Far from Home, Part 2: Dance to the Music

This is part 2 in a series about my time in residential treatment. Part 1 is here.

The schedule at TK was very similar each day. The only thing that varied was the content of the groups. There were multiple groups that met at the same time each day, and I picked the groups I wanted to attend with the guidance of my therapist.

Here’s the basic schedule for my lodge: 

7:00 a.m.: Breakfast
8:30 a.m.: Morning commitments (We had small groups in the lodge, and each morning we had to check in with our current mood and goals for the day. It wasn’t at all awkward or uncomfortable to rate my depression on a scale of 1 to 10 in a room full of other women, haha.)
9:00 a.m.: Group therapy
10:00 a.m.: Break (for phone calls, snacks, meetings with therapist or psychiatrist, etc.)
11:00  a.m.: Group therapy
Noon: Lunch
1:30 p.m.: Community meeting (entire lodge met to talk about any announcements, concerns, issues)
2:00 p.m.: Group therapy
3:00 p.m.: Break
4:00 p.m.: Group therapy
5:00 p.m.: Dinner
7:15 p.m.: Group therapy
9:00 p.m.: Mindfulness (A staff member led us in various activities meant to help us focus on the present/be mindful) 

The first group I went to at TK was called Dance Movement Therapy. When I saw this on the schedule, I immediately balked and was tempted to skip it. The interesting thing about TK and something that distinguishes residential treatment from inpatient treatment is that no one makes you go to any of the groups or activities. You could theoretically sleep all day (and some residents did that, much to my deep confusion–that’s an awfully expensive way to get in some naps). However, I’m a rule follower and schedule freak at heart, so the thought of skipping the very first group didn’t sit well with me, so off I went, not knowing what in the world I was getting myself into. 

There’s not really a good way to describe Dance Movement Therapy (DMT), except to tell you what it’s not. It’s not Zumba or Jazzercise or any kind of choreographed dance. The class is basically all about connecting the body with the mind and showing that through movement. There were 2 therapists for the session, and they played different kinds of music for us while we expressed ourselves through various movements, walking around the room, skipping, twirling, or really whatever we wanted to do. Some of it was guided movement, but a lot of it was independent. The point of DMT is to be content with your body and allow it to move in a way that is comfortable to you. That meant some people hardly moved at all but instead sat quietly, while others danced freely all around the whole room. I fell somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, not wanting to make too much of a spectacle of myself but also not able to resist the way the music spoke to me and made me want to move. Even though I felt ridiculous doing some of the things we did, it was also very freeing. I was in a safe space where no one was judging what I was doing, and no one was really even watching what I was doing because everyone was doing her own thing. I love music, and I found it very soothing to let myself get lost in the rhythms of the songs and move the way I felt like moving. I probably looked clumsy and awkward and completely unskilled, but I didn’t care, and neither did anyone else.  (If this all sounds a little kooky to you or like the dumbest thing in the world, I understand. I would feel the same way if I hadn’t experienced it firsthand.)

Towards the end of our time in the group, the lead therapist had us all find individual spaces in the room to retreat and be quiet. She put on soft music and instructed us to relax and let our minds and bodies simply respond to the words she was going to say. She named off two words I don’t remember, and then she said the word “belonging,” and I felt the tears spring to my eyes. Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face, and I knew that the word had touched a point of pain in my heart. I have often struggled with feeling like I don’t belong and have wanted desperately to find a place of belonging, and there in that room I was free to admit that to myself and tell myself that wanting that was a natural thing. I prayed that God would help me know that I belonged–heart, mind, body, and soul–to Him, even if all else was in question. I left that group feeling lighter than when I came, and DMT cemented itself as my very favorite group at TK. I still give myself time at home to dance around to music that makes me feel happy and confident. I don’t worry about what I look like or how much space I’m taking up or how ugly or fat I feel; I dance, and I feel free and loved. And for those few minutes, that’s enough. 

Some songs that make me happy (it’s a very eclectic list):

“Calling Me Home” by Emily Brimlow
“Almost (Sweet Music)” by Hozier
“joy.” by For King and Country
“123” by Jess Glynne
“Love Broke Thru” by TobyMac
“Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
“God Is Enough” by Lecrae
“Like We Belong” by GAWVI
“Hard Love” by Needtobreathe
“Let It Rain (Is There Anybody)” by Crowder
“Love Me Again” by John Newman
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake
“Holy” by Jamila Woods
“Glorious Day” by Passion

Weekend Fun

I hope everyone had a nice long weekend. I sure did! Mine started early with an unexpected half day at work on Friday. I got off at 1:30, so Stephen and I met up for lunch, and then I went grocery shopping. By myself. It was awesome to be able to take my time and not rush through anything. I don’t really enjoy grocery shopping, but I enjoyed that trip, especially since I didn’t even have to wait in line to check out. 🙂 After I got home and unpacked the groceries, I went and picked up Charlotte from daycare, and we went out in the backyard almost as soon as we got home. I think she would live in the backyard if we would let her.

The whole weekend we spent a lot of time just hanging out as a family. Charlotte is on the go pretty much whenever she is awake, so she kept us on our toes! She enjoys using both of us as her personal jungle gym, and she cracks us up with her dance moves.

Today we went to the park, and she LOVED running around the playground and climbing up and down the stairs and of course swinging!

That smile of hers melts my heart!

I hope you all had a great weekend! Here’s to a wonderful September!

Clearly I Have a Problem

During our purging/organizing session this weekend, Stephen and I found these:

Apparently I was once a wee bit obsessed with water bottles. But I did get rid of at least half of them in the purge! (I kept all of the ones from Sea World because Sea World is awesome.)

P.S. Blogger finally added threaded commenting, so now I can reply directly to your comments! That means you have to leave me some, haha. 🙂

Exercise That’s Not Exercise

I have finally found it–exercise that does not feel like exercise. I’ve experienced this Holy Grail of cardio twice now, and I have loved it both times. What is this I am talking about?

ZUMBA.

Have you heard of Zumba? I’m a little late jumping on the Zumba bandwagon, but in case you don’t know what it is, here’s a little blurb from the Zumba website:

The Zumba® program fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away. Our goal is simple: We want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba® Fanatics achieve long-term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exciting hour of calorie-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life!

The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix and you’ve got a Zumba® class!

Does that not sound FUN? I had heard about Zumba for quite some time but didn’t know of classes in my area that weren’t at a gym. Then my friend found a class and invited me to go, so we did. I was slightly nervous about looking ridiculous because my dance experience has pretty much been limited to the occasional solo living room dance party, but I needn’t have worried. The people in the class were all different shapes and sizes, and everyone danced with their own style. I had an absolute blast, and the best part is that Zumba really is not just fun; it’s a fantastic workout that uses a lot of different muscles.

I went to my second class on Monday, and this class was even better than the first. There was a different instructor, and I liked the way she conducted her class a lot better. There were probably 60-70 people in the class, which made it a little challenging to see the instructor, but I managed to find someone a few rows in front of me who looked like she knew what she was doing, so I just watched her when I couldn’t see the instructor.

Here’s a tip if you try a class: try to get near the front. I know that I wanted to be near the back my first time because I didn’t want everyone to see me looking a fool, but it’s so much easy to follow along with the moves if you are near the front. Plus, there’s just not time for people to be staring at you while you dance because everyone is so focused on their own workout.

I am hoping to go again next Monday with some friends, and I would encourage you to try it if you’re looking for a fun workout. The classes I’ve gone to have been $5/class, but I’m not sure if the price varies by instructor or region. To see if there are any classes near you, click here.