We had the good fortune of connecting with Silva Depanian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Silva, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Life is a bit of a juggling act. This is especially true for me, as I must balance the work and activities I love with my limitations due to chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Of course, this is a lesson I ended up learning the hard way, and with a lot of practice. Due to a fairly active childhood spent dancing ballet and running around theme parks, I grew up accustomed to having lots of stamina and a level of energy that matched my level of enthusiasm. The concept of balance and knowing my limits did not exist. Over the years, however, I began to realize that my energy is finite, no matter how enthusiastic I might be about an activity I’m doing. It took lots of trial and error to find a balance, understand the limits of my energy and learn how to still enjoy doing things, even if I have to take breaks. Dancing ballet has been replaced by conducting therapy with clients, both individually and in group sessions, and my enthusiasm for my work has only increased over time. Unfortunately, my energy levels have changed course, and fatigue rears its head faster than ever. To counteract the effects of fatigue, I’ve learned to listen to my body and mind, to understand my limits, and gauge when I need to balance my activities with occasional breaks, like watching an episode or two of my favorite shows, reading a couple chapters of an exciting book, tending to my herb garden, or taking a nap. I like to think of my balance as an internal battery. I used to push through when feeling tired, but have learned that if I ignore my needs and keep going despite my internal battery’s depleted state, I will be pulling from my reserves meant for the next day and will then feel overwhelmingly unbalanced. Rest is just as important as motion, and I need to recharge throughout the day in order to continue functioning. I’ve come to understand that these shifts in my routine, fine-tuned to fit my needs every day, are extremely important and allow me to continue doing the things I love, to grow, and to find a sense of grounding in my work, thereby achieving that coveted work-life balance.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love working with individuals who need help managing their chronic pain and anger! Though it took me a few years to find these specializations, I have now established myself in my community as a mental health provider for individuals experiencing chronic pain, anger issues, and difficulty with codependent relationships. As I personally live with fibromyalgia, I am very passionate about helping those who have difficulty finding a balance between the pain they experience and the life they want to live. I have gotten where I am today through perseverance, focus, and learning how to find purpose in chaos. Over time, I have learned my boundaries and found my footing, choosing to concentrate on my capabilities and interests rather than my challenges and limits, a concept that I bring into therapy when working with clients who struggle with chronic pain, anger management, codependent relationships, and anxiety. Following all that effort, I am proud to say that after years of education, collecting clinical hours in internship, and months of studying, I have recently passed my clinical examination for licensure and am now working as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I now understand my balance and enjoy helping people find their own. Through working as a therapist and Certified Anger Management Counselor at Avedian Counseling Center, and participating in therapist groups such as Glendale Area Mental Health Professionals Association as well as Toastmasters for Mental Health Professionals, I am able to give back to my community.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As I am a major homebody and a complete introvert, this is a difficult question to answer. To be honest, if a friend visited, we would be spending much of our time at home, playing games, cooking together, watching movies, and talking for hours. However, no visit is complete without a trip to Disneyland. This would, of course, be a full day affair, with breakfast at Carnation Cafe, midday break at Oga’s Cantina, dinner at Blue Bayou, and Dole Whip ice cream or churros to snack on in between. Though I’m not a huge connoisseur of restaurants and hang out spots, I do have a sweet tooth, which means I would probably take my friend to an ice cream shop or cafe for treats every day. Wanderlust Creamery is one of my favorite ice cream parlors, with exotic seasonal flavors from all around the world. Salt and Straw ice cream parlor is another favorite, as they too come up with interesting concoctions every month. If we went to Huntington Library for a day, then felt like eating something wholly delicious yet unhealthy, we could stop by Afters, a small ice cream stand that serves ice cream in a donut. For friends who enjoy all things green tea, we could go to Midori Matcha Cafe for green tea lattes and green tea cheesecake. Again Cafe & Chibiscus Ramen would be another fun option with their rose latte and bento boxes. The Americana or The Grove could also serve as good hang out locations with conveniently located shops and restaurants. What all of this essentially tells me is that I have lots of ideas where to snack, and few ideas where to actually eat. Looks like I need to go on some adventures!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many shoutouts to give, each for their own special reasons, but I will narrow them to three groups. The first volley of shoutouts is for my family and friends. They have been the core of my motivation, supporting and constantly challenging me to try my best, try new things, and try to understand myself better. The second volley of shoutouts goes to my mentor Anita Avedian, who has been a steady source of guidance and encouragement since I joined her group practice at Avedian Counseling Center. The third shoutout goes to my colleagues, all of whom leave me inspired by their creativity and care for their craft.