What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


What’s going on with everybody?

Posted on December 12, 2019 by Katy Byrne


We’ve all been through a lot lately. Power shutoffs shackling us to our phones, pounding rains, daylight savings time, impeachment hearings, fires, evacuations, hot to cold weather, lost income, illness, travel, family issues, etc. Did I miss anything? 

Powerlessness is hard. My hair stood on end along with so many of you. Meanwhile, bills rolled in relentlessly, family challenges continued – but also gratitude and joy. Now bright bobbles hang like fruit from trees while we cuddle up at home. 

Our lives move along, but some residue of shock remains in our psyches. “Katrina brain” is a term created by a university professor named Sakanya who describes the way our minds feel jumbled after stress or disaster. Our normal scaffolding has been disturbed. We want to enjoy, but dreams, memories, or unexpected moods can pop up. It’s a season for distraction and fun and it’s equally important to be gentle and kind towards yourself (and others) after all you’ve been through. 

At this colder time of year I get flashbacks of my parents. I miss them. I long to have my dogs in my lap. But, Toodles and Willie are gone and life moves on. Grief or discouragement pulls us down; it’s like being in molasses, but it can pass. Sorrow is normal. So, accept emotional shifts and get more rest. 

If you felt like an upside-down cake, remember that life can be both messy and delicious. Hair trigger emotions can run through us. Try to regulate those without hurting yourself or others. Be helpful to others and careful on the road. 

Do small step helps to feel well…clean cabinets, find support, talk to long-lost relatives, have an emotional hairball with someone you trust – or dust the hairballs from under your bed, enjoy social times, alone time, volunteering, music, baths, or anything not harmful that helps you. Tiny actions can stop depression from sapping your energy. Don’t just sit in the dark. We’ve already done that!

In this culture, we feel pressure to “be up” or “get it up”… But life is too rambunctious, too wild. We simply can’t avoid the losses, wounds, and failures that come into our lives. What we can do is bring compassion to what arrives at our door and meet it with kindness and affection. (Francis Weller)

Being human or being alone is a part of life and it includes a range of experiences. Weller writes: “The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them.” 

Be tender with your imperfect life! Allow waves of responses in yourself as you digest all that life brings – even too much sugar! 

Be forgiving of yourself for forgetfulness or ornery, weird moods. Make amends where appropriate and give others permission to be curmudgeons, unless they’re just plain abusive…then move along. Life requires humor, resiliency, and acceptance. 

Watch the bouncing ball and manage your anger, rest if you’re frustrated, and be careful with your emotional hairballs.



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