Making Peace with Loneliness During the Holidays Pt. 2

Last year I wrote Emotional Loneliness + The Holidays and it was one of my most read articles. This might be because family is one of those topics we always come back to, and the love/hate pulls are so strong. While last year I was very (proudly!) single and in a stable job, this year I’m in transition between cities and jobs, and I brought home a partner I’m just crazy about. What I found this year was that despite my relationship status, regression to a less mature version of myself around family is definitely going to happen, and honestly, having a partner doesn’t change the inner child triggers that flare up. To quote last year’s article, this regression stems …


4 Signs You Are Codependent and 4 Signs You Are Not

Two months ago, I quit my job. The 2+ years leading up to that decision were survival mode since my divorce: get a new job, figure out finances, move 3x! I was excited for a little break. Despite my enthusiasm, once my break came, all I could do was squirm and complain. I’d never experienced this kind of depression before. It wasn’t the agony I was used to. Depression felt like this constant companion, hanging out right beneath the surface of my words and actions, never screaming, but stifling my motivation for life. What was happening? There were no external voices to tell me what to do, that I was doing a good job, that I was on the right …


Healing from Heartbreak, Betrayal, and Loving the Lonely

Have you ever done something stupid out of loneliness? Spent way too much money on clothes or food, drank too much, abused a substance, kissed a random? I have. The typical aftermath? Shame.hangover. In the midst of a shame hangover, when my inner voice is screaming, “Darn it, Ilsa,” these are the things I preach to myself: There is total compassion for whatever happened. For whatever reason, we needed to experience and learn from that thing we did in response to our loneliness. Trust me – there’s always a lesson. I will not succumb to the lie of shame that bubbles up in an effort to keep me isolated and small. I will reach out to people who love me, …


How To Take Treasure from the Darkness

I once heard, “you teach what you need to learn”, which has become a mainstay of my writing. My journey to writing has been entirely through pain, both self and others-inflicted. The discovery of this outlet has come through heavy emotional darkness – one event digging up years of events that led to self-destructing choices that all came crashing down. There are two ways to deal with pain: Cut it off. Pretend like it didn’t happen. Attempt to go on with life as if this big ugly was never there. Silence its voice. Be warned that pain cannot truly be silenced, and will find moments to scream out and shame us. Embrace it. Recognize that this pain is now part …