• Are you in a state of shock and disbelief? Are you an otherwise whole person who is facing a cataclysmic crisis? Is your world spinning because your reputation, your family, your health, your business or something else is imploding?

    Take a deep breath and know that you have found a safe place to get help and work through whatever crisis is holding you back from the life you desperately want. No matter how bad things seem in this moment, the next moment is your chance to stand up and say No More! No more pain, no more shame, no more loneliness and no more sadness. Crisis may be a part of your life today, but it doesn't have to define you. You may not see the way out, but I can show it to you.

  • An apology to Taylor Swift

    07 Sep 2014

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    I owe Taylor Swift an apology. I had thoughts, shared them on Facebook and I got schooled. I deserved it too, and now I am sorry. Truly sorry. So sorry that I am posting my faux pas, my blunder, my moment of less-than-Faydraliciousness.

    I was having a bad day

    Not like an epic bad day. Not like one of the days where the world was crashing down on me, more like one of those days when things weren’t as awesome as they could have been. I was tired and I had been driving a long time and while I was driving I was listening to podcasts. My favorite podcast features entrepreneurs and their failure and success stories. The goal is that the listener feels the pain of the failure, right there with the guest, and then feels the sunshine break through the clouds afterward, as they tell how they overcame their entrepreneurial belly flop.  Usually I am one with the pain. I resonate with the journey and I am metaphorically standing in ovation when I hear the success, but not that day. I LOVE the pain-point of the podcasts because they remind me that I am not alone. Neither are you BTW

    That day the guest told his mind-blowing failure of epic proportions and it pissed me off. Mind you, this is a guy making a ton of money and his biggest failure was…….. are you ready?????…….. He got a D in a college class.

    Seriously?

    I almost chucked my iPhone through the windshield. I almost stopped listening to my favorite podcast because I was seriously underwhelmed by this guy and what I had determined was his lame-a** excuse for a failure.

    Then I got my hair cut

    While I was sitting under the dryer waiting for the color to be burned into my hair follicles, ummmmmmm yes, I am a woman of a certain age……  I decided to flip through a magazine.

    That’s when I saw it and lost my mind

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    Brave lives in the moment. Ummmmmm There was nothing about this ad that screamed BRAVE to me. Nothing. It put me over the edge. First the guy with the D and now this? A D is the worst life-shattering event in a life?  This is the picture of bravery? OMG a thousand images flooded my thoughts of what brave looked like and none of them involved Keds and Taylor Swift on location with Craft Services nearby. None of them.

    In my self-righteous snark, I posted this to Facebook:

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    I totally believed what I said. I totally believed that Mr. D-in-his-class and Taylor Swift were catastrophic crisis rejects and that neither of their struggles were valid or worth being on a famous podcast or a national ad campaign. I based this on my own story and the countless stories I know about what I deemed brave. My Facebook post was my attempt to put on my crisis super hero cape and pontificate my way to being a bravery know-it-all.

    As you can imagine, I got a TON of support. Lots of people reinforced my superior stance that neither Mr. D or Ms. Swift deserved to fly their bravery freak flags.

    But then this comment showed up

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    I got schooled

    Rachel was right. Just because the tapes that play in my head about what is brave didn’t initially include images like this ad or smaller failures like a D in a class, I diminished their impact. I marginalized them.

    I hate when that happens

    I hate when I realize that I am a life-long learner who doesn’t always get it right and misses the mark. I hate it and I crave it. I crave to be reminded of the ways I am too big for my britches and that I am not as evolved as I would like to be. I crave the instances when I am shown that I still hold judgmental thoughts even though I don’t want to. It was the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15 who said “I do not understand what I do. For what I do want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.”

    Why do I do that?

    Because I am tired, I am human and I am jealous that there are people in this world Like Mr. D and Taylor Swift who have not had what some would call horrendous things happen. That doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. The impression I got is influenced by my filters and let’s face it, some filters need to be hosed off once in a while.

    So Mr. D and Taylor Swift I am sorry. I am so sorry that I marginalized your ability to impact others. Sometimes I need the Rachel’s of my life to remind me of that.

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    Mental illness and the iPhone

    28 Aug 2014

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    When I think about modern technology and the advances that make life easier, I have to include my iPhone. Last month, my iPhone made it possible for me to help my daughter through a crisis that, without my immediate attention, could have escalated into something more than it needed to be.

    My daughter has struggled with a mental illness since puberty. It has been a long road of symptom awareness, medication adjustments and cognitive therapy to help her find her place in the world. Mental illness is a spectrum disorder and in my over twenty years as a mental health specialist, I have seen both ends of that spectrum and everything in between. For my daughter, she falls somewhere on the spectrum that includes the ability to have a job, live independently, have autonomy and hope but, not far off from the place on the spectrum that includes no coping skills for sadness and intrusive thoughts. Sometimes she shifts on the spectrum and when she has those intrusive thoughts, there is a small window of time to provide an intervention and get her back on track.

    One of the banes of mental illness and mothering is that my child can’t always decipher  between normal emotions and her thought and mood disorder. She looks to me to show her what is common, what we all face as humans and what is more. In this case, she was weaving back and forth between her broken heart and her intense moods that swing rapidly within her mind.

    I literally thank God for seeing fit to change my heart in college from being an English major to a Psych major. It was one of many times He knew what would matter in my life long before I did.

    My experience in mental health made it possible for me to parent a special needs child and to help foster her into being the absolute best version of her that could ever be. To me, she is a shining example of what life could be for people who have mental illness and live high functioning lives. I am so incredibly proud of her and to be her mother. I am so grateful that God thought I was awesome enough to give me this soul to nurture. There is nothing I would not to do for her benefit.

    So, when my iPhone dinged beside my bed at 2:00 a.m., I knew something was up.

    when you have a special needs child, you never turn off your phone. Hell, I would imagine no matter what the functioning of my children, I wouldn’t turn off my phone.

    In the images that follow you will see the exchange between my daughter and I and how I was able to bring her back to a place of peace simply by being available, using humor and my unceasing commitment to her mental health. I admit it, I’ve got skillz. If you are a parent to a special needs kiddo, no matter what age, you’ve got mad skillz too. I honor you.

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    The embarrassing truth about separation and divorce

    16 Aug 2014

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    I often wonder how many prayers go up to God about the pain that separation and divorce cause. Usually, by the time someone calls me for coaching, they have been living in a silent hell of shame and embarrassment, hiding their true situation from their family, their friends and the world as a whole. They are living in the same disconnect they were in when the marriage was falling apart.

    The same fragmented shadows cloaking their fighting, their anger,  their sadness, their shattered illusions…..their silent letting go.

    Never telling, always smiling, making the best and praying. Ceaseless prayers.

    “God, please change him/her”

    “God, please change me”

    “God, what is happening to my family?”

    The waterfall of fear, shame and hopelessness cascades down, not in the cleansing way but in the drowning way, leaving us gasping for breath and barely conscious to the compounding feelings that are taking over any sort of happiness that once occupied our marriages.

    People try to avoid separation and divorce. They try as hard as they can, but They don’t ask for help and they don’t look for support.

    They read books, watch Dr. Phil and confide in the closest of friends, who are totally and utterly ill equipped to help. They turn to churches who don’t condone divorce and to food that welcomes them with open cartons of frozen joy,  but they don’t dare risk being too transparent because of the shame. What if people knew they were struggling? What if people knew they didn’t have it all together?

    What if?

    What if people asked for help at the first sign of trouble?

    What if people shared the reality that marriage is hard?

    What if people admitted that sometimes they jump in to marriages without enough preparation?

    What if people admitted that they married someone who is abusive, neglecting or worse?

    What if people admitted that they outgrew their spouse?

    What if?

    One of the hardest things about being America’s Divorce Coach® has been people’s unwillingness to admit in public they need help. The would rather suffer in silence and create a facade on Facebook of an unreal reality VS seek help directly and without hesitation. That is a big part of why I am rebranding to America’s Crisis Coach™ There is something about calling a divorce a “crisis” that is more palatable. Okay, whatever it takes to help, I am here……

    The embarrassing truth about separation and divorce is that even with its prevalence in society, it’s still deemed a shameful failure. It is still taboo. It’s still yucky and best only talked about during gossip.

    The embarrassing truth about separation and divorce is that many divorces could be prevented, but come to reality because people are too ashamed to talk when they could and postpone that embarrassment until all hope is lost.

    The embarrassing truth about separation and divorce is that many marriages should end because the couple is toxic, dangerous or worse and people are more afraid of their image than their safety or sanity.

    What if?

    What if reaching out to a pastor or a professional didn’t have a stigma?

    What if realizing someone is too toxic to be married to was seen as an act of inner brilliance?

    What if the idea of telling your truth set you free instead of shackling you to shame?

    What if people loved themselves enough to do what they know is best and feared dishonoring themselves more than dishonoring their Facebook followers?

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    What I was doing when Robin Williams died

    13 Aug 2014

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    I didn’t think I would write this post. I figured enough people were putting out posts with their thoughts and feelings about Robin Williams, the unmet needs of depressed people and the life-sucking hole that suicide creates in it’s wake.

    But then today, in my work out class, I started crying. Not about Robin Williams, but about what I was doing when he died.

    When Robin Williams died I was sitting in the scorching heat, sweating my ass off watching my son practice football. It is my son’s Senior year in high school and although it was the last place I wanted to be, comfort wise, I wanted my son to know his life and the events in it matter to me. So, I was there sitting in my portable chair watching a mass of Varsity players wham into each other.

    My physical body was there, but my mind wasn’t.

    When Robin Williams died, my body was sitting in a portable chair, in the scorching heat, supporting my son because he matters, but my mind was on my best friend who had committed suicide 6 days earlier.

    Six days earlier I felt like no one understood the magnitude of how I felt. Sure they felt sorry for me, the offered their support and their time should I need it, but I truly felt very isolated in my pain.

    Six days prior to Robin Williams’ death I had come to the realization that

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about who you are

    Depressions doesn’t give a shit about what you know

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about what’s right in your world

    and

    Depression will find you, infect you and wait patiently to see what you’re going to do about it

    In the moments following the announcement of Robin Williams’ death it seemed that nearly everyone understood how I had been feeling for six days.

    In the day that followed, everywhere I looked people were pontificating about depression, the loss of a brilliant and funny man and how tragic the loss was. They were catching up to where I had already been. My friend was as funny as Robin Williams, as brilliant and as philanthropic. My friend was beloved by his family, my friend had every advantage and every opportunity to make a different choice, just like Robin Williams…. but depression doesn’t give a shit about what either of them had.

    The loss of my friend felt very lonely until the sixth day. I will never forget what I was doing when Robin Williams died. I was six days ahead of everyone else, sitting numb in the scorching heat watching my son because he matters to me.

    Six days out from Robin Williams’ death, many of you will be sitting with the pain of his loss in very different ways. Some will throw themselves on his funeral fire, some will champion the cause of mental health awareness and some will make cruel and shitty jokes. I will be six more days ahead of you all, still mourning the loss of my best friend. His funeral will be over, the questions will still be unanswered and hopefully I will be able to go to work out class without bawling.

    I do not care who you are or what you believe. I know, like I know, like I know that given a big enough burden you are at risk for suicide.

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about who you are

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about what you know

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about what’s right in your world

    and

    Depression will find you, infect you and wait patiently to see what you’re going to do about it

    I help people through crisis for a living. I do it because my education supports that career track, I have knowledge and life skills that equip me to effectively help others and I have 20 years in the field of mental health. So did my best friend and yet, he committed suicide.

    The biggest thing that makes me the best person to help others through crisis is that I have been to the brink of suicide. Depression found me, infected me and waited patiently to see what I was going to do about it.

    I am NOT someone who you would peg as depressed. My nature is not depressing. My tendencies are not towards self harm, but given the load of crap I faced after my husband was convicted of a crime and sent to prison for the rest of his life, depression found a crack in my foundation and went to work.

    Depressions didn’t give a shit about who I was

    Depression didn’t give a shit about what I knew

    Depression didn’t give a shit about what was right in my world

    It found me, infected me and waited to see what I was going to do about it

    I fought back. I prayed, I dug deep and you know what- sometimes it didn’t work. Sometimes I lost my fighting will, sometimes God was silent and sometimes digging deep meant I was in a shitty pit of despair.

    Yet, here I am with a husband in prison for the rest of his life, a marriage that is seemingly over and a dead best friend who knew as much as I do about suicide prevention and I don’t want to die

    I want to help others in crisis, who live with defeat and pain and guilt and shame and I want to help them understand that

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about who you are

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about what you know

    Depression doesn’t give a shit about what’s right in your world

    and

    Depression will find you, infect you and wait patiently to see what you’re going to do about it

    Knowledge is power. What we know about, we can fight. We won’t stop suicide for all, but we can stop it for some and that is enough for me.

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    This is excellent video about how depression feels and some ways to be supportive.

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    The thinking war within your mind- which wolf will you feed?

    05 Aug 2014

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    As seen in Faydra’s weekly column in the Red Bluff Daily News

    At a training, the hosts shared a Cherokee story about two wolves. Each wolf represents either positive or negative aspects of thinking. Inside each of us is a wolf who is hungry and demands to be fed. One wolf is evil, he is angry and envious, he is consumed with sorrow and regret. He laments over what is unfair and is filled with resentment. The other wolf is good, he is filled with joy and love, he is filled with empathy, peace and generosity. These wolves war within us and are in constant battle with one another. In the story, the grandfather is sharing with his grandson the battle the wolves are having. The grandson, excited about the battle of good vs evil asks “which wolf wins?” His grandfather replies “the one you feed.”

    Our mind is a battlefield. Inside it is at war. The factions of evil thoughts vs the factions of good thoughts. Our mindset is the choice we make about which wolf to feed. On any given day, we may have the mindset to feed the good wolf. We serve our minds positive thoughts and personal love. We only hear nurturing things in a world full of toxic mind sludge. On other days, when we aren’t as strong, when we are weak and living in a fast food mindset, we cater to the evil wolf. We feed him our negative self talk and gorge him with the comments of others that are unflattering and hateful.

    Here are two different excerpts from various letters I have received regarding my writing, my work and my personal life. Each excerpt feeds either the good or the evil wolf.

    Faydra, you are a creative genius and an inspiration. You have the talent to take someone you don’t even know and let them know they matter. The things you can do are truly unique. You are a great inspiration and your writing changes lives.

    Your bragging about how big you are is just that. You are a big woman, fat and disgusting. No one cares where you go, what you do or who you want to portray yourself to be. Miss Life Coach is such BS, tell the truth and see how many followers you have

    Here is an example of two portions of nourishment for the wolves who live within me. Which one do I dare feed? On most days, I throw a full portion of positive to my good wolf and am able to starve out the evil. On days when I am weak and vulnerable, the evil wolf catches a break and feasts on the hate that comes in the mail or on line.

    Every one of us houses two wolves within. Each of us has glutinous beings demanding to be fed. Even the most stable person hides secret insecurities. I am transparent enough to share mine. What I have discovered is there is freedom in shining a light on the negative aspects of life. Trying to live as though there are no elephants in the room is too time consuming and robs me of the energy I need to do good things for others.

    When I feed the evil wolf portions of self doubt and hate, he tears at my heart, my pride and my coping skills. Doing that makes it nearly impossible for me to have the energy to write my column, coach my clients or speak before audiences who need my message.

    Recognize the wolves who live within your mind. Be mindful of which one you feed. You control the feeding schedule and you can starve out evil.

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