Category: Caring for People in Pain

  • Cyles of Five: Another Way To Disrupt Anxiety

    Cyles of Five: Another Way To Disrupt Anxiety

    Cycles of Five is a simple technique to break pain and anxiety cycles.

  • Patience

    Patience

    One of the best things I learned when my son became ill with chronic migraines was patience. That and teamwork. The Doctors will tell you that adolescents with migraines have to keep interacting with the world.  That is really difficult for parents to get their heads around. Kids have to keep going to school even […]

  • The 1step2life Podcast

    The 1step2life Podcast

    Do you enjoy podcasts? Follow the 1step2life on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and other major platforms.

  • Beating yourself up about parenting?

    Beating yourself up about parenting?

    I have studied parenting on five continents for close to four decades. I’m also a mom — the mom of two sons, one of them who is very sick. I know what it is to beat yourself up about not being a perfect parent.  But too many parents beat themselves because they are trying to meet two entirely different, incompatible, and […]

  • Podcast: Parenting a Child With Migraine

    Podcast: Parenting a Child With Migraine

    I am so honored to be interviewed for the Living With An Invisible Injury podcast.  Listen here:

  • Why did a psychologist who studies families develop an app for tracking pain?

    Why did a psychologist who studies families develop an app for tracking pain?

    The fact that the 1step2life app grew completely out of our experience as a family is so deeply ingrained into the fiber of my being that I forget to tell people about it. Hence this post. I was asked for information about 1step2life by the editors of MyChronicBrain – an online magazine and newsletter for […]

  • Reminders Of Progress

    Reminders Of Progress

    It’s been discouraging lately. Things seem better. Classes finished. Social life opening up. Exercise improving. But the setbacks still get you. The mourning for where you think you should be instead of where you really are. That’s where I was today. Until I got into my car. I opened the back door. The dog jumped […]

  • Chronically Ill Teen? Fighting the Dread

    Chronically Ill Teen? Fighting the Dread

    I remember that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every Sunday afternoon. Sunday at 3:00 was youth orchestra. When my son first developed migraine disease, attacks came like clockwork. Every Sunday around 2:30, he’d begin to yawn. Then the auras would start. I’d see him start wincing from light and then, just as […]

  • Keeping What’s Good About This Crazy Year

    Keeping What’s Good About This Crazy Year

    This year of COVID has been a year of loss. Loved ones. First dates and coffee with old friends. Shared worship. Beach parties. From the profound to the trivial. For many who live with complex illnesses or who struggle to get out of the house and make it to school or work, it’s also been […]

  • Challenge, Support, & Love

    Challenge, Support, & Love

    Helping my son get out of bed when he was in pain was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew how much he hurt. But we both knew that the worst mistake we’d made when he first got sick was to let him withdraw from the world and into his bed. The light hurt […]

  • How Do Doctors Build Trust?

    How Do Doctors Build Trust?

    Doctors, patients, and caregivers all bring something different to the table. All contribute to healing. The patient has the lived experience. It is their body. Their life. It is their decision what they decide to do and take from the relationship in the hope of moving forward. The caregiver brings support. Often – especially when […]

  • When Your Child Says They’re In Pain, Believe Them.

    When Your Child Says They’re In Pain, Believe Them.

    One of the hardest things about invisible illnesses is that they’re – um – invisible. No one can see them. Only the person who has them knows they exist. The most common chronic pain conditions in children and teens – headache, migraine, gastrointestinal problems, skeletal issues – are trivialized. That’s pretty awful. Anyone, anytime, can […]

  • Supporting Parents of Teens & Children In Pain

    Supporting Parents of Teens & Children In Pain

    I’m reading a book called The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. It’s a fantasy – a parable really – about regret and depression and building a better life. Sounds odd for a book I picked because it was billed as ‘a feel good novel’ about a life well lived, doesn’t it? Did I mention that […]

  • Balancing Challenge & Support

    Balancing Challenge & Support

    Urie Bronfenbrenner was one of the giants of 20th century developmental psychology. One of the founders of HeadStart, Urie had many favorite sayings about raising children. In additional to studying children for more than half a century, he also had five of his own. One person who is crazy about you One thing that fascinated […]

  • Quieting Your Inner Voices So You Can Hear Your Child’s Pain

    Quieting Your Inner Voices So You Can Hear Your Child’s Pain

    Nothing is more distressing than listening to a baby cry. I’m not just saying that about me. There’s a lot of research on the topic. When we hear a child in distress all we want to do is make it stop. Their hurt makes us hurt. I don’t think that ends when they’ve grown. I […]

  • How To Help When Your Child’s in Pain: Listen

    How To Help When Your Child’s in Pain: Listen

    When my child’s in pain, my first instinct is to try to fix it. That’s my job right? But it’s not always what they need. Sometimes they need to vent and blow off steam. This is hard for us. It’s worse for them. If we jump in too fast we’re not giving them permission to […]

  • Can Stoicism Make You A Happier Parent?

    Can Stoicism Make You A Happier Parent?

    Confession time I feel guilty. Why? Because there are times I feel I’m failing at my most important job: being a mom. My son hurts all the time – and I can’t protect him. He is having a hard time transitioning gracefully to adulthood. He struggled to make it through high school – it’s tough […]

  • Assemble A Rescue Kit For Your Next Pain Spike

    Assemble A Rescue Kit For Your Next Pain Spike

    I walked into my son’s room this morning – it was immediately obvious it was one of ‘those’ days. Light sensitivity. Migraine spike. Fog. You know the gig. So I asked my usual self-care questions: Did you take your rescues? Water? Salt? Magnesium oil? Daily meds? “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” No eye roll (thank […]

  • Get Help To Learn To Help Yourself

    Get Help To Learn To Help Yourself

    Friday, after an appointment with my psychiatrist at Emory, it occurred to me that this month marks 13 years of therapy and treatment. I would almost describe those 13 years as an “After” period, denoting a new phase in my life, because it has been so transformative. Before I finally reached out for help, I […]

  • The Three Components of Action

    The Three Components of Action

    Physics has gravity (it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law). Psychology has learning theory. The basic ideas behind learning theory are deceptively simple: If you are rewarded for something you will do it more often. If you are punished for something, you will do do it less often. If something bad is happening […]