National Suicide Prevention Month, Mental Health Awareness Month & Positive Culture

September is National Suicide Prevention Month; October is Mental Health Awareness Month and I can’t help but put an emphasis on the adoptee community as these occasions approach. I’ve learned in my own personal journey, that one day I can be sitting on the mountains, living life to the fullest and the next day I can be navigating a downhill battle that last for hours, days, weeks and sometimes months.

Whatever I experience in life weather it be hardships, or things to celebrate I like to share them with people, especially the adoptee community. Let me be clear, I can’t even sit here and act like I have all my sh*t together. I don’t and the last 4-6 weeks of my life have been exceptionally difficult. I tend to stay to myself, I get quiet, I withdraw, and I embrace a season of solitude so I can “get myself together.”

As an adoptee, I can pour myself into areas where other people “need me” but when I need the same services, “Everything is fine.” I have no idea how to ask others for help when I’m down and out. I have learned by being adopted, suffering in silence is what feels natural and normal to me because I’ve been doing that my whole life.

It is my normal.

However, I recently am trying to change things to be an example to others. I know it will be easier said than done, because I’ve been isolating and embracing seasons of aloneness for 46 years when I have adoptee problems. It’s hard to just “step out of the boat” and say, “EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY! I AM NOT OKAY.”

We’ll today I decided I want to be transparent with a few areas I have been struggling with, and it’s not easy for me to do. I just hope it will help another adoptee be “okay” with the space they are at, and embrace all the season in our lives, not just the upbeat, happy and positive ones. One way I’m working on changing things for myself, is I’m going to write about it but first things first.

I AM CURRENTLY NOT OKAY.

MORE THAN LIKELY, MANY OF US AREN’T OKAY.

It’s okay to not be okay…

I will write about it soon, but for now I want to touch on another topic.

When so many people are spinning “Positive Culture” narratives, it doesn’t leave room for anyone’s heartache, mental health issues, and pain. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the positive culture vibes, but we’re in the middle of a pandemic and all the racial tensions, and the elections coming. Covid-19 is here and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, nor are the other circumstance so many are going through. We really must save space for others to sit at our table who are having real true struggles. Adoptee struggles and non-adoptee struggles. Let me be honest, most of the time people need a listening ear from someone who won’t cast judgement. Believe it or not, that’s so hard to find these days.

For those who don’t seem to be struggling like others, please, please, please don’t forget to save space for others who are having a hard time. We can’t fix other people, or their circumstances, but we can listen, be there and be an ear for them to share their hearts. It could be life or death.

I have significant struggles not wanting to be a burden to anyone and reaching out to other for help in a typical way is almost always nonexistent. I have a few select close people who I know I can be transparent with, but even then, it’s hard to actually “Ask for help.” What asking for help looks like to me is sharing with those I’m close too that we need to talk on the phone or in person so we can “TALK TRASH!” What does talk trash mean? Having a huge b*tch session. Whatever we are going through at that time, we save space to b*tch about it with no judgement. I need those kinds of friends in my life, and I have a hard time allowing anyone in my life where I can’t be myself. B*tching about our realities is a new way of life! Especially in the middle of a pandemic. I can assure you, that after you release all the things being held inside, you will feel better! It’s a matter of finding the right people to allow you to have a relationship where b*tching is welcome.

As National Suicide Awareness Month Approaches as well as National Mental Health Awareness, I want to start writing about some of my experiences and struggles I’ve been having over the last few months. I want to b*tch. I want to be real, raw, and transparent because I know so many of my fellow adoptees will be able to relate to these struggles, and non-adoptees as well. Sometimes writing is the easiest way for me to share my feelings, because no one can interrupt me, shut me down or try to tell me how to feel. This is something that’s happened to adoptees since the beginning.

Writing changes the game for that.  As I wrap this up, I would love to challenge you to find a way to share your feelings regarding all we are going through in our current lives. It might be starting a blog, where you can pour your thoughts out or even starting a v-log. It might be creating a public Facebook page or website where you can share your thoughts. It might be finding that one friend you can call and TALK TRASH WITH!

Please believe that you aren’t alone in feeling the way you do, and you can and will inspire others when you share your struggles, strengths, and experiences. Especially now.

Let’s get to b*tching.

Adoptee Transparency, If no one else in your life is saving space for you to b*tch, I’m saving space for you to b*tch.

Ready, set, go…

Adoptee Love Forever,

My Future & My Flip Phone

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I’ve had a long time dream of being able to completely disconnect from electronics, and my smartphone but unfortunately a few things have stood in the way of this dream coming to life.

Until recently…

With the new Covid-19 coming to our communities, and peoples ignorance showing their true colors on social media has truly changed my life forever. I will never forget how many people posted 100x a day on their social media platforms regarding Covid-19 TELLING ME (and everyone else) what they need to be doing during this insane and intense time. I’m immediately turned off by these types of people, because it just so happens there is a possibility not everyone believes like you, so who are you to be TELLING OTHERS what they need to be doing? SMH. Disgusting!

In my opinion, social media has been designed to distract people from what’s really important and it has an addiction component to it. Social media is easiest accessible via our smartphones, smart tablets, computers, etc which are portable and we have become accustomed to taking them everywhere we go. I would suggest what’s really important to an individual person is different and we each have to navigate the path that best suits us at that present stage of our lives. Maybe social media is your only connection to the outside world, or maybe your smart devices keep you alive for various reasons? I get it. Everyone is in different spaces, I’m sharing where I’m at. 

One of the main reasons I’ve procrastinated on getting a flip phone and following my heart is because of how dependent we all become to our smartphone devices. Between GPS, Banking, Emails, Social Media, Music,  we’re truly on our phones sometimes hours a day. I don’t know about you, but especially during Covid-19 the obsession I’ve developed with checking my social media, emails, news, etc on my smartphone has increased greatly and become unhealthy for me. I realize this because I wasn’t giving my brain any “Down time” from processing information, and it was showing in my mental and emotional health. Time is the most valuable thing I have so I had to ask myself a question.  Do I really want to continue to waste the most valuable thing I have by sacrificing my time for my smartphone? 

I’ve learned over the last 5 years or so, that the most fulfilling times in my life are when I’m out in nature, either alone or with those I’m close too and I’m disconnected from all technologies all together. I’m sure you’ve noticed when you are around your friends and family, and even sitting at the doctor’s office almost everyone is on their smartphones. Even when you might only have one hour a month to actually sit and visit someone in person, they are still glued to their smartphones. I can raise my hand at being one of these people, but I can also raise my hand that things are changing for me and I no longer want to be that person. 

In respecting my time, I would like to respect the time of those I’m close to as well. 

I’m on call for work 24/7 so turning my smartphone off like most people can do, isn’t an option. I always have to have it right there, so this has caused me added stress and anxiety to feel like I have to be attached to this smartphone, and I have no choices like disconnecting from it like others do. My dilemma was how could I purchase a flip phone but still have my smartphone for small doses of use?  I finally found a solution in making this happen and I couldn’t be more happy with my decision. What it’s allowed me to do is keep my smartphone, but I keep it in airplane mode 95% of the time, and the other 5% is the only time I spend on it but using it for specific things that I’m not ready to sacrifice yet.  What would those things be? GPS to find hiking trails, my music, the little social media I still have, banking and email. As soon as I’m done, I turn it back off to airplane mode. 

My flip phone is basically for calls and text ONLY. Texting is only able to be done by voice command, because the only other option is typing each letter out the old school way which will take forever. 

I’ve been struggling with this internal tug-of-war regarding electronics for a while now. There is a true thing regarding addictions to electronics, and I’ve become increasingly aware of this over the last few months. However it’s something that’s been on my mind for years. As I grow in my personal journey, things shift and I hope they continue to shift, because that means I’m continuing to grow. Sitting around on the internet and being glued to smart devices and the television is not the life I want to live. I want to be free to be me, and the only way to do that is make significant changes in my mind, body and spirit. To be completely honest, social media and the internet give me significant anxiety and knowing this has allowed me to accept it and make changes. 

I’ve become increasingly turned off by turning the television on and I truly feel with my whole heart that it’s a blood sucker of time. If I’m completely honest, I hate the television. I hate to see others living their lives through the television shows. Not knocking any television watchers at all, it’s just not for me. I want to be out living my own life, and having amazing experiences in the process. To the root of my core, making memories is what pulls on my heart strings. 

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I want to be able to call my friends on the phone, and catch up with them like we used to do in the old school days. I want to be able to see them in real life, and to hug them like real friends do. I want to be able to make memories because in the end that’s truly all we have to hang onto, and when our memories fade hopefully we will capture memories in photographs that we can keep a lifetime. 

Another thing I’m investing in soon is a camera where I don’t become so dependent on my smartphone to keep my photos. You would be surprised at how social media sites, google, and anywhere on the internet want to keep your photos forever, and when you try to delete them they don’t allow you too. It’s happened to me a lot, and it’s really infuriating to me. So I’m making this change, so I have all my photos backed up on a camera and my laptop and I’m bypassing the smartphone as much as possible. 

 The other dynamic I’ve done much research on over the last few months is the RF EMF sensitivities that many of us have, but most people have no clue the symptoms they have might be related to Electromagnetic Frequencies that are everywhere around us at all times. There truly is no running from it, because our government is behind us being exposed to these toxic frequencies but we can ALL DO OUR PART in making changes in our personal lives for our health and happiness.  I’ve stopped using all bluetooth devices and I will be opting out at upgrading to any of these products in the future.

For inquiring minds, there are many negative symptoms of RF EMF exposure and they cause significant sensitivities in our bodies. Keep in mind – YOUR DOCTORS OR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS ARE NOT GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT THIS. We have to do our own research. I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO THE RESEARCH! Your health and happiness depends on it. 

 How to Reduce Your EMF and RF Exposure is a wonderful article. It says, “Because the brain and the heart are intricately connected and function with the highest density of voltage-gated calcium channels (you can think of these as electrical control centers within cells) compared to the rest of the body, these organs are the most susceptible to the damaging effects of low-intensity EMFs. When the intracellular signaling becomes disrupted, biological functioning becomes disrupted, meaning our bodily functions and systems are disrupted, leading to hormonal changes, impaired fertility, oxidative stress, emotional dysregulation, DNA damage, disrupted melatonin, and the breakdown of the blood-brain-barrier, among others.” 

Within the same year of having our WiFi router in my bedroom, I was diagnosed with Melanoma (in March) and not long before this I started having heart issues. Both resulted in surgeries but I never made the connection until recently by researching RF EMF sensitivities that there could very well possibly be a correlation. Of course there are other factors that could play a role, but RF EMF exposure could also play a role. It also doesn’t help that the cell and WiFi towers are right outside my bedroom window where I live. 

The more I research this topic and learn the toxicities of smart devices, WiFi, and RF EMF radiation that is radiating our bodies, the more disconnected I want to be. Knowledge is power, and I challenge you to start researching RF EMF sensitivities and eliminating as much as possible from your life. Document the changes you see. I plan on using my website to document my changes with my followers. 

Earthing and grounding has come to the forefront while I navigate this new chapter of img_9165my life. Not only is it healing to my mind, body and spirit but it’s something natural that’s been around for as long as the earth has been around. Go outside, take your shoes and socks off, and walk around in the grass, dirt, or sand. Connect with the earth and research the healing properties this will bring. Who I recommend you research is Clint Ober – Ultimate Longevity. Clint is the innovator behind the earthing and grounding movement. This movement has literally changed my life. I now sleep grounded at night, and I can notice a significant change in my health. Click the link above to learn more.

My future & my flip phone is only the beginning for me. While I move forward in life, I’m going to come up with more ways to disconnect from the electronic world as we all know it while increasing my connections with Mother Earth, and my close friends & family who I have in my life. I still want to share my nature adventures, because they have been the true pathway of healing for me in hopes to inspire other adoptees and anyone else that might follow my journey. Nature has been my #1 recommended resource for healing so please consider getting outside. You won’t know the healing benefits of this, until you try. 

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been able to talk to some of my close friends on the phone using my old school flip phone, and I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it’s been to hear their voices, and talk trash like friends do! That’s what I want at the forefront of my life in my relationships. I don’t want to live through social media anymore. Of course I will post some, really to inspire others but life is not to be lived through smart devices. It’s to be lived by going outside and living it. As always, I’m continuing to set more boundaries for myself, my life and my future. People don’t have to understand it, which is totally okay. My heart desires true, organic, intentional friendships. I won’t settle for the fake illusion that social media gives any longer. 

I do challenge you to try to step into a new way of life by entertaining the thought that too much time on smart devices might just be what’s standing in the way of you living your best life. For me, I tried to create a healthy balance for years on limiting time on my smartphone and electronics by setting reminders on time, etc. It didn’t work for me. So my future & my flip phone will be an adventure to be had and I’m excited to navigate the newness of this amazing shift in my personal and professional life. I’m determined to be true to myself, even when the rest of the world might not be able to relate. I’m following my heart and making no excuses along the way. 

Be adopted, many of us dance to the beat of our own drums because that’s all we’ve known since the beginning. I’ve learned to embrace this, be excited about it and continue to set the boundaries in life that work best for me. 

What boundaries have you set for yourself lately? How have they impacted the relationships with those close to you? Have they understood and respected your boundaries? 

Sending you sunshine, adventures, love & light from the bright side.

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When Adoptive Parents Have the Willingness to Listen…

 

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Let me explain my recent change of heart on this topic.

I’ve discovered over the last few months I’ve been selling myself short in speaking to adoptive parents. For those who know me, they know I’ve always said my passion and gifting is for adult adoptees. The ones who are broken, hurting, isolated, and alone. They need someone who understands them, and they are my motivation, my reason to keep sharing and keep writing.

On the other hand, I’ve also backed it up on many occasions that my gifting is NOT in speaking with Adoptive Parents. I’ve shouted this loud and clear and let the adoption/adoptee community know that it’s just not my strong suit. It’s not my area of expertise.

Why you might ask?

Because I find them to be triggering to the max on many fronts. A lot of crossing paths with them have been in online settings, and it’s hard to tell if I was inserting my option when it was asked for or if I was simply sharing my views. Most all times it’s been triggering is when they refuse to listen, learn and acknowledge my truth, even if they don’t understand it or agree with it.

Over the last 7 years of sharing my journey, I’ve found that more times than not Adoptive Parents don’t have the willingness to LISTEN & LEARN from Adult Adoptees which defeats the purpose of sharing all my knowledge based on lived experiences being an adoptee. This has caused me to put my wall up with them and retreat solely with networking and focusing on my fellow adoptees. The wall has been up for years!

Something amazing happened a few months ago. I will leave names out for privacy, but a long-time friend reached out to me and said she would love if we could meet so we could talk about some things. She’s now an adoptive mom. At first, I was a little reluctant because in my mind, I don’t have a gifting for speaking to Adoptive Parents. But there was something different about her. Not only did I know her and have known her for along time but she actually WANTED TO LEARN AND LISTEN.

What I had based my views on regarding not having gifting to speak to adoptive parents is because so much of my experience is them wanting to talk over me, shut me down, silence me, or better yet have no intention to LISTEN, but always wanting to be heard. Sadly, these experiences outweigh the good experiences in interacting with adoptive parents in my world. Unfortunately, this is the reason I have excluded Adoptive Parents from my inner circle. They have only caused more damage to me by the attitude they have, and I can no longer allow those type of people to be inside my very valuable space.

My views have shifted after meeting with my friend who is now an Adoptive Parent. I love her. She loves me. We have a mutual respect for one another and have known one another for at least 25 years. She genuinely wanted some advice, and I was honored and elated she would seek me out to receive it.

RECEIVE IT.

Let’s say it again…

RECEIVE IT…

That’s right. It’s been highlighted to me that my friend wanted to receive what I had to share, and this is exactly what the difference is between her and so many other Adoptive Parents I’ve come across. So many of them don’t want to receive what Adult Adoptees have to say even when we hold the most valuable experience in the adoption equation. There is no therapist, or counselor who understands this thing like we do, unless they are adoptees themselves. I promise you this is the TRUTH!

In my 7 years of being out of the fog, networking in the adoption/adoptee community I have only come across a small handful of Adoptive Parents who have reached out to me and supported me, who have had the willingness to listen and learn. A VERY SMALL HANDFUL. If you are one of them, I will share I appreciate you more than you know and thank you for having the willingness to listen and learn to help understand your adoptive child better.

I say to myself all the time, “If only ALL adoptive parents were that way, adoptees wouldn’t be 4x more likely to attempt suicide. Adoptees wouldn’t be over populated in the prisons, jails, treatment facilities and mental health facilities. If only more adoptive parents had the willingness to LISTEN AND LEARN from Adult Adoptees they could HELP US, adoptees all over the world wouldn’t be so broken” And yes, adoptees all over this world are broken, hurting and they have no where to turn. Some of them are in their 60’s and 70’s and they’ve lived their entire lives suffering in silence because our world won’t acknowledge the pain they have had to carry their entire lives.  I’ve seen too much, and I know too much. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen or unknow what I know.

If you don’t believe me visit my Facebook pages Ask an Adoptee and How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? You could also visit the website I created for adoptees to share their stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? If you have networked with as many as adoptees as I have and heard their stories, listened to them and validated them you would see why the adoptee community is so important to me and my number one focus and cause in life. You would understand why we need Adoptive Parents to listen & learn.

Having many years of experience and my new turn of events in having the grace and willingness to share with my friend who is an adoptive parent, it’s helped me realize that I DO HAVE THE GIFT to talk to adoptive parents but there is a stipulation. It’s the adoptive parents who have the willingness to listen and learn.

I’ve found that it’s not my job to educate adoptive parents because I simply don’t owe anyone anything in that area. On the other hand, when an adoptive parent comes to me like my friend did, and they sincerely want to listen and learn I will do my best to share my experience with the utmost respect and truth and present it with the most understanding way possible. I appreciate my friend coming to me more than she will ever know, and she was so brave to have the willingness to listen and learn. I hope and pray the same for all Adoptive Parents all over the world. When the Adoptive Parents want to listen and learn, it helps their Adoptive Child because they begin to understand better.

In talking to my friend I learned she was very rare Adoptive Parent in wanting to listen and learn. Our time together was priceless, and we shared from our hearts our experiences and we both welcomed questions and had the willingness to speak gracefully about the unexpected situations that come from raising an adoptive child, especially the ones the Adoption Agencies don’t tell you about.

I’ve decided that I do have the grace and the gift, but each situation in me connecting with an adoptive parent will be unique in my choosing in who I want to engage with. Being an adoptee, I lost all choices for most of my life, and still losing some today so today I CHOOSE.

For the Adoptive Parents who don’t have the willingness to listen and learn, I have absolutely no time for them nor will I waste my time on trying to connect because they are EXTREMELY triggering to me. It’s simple.

In the future I have a vision of incorporating a discussion panel into our Adoptees Connect Small Groups (separate from our monthly meetings) where Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents would be able to come ask Adult Adoptees questions. The key is, they are coming to RECEIVE what we are willing to share. I feel this will be a game changer for the Adoption Communities all over the place. I hope to put this vision into action Spring 2019 and Adoptees Connect will have been planted for a little over a year. By then I will have some Adult Adoptees who are on board for being on the Discussion Panel. Lot’s in the works for Adoptees Connect!

I’ve had it on my heart to share this article for some time, but life has been crazy, but things are slowing down a bit.

My question is, if you are an Adoptive Parent do you have the willingness to listen and learn from Adult Adoptees? If you answered “YES” to that question I commend you. Every time I get questions from Adoptive Parents & Birth Parents on the “Ask an Adoptee” page on Facebook I commend them! They are seeking the valuable voices of Adult Adoptees who have the lived experiences to back it up.

Things are changing, and things are looking up, but we still have so much work to do!

If you answered “NO” to this question I would like to encourage you to seek deep in your heart and ask yourself “WHY?”. Is it fear? Fear of the truth? It will eventually come to surface as all truth does, and I would much rather you be prepared and ready for whatever is to come than to live in denial and your adoptive child live a life like I did and so many other adoptees. Isolated. Alone. Disconnected. Hurt. Traumatized. Many Adult Adoptees have the willingness to share our perspectives with you, but you must meet us half way and have the willingness to listen and learn.

For my fellow Adoptees, how do you feel about speaking to Adoptive Parents? As I shared, it’s not our responsibility but if you have chosen to navigate this into your adoption/adoptee advocacy, do the adoptive parents you are speaking to have the willingness to listen and learn? I would love to learn your experiences?

Thanks for reading!

Pamela Karanova | Adult Adoptee

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