Interview with Ariane

My Interview with Mom Boss & Mental Health Therapist

As the topic of Mental Health is beginning to become more and more relevant in today’s society i feel like these these questions  need to be asked; especially if you are a mom who is suffering in silence.

These are questions that we all need the answers to.

I feel that talking about it on more of a personal level is helpful to so many of us. 

Having anxiety or dealing with depression have a weird stigma against them and the only way we can break through that is by understanding them better and how it affects each one of us differently. Being a mom of three who struggles with anxiety, and whose two oldest struggle with anxiety and ADHD, i wanted to interview someone who has experience in the field and in her own home.

Ariane Waller is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with experience in working with children in a school setting, and now she even has her very own private practice located in the Flathead Valley. Mental Health and Mom life is a passion for her. 

While also raising two little ones, she’s also slaying a makeup business that she works into life because its something she loves. “Feeling beautiful from the inside out”, is something she often says. But, just like anyone else

Anxiety and depression have the tendency to creep up on anyone of us.

Even those who are teaching others how to live a healthier and happier life; so i wanted to touch on that a little bit as well. 

Parenting, Mental Health, and helping others are huge passions of my own. So knowing Ariane personally, I wanted to ask her some questions about how she gets through the day to day; And similarly, what she teaches her clients on how to cope with these very similar struggles that most of us are living with.

What has fueled your passion to study Mental Health as a mom already and to become a Clinical Therapist? How long have you been in the field?

When I was 17 years old my parents sent me to a behavior modification boarding school for nine months. This facility has since been shut down for abuse. It had zero mental health care options and was filled with teens who needed it more than most. I realized that maybe one percent of the staff had any sort of formal education right away. From that point forward I made it my goal to become educated in the mental health field so that I could provide care and support to those like myself.

I have worked in a social work setting for 9 years and this is my 3rd year as a licensed therapist. I started in a shelter for children 0-12 who needed emergency placement due to being suddenly removed from their caregivers. I have gone from there to public schools and now private practice.

From your standpoint, do you notice a stigma against Mental Health? Is it getting better?

There is absolutely a stigma, although I truly believe it is getting better. It wasn’t that long ago that people were locked up and cruelly tested on for common mental health disorders. There were very few interventions, tools, and skills provided to cope and heal. Now we have many more options, and some health insurance is paying for treatment. These are steps in the right direction.

What are some words of advice that you find the most difficult to practice in your own life?

Wow, this is a great question. I think the hardest thing for me personally to do is stop and think when I am triggered, angry, or in a panic. I often don’t take the time to calm down and step back from the trigger before I react. I teach my clients to respond after taking the time to think through the issue, separate it from a human, and go in after the body has returned to baseline.

As a working mom, what do you find the easiest way to talk with your children?

Before bed! Isley is not old enough to really have deep conversations, but Carter has blown me away with the “adult“ material conversations he brings to the table. From about the age of four we have talked about anxiety, homosexuality, transgender, equal rights, racism, equality, bullying, homelessness, poverty, religion, abuse, death, human anatomy and biology and so much more. I give him time to talk when I tuck him in. Nothing is off limits. He knows we can talk about anything.

Do you believe that all children should be parented differently?

Yes. And doing this is going to start with instilling the belief in your kids that fair is not equal fair is getting what you need. This helps kids to see that fair for one is not the same for the other, and that is absolutely OK. Teaching empathy at a very young age, showing kids how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, it’s going to be key in their comprehension of fair not be equal.

What symptom have you noticed the most in your work with Mental Health and as a mom, in children dealing with anxiety and/or depression?

Anxiety and depression look so different for each and every person. As far as children go, they are so resilient, their symptoms can change quickly. Some common things I have observed include irrational fears, sleep disturbance, separation anxiety, somatic illness, ticks, hoarding, tantrums, highly emotional, asking lots of fear based questions, self-sabatoge, easily giving up, refusing to try, general apathy, sweat and panic, self harm, feeling worthless, lack of energy and or focus, lack or surge in appetite, and so much more.

Do you see a common correlation between Anxiety and ADHD?

Symptoms can look similar in these two diagnoses and they are often coexisting. I’m not sure why that is. I would have to dive into that a little deeper. Of course there is the genetic factor, and then the fact that ADHD medication is often a stimulant with anxious behavioral side effects.

If there was one thing you could share with each person who is caring for a child with Mental Health struggles, what would you give them as a piece of advice?

First and foremost- you are enough, and you are doing a great job.

Try to approach all situations with unconditional positive regard. This means you go in with the assumption that they are doing the best they can at the time with the tools they have.

Use positive language. Show hope for the future. Be excited for the day when they do show improvement.

Seek out furthering education reading materials, podcasts, and classes. Everyone can continue to fill their tool belt.

AND MY MANTRA- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

Do you believe that Mental Health is just as important as physical health or do you believe that one is more important than the other?

Both are equally important. If you think about it, they aren’t that far from being the same thing. A disease of the brain is physical health.

Do you believe that Mental Health needs to be a required subject in school?

I think our “Health” classes should be so much more inclusive of mental health and current issues. I also think kids need to learn how to establish credit, do their taxes, hang curtains, cook, sew, and clean. I don’t know why we are cutting home economics classes.

What is your opinion of the mind-body connection?

100% believer. I see it in action every day. People often are so occupied in their mind, with anxiety, depression, mania, panic, etc that they cannot hear their bodies. Or the other way around- the mind is so occupied that it creates what we call somatic symptoms. They feel very real, and cause real ailments, but are caused by the response to the mind.

How we fuel and take care of our bodies will directly affect our mind function, making it a complex relationship.

What is the number one sign and/or symptom that you notice in adolescents who are dealing with something internally, yet refuse to talk about it?

Look for their outlet. Art, music, and writing  are the biggest I see. They will often show their feelings in these things. I find that caregivers have an intuition about their kids and know that something is off. Trust your gut.

In your opinion, what signifies a “safe” environment for anyone who is struggling with a Mental Health disorder?

Somewhere that person can be themselves without fear of harm mentally or physically. Empathy is going to play a huge role here too. Teach those kids empathy! The more empathetic people in this world, the safer it will be.

How can we assure as a mom or parent, that our children’s Mental Health needs are met on a daily basis?

We can’t. But opening the lines of communication without judgement is going to create trust for those kids to tell us what they need. This also teaches kids what healthy relationships look like and help them to be a better partner in the future.

Check in daily and share. Look up fun ice breaker prompts like “if your day was a weather pattern what would it be?” Or as simple as “how is your heart today?”

How can we be there for those who are having a hard time, even when we don’t understand what that person is going through?

Offering to listen. You don’t have to fix things like most people naturally want to. Just being a safe outlet is enough. Admitting you don’t understand is step 1. People usually respect that someone isn’t assuming they know how they feel. Asking what they need is step 2. Maybe you can help, maybe not. Knowing your boundaries will be important. Referring to a professional when necessary is step 3.

As a society and as a mom, how can we support the Mental Health Community better? More awareness, of course, but what is a piece of advice that we could all take action on immediately?

Start at home. The next generation has the opportunity to be way more “woke.” Be on the lookout for local assemblies, rallies, conferences, or anything highlighting mental health. Attend if you can!

Share the information.


“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” Click To Tweet

These questions need to be asked. Especially for us parents who not only struggle ourselves; but who are raising kids who are struggling, too. Community is so important and we need to be leaning in on each other the best way that we can and we know how.

Mental Health and Mom Life sometimes feel like they go hand in hand. So many of us are struggling and need help but don’t know where to look and/or where to reach out.

You are never alone and you ARE enough; its important that you know that!

Taking the first step into properly caring for yourself and for others is knowledge. So praise to you for giving this a read and wanting to find answers. There is always someone out there who can understand and be there for you. If you have been thinking about what to do for quite some time; I encourage you to find the right therapist for your child and to find someone who they are comfortable with.

There is always room for hope no matter how impossible it may feel. Start with small changes.

To find Ariane Waller, you can visit her website here.

Have any more questions or feel like there is something more specific i should touch on? Feel free to drop them in the comments below, or, as always, send me an email!

Much love.

How to support your childs mental health

 

 

    27 Comments

  1. Your post has touched me very closely, treating a subject as delicate and important as this. Thank you for starting a conversation about it.

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  2. It was so refreshing to read about this topic in this interview format. I’m so glad that mental health is beginning to become more and more relevant in today’s society and that people are more comfortable about talking about it without the instant stigma. We all need to be more understanding and supportive. Hope you have a great week!

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  3. This is always important to do. I always talk to my kids about their mental health and check in with them to make sure they are doing okay.

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  4. Cindy Gordon

    You’re very right that depression and anxiety doesn’t play favorites. It hits anyone, at any age, and any gender.

    Reply

  5. This is a very educational post and I loved reading it, amazing questions and great feedback.

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  6. I am glad that mental health is becoming more talked about, however I think we still have a long way to go in many ways, but at least we are getting better about it.

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  7. I think this graphic is fantastic at normalizing what avenues to take. We can’t be ashamed because it’s an important issue.

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  8. Thank you so much for talking about this very important topic. Mental health should be a priority and should never be taken lightly.

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  9. Melanie Walsh

    I love the idea of including more mental health education in school. It’s become less of a stigma, but there still is a lot of room for improvement. To ensure our children grow up knowing it’s okay to get help and how to get it, I think they will be better off.

    Reply

  10. I’m starting to think my son is struggling with anxiety. He’s been off lately. He won’t let me go work without losing his mind and has been complaining about eating. I have over the years had bouts of anxiety and depression too. It’s always been hard to reach out but I hope to give my son all the support he needs

    Reply

    • Courtney Ferguson

      You are doing amazing, mama!!! No matter how hard it may seem for you at some moments, I hope you now that. We can only do the best we can do. My two oldest suffer from anxiety as both their dad and I do too. And we have found that being honest with our kids about things and talking, lots of talking, has gotten us all through a lot of hard times. Sending my love to you and your son ❤️

      Reply

  11. Samantha

    Mental illness is an epidemic in our society and it necessary to share more information about it for those who need it. She sounds like a wonderful person with a lot of intelggiance.

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  12. These are such great questions. One of the very first things that my son’s doctor recommended when he was diagnosed with ADHD is for all of us to have counseling.

    The ADHD mind is always moving. It overthinks to the point that it makes you anxious because you can created hundreds of scenarios before the brain can rationalize those fears. It’s like when you watch a scary movie and then have to go to the basement or you decide to go to bed but have to climb some stairs in the dark. Your mind starts to think of Chucky from Child’s play coming after you and so you skedaddle up the stairs at a running pace because somehow you’re more susceptible to him catching you the moment that the lights are out. Is this something that will really happen? No! However, you feel safer in the safety of your bed, under your covers. Then you laugh because your fear was irrational, but you’ve had time to think it through.

    Reply

    • Courtney Ferguson

      I like that recommendation! I think it’s important that we all understand these types of things more because they are more common than we know.
      It’s important we understand eachother so that we can take care of one another the right way and quit being so hard on eachother. Mental health is so important to me, I appreciate your insight ❤️

      Reply

  13. Bold step missy, I am happy that mental health is no longer silenced in society. People are more aware of the threats that mental health pose in our community and how anxiety can play a big part in our daily lives.

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  14. Alexandra Cook

    People forget that children go through a lot these days. They’re expected to be many adults and it’s taxing.

    Reply

  15. Donyell

    This is a great interview!! I agree that there is a stigma towards mental heath but it is getting better!!

    Reply

  16. Dalene Ekirapa

    I’m glad that of late, the issue on mental health is being taken more seriously unlike a couple of ears ago where none of it was mentioned,and those affected suffered stigmatization. In this digital age, it should be given more thought and effort.

    Reply

  17. I love this it’s so informative and educational! I love when people speak out loud about mental illness!

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  18. I think it can be hard for parents to know what to do when their child suffers from mental health issues. Although, it might be a challenge, being more “woke” is so important. The earlier you address any issues, the better it is for your child.

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  19. Good job at talking about mental health. We need to take that estigma away and the best way to do this is speaking frankly and loud. Thank you for this post.

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  20. This is great post, you touch everything. Yes living with some difficulty is not that easy. I know that my daughter has some learning disabilities. I know she knows that it hurt her also.

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  21. Mental health is definitely really important and something that isn’t always talked about as much as it should be. I’m glad that its not as much of a stigma as it use to be. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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