In that moment, that’s all there is. There is literally nothing else going on. Nothing else I’m thinking about. In that moment, I’m totally raw, open, expressionless. I do not have anything else I could possibly give. To anyone. Exhaustion is an under statement.

In this moment, I am giving up. No anxiety, no depression, no joy or happiness. I guess one could call his contentment, yet the tears stream down without a word for this emotion. Defeat, maybe? I’m giving up. My tank is empty, fumes are gone. There is literally nothing left. This is the same feeling I had when I was medicated. Nothing.

It’s not like I’m not grateful for what I have, or what has happened. But being grateful also means bringing back the pain. Thinking about how far I’ve come reminds me of what it took to get here. The sacrifices I have made, the mistakes, the choices, the loss.

In this moment, I don’t feel grateful, but I’m not resentful either. I’m just here. I’m just a person with a story like everyone else. The only difference is I don’t want to tell my story anymore. I don’t want to shout it and be heard, I don’t want to figure it out, I don’t want to continue fighting. I surrender because there is nothing left I can give. I sit here silently and remember. I’ll listen to others’ stories and what they have to say, but I don’t want to give my input on how I’m feeling anymore.

I lay down and stare at the wall. The walls hold memories and feelings. The color of the paint, the smell of the house, plans that were made and never carried out, the promises that were said and then forgotten. The decorations, the type of dishes, the furniture, the type of soap in the bathrooms… they all have meaning or a memory. But I can’t bring myself to think about the meaning. Just the words that were said in certain rooms, the memories of things that have happened, and the decisions I made, the events that occurred after.

Reflection is a powerful thing. It can eventually send you into this raw, emotionless state where your body becomes numb. Feelings just don’t happen anymore. You’ve been stripped. The difference is this time, I don’t long for feelings anymore. I don’t just want the pain to stop, I don’t want to feel any of it. Including the joy and happiness. This raw, empty state is where clarity happens. Logic overcomes all emotion because there aren’t any. I want to preserve this state. Feelings aren’t the answer for me. And I want to be in this emotionless, empty state because it doesn’t hurt. I don’t need joy, the price is too high.

I need out of this. I need to get away from the memories and the feelings. The joy and the pain are symptoms of these memories. I don’t want them. Put me into a vegetable state subconscious coma so I can stay here. Void of all feeling.


Learning to Be


Meditative pack walk

I forgot who I am. My friends used to describe me with things like: fun loving, care free, wild child, tough as nails, hilarious as hell, and I absolutely did not give a shit. All that mattered was that moment. “No filter Heather”. I said whatever was on my mind all the time. Yeah, this gets me into trouble sometimes, and I have gotten better, but that’s part of what makes me ME. I started to doubt myself and what I was capable of. I forgot how far I have come in my accomplishments. I started to hate who I was. What happened to me psychologically? I’ll tell you.

My independence was stripped from me. This happens to everyone at some point, I think. For one reason or another. For me, it was an injury. I gave up who I was and became irritable all the time, disappointed in myself, and insecure. I lost a giant piece of who I was. I didn’t realize this until I had a very therapeutic hike up Stewart Falls. My injury controlled me. I was very bitter about things other people could do and I couldn’t. I tried to stay silent for a long time, but eventually it came out. I was resentful and hurtful and wasn’t being supportive. When I hiked up all the way to the top and back, it was like I was leaving all those negative feelings on the mountain. I came back and felt refreshed and more like myself than I have in a very long time. I did it, even though I was kind of nervous. I felt like I could get really hurt, I would over do it, I would fall and seriously mess it up again. I was careful and I took my time. I have a bad habit of rushing when I get anxiety, and I worked through it and practiced slowing down. It’s advice I constantly give my clients. “Wherever you are struggling with your dog, just slow it down into smaller steps.” So I took my own advice and slowed it down. I thought it through. Impulse control. Mental filtering. Things I have been teaching time and time again, and yet here I am. Doing the same thing all my clients are doing, yet I’m applying it to a different area of my life.


At the top of Stewart Falls

I went on another walk this week. One of my mentors would call it a ‘meditative pack walk’ because I wasn’t so concerned about corrections, or teaching. I was focusing on my energy, and learning to just be. I focused on my energy. Noticing things, and walking, but not really going anywhere or letting thoughts linger. I just let them pass through my thoughts without dwelling, worrying, stressing or holding on. I thought about a lot of things. But I focused on letting them go and just being. This is something I’m always trying to become better at. When I was at Cesar’s last year, I practiced this being in his DPC. I didn’t really understand the concept, and thought ‘I’ll try it later’. That’s exactly what I shouldn’t have done-there is always time to stop and think and be still. I was rushing, even then.

I’m learning to be. Again. I’m learning what I want, what I need, and figuring out who I am again. I have grown so much, and I’m so much more balanced, but there is always room to improve. I will never be perfect. I will never be the best. And I will never stop growing.

I am a strong person, but I lost sight of myself. I want to be the fun loving, bad ass, tough as nails Heather again. That’s who I am. But now, I’ll be stronger, better, and I’ll have learned from this. What we learn from our mistakes is what makes us who we are. This is what turns us into the people we are today. No regrets? Yeah right, we all have regrets. We all have our skeletons. But we have to get up, forgive ourselves, dust ourselves off, and hold our heads high after we make mistakes. Even the big ones, we have to get up at some point. Self love is an important part of life. We have to forgive ourselves and move on. I’ll never be complete, I’ll be a project for my entire life. I’m ok with that. I want to enjoy the journey a little more and stop worrying about the destination. THIS is who I am. Rushing to the finish line was a symptom of a bigger problem, an underlying issue that was hidden. Well, I found it and now I can treat it.


Where the Heart Is

I have been working on this post for a few days now, and I was hesitant to post it. But this is a safe place for me, and I can be vulnerable. Don’t like it, don’t read it.

I am currently reading and studying a book called ‘Captivating’ by John and Stasi Eldredge. It is about understanding a woman’s needs, wants, and hormones. It is confusing being a woman sometimes, and it is incredibly frustrating. So many women suffer from the same thing. We have needs and wants, but we feel ashamed to voice them. Have you ever felt like you aren’t good enough, but too much at the same time? I do every single day. This book is part of my rehabilitation program and so I have started reading it.

A quote from the book that really spoke to me that made me think deep about myself… “How can a woman be confident, scandalous, and beautiful, yet not portray herself as a feminist Nazi or an insecure I-need-attention emotional whore? How can I become strong without becoming harsh? How can I be vulnerable without drowning myself in my sorrow?” That is the question, isn’t it?

The expectations that society has on women is ridiculous. We are never good enough, but we are too much at the same time. This doesn’t immediately make sense, but think about it. I’m not understanding enough, not kind enough, not fit enough, not pretty enough, not stable enough. But then.. I’m too sensitive, too needy, too emotional, too selfish. I feel this way on a daily basis. The result of this thinking… shame about ourselves. We’ll never measure up. I want to be perfect, and I’m far from it. And I feel it every day. I didn’t realize until I actually sat and thought about how I view myself. I’m ashamed. I should be better. I should be “X”. If I was a better woman, this wouldn’t have happened. If I wasn’t so sensitive, if I looked like her, if I wasn’t so busy, if I … blah blah blah…

I will never be good enough. To who? Why does it matter what ANYONE else thinks? Why have I given someone else so much control? I want to be good enough for me. And part of the process is figuring out what I want in my life. This a huge question. But also, not only what I want, but who I am. Who am I? Ok, I’m a daughter, sister, friend, dog trainer, etc. But those are all titles. Who am I at my core? I’m on my journey to figure that out.

strongwoman I’m opening up and saying some of the things I want. I want to be precious to someone. I want to be romanced and chased. I want to be sought after. Noticed and seen, wanted. I want to be important. To be a priority. To be fought for. To matter. To be enough. To be loved unconditionally through all my imperfections and flaws. To be beautiful. To have someone who would give me the world if I asked for it. I want to be seen for me and have someone think “Wow, she’s amazing.” Because I am! I have worked hard to be where I am, and the things worth anything require work and dedication and commitment. This isn’t me saying I need someone to give me everything or I won’t be happy. I am very independent and don’t need anyone. But I long for it. And it’s even more crushing when you thought you had all that and it was ripped away from you.

But ordinary people don’t have this. This is for heroines, damsels in distress, and queens in storybooks. We don’t get our fairy tale happily ever after ending. I want this, just like every other woman. I am embarrassed to write this, but this is part of my recovery. Why do I feel ashamed to want these things?  Why does it make me feel foolish or stupid? Because the idea of this has been abused and shamed in society. Either women need to be more submissive and focus on the home life, or they need to be less sensitive and buck up. Women of all kinds of backgrounds and personalities struggle with this concept. They aren’t enough, or they are too much. They have lost a sense of what it means to be a woman, and what it means to know who you are.

Beauty has been distorted and is no longer pure in the world. Society has changed the way we view ourselves, and made our expectations unmeetable. We watch TV, see things online, see things in magazines that have been altered or changed. It damages our self esteem and how we see ourselves. THAT, what we see, is how we are supposed to look and act, right? I mean, that’s what everybody wants – THAT. Not us. Not me. Not the ordinary girl with an ordinary job with an ordinary life. So how can any of us ever be happy with knowing that? We aren’t good enough, we can’t be that, so why do we try at all?

As said in the book, the deep desire to understand the heart of a woman and to express these desires causes much pain and suffering if those needs are thrown back in our faces or ignored. I know I want to put this damaged heart into a box and never open it for anyone. I hate I want any of these things. But then again, part of my recovery and rehabilitation is to learn how to express what I want and figure out who I am at the core. So, I’m accepting I may sound foolish and stupid. And I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Which is why I started my blog in the first place. To share, to help, to understand, and to educate.

Anyone interested in this book can buy it on Amazon for pretty cheap. I’m taking my time with it, and this was just the first chapter. All these thoughts came from reading it and I’m also doing the workbook. There is one for men as well called “Wild At Heart” (which women-it’s good to read this one too and understand the heart of a man as well. That’s next after this book for me).

Emotional Addiction

In the journey of finding my missing pieces this week and working on self improvement, I found out I have an addiction. This is hard to admit, as we never like to learn these things about ourselves. But it has given me clarity and a sense of peace and I am committed to the changes that make us stronger people.

I have an emotional addiction. What this means is when things are ‘normal’, we need to take on more to make things exciting. There are usually negative emotions we are addicted to (fear, sadness, anger) and we continue to do things to cause these emotions because of the release of chemicals into our body, like most drugs. We seem to pick fights, make mountains out of molehills, take on more than we can handle, and stress about things we can’t control. Which leads to lots of other emotions, but this is how we get there. There’s that word again, control. Yes, people who have an addiction to emotions are controlling and what comes with that? Selfishness. BOOM-arrow to the heart…

I had an epiphany last night when talking with a friend for a few hours, and I realized a lot of my unbalance in my life has been caused by this addiction. It also creates something called ‘Relationship Addiction‘. This is a type of addiction where you use your partner as a type of ‘fix’ to get that emotional response you are craving. Guess what… I was doing all of that. I didn’t even know this was a possibility, nor a real type of addiction. So, before I can ever make anyone else happy and be in a healthy relationship, I need to focus on myself first.

I’m ready to work on my rehabilitation and learn how to manage this better. There is a local clinic that specializes in working with people who have unbalance in their life and have issues like this. I will also be learning how to better communicate when trying to get a point across when emotions are high. This is a 3hr class once a week for 6 months. As I am committed to myself to make changes for the better, I will be getting information on this class to see when I can start, how much it costs, when the classes are, etc. Since I run my own schedule, I can plan around it.

Addiction-CycleFinding this out about myself was emotional. But personal growth is always difficult. This knowledge has brought me to a “truth” of sorts. I also found out this week, a “truth” in a religious setting means when it makes sense logically to you, but you also truly feel it and believe it with all your heart. Finding out this truth has brought me a sense of peace, and a sense of purpose. Finding this out puts you on a high. I’m still deciding if I’m manic after getting my mind blown with this information last night, or if I’m riding this high of knowledge of self awareness.

I will continue to update you all as I continue to find my pieces and who my inner self is. This is the beginning of a beautiful lifelong journey I never knew I would ever take part in. When faced with emotional trauma, we either lift ourselves up, or we beat ourselves down. I have usually done the latter.

Getting Rid of Control

realyouI am working heavily with a therapist this week to help me with some of my personal issues. I have done quite a lot of self exploration, and I have one big issue that I really need to work on… Control. A lot of people struggle with wanting to control every little thing in their lives. I want to learn not to. So, I’m practicing this week, and learning more about what I need to do in situations where I would normally get upset, anxious, and try to control the situation.

Some of the things I have done are: plan every single second of the day, ask “what are you doing?”, “who are you texting?”, be over critical of myself, judge myself and others harshly, clean the entire house before I go on vacation because I feel like everything isn’t perfect, feel the need to be right, lack of trust, send myself into panic attacks if things aren’t the way I want them, I don’t listen, I micromanage, I can’t relax, I’m not flexible, and I get jealous.

These are not things I have done in a really long time, yet I’m falling back in to old habits. Why? After talking with my therapist, I’ve pieced this together this week as well. Remember when I broke my foot? I felt I lost a lot of my independence since I couldn’t do anything with my business. I managed my moods fairly well for the first few months, but then when I was up on my feet again, since I still couldn’t do everything, I fell into this weird inner-depression like I’ve never felt before. Not like normal… like I felt I wasn’t good enough in any way. I couldn’t walk properly (limp), and it made me feel weak and ugly and ridiculous. I became very self conscious. I was angry at myself for not healing faster, and it caused me to cycle rapidly and lash out in a controlling way, and fall back into this horrible downward spiral.

I also forgot how to manage my anxiety myself and used my boyfriend as a coping tool. That’s not fair to either of us. I have to re-learn how to handle this without using him as a crutch. That’s not his job, and it’s unfair to him. I have had a few panic attacks this week, and was able to get out of them in a fairly quick amount of time (5-15 min) unlike previously when it may be an hour. I do want his support, but I need to do this on my own too. One thing he does that I really like is when I’m anxious at night, he’ll hold me and hum a song to me. So, when I panicked, I held a dog, and listened to my breathing. I was able to calm myself down and manage it.

I am taking this week to really focus on working through that control and finding peace. I am practicing self-acceptance, reminding myself I’m beautiful and independent. I’m forcing myself to eat, sleep, and breathe through meditation and not letting myself fall into the anxiety-ridden roller coaster ride I have been on in the past. I have a few therapy sessions this week to help me work through everything. I will also be receiving a reiki session from an old friend this week, which is very helpful for emotional healing. I am not planning anything, and just doing what I want, instead of trying to plan every single thing for the day. I’m just winging it… which is foreign to me, but I’m finding it very refreshing.

I am learning to slow down and pay attention when people talk to me, listen to them fully, and absorb the information they are telling me, before I speak. I’m also trying to see the other person’s side of things, so I can understand what they are going through, and how I can help. A few other things I have been doing that I want to stop doing are things like nitpicking/nagging, bringing up the past in a negative way, worrying/stressing over things that don’t matter, and bringing up what if’s. None of those things are productive or healthy. In fact, it’s very damaging to both people. I’m committed to stopping this behavior, and letting these types of things go, and also letting go of the control. I do have a longer list, but those are some of the big ones.

So, this week, I have researched a bunch of ways to help myself become a more balanced person while relinquishing the control, learning to forgive and move on, and letting things go. Basically, learning to be a much more calm individual. I have used essential oils, meditation, physical exercise, healthy thought patterns, a journal about my goals, therapy sessions, my dogs, and using good friends as sounding boards.

Now, these changes need to happen because I have not been handling stress in a healthy way in my life lately. And it doesn’t only hurt me. It hurts the people I love the most. So, the changes need to happen. And this week is all about learning, education, and focusing on my needs to make my goals a reality.



Anxiety FearsOf all of the part of Bipolar disorder, by far the worst is anxiety. Mine tend to be localized to a few different categories. Generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and panic. When I am stressed, I experience it all the time. It is uncontrollable, unpredictable, untamable, and overpowering. It’s almost always irrational, and I can’t explain it. Stress makes it infinitely worse. I have noticed lately my heart rate is always above 100, even when I’m resting, reading a book. Recently, my stress levels have been very high, and I always think something horrible is going to happen soon. I have images and thoughts going through my head that my loved ones are going to get hurt or disappear, my dogs will run away or die, or that someone spreads negative rumors about me and people stare at me. When people look at me, I assume they are thinking bad thoughts or judging me. This has been a constant for the last few weeks. Anxiety attacks and nightmares are becoming ever more common. I have gone back to therapy to get some help.

I gauge my levels based off a system a friend had for her son. I thought it was a great idea to rate my levels to know ‘how bad’ it was on any given day. The way the system works is simple. I rate where I think my levels are based on my experiences in the past, as well as listing my ‘symptoms’. I rate my stress, my depression, and my anxiety levels. There is a pattern, so I can usually pinpoint it and change it. Right now, it’s stress. I’m so incredibly burned out, and there are a lot of big things happening in my life.

My levels right now:
Stress: 10
Anxiety: 10
Depression: 3
Symptoms: Contact stomach ache, negative thoughts, panic attacks, aggressive behavior , no motivation, muscle soreness, TMJ acting up, OCD thought patterns, insomnia, high heart rate, frustration, anger

Sometimes, I can feel it building up, and I wait for the attack. It has happened while I’ve been driving, in public places, or at when I’m trying to relax and can’t seem to shake the anxiety. Sometimes, it comes on so fast, without warning, and it’s terrifying. Especially when it happens in a public place..an otherwise quiet place… like a bank. The feeling of that happening in a public place makes it feel like there is no way out, no escape. No help, no support system to help. The only words I can use to describe this is desperation without any hope. Utterly and literally alone while the fear, convulsions, and feeling of dying wracks through your body. And then, when you start to calm down, the fear returns again that it will continue in front of everyone. Some people stare, some try to touch to help (omg please don’t touch me), some try to get people to back up and give me ‘breathing room’.

And then, “You ok?”

“…Yeah, I’m totally fine, this happens all the time… Anyway, I need to make a deposit…”

Because what else do you do? Walk out and cause a bigger scene? I’m comical, let’s try to play this off as it’s totally normal. People didn’t look at me anymore. They avoided looking at me like I was some deformed monster of a person. Of course they did. I have no idea what it is like to see myself having a panic attack, but I’m sure it’s hard to watch. I’ve seen other people have them, and all I do is ignore it, and pretend like it didn’t happen.

Anxiety Worry Depression

There is a way to stop all this. To control the anxiety, I mean. And the nightmares, and OCD tendencies. There is a medical way. And when these things happen, there is reason for me to want to take the magic pill and float away. Here’s the thing. I don’t want it. Why? Because I’m stubborn. Because I’m afraid of all the horrible things that could happen. I could end up a shell of a person with no way to feel emotion. I wouldn’t feel happiness or joy. I wouldn’t feel sadness or anger. I wouldn’t feel. Sometimes, that’s what I want. But the feeling of overwhelming joy I feel…I want that. I want to feel that happy. Living in the manic isn’t healthy either, but I’m afraid I’ll lose the joy. I’m also afraid I’ll lose the ‘touch’ to work with animals. They know when you aren’t all there; You smell different, your energy is different, you move different. I can’t jeopardize the training the dogs get when they come to me. I have worked so hard to help them and their owners find a balance in their lives, I have to find a balance in mine without resorting to drugs to straighten me out. I feel responsible, and I’m scared I’ll lose what I have worked so hard to achieve. I’m also nervous about the fact it takes weeks/months/years to find the right dosage on the right drug, and the right cocktail with anti-depression, anxiety, psychosis, and bipolar meds. I don’t want to spend that time feeling cloudy or like a shell of a person. So, I have chosen more natural remedies.

Meditation, breathing techniques, a service animal, journaling, and essential oils are some of the things I have tried. Not that they don’t work, but when I feel this anxious, I think one thought, and then 10 more flood me with awful thoughts. I have to really try to block them out and pick out some positive ones. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. So I’m exhausted all the time. When I’m too tired to do that anymore, I resort back to the symptom list. Especially aggressive behavior. I pick fights, I’m angry and frustrated. If I sleep in that mindset, I have nightmares. Vivid, realistic nightmares. And I wake up thinking they were real. Like it was really happening. Constant fear, sleep deprivation, stress, and anxiety make up my moods lately.

It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t stop. I’m trapped on this ride and can’t get off. I’m nauseous a lot and my stomach hurts. I feel empty, but force myself to keep going. Which means the ride keeps going faster and faster. I find some things to distract me from the living nightmare, but it never ends. I don’t know what makes it stop.

I’m Alive!

Project K9 Pack WalkI know, I know! I haven’t written in a few months. Sorry about that, hope I didn’t lose you all. I was on bed rest, thinking I would have more time to blog, catch up on paperwork, work on my website, advertise and work on marketing ideas. Maybe even take some much desired ‘down time’ to play video games, read, watch videos, and catch up on all my favorite shows. Umm, wait.. ‘down time’? Yeah, I don’t do that. What did I do instead? I trained Caleb, I did sell a lot of dog food, I hobbled around, I trained clients, I did a lot of advertising, social media, and worked on SEO. It all paid off, we’ve been slammed all year! I don’t stay down for long. I hobbled around, trying to feed and clean, and sometimes even handle dogs… Even if it was just to watch Caleb work. In the beginning, I watched nearly every session because he was still learning and I was coaching. I attempted to teach obedience on the floor, and we played recall games with the puppies. I would go outside to watch the dogs with him. I didn’t distance myself from my business at all. I took a step back with training and handling, but I think I learned more about myself during that time than I thought I would. I learned how to train someone to my expectations. At first, I tried to teach him like a client. Then, I realized my expectations of him were much higher since I would be teaching him to teach OUR clients. I was present for every session and still did all the private sessions, he was my legs.


Project K9 Heather working obedience with a broken foot I also had a proud moment at what I had created. I have successfully built a sustainable company. I hired my first employee, and I have learned to teach someone what I do. I share this passion now. There are ups and downs, of course. But the joy I feel of sharing what I have built is so powerful. At first it was hard and complicated. And during my recovery, I had a hard time going slow. I kept wanting to jump in and do everything. I constantly overdid it. But I changed. I started to slow down and let him help. I am a very independent person, and it took a lot for me to step down and accept that I physically couldn’t do everything. We started to become a team. I asked for help. I accepted help after a while. This is the way it is supposed to be.


Project K9 Dog Socialization

Caleb, watching the group.. but who’s doing the watching?

Project K9 Utah Dog TrainingNow that I’m done reflecting, I’m sure you’re all wondering how I mentally handled all of this. Yeah, I was rapid cycling like crazy. As long as I kept myself busy with as much work as I could physically handle, I seemed to stay within a ‘normal’ level. I was angry I broke my foot and couldn’t work, it was stressful training a new employee where I couldn’t demonstrate, I felt overwhelmed with too much responsibility and not enough ME. I constantly felt like I couldn’t do enough. So, naturally, I fell into the depression side of things. When I was manic, it was just as bad since I couldn’t actually do anything. I was going stir crazy!! After what seemed like an ETERNITY, I was finally able to crutch around and put weight on my foot. Still no handling dogs, but this took 2 months to get this far. I was out of a cast now, but not walking. At this point, Caleb is a pretty good handler, knows the basic principles, and sent home very well trained pups! Still going stir crazy, but we attended a 3D workshop hosted by Heather Beck at K9 Lifeline (Caleb’s first one!!) and that helped a lot to regain some motivation, and some of the happiness of this industry.


Project K9 Utah Dog Training

The recovery at this point actually seemed like it happened pretty quick. After I got the ok from doc to put weight on it (HOLY MOTHER OF OWW!), I was walking with a heavy limp within a week, completely off of crutches. Fast forward a month… I have no limp and very little pain. I have full range of motion back, can put all my weight on my foot, and I can’t jump or run on it yet, but I can ‘limp run’! Feeling much better about everything now. The last few months, I’ve really struggled to stay in the ‘middle’ of my levels instead of get sucked into the negative, depressive side. I’m at full capacity, and full function when training dogs. I’m running my pack walks again, though I missed my group classes this year. I had a lot of really big plans for this year… Next year. I have lots of new classes in the works, and I’m working on expanding as well. So excited for what is to come. I’m getting back on track, the business is looking awesome, and I have accepted I can’t control everything, and it’s ok to ask for help sometimes. It’s ok to not do everything. And it’s nice to have company.