Updated: Sep 21
Welcome beautiful people! I'm so glad that you've found the Tides Therapy and Consulting blog.
My name is Amber Fender, and I'm the sole practitioner in my own private therapy practice.
This blog is a new venture for me. The extent of my writing thus far has only reached into the depths of peer-reviewed work for college papers and the occasional brochure or mental health training for first responders back in the days of working with the Department of Mental Health in Charleston, SC. So, whether I've written about the hard work of others to earn those elusive degrees, or try to make mental health more accessible to my community, I've always stayed in the realm of "What does the research say?"
FINALLY, I'm seizing the chance to write untethered! 'm excited to share what I've learned and experienced in the last 34 years of my young (but not as young as I once was, ::sigh::) life.
While many therapists are extremely uncomfortable with self-disclosure (and that's ok for them), I believe that it's only fair I be open and transparent to a least some degree if I expect my clients to do the same. Even if we never do meet for a single session, I still hope this is a space for you to get back to the roots of your identity, your "you-ness," and feel that you're supported. Although our feelings of depression, anxiety, and inadequacy may come from different sources, we all want similar things. We want connection. We want love. And we want to let go of hurt so that we can be in the moment without all that baggage. Sound familiar?
What makes you happy, angry, excited, and everything in between are uniquely you, and no one can do "you" better than you can. Really. But if you've found lately that being "you" is difficult, maybe I can help? Maybe there's a part of my story that speaks to you. And maybe there will be a future blog post that speaks to what you're needing in a certain season of your life. So, here it goes...
I grew up in a small town in South Carolina. That was relatively uneventful. Instead of putting you to sleep, I'll start with the dramatic part. At 19 years old, I received a cancer diagnosis in my sophomore semester of undergraduate college while living away from home, two states away.
This might surprise you, but it sucked. I was terrified. I found myself angry at God, my body, and my lack of "don't stop 'til you drop" pace keeping. For the first time in my life I was grieving the loss of the life and the body that I was supposed to have. They had been taken away without my consent. BUT, guess what? Something incredible happened in the quiet moments between my anger and tears. Just like many people say (see, I'm not that original...) I found out who really cared and what real compassion looked like when life got rough. It was like the universe was grabbing me by my shoulders and saying "SLOW DOWN! Don't you see that the grades, your (multiple) jobs, first dates, and what clothes you're wearing tonight don't make you who you are?" I was forced to slow down. Once I stopped being busybusybusy, I started seeing the value of time.
Of course, the important people in my life brought me my favorite snacks and called to check in. Those things meant so much. However, what made an even bigger impression on me was the outpouring of compassion and kindness from the people I didn't have any expectations of at the time. Not just family members and old friends, but the nurses, doctors, employers, college professors, and even school administrators I had never talked to more than once, if at all. They saw me as I was, and they showed me that they cared. They had prayer circles and sent flowers. They sent cards and came by to check in. These were the people I wanted to emulate. I wanted to see others the way they saw me. I never asked them how they saw me, but I imagine they saw a strong, young, flawed, human with no judgment or expectation beyond just living one day at a time the best she could. That meant taking care of my body, getting rest, keeping my doctor's appointments; and yes, finishing my semester with all passing grades (bonus goal!).
What I learned was how to slow down long enough to balance priorities. It's an active process. Some of what was important 5 years ago doesn't really matter now. Some of it matters even more. I'm a mother of two beautiful children. One of which has an autism diagnosis (never saw that one coming!). I'm an artist, a gardener, a yogi, a wife, a Christian, a social worker, a therapist, a business owner, a cancer survivor, a cook, house remodeler (is remodeler a word?), an animal lover, a volunteer, etc. I love it all but finding balance in all that I am takes work. Not just because I'm constantly overly ambitious in seeing how much I can squeeze into one day, but because I'm subject to the human condition. Just like the rest of us. Just like you.
I'm here to support my community in whatever way the universe shows me I can help. For right now, the message seems to be "Start a blog and be
transparent." In the meantime, know what I wish you light in your life and hope you embrace the future for all of its turbulent, beautiful changes.
Please visit back frequently as I'll be adding content regularly. Eventually, I'd like to ask the highest contributors to blog comments to participate in guest writing for those of you who are interested. Take care until next time!