Social Media CON-nections

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So okay. First I want to explain my choice of title for this post. Social media connections have many positive effects on people and individuals. What bothers me is it seems a little – like chocolate (for chocolate lovers). So if you love chocolate, you’d at least want to taste it, right? It would be weird not to.

Then suddenly, there is more and more chocolate, as far as the eye can see. And it’s still tasty, sure, but there’s starting to be kind of a chalky after-taste, like the chocolate “mouse” in Rosemary’s Baby. If you ever saw that movie, you’d remember how her actual satanic neighbors drew her in with kindness. But it still seemed strange to Rosemary, who brought it to her husband Guy’s attention. He laughed it off, telling her it was because of her pregnancy, or she was paranoid. When all the while, he had already been accepted into the circle.

Apparently, social media isn’t satanic (unless I’ve missed something in my research). But do you actually realize how many there are out there, and how many individuals join on a daily basis? Here is a graph of just the top fifteen social media websites of 2017:

Top social media sites in 2017

Taken from The 15 most popular social networking tabs in 2017

This is absolutely incredible to me. Most of these social networking sites I have never even heard of. And, contrary to popular opinion, I was not born under a rock. Let me just go on record as saying there are several good reasons for a person to spend hours on these sites. One, the person may be homebound in some way, or agoraphobic. Some people, struggle as they might to overcome that particularly difficult form of anxiety, cannot make it happen. For that person, social media is truly needed, plus it’s “open all night,” so there’s usually a friendly person to text with. I’m purposely using the term text because as much as we might try to convince ourselves, we aren’t speaking with anyone in particular.

When you see someone’s picture of FaceBook or any of these other sites, how much do you trust that photo? It could be a man or woman posing as the opposite sex, or even a teenager trying to sound more grown up.

For Pete’s sake, if I met someone in an online dating service, thought he was gorgeous and said all the right things, I would still ask to meet him in a very public place. If he or she is not who they say they are, they either won’t show up or fend me off with some lame excuse.

When did we become a country where social media websites have become like food to order on a menu. If I lived completely alone on an island, but was miraculously wealthy and could afford electricity, I would limit my time on social networks to one or two hours a day.

There are just so many other things to do in the world. It’s only my opinion, but I feel I can speak about it with some expertise because I’ve been there. Feel free to disagree.

Buyer beware. There are “con” (short for confidence) people everywhere.

Peace,

Chris

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Choices, Choices Everywhere, and Not a One to Make

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I just ate an orange. Some choices are easy. I haven’t had much of an appetite lately. The only tough part was peeling it. 😛 I also bought one of those Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, even though I really haven’t had a yen for chocolate much. It’s like — too rich or something.

Being indecisive, being unsure of what I want or need is so frustrating. Yesterday on the way home from getting my cast put on, Mom and I settled on a restaurant for brunch. That was also easy: The Honey Tree, within walking distance of our home. Even so, I stared at the computer for ten minutes or so before I decided on corned beef hash with over easy eggs. Whew. Plus, nobody makes corned beef hash like The Honey Tree.

Today, though, it’s been harder, and I’m not sure why. Part of it is I have so much on my mind. Things are bad in some of my relationships, I keep rewinding things in my head to figure out what I could have done differently — for God’s sake, choosing a t-shirt or sweatshirt has become a minefield. So, I was on Netflix (instead of writing) looking for a movie I might like: thriller or horror. In dialectical behavior therapy, they tell us to use opposite-to-emotion thinking when problems arise.

So, because I felt overwhelmed and sad, horror or thriller, I thought, might bring me out of a funk. Except that there were too many choices, and too many movies looked good. I’d pick one, start to watch it, get bored after about 15 minutes, try another one, ad nauseum. Finally, I just turned it off. The silence felt good, and I took a nap without feeling a lick of guilt, because I know we heal more quickly in our sleep.

What sorts of decisions are hard for you to make? 

 

Is There a Doctor in the House?

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Everyone who’s reading this, I’m sure, has experienced some hurt in their lives. If it’s physical, it might be more visible, like a broken nose, limb, a person an a wheelchair. Some hurts, instead, aren’t visually noticeable. Even if a person is crying, we can’t  even know with confidence whether those are tears of sadness or tears of joy. Have you ever laughed so hard, a deep belly laugh, that made practically your whole face wet, until you, “Stop, stop, my stomach hurts!”

A gentleman may pass me by, smile, and I’ll say “Good morning!” He replies the same. But how do I know what’s really going on behind that smile, behind his easy-breezy response to me?

He may have lost a child. Maybe he lost his wife, or his mother, father, or another member of the family has just passed away. Why is he smiling? Perhaps he has a loving partner to help him through; the camaraderie of friendship, the real kind that is there in good times and challenging; or he escapes in reading and is just on his way to the bookstore when I pass him.

I’m not perfect. Sometimes in hard times, I get self-involved, believing (not wondering, not thinking) that no one else is suffering as much as me. It’s too easy for me to get self-indulgent, self-pitying, someone that might make a person yell, “Ah, get over yourself already!”

All this just to say it’s important to pay attention: we might not have the same skin color, perhaps some of us are thin and some portly; long hair, short hair, good teeth, bad teeth, more affluent, more impoverished, republican or democrat . . . We all bleed the same color.

Ciao,

Chris

For Love of a Dog

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I recently rescued a shorkie (Shih Tzu plus Yorkie), who I call Pookie. Well, actually, it’s not been so recent now. We adopted/rescued him on September 29th of last year.

There has never been a more beloved dog. When he feels safe enough to come near, he is showered in hugs and kisses. The only way I can get him to come to me freely, is when I first come in the house from being gone, or when  I lure him with a treat. When he finally comes, I tell him (even though all he understands is my reassuring tone), “Pookie, Mamusha (Polish for Mom) would never hurt you. I love you  so much.”

I don’t know if you can tell by this picture, but the dog, besides cowering, has one paw lifted. Pookie does the same thing, only when he raises his paw it’s more in a sitting position, and his paw goes forward, sort of covering his mouth and submitting at the same time.

This upsets me so much. I don’t know what to do. If I go to pick him up, he runs behind the chair, and then behind the couch, where he’s virtually unreasonable. I started crying yesterday, telling him I didn’t know what to do, and he jumped up next to me, licking my tears away.

Lately, like when I go to put his leash on, I approach him very slowly, and he stands still instead of running around the room until he’s out of energy. Also recently, I have told him when I’m with him, “You can go anywhere you want. You can go in Pookie’s bed, or Pookie’s chair, or “Pookie’s” couch .” And if he’s cuddling next to me, I always tell him he can leave whenever he wants, or stay just as long as he wants. “You can go whenever you want to. You don’t have to stay. You’re a good boy.”

Me? As for me, I feel like the world’s worst dog owner. Any hints? At this point, I’m starting to believe he would be better off away from me, in another home. Yeah, as hard as it would be, I’ve seriously been contemplating it.

How Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

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Happy New Year, one and all. I hope you are doing well so far as we approach the half-way mark of January. Did you make any resolutions/promises to yourself? How’s it going? Were they realistic, or did you shoot for the moon? Have you kept them? If not, don’t lose heart. You might need to lower your expectations. For many of us, the word “lower” is negative, and sounds an awful lot like “loser.”

Is that how you feel? Well, I haven’t managed to keep my promises to myself, totally, yet. Sometimes I might hit one or two. But I figured out today that – yes – I was shooting for the moon, hoping to at least reach the stars.

As I’ve mentioned before, I finally came to the realization after, literally years of bitching about my alcoholic sister or father or what have you– Sob, sob. Poor me–the truth of the matter is codependency has to be all about me, or I will never change.

Dictionary.com has this to say about two (or more) sick people:

adjective

1.

Of or relating to a relationship in which one person is physically or psychologically addicted, as to alcohol or gambling, and the other person is psychologically dependent on the first in an unhealthy way.
To my understanding, that means not only is the alcoholic sick, but my bonding/relationship/behavior toward that person also makes me ill. It also means, even when the alcoholic gets better it doesn’t necessarily mean I will too.  Whether or not I change and grow is entirely a separate thing.

I have to take care of myself first, in all things. Which brings me to the title of my post: How are you taking care of yourself? I recently enrolled in a year-long (or more, depending on how much progress I’ve made) course of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).

According to Marsha Linehan  “dialectical” means a synthesis or integration of opposites. The primary dialectic within DBT is between the seemingly opposite strategies of acceptance and change. For example, DBT therapists accept clients as they are while also acknowledging that they need to change in order to reach their goals.

There are many phases of DBT, which is why it is a year-long course. The core of the whole thing is mindfulness;  learning to connect the extremes of emotion mind and logic mind into a center called wise mind, a mid-point which takes all those thoughts and emotions into consideration when making a decision.
There are also acronyms in DBT which help us to remember what we need to do, especially under stress. The acronym to make sure we are taking care of ourselves is PLEASE, and it stands for this:
  • Treat Physical Illness
  • Balanced Eating
  • Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs
  • Balanced Sleep
  • Exercise
So, risking repetition, I’ll ask one more time: How are you taking care of yourself (not anyone else)?
For any loyal readers who are still out there, I’ll be posting three days a week from now on: Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. 😀
Peace out,
Chris