Life After Trauma

We had family over for Memorial Day.

So what? Lots of people do this very thing.

For survivors of trauma, it’s a big deal.

For many people, large groups trigger big feelings. Memorial Day can trigger memories of loss and grief, trauma and craziness. Families trigger feelings of anxiety, depression, the way it used to be, the way it’s supposed to be, etc.

Having lived with, and overcome my own post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I can tell you I’ve experienced all of these things. It is so difficult when you want to be around family, but you can’t. Or you want to invite people over, but you don’t know how kids from trauma backgrounds will be able to deal with it. The tension in your own home is so thick, you don’t know if it will be a good day, or if it will all fall apart.

Have you ever been hurt or sick for an extended period of time? You know how all of a sudden one day, you don’t hurt anymore? You may not even notice at first, you’re just so happy to be able to move and live your life. That’s how it was this weekend.

We went to a family birthday party on Saturday and it was fun! On Monday, we invited family over for a BBQ. I cooked all the food (which I haven’t been able to do for several years). We all got along. There was no drama. No trauma. No chaos.

I woke up today thanking God for a chaos-free 3-Day weekend.

If your life is filled with trauma and chaos, I hope this will bring you hope. Hang in there. Continue to seek help and healing for yourself. Life does move on. People grow up. Wounds heal.

If you need help, and don’t know where to turn, click here to schedule a phone appointment for a Life Coaching session with me. I’d love to walk with you as you move to a life after trauma.

 

What To Do With Enormous Pain

When emotional, psychological, relational, physical, or spiritual pain lasts for an extended period of time, what choices do you have?

I’ve discovered people tend to do 1 of 3 things:

  1. Medicate
  2. Numb
  3. Feel

Each of these choices comes with side effects.

Medicate. People medicate in all sorts of ways.

Drugs (prescription included)

Alcohol

Food

Work

Sex

Working Out

Church activity

Control

Money

Choose your poison. You’ve probably heard this phrase, and it’s true! Each of these things may temporarily bring relief, but they ultimately lead to destruction, if abused. We all know people who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction. I used to think people could only become addicted to substances such as these. WRONG! All sorts of chemicals or activities can end up controlling our lives, and taking our focus off the pain we so desperately want to go away.  Did you know that the hormone released during sex dulls pain with the same impact as morphine? Is it any wonder 70% of men ages 17-34 admit to viewing pornography in the last week?

We don’t want to feel pain, so many people begin an addictive cycle, thinking it will keep them from hurting.

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When we act out instead of feeling the pain, we fall into this cycle. We want the pain to end, so we do something. The pain ends for a time, but we feel guilty for acting out. This causes us to feel more pain, and the cycle goes round and round. Obviously, we’re not actually dealing with the pain, we’re just running from it. So it never gets healed, and we stay stuck in the cycle. We’ve now brought another pain into our life. We have to recover from addiction, and then heal from the pain we originally thought we were “dealing with.”

How about another choice?

Numb. If addiction isn’t your thing, maybe you can just shut down. I know many people who seem wonderful when you first get to know them. They are friendly, sincere, funny, and seem to have it all together. Unless you poke around a little.

If you hit on a topic they haven’t healed from, they will either lash out at you, act as if they’ve never had problems in their life, or make you think you are crazy. They don’t remember. They tell you it’s not important. They try to get you onto another subject. Something isn’t right. Healthy people know their history and have come to terms with it. Avoiders don’t want to talk about it, minimize it, or try to make you think there’s something wrong with you for desiring to talk about such things.

Pain hurts. That’s why we don’t want to talk about it or deal with it. But the unintended consequence of numbing is that you shut out amazing people from your life. When you only deal with surface things, life never goes to the depths of friendship and relationship that are possible when you’re not so busy defending yourself, or hiding from pain.

Feel. No one likes to hurt. Could it be that the very thing we avoid like the plague is the thing that could bring healing and freedom?

Years ago when my life was truly a daily struggle, I made a decision. I didn’t want to turn to an addiction, because I had seen it ruin people’s lives. I didn’t want to shut down, because I watched people become hardened, angry, and resentful. I knew it might lessen the pain if I shut it off, but I sensed I would become someone I didn’t like. So I chose to feel it.

And feel I did! I felt deeply. My heart literally hurt. I ached. The pain was almost too much to live with. In fact, I remember driving on a two-lane country road thinking, “If I just swerved the wheel in front of this oncoming truck…” I wasn’t suicidal, but the pain was enough to mess with my mind. I wanted it to stop. I would have done just about anything to make it stop.

Instead, I learned to grieve. It stinks, I know. John Townsend and Henry Cloud wrote in their book, How People Grow, that grief is the toughest pain we have to deal with because we have to enter it willingly. “Grief is the one (kind of suffering) that heals all the others. It is the most important pain there is.”

The healing continues. The pain is mostly gone, but when it flares up I think, “This is grief. I know how to do that.” It’s not fun, but it is the pathway to a healed, healthy life.

“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” psalm 30:5

Have you found other ways to deal with enormous pain? Please comment here!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.carrieotoole.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/carrie-otoole-headshot-sm-150×150.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Carrie O’Toole, M.A. is a Board Certified Christian Life Coach, Speaker, Author of Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go, and Producer of the Documentary Film: Forfeiting Sanity.[/author_info] [/author]

 

When You Can’t Quite Get It Together

 

Do you ever think “everyone else seems to have their lives together? “

What’s wrong with me? Why do others have happier families, better marriages, kids who love them, careers they enjoy, better health, and more money?

It’s not just Facebook, it’s everywhere.

-Pictures of happy couples welcoming their new babies, when you struggle with infertility.

-People celebrating long marriages, when yours is loveless and cold, you’ve been single for longer than you hoped, or you’ve just been divorced.

-College acceptance letters, when you (or your child) struggle with mental health issues, and will be lucky to finish high school without being expelled or incarcerated.

-Spring Break pictures of smiling families on beaches, when you can’t figure out how to pay your rent this month.

-Friends telling of amazing family reunions, when your family is fractured.

-Celebrating someone’s promotion, when you try so hard to love your job and the people you work with, but every day is challenging.

-Posts of people at the top of mountains, waterskiing, or running marathons, when your body is in chronic pain.

Since I began blogging, I’ve tried to be authentic. I’ve shared my struggles because I was sick of feeling like I was the only one striving. I knew there were others like me, but I didn’t see many people sharing their battles. There were plenty of feel good stories, but not many truthful, raw stories about the pain I understood. I shared because it gave a voice to my wounds.

I went through a very difficult 15 year period. As I healed, I found I really enjoyed being on the other side of the agony. I earned my masters degree and became a Life Coach. I liked the feeling of helping others through their strife. I wanted to be the expert, and guide others from my position on the OTHER side of the pain.

In the last 6 months however, I found myself back in the middle of it. No longer the expert, but the co-struggler again. You know what happened? I couldn’t blog about it.

Miss Authenticity found herself hiding and quiet. I didn’t want to be back there. I didn’t want to share. Some of it was not mine to share. Some of it was embarrassing to share. I just didn’t have the energy to craft a message, think of a topic, or figure out the technology involved (minimal as it is). I was back in survival mode.

Well, I’m back. Not as the expert, but as your friend and coach. 

I’m working on a way to share what I’ve learned that may help when you can’t quite get it together.

A major thing I’ve learned is that if you wait to have it all together, you’ll never do anything. So even though I have great plans to improve in the future, I’m still going to do this today.

Please click here to sign up for my blog. You’ll receive a FREE pdf “10 Traits of Emotionally Healthy People.”

 

 

Colorado Life Coach: Me Too!

I just returned home from the Refresh Conference for Foster and Adoptive Parents in Redmond, WA.

It was amazing!

Unlike anything I’ve ever seen, this conference tackled the topics needed by parents of kids from hard places.

I don’t have connections to the adoption community in WA, but was contacted by the conference organizer to see if I’d be interested in speaking. The panel I joined was called, “Navigating the rough waters of a failed placement.” It’s not exactly my story, and I wasn’t really sure if I would fit on the panel. After discussing my concerns with the panel leader, we determined I absolutely needed to be there.

Please understand, disruption is not a topic the adoption community, counselors, or the church likes to discuss. It’s ugly. It’s not the happy face of adoption they want to promote. We’d all like to believe that every adoption ends with a healed child, and a happy family. This is just not reality. The reasons are many:

~Children’s histories are often unknown, or withheld from prospective parents, leaving parents unprepared for the challenges (violence, sexual acting out, mental illness, extreme behavior issues)

~Resources and support are lacking

~Finances prevent receiving the level of help needed for children from trauma backgrounds

~Trauma brought into the home (at no fault of the child) ends up traumatizing other family members preventing healing.

~Trauma brings out unresolved and sometimes unknown issues in parents, which are extremely difficult to heal with ongoing trauma in the home.

~Parenting traumatized children requires skills that are totally counter-intuitive to parenting children without trauma. This is not known to the general public. Unless a foster or adoptive parent happens across this information, they could potentially spend years with no improvement connecting to their child. This is not their fault. They don’t know what they don’t know. Many therapists and medical professionals do not understand this issue, so unless parents run across professionals who understand and can lead them in the right direction, parents are left to figure this out on their own.

I arrived at the conference not knowing what to expect. All the attendees were met with amazing compassion, understanding, support, information, and connection with other parents. One theme of the conference was “Me Too!”

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Buckets with buttons saying, “Foster parent,” “Adoptive parent,” “International Adoption,” “Birth Parent,” and others helped connect people to others who could relate.

There were places for pampering…

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and resources: Oh look! That’s MY book in the bookstore 🙂

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My panel was on day 2 of the conference. As I suspected, at the end of the session, many people approached the panelists with the same message: “Me too!” They were so thankful we spoke on this difficult topic. They felt like the failures of the foster/adoption community. The stigma of so many issues was diminished by the general sessions of the conference, but the grief from disruption and relinquishment is still taboo. This was the first time these parents felt they could finally relate.

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I met some amazing parents.

None of them hoped to be in their situation, but it was great to find others and say “Me too!”

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

5 Ways To Survive Suffering Without It Killing You

This is a crazy world we live in (I missed a letter, so I first typed, “This is a ‘cray’ world.” Either fits).

It seems we humans will go to extreme lengths to avoid, deny, or postpone suffering.

I certainly don’t look forward to it. I continue eating poorly, because I don’t want to deal with having to cook different foods. Not exactly suffering, but it shows how far we’ll go to avoid even an inconvenience.

If it’s this hard to do things that will make our lives better, what happens when we find ourselves in a place of true suffering? What’s a human to do?

  1. Suffering is part of life. I know, it stinks. I wish it weren’t this way, but I’m not God (thank God). I remember going through really tough times. I didn’t know how to handle it. How do I make it stop? All I could think about was how much it hurt, and what I could do to change it. It seemed so unfair. I failed to grasp that suffering is part of life. We all suffer at some point. It’s part of being human. Once I came to recognize that I was in fact suffering, and that it was a normal part of life, I relaxed a bit. I still didn’t like it, but I stopped fighting as much. That’s the way it is with so many non-happy things: Once we realize it’s normal, we stop the fight and begin the healing.
  2. Suffering is painful. It hurts. Sometimes the pain is physical, like when we are recovering from surgery, or going through chemotherapy. Sometimes the pain is emotional, like when the person we love doesn’t love us, or they die. Many times, it’s both.
  3. Suffering can be destructive. Sometimes we are the victim. Nothing we could have or should have done could prevent it. A person with evil intent harmed us. We were involved in an accident. When this occurs, we need to find safe people to help us regain our physical, emotional, mental, psychological, and spiritual health. It hurts, it’s not fair, and it’s up to us to put our lives back together again.
  4. Suffering can be therapeutic. Sometimes things happen to us because we haven’t dealt with our stuff. We have a temper, and we get fired. We don’t trust people, so our spouse leaves. We deny financial reality, and lose our home. The positive from this type of suffering is that we have the power to change it! If we deal with our stuff, the pain will stop.
  5. Suffering is purposeful. Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” When you’re in the middle of suffering, this doesn’t feel very comforting! After coming through, however, I can say that it’s true. When the suffering is over, we realize we’ve persevered. Now we can handle more than we could before. We are stronger. As we grow, we realize our character is being stretched. Maybe we have more compassion. Maybe we’re more honest. Maybe we can recognize manipulators more easily. Whatever the case, if we let it, suffering can make us better people. Because of this, we can hope again. 

What do you think? Tell me about your experience in the comments below.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

 

 

Colorado Life Coach: Talking About The Difficult

Why don’t we like to talk about difficult things?

I’m from Colorado, so you know it’s alway safe to talk about the weather (if you don’t like it wait five minutes and it will change), or the Broncos (how do they continue to play poorly, but still win?).

I’m OK with safe topics; I like the weather and the Broncos just as much as any Colorado resident, but I want to go deeper. I want to talk about things that really matter.

What about you?

It seems that some people enjoy going deep. Others like to go deep, as long as they’re comfortable with the topic. Some people avoid difficult topics like the plague!

Why is that?

I think sometimes people don’t like to talk about difficult things because they are afraid. Maybe they think they can control their lives if they don’t deal with hard topics: death, divorce, victimization, abuse, neglect, addiction, mental illness.

Maybe it feels uncomfortable to sit or talk with someone who’s suffering. Is it because we might have to deal with our own fears, denial, issues around the topic, if we allow our friend to go there?

I think it might be easier to believe our friend or family member brought the trouble on themselves, than to believe that bad things sometimes happen to good people.

~Kids: If you see children misbehaving, it’s easier to blame the parents, than to admit some children behave poorly, even if they are parented well.

~Sickness: It’s easier to blame the person’s diet, lack of exercise, etc. than to accept that cancer is a part of life.

~Sexual assault: It’s easier to blame the victim (can you believe what she’s wearing?) than to understand that one in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

There are certainly times when our own character comes into play when bad things happen to us! If our children act poorly because we don’t discipline, that’s on us. If we get sick because we don’t take care of ourselves and we eat until we’re obese, that’s on us. If we are sexually assaulted because…no, there’s no situation that makes us take responsibility for this one.

But see what happens here? If we can figure out what happened to the other person, and make sure we don’t do it, then we don’t have to be afraid.

In other words, we don’t have to believe bad things happen to good people. We can blame the people and say it’s their fault.

But here’s the problem, we do live in a world where bad things happen to good people. We can certainly be wise, and live in ways to diminish our risks, but bad things still happen.

Some people’s children have learning or mental health issues totally unrelated to their parenting. In fact, some of the most amazing parents I know have children who began their lives in trauma. This early trauma (abuse, neglect, addiction, poverty) was not brought on by these parents, but their children act out a lot. Whether adoptive, foster, step or biological, some parents struggle against things that have nothing to do with their ability to parent well. It would be easier to blame them, because then we don’t have to think about things such as neglect and abuse.

It’s easy to say, “What a shame,” about the friend who’s been married for 30 years and is getting divorced. We could judge her for not being able to hold it together after her children left. I remember thinking this way years ago. I understand now that I may have no idea what she’s lived with, and what the intimate side of this marriage has done in her life. We don’t want to believe it can happen to us.

We victim blame when it comes to sexual violation. “What was she doing in that part of town?” “What did she think was going to happen?” Each of these statements or thoughts makes us feel that if we don’t do what she did, it won’t happen to us.

We can certainly take good care of ourselves, and take precautions, but blaming others doesn’t protect ourselves.

I’m wondering if this is why we don’t like talking about difficult things. Do we think we’re protecting ourselves? Of course we’re not actually able to control everything or everyone in the world. That’s the problem. If it were up to us, nothing bad would ever happen.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: Graduating To New Adoption

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Graduation.

I spoke at the graduation of some adopted children whose trauma has impacted their ability to receive love. These kids came from foreign countries to loving parents. They all suffer from reactive attachment disorder (RAD), which among other things, causes them to fight anyone who tries to get close to them.

This was a heartbreaking, beautiful, holy celebration. This was the end of 9 weeks of art, music and emotional therapy. The families who have been raising these children have been so worn out and traumatized by the controlling behaviors of the children, that they needed to ask for someone else to step in and help raise the children through to adulthood.

Picture the scene:

10 children from the school.

Parents who are relinquishing their child to another family.

New adoptive families with lots of training, taking the children home to be part of their family.

Family, friends, and supporters of the school.

Children’s artwork representing their hard emotional work.

Professional artwork of Rocky Matranga, sold to help families afford the school program.

The ceremony began with children playing their ukuleles, singing and dancing. Some children chose silly songs, but most selected deep, meaningful songs, or wrote their own to express their feelings of wanting to be loved, but struggling to accept it.

Tears flowed all around as one little girl cried, knowing she couldn’t return home due to her behavior and threats, but having the opportunity to begin again with a new family.

Rocky asked me to speak for the graduation. What an honor! What a challenge! All of these people, with their own emotions were in the same room at the same time.

I’ve spoken to all sorts of people, but this group was different.

These children’s lives started in trauma. Their brains didn’t wire correctly. They push away what most of us crave. They are beginning to understand this, and they want to change. Some of them have hurt their families or pets physically. Some have acted out sexually. Some have used emotional manipulation. Most know they have done hurtful things, and are starting to understand why. They are trying to take ownership of their traumatic start, as well as how it played out in their families. After the ceremony, one girl almost blamed her family for needing to find a new family to care for her, then she said, “I understand that my behaviors caused my family to need to seek a new home for me.” So horribly heartbreaking, but so wonderfully healing. I said, “Way to go. If you can keep taking responsibility (not for your trauma, but for your actions) you will go far. You’re healing. Keep going. You have a new chance with a new family.”

The relinquishing families brought a child into their families with their eyes open. They knew their child came from a difficult place filled with trauma. And yet, no one could have prepared them for the day-in, day-out struggles familiar only to those parenting traumatized children. If these parents had any unresolved issues in their own lives or marriage, the children would uncover them, and use them to destroy the parents. It’s something others just cannot understand, unless they’ve lived it. I have lived it. It’s hard for me to even remember sometimes, because of the trauma I experienced through this journey. As I walked into the room filled with attachment disordered children, however, I remembered. I remembered the anxiety oozing through the room. I remembered the panic, chaos, desperation, deception, charm, and inability to breath freely. When you don’t live with this, you absolutely cannot understand. When you’re not in it daily, you forget. I remembered as I participated in this graduation.

The new families sat nervously, knowing other amazing families had already given this child their best, for many years, and now it was their turn. Would they have what it took? Would they be able to make a difference? Would their training be enough? Would their family make it through this adventure?

This blog has taken me 10 days to complete. I have kept coming back to it, trying to figure out how to write what I experienced, while holding each of these groups of people (the children, relinquishing families, and new families) in my heart. I want so desperately to be able to convey what happened in that room with respect and dignity. I hope and pray that my words will be taken with the heart with which they were written.

These children are brave over-comers. There is hope for them. They are, and have been loved. I told them at the graduation that on behalf of humans everywhere, “I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. No child should have to live through abuse, neglect, trauma, and abandonment.” I continue to pray they will be able to accept love, and have lives filled with true relationships.

These relinquishing families are devastated. Their hopes and dreams for their families, children, marriage, and future have been dashed. Most likely, they are financially, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and psychologically depleted. If you know a family like this, please understand: they’ve beat themselves up far more than you ever could. Please offer them kindness and compassion. Understand they’ve lost a child, and they are grieving. Bring a meal. Send a card. Notice their pain, without blame.

These new families need help and support. If you know an adoptive family, especially those adopting older children, please offer to help. If you have any experience with attachment issues, offer to babysit. Make sure you do it without falling into the trap of triangulation. Bring a meal. Offer to drive to activities. Ask how it’s going, and believe what you hear, even if it sounds crazy. Support this family for the long-term.

Thank you so much for reading this post. It was hard to write, and I know it may be hard to read. Thank you for taking the time.

This post written by Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

 

 

Colorado Life Coach: Moms of Disruption/Relinquishment Retreat

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For several years, I thought I was the only one.

I had never heard of an adoptive mom who let her child go, for their own good, and the good of her family. I truly believed I was the only one. I felt alone, ashamed, guilty, grieved, hollowed out, dirty, cast-out. I felt undeserving of forgiveness and love.

What kind of a mother does this?

As I’ve healed and continued to seek answers, I’ve discovered there are many moms like me! I am most certainly not the only one!

I’ve met moms who have had to let their child(ren) go:

~For their own safety

~For the safety of other children or pets

~For their sanity

~For their marriage

~Because the child would never make it in their family, but they might make it elsewhere.

These are regular moms, like you and me.

They love children. In fact, they love children so much, they adopted a child, or a sibling group. They went through hours of training. They read books on parenting, adoption, attachment, and trauma. They prepared (or so they thought). They spent tons of money, worked the system, some of them traveled to other countries, and worked so hard to bring a total stranger into their home. They tried to become a family.

When it didn’t work, they were devastated.

Before this happened to us, we never would have imagined being one of “those” moms. We’ve all become members of a club none of us wanted to join.

We are the moms of adoption disruption, dissolution, or relinquishment.

And we hurt.

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Over the last several days, 8 of these suffering mamas met with me in Breckenridge, Colorado. We came together Sunday evening to meet each other and share some wine and cheese.

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They were nervous. Some of them said their husbands gently forced them to come! They all had different stories, but similar endings. Each believed they were the only one. Each believed they were bad people. Each had been judged, misunderstood, accused, and held accountable. None had received grace, validation, compassion, or help with their grief.

We worked on tough stuff.

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Fear, Anger, Sadness, Depression, Guilt, Shame, Isolation, Loneliness, Bitterness, Resentment, Denial, Protesting, Hurt, Grief, Letting Go.

At the end, I asked them how the retreat impacted them. Here are their words:

“Cathartic-being in the presence of other women who have been through the same thing.”

“Able to let go of the anger, and dreams that will never be.”

“Healing, tools, advice, answers, support, hugs, kinship, clarity, self-compassion.”

“I made myself feel.”

“I have the ability to work through tough stuff.”

“Helped me get closure.”

“Validating, healing, emotional strength.”

“I forgave myself.”

“Hearing others’ stories helped me know it will be OK. I’ll be OK.”

“I did a lot of grief work, and I needed that.”

“This was huge!”

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They left knowing better how to continue to heal. They want to grow. They want this to matter. They desire for their pain to have purpose. They want to live again. They want their families back. They want their children to succeed in life. They want to be whole and healthy again.

One mom shared this analogy: We are all running a relay race. For some of our children, we carried the baton for as long as we could. Then we passed the baton to someone else.

 

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We won’t be the ones to see them cross the finish line, but we ran our part of the race. We did the best we could, and we’re so thankful for the others who stepped in to help our children finish well.

It’s not how we dreamed it would be, but as we accept reality, we can dream again.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

 

Colorado Life Coach: This Sucks

IMG_2120My son and I are finishing up our first documentary film!

It’s been an interesting process, for sure.

Brendan has done all the filming, editing, lights, sound, and cinematography. He’s the creative one. He has a vision for the finished project before we start.

I remember taking Home Economics in Junior High School. You can tell my age by the fact that Home Ec. was a class, and by the fact that I attended a Junior High School, not a Middle School! During the sewing lessons, I could never see how the material I picked would look, once it was made into the pattern I was supposed to use. I’d hold it up, and lay the fabric around my body, trying to imagine what it would look like. I just couldn’t see it that way. I was usually surprised by the finished project (and not always in the good way).

This is sort of how it is with film-making for me. Brendan has a vision that he describes to me. I try to see it in my mind, but usually I’m totally off in how it actually turns out. What’s cool is, I’m usually surprised for the better! I’m truly amazed what he can do with the interviews we shoot.

IMG_1725I used to think film-making was glamorous. I’ve learned the truth! It’s long, sometimes boring, and depending on the topic, it’s emotionally draining.

The film we’re finishing tells the story of three families who adopted using the same adoption agency, from the same orphanage, at the same time, and all three children lived in the same room. Fourteen years later, all three of the children are living in other homes. It’s a tragic, but interesting story! How could this happen? What’s going on here?

The story screamed to be told. We needed to tell it. We needed to show it. We’ve lived it, and were amazed that there were (at least) 2 other families with the same story. We thought we were alone in this horrendous journey. They did as well.

This has been difficult!

~We had to tell our story again and again

~We listened to the heartbreaking story of these other families again and again

~Brendan had to watch and listen hundreds of times to be able to edit it together in a meaningful, yet interesting way

~Our story is traumatic, and it causes some Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms sometimes

~Brendan and I don’t always have the same vision for how we want the final product to look

We’re so close to being finished, and both of us are tired of the project.

Have you ever worked on something that you knew was important, you had passion for it, you wanted to do it, and it was horribly difficult to finish?

Me too.

This is how I felt as I was finishing my book last year at this time.

So we set it aside for a time. We come back to it with fresh eyes and ears, and a settled soul. We’ll get it done.

Just not today.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Title Credit: Brendan O’Toole

 

Colorado Life Coach: Waiting For…

IMG_1961Do you ever wait to do things until something else happens?

I find myself waiting to write a blog until I feel better, or until I have something more positive to say.

Sometimes I wait a long time.

I’ve been in that place for awhile now. It’s not that everything is horrible, it’s not. There are just several things I’ve been working on, and waiting for, and they’re not where I want them to be yet. So I wait.

How about you?

~Do you ever stay quiet waiting for something good to happen?

~Do you stop posting on Facebook because you don’t have anything good to say?

~Are you jealous of other people’s “happy families?”

~Do others seem to have it easier than you?

~Do you wonder why life is so hard?

~Is it difficult to move on when things are unfinished?

Me too!

Maybe this is “normal,” whatever that is!

I just know I’d rather write about positive things. I’d rather sound like I know what I’m doing, and have something brilliant to offer to others. I’d rather look like I’ve “arrived” through the tough circumstances. I’d rather feel like the expert who knows how to help others get through their tough spots. I’d rather not suffer anymore.

Sometimes I get discouraged by people who seem to have life figured out. Do you know who I’m talking about? They’re the one’s who encourage us to “take life by the horns,” “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” “Nothing’s going to stop me now” people.

When things are going along smoothly, I can get that way. I want to encourage others to not give up, that I’ve been there and they can do it too.

Other times, I’m down in the muck, like most other people.

It’s not too encouraging. But it’s real.

I’d rather be real, than a great example who’s faking it.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.


Contact Carrie O’Toole to schedule a confidential telephone call or appointment for coaching.