Seeking An Answer Doesn't Mean You Want to Be Sick
Did a simple conversation turn into a game of charades because you couldn't remember the word ‘ketchup’? Does Cold and Flu Season seem to last all year for you? Have you found yourself cold yet sweaty, with your heart racing even though you’re sitting still? Has a visit to the mall turned into a trip to the E.R. because you walked past the candle store and had a reaction?
While these may sound like silly, strange or insignificant anecdotes as you read them here, it can be scary to live this experience or to witness it happening to someone you love. It makes sense to want to understand what’s going on and why it is happening.
Diagnosis Isn't the End
When you live with a body that disallows you from doing what you want and need to do, it can feel as though your very personhood is being stripped from you and that's a demoralizing prospect. As you pursue a diagnosis, you invest your energy and your hope in appointments and testing that may not yield clear answers. Each time you go through this, it feels both harder and more urgent to push your fear, sadness and symptoms aside in order to rally, do more research, make another phone call, and hope that this time, you gain some insight as to what is going on with your body and what treatment is available - if any.
Living With Chronic Illness Means Making Forced Choices
Moving through life as a person with a high-needs body requires you to be vigilant to avoid triggers and recognize changes, flexible so that you may accommodate its' needs, and disciplined in following your treatment and prevention protocols. It's easy to see how all of your resources could be consumed by the tasks necessary for maintaining your body. Because there's so much life outside of health management, decisions that may seem simple to others can be emotionally and logistically complex for you: Attending your friend's birthday party is what you want to do because you treasure the relationship you share with your friend. As you’re getting ready, you realize you're feeling dizzy and nauseous and you need to lay down. What do you do when your mind and body are at odds?
I See You
Sometimes, in order to keep functioning, you don't make time to take account of the entirety of your story and the weight it carries. Maybe you're afraid it will be too heavy, or perhaps there simply hasn't been time. Regardless of whether or not you have thought about it, felt about it, or spoken it; This is your story and it lives in you. Chronic illness, especially when it's considered a 'rare' disease or syndrome, has a way of being disowned (perhaps that's the true reason they're sometimes called orphan disorders?). The symptoms are at the forefront when it hasn't been given a name, but once a diagnosis is made and a treatment plan created, the idea is to "Get back out there and live life!". That's been the plan the whole time: Find an answer, get treatment, get back to 'normal'. Only, that's not how it works. If your life has been touched by chronic illness you don't get to go back - no one does. But you can move forward.
Self Care Is Not Selfish
I will work with you to find your new normal. Together, we will collaborate to prioritize your personhood, take ownership of your story, explore and practice ways of being and engaging that honor your needs, and create space for [re]connecting with the people, activities and ideas that are life-giving.
I believe in this process and I have shared in the joy felt by folks when they make progress by doing the work; It is humbling and inspiring to bear witness to someone's healing. While our time in talk therapy will not heal your body, I can help you learn to trust it again. From trust grows respect and from respect grows compassion. When you have compassion for your body - as it is - you can move from feeling resigned to a life dictated by your body’s demands, to a more reciprocal place wherein you willingly provide the care your body requires, so that it can support you as you pursue the things your heart desires.
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
Immune-Mediated and/or Autoimmune Phenomena
Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID)
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
Cranio-Cervical Instability (CCI)
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
Chronic Lyme Disease
I love the work I do. I have great respect for the folks with whom I connect, and I feel privileged to accompany them on their journey toward wellness; the ups and the downs.
My personality is best suited to a psychodynamic orientation and, as such, I believe that the therapeutic relationship itself affords clients the opportunity for growth. This means that our person to person connection is the foundation of the therapeutic alliance. Together with my formal training, I bring warmth, genuine investment, a good bit of playfulness, and flexibility to our work.
My clinical skill set is complemented by my professional and
lived experience which combine to give me a range of tools as diverse as the folks who choose to work with me. I find narrative therapy, a strength-based approach, elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), some Polyvagal Theory, psycho-education, and solution-focused interventions, are the treatment models that resonate most with clients. Through this eclectic and collaborative style, I see clients really engage in the treatment process and develop increased autonomy and authenticity in session and, most importantly, in life outside of therapy.
We are all interconnected.
As you journey toward comprehensive wellness,
navigation is easier when all traveling partners
are reading the same map.
At your request, I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you and those invested in your pursuit of wellness.