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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 […]
I am so honored to be interviewed for the Living With An Invisible Injury podcast. Listen here:
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The first time I noticed I had Raynaud’s was in the kitchen. My hands felt kind of funny and I looked down and they were green. Not a little green. Like GREEN. And entirely numb. I started to move them and they completely spasmed. No pain. Just bright green hands that were spasming. Then they […]
Two weeks post-vaccine, it’s been liberating getting out of the house. Even walks in the woods seem freer, less worried about folks strolling by mask-less and much too close. I am excited about chatting with folks at the dog park – still socially distanced and faces obscured. It felt ridiculously friendly to have a face-to-masked […]
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 […]
Are you a fan of podcasts? Would you rather listen to the 1step2life blog than read? We will be podcasting many of our essays. Follow us on Breaker, Google Podcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, and Anchor (RSS). We will be adding new content as it comes out and slowly recording our catalog.
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 […]
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 […]
Biofeedback is a skill, not a pill. Unlike medications, it is something that you need to practice between sessions and learn to make it effective. I’ve heard people only try it once or twice and then give up because they got a migraine anyways. It’s not something that works right away. You need to practice […]
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 […]
Biofeedback is a technique used to train yourself to control your body’s functions. Examples being your breathing, heart rate and tempurature. It’s really great for handling chronic pain. With practice it can be used to help identify what is causing your pain and I’ve even been using it to help turn off migraines when I […]
Chronic pain is something that can be treated in many ways. When I first got migraines, they were sudden and devastating. Within six months I went from perfectly healthy to migraines that lasted days to a week at a time. They were incredibly painful. I was unable to move and barely even able to go […]
Last year, I wrote an essay called What’s Working? A 5-Minute Exercise for a Better Life for Psychology Today. Although everything else seems to have changed since last year, the ideas in that essay have not. Today, I want to talk about using it to take a few steps forward that will make your next year better. […]
It’s hard to find that balance between pushing too hard and giving up. But if you want things to change, laying down new habits is a start.
People who write love songs about walking in the rain don’t live in Ohio. In December. I do. I’m just going to say, cold rain is not my idea of romantic. Or comfortable. Miserable. It does come to mind when I think of the word ‘miserable’. I bring this up, because I was thinking about […]
Some days are worse than others. That’s just how it works. You can wake up today feeling refreshed and inspired to put your best foot forward. You can do all of your recommended exercises, eat all the “right” foods, think all the “right” thoughts, and still have pain flare-ups throughout your day. We can never […]
Note: I wrote this years ago, when my son’s migraines first when chronic. Much has changed in our lives. Sending him to school with his pain remains one of the hardest things my husband and I – and certainly our son – has ever had to do. But every single day he went – maybe […]
I write a lot about organizing, because I have too much to do and very few spoons to spare. I also know that if I don’t write things down, they spin around in my head and keep me from sleeping. If we try to keep everything in our head without an organizational system, we keep […]
I was excited beyond words to be asked to present the 1step2life app to the team at the Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation program on Monday. These folks are my heroes. For all the pain and trauma that my son’s migraine disease has introduced into his life, we’ve been incredibly lucky to live close to […]
When we recognize ourselves in others we admire it allows us to imagine ourselves in a better future.
Platitudes can hurt people in pain just as much as illness.
Acceptance means holding both a painful now and a hopeful future in our minds· Death can be a harsh shock, as someone is ripped from us and is no longer present in our lives. It has a finality to it – that’s part of the shock and much of the pain. But it is real […]
How do you cope when things feel their worst? You can cry. Or laugh. Or curse.
When do I get my old life back?
The answer is, you don’t. That’s why they call it a ‘life changing event.’
Faking being sick? I’m faking being well. And not that successfully.
Four strategies to organize work and decrease anxiety.
It feels good to be recognized for being strong. Because overcoming obstacles is hard. Especially when many of those obstacles are not something that most people even see as an obstacle – like making it from your bed to the couch. Overcoming obstacles can reveal strength in us we never knew we had, shape us […]
1step2life started with my son’s experience with severe chronic migraine disease. It made no sense to log pain when the pain is always there. What he needed was something that helped him celebrate his victories – making it to school, getting the mail, turning down the pepperoni pizza and sticking to his low tyramine diet. […]
Concrete tips on moving a teen in pain out of bed and towards functioning.
I’ll be honest. I spend my life crazy stressed. I have a job that my husband describes as ‘flexible – you can work any 60 hours a week you like’. And then I have two more jobs – I am Editor in Chief of the Journal of Adolescence and I’m also starting this company. And […]
As a developmental psychologist who has studied parenting on four continents, I can tell you a lot about raising teenagers. But nothing prepared me for watching my son shaking under the covers flinching from the light, and unable to speak from pain.
Art and Text: Carlos Armstrong Warning: this post includes photographs of surgical incisions some people may find upsetting. To me, chronic pain is more than just a subject to research. It is something constantly present in my own life. On the lower end of my pain scale, I have been living with debilitating chronic migraines […]
1step2life’s core mission is to build an app that helps kids living with chronic pain get out of bed and into the world. There are many things that make this project special to me. One, in particular, is how many of the Oberlin students involved GOT involved because they suffer from pain themselves. When we […]
Max Kramer worked with Oberlin Professor Emeritus Richard Salter and Dr. Nancy Darling to develop a computational model of the spreading neurological depression characteristic of the brain during a migraine. Compuational modeling is a way of using mathematical and logical modeling to simulate behavior in the real world. Max used Numerus software, developed at Oberlin […]
I’d like to say that I started this company because of my altruistic interest in helping the world. That would be a lie. I started this company because over six short months my son went from healthy to hiding under his covers, in the dark, wearing welding glasses. He would shudder with pain because his […]