therapy

Take Care Of Yourself - Day 8 #31DaysOfBlogging

Today we wanted to share with you a little about a place where we each spent a week during our walkabout this year.

The place is called Onsite Workshops and it’s a therapeutic retreat center in Tennessee. We each learned so much, but Kate wrote a blog earlier this year sharing extensively about some of the things she learned. It is below, in case you missed it.

We have been learning the importance of mental health and that it is something we need to pay attention to and be gentle with. Onsite Workshops is a place where we were really able to do this. We even did a podcast interview with the CEO of Onsite, Miles Adcox, if you want to learn even more.

Here is Kate’s blog, below. Take care of yourself today. You are important.


I’m not sure where you were when you got the news that Kate Spade had ended her life.

For me, that news will be forever etched in my mind. I will always remember the patch of grass where I was standing, the feeling of the sun hitting my face as it was setting. The lump in my throat as I tried to swallow when I heard it was suicide. My stomach physically ached.  And not because I was a Kate Spade super-fan, but because I heard the news moments after receiving my phone back on June 7th after being away from all technology for a week. Let me back up.

Onsite.

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On June 1st, I drove myself about an hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee, to a place called Cumberland Furnace, TN to the Onsite Workshops. Onsite is a therapeutic retreat center and they have a week-long program called “The Living Centered Program,” or LCP. I’ve had a ton of friends who have gone through the program, who all had incredible experiences, but I never thought I would actually do it.

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See, I always thought of Onsite as a rehab type of place — like, you only go there for serious problems. But, after talking with my friend Miles who is the CEO at Onsite, and another friend Jess that works there, I had a better understanding that the program was really for anyone who wanted to take the next step. Anyone who wanted to become more emotionally healthy. A safe space to work on yourself and on your stuff. And that looks like all different things for different people. It’s really just a place for you to get emotionally fit.

So, with a little help and encouragement from my friends I said YES and signed up for the June 1st LCP. Honestly, part of me almost let fear win. Like, I almost didn’t say yes. I didn’t like the fact that I would be without a cell phone/computer and all the comforts of the outside world for a week — hello SEPARATION anxiety from my life. It was a real thing.  And another real fear was that the last 8 months I’ve really felt in an emotionally healthy place…or at least A LOT better than other times in my life…so I was a little worried that a week of intense group therapy was going to leave me in a worse place than before. But, I was able to talk that out with some of the Onsite staff, and they helped calm my fears and reassure me that it was a guided process — I wasn’t going to be alone with these fears.

So, June 1st came, and at around 7pm that evening, I handed over my cell phone. Guys, it was weird. I was excited to be free from it for a week, but I also immediately felt SO ALONE. I had none of my people with me. I couldn’t text Jill if I was having a melt-down. I couldn’t send a GIF to my girls if I needed a laugh. I couldn’t call my mom. I couldn’t insta-story and chat with all my insta-people. Solo. Me. Well, me surrounded by 56 strangers. Yikes.

I’m not going to share the details of all that we did, but it was a combination of mornings spent with the big group — learning more about the science behind why we do what we do…sort of like emotional fitness classes, and then the late mornings and afternoons were spent in your small group of about 8 or 9 other individuals, and that’s when the more focused work would happen…in group therapy.

I am not even going to lie — I thought the idea of group therapy was terrible. I mean, I knew that was the thing that LCP did, but I’ve never done group therapy and I was certain I would hate it. But, OMG, it was magic. These 9 people started out as strangers, and I can tell you right now, there’s not one of them I wouldn’t fly across the country for in one hot second right now. These strangers became like family. Six days. What in the world?

I’m not even sure how to fully summarize what changes I feel in myself, but it feels significant. And full disclosure, I definitely had some personal a-ha moments that I want to keep for myself or family/close friends, but I do really want to share some of my takeaways with you in hopes that they might be useful to you. They might be jumbled or random but here’s the bottom line.

I loved it. I feel like I learned tools that will help me navigate the rest of my life. I feel like I experienced real healing in some wounds that I was carrying since childhood. I would highly recommend the program to anyone who has blood running through their veins. I think anyone and everyone could benefit. Literally there were people there from ages 19 to mid-70s. Anyone can do this.

Group Therapy.

So, you’re in a small group, where everyone has signed a confidentiality agreement and you have a therapist who is the guide for your group and you get to know these people. Like, KNOW them. As you share your story and as they share theirs, something begins to shift inside of you. You cannot look someone in the eyes when they’re talking about their pain and not be changed. My therapist group leader told me that 70% of your healing comes from just being in the room — the 30% is when you’re talking about your own stuff, but that might not even be as impactful. And I realized something…that might be the key. I think that’s what we’re all looking for in life. Someone to bear witness to our pain. We don’t need someone to fix it. Or say it’s going to be fine. Or pity us. We just need someone to see it. Someone to bear witness to our pain. Especially if the pain happened a long time ago, to go back, to uncover those painful moments and have a room full of people witness it. There is healing in that.

I am a fixer by nature. I want to rescue and fix and make a plan for change to get out of pain. Yet, that was not my role —in group therapy or in life — my role is to say, I see you in that pain. Maybe that’s it. Just, I see it. I am a witness to your pain…and I’m sorry. You take 57 strangers, and you realize that every single person there is carrying pain of some sort. Wounds. Hurt. Heartache. Some of them are scars that run deep. Some are fresh and still oozing with infection. But pain is pain. I left there and I swear I was seeing people differently. The cashier at Kroger. The guy flipping burgers at Five Guys. Every single human alive has a story and most likely has pain. It makes me want to listen more. I don’t need to fix or rescue. I need to listen and see people. I need to bear witness to their pain. It’s powerful.

It was intense.

They say the week there is equivalent to 8 months of weekly therapy. So, it’s no walk in the park. At times, it was uncomfortable…pushing me out of my comfort zone and into feelings that I haven’t felt in a while. Was it a breeze? No. Was it worth it? Yes. Because here’s the thing: I’m pretty certain that great things come after a bit of friction. Sometimes sitting in the group room, I felt uncomfortable and it felt hard. I think of it now like fire or friction. No one likes fire, but that’s how you get the refined beauty. No one likes the friction on the rock until the diamond appears. And I don’t mean it to be a cheesy analogy, but I mean it. It reminded me that most things in life that are worth it take work, and sometimes that work is uncomfortable in the process.


You aren’t allowed to talk about what you do for work. That is a true story. You arrive and you are given a name tag. Kate R. — that was all of me. You guys, I’ve been a part of the duo Jill and Kate for 15 freaking years. Do you know how awesome it was for people to get to know me? Me. Not “Kate” from Jill and Kate...or Kate the back-up singer for Kelly Clarkson. Me! Just me! This part was so helpful.  Literally, there are people that don’t know the difference between Jill and I, and honestly they don’t care to. When showing up at an event on my own people will ask me: “So, how are you guys?” Ummm…it’s just me here.

I felt seen.

This kind of piggy backs on my last point — but during my week at Onsite, I felt seen. I sort of think you can’t escape that. Seen, known, and loved. I think someone summarized those things that might be our three most basic desires and longings. I wasn’t known for accomplishments or seen because of what I did for work. I was seen as a human being not a human doing.

Also, I realized that so much of my life is work. And I love it — I love all that I get to do, but when people aren’t allowed to talk about work — you talk about who you are. Sometimes around the meal tables there would be awkward lulls in conversation because the natural flow of conversation NORM is to talk about work. Instead, I found myself asking the question “Do you have any hobbies? What do you do for fun?” A lot. It was awesome because you actually get to know people for who they are, not what they do. Yes, yes, yes. I’m trying to do this more. My way of asking people questions is now, “So what keeps you busy when you’re not {at the event or driving for Uber}?”

Another huge takeaway for me was that my job is to look after myself. Not in a “Only lookout for #1” way or a selfish manner at all, but that my role in life is taking care of and nurturing myself. I cannot control anyone else or any other situation, but I can take care of myself. A lot of my nature is to caretake — which my therapist also pointed out the difference between care-taking and caregiving. That care-taking is way more about you than it is the other person. Ummm…say what? Thanks Jim for the mic drop moment. Taking vs. giving. Dang, that was a lightbulb moment for me. But I realized that self-care is something that I need to focus on.

Meditation and the brain.

So here’s the deal. I have always heard meditating is good for you. I sort of thought it was more in the New Age vein, but heck, even the Bible talks about meditating…but I’ve never really done it, because I thought that it was something to do for fun or for spiritual reasons. During one of the morning sessions, they do a whole lecture about meditating and show you scientific scans of brains and meditation. I will not attempt to regurgitate medical information here, but let’s just say I now try to meditate every single morning. It’s like flossing but for your brain. Do it, do it, do it. I downloaded a few free apps that have guided mediations: Calm, Headspace and Simple Habit. So far, I like Calm the best.

I am so incredibly grateful for my time at Onsite. To the people that read this that spent the week with me — you know who you are, and I am so grateful to have you with me on my journey from here on out. To the ones who got me to Onsite — Jess, Miles and all the other friends I texted for advice — thank you! I am a different person because of you.

And to you, reader, who might be feeling scared or stuck or in need of the next step…reach out for help. If it’s a friend or a therapist or counselor or a week at Onsite — don’t underestimate the healing power of sharing your pain with others — that’s what we all need — we need a witness to the pain.

And so, I think that’s why the news of Kate Spade hit me so hard.

She was seen and known by billions of people. Had success. Money. Fame. But did she feel truly seen? Truly known? Truly loved. Did she need someone to bear witness to her pain? I don’t know and I never will. But hearing the news of her death was the punctuation mark to my week at Onsite that made it forever memorable.

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My hope for you, dear reader, is that you feel seen, known and loved.

Much love,

Kate







When Hope Feels Far Away - Day 7 #31DaysOfBlogging

One of the hardest things to face is the feeling of hopelessness, and finding yourself down in the depths of the darkness.

We have been really open with our bouts dealing with depression and anxiety, and just the general feeling of being really low. Our walkabout journey has been incredible — full of life-giving adventures and excitement and beauty and all of these amazing things, but for each of us, this year also held a pretty big emotional breakdown.

We aren’t talking about just a little “Oh I’m feeling down” moment. We both faced the “In-bed-crying-our-eyes-out” for reals funk. The funk where you find it hard to see any hope in or see any future in.

And I think that’s where it gets you. That feeling of hopelessness. The voices of anxiety and fear that tell you it’ll never change. The thought that good things aren’t going to come your way. The lies that fill your head telling you you’re alone…..that change is not possible and that this darkness will stick around for good.

Ughhhh….it’s so heavy. Even typing about it now, it brings us back to the low point we both faced. If you are feeling that way right now, we want to share a few things with you.

It’s okay to feel all you are feeling.

We get it. We’ve been there. And we’ll probably be there again in the future. But, instead of trying to get yourself out of it right away, let yourself feel it. Cry. Lie in bed. Feel it. Cry about it. It’s okay to feel all that you’re feeling.

Know that it won’t last forever.

Things will change. Even though the voices in your head are trying to tell you that they won’t — seasons change and this darkness won’t last forever.

Sometimes it’s just helpful to hear that you aren’t alone and that’s why you need to listen to this episode: Digging Out Of The Breakdown.

You are not alone, and you are loved. It’s okay to ask for help.

We both needed some help this year. Tomorrow we’ll tell you about the week we each spent at Onsite — the therapeutic retreat center in Tennessee.

Xo

J&K

We've Been There Too

Hello friends.

So, there is this show that’s out right now and some of you have watched it and some of you probably haven’t...it covers some serious topics including rape and suicide. We watched it and all I can say is that since we have finished it we have both been consumed with sadness. The show is graphic and hard to watch...and while I don’t think I would recommend you watching it, it did awaken something inside each of us that made us want to share this blog and some thoughts with you.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of people hurting, feeling sad, feeling alone, and hiding how they are really doing on the inside. The outside might seem shiny and put together, but on the inside things are falling apart. Friends, readers of this blog...we need to acknowledge this. Depression is normal. Sadness is normal. Hurt is normal. But, while thinking that you are alone in the world is normal, it is NOT TRUE.

If you were to ask us why we write songs, we would tell you we do it for 3 reasons:

  1. It is therapeutic for us.
  2. God made us to do this.
  3. We want to fight loneliness.

That last one. That is the big one. We write songs and share our experiences because we want you to hear a song that we wrote and realize that you aren’t alone. That we’ve felt it too. We always say that loneliness is the worst disease and if someone can hear a song or meet another person at a show and share an experience or a feeling...that’s what it’s all about for us. That’s why we do fan meet-ups, J&K 5K weekends, meet & greets, etc. We want you to feel seen, connected to others and maybe, just maybe, less lonely. And we want to feel less lonely too.

We decided to make a bullet point list that is hopefully helpful to you. It’s a list to show you that what you are feeling...we have felt it too. And we've written songs about it. We are all in this together.

If you're feeling lonely: we've been there too: TIRED OF BEING ALONE

If you're feeling too worried: we've been there too: QUIT WORRYING

If you think you'll never get over the person that just broke your heart and is ignoring your texts/calls: we've been there too. NEVER OVER YOU

If you wish you could bring someone who has died back to life: we've been there too: BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE

If you're feeling hopeless: we've been there too: MY LOVE

If you've just been through a breakup & nothing makes sense: we’ve been there too: NOTHING MAKES SENSE

If your friends change and are maybe going through an addiction: we've been there too: ONE DAY

If you're feeling happy (and a little sassy): we've been there too: POP SONG

If you're devastated after a breakup and never want to open your heart again: we've been there too: IN LOVE AGAIN

If you feel betrayed & need a clean start: we've been there too: BURN IT DOWN

If you’re feeling discouraged about the state of the world: we've been there too: SAME SIDE

If you have a crush and everything reminds you of them: we've been there too: TOGETHER BABY

If you are feeling jaded: we've been there too: HEART OF STONE

If you feel like you're getting in your own way: we've been there too: CHASING STORMS

If you’re wondering if love will ever happen: we've been there too: YOU MIGHT BREAK MY HEART

If the pain is too much & you are numb: we've been there too: DON'T FEEL A THING

If life is changing fast: we've been there too: I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT IT'S LIKE

If something is over and you need to move on: we've been there too:  GUESS I BETTER MOVE ON

If you need a role model: we've been there too: SARAH

If you are needing a miracle and need God to rescue you: we've been there too: RESCUE

 

So, this is sort of a reference guide for some general feelings that we’ve written songs about. What we want you to know is that you aren’t alone. If you are reading this and feel like giving up on life because it’s too hard or you’ve screwed up one too many times...you haven’t. There is always hope. Please, ask for help. Tell someone how you are really doing. If you don’t know how to start, just say “I’m not okay.”

Social media doesn’t always help because most of us really only post the highlight reel of life...the shiny, perfect, winning moments. There aren't a lot of pictures of broken hearts or pillows drenched in tears...which is fine because social media wasn’t meant for that...humans were meant for that.

We always say, “share your truth.” Speak it out loud to someone. Even if it’s a stranger on a help hotline. We promise that by verbalizing your feelings, by naming them out loud, they start to not threaten you as much. And if we’re all honest, life is hard...and these feelings that you are feeling are universal. We’ve all felt a version of them. So, we are begging you, remember, you are not alone.

We all can make a change. In our homes, communities, schools, workplaces,  neighborhoods...wherever we are. Call someone and check on them. Ask people how they are really doing. Look for the person not talking to anyone at a social event.

We think this is so important, you guys. So we are going to be having a “j&k family meeting” on FB LIVE tomorrow (WEDNESDAY 5/3) at 3pm CST to talk a little bit more about this and to play a few of these songs. Tune in.

And remember, if you are hurting and need help: we have ALL been there. You are okay and you CAN get through this. Reach out to someone. See you tomorrow.

Seriously, we love you all.

Jill and Kate

National Suicide Prevention Hotline Number: 1-800-273-8255

To Write Love On Her Arms: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/

Great (or Not-So-Great) Expectations

It's funny how whenever I have moments that seem to rock my world I hear Oprah saying..."That was your Ah-Ha moment..." Well, I had an "Ah-Ha" moment the other day.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was scrolling through Instagram...as you do....and bam. It saw me. These words jumped from the screen like a knife to the gut.

photo(Thanks to Mark Howerton {husband to our friend Kristen Howerton} for posting this little gem.)

I immediately freaked out and said out loud..."Wait. What? Really!"

I started talking to friends about this and saying...is this true?

Do you agree with this?

HOW COULD THIS BE TRUE? How have I missed the boat on this important life lesson because all of my friends said a resounding "Yes. That is total truth." OMG.

I could not stop thinking about this sentence. Expectation. Heartache. Where the heck had I gone wrong? As more conversation developed, I realized a few things:

I consider myself a pretty upbeat, positive person and last week I would have told you that I have mostly high expectations about life (and that that was a good thing.) That those high expectations were because I am a positive person who believes in a good positive, mental attitude. Wrong.

Well, folks. I am giving up expectations. High ones. Low ones. ALL OF THEM. This is because as I look back over my life and think of my greatest heartaches (with guys, friends, family or career)...I would say almost ALL OF THEM are because I had high expectations and if it didn't go exactly according to the plan in my head, I'd be disappointed. Even if I didn't show that disappointment on the outside there was generally an inner battle going on trying to control it all.

As I talked with friends, we realized that having low expectations or high expectations can both be equally disappointing and can end in giant HEARTACHE. I don't know about you, but I am trying desperately to get rid of excess heartache in my life.  I always thought that people with low expectations had a negative attitude on life and were kind of "Debbie Downer-ing" their way through it all. I don't think that anymore.

Somehow I got "having a positive attitude" mixed up with "high expectations" and I'm trying to change that.

Whatever situation comes I am trying to not have expectations...just a positive attitude. Saying, whatever comes up, whatever happens, whatever I'm looking forward to--I will try to not control it in my mind with expectations. I will walk into it with a positive attitude and be in the moment but without the expectation in my heart and mind.

Because...I think having expectations is how control freaks like myself sometimes cope when things feel out of control. I plan everything out so there is not possibility of being hurt. I guess that's what it boils down to...avoiding hurt. Well, folks, that ain't happening. I'm trying to give up the control and the expectations that come along with that.

Anyway. Just my thoughts.

Sending lots of love and a positive attitude :)

-kate

Some Thoughts On Getting Over People

Maybe I'm an expert in getting over people since I haven't found someone yet. A few years back we wrote a song called "Never Over You" based on a relationship I was just getting out of. It wrecked me. I mean it was awful. I honestly thought I would never get over this guy.  But the good news is if you find yourself in a similar situation...I'm totally over him now. So there is hope for you too.

Someone asked me recently about the song and how I got over this guy so that's what sparked this blog. If one person is asking me about getting over someone, maybe there are more people that need to hear that they are not alone in the long, hard journey of getting over someone.

My quick answer of what helped me get over him? Therapy. Yup, I actually went to therapy. I always freaked out about therapy for two reasons: 1) How scary it must be having a total stranger interrogate you & have to tell them all of your innermost thoughts. 2) It's expensive. I'll address #2 first. Therapy can be expensive but I think it's invaluable. Mental health and stability can CHANGE YOUR WORLD. If you can have your head, heart and emotions in good working condition, facing any situation in life can be easier. Plus, when I called around to a few places I found a woman who was doing her practicum hours as she had just gotten her PhD. Everything was the same except she was half the price. Hallelujah. So, if you are looking for a therapist, maybe ask a few places you call to see if they have similar people there.

Now onto #1, therapists do not work for the CIA but they are kind of tricky...here's the trick: they really don't do most of the talking. They don't fire away a million intrusive questions. They do a lot of listening. They ask the right questions to help you navigate your own thoughts. Then they listen some more. They can evaluate situations without knowing every sorted detail or without taking sides--this is the difference between a therapist and talking to your Aunt Susie. And my biggest high-five for therapists or counselors...they can see patterns and help you identify why they started in the first place.

Ding, ding, ding...that's where I found some healing. This guy was a pattern for me. He was the same guy, with a different name but the same story.

*I will give credit to Jill, my BFF, who did point this out long before I entered therapy. She was all..."Kate, you are dating the same guy. Over and over....and they aren't good for you." I was all like...."Whaaaat? That is so not true." But, she was right. Now, let's not focus on this part too much ;)

Moving right along. So, why was I picking these relationships that weren't good for me? Why was I doing it to myself if the outcome was horrible? Well, during therapy I established some patterns that started long before my dating life started. Childhood. I think it's safe to say that most adult problems can be traced back to childhood wounds. I had a great childhood with two devoted & incredibly loving parents. But no matter how peachy your childhood was, as a kid you start to believe a narrative about yourself. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, that narrative needed some clarifying. Some re-programming. That's where my healing started. I started to change the pattern.

I think that's also why I've dated a lot less since then. The usual guys I would generally be drawn to via my old narrative I don't find appealing anymore. I don't need them anymore because they have no place in my current narrative of who I am. Those relationships would be reinforcing a narrative that I've given up. Re-programmed. It's taken some time to find different types of guys that fit in with making me the healthiest I can be.

Ugh, reflecting on the "Never Over You" guy still makes me a little anxious. He just stopped communicating with me, then would lead me on, then cut me off again. I would spend all my energy and time thinking about this guy. We were not living in the same place so that made things extra difficult. I would wake up in the middle of the night and check my phone--sure that I had missed a call or text. But nope. Nothing. I couldn't even sit through a movie without checking my phone constantly. But here's the catch. He just didn't care. Now, don't get me wrong...I don't think he's evil or anything. He and I just had very different ideas of what it meant to be in the kind of relationship we were in.

I wish I could have seen then and understood this: if someone does not have the decency to take time to talk with you or text you back THEY PROBABLY ARE NOT WORTH YOUR TIME. Delete them from your phone and from social media. Good Lord, the social media. People, you will never get over someone if you are seeing their every move each waking hour of the day. Delete, delete, delete. It's torture for you and only you. I promise that if you can cut them out of your life you will see that life does go on and it does get better. Surround yourself with quality people that ask you questions. People that care about your goals and dreams. Be a good friend back. Be a cheerleader for those around you and you will never lack friends and I am telling you...it might take a bit of time but you WILL get over him or her.  The bad relationship is not the end all.

I think for a while I also felt ridiculous for getting myself into the situation. For letting myself feel and care so much. I felt stupid. I kept thinking that I should've known better. You might be feeling that way too. But guess what? You & I are human. Sometimes we do things (including caring for people we shouldn't) that might not serve us best. But, we can get out of those situations. One day at a time. By changing the pattern.

In looking at the lyrics now--Jill and I wrote this when I was sooo deep in the situation of needing/missing this guy but I already knew the answer. The lyrics say, " i’ve been alone since i found you" and "i’ve been lost since i found you" meaning that even when we were together I was alone and lost. He wasn't good for me from the start. Ugh. Song-writing...sometimes it tells you everything you never wanted to know.

If you're reading this and don't know the song I keep referring to...I posted the song & lyrics below.

Readers of this blog...if you are in need of empowerment today: know that you CAN and WILL get over this situation. From one broken-hearted girl to another....you can do it. We are all in this together. Don't feel alone.

Sending lots of love through the clicking of my keyboard...

-kate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxFu1YmSQSo

“never over you”

it’s been 18 days without you

and everything is wrong

i’ve been alone since i found you

i’m never where i belong

now

if we ever meet again

do you think

do you think we could try

when you wake up in the night

i hope i’m

i hope i’m on your mind

i hope i’m on your mind

cause i’m

never over you

never over you

i’ve seen a million faces

since i’ve been back in town

but i’ve been lost since i found you

always searching for you in the crowd

now

if we ever meet again

do you think

do you think we could try

when you wake up in the night

i hope i’m

i hope I’m on your mind

i hope i’m on your mind

cause i’m

never over you

never over you

i’m holding out for you

i’m holding onto you

i’m holding onto you

to pull me through

to pull me through

to you

to you

cause i’m

never over you

never over you

(c) jillandkate, 2011.