What are you really eating?

I must have read at least a hundred self development books and signed up for a dozen self-help courses dealing with weight issues, self-care, fitness, cleanses and stress management over the years!

IMG_5350The problem was to make any of the methods stick. I started every Program or book very enthusiastically the first couple of days or weeks. However, I always found myself at the same place – back to my old habits of not exercising, not eating well and self medicating my emotional state with biscuits, chocolate and wine.

I’ve now come to realise that a lot of what make us staying stuck in our old ways of treating ourselves and our bodies has a lot to do with our emotional state and how well we have dealt with stress, set-backs, loss and big changes in our lives. If you have learned that you are not valuable enough to take really good care of, you won’t. If you have learned to stuff your emotions with treats, that’s what you will continue to do.

Do you have memories of coming home crying because someone had done something mean, and your mother (not meaning any harm!) says “Don’t cry, let’s have some ice cream instead.”. It’s really hard to do something about that on your own. I know, because I’ve tried and failed countless time.

So what is it that you are really eating? Are you indeed eating a piece of chocolate, or are you eating guilt? Are you eating a nice, tasty pizza or are you trying to fill your empty heart with comfort? Are you sipping a lovely Chianti wine (one of my favourites), or are you numbing the pain from a recent loss? 

And what are you saying to yourself when you eat? Nice things or not so very nice things? Write it down and have a close look at your inner dialogue! What needs to be changed?

Have a think about that and then make sure you join my Inner Circle in the box below so you can be the first to know about my new service I’m adding on the 2nd of June! And yes, it will help you address AND release the issues I mentioned in this blog post 😉

And again, I can STRONGLY recommend reading Jessica Ortner’s book “The Tapping Solution for weight loss and body confidence“!

My struggle with emotional eating

I just got my two copies of Jessica Ortner’s new book The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss ad Body Confidence, and I absolutely LOVE it!

And what would EFT Tapping and weight loss have to do with grief, you might think.

Emotional bagage

Well, too many times I’ve had Grief Recovery clients that absolutely hate themselves and their bodies. I often hear phrases starting with “I’m so silly…”, “I’m not good enough…”, “Stupid me…” etc, etc, etc. Why is it that we are so good att hating ourselves and our bodies, without even blinking an eye? We would NEVER speak to a friend, or even someone random on the street, in that manner!

I’m going to use myself as an example. I know, you who know me might say “But you don’t have a weight problem!” No and yes, I totally get that I’m not struggling with a huge amount of overweight but stay with me on this because it all boils down to unresolved emotional issues!

It actually started as I did am first year abroad in England. I was 20, just finished school and eager to get out in the World and learn languages. But as I arrived, reality hit me. School English was NOT how real British people spoke, and I was struggling majorly to keep up with the tempo, new words and also being away from home and my friends for the first time.

By the time I had translated what I wanted to say, my new colleagues were 5 topics down the line and I had missed my opportunity to add my part to the conversation. As a normally very verbal, out-going, bubbly person I felt trapped behind my inability to communicate! I was feeling really uncomfortable and I resolved the issue by tagging along to the pub EVERY night, drinking alcohol and eating really bad food (like Custard Cream biscuits! Lots of them! And Galaxy chocolate bars…).

Not until I arrived at Stockholm Airport did I realise how bad it had affected me as my mum gasped and said “What have you DONE to yourself, Karin?!” Shock, horror! It was THAT obvious! I had gained SEVEN KILOS in less than 4 months!

That, in turn, triggered self loathing and shame in me. WHY (oh why) couldn’t I stop myself from eating “bad stuff” or keep to the diet or exercise program that I had set for myself? Every time I set new “rules” I already knew deep inside that I was going to fail this time again.

So, this is where EFT Tapping comes in, weaved in neatly with the experience I have from Grief Coaching. Because we ALL carry luggage around that has made us believe certain things about ourselves and our capabilities (or lack thereof), whether it is weight issues or the beliefs around not being successful, not having enough money, not have the ability to find your dream partner or start that dream business…(fill in the blank). EFT Tapping will help you resolve those deep rooted issues and break that habit of sabotaging yourself. I’m right now working with my EFT Tapping certification clients, and they are making huge shifts!

We will look at how you can:

  • overcome the overwhelm
  • silence the critical voice in your head
  • get past the events and patterns that keep you stuck
  • end self-sabotage
  • start living your life feeling light, happy and confident!

 

 

 

Will it ever get better?

2007_04_18_5It’s “that day” again this week. The 14th of May. The day that will forever be marked as the day Ingrid died. We call it her Angel Day, the day she got her wings back again.

That day used to be blacker than black. I would take the day off work because I knew I would be useless in the office that day. I would be spending the day crying and feeling that huge, empty hole in my heart.

All the details of that morning of the 14th of May 2007 were crystal clear, as if they were frozen into a snap shot of pain and grief in my memory and in my physical body.

I thought it would have to be that way for the rest of my life. Because how could it ever NOT be painful to remember that day?

But it’s NOT painful anymore.

The day is filled with memories, but the difference now is that it’s not physically painful to think about it. I don’t have to re-live that day as if it was happening all over again (as in the movie Groundhog Day).

Today we celebrate the 14th of May as if it would be a birthday. In a way it is, Ingrid’s Angel Day. The day she became a little angel and guide in our lives instead of being here in physical form. Her siblings pick a cake, get the balloons out and we celebrate that she is still in our lives in her own, special way.

I sometimes have a hard time understanding how I’ve managed to turn the loss of my child in to my biggest strength, but I have. I’ve done it because I got access to tools an people that could help me through and guide me towards healing my heart. For that I’m truly grateful.

 

 

Schwerkrank und trotzdem zu Hause (English translation of the article below)

Artikelautorin: Bea Blaser, Einsatzleitung kispex Kinder-Spitex Kt. Zürich für INTERCURA Nr. 98, Sommer 2007.

Auch Kinder leiden an schweren, chronischen, zum Tode führenden Krankheiten. Die kispex, Kinder-Spitex Kt. Zürich pflegt und betreut seit 1995 kranke Kinder von 0-18 Jahren zu Hause, in ihrem gewohnten Umfeld. Leiden Kinder an einer unheilbaren Krankheit, haben sie und ihre Eltern oft den Wunsch, möglichst viel Zeit zu Hause zu verbringen. Die Kinder sehnen sich, nach ihrem gewohnten Tagesrythmus, den bekannten Gerüchen, dem Zusammensein als vollständige Familie. Mit Unterstützung  der Pflegefachfrauen der kispex, könnenKinder welche auf Sauerstoffverabreichung , Sondenernährung, Schmerztherapien, Infusionstherapien uzw. angewiesen sind, zu Hause gepflegt werden.

Fallbeschreibung

2006_11_23Ingrid ist gerade drei Monate alt, als sie bei ihr die Diagnosis einer schweren, unheilbaren, zum Tode führenden Krankheit gestellt wird. Für die Eltern bricht eine Welt zusammen. Sie können sich nicht vorstellen, ihre kleine, fröhliche Tochter zu verlieren. Nach dem ersten Schock beschliessen sie, die verbleibende Zeit mit Ingrid intensiv zu geniessen.

2007_01_06Während einer Hospitalisation wegen einer Infektion der Atemwege, haben die Eltern den Wünsch, Ingrid sobald als möglich nach Hause zu gehen. Da sie auf Unterstützung durch Pflegefachfrauen angewiesen sind, werden Einsätze durch dir kispex organisiert. Kispex klärt den Bedarf ab, und es werden vorerst Einsätze tagsüber geplant. Die Pfelegefachfrauen übernehmen einen Teil der medizinischen Massnahmen wie: inhalieren, orales Absaugen, sondieren, sonde neu stecken, Lagerungen, Besonderes Gewicht wird auf eine erfolgreiche Schmerztherapie und die Bekämpfung von Symptomen wie Übelkeit, Obstipation, Juckreiz uzw. gelegt. Auch die Anleitung und Beratung der Eltern gehört zum Tätigkeitsbereich der Pflegefachfrauen.

Der Zustand von Ingrid verschlechtert sich kontinuierlich. Sie kann ihre Händchen nur noch wenig bewegen, hat viel Sekret im Mund, welches sie nicht mehr schlucken kann. Die Nahrung muss ihr über eine Magensonde verabreicht werden, immer öfters braucht sie Sauerstoff und die Schmerzmittel müssen immer wieder neu angepasst werden. Die kispex passt die Planung der Einsätze oft täglich den Bedürfnissen von Ingrid und ihren Eltern an. Tagsüber übernehmen die Eltern einen grossen Teil der Pflege. Nachts pflegen und überwachen Pflegefachfrauen der kispex Ingrid. Zwischendurch hat Ingrid gute Phasen in denen sie herzhaft lacht, plaudert und das Zusammensein mit Mama und Papa richtig geniesst.

2007_03_10_3Viele Freunde und Bekannte kommen zu Besuch. Ingrid freut sich darüber. Sie ist abgelenkt und es ist immer etwas zu sehen, zu hören. Es gibt aber auch Situationen, in denen Ingird Atemnot und/oder Schmerzen hat, etwas trinken möchte, aber nicht mehr schlucken kann. In solchen Momenten sind die Eltern froh, dass sie die Pikettnummer der kispex wählen können. Somit werden sie bei Bedarf Tag und Nacht kompetent beraten und falls nötig, organisiert kispex zusätzliche Einsätze. Die interdisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit funktioniert gut. Zusammen mit der Neurologin bespricht kispex den Zustand von Ingrid  immer wieder und Verordnungen werden den Bedürfnissen des Kindes angepasst. Die guten Phasen halten immer kürzer an, Probleme nehmen zu. Die Atmung von Ingrid ist immer stärker beeinträchtigt. Ihr Sauerstoffbedarf stiegt. Das viele Sekret bereits ihr grosse Probleme. Dazu kommen noch Übelkeit und Obstipation. Der Pflegebedarf wird intensiver. Ingrid hat nun auch Oedeme. Die Medikamente müssen immer wieder überprüft und ihrem aktuellen Zustand angepasst werden. Die Eltern pflegen Ingrid mit grosser Liebe und Hingabe. Trotz schwerer Momente, hat ein herzhaftes Lachen der Eltern und ein zuletzt nur noch zartes Lächeln von Ingrid immer Platz.

2007_05_13_9Ingrid ist erst 8 Monate alt und trotzdem lassen die Eltern sie mitbestimmen. Ingrids starke Persönlichkeit ist immer wieder spürbar – sie will leben, sie kämpft, sie weiss sehr genau, was ihr gut tut und was nicht und kann dies gut ausdrücken. Und dann kommt der Tag, an welchem die Kraft zu leben nicht mehr ausreicht. Bereits in der Nacht hat sich der Zustand von Ingrid weiter verschlechtert und alle wissen, dass nun der Zeitpunkt des Abschiednehmens gekommen ist. Ingrid liegt entspannt und ohne Schmerzen, ruhig und geborgen in den Armen ihrer Eltern.

 

English translating done by Karin Andersson Hagelin

Children also suffer from severe, chronic diseases leading to death. The kispex – child home care team in Kanton Zurich supervises since 1995 chronically ill children from 0-18 years at home, in familiar surroundings . Children suffering from a terminal illness and their parents often have the desire to spend as much time at home as possible. The children and their families want to be able to keep their usual daily rhythm, the familiar surroundings and being able to spend time together as a complete family. With the support of the nursing staff of the kispex children who needs oxygen administration, tube feeding, pain therapies, infusion therapies etc.  can also be cared for at home.

Case Description
Ingrid is just three months old when she is given the diagnosis of a serious, incurable, and terminal illness. The world collapses for her parents. They can not imagine losing their little cheerful daughter. After the initial shock they decide to enjoy the remaining time that they have with Ingrid.

During a hospital visit treating a respiratory infection, the parents requests to take Ingrid home as soon as possible. Since they are dependent on support from nursing staff, the medical organisation that is needed to care for her at home is taken over by kispex. Kispex plans the care and medical equipment that is needed and organises the schedule. The nurses take over a part of the medical measures such as: inhalation, oral suctioning, enteral nutrition and pain management. Special emphasis will be on a successful pain management and the control of symptoms such as nausea, constipation, itching etc. Also, the guidance and counseling of the parents is part of the activities of the nursing staff.

The state of Ingrid continuously deteriorate. She can only move her hands a little, she has a lot of secretions in her mouth which she can no longer swallow. The food must be administered by enteral nutrition, and more often Ingrid needs oxygen. The pain medicines have to be adjusted again and again. The kispex changes the schedule daily to support the care and needs of Ingrid and her parents . During the day, the parents take over a large part of the care. At night kispex nurses take over the care and supervision of Ingrid.

Ingrid has good phases in which she laughs heartily, chats and enjoys being with mom and dad. A lot of friends and family come to visit. Ingrid love it! She is distracted and there is always something to see  and to hear. But there are also situations in which Ingrid’s shortness of breath and / or pain takes over. When she want something to drink, but can no longer swallow. In such moments, the parents are happy that they can choose the kispex emergency number. They always have access to expert advice day and night if necessary. And kispex can always organise additional care for Ingrid at home.

The interdisciplinary collaboration works well. Together with the neurologist kispex discusses  the state of Ingrid repeatedly and regulations are adapted to the needs of the child. The good phases keep getting scarce, problems with Ingrid’s deteriorating health are increasing. Her breathing is increasingly impaired. Ingrid’s oxygen demand is increasing. In addition there are nausea and constipation. The care needs are now intense, and Ingrid has now developed oedema. The medication must be reviewed and adjusted again and again. The parents care for Ingrid with great love and devotion. Despite serious moments, the hearty laugh of the parents and Ingrid’s smile always fills their home.

Ingrid is only 8 months old and yet her parents makes sure that she is let in on all the decisions and their family life. Ingrid’s strong personality is always noticeable – she wants to live, she fights, she knows very well what she needs  and she expresses it very clearly. And then comes the day, when the strength to live is no longer sufficient. In the night, the state of Ingrid has continued to deteriorate and everybody knows that the time to say goodbye has come. Ingrid is relaxed and without pain, quiet and secure in the arms of their parents.

My own story about deep grief and profound healing.

It feels like I’ve got two lives, the one before getting married in September 2005 and one after. My first life included working and studying abroad and starting a career in the hotel business based in Stockholm, Sweden.

IMG_5696My first major loss took place in September 2001, when my father passed away after a long battle with cancer. I felt so lost and disoriented without him, and it took me more than two years to get back to a reasonable state of health again. That is when I was introduced to the Greif Recovery Method for the first time, and I ended up buying the book. I’m sure I read it, but I didn’t have the energy to work though the method on my own. Nor did I have the courage to find myself a partner to work with, so the book ended up in my bookshelf.

In 2005 I got married and left Stockholm to join my Swedish husband in Zurich. As I had lived abroad before I didn’t think it was that dramatic, but this time it was for an unlimited time I moved away form my friends and family. Our first daughter Ingrid was born in September 2006, one day after our first wedding anniversary, and we fell in love with her immediately. All of a sudden we are responsible for this little human being, for life!

As we went for Ingrid’s 2-month check up the doctor was concerned about her lack of leg movement, so she sent us off to the Children’s Hospital here in Zurich for further tests. On the 16th of December 2006 we got the diagnosis, Spinal Muscle Atrophy type 1, a very rare genetic disease with a life expectancy of approximately eight months. Our hearts smashes to tiny little pieces and our lives would never be the same again. There is no way you can prepare yourself for a moment like that, to hear that your 3 month old baby has got a terminal illness and is going to die. I just wanted to scream and never stop screaming!

ängel Ingrid och mammaWe had our first battle with SMA already two weeks after getting the diagnosis, when Ingrid caught a bad cold and one of her lungs collapsed. She fought death off that time, as she would on several occasions after that.

We had the most amazing care team from Kinderspitex in Zurich, which gave us the chance to care for Ingrid at home. To be able to live life as normal as possible in the comfort of our own home was such a big help for us. I’m convinced that it prolonged Ingrid’s life and definitely ensured the optimal quality of life as a family. Ingrid passed away peacefully at home in May of 2007, almost 8 months old.

After we had lost Ingrid it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but after she was gone and all the medical equipment had been collected we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organizing the funeral, order a tombstone and arrange all documents to be able to fly back to Sweden with an urn. Having to deal with all of this while in a state of chock and grief was daunting, and I have never felt so alone, isolated and lost in my whole life. There was no real list of support options presented to us, so on top of everything else I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

Immediately after Ingrid’s passing I signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital as well as with the palliative home care team (Kinderspitex) here in Zürich. At least I would be able to give other parents with SMA babies a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief for various reasons? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss and grief? How could I assist people living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, native language and familiarity?

That’s when the Grief Recovery Handbook mysteriously nudged itself out of its dusty existence in my bookshelf. I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist to be able to offer this support, not only to fellow SMA parents, but also to other people experiencing loss.

-214Today I work with my passion to help others getting unstuck from their unresolved grief, feel less alone and isolated and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that Ingrid taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between.

With love, Karin

 

Time heals all wounds… Or does it? 5 things to ease the pain

One of those myths we keep on hearing about Grief is that time is supposed to heal all wounds.

Really?

My own take on this is that the intensity of the chock, grief and pain after a significant loss does indeed subside over time. However,  you only need to hear that certain song, quote or word; see that certain church, hospital, picture; celebrate the first Christmas without, anniversary without, birthday without… Or you start to imagine how life would have turned out had they still been in your life (you get the picture right?). All of a sudden the memory and the physical discomfort associated with it starts to flare up like a bad nightmare.

Before you know it you are fully re-living the stress, sadness, chock and heartbreak as if it was happening right this very second. It’s happened to me on several occasions, and it feels like I was transported back in time and put back in that very instant. And I have caught myself thinking, “but time is supposed to heal all wounds, so why am I still so overwhelmed, sad and stuck? What a load of BS!”

“The mistaken idea that after enough time passes something will magically change to make us whole again is preposterous. If we were dealing with any other human pain, no one would say – Just give it time.” from the Grief Recovery Handbook

Take care of your broken heartIf you broke your arm, no one would suggest you sit and wait until it heals, right? But if your HEART breaks, that’s one of the first “helpful tips” we get!

How many of you are still experiencing pain caused by a death, separation, pet loss, move or loss of faith that might have happened 20 years ago?

I often meet people that are dealing with “old” pain and grief dating back as far as childhood, and as soon as we start talking about it they are immediately experiencing the event with the same intensity as if it was indeed happening RIGHT NOW. Unless you are given the right tools and action steps (might it be thought therapy, coaching or any other technique), the old pain will still be stored in your memory and sometimes even in a body part, causing pain and discomfort.

I had pain in my right shoulder for many years after we lost our daughter. I just didn’t get why the pain was there until I got help to connect the dots, that my right shoulder was still carrying her. As her muscles were so weak,  she was CONSTANTLY hanging on my right shoulder. Not until I realised that and dealt with the pain of losing her did the pain go away!

So here are 5 things that you could do to ease the immediate pain:

1. Think about a loss that is still very painful.

2. Write down exactly how you feel about it, and if there is a physical pain that goes with that feeling.

3. Start writing down what is still bothering you about the situation.

4. Put all of your thoughts, apologies, forgiveness and other emotional statements you would like to tell this person in to a letter.

5. Imagine this person, or take out a photo and read the letter out loud adressed to this person. End with a clear GOODBYE.

I would still recommend to get in touch with a Grief Specialist or therapist if the pain is too great to face on your own.

You might also find this video helpful: