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Articles by Amy Skinner

Living and working in a more rural community can be isolating and lonely, but our local newspapers The Mountain-Ear and the Weekly Register-Call offer sources of connection, information, and insight.  In 2010 Amy started writing regular mental health columns, offering practical tools paired with anecdotal stories.  After receiving positive feedback from community members, Amy’s column became a regular occurrence in the Weekly-Register Call until 2021, when she moved to The Mountain-Ear.  The Mountain-Ear brought new opportunities with the addition of Richard’s photographs to the monthly columns!  

We love being a positive part of our community, and hope you enjoy reading.  As always, we love hearing your thoughts or ideas on future articles.

A Colorado vista, trees in the foreground, mountains and sky in the background

“My whole life I’ve dreamed of taking my kids camping. I even saved kid-size camping chairs from my childhood to set up around the campfire. I grew up fishing and hiking with my dad, and even loved winter camping trips with my fellow Boy Scouts.......

“I just can’t believe it, everything is different now,” Madeline sobbed, shoulders shaking as she reached for the tissue box. “What do you mean?” I softly asked. “We were fine. Mom and Daddy weren’t together, but we had our 2 houses and everything. Now it’s......

“I just found out my favorite aunt has terminal cancer,” Bobby shared. “She’s one of the most wonderful people in the world! She never missed a birthday, always came to my soccer games, and made me feel exceptionally special. I just can’t believe she’s dying.”......

(Trauma trigger warning; this could be a difficult story to read, depending on your personal history.) Pain. Part of my daily life is sitting with people in the midst of deep, dark, raw pain. “Is it normal for someone to try and have sex with......

“I am done with on-line dating!” Suzanne emphatically declared. “Oh no, what happened?” I asked. A few months ago Suzanne had passionately researched on-line dating options for people over 60, and landed on a few sites that focused on her age-range, retirement status, and her......

Bruce lives an enviable life. Having worked for years in the corporate world, his retirement includes the financial resources to afford luxurious vacations, high-end sports equipment, and a new modern home with expansive views. He enjoys an active dating life, attends various charitable functions, and......

Bob started talking even before he sat down in the chair. “I’ve made so many changes in my life! Over the past few years I’ve stopped using substances, started exercising, included vegetables and fruit in my diet, reconnected with my adult kids, and just wrapped......

Paul came to the Zoom screen looking exhausted, yawning after every answer to my checking-in questions. “What’s going on?” I finally asked him. “Are you sleeping ok?” “I guess,” he mumbled. I started asking him about his schedule for the past week. “Normal?” he said.......

“I am done with on-line dating!” Suzanne emphatically declared. “Oh no, what happened?” I asked. A few months ago Suzanne had passionately researched on-line dating options for people over 60, and landed on a few sites that focused on her age-range, retirement status, and her religious beliefs.

Bruce lives an enviable life. Having worked for years in the corporate world, his retirement includes the financial resources to afford luxurious vacations, high-end sports equipment, and a new modern home with expansive views. He enjoys an active dating life, attends various charitable functions, and connects regularly with his kids. As he was sharing all his accomplishments and resources with me, I began to wonder why he came in for counseling.

Bob started talking even before he sat down in the chair. “I’ve made so many changes in my life! Over the past few years I’ve stopped using substances, started exercising, included vegetables and fruit in my diet, reconnected with my adult kids, and just wrapped up my last debt payment. It’s like I’m a new person, and everyone is always complimenting me. But I still have times when I have the old thoughts and fight to not do old behaviors, like being mean and selfish to my family. I don’t want to be the old me anymore, but sometimes I feel like I can’t help it.”

Trevor looked at me with tears spilling onto his cheeks, “I just want to see my cousins for the solstice. We always go to their house. I don’t understand why I don’t get to go this year.” Trevor and I were in the middle of a play therapy session, surrounded by toys of food, dogs, cats, people, playground equipment, a grill, books, and his favorite stuffed animal. Trevor was creating a happy family celebration scene, and then showing me that unseen storm or force would come in and destroy the joyful scene.