Archive | March, 2013
27 Mar

Another wonderful article highlighting both the clinical work of Child Life Specialists and the importance of psychosomatic connections in healthcare and treatment

Bank Street: The Alumni Blog

Bank Street alums Tara Lynch Horan ’07 and Andi Nyiradi ’12  are featured in an article on mindfulness practice for children.

View original post


Happy Child Life Month!

24 Mar

Happy Child Life Month!

Celebrating my fellow Child Life Specialists for all of the fun, unique, creative, therapeutic, educational work we do with children and families in sometimes scary medical settings.

Keep up the awesome work! I’m proud of all of you : ]) For more information about the profession Child Life, feel free to click on the Child Life card in this celebration post or “The profession” tab at the top of this blog page.

~ Angela B.


The Ghost of Perfection …

18 Mar

“There comes a point where, for your own well-being, you have to realize that you won’t be perfect today .. and honestly be OK with that” ~ by Angela Barimah

For the days when I take myself way to seriously …

“Meatless Month” Part 2 … Could You Survive?

17 Mar

Before you start to think this post is about trying another fad diet let me stop you there. This is not about losing weight; to the contrary, I’ve been trying to fatten up, but that’s a story for another day. For me, this is about cleansing. Those who know me, know that I’m pretty much a black hippie : ]). I’m one of those herbs blending, natural oils mixing, clean eating (*coughs* occasionally) all around hokey types. As such, every once in a while I get on this kick where I honestly grow tired of meat and have this burning desire to cleanse my entire system. Personally, the best way I’ve found to achieve this is by giving up meat all together for a while. Now when I say giving up meat, I mean all meat … beef, pork, red meat, chicken .. Cold turkey” ..  For a least one month I plan go full full scale pescetarian where I eat veggies, seafood, fruit and the like. Just no meat from any four legged animal.

By now by this point you’re probably thinking one of two things: 1) “A month? How hard could that be?” .. which in that case you’re probably already vegan or vegetarian … kudos to you … OR … 2) “Wait, no chicken??” .. lol .. a response I received from a number of friends when I first gave this a try.

This will be my second journey with trying “Meatless Month.” About two summers ago, I first tried my hand at my at this and quite honestly, it was hard. It felt like what I would imagine an intense 5-week drug rehab / detox session would be like. Some days the food (meat) cravings were so intense … underneath my usually happy demeanor, was an undercurrent of grumpiness … I often daydreamed of the delicious meals I missed or had reoccurring thoughts of what meal would taste even better if only there were meat added. After two weeks the thrill of creating cool new seafood dishes wore of and quickly gave way to annoyance when I had to cook or simply figure out what my food options were. Honestly, I almost didn’t make it to the end of the month, but when I did, I gorged on a giant deluxe topping pizza in celebration! 🙂

So it begs the question then, why do it? Why go through all this trouble and put myself through meat detox again? In short, while I was difficult, my body never felt better. My insides felt lighter … no heavy weighed-down feeling in my stomach, typical symptoms of my cycle (cramps, bloating, headaches, etc) seem to all but disappear, my complexion cleared and glowed more than usual … my body just worked and felt better … it was cleaner. During that time, my body wasn’t working overtime to process all of the meat I would usually consume on a given day and it thanked me. So yes, a month or two of harsh discipline is worth it, if it means giving my body a break and hitting the “reset” button my system.

While it may be very difficult for me to ever convert fully to a pescetarian lifestyle (I thought I often contemplate) as a culture meat consumption is fully ingrained into both my Ghanaian & West Indian roots (meat is incorporated into so many dishes!), I do have a newfound respect and admiration for those who can ascribe to a vegetarian or vegan life. This month throughout my second “meatless” journey, I thought I might check in and posting my progress, hopefully sharing new insights along the way and gain support from those who read this, especially as I’m only a few hours in and I’m already dreaming about having turkey bacon and eggs for breakfast .. yikes! ^_^

Wish Me Luck!

~ Angela

16 Mar

Breaking the cycle of hurt and sadness … a brave new mother’s recount of her ongoing journey with depression.

Don't Forget to Feed the Baby

This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live. ~ Omar N. Bradley

Depression is an issue that has been getting a great deal of press lately, particularly in the parenting community. The Parenting Magazine article Xanax Makes Me A Better Mom shows just how pervasive and controversial this issue is: according to the article, parents are more than twice as likely as non-parents to experience depression, and the comments section illustrates just exactly how harsh and judgmental people can be about it — whether you’re taking pills or not, whether you’re in therapy or not, as soon as you use the word ‘depression’ someone stands ready to condemn you for something.

I’ve been depressed for my entire…

View original post 807 more words

My Lifelong Journey with Iron-Deficient Anemia

14 Mar

Anemia. About a year ago I’d finally gotten my diagnosis. This was after years of random headaches, dizzy spells, and near fainting episodes. I clearly remember one episode as a middle schooler. My mother was nearly finished fixing my hair for school when it happened. It began slowly at first … a tingling followed by a quick shortness of breath. In a matter of 5 minutes, I attempted a mad dash to leave the kitchen where mom was putting a gentle finishing touch to my hair. Reaching for the kitchen door, I couldn’t find the knob. Fumbling with my hands out in front of me, vision blurred and fuzzy like an old television after the station ends for the night. Finally, I find my way outside. Fresh air clears my vision, but I still felt faint. Ultimately, I stayed home that day. This wouldn’t be the last unexpected dizzy spell. I would experience a similar feeling later on when I unknowingly decided to donate blood at a local blood drive. I ended up missing a day of work, while I recovered at home. In high school and college I later noticed that if I missed meals, besides becoming very grumpy (I love food! : ]), I would quickly become off balanced and have a sensation similar to extreme car sickness.

Today, after a routine blood test for my yearly physical showed the levels of iron in my body were extremely low, I now know the cause and more importantly, the ways in which I can prevent the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany “iron deficient anemia.” What I didn’t know before this diagnosis was that low iron in ones blood can reduce the production of red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body .. cue longstanding complaints of feeling exhausted and off-balanced dizzy / fainting spells. All makes sense now! In keeping myself healthy, my doctor and I have created a simple health action plan that I now easily incorporate into my daily life. I take two iron pill supplements, 28 mg each every morning followed by a diet high in protein, mainly salmon filets twice per week. I also make sure to eat every meal.* I monitor my iron levels and progress with doctor check-ins and simple CBC tests quarterly. Currently, my iron levels are so good that I can occasionally forget to take my iron pills without incident. My doctor even forgot during one visit that I was on our iron-pill regimen. I’m so happy. Though being mindful about my diet and iron intake will always be a part of my life, I’m glad that I have the tools to make changes and live a healthy energetic life.

*Please note any health decisions regarding medication should be made with the assistance and consultation of a primary care physician

14 Mar

A bit of humor as hopefully the winter season winds down to a close : ])

Thought Catalog

It’s that time of year. The time when everyone is coughing up a bloody lung and sniffling in a weird chorus of sniffles. Everyone is getting sick. It’s all around you. You’ll never escape the whirlwind of tissues and tea. Now, you might think that it’s inevitable that you too will get sick. How can you avoid it? Fear not! Here are some ways to stay healthy when everyone around you is getting sick.

1. Do not touch or kiss anyone ever again

Even if they seem healthy, you never know what could be brewing under the surface. Maybe they have a throat tickle they just haven’t told you about. If you do accidentally make human contact, be sure to slather the area with hand sanitizer and aloe vera. Love is not the antidote. It is the disgusting virus spreader that we willingly engage in because of some deep hole…

View original post 641 more words

Hurray for Donations!!

8 Mar

Building a brand new one person Child Life program is no easy feat, especially when your program is starting from the absolute basics and just everything is grant / donation funded However, awesome donations from hardworking, selfless organizations like “The Pinwheel Project” make things SO much easier! This new doctor kit will be a great addition to my play therapy / teddy bear clinic stash!

Thank you Sandee & Janice, Founders of “The Pinwheel Project,” for sending two boxes filled with pure joy! The children and I definitely appreciate it … The work you do is amazing! If you are reading this and are interested in making donations to your local children’s hospital or pediatric doctor’s office, plastic / wipe-able toys are usually the best choice as it’s easy to clean between usage. The simplest things can bring a smile to a hospitalized child’s face .. Happy Child Life month everyone! : ])


1 Mar

Because some days are hard days … Salute to those taking it one day at a time

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Photo taken by a woman who has suffered from severe depression. She hopes that by telling her story that she will help fight stigma, and help people to understand things like self-harm that seem so hard to understand. She would also like to help other people suffering to feel less alone, and maybe even share the spark of hope.

About this photo: “It took me fifteen minutes of searching through every drawer in my house, but I finally found the one piece of orange clothing that I have. I’m wearing orange in honor of Self-Injury Awareness Day. I know every day is some other awareness day, but this one happens to mean a lot to me. As someone who has been down the path of self-harm, and had people I love dearly who have been there, I feel terribly and empathize for all who are suffering enough to self-harm…

View original post 601 more words

1 Mar

for the joy of it

I love giving acupuncture to kids.

For one thing, they’re a lot easier to work with than adults, largely because they haven’t been on the planet long enough to accrue all this stuff that we older folk gather: beliefs, injuries, beliefs about our injuries, stress, you know.

An acupuncture treatment for a child, therefore, usually only takes about half an hour.  Which is good, because it’s hard for them to hang out longer than that.  Once they start coming to balance, that energy just comes bursting out.

They don’t mind needles, for the most part, though I will work without needles if I need to use a point that I know will grab a bit.  Working with my hands as the needle has the added benefit of really engaging with the child’s energy, and they will just lock on to the whole experience.

My first child patient was my 3 year…

View original post 276 more words