Relationship Blues?

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a very short camping vacation with my husband, Annika and Lukas (and Bella, of course.) I’m so excited because I’ve never been there before. It’s place called Orange Beach, Alabama right on what we call “The Redneck Riviera.” That’s where all the pasty, beer-bellied, mullet sporting southerners go for a spot to hunker down on a beach next to their beer cooler. I love it because it makes me feel like I look pretty good in my bathing suit, 60 year-old body notwithstanding. (I never use that word. Cool.) To divide the trip up a little bit, we’re stopping over in New Orleans, which is about seven hours away. The campsite is within walking distance from the French Quarter, but the crime outside the perimeter is so bad that they recommend taking a cab. So, we’ll crawl the Quarter from bar to bar, listening to New Orleans jazz, down a couple of Hurricanes and slither back to the RV. In the morning before we leave for Orange Beach, we’ll have beignets and café-au-lait at the historic breakfast place, Café du Monde. Near Orange Beach, there’s this place right on the Florida/Alabama border called Florabama. I don’t know much more about it other than it’s a venue for bands and is sort of a local icon. I’ll try to vlog everything, and my plan is to continue to post daily. Here are some photos:

Orange Beach

Orange Beach



Café du Monde

Café du Monde

The French Quarter

The French Quarter

The French Quarter

The French Quarter

Okay, Erik. I’ll shut up now. Your turn.

Me: What about people who have problems bouncing back from lost relationships? Now we’ve talked about bouncing back from a death, but a lot of people lose relationships or whoever: boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, friend, and family.

Erik: Divorce.

Me: What do you do when you lose a relationship and you just can’t bounce back? At least tell me in general what that’s all about.

Erik: Mom, the way you’re wording it, that has to be an individual conversation for every single person who’s lost a relationship. I can’t give the answers for how to bounce back from that. You just have to go back to asking how you’re feeling and acknowledge what that’s like. You have to acknowledge all of the emotions that are in there because you might not just be sad. You might have a part of you that’s totally relieved that you’re divorced because maybe you were mistakenly showing love by being loyal to a commitment that didn’t allow you to be happy. Now it’s broken and all of a sudden you can see—

Jamie (laughing): He rolls his eyes.

Erik: “Holy cow! I was being loyal to someone who wasn’t allowing me to be happy!” And now you have the chance to be happy. You might all of a sudden be feeling scared because you’re by yourself, but it wouldn’t necessarily be sad. So just sitting down and being able to analyze how you’re feeling it and when you’re feeling it and for what reason can help you bounce back from anything. Now if you’re feeling like you’re bouncing back and then bouncing back in, up and down and then kind of going all over the place and you’re not ending up on a path that lets you move forward in a way that you’d like, then that’s when you lean on someone who’s a therapist, who’s a life coach—someone who fits you. I will say—

Jamie (laughing): It’s like he’s preaching now.

Erik (in the tone of a preacher): I will say—

Me: Can I hear an amen?

Jamie laughs.

Erik: I like mindfulness therapy.

Me: What is that?

Erik: And life coach therapy. It gets you out of saying, “My needs and my thoughts stem from a reality that is my truth.” Mindfulness therapy gives you the opportunity to say, “You know what? The thoughts I perceive might be coming from another source. It might not even be coming from me. They probably aren’t real for me either,” when your thoughts are saying, “You should be over this relationship. You should be happy. You shouldn’t be feeling like shit.” And you’re starting to live that feeling like shit. So when you go to a therapist, you need one who understands, “What are your thoughts doing for your emotional status?” And again, this is for the people who are bouncing all over the place and not feeling like they’re guiding themselves emotionally in the way that they want to. They have to have a therapist who understands them enough to say, “Hey, those thoughts that you’re having? They actually don’t hold any truth whatsoever; so let’s get them out of your line of sight. You can hold onto them. You can put them over to the side or in your pocket or in your lap, but no longer keep them right in front of your eyes. If you keep them here (Erik holds both palms in front to his face) then everywhere you look is, “Stop feeling like shit. Stop feeling like shit.” And it’s all you can think about—how you feel like shit. So it’s helpful, if you’re bouncing all over the place, to lean on a therapist that understands how you work. You gotta research them, people! You can’t just go (twirling his finger aver the table): I’m just going to pick one out of a hat. Voila!”

Me: So how do you get one? How do you find the right one? I always use the Yellow Pages and that doesn’t work.

Jamie laughs.

Me: Just kidding.

Erik (Palms in front of the computer): Angie’s List!

Me (Laughing): There we go! Look for a mindfulness coach.

Erik: Well I’m kind of serious because three’s an medical Angie’s List, and people throw down on how people are in their therapy sessions to help people find great therapists, but there are accredited locations that really have great referrals. If you can’t find a friend who’s had an experience with a therapist or life coach—“Coached Anonymous”—no, that’s not what it is. CTI or—

Make up your mind!

Erik: [Certified] International Get online. You can find these places that are state by state and give really good referrals. But I’m not kidding. Angie’s List has that medical line where you can get other people’s opinions if you don’t want to ask your friends because for some reason you want to keep that shit a secret.

Me: Oh, yeah. Now is there really something called “Mindfulness Therapy?” I mean, are there therapists who do the whole mindfulness thing?

Erik: Yes. Yes.

Me: Now in some relationships, I feel like there’s some sort of spiritual contract like you’ve gotten what you need, spiritually, you know, spiritual lessons from that person and it’s time to move on, and sometimes you have to move on because you need to find self-empowerment, you know, because all of a sudden the spouse was taking care of the whole money thing, and they’re gone. What do you do? You have to get a job for the first time. Anyway, tell me about those contracts and self-empowerment or other contracts that may go along with those lost relationships that you’re not bouncing back from.

Erik: Loss of relationships. We can take that as death, separation or divorce.

Me: Mm hm.

Erik: Okay?

Me: Yeah.

Erik: Like you were mentioning, financial security-that’s sometimes a contract. Or maybe they’re in a relationship where a person takes care of everything. Everything. And you don’t do any of it. All of a sudden they’re gone. That’s giving you the opportunity to discover who you are and how you would behave in challenging moments. Maybe in that relationship you weren’t offered challenging moments. You were just given the world. These are good duality moments where you can learn the other side of yourself.

Me: Well that’s like if you divorce your husband, all of a sudden, you’re going to be the one who changes the oils and squishes the cockroaches. That’s gross.

Jamie laughs.

Me: That would keep me in a relationship for sure!

Jamie keeps laughing, but harder.

Me: All right. Go on.

Erik: There are relationships that end so that you can be a better parent. There are relationships that end so that you can learn to discuss your emotions. That’s a big one.

Me: We’re talking about spiritual contracts, right?

Erik: Yes.

Me: Okay.

Erik: [Another one is] to learn how to speak about your emotions. There are spiritual contracts in sharing. A lot of times when relationships end, like in a divorce and separation, you have to learn equality, fairness, sharing and integrity. Those are great opportunities to do that if you have kids and family.

The telephone rings.

Me: Telephone, Oh well. This is real life, guys.

Erik (in a high, squeaky voice): Who is it?

We both chuckle.

Me: It’s a solicitation.

That’s all we get on our landline.

Me: Hopefully it’s not the IRS!

The telephone continues to ring.

Erik: We should pick it up and start interviewing them.

Me: Yeah! That’s a good idea. “Hello, you’re talking to a dead spirit.” Well, I guess all spirits are dead, but… Go on; go on. I interrupted.

Erik: No, those are the main ones if we’re looking in general for the separation of relationships or the end of a relationship.

Have a great Thursday, peeps. Be sure to try out the new chat box!

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Elisa Medhus

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  • T Diaz

    have fun, elisa. new orleans is one of my top 10 places traveled. laissez les bon on temps roule! I think I spelled that wrong lol.

  • cyndi wilkins

    After the winter we have had here in New England, I would love to hang out on that beach with a bunch of beer bellied southerners! Mullet and all:)

    • I feel right at home with that bunch. I’m a simple country girl who likes my cut offs and flip flops, my unmanicured nails and my Target t-shirts. No mullet or beer belly yet, though.

  • HSB

    Therapist here. Just thought I’d comment on what Erik was saying about “life coach therapy” and how to pick a therapist. There are currently over 400 modalities (ways of practicing/theoretical frameworks) of therapy. Each therapist will have a different way of practicing, and many say they’re “integrated/eclectic” therapists – meaning they use a variety of modalities which reflect their own perceptions/biases about how we humans work. However, since each client is unique and has different needs, it can be challenging to have a perfect fit for everyone who walks in the door. I’d recommend contacting therapists through referrals, or if you just have to pick, based on the style you feel might fit for you. Most therapists offer a free 15-30 minute consultation by phone or in person so you can chat with them and get a feeling of what they are like. Think of questions ahead of time – what do you need to know in order to determine whether they’ll be a good fit? You can also ask them about how they work. Some are directive (encourage you to act, give you concrete ideas), some are indirect (ask you lots of questions, look at the “why” first). It depends if you just want to vent/get some empathy (which is fine if you’re honest that that’s what you need right now), or if you want to be more active and challenge yourself for change. CBT therapists work a lot with thoughts/beliefs and how they work with emotions. “Life coaching therapists” have more of a direct approach to change but they work with a variety of modalities including CBT. Mindfulness therapists are usually those that work with anxiety or trauma – they help you focus more on the present and reduce fear. Psychodynamic therapists work more with the “why” – the subconscious, the past, the unconscious obstacles. Family therapists work with family systems and roles. Trauma therapists can be trained in body-centered therapy and EMDR (a way of neurologically processing trauma). Narrative therapists help you externalize “problems” and look at the story you’re telling about the “problem.” And there are many many more. Some therapists get trained in a variety of these, so it might be helpful for you to research the kinds of therapy and look at which ones might fit best for you. The important thing is to be pro-active for yourself and ask lots of questions – therapists don’t mind answering and want to make sure they’re likely to be a good fit for you too! And if you’re not sure if the therapist is right for you, say that you’d like to try 1 session and see how it goes. Most will be understanding if you decide to try someone else early on. It just gets difficult if you stay for several sessions even though you’re not sure about them – be honest about your feelings and give feedback if you feel safe enough to. Your therapist can be flexible and change things too. They just need to know what you’re thinking and feeling – we’re not mind readers either. 🙂

  • Aimee

    I live about 25 minutes from the French Quarter in Slidell. IM me on FB if you need any advice on the Crescent Cily

  • Phylliss

    “pasty, beer-bellied, mullet sporting southerners go for a spot to hunker down on a beach ………….. and that’s just the women…….

    “‘Business in the front, party in the back”. —-Joe Dirt

  • Phylliss

    Just kidding! We’re all gorgeous! (fellow Houstonian) Soooo, can Erik help his Mom out, just a little at the Casino, if opportunity presents itself?

  • No lie. I live on the Mullet River in Wisconsin. We call it the Mighty Mullet. Most of the time it is only ankle deep. LOL

  • canary27

    Ironically, for some reason I’ve been seeing new Orleans in some places. A dream I had that featured a person that was born in new Orleans( I found that out when I looked it up), I was watching a tv show and one of things the teacher asked was what city is known for its jazz… new Orleans, this post, and a associate of mine telling me the dream may not necessarily be about a person but about the location. I hadn’t thought about that until she said it. I’m actually supposed to be going to New Orleans this August.These synchronicities could just be me or it could be something that pointing me towards something. I guess I just have to wait and see what the universe is trying to tell me. This can be really confusing.

  • lsm

    Hope you are having fun. We will be in Gulf Shores in a little over a. I have been to Florabama many times. I like the fact that it is something we can share. It is not the Met, but it is fun. Go without expectations, and enjoy the dance. I will be looking for signs that you and Erik were there in July. 🙂

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