The Continuum from Grief to Relief

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My 23-year relationship is over.

The actual break up- or for those legally married- the actual divorce is the least of it.

How can one day we suddenly stop being family?

It's about the separation of lives. It's about not looking to that person to share news of your best friend’s sepsis or your latest blog or the car accident you narrowly averted today.

It’s about wanting to talk to the other person when the child you raised together has a bad CT scan, but not knowing if you are really ready to be a supportive team.

It’s about not…


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There are so many weird things that happen in family life that you never saw coming. Truly.

One of them was that my spousal unit started leading a double life that include vast quantities of clandestine sex with young, sex trafficked, Asian women as a coping mechanism when his mother died four years ago.

His illicit sex fest was shattered when my daughter came home from high school one afternoon- unbeknownst to my spouse- and overheard this delightful scene of her father bragging about his latest sexual conquests on the phone to his lame-dicked…


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Two months ago, I had a huge autoimmune flare.

First, it started with my bladder getting really hot and uncomfortable and super overactive. After that, the all-over flu-ish feeling pervaded every pore of my body, a sensation that I hoped to never feel again. I had had the symptoms of the flu for twenty-five years and I could not go back into that unrelenting hell.

Next, I started getting super achy in my joints and muscles throughout my entire body. After two weeks of this, I was even colder than usual and I was starting to feel melancholy.

My autoimmune…


Moving from Shame to Gratitude

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I almost drowned once. I did not speak of the experience for decades, nor did I get angry about it for years afterward. I just pushed it aside to a cobwebby corner of my mind. Why did I feel like it was my fault?

I was a newly enrolled, 18-year-old college student at an amazing college on the glorious Puget Sound in Washington state, having grown up 3,000 miles away in New York and New Jersey. On my first day of campus, I ran into a friend from my very progressive but equally funky and tiny high school, whose claim…


I relish the weekly time, each Friday afternoon, I spend with the words of the goddess Mary Oliver, whose poems fill me astonishment, delight, beauty and love. A friend and I contemplate a poem of hers each week as we honor the Sabbath. It is a ritual that has become so very personally meaningful to me that missing it is no longer an option.

I hope you will enjoy Oliver’s words her as well as the saintly John O’Donahue and wise Cathy Comandy, as we collectively slip on something saging, and find a way to step into our third and…


How self-hatred transcends class, race & gender and finding HOPE anyway

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I am a volunteer crisis counselor with the national Crisis Text Line (CTL) and during my 2-hour weekly shift, I typically converse via a texting platform with 2–6 texters who contact us because they are in a mental health crisis. Think National Suicide Hotline for texters.

In the last 28 days, CTL had about 94,000 conversations with texters in crisis, the majority of whom are young; teenagers and young adults. A significant number are LGBTQ.

Recently I spent two hours with a texter in crisis, a minor in their early teen years, who ultimately revealed that not only were they…


How to Make Things Better for Both of You

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I had the unusual opportunity (more on that in another story, someday) to get to meet quite a few men who were in long-term, straight relationships where sex was non-existent. I estimate I spoke with about 3 dozen men.

Overall these men felt rejected by their women, and they really did not understand why. They were bewildered by the sexual anorexia they were experiencing at home and tended to rationalize the problem as their wives’ biological lack of interest in sex. The relationship’s sexlessness emerged typically about 20 years into the relationship, further exasperated by the hormonal impact of menopause.


And You Can, Too!

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In the last year, I did two things I absolutely 100% believed I could NOT do.

I let go of two somewhat related burdens and I am literally lighter. I lost, got rid of, let go of 240 pounds of excess baggage!

First, I lost all the extra weight my body was carrying around.

I now weigh about 43 lbs less than a year ago.

After years of gaining and losing, cleaning and detoxing, my body finally let go of a lot of inflammation and is working like a well-oiled machine. My metabolism, previously non-existent, now miraculously works. I can…


How I Overcame Toxic Ambiguity

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I was married before, a long time ago, for 8 years. My husband at the time, deep in the throes of what he now believes was a midlife crisis, left me for his student, a woman about half his age whom his sexual obsession with propelled him into a new life without me.

We have been sorting through the demise of our relationship over the last few months, for the very first time in twenty-five years. As far as pathological lying goes, he wins the award for keeping both of us on a short leash for years both before and…


How to Free Yourself from Old Body Tapes

Photo by Ashley Green on Unsplash

If you are carrying weight on your body that feels extra, and perhaps struggle a little or a lot with disordered eating, you probably know the story:

Despite our rejection of the oppressive societal norms perpetuated by the ‘beauty’ industry;

Despite our philosophical support of the fat liberation movement and our acceptance of our larger, different-from-the-norm-size;

Despite the distorted mental tapes we internalize and carry about how women (and men) should ‘look’;

Despite the valid, angsty emotions that drive the overeating (that we now know could be bad, gut microbes causing cravings);

Despite the genetic predisposition towards gaining and holding…

Rhyena Halpern

Health Coach & End of Life Doula who loves to write on Wellness, Third Act of Life, Death & Dying, Autoimmunity, Trauma, Food & Weight. rhyhalpern@gmail.com

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