93 episodes

Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, ED.D PMHNPBC is the founder of Mentally STRONG, outpatient mental health facility, and creator of The Mentally STRONG Method, a cognitive behavioral approach. Join Dr. B and other guests as they explore how the method makes you Mentally STRONGer.

The Mentally STRONG Podcast Mentally STRONG

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.5 • 4 Ratings

Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, ED.D PMHNPBC is the founder of Mentally STRONG, outpatient mental health facility, and creator of The Mentally STRONG Method, a cognitive behavioral approach. Join Dr. B and other guests as they explore how the method makes you Mentally STRONGer.

    Raising Mentally STRONG Kids: Tips on Gift Giving during the Holidays

    Raising Mentally STRONG Kids: Tips on Gift Giving during the Holidays

    Raising Mentally STRONG Kids - Mentally STRONG

    Hi Dr. B here, we are officially in the holiday season and December is coming and Christmas. I remember growing up my grandmother made such a big deal about Christmas. It was her favorite holiday, and it wasn't really a religious connotation for her. It was about giving. I really think maybe her love language was giving gifts and she would start shopping for Christmas gifts even before Thanksgiving. It's like it was in in Christmas, was always about the kids and so this Holiday season I would like to do a series on Raising Mentally STRONG Kids.We have a whole course on Raising Mentally STRONG Kids and it's not a how to course. It's a self-development and relationship course about how to have that kind of relationship with your child. It’s about learning the developmental milestones and what should I be expecting from my child. I want to start with just each week, giving you a few of tips on Raising Mentally STRONG Kids, It's a journey and it's not just 18 years, it goes into adulthood, but it is about that relationship that you have with them.
    And as we go into this holiday season and gift giving this whole concept around expectations of giving and receiving and those kinds of things and we want to make sure that we are teaching our children balance in that. One of my pet peeves in just our culture is that we have a lot of all-or-nothing thinking right, it's like oh I'm going to spend every dime that I have on making sure my kids get at least 10 gifts.
    And there's, I want this for them, and I want that for them and it's like, oh, you know you were bad this year, and so you're not getting anything, and we almost threaten children with putting put coal in your stocking and there's this all-or-nothing thinking and even if you think about that continuum, you're like, oh, I don't want to spoil my child. And so how do I have that balance in giving and receiving? And I just want you to focus on 2 things. one (and I'm going to say this one in every video) So hopefully you will always remember that relationships are a priority. If you have a solid relationship with your child. Regardless, if you feel like you've made mistakes or not made mistakes, you saw in the previous videos, I talk about mistakes that I've made with my kids, but relationships are a priority. If you have a relationship with your child, you can correct and guide and that will have strength as they grow, but also this all-or-nothing thinking, really think about how you're approaching the gift giving.
    I remember when my kids were small, I had seven children and it was like I needed to have the same number of gifts for each child and I wanted it to be like you walked out there and that it looked magical, right? So, it's all about these numbers of gifts and how magical looked when they walked out and a lot of those gifts were dollar store gifts, especially when they were young, and they didn't need it. But it was almost like I was trying to create a magic and that's OK to do. True, but also, it's not about the number of presents, it's about that relationship that we have. You know I kind of created this and then it was like literally over in in 5 minutes and did they really appreciate the time that was spent doing those things? All I'm saying right now is there's not a right way to do the holidays. What are you doing with your family? Does it feel right to you? Does it promote A relationship with your child and finding that balance? So, the two tips for this video are relationships or priority, and you'll hear that one in every video and balance. Finding that balance is not about the right number of gifts or the right amount of money, or the spoil or not spoil just finding balance. In using this time this month, this holiday season to grow in your relationship with your child because you are Mentally STRONG.

    • 5 min
    How to find Gratitude in Grief

    How to find Gratitude in Grief

    Happy Thanksgiving Week
    I’m finishing up the grief series and so I’m pulling myself together and talking about gratefulness in grief. We're going into Thanksgiving and then the holiday season and you know, finding that gratefulness and what does gratefulness do to our mental health and our mental strength? Being grateful in the midst of difficulty and pain, is a choice. And I'm not saying, to go around being fake and pretending to be grateful when you're really angry or hurting. You have to go through this process so that it's genuine and real. I probably cannot stop the DRPLA in my family. So how can I be grateful? How can I take this and find happiness and joy? That doesn't mean I'm grateful for DRPLA. Definitely not. But I am grateful for the time I had with Reggie and his purpose here. He touched so many people, there was a time for a whole year We did what we called Reggie Therapy, which was this hands-on therapy, and he touched the lives of so many of my nursing students. They still follow me today. I am grateful for Miah. I struggled with, “what is her purpose?”. She didn't have this big following like Reggie did. And you know people that meet her they think oh, she's so sweet, but there's not like this huge amount of people following her, but there was this one person outside of my family that fell in love with Miah. And that's Tatiana. And I'll tell you, I truly believe that Miah saved Tatiana’s life, and if you don't know her story, but it's wrapped up in a lot of really hard decisions and trauma and substance use. You know she fell in love with Miah, and she has this bond that is saving Tatiana’s life. So, if Miah’s only purpose. on this earth is to save Tatiana’s Life, it's worth it. So, I'm grateful for that relationship. I am grateful for, if it wasn't for DRPLA, I wouldn't have moved to Colorado, been able to start my own business and share the Mentally STRONG Method with everyone. I wouldn't have even created the Mentally STRONG Method. So, there are ways to actually find gratitude in grief. And in trauma. And I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying to ignore the pain because in my previous videos about grief, I'm I talk a lot about Controlled Grief. You have to feel that pain. But let's find some gratitude in it. Take your pain and make a gratitude list specifically around that pain, and it's going to be difficult. Because the pain is greater than this feeling of gratitude, but you can do it and that's how we keep moving forward. That's how we find that strength. That's how we help other people when we can find that it's easy to say I’m grateful I'm from the US. I'm grateful I have a house, I'm grateful I have a car. We almost expect those things, but it's really hard when we've been through pain that that we feel like no one else has been through to find gratefulness. And I am not happy that my family has DRPLA, but I am grateful for the lives that are being changed because of it. I am finding my mental strength every day. You can find your mental strength in this gratitude because you are Mentally STRONG.
    --
    Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, Ed.D, PMHNP-BC --- A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Healthcare Education has experienced unimaginable trials that have caused many feelings such as depression, anxiety, anger, & overwhelming stress. 
    However, she has developed a new pathway to becoming Mentally Strong & Choosing to be Happy.  With purpose, Dr. B has developed the phases that were refined within the Mentally STRONG Method that she created and wants to share with you.

    https://www.facebook.com/Mentallystronginc
    https://www.mentallystrong.com
    mentally_strong_
    @MentallySTRONG4
    https://www.youtube.com/c/drbmentallystrong
    https://www.linkedin.com/company/mentallystrong

    • 6 min
    Grieving a Living Loved One: Addiction

    Grieving a Living Loved One: Addiction

    I don't talk about my brother very often. Because I'm disappointed.
    I'm disappointed. I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I am trying to teach and share mental strength with so many people. And my own brother, I'm losing him to drugs. 
    So Wayne is still here. He is very much alive. But he is choosing to continue to use substances, and I feel like I could help him, I have all these resources, but am I enabling him because he has me as a lifeline? Is he not ever really hitting rock bottom? But I don't know if I believe in rock bottom.  There's a couple times in his life that I thought he hit rock bottom. I thought he hit rock bottom when he went to prison. I thought he hit rock bottom when he was shot in the chest and airlifted to the trauma center.
    And so, what do I do with this grief? And in my belief that you never give up, you don't give up on relationships. You don't give up on people. And I really believe that. But I also believe in boundaries and so how do I juggle all of those truths a little bit about Wayne?
    When Reggie passed away in October of 2016. I don't know if he had previously used meth or not, but that's when it became evident to us that he was using substances more than just alcohol. And it became that his drug of choice was meth, methamphetamine and as a professional I know that that's one of the worst substances. It actually changes. The dopamine receptors, burns them out, and we know that that there's so much damage that's going on in the brain.
    We are now at the anniversary of five years since Reggie's death, so probably using methamphetamines for five years, I treat people with substance abuse problems. I empower people to learn the mentally strong method and make positive choices and hang my brother day after day is making poor choices and poor choices, and the drugs are winning the battle. And so, I'm going to do a whole series on addiction in 2022, so look for that. Today is a series about grief.
    I've lost my brother to an addiction, but he's still here.
    How do I manage that? and so I'm taking the time, we talk a lot about taking time to grieve, I'd say you've got to take the time to grieve, and so I am mourning the loss of the brother that I knew.
    But still providing some sort of lifeline. These are choices that I made and there is no absolute right answer, and this is. You know there's a lot of support systems that say, oh, you have to cut them off and just take care of yourself.
    But I have stopped to take the time to grieve.
    And I may have made some bad choices. Maybe I was letting him. Maybe I was enabling him by knowing he was using drugs and still paying him for odd jobs. I don't know. So, if you're out there watching and you have a family member addicted. Take care of yourself first, like that oxygen to yourself before. Don't give up.
    Continue to try to help with realistic boundaries for yourself. I’m not saying it's easy. It's very hard. I love you Wayne and I will continue to be here for you. I believe that you can find your mental strength and I will continue to find mine because I believe that we all have that in us.
    That we are all Mentally STRONG

    Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, Ed.D, PMHNP-BC --- A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Healthcare Education has experienced unimaginable trials that have caused many feelings such as depression, anxiety, anger, & overwhelming stress. 
    However, she has developed a new pathway to becoming Mentally Strong & Choosing to be Happy.  With purpose, Dr. B has developed the phases that were refined within the Mentally STRONG Method that she created and wants to share with you.

    https://www.facebook.com/Mentallystronginc
    https://www.mentallystrong.com
    mentally_strong_
    @MentallySTRONG4
    https://www.youtube.com/c/drbmentallystrong
    https://www.linkedin.com/company/mentallystrong

    • 6 min
    How to Handle Anticipatory Grief - Mentally STRONG

    How to Handle Anticipatory Grief - Mentally STRONG

    Dr. B here in my series on grief. Today's topic is on anticipatory grief, this happens the first time I experienced anticipatory grief was when my grandmother, who was a big part of raising me my closest relationship at the time was diagnosed with cancer and then the treatment wasn't working and there was this progression and the anticipatory grief of her passing and I know that a lot of people go into grief in this way, right? Maybe your family members on Hospice. Maybe they were diagnosed with a terminal condition.
    I feel like I have been living in anticipatory grief since 2008 when I Reggie, my husband and my daughter were diagnosed with DRPLA. And as you're watching my videos, you'll know that I lost Reggie in 2016 from complications of DRPLA.
    And then my daughter, my daughter is now 21, but she is probably cognitively, maybe 10 years old. She is now at the beginning of having difficulty walking and there's this continual reminder that her brain is slowly dying. DRPLA causes atrophy in the brain, atrophy is death, cell death and it's a very slow progression. Reggie was considered a quick progression. He was diagnosed at age 9 and he passed away at 17. He began having symptoms at like four or five years old, so that would be considered a rapid progression of DRPLA. My husband did not begin showing signs until he was about 45. He's now 52.
    You know this year really hit me hard. This is the 5-year anniversary of Reggie’s death and I'm really looking at Miah and I'm realizing that I'm protecting my heart. Like I'm not loving her the way I was loving Reggie. Reggie was so sick when he was young that a lot of my attention and time was on Reggie. And then after Reggie passed, it's almost like I'm scared to shift that time to Miah because I'm going to lose her too. And I'm likely going to lose my husband. I like to say likely because you know anything is possible and I'm trying to think positive.
    That anticipatory grief is real, and you know, learning how to live in joy in that, it is very difficult because you almost want to grieve their loss before they're gone.
    That’s taking away something that you could have something precious in this present moment.
    And so I've been wrestling with this and I've been like trying to figure out how I can open up my heart, and I do things like yoga and Tai Chi, and there's like these techniques about opening your heart, but the one that's really sticking with me when it comes to anticipatory grief is this technique in Tai chi where you take your past and you visualize your past in your hand and my past has grief, right? I mean, I fought and fought and fought for Reggie and you still passed. And then you put your future in the other hand, in images and I say I'm going to lose Miah. It doesn't matter how much I fight, I'm going to lose her.
    And you take those two things and you bring them together and for me I'm bringing them together in prayer, but also in trying to be present.
    Miah has really good days. She is a happy girl. Everybody loves her. She's so sweet. Her heart is so sweet. I am practicing living in the present and that's all we can do in anticipatory grief.
    Don't spend too much time in controlled grief, if you are doing a lot of anticipatory grief in the present. You're taking away from the present because that's your pain of the future even if it's very likely and we should always hope that there's a chance that it doesn't happen, right?
    But you can be realistic but be present in the moment and not spend too much energy in that anticipatory grief because that's the pain of your future. You already have the pain of your past, and sometimes there's pain in the present, but let's try to stay in the present and find those gratitude's of the beautiful moments that you have. And not spend too much time in anticipatory grief.
    Because you will feel that pain later.
    You are Mentally STRONG.

    www.mentallystrong.co

    • 8 min
    How to handle GRIEF and GUILT - Mentally STRONG

    How to handle GRIEF and GUILT - Mentally STRONG

    Today I want to focus on guilt around grief, you know I hear this a lot when people are talking about grief and you'll notice I'm grabbing this, these are Reggie’s ashes that I wear with me and you know, there's sometimes guilt, shame, anger around a grief and this is why it's so important when we're teaching the Mentally STRONG Method is that we help you to separate these things. 

    I'm going to tell you about guilt today.  The guilt of “could I have done something different? What did I do wrong? Could I have changed the outcome of that day?” 

    The day that Reggie passed I can honestly say as a nurse that his death that day was my fault. This is where it is so important to separate these things. In the grief and the decisions and the choices, it's OK to acknowledge something that you did wrong, but if I would have just sat and ruminated on what I'm about to tell you for the last five years. I would probably be suicidal, honestly. So, we have to make a choice. The ways of how we organize these things in our brain and what we do with them. 

    The night Reggie passed away he wasn't breathing well. Every time I go to the hospital, they never are able to do anything for him. He has really bad days and really good days and so I just thought it's a bad day. I didn't know that something bigger was going on. I typically have really good assessment skills.  Like when somebody is not breathing right, that is always an emergency. What the heck was I thinking? I didn't call 911 until his saturations were going down and I couldn't get them back up. When the paramedics walked into Reggie's room, they knew that he was slipping fast. They immediately began CPR. I couldn't believe it. I was so wrong. I walked away, and I started praying. The paramedic asked me to call it, asked me to tell them to stop doing CPR on my own child. I couldn't do it. 

    I tell you that because each of you may have a story that someone else can't convince you, and you can't convince yourself that it was the right decision. It's OK to acknowledge a mistake that caused a tragedy. You also need to forgive yourself. It's OK to feel guilty, but you can't stay there. You cannot stay there.  
    Maybe I would have taken him to the ER, and he would have died at the hospital. I can't say what would have happened if I would have made the the better decision. 

    So, acknowledge if you did make a mistake.  Forgive yourself.  And allow yourself to grieve the loss. 

    When we talk about the Mentally STRONG Method: Think, Organize, Choose. You can think about that, analyze where you went wrong, you've got to organize it. Put the grief in the right box. Put behaviors and choices in the right box. We are never going to do everything right. 
    You've got to let go of the emotional baggage, that weight that is on you in order to move forward. 
    So, grief and guilt. 
    Try to separate them. 
    The grief, you have to feel that pain. 
    The guilt, you have to forgive yourself and this is why:
    I truly believe in empowering everyone to be able to confidently say “I am Mentally STRONG.” 
    __
    Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, Ed.D, PMHNP-BC --- A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Healthcare Education has experienced unimaginable trials that have caused many feelings such as depression, anxiety, anger, & overwhelming stress. 
    However, she has developed a new pathway to becoming Mentally Strong & Choosing to be Happy.  With purpose, Dr. B has developed the phases that were refined within the Mentally STRONG Method that she created and wants to share with you.

    https://www.facebook.com/Mentallystronginc
    https://www.mentallystrong.com
    mentally_strong_
    @MentallySTRONG4
    https://www.youtube.com/c/drbmentallystrong
    https://www.linkedin.com/company/mentallystrong

    • 14 min
    The Mentally STRONG Method: Behaviors and Choices

    The Mentally STRONG Method: Behaviors and Choices

    Our behaviors and choices play a big part in our mental strength. In this, the last video in a series of 6 on the Mentally STRONG Method, Dr. B discusses how behaviors and choices impact you and how to organize and control them. 

    Dr. Cristi Bundukamara, Ed.D, PMHNP-BC --- A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Healthcare Education has experienced unimaginable trials that have caused many feelings such as depression, anxiety, anger, & overwhelming stress. 

    However, she has developed a new pathway to becoming Mentally Strong & Choosing to be Happy.  With purpose, Dr. B has developed the phases that were refined within the Mentally STRONG Method that she created and wants to share with you.

    • 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Tcxrrrr ,

Empowering!

These podcasts are so relatable, quick and to the point. Dr. B really sends an empowering message encouraging you to be mentally strong and reminds you that you have the power of choice. She has a really unique story that has shaped her into the person she is now and she certainly understands and relates to a number of these podcasts. Really relatable, inspiring and empowering across the board! 10/10 would definitely recommend!

Jdubs444 ,

Interesting

Loving this podcast, it's interesting to hear about people's experiences with using this self-help technique.

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