Recovering From Recovery
We became mothers in the midst of trauma. We bonded with our children while we battled our brains. We know how to mother through the fog of war.
We are warriors.
And we won.
You thought that once you were healed you’d feel secure as a mother, but instead there is still so much fear. Fear of losing the life you’ve worked so hard to put back together. Fear of needing too much, of asking for that one last thing that finally pushes everyone away.
And there’s the guilt and shame that comes with having been so vulnerable for so long.
And the anger at how deeply, utterly unfair the entire experience of maternal mental illness is.
You survived the crisis points, you made it through the war, maybe you went to therapy or to support groups, maybe you took medication and made diet changes. Maybe you tried a little of everything. Now that we are healed (or healing) how do we create new ideas of what healthy motherhood looks like? It looks like taking the time to discover who you are as a healthy person, as a healthy mom.
It looks like consciously designing your life to play to your strengths.
It looks like building community and connection.
It looks like being flexible and learning to trust ourselves.
It looks like having realistic expectations of ourselves and others.
It looks like being able to communicate our needs.
It looks like being able to manage strong feelings (and knowing when to get help).
It looks like finding confidence and courage.
It looks like having purpose and meaning beyond our children.
It looks like being able to see the big picture.
It looks like being able to laugh and to embrace humor.
It looks like being able to care for ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally.
It looks like being able to set boundaries on what and how we give to others.
In short – it looks a lot like resiliency.
We have done so much work to heal ourselves, our relationships, our families. And even still a lot of us are walking around with fresh new skin covering those wounds. We are sensitive, we are careful, we know exactly what there is to fear. Focusing on building our resilience and adding some layers to that fresh new skin is something that we all need, but is another thing that no one warned us about.
I created Recovering From Recovery to help mamas like me. I was recovered. I had my life back. But I was terrified of losing it all. My only experience of motherhood had been trauma, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and recovery. I felt like a brand new mom again learning to navigate life as a healthy mama. Focusing on resiliency led me to a new level of recovery and a new understanding of myself. To a new level of healing and freedom.
Then, I started focusing on it with my clients.
I wanted to know if these principles would still help mamas with kids who were elementary school age, middle school aged, and beyond. And the answer is yes. What ties us together is how our motherhood began – not how old our children happen to be now.
So how will this all work?
We are going to work through it all together. Recovering From Recovery is a group coaching program for mothers who have experienced a mental illness. You do NOT have to have been officially diagnosed. You NOT have to consider yourself fully healed. You do NOT have to be ‘finished’ with therapy, medication, or anything else that helps you to be healthy.
You DO have to be ready to:
Meet with a group of fewer than ten moms once a week this Fall (September 8 – Nov 17). We will me via video conference, Saturday mornings at 10 eastern. Each week we’ll work through one of the Pillars of Resiliency together.
Week One: Welcome – Meet and greet your group, talk through our recovery stories, set our intentions for the Fall.
Week Two: Self-Care In Community – what are your strengths and weaknesses? Who in your life can remind you of the first and help eliminate up the second? How do we create community online and in real life that supports and fills us?
Week Three: Flexibility and Fear – are you locked into a routine? How well do you deal with change? How is your reaction connected to your experience of anxiety, panic, or mental illness?
Week Four: The Real World – setting realistic expectations of ourselves, our children, our friends, and families. Are we expecting too much? Too little? How to find that Goldilocks space in our lives.
Week Five: Communication – how to speak up for what you need and want, how to say no with courage and grace. What mode of communication suits you the best?
Week Six: Feeling the Feelings – what are the feelings that trigger you? How can we accept our feelings without getting lost in them? How do we know we need help with strong feelings? Who do we reach out to?
Week Seven: Confidence vs Courage – what is the difference between the two? Which one do we need to focus on? How can we cultivate them in our lives?
Week Eight: Wide Angle Lens – when you pull back and look at the big picture where is your life headed? What is it that you want?
Week Nine: LOL – a sense of humor can be the biggest weapon in our resiliency arsenal. When was the last time you were silly? Ridiculous? Absurd? What is your humor style and how can you integrate that into your life?
Week Ten: Self-Care – How can you care for yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually? What do those concepts mean to you?
Week Eleven: Boundaries – What boundaries do you need to set or need help holding? How can you model healthy boundaries for your children and your family?
Week Twelve: Wrap-Up – Where do you go from here? Next steps.
Each week we’re going to spend 90 minutes in community with each other. This is a community made up of moms who are survivors of postpartum depression, anxiety, or OCD (or a mix). I WILL NOT ACCEPT MORE THAN TEN MEMBERS. This is a space to be honest and brave with each other about where we are and where we want to be. We need to keep the community intimate for this work to happen. I will lead you through these discussions and yes, there will be homework each week!
Who Is This Program For?
This is for you if you consider yourself a survivor of a maternal mental illness. If you use the word ‘had’ to describe your experience.
If your experience was years ago, your children are older, and you know it still affects you this is for you.
If you are newly healed and just beginning life after recovery, this is for you.
If you never were formally diagnosed this is for you.
If your postpartum anxiety is now generalized anxiety or if your postpartum depression is now clinical depression, this is for you.
If you never told anyone about your experience, this is for you.
If you are an advocate and peer supporter, this is for you.
If you are a therapist or coach who is wonderful at helping others but needs some help for yourself, this is for you.
If you lived through postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis or a traumatic birth and you want support to help live a happier, healthier life this is for you.
Who am I?
My name is Graeme Seabrook and all I ever wanted to be was a mom. Until it happened. I got my wish and it was NOTHING like I thought it would be. Having my son nearly destroyed my life.
The depression, anxiety, trauma, panic, flashbacks – numbness, rage, fear, pain these are the things that motherhood brought me. There was a wall between me and the rest of the world. It was summer in the south and suddenly everything in my life was too bright, too hot, too much. I closed the door to my house, my heart, and shut the world out.
Fall brought recovery. Doing the work in therapy and at home. Taking my meds, eating, sleeping, learning about my broken brain and learning to mend my broken life. Fall was a time of rebuilding for me. It is still my favorite time of year.
And yet it was a summer day four years ago when I came to the revelation that led me here. I met therapist Kate Kripke at a conference for survivors of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and she said something that changed my life. She said that the next part of our journey was to “recover from recovery”. I don’t know if she was the first to coin the phrase, but she was the first to say it to me and I will be forever grateful.
In 2017 I took the first class through the Recovering From Recovery Program. Here is a little of what they had to say about it:
“I know so many mamas who are functioning but not thriving...one group that would especially benefit are preemie mamas. It's deep work, not easy work, but gigantic rewards. And Graeme is really fun and there's a good mix of humor, so it feels hopeful and doable.” Lisa, mom of two
“Solidarity is always nice. Having a set topic with assignments to keep me on track. But also allowing the group conversation to flow not only with the topic, but with a "what's up this week". Recovery is an ongoing process, and this group helps you think of things that could pop up in the future, and how to handle them. It also really helps with self-care, as well as getting stuff in line in the here-and-now so your recovery CAN continue. Also, Graeme is AWESOME!” Samantha, mom of one
“For anyone who has felt broken and is ready to take back control, this group will help you find a better normal than you had before. It will remind you how powerful you can really be in your own life.” Sara, mom of two
Mama, I know the fear that comes with every bad day - that this is the one that will send you spiraling back down. I know that you’re trying desperately to be the perfect mom to make up for all those early months (or years).
I get it. But it does NOT have to be this way.
There is another layer of healing. And you do not have to go there alone. Join us.
Early Bird Enrollment for the 2018 Session of RfR Begins August 1!
We would love to have you join the 2018 Session. sign up for the wait -list below to get early bird access to enrollment!