The PMDD hurdle

I suffer from PMDD. 

Literally been diagnosed and treated with antidepressants, but I didn’t like the side effects, so I deal with it naturally. Every month I face the kind of emotional and hormonal hell that literally makes me hate myself. 

Every Single Month. 

This is a far swing from the upbeat-badass-positive-thinking-mermaid-painting woman I usually am. I usually find myself having declining moods & energy & deep spiraling negative thoughts of all the sad things in my life that I can normally move past, until I reach the point where I’m driving back home after delivering my kids safely to school, sobbing till my eyes are puffy and scream-begging god for some kind of help. (Like I did a few minutes ago.) 

It SOUNDS crazy because it IS crazy. I’m not in my right mind. I’m sane enough not to hurt myself or anyone else, but in the words of Marcellus Wallace from Pulp Fiction, I’m pretty fricken far from OK. 

I am aware that it will pass, I know all the tricks and skills I should be using, but god help me; my mind and my body are simply not my friends at that moment. 

So I do the horrifically ugly cry till I’m exhausted and completely drained of the worst of it. I’ll be angry that I have to be like this, and tired of it. I will make my coffee with lots of cream and sugar the way I friggin like it. (Even though I know it doesn’t help this scenario.) I will tear down the miserable shell of me in the shower, put on some makeup, listen to something girly and angsty and loud, (Most likely Violet by Hole- I really like that one.) and think of what kind of woman I want to be- need to be- in order to fucking dominate the bullshit in my mind. 

I will bring out my art stuff and paint some fucking mermaids. Because I friggin like mermaids. I will write a bunch of stuff in a journal, and it will be strong and positive, because THATs the kind of woman I really am. I will finish my coffee and maybe have another cup, or not, I might not need it, but I will be stronger than I was in the past few days. 

You know why? 

Because God heard me and he knows I have important things to do, and he wants me to know he’s for me and my husband and my daughters and my friends. And the role I play in their lives is important too. Even though I have these moments of misery, I know I’m strong enough to tear down and rebuild fresh. Every month.

After writing this, I put on SiriusXM & Joel Osteen was on. He said something like ‘in the deepest part of our problems it feels like we’re buried under the weight of negativity. Can’t move, can’t see any light. But like a seed in the dirt, if we have the slightest bit of faith we can use that darkness to grow stronger and reach higher. The dirt that felt like it was trying to keep us down will turn into the fertilizer that makes us grow. When we spend that time in the dark, we will come out better and able to plant more seeds for good things. Become beautiful flowers and stuff.

That was pretty much exactly what I needed to hear. 

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Creative Resilience Retreat!

I’m excited to be taking a step in a new direction, so today I’m sharing information about my Creative Resilience mini-retreat, coming up June 23-25. 
What is the Creative Resilience Workshop?
Creative Resilience is mental and emotional resilience training that uses creative projects, journaling, and group discussion as a way to help participants fully engage in the training, remember to actually use it in daily life, and have a good time doing all of the above. 
Why creativity? What does that have to do with resilience?
It has been proven that there are five excellent, immediate, natural (and legal) ways to reduce stress in your mind & body:
1. Exercise 

2. Proper Nutrition 

3. Adequate Rest

4. Faith or belief in a Higher Power

&

5. Taking part in a Creative Practice. 

Creativity is a lot of fun and just challenging enough to stretch your perspective and really engage your brain. Doing creative work based on the resilience skills you’ll be learning means you’ll be spending more time contemplating the skills and examining ways to incorporate them into your life; really giving yourself a chance to let it all sink in. You will ultimately be creating a physical reminder to use those skills, in a style that has been personalized especially for you, by you. 
Who is the instructor and what are her credentials?
That would be me. I’m Nicole Sinay Torres, a certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach, US Army Master Resilience Trainer, Army wife and former FRG leader, mom of two teenage girls with Cystic Fibrosis, and a self-employed mural artist. I developed this workshop because I’ve experienced great results by using these skills and tools in my own life to navigate all the normal life challenges, as well as those special circumstances that seem determined to knock me flat on my assets and keep me down. I developed the Creative Resilience method of coaching over a span of five years, two certifications, and plenty of trial by fire. 
I also created and teach the Mini Masters Art Camp for the town of Aberdeen, (3 years running!) as well as the kids’ version of the Creative Resilience Workshop: “Creative Adventurer’s Club” for rising 6th -9th graders and “Unsinkable Creative Society” for girls ages 12-17, both offered through Sandhills Community College this summer!
When is the Creative Resilience Mini Retreat?
June 23rd-25th, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
Where is it being held?
We are meeting at the beautiful Creative Studios, 129 Main St, Vass NC. (910) 245-4129
How much does it cost?
Each day is $100 and includes all materials. If you sign up for all 3 days in advance, it’s $275. The reduced military rate is $185 for all 3 days. 
How do you sign up?
You can register and pay in advance by following this link and choosing one of the payment options. If you choose to pay with cash, you can email me at serendipitycoaching@mail.com to save your place. Supplies are limited; please let me know in advance which days you will attend so I can have all the materials you’ll need! 
https://squareup.com/store/SerendipityCreativeCoaching/item/
Select “Creative Resilience Mini Retreat” and choose the payment option that works for you. 
FAQ:
Q: I can’t attend every day, is this ok? 
A: Yes, you can choose which days you’d like to attend based on your schedule, but you get the best experience and value from attending all 3 days. 

Q: Will this course be offered any other times?
A: The course will repeat as long as there are people interested in attending, but costs may increase over time. Take advantage of the low rates while they last. If this schedule doesn’t work for you, I am available for individual coaching as well and can also work with your church, business, or team to give you a creative experience that’s as rewarding as it is fun! Creative Resilience Workshop attendees receive ongoing discounts on other classes, workshops, and coaching sessions from Serendipity Creative Coaching Services. Please contact me at serendipitycoaching@mail.com with questions.

Making Plans (haha)

So I’m outlining notes in preparation for my first attempt at writing a magazine article. One of a few cool but kinda scary things I have planned for this year. Not sure exactly what will go into the article or where the article will end up, but I know it will deal with creativity and resilience…two of the biggest elements that make up my life now more than ever before.  2016 was tough. I made it through stronger than ever, with more accomplishments than I anticipated. (I’m not normally a big accomplisher.) At the beginning of the year, a life shift put me in “just get through this” mentality, but I did a whole lot more than “just get through.” I became a certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach, developed & ran a second season of art camp for our town’s recreation department, I painted A LOT, I made many new friends, I kept my kids alive for another year, (not always easy when they seem determined to trigger homocidal impulses) I helped people, I saved a kitten, got rabies vaccines & sick as hell, said goodbye to a woman who gave me a sense of who I could be, instructed part of a woman’s retreat,  comforted friends & family members through hard times, traveled with my husband as we re-invented our marriage,  and I took on & accomplished a goal I’ve had for YEARS. I made it a priority to re-establish my self worth.  As a result, I’m really proud of my emergence from 2016.

I think I pegged it with the tiny scribble in the middle of this jumble: I triumph over the odds against me. There are many. 

I certainly didn’t choose the easy road paved with good choices or thorough planning, and I’ve pretty much ensured that the odds will almost always be stacked against me, but I do tend to rise above. I wouldn’t recommend my choices to my daughters; its probably a whole lot better to plan & follow a well-worn path of wisdom and informed decision making. (I wouldn’t know for sure; I’ve never tried it. *With the exception of hard drugs. I went with “informed decision making” for that life option. Gotta say that was a good choice. Don’t do drugs, girls.) But it’s good to know that even if things don’t turn out the way you planned, you have the option to fall apart or to get up & move forward. Even if you do fall apart for a while first. That’s normal. 

Two quotes I love: “we make plans and God laughs” (Yiddish proverb) and “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans” (John Lennon)

I found the John Lennon quote especially helpful when I first stopped working after my daughter Veronica was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. I planned on going back to work. I had my self worth all tied into my ability to make money, and we were kinda on the broke side. But once I learned to accept that life was simply about to change again, and I could choose to fight against it or roll with it, I figured I would see where it took me. * In all honesty, I was way too exhausted physically and emotionally to fight. It wasn’t some noble, peace-filled acceptance. It felt a whole lot more like defeat at the time. But it worked out beautifully anyway. (I became a mural artist, had another kid, trusted my husband to take care of us and he was amazing, etc. Thats a whole other story.)

And if God is laughing at my plans, as the Yiddish say he is, I’ve come to realize its not because he wants to see me suffer and fail. On the contrary; God’s been giggling at me the whole time because he knew I had more in me than what my little plans were going to let me settle for. I do question his sanity quite regularly. I don’t pretend to have it figured out or to even know exactly what I believe for sure. But I can tell you one thing: I trust God. 

Having said all that; my whole “blah blah, plans, whatever” belief system, where I basically threw out any planning whatsoever? Well, that doesn’t work 100% either. Its fine, but kinda boring, and you end up doing a whole bunch of stuff that works for other people -just without any of the passion or drive that gives life the “zing” factor, and you tend to disappear a little. But only the good side of you. The boring, bland, disappointing bits of you are really visible. So that mostly sucks. I learned that the hard way.

How do you proceed when your plans are laughed at, life is tossing you along without a map, and you’re settling for the well-meaning plans of other people? You start by getting curious. I’ve found when you get introspective and really curious about what makes you happy or excited to contribute to life,  the planning is enjoyable and the motivation, at the risk of sounding all new-agey and woo-woo,  is kind of divinely orchestrated. It feels natural, like its supposed to happen. And that’s how I know I need to put plans to action. 

But here’s the catch: I try not to get tied up in a certain outcome. I try to let go of expectations. I attempt to do what I feel its time to do and let whatever happens happen, and trust its gonna be good. It’s a very Kaizen Muse way of going forward. It’s not easy at first, but it gets easier with practice. (With enough practice, it starts to feel like play, and that’s REALLY awesome.)

Of course I have an idea of what I hope will happen. I have a picture in my mind of a desired outcome. But it almost never matches what happens in reality. Reality is usually better or proves to be a stepping stone towards the next thing, whatever that is. It’s always a learning experience if nothing else.

So here we are, 2017. I’m plotting out my notes. I’m excited and curious. I’m throwing ideas out there again. I have semi-plans. God’s laughing. 

I’m psyched for the punch line 😉