Category: First Person

  • 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 […]

  • In Gratitude to Kind Teachers

    In Gratitude to Kind Teachers

    We all know that in the United States under the American Disabilities Act, children have the right to a public school education. Many of us also know that what makes or breaks the success of this initiative is teachers and administrators. Some fight rules. Some hit the letter of the law but begrudge and guilt-trip. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Raynaud’s Syndrome

    Raynaud’s Syndrome

    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 […]

  • Overwhelmed By Socializing?

    Overwhelmed By Socializing?

    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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • We’re on Spotify!

    We’re on Spotify!

    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.

  • 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 […]

  • Biofeedback: A Skill Not A Pill

    Biofeedback: A Skill Not A Pill

    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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • What is biofeedback?

    What is biofeedback?

    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 […]

  • Biofeedback: Another Tool in Your Kit

    Biofeedback: Another Tool in Your Kit

    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 […]

  • Making Change Happen

    Making Change Happen

    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.  […]

  • The Habits of Pain

    The Habits of Pain

    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.