I Now Respect Myself

The author of this post, Dawn M. Stone, has given me written permission to publish it and using her name. Thank you, Dawn. Your words will effect change someones 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

An Argument for NOT Taking Medication

Skills over Pills!

This video is part of what I am studying as part of my contemporary trends class in my University of Rochester doctoral program. Please comment.

Get help now. Your mental health is priceless! Please click here to schedule an appointment. Call or text (585) 432-0313

Control Issues

Hi everybody!

I’m Catherine Cleveland, YOUR mental health counselor!

Today’s topic is about your control issues related to other people.

Do you spend a lot of time and energy trying to change someone you are in a relationship with? Maybe your significant other or even your child?

Here’s where the problem is: 

We may be able to influence other people but trying to change them is usually not effective.

Ask yourself this: 

How much time do I spend wishing and hoping someone I care about will change?

If you find that you are doing this often, you are living in that world of hope, rather than reality. The reality is that you cannot change other people if they don’t want to change!

When you spend time believing that someone is going to change, and they don’t want to, you are living in a fantasy, and not a good one. 

What is wrong with this?

Living in a fantasy of hope prevents you from paying attention to your own psychological needs and issues.

These issues are usually the things that you don’t like about yourself. So instead, you avoid them by focusing on other people’s “flaws”

What can you do?

First, start by accepting your loved one for who they are. Next, focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses.

If you cannot accept your loved ones for who they are, then you need to either 

  • leave the relationship (last resort)

or

  • pay attention to how your behaviors and judgments are impacting the relationship
  • create boundaries for the relationship.

(Guidance through mental health counseling is very important to help with the emotions and distress you will experience from any of the above three steps.)

Boundaries are limitations of what you will tolerate in the relationship. For example, I once set a boundary with a close friend. I didn’t like the way her boyfriend treated her, and she was not breaking up with him anytime soon. I was compassionate to her letting her know that I would not spend time with her when he was around. I did this because I wanted to accept her for who she is, not judge her for her choice in men.

However, if you set specific boundaries or rules for the relationship, pay attention to whether YOU are crossing them. If you are the one crossing the boundaries, you may be trying to seek control of others rather than within yourself. This is especially true when the control issues are with your significant other! For instance, if you continually threaten to leave her if she doesn’t stop drinking, but you never do.

Remember, when you try to control others, it is usually a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

Contact me today for more information on mental health counseling and consulting! (585) 432-0313

Is Your Worrying Affecting Your Wellbeing?

Are you someone who thinks and worries about what may or may not happen in the near future? Are you worrying to the point of perpetuating a problem that doesn’t actually exist in the present moment?

Here is a common example of what I mean:

“I am worried that my partner is going to leave me.” 

The problem… 

If someone is going to leave you, there is nothing you can do to control their thoughts (and sometimes their behavior). 

However, if they are not going to leave you, and you are obsessing about it in your mind, you will act accordingly. 

For example, you may follow them, check their phone, constantly text them, ask them accusing questions, accuse them outright, forbid them from social engagements, or seeing friends and family without you, and so on.

If you have ever been on the receiving end of these untrusting behaviors, you know what it feels like. It is draining, exhausting, and distressing to the point that you want to get away from it any way you can. And when you try to get away from the accusations, the accusations get worse.

What is happening? 

If you are the accuser, you are making up scenarios that do not exist in the present moment. And then you are acting on your mentally constructed future scenarios as if they are actually happening in the present moment. Keep in mind, there are a lot of people who do these behaviors and are not even aware of it.

If your partner is really going to leave you, you have two choices. 1) you can accept it and move on; or 2) try to get a person who doesn’t want to be with you to stay. 

Why would we try to get someone to stay who does not want to? Maybe because we are afraid to be alone and maybe we are trying to make them be someone they are not? When we try to control other people’s behaviors, it only prevents us from focusing on your own issues.

Remember, worrying is your anxiety (that has an underlying cause) that is experienced as a physical symptom in your body, leaving you, at times feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and even physically ill.

Here is another example:

“Why would I do that if you could get [psychologically] hurt?”

When you are always worried about getting hurt and acting as if you would get hurt, you might not have the life that you desire. This is a depressing behavior that could lead to a depressive disorder. It also limits your human potential and sense of joy.

So, if you construct and act on future (that does not exist) negative scenarios, ask yourself this question:

“What are the real, present moment, intrapersonal issues that I am trying to avoid?” 

Are you interested in reading more articles on mental health and wellbeing? Click now on the Wisdom Room. For more information about Catherine Cleveland go to Why Consider me as Your Counselor. Click here to register on your secure portal and make your appointment today!

And as always, thank you for reading!

Staying motivated

I was recently asked the question: “How can I stay better motivated?”

Often you will start by setting the goal that you want to achieve. Say for example, your goal is to lose 20 pounds.

The goal is your starting point

The problem is, a lot of things can happen between now and your goal. These problems can easily derail a perfectly good goal along with your motivation to achieve it.

So, what can you do?

Rather than paying attention to the goal, focus on the process. The process is paying attention to the steps involved:

  1. Plan: Start with a plan
  2. Do: follow through with the plan 
  3. Evaluate: evaluate what happened. What changes can be made?
  4. Reward: reward yourself. tell yourself you did a good job following through
  5. Repeat: start back at number 1.

Say for example the first step you want to do is find out what nutritional changes would work the best for you (Plan). Then you would implement the plan. For example, ask around for what has worked for others and/or do a web search for more information (Do)

Next you would evaluate the plan. You found a good nutrition plan you want to implement. Always reward yourself for following through, “I did it!” Now repeat the process.

Or,

“I didn’t follow through with my plan today.” Now you get to choose: 

are you going to take a strengths-based approach (evaluation of the process)? Or, are you going to take a deficits-based approach to reaching your goal?

This next step in the process is what can make or break your motivation. 

There is an important difference between evaluating (what can be done differently) the process to stay motivated (strengths-based approach) or looking at your attempt as a failure (deficits-based approach).

For example:

A motivation response is (strengths-based approach): “I didn’t follow through with my plan. What happened? Do I need to change my plan?”

Or,

The motivation killer is (deficits-based approach): “I don’t have time to find a nutritional plan. I am never going to lose the weight. I have been this way my whole life, it’s not going to change now, I am always going to look like this.”

While evaluating your plan, are you going to pick the motivation response or the motivation killer?

Remember, to stay motivated, focus on the process rather than the goal.

Plan out each step, follow through with each plan, and make any changes as needed. 

And, finally, make sure you reward yourself, every time, for paying attention to your process with your ongoing strengths-based positive attitude.

Authors note:

I wrote this article ad a script to a video. I am still working on making the video will post soon. Please remember to subscribe to this blog, leave a comment, and contact me, Catherine Cleveland for your mental health needs (585) 432-0313

Tip #3: Watch out for the “but”

Here is an excellent thought experiment:

Paying attention to every time you hear someone say the word “but.” But, typically negates (cancels out) everything that is said before it.

“I don’t mean to be cruel, but… 

You guessed it, the next thing that is said is going to be, at the least, insulting.

“I am not normally sarcastic, but…”

The real meaning:  Oh, yes, they are!

“I really don’t drink much, but I like to have a drink now and then.”

The real meaning:  Hmmm, it would be interesting to see how much they really drink…

“I love you, but I need my alone time.”

The real meaning:  I don’t love you or love you enough

“I would really like to see you but…”

The real meaning: I don’t want to see you

Of course, there are times when but does not negate. It depends if there is a follow-up question or statement:

“I would really like to see you, but I can’t this week. Can I schedule for next week?”

If you find that you are a “but” user, there are a few things you can do:

1)   Do not make the judgment statement in the first place. Judgments are likely a reflection on you and your self-worth. If you notice that you are a “but” user when making a statement to someone else, what you are doing is deflecting (an emotion defense mechanism) your attention from your internal struggles. 

“I really want to see a counselor, but…”

The real meaning: I am afraid and really don’t want to see myself for who I really am.

2)   If “but” is not a negation, sometimes replacing “but” with “and” can sound better to the receiver:

“I think you did a great job, but there is room for improvement.”

“I think you did a great job and there is room for improvement.”

“I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I would like to discuss it more.”

“I agree with a lot of what you are saying, and I would like to discuss it more.”

I hope you enjoy this thought experiment. Remember, it is essential to practice any mindfulness exercise with compassion toward yourself and others, and without judgment.

Take that next step today! Contact me, Catherine Cleveland, for you in office or online mental health counseling appointment! (585) 432-0313 clevelandemotionalhealth@gmail.com or, make set up your appointment on line