Michael Boyle Therapy


Therapy that works. #wholehearted by design.

When Bad Stuff Happens

Reach out.

Everyone needs help sometimes.

Life has carved me into someone obsessed about finding practical things we can do to turn hard times into optimal health and happiness. I continue to experiment with what does and doesn’t work. I am fortunate to have amazing teachers, friends and family. I am also lucky to learn from the experiments clients and I co-create in the laboratory of their life’s inevitable challenges. For sure, what doesn’t work is pretending it doesn’t suck, or that the impact is not real, or that it doesn’t hurt.

It can be kind of morose to feel called to get in the fox hole with others who are in the midst of their shittiest moments. Dealing with our own problems is hard enough. But, since experience helps a lot, I don’t know what else to do with mine but share it. As much as I am big believer in practical things we can actually DO to transform suffering into #JOYFULEXCELLENCE, I simply know it doesn’t work without heavy doses of empathy, understanding, acceptance and…. togetherness.

Support through hard times is multi-faceted. Friends, family, professionals, strangers, books, videos, nature, exercise, walks, art, movement, tears…. time. Anything and everything is welcome on the path from trauma to healing to thriving. The more sincerely we engage this path and reach out for resources the more Life steps up and provides us what we need.

I wish everyone had the tools I have for turning stops into steps. I guess that’s why I do what I do. I feel damn lucky about how many people have stepped up to help me on my way. I feel so inspired when I learn a new tool that works.

But that doesn’t make me immune from bad stuff happening, nor from the fallout. A few weeks ago I witnessed an avalanche while skiing and helped with the search and rescue. Both people who got caught died. It shook me up. The impact of that has been ramping up ever since: irrational fears about me and my family dying, tightness in my chest, shortness of breath, fatigue, numbness, irritability. Sure, the tools I know how to use have probably kept these things in check. But, regardless, trauma gets locked up in the body and eventually it has to express. 100% better out than in. So, coming to a head last night, during the only time of the day when I can’t consciously use the tools I know how to use, my sleep was interrupted by panic attacks.

No matter how much experience I have, I am still impressed by how physiological the symptoms are of things typically relegated to “mental” health. If you’ve never had a panic attack or been depressed, it would be hard to describe to you how NOT mental these experiences are. So, today, I reached out to a friend who does bodywork, because its an embodied problem. She helped nudge things in the right direction and I am feeling a lot better. Now, I can get back to my daily routine of Neurobody Exercises (NBE) and Psycho-Spiritual Hygiene (PSH) practices. But, as profound and effective as the NBE and PSH are, enabling me to be in the trenches daily with trauma, grief and loss and still live a life of #JOYFULEXCELLENCE, everyone needs help sometimes.

Michael Boyle, LAMFT