Life Recovery

Caring When It's Cold

I used to resent homeless people, especially in the winter. I had this autopilot response when I’d see them bundled up, clouds of carbon monoxide vaporizing above their heads, trading spots on cold concrete to try and find some kind of warmth.

I hate being cold. I absolutely hate it. It’s actually sort of painful for me, and I find myself unable to enjoy whatever it is I’m doing if I’m cold. So when I would see them, perpetually cold, I’d turn off my empathy so that I didn’t have to deal with their situation.

But here’s the thing: their situation is mine.

Literally and metaphorically.

Literally: I am apart of their society. A citizen of the great and gorgeous Colorado Springs. I am part of a larger group of humanity that includes them. There are systems and privileges and choices and disabilities that mean it’s them in the perpetual cold, not me. But I am connected to them.

Metaphorically: We all have issues that leave us cold and alone and just surviving in this life. Whether it’s strained relationships, deep hurts, anger, fear, or joy, we all have places in us that can’t be shared with others, hurts that are stubborn in healing, and fears that rattle around in that back part of our brains and hearts that we just can’t seem to quiet down. In some way or another, we are all disconnected.

Now. This is not to say that I know what it’s like to survive a Colorado Springs winter on the streets. I will be clear that I do not and actually doubt my chances at making it through.

But I think my previous discomfort came on strong in the winter because I didn’t want to accept or even consider that I might share their situation either in society or in my inner world. Their situation gets a bit desperate in the winter.

Actually seeing them for humans who live and breathe and bleed like me, meant accepting that my societal and inner situation can get a bit desperate, too.

I avoided any true contact with or acceptance of them because I wasn’t ready to face connecting with the disparity in my society and in myself.

As I began to care for those disparate parts of myself, I began to develop the inner strength to see them, make eye contact, get to know them, have foot and hand warmers in my car during the winter to pass out. They no longer threatened my pseudo-safety.

Now, that sounds like I’ve got it figured out. I don’t. Not even close and never will. But I did realize that therapy is just like that: caring when it’s cold. My therapist cared for me in the places I felt most alone, disconnected, and unstable, and now I’ve devoted my time to caring for people in those same places. It is almost always a given in therapy that the things you find yourself avoiding are the things causing the most pain, disconnection, and just plain trouble.

For me, homeless people in the winter.

Caring (for myself and others) when it’s cold.

What are those things for you?

Come and find out and/or participate in our homeless outreach: 719-433-1407,

Krista Thomas is a Registered Psychotherapist with Restoring Lives Counseling Services. To inquire about therapy with her or schedule an appointment, call 719-428-2446 or email her at

(The information included on this site/article is not an attempt to provide counseling/therapy or any other form of professional treatment, not even a bit.  In no way is it intended or implied to substitute counseling/therapy or any other professional services.  Also, while the content of this site/ article could be based off real life circumstances, people (clients), names and situations have been changed to protect the identity/confidentiality of the person.  Each client has also signed a release to allow the therapist to write about their situation for educational [not therapy] purposes only.  If you need professional help, and/or have mental health questions, by golly, seek out a professional and your family deserve it!)



ou can't overcome anxiety, addiction or depression without allowing yourself to, first, go outside of the box... a bunch.  People often emotionally limp into my office and look at me as if I have all the answers, thinking I have some magic word/pill that will set them on their feet again - without their effort.

Peace Be The Journey: Introducing Krista Thomas, RP

Peace Be The Journey: Introducing Krista Thomas, RP

When I think about who I am as a therapist and why I decided to pursue this wonderful and wacky helping profession, there are three memories that seem to encapsulate something that is very difficult to put into words.  

Are you a poor judge of…yourself?

Are you a poor judge of…yourself?

Ever been to court?  Ever stood in suspense as the judge contemplated your sentence?  I have. And it blows.  There's a sense of fear and dread, followed by this weird emotion of "whatever!  I'll deal with whatever comes down the pike!" all wrapped up into one discomforting package.



n therapy, one of the most tenacious foes I face is helping someone realize they're wrong.   Most people that come into my office are just dead wrong!  About what?  About what they believe about their future.  

Anxiety Can Be a Bully

Anxiety Can Be a Bully

Truth be told, I'm not completely free of anxiety myself.  There are times during performing therapy, for instance, that the "what if's" come to me like an eagle swooping down to claw up its prey.

Anxiety Tips and Tricks (tip 1)

Anxiety Tips and Tricks (tip 1)

I write a ton on anxiety.  And when I write I usually include 700 words or more.  Well, I want to include you busy readers as well.  So I'm going to post small clips of thoughts/skills/techniques that I believe can be helpful in overcoming anxiety:

Reverse Anxiety: Part VI, Calling Anxiety's Bluff

Reverse Anxiety:  Part VI, Calling Anxiety's Bluff

Our minds love to project us into a catastrophic future filled with doom and terror.  This part of our makeup can't help but flash images of certainty in front of us.

Reverse Anxiety: Part III, What I Say Anxiety Is NOT

Reverse Anxiety:  Part III, What I Say Anxiety Is NOT

I’m feeling my arms right now.  I turned 40 last month and I’m still here.  Despite the thousands of times I thought I was dying of a heart attack, suffocating or some other bizarre event like driving off the road because of intrusive thoughts, I’m still kickin’ and screamin.’  

Reverse Anxiety: Part II, What I Say Anxiety Is NOT!

Reverse Anxiety:  Part II, What I Say Anxiety Is NOT!

Process of illimination works great when diagnosing cars.  Going through a checklist of what is not the problem can be a great way to nail the problem done.    Let’s start off with what anxiety is not.

“Tarp Man…Upcycled”  Part III

“Tarp Man…Upcycled”  Part III

This last Saturday we went out to distribute supplies and build relationships like we always do.  We didn’t go to Tarp Man’s bench this time.  But as we drove home, I noticed he wasn’t warming the bench anymore.