optimistic outlook than I have ever had in my life.


I am grateful that I chose, and choose, to not drink alcohol anymore. I choose to be present in my life now, present and clear-headed. At times it is harder than I had ever imagined, but sooo very worth the hard days to stay sober. My physical health has improved, my mental health has improved, and while I have had some absolutely fabulous friends, mentors, coworkers, and counselors help me on my journey, I am ultimately the one who has stuck with it and I did the work. 

My Life’s Path


And, to this I have to tell myself, how very, very grateful I am to have taken one of the biggest risks of my life and started a brand-new career path at 50 years old as a certified peer support specialist. I work with others in recovery with addiction and help them with their mental health issues.

The world has opened up for me and I feel more valued, committed, influential, important, worthy, competent, appreciated, inspired, open, energized, believed, validated, and respected and loved than I have ever felt in my whole life. 

I own my life now, my thoughts are my own, and I Express them more than I ever have. Thank you(me) for taking a leap of faith. And thank you, Lord, for having my back, as always.

Your loving self,

Dawn

Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to me and others! If you would like to write a guest post for the Wisdom Room, please email me your narrative to clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Wisdom Room!


January 16, 2020, The Night My House Burned Down

On the evening of January 16, 2020, I was attempting to be attentive during my theories and practices class while my phone, buried deep in my bookbag, was buzzing relentlessly. It was about 6:20 p.m. when I finally gave in to sneak a peek at what was up with my phone. When I saw the never-ending green blobs as I scrolled down my phone, all the messages seemed to blur except for the one. “Call me now!”

If any of you know my husband, he does not text, at least not me, ever. I am sure he had called and left messages but, he must have known that I would not have attempted to answer, and I would be more likely to see his text. I immediately stood up from my seat, in the middle of class discussion, walked out of the classroom, and made the call. 

My husband’s voice was cracking, and he was clearly crying through his words. John had been skiing all day with family and friends. As anyone’s would, my mind immediately went to the worst-case scenarios. You are in the hospital, you broke your back, neck, leg…oh my God!

“Honey, the house burnt down, it’s gone, everything.” 

“Is Cash okay?”

“Yes, he got out. He is in the truck. He is fine. 

“Are you okay?” I am okay. I gotta go, the fire inspector needs to talk to me.” 

Without any forethought, I opened the door to my classroom while my professor, Andre, and my peers were conversing over the required reading. “Andre, would you come out here? Please, I need to talk to you.” 

Those of you who know me, know this is not something I would ever do; disrupt a class or disrespect my professor for anything other than dire reasons. Andre got up and came out without hesitation. At that moment, I was still composed or at least I thought I was. However, my expression and demeanor may have told onlookers another story. I told Andre of my situation. He gave me his genuine comforting concern which brought my attention to the fact that my body was now physically shaking. My eyes were beginning to hurt, but I was planning my next steps leaving my tears at a bare minimum.

My drive home was almost an hour from the University of Rochester which gave me plenty of time to process my present situation. I need to stop at Walmart; buy a dog bed, dog food, chew toys, and food bowls. We need toothpaste, mouthwash, underwear…

When I arrived at what was left of my home, there were way too many fire trucks and emergency vehicles to take in. Four or five fire departments were there, I am not sure of the count. Ambulance crew, firemen, Sheriff deputies, the chief of police, and the fire investigator littered the property and the nearby roadside. If I had to guess, there had to be at least 60 uniformed first responders moving about the eastside of our picturesque, creek lined property.

As I walked up my long and slippery driveway weaving through the trucks and the hoses, I noticed that several firemen were in a circle on their hands and knees while inspecting debris from the fire. They were in the vicinity of the forever-gone front stoop looking through the ashes brought up from the basement where they suspected the fire began. The investigators eventually concluded, from the tiny metal-like pellets, that the fire started in the electrical box of our 12-year-old home.

The only other non-uniformed person, besides John and me, that got past the nearby barricaded roads, was our good friend, Bits. Bits, one of John’s best and supportive friends, own’s Walter’s house. Walter is a 9-year-old beagle and is one of Cash’s favorite playmates. Bit’s and Walter’s dog-friendly environment was ideal for us to accept their generous offer to take us in for as long as we need. Thank you, my friend.

The only thing that I did not lose in this devastating inferno, was my computer, my car, and the clothes on my back. The fire was so hot that it melted Cash’s car that sat about 30 feet away from the house. Cash’s car is a 2007 Fusion full of dried mud and dog hair which comes with his own on-demand chauffeur (John or me) to take him on his daily outings for a hike or ski in the nearby parks. The control panel on John’s relatively new plowing tractor melted, along with the siding on our small gardening shed located about 40 feet north of the house. This was a brutally hot and dangerous fire.

The Only Moment that is Real

Some of the most valuable things that I lost were things without much monetary value. I lost my father’s WWII duffle bag covered in writing, in languages unknown, from all the different regions during his travels through the Panama Canal all the way to China. In addition, I lost my grandfather’s NYPD Captain’s hat along and other family heirlooms dating from the early to mid-1900s.

Nonetheless, without despair, my heart is not distressed over the things we lost. Throughout my education and practice as a mental health counselor, I have learned a great deal about processing and living through traumatic events. No lives were harmed or lost from this horrific fire for which I am truly grateful. The fire is no longer. It is in the past. Our present moments feel warm and safe. Many people are reaching out to offer their sympathy, empathy, and if there is any way in which they can help. Some amazing soles have offered to open up their homes to shelter their newly homeless friends, and we truly thank you. 

Now, when I start ruminating about things I no longer have, I remind myself that these are only thoughts. These thoughts are not real but what I am constructing. Living in the present is good. It is the only moment that is real, and it is good. We have what we need, I have my family, and I have them with me. 

The Truly Endearing

The very next day, I was honored and comforted to spend the afternoon with two of my BFFs, Jenn and Jules. The purpose of our mission was to do some speed shopping for the basic necessities such as clothes, winter boots, and toiletries. Shopping with your girls is fun, right? No, I hated it. The last thing I wanted to do was shop. My mind was in a fog and I had not eaten in I can’t remember when. Jenn & Jules took such good care of me doing tedious jobs such as finding sizes and digging through sales racks. But what really meant the most to me was that these to insanely busy fulltime workers, doctoral students, researchers, and pet parents, canceled their appointments, set aside their homework and family’s needs to give me a full afternoon of their undivided attention.

Several years ago, I remember there was a group of Tibetan monks that came to the University of Rochester to create their beautiful sand mandalas. To have experienced the time involved, the skill, and cooperative detail needed to create these beautiful works of art was simply mesmerizing. But only after a few days it was gone! Why? How can they destroy such beauty when it brings so much joy and awe? This was the defining moment when I learned the valuable lesson of the theory of impermanence. Nothing lasts forever, nothing. When I catch myself thinking, I can’t believe I don’t have that anymore, I remember the meaning of the theory of impermanence. If I mindlessly ruminate over the loss of my material possessions, I will be creating more of own my suffering. So, I remind myself, nothing is meant to last forever, not even me. And now, I feel better and I can move on.

Now we Move Forward

So, we are okay. Our needs are being met. Our jobs, our passions, and our love still exist. This tragic event makes me reevaluate what I am truly grateful for and what brings meaning to my life. My reflections on this recent event had given me time to think of how we will rebuild our new and comforting safe space.

One thing I know for sure is that I want less. I want to value the things I have and not want for things I don’t need. I want our home to be warm and inviting with minimal intrusive “stuff.” I now realize that happiness from stuff is fleeting, only to drive the want for more stuff. Going without, without unnecessary stuff, foregoes the wanting. The wanting limits present moment joy that comes only from within. I will cherish and embrace such a valuable lesson. 

My joyous memories, my loved ones, my creativity, and my drive is what truly fulfills me. And, from this great loss, I find new enlightenment.

Thank you for my story reading,

~ Catherine

Postscript

Thank you to all the volunteers and first responders. Your generosity and compassion do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you, Andy you are a rare and true friend. Thank you, to Jenn & Jules. You got my back! Thank you, Michael, for your generous efforts to replace our ski gear. Thank you, Julie for setting up a gofundme page. And thank you for all for your love, support and well wishes. It is truly comforting as well as appreciated.

The Importance of Grieving

Loss of a loved one

When we lose someone whether from death or the end of a relationship, it is important to allow yourself to feel all of the emotions related to that loss. These emotions can feel like despair, disorientation, rejection, loneliness, sadness, pain, and anger. If you avoid your emotions, they will not go away. They will haunt you. And, as a result of avoiding emotional grieving, it can negatively impact your life including relationships, future relationships, goals, and plans.

It is never too late to grieve

It is never too late to grieve a loss. This week’s guest post is a beautiful example of the author using letter writing to grieve the loss of his grandmother who died several years ago. Thank you for reading and please don’t forget to comment and share. You never know, you may be helping somebody!

By Nathan Conrad

Dear Grandma,

Let me start by saying that I miss you so much. It was times like these that I relied on you the most. You were always there to listen. I wish you didn’t have to go the way you did. You deserved to go quietly and peacefully in your sleep.

I know how scared you were. And, to be honest, I was scared for you too. But, I was strong, I was strong for you and for mom too. I was by your side the whole time putting on a strong face, but my heart was breaking. I wasn’t ready to lose you and neither was mom.

You were so much more…

You were much more than just a grandma, you were one of my closest friends. I wish I would have spent more time with you, but we both know how my job [first responder] was.

That day, the day you died, changed me. The ambulance was no longer a calling. It became just a “job.” Every time I had to ride with a patient in the back, it took me back to that day, and, would break my heart all over again.

There wasn’t enough whiskey…

There wasn’t enough whiskey or that other “junk” to fill the void you left, but I sure tried. I know why you left the hard choices that day up to me. I was just as stubborn as you and you know I would follow your wishes to the letter. And we both know that mom could not have handled the guilt.

I miss you every day. I miss our talks, our music, especially Elvis and Willie. No one could make a bacon and egg sandwich like you, and no one ever will.

I was the one…

I wanted you to know, that I was the one who put your ashes in the grave and I wrapped your urn in your favorite blanket.

I am two months sober now

I am sure you know that I have gotten myself into trouble. You were right about my loser friends. I want you to know that I am two months sober now and I am learning what is important now. I am going to try my best to be a better son and grandson to take care of my family like you took care of us.

You still have the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known and I am trying my best to be like you. I hope I will get to see you again one day, but for now, your spirit will always be with me.

I Love you, love, your favorite grandson

For more information on counseling, please contact me, Catherine Cleveland at (585) 432-0313 or email me at clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com.

Why You Can’t Lose Weight

The videos below offer another perspective of why you can’t lose weight especially when calorie restriction does not work. No matter what you do to get healthy, it takes discipline. If you cannot self-discipline, it is likely a mental health issue that can take shape in many forms.

Pay Attention to Avoidance Behaviors

For example, avoidance of feeling your emotions deeply, trying to ignore your anxiety or depression, denying you are in a bad relationship (making due), externalizing (blaming others or situations), self-punitive behaviors (calling yourself names like fat or stupid) can all harm your physical health as well as your mental health.

Look Deeper

So, after you watch these videos and you say to yourself that this is nuts or there is no way you could do this, that may be the sign that you are avoiding authenticity and/or healing in other areas in your life.

What are Your Thoughts?

After watching these videos, I would love to learn how they impact you or someone you know. Please comment (at the beginning of the post), sign up for the Wisdom Room Blog, and share on social media. Hey, you never know how a positive deed can help others feel better.

Please contact me (585)432-0313 with any questions, comments, or mental health needs. I am here to help! clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com For more information about me click here: Catherine G. Cleveland

What I Like About Myself

By Ellen Edmond

This week I welcome and thank our guest blogger, Ellen Edmond for her insightful narrative. Please enjoy, share, and feel free to comment. And, don’t forget to subscribe (lower right).

Homework?!

Simple request [from my counselor], if I remember: write 10 things I like about myself. And you added, write it in a narrative. Busy week & out of state family still here but will try.

Hmmm, this is more difficult than I thought. It shouldn’t be. I have family and friends…perhaps I focus on taking care of them instead of me?? Well, it’s time for me. Relax, breathe slowly and gently. Enjoy how it feels physically. My shoulders are relaxing, now my tummy. I uncross my legs and think about me…

I can’t change overnight…

I am becoming more patient. I can’t change overnight but I can accept this now. When I start becoming impatient and angry, I am learning to stop and breathe slowly, feeling my shoulders relax. “Patience is a virtue.” 

I have an inner strength/courage, which I sometimes don’t think I have. Who took care of Dad when he was failing, then dying? Who was at his deathbed by herself? And I cherish that moment as Mom left to seek another sister while knowing that’s what Dad wanted her to do. I am still grateful I was there no matter how many tears I shed. I now take care of Mom and relish every good day.

What I like bout myself

I am a good friend. I keep secrets, hate rumors. I cook and bake for them. I listen without interjecting, well, most of the time. 

I try to be an open book; I cannot pretend to be someone I’m not, and I trust others to do/be the same. (I wonder if this is true since apparently I don’t think that much of me as others do.) But I did say “try”.

I am trying hard not to blame myself for things I have no control over. I did not cause the car crash that killed my baby brother. #1…I was only 3 or 4. I did not start World War II. I do not start the fires in California. Absurd!

I know how to throw a good (if not great) party where everyone enjoys themselves. (It’s a talent…) 

I have been managing our budget and our real estate budget (when we had the agency) for years and kept it afloat even with unforeseen financial challenges. This stresses me out. But when one of us is satisfied paying late fees and the other isn’t, then the other had to take over. Now the other, me, is going to share the responsibility. I like being in control but I am learning how good it feels to have someone to share the load.

I am there for our children and their families. So I am a mom, grandma (nana), caretaker, tickler & friend. Our son’s wives call me for advice, to share family moments and activities. They call me Mom.

Ultimately,

I may be feeling weak, but, ultimately, I am strong when I have to be. This homework assignment has become self-reflection and, although I could go on, I won’t. I will continue internally.

Maybe I like myself better than I thought I did. I DO.

Thank you, Ellen!

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please email me your submission at clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com. If you would like to schedule an appiontment, register on the secure portal or call me at (585) 432-0313

WHY WE SUFFER FROM PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS

If you are trying to figure out why you are anxious, depressed, have relationship issues, or are worried about what others think about you, this video can give you some clarification. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. You never know how you can help someone else!

Asking for Help

If you need help, reach out and ask. We cannot change our attachment but we can change our authenticity! Please click the link to learn more https://clevelandemotionalhealth.com or call me directly (585) 432-0313

Please click below-right to subscribe to this blog. Thank you!