Wednesday, July 3, 2019

FREE Zones of Regulation Posters

Hi friends!  I spent the morning working on this project.  These printables are modified from the original created by Alayna Nichols to meet some of the needs we have been having in our home.  (A full post is coming....but today we need groceries so it will have to wait! :)  The printables below are sized to be 11 x 14 prints.  You can also print them as 5 x 7's-you will just lose the bottom colored portion. If you need a different size, let me know!  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Follow Just Yell Plot Twist On Instagram!

Join me on Instagram @justyellplottwist!  
Below are a few of the most recent posts....Enjoy!


Thursday, April 4, 2019


“You mock my pain.”
“As you wish….”
“I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”
“Anybody wanna peanut?”
“Have fun stormin’ the castle!”

If you are a child of the 80’s or 90’s like I am, you might recognize those quotes from the movie the Princess Bride.  I recently introduced my three boys to this essential classic.  They were hesitant at first with mom’s choice for family movie night,  but were won over in the end by the witty banter, sword fights, and Rodents Of Unusual Size.  Towards the beginning of the movie, the character Vizinni repeatedly (and incorrectly) uses the word “inconceivable.” After several repetitions, his co-criminal,  Inigo Montoya, looks at him quizzically and comments “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

There is currently a term floating around social media and in popular culture that is consistently used incorrectly, and causes me to echo Inigo’s refrain.  Every time I hear it, I cringe.  Every. Single. Time.  The word? OCD.  As in “I just organized my shoes by color.  I am sooo….OCD!”  “Are you OCD? Take this quiz to find out!” or mugs and t-shirts adorned with the words “Obsessive __________ Disorder.”  Fill in the blank with any word describing one of your hobbies.  

You keep using this word.  I do not think it means what you think it means. 

Friends. Could we please stop using life threatening mental illness as a cutesy description for personal preferences?  OCD is not something you can be.  Just as someone cannot be "so cancer" or "so diabetes".   You can have an illness, yes.  But you cannot be an illness.

Now I promise I’m not trying to be super politically correct here.  I can take a joke.  I’m not easily offended.  I have a sense of humor, and I really love to laugh!  So why not just let it go?  No harm, no foul right?  Because words matter.  How we discuss something influences how we perceive it. 

When we use mental illness diagnoses as a joke, how can people with them ever hope to have their pain taken seriously?

Currently there is great fear and cultural stigma surrounding mental illness.  It is going to take a million tiny changes to transform that culture.  One of those changes is the way we speak about mental illness.   By simply changing the conversation, we can begin to work together to create a society where anything but sincere compassion and empathy for those who experience symptoms of mental illness would be truly inconceivable. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Favorite Mental Health Resources

      In our family we do kind.  We do hugs.  We do trust.  We do second chances.  We do loud (really well!)  We do love.  We also do mental illness-with it’s accompanying therapy appointments, teacher meetings, medication, misunderstanding, and near constant uncertainty of how to navigate a world whose opinions and judgements shouldn’t matter, but do anyway.

With an alphabet soup of collected diagnosis that looks something like this…MDD-OCD-GAD-SPCD-SPS-DMDD-SPD-ADHD-PTSD, you might be tempted to call us a hot mess.  We, however, prefer the term “neurodiverse.”   My particular portion of the alphabet is MDD-Major Depressive Disorder, and OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  These are not my favorite genetic gifts.  The blue eyes, I was good with. The long fingers for playing the piano?  Great!  But those first two?  They have pushed me to the brink, and threatened to send me over it more times than I can count.  While I did not choose for myself or my children to experience mental illness, I am grateful that we can find meaning in our experience by sharing what we have learned.  
Below are some of my favorite strategies and resources for understanding and managing mental illness. I hope you find them helpful!

1.       Know what you’re up against!  Fear and stigma are often the result of misunderstanding.  Learn about your and/or your loved one’s illness. Spend 5 or 10 minutes on one of the following websites to get a better understanding of what you’re facing.  NAMI      The Mighty      Child Mind

2.      Lifestyle. Ugh.  You knew I was coming to this right?!  You’ve heard it before, but I will say it again.  Good nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, less screentime (especially before bed!), self-care/self-compassion and sleep are critical components of mental health.  Start small.  Choose one thing to focus on at a time.  My favorite tool right now for making lifestyle changes is the  Best Self Journal  It is a very simple 3 month journal that uses LOTS of positive psychology strategies such as having a routine, setting and achieving goals such as habit change, and a twice daily gratitude reflection. 

3.      Practice Mindfulness.  Simply put, this has been the MOST EFFECTIVE strategy for me. Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening as it is happening.  This may sound simpe, but there is a reason it’s called mindfulness “practice!” Spending a few minutes each day practicing mindfulness can strengthen our ability to remain in the present, and increase our tolerance for and acceptance of the fact that everyone experiences negative thoughts and emotions, and it is our reaction to them and not the thoughts and emotions themselves, that cause significant suffering.  Check out the app Headspace to get started-the video’s they have created provide a visual introduction to how and what mindfulness is.   

4.      Provide validation and empathy of the experience.  Here is a great short animation from Brene Brown on empathy.  Self-compassion, and compassion from others can be life saving when you have a mental illness.  Bottom line?  You, dear friend, are not alone. 

5.      Because asking “what’s wrong?” does not always yield an answer that conveys what is being felt, a 1-10 mental health scale can be useful to identify the intensity of what is being experienced.  Similar to taking someone’s temperature with a thermometer, this tool is meant to illustrate the amount of suffering occurring, but will not necessarily show the cause of the suffering.  

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Mental Health 1-10 Pain Scale & Self-Care Strategies

Suicide and suicide prevention have been in the media a lot recently where I live.  Suicide has become the leading cause of death for children 11-17 in Utah.  Between 2011-2015 Utah saw an increase of 136%  in suicide by children ages 11-17.  Nationally it had risen 23.5%

Last year on Sept.10, National Suicide Prevention Day, I remember hearing one specific comment that caught my attention.  The comment was from a local radio commentator in our area who was speaking about his 17 year old nephew who left home 3 years ago and never returned.

A few weeks after his disappearance his parents found a note tucked inside his wallet saying that he felt "broken."  The commentator made the comment that while the family knew this young man was experiencing challenges and symptoms related to mental illness, they did not realize the depth of his pain, and felt he had not been forthcoming with how bad things really were.

And he's right.  There is a major communication gap when it come's to connecting those who suffer with those who could provide relief.  You can't support someone if you don't know they are struggling.  But for those who suffer, it is hard to explain just what is happening.  Such an infuriating and frustrating challenge to be unable to communicate!! Add to that that teens aren’t exactly known for wanting to talk about their “feelings.”

Several months ago I found a 1-10 mental health pain scale that has helped me tremendously to be able to express how I am doing.  I modified the scale for tweens and teens to hopefully help in bridging this communication gap.  Feel free to use and share :)

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Have you discovered podcasts yet? One of my favorites is the TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz. I listened to one recently called "Head Space"which was fantastic! 
It is a fascinating look at others experiences with mental illness--not in a depressing way, but in a very hopeful "we're in this together" way. 

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!

To check it out, go to