Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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G (1)I saw one of my favorite therapists (of which there have been many), Heather, for two years. Each and every time I saw her, because I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, she gave me a seven-point assessment test called the GAD-7. These are the statements it included:

Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge? Not at all
Several days
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Not being able to stop or control worrying? Not at all
Several days
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Worrying too much about different things? Not at all
Several days
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Trouble relaxing? Not at all
Several days
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Being so restless that it is hard to sit still? Not at all
Several days
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Becoming easily annoyed or irritable? Not at all
Several days
More than half the days
Nearly every day
Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen?

I didn’t know it at the time, but of course now I know. It’s scored 0-3, where “not at all=0, several days =1, more than half the days=2 and nearly every day=3. So, like, the higher you score, the more challenges you are facing.
Anxiety-girlIn the beginning, when I first took the GAD-7s,  I fudged my answers. I didn’t know it was for my benefit, and that the more candid I was, the better Heather was able to help me. But the weirdest thing about GAD, for me? How often it comes from out of nowhere, BAM! 

I can be in a safe place, with safe people, feeling somewhat relaxed, and suddenly I feel my heart start to pound, I begin to perspire, and my hands tremble. I get that urge to flee, which is what usually happens when I get too anxious. But the worst part? There’s absolutely. No. Reason. Why. I’m. Anxious. I just know that I am, and I have to go about calming myself.

That’s GAD, in a nutshell.

Cheers to an anxiety-less day!

Peace out.

Fear

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F (1)is for fear. Fear can be a good thing. It keeps us from touching a hot stove, or walking down a dark alley (hopefully!). It’s a protective, survival instinct. There are three other types of fear that we might not think about all the time:

1. First, we can’t forget the sort of fun, oogedy-boogedy chiller fear we get when we watch horror flicks or go to a haunted house around Halloween. That scares us for a bit, but we get over it because we know it’s not real, it can’t hurt us.

2. Internal fears. These are usually triggered by things or events outside of you. But, they are caused by internal emotions, which can make them hard to recognize. They show up as our fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, lack of self worth and doubt.

3. Subconscious fears. Our fears become so internal that we start to believe them, and this truly limits us. An example of a limiting belief (or subconscious fear) is thinking you’ll never get a job because every job you’ve ever had was terrible. Or thinking you’ll never get married because really you’re truly worthless.

Here are five steps from the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness center on how to handle fears:

  1. Get clear in your mind what it is that you’re afraid of. Ask questions like, “What about that scares me?”
  2. Become aware of your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself that scares you?
  3. Exaggerate the bad consequences you fear. Begin to recognize that you were probably already exaggerating and didn’t know it and that what you feared is indeed and exaggeration already.
  4. Visualize yourself still being afraid, but handling the situation in an acceptable manner.
  5. Gradually expose yourself to the feared situation by doing things that more and more closely approximate what you fear.

Here’s to a wonderful day!

Peace out.
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Expectations

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E (1)is for expectations. An expectation is a belief or a thought that is about an anticipated outcome, not necessarily about what might really happen. Man, oh man, have I had my share of those, with disastrous results! Seriously, I could write a book about how not to have expectations. Forget that, I could star in my own movie. I either worry too much about it (the situation), thinking it’s going to be horrible, or I’ll think something’s going to be easy and it turns out it’s super difficult. You know?

The reason we create expectations is because of the uncertainty in life. We want some certainty so we decide what’s going to happen or how things should be, whether with ourselves or other people. But—when they keep messing up our lives (and other peoples’ lives tangentially), why do we hold onto them? I mean, like a dog with a bone.

The hardest part for me is trying to quiet the noise in my head, whether I’m with family, my best (and only) friend, or strangers. Thoughts run through my mind like, “Oh God, that was brilliant, ” “Why can’t I just shut up now?” “Why did I wear these jeans? I should have worn my other ones—these are too tight.” “I just know everyone’s staring at me.” “How do I get out of here?” And on and on and on until I feel like I want to stick my head in a freezer or something. It’s awful.

In the article “Great Expectations=Great Disappointments,” by Bradley Foster in the Huffington Post, he offers eight steps to help create realistic expectations (what a concept!):

1. Become aware of expectations you are creating.
2. Understand the beliefs behind your expectations.
3. What are your needs in the situation? Are there other ways to meet them?
4. Is your expectation a reasonable or a likely outcome?
5. When your expectation turns out to be incorrect, notice and adjust accordingly.
6. When you are disappointed, don’t take it personally.
7. Stay flexible: What other options do you have?
8. Be okay with “what is.”

Hope you have an absolutely wonderful anxiety-free day!

Peace out. ❤
change-your-expectations1

Double-Edged Sword

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D (1)Okay. First, I just have to say that I’m writing this on my new HP Mini Laptop Stream, which is pink, so very light, and so gosh darn cute!

Picture this: a professional runner at her mark. Her head is down, her feet set at the blocks, waiting for the starter’s signal. She quickly brushes away something you can’t see with the tips of her fingers. As the camera zeroes in on her, you see a few drops of perspiration slide from the runner’s forehead, nose, chin, and hit the ground below. She licks her dry lips. She checks the runner on her left and right. She turns her head straight out in front of her toward the path ahead, then hears the starter’s signal go off and kicks off the blocks.

What exactly is that? Is it stress, anxiety? But–at least for me—when I’m overcome with anxiety, I’m a hot mess, curled up in a ball somewhere, or on the phone with my best friend. Hence, the double-edged sword. It cuts both ways. Anxiety can work for us or it can overwhelm us. In the case of the pro runner, she has found a way to make it work for her. The challenge is to always manage to find a way to do that, emphasis on the word challenge. 

For instance, I shared with my therapy group that I was super proud of myself that I had gotten the mail during the day two times that past week. Instead of just being happy for me, I’ve been challenged to do it again this week. *le sigh* I only have Monday and Tuesday left to go to accomplish this task, as the group meets Tuesday afternoon.

Do something brave, just because you can!

Peace out.
double edged sword

Coping

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C (1)We all know what the word coping means. We could also refer to it as dealing, handling, confronting, or grappling.  With anxiety, it can take coping skills, which merely refers to the knowledge of what we’re dealing with, the ability and practice to handle it, to get through the situations we are faced with on a day-to-day basis. I guess I’d like emphasize the knowledge and practice part, because as long as we know our enemy and practice successful ways to defeat (him), we’ll get there–in my opinion.

There are as many varied plans for coping skills as there are the people who design them. One talks about coping statements — like “So I feel a little anxiety now, SO WHAT?  It’s not like it’s the first time.  I am going to take some nice deep breaths and keep on going.  This will help me continue to get better.”

In the articles I researched, I did not see this, but I really find that hobbies or something else constructive are important to distract oneself from anxious, troublesome thoughts during the day. For myself, it’s mainly crochet, but I also enjoy Zentangle, drawing, adult coloring, writing, and things like that. When I do these things, I find that I can concentrate just long enough that the rest of my mind can go away.

Other coping skills may include exercise, getting enough good sleep, talking to someone, exposure, staying positive, and getting involved or volunteering.

What works for you?

Cheers to the day! Peace out.
balls

Benzodiazepines

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B (1)Once upon a time, a discovery was begun by a man named Leo Sternbach and finished by a co-worker named Earl Reeder. What he had was a compound which showed very strong sedative, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant effects. They named it Librium and they introduced it to the world at large in 1960. A few years later, Valium came into being, the one referred to as “Mother’s Little Helper” by the Stones.

It is said that “benzos” are most effective if used in the short term, that is for about a month to six weeks. HA.

Full disclosure: I take a benzo, and it is not the first benzo I have ever taken. The first one I was on for a few years, “as needed for anxiety,” was Klonopin. I took myself off of it when the pastor in my church told me I didn’t need it. I guess I was really gullible at the time because I believed him. Well, to be truthful, he didn’t understand or believe in mental illness. So then I was on Xanax and got wildly addicted. My whole family got really scared and angry, so I had to get off of that (even though I was only taking it as directed). Now I’m on Ativan. I’m supposed to take it three times a day for all my anxiety problems. But see, I also have chronic fatigue syndrome, so I’m naturally a bit wacked out. Add to that the sedative properties of Ativan, and I might as well kiss the day goodbye. I cut myself down to one pill a day, at lunch time, and I just deal with the stress when it comes up.

I have never known anyone who was on a benzodiazepine in the short term. That’s absolutely fascinating. It’s like the tobacco companies suddenly becoming scared about the dangers of nicotine. Sort of like trying to close the barn door after the cows get out. Too little, too late. Don’t tell me you care now. For some reason I’m finding it difficult to trust you. 😉

In one of the articles I read there was talk about other treatments for anxiety; such as MAOIs or other antidepressants which may have anti-anxiety-like properties in them. It’s something to think about. I take Neurontin, which is for my bipolar, but it also helps with my back pain and anxiety. It’s a wonder drug!! LOL

Anyway, cheers to as much of an anxiety-free day as you can get.

Peace out.anti-anxiety

Anxiety

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fearA (1)is for anxiety. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is the response to a real or imagined threat. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease often not focused on anything in particular and possibly an overreaction to a situation (though not seen that way by the sufferer). It often comes with physical symptoms, such as tension, fatigue, restlessness, and concentration problems. 

When anxiety gets to be too much it becomes a disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States alone (or 18% of the population ). Anxiety disorders are “the most common mental illness in the U.S.” To me, that’s pretty astounding. Even more astounding, about 2/3 of those suffering don’t receive treatment for what is a highly treatable illness. 

Also according to the ADAA, “anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.” For me, I don’t remember my mother or dad being at all anxious growing up, except situationally, where it was warranted. I was anxious as young as eight years old, but could never figure out why. If anyone in the family was displeased or uncomfortable, it was my job to make it right, you know? At the same time, I ended up displeasing them (and feeling helpless about it) when I would hide in my bedroom during family gatherings. It’s really hard to say what caused all that, what continues to cause my difficulties around people I don’t know. . . or people I know too well. 

Here’s to a well-managed anxiety day. Peace out.

 

A New And Exciting Adventure

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challenge-accepted-meme-dumpaday-17I am one of, as of right this moment (but that can change quickly), 1166 people signed up for the http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.

Some people have what’s known as “themes,” where all their blog posts are tied together by a specific thread or idea. Others simply go by the seat of their pants and write about whatever moves them that day. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, especially at A-Z blogging time!

I’m a theme person, and I’ll be blogging about mental health as it relates to social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you think of anything else you might want to know about and I don’t know anything about it, ask anyway. I’ll try to find out everything I can to help you.

I’m excited about this challenge. I think I’ll be learning as much as you, and I’m hoping it will be both interesting and fun. Onward!! I can hardly wait until April 1st! 😀

Apprehension

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apprehensive-1Writing this blog used to be easy and fun for me. Now, each time I sit down to write, I’m filled with apprehension and dread. Questions swirl through my mind, because it’s not just me or my satisfaction I think about anymore. “Will this make people happy? Will it offend anyone, even unintentionally? What’s relevant for the reader? What should I write about? Will it keep their interest? Will it make them shut down immediately? Or will it touch a cord so deep they wish they’d never read it in the first place?”

All this is going through my mind, especially as April draws near. April, as many of you know, is the “Blogging From A-Z” challenge. The participant (me) is expected to write a post SIX days a week, getting Sundays off, making it 26 posts for the month. That’s going to be a real stretch for me, but I’m committed to it.

In order to do it, I think, I have to pretend I don’t have a readership. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the only thing that will work for me. I have to pretend I’m writing only for myself. . . and maybe for Lucy. She’s pretty nonjudgmental. 😉

If you’ve read this far, God bless you, Gesundheit, please put your trays in their upright positions, and thank you for not smoking. 🙂

G is for: Glassy-eyed, Gone, and Drooling—Oh My!

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spockSometimes, I think, if the disease doesn’t kill me, the cure will. Here you see a cartoon with Captain Kirk complaining to Spock about his mind-melding techniques; that he would have expected a little more than “the lights are on but nobody is home.”

The reason I share this is not to poke fun of people ratcheting up the electricity bill in their homes. Not by far. I’m showing you this cartoon because it helps me to talk about something near and dear to my heart; psychiatrists in the U.S. (and perhaps other countries) over-prescribe to their patients. Especially benzodiazepines. Feeling anxious? Here: Klonopin, Ativan, or Xanax should have you feeling comfortably numb in no time. I get it, okay? And this is not a complete and total indictment of psychiatrists all across the country. They are pressed for time. They have insurance issues to deal with, plus pharmacy reps coming in trying to sell them the latest and greatest drug out there.

deadhamsterSo no, this is not a slam post. That was just an observation. The title of the post is much more personal. I’m on pretty high doses of medication right now, trying to get me off a manic phase. (Yes, please God, now.) I’m thinking better, not in so many different directions at once, but I still have flights of fancy (Of course I can do the A-Z Blog month, despite not making all the flash cards for my Maybury Farms volunteer post! I can do everything). Never mind that I had no business signing up for the blog post competition. My mind, which knows me and loves me, also sees shiny things and wants to kill me. So we have this total love/hate thing going on.

When I first wake up in the morning, or even just before I go to bed at night, it’s best to not talk to me. I make absolutely no sense, even when I try my utmost. I imagine myself sounding like the teacher on the Peanuts cartoon show. So why do my closest loved ones stay by my side? Can’t they see that I’m so not worth it?

closedYesterday morning I actually turned to my mom and said, “What did you just say about pickles?”

“What?” she asked, not in a judgmental or an oh-you’ve-really-lost-it-this-time tone of voice.

I cleared my throat, tried to speak more slowly and articulate every word.

“What did you just say about pickles?” I asked again. It seemed really important to me, but—don’t ask me why.

“I didn’t say anything about pickles,” Mom responded, then she went back to her crossword puzzle, and I returned to looking at FaceBook and trying not to drool because—even though I’m constantly parched and thirsty from my meds, one of them gives me excess saliva. Oh, and it’s hard to swallow, so lots of times whatever I’m swallowing (sometimes just saliva ) will go “down the wrong pipe,” causing coughing and choking fits until I can drink enough water to get past it. I look drugged. For the better part of the day my eyes are at half mast, and it drives me crazy. I have to really work to make myself understood, and if I’m excited about a topic? Fuhgeddaboutit. 

I can count on a window of 2-2 1/2 hours in which to get any intelligible work done. That’s it. So it’s no wonder that, around 10:00, when it’s time to take my meds and my second wind starts to kick in, there’s a huge part of me that wants to scream, “I don’t want to take them and you can’t make me. Everyone is asleep, even the dog. No one is pulling at me for my attention. I could get so much done.” Which is why I stayed up past my bedtime last night, and sacrificed sleep for making more flash cards.

But—I see my shrink today, in a couple hours. I’ll go over all this with him. I don’t want to wander around in a drug-induced haze.

Hope it’s spring-like where you are. Feels wonderful here. I’ve made a commitment to go to the gym today, but I might change that up to taking Lucy for a walk.

Peace out. Take care o’ you. xx

F is for Feelings

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FThoughts are the shadows of our feelings–always darker, emptier, and simpler. ~Friedrich Nietzsch

. . . when we long for life without . . . difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and and diamonds are made under pressure.~Peter Marshall

I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears . . . into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter. ~Kahlil Gibran

I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable . . . but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~Agatha Christie

Feelings. They are among the strongest parts of our being and they often come uninvited, without warning, and stay longer than we would allow even the best of a family member to stay in our house.

When I’m in therapy, the inevitable question comes up in response to a situation, “How did that make you feel?” or “How do you feel about that?” or some other such variation. Usually I’m able to be quite glib about it or fake my way through those early questions. If I know the therapist well enough, I’ll ask back “How do you think I feel?” This guarantees a few minutes of off-side topic, totally not what my therapist had in mind. 😉

unpleasantfeeling

There are really just three take-aways I want you to get from this post, if nothing else, and those are:

1. Feelings are our friends. Some people worry because they feel they are too emotional, too sensitive, or they “wear their heart on their sleeve.” Well I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing as a numb state. This is when you want to cry but you can’t, there’s a heaviness in your chest but you don’t know what’s causing it, and—if one isn’t careful—one might do almost anything to get out of that numb state and start feeling again. Feelings are our friends. They are our emotional barometer of what’s happening in the world, and we need them to survive.

2. Feelings aren’t facts. This kind of thinking goes like this. I feel like an idiot, therefore I must be an idiot. This is one time the “Feelings aren’t facts” rule of thumb would apply, or any other time we get stuck in situations that on the surface make sense but underneath look like sharks circling their dinner.

notupset3. Feelings don’t last forever. Even though it might not seem like it at the time, feelings definitely do have a shelf life. Just like good things don’t last forever, so it is with bad things. The world is in constant flux, and we are constantly growing and changing with it. Never fear. If you don’t like this feeling, there will soon be another one to take its place.

Peace out, strong warriors. xoxo

 

Non-Shifting And Shifting Boundaries – What’s The Difference?

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Okay. Who remembers with me being a kid and setting a boundary down the middle of the room you shared with a sister or brother, perhaps with tape? “THIS is how far you can cross and NO farther!” Ha ha! I remember, because I shared a room with my sister until she left home at an early age.

Some boundaries don’t shift at all. Property lines, for one thing. That’s why you’ll see NO TRESPASSING signs, and yes, people have the right to bear arms if you trespass and don’t leave when asked.

Our bodies, if they can be considered property (just go with me here for a second), don’t shift (much, except some sagging with the aging process, or gaining and losing weight). Our skin is a boundary. It keeps all our parts together. That’s what I meant. 😉

The ocean’s basin is a boundary. It holds all the oceans’ waters in their place. When there is a flood or a hurricane, the boundaries overflow, but for the most part, those boundaries stay intact.

Can you think of other boundaries that are non-shifting?

Shifting boundaries are the boundaries we set with others or for ourselves. We might think we have to be perfect when setting a boundary and therefore agonize and stay up til the wee hours coming up with boundaries we can live with forever.

That’s crazy-making behavior. We change. Other people change. Our behaviors change, and so do theirs. Thought patterns change. We grow, and hopefully so do they. So naturally, our boundaries need to change with the times.

An example: I decided to make a boundary for myself that I would not drive my sister places, and force her to become more responsible for finding other rides.

Then, I went and picked her up from jail during that 11-hour debacle because I was the only one with a GPS in my car. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in my first boundary. It means sometimes it has to shift to fit the situation at hand. And that’s okay. I lived, and I learned something about myself in the process.

I sure hope this made sense, and was somewhat useful to you. Have a fantastic Friday!

Peace out.

Reality Check

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Well, today turned out to be the pre-sentencing hearing. My sister pleaded guilty, and between the judge, the prosecuter and her attorney I guess they worked out that she could get from o-60 days in jail (it’s not 30 days anymore).

Between now and then she will see her probation officer. She has to put her best foot forward with him, because he will influence the sentencing.

That’s about all I have to say, except she’s feeling pretty sorry for herself. The attorney strongly suggested she attend as many AA meetings as she could between now and July 3rd, which is when she’ll be sentenced, and all she could do was say she didn’t have transportation.

I had already told her AA people would love to pick her up and take her to meetings. Her attorney told her she’d have to start dealing with that because that wasn’t likely to change.

I don’t know what else to say. I’m tired and slightly … I don’t know.

Peace out.

De Nile: It Really Isn’t Just a River in Egypt!

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It’s fairly easy to talk the talk. It’s much easier to tell people what to do, to give people advice, than to take that advice for oneself. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been in some denial about something pretty big.

I’ve said here on my blog that I’m a “double winner,” and by that I mean I am a member of two anonymous groups: Al-Anon, and Overeaters Anonymous. Well, I’m in a rather large amount of denial about OA, and I intend to change that in this blog post.

I’ve still been attending the meetings. I just haven’t been reading any of the literature that I’ve purchased. Whenever we go around and say our names before sharing, most people say “Hi, I’m so-and-so, and I’m a compulsive overeater.” I say, “Hi, I’m Chris, I’m a sugar addict, and I’m in huge denial about it.” Then I continue my sharing.

I suppose I could just say I’m a compulsive overeater like everyone else. Why the need to be unique? Well, it’s not so much a need to be unique, as a need to be specific. I don’t struggle with other carbs. I struggle with sugar specifically. Once I eat something sweet, specifically chocolate or a cake-y thing, I’m a goner.

If I don’t buy it, or it’s not in the house, I’m okay. But I’ve been known to eat sugar just by the spoonful if I’m desperate for that “feeling.” And if you’re a sugar addict, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a euphoria, a calmness that overtakes one, followed by numbness and a quite sleepy feeling. There’s nothing like it.

When I think about it, I’ve used sugar to comfort myself since childhood days. Sugar and I go way back. It’s probably why my weight has gone up and down so much during my lifetime. When I was particularly scared, and didn’t know what to do, I would take a box of cake mix down from the cupboard and pour a bit out int a cup, mix that with some water and eat it with a spoon. Weird, eh? But it comforted me, went straight to those neurotransmitters that told my brain, “Mmm, this means something good.” I was probably all of eight or nine at the time.

But now, with something like chronic fatigue syndrome, I know I’m playing with fire. It’s a stupid, dangerous thing to keep turning to sugar when I know I’ll only crash and burn. It makes me feel worse than I would had I not gone to it in the first place. I need to take care of myself, because there’s only one me, like it or not. And I do love Lucy . She’s supposed to live to about 14 yrs. old.

It feels good to get through this. Denial is tough. It’s not easy to cut through; takes a machete. 😉

Peace out.

Z is for Zeal

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Well, folks, it’s all over except for the shouting! This is it. I don’t know if I would have made it without the strong encouragement of my friends, especially my online friends.

I do have passion, I have that in spades. It’s just been a really difficult last couple of weeks. I’ve been going through a depression, and it’s been affecting my work, my friendships, everything I’m about. It’s forced me to dig deep on some reserve I never knew I had in order to finish this commitment.

It’s not just about the shiny, shiny blog badge, either (although I’m always up for shiny, shiny things 😉 ). It’s about completion. It’s about finishing what I start. Last year I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time in a long time and that felt great. This feels a lot like that.

What’s your passion? What are you committed to and what’s import to finish today? Don’t wait another moment. The feeling’s indescribable.

Y is for Yes

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While it’s important to understand that “No” is a full sentence, and we need to be able to use that in our lives when we need to, it’s just as important to shout “Yes!” to life’s many opportunities.  We only get one chance at this great thing, we might as well give it our all, eh?

I don’t figure that when I’m taking my last breath I will be thinking of all the rotten things I did, or even all the good things I did. I reckon I’ll be thinking of the chances I missed because I was too scared or too hesitant when I thought maybe I couldn’t do it. Or wasn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, on and on and on.

Today I shout a giant “YES!” to life. I’m ready. I’m so there.

Ahem. Maybe one day at a time.

How about you? What have you said yes to lately? What are you willing to say yes to?

Peace out.

X is for Xylitol

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Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate. It is widely found in nature, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is also extracted from birch bark.  It is important to remember, however, that Xylitol is a specific molecule. The Xylitol extracted from one source is exactly the same as Xylitol from any  other source – just as the sugar (sucrose) extracted from beets is exactly  the same as the sugar we get from sugar cane.

I never knew, or cared, about any of these things until I understood that I was also a sugar addict and needed to attend Overeaters Anonymous meetings. Now it’s important to me to read labels, to know how many grams of sugar are in the things I’m eating, etc.

“If taken in moderation, xylitol is unlikely to pose a problem. However, refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, white bread, pastries, and cakes are quickly broken down into glucose and act just as refined sugar does. (Note: complex carbohydrates as found in whole grains and washed white Basmati rice are fine, but avoid most other types of polished white rice due their depleted nutritional value.) Obviously, sugar-rich foods and beverages, such as chocolate, ice cream, and soda should be avoided.”

– Andreas Moritz Cancer Is Not A Disease – It’s A Survival Mechanism

Peace out.

 

W is for Wisdom

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The wisdom of knowing the difference between accepting the things we cannot change and the courage to change the things we can is a delicate balance. For me it’s like walking a tightrope sometimes.

And it probably doesn’t help that I’m a slow learner. 😉 Even when I read something, it takes me a while to absorb it, and even longer to put it into practice. So when I ran into difficulty these past couple of weeks with depression, it never occurred to me to ask for help.

Even though I write about it here on these pages, even though I practically PREACH about how important it is to stay in touch with the meetings and with a sponsor, I isolated myself and took a serious nosedive.

Why? Because I was afraid. I was afraid to tell my sponsor something about myself. I was afraid of how she might react when she knew this information, because I thought maybe she wouldn’t like me anymore. It wasn’t even 5th step material, it was just about WHO I AM, what I do, how I operate on a day-to-day basis. And I was scared shitless.

I was so clueless about what was going on that it took my therapist to point it out to me on Tuesday. It was part of an innocent conversation I had had with my sponsor a week ago Saturday, and I had left something out. Something small, but important to who I am. This morning I met with her (my sponsor) and we talked it through.

All those fears were unfounded. Just as she promised before, she loves me unconditionally. 😀 She takes me as I am.

How about that? Sometimes wisdom is hard fought, and comes from falling flat on my face before I reach out for a hand up.

Where is your wisdom “meter” at? From a 1-10, how wise are you today . . . 1 being “Oh man, I need serious help!” to 10 being “Call up the Dalai Lama, we may have a replacement!”? 😉

Peace out.

V is for Value

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When I was a child my value was tied up in what my parents thought of me, whether my family thought well of me. My father was sick, an alcoholic, so his thinking was affected. He did the best he could at the time.

I’m not terminally unique. Most of us come with some sort of baggage from our childhood. Maybe it’s an alcoholic home, maybe it’s something else, or maybe we grew up in a Leave it to Beaver home and our problem is trying to be too perfect.

The point is we all start with our beginning value from somewhere. It changes and morphs from there, depending on our life experiences, who we know, the people we choose to spend time with and love, and the messages we take into our hearts.

I have been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for many years in my adult life, from the time I was about 27 until just about two years ago, when we bought Lucy, and when I started on Neurontin for my bipolar disorder.

What keeps me steady now? I’m not sure it’s any one thing. I believe it’s a combination of things. Lucy needs me, that’s sure and steady. The Neurontin has been a life-saver in more ways than one, taking care of three symptoms besides balancing my emotions. At Al-Anon I learn that what I have to say matters, that I have a voice . . . and, of course, the best sponsor in the whole wide world. 😉

Do you know that you’re valued in this world? Do you know that someone thinks you are special, just because you are you? I hope so, because it’s true!

U is for Understanding

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NOTE: I’m so sorry that I’m behind. Please forgive me. I really want to finish the contest. I’ll catch up later tonight and tomorrow morning. I’m not used to writing every day and it has SO stretched and made me grow! ~~

The last line of the Al-Anon suggested closing goes like this: “…let the understanding, love, and peace of the program grow in you one day at a time.”  Then we usually stand as a group and recite the Our Father, or some choose to say the Serenity prayer.

Yesterday, at the noon meeting, we had two newcomers. When that happens, I forget all about my fear in sharing. I forget about not knowing what I’m going to say when it’s my turn. I stop comparing myself to other people.

Something just takes over. I like to think of it as God speaking for me. I truly understand what it’s like to be new, to just walk into Al-Anon because you don’t know where else to turn. I understand feeling like someone has gotten on your very last nerve and you are truly going to lose it at any moment, or HAVE lost it too many times to count. I understand feeling like your prayers aren’t even being heard any longer.

I understand not wanting to get out of bed in the morning because it takes just too much energy to put your feet on the ground or even to lift your head from the pillow. I understand counting bottles and checking a loved one’s breath to see if she’s been drinking. I understand waiting up and worrying, checking hospitals and police stations. I’ve been there. I truly have, and I’ve done all that.

I understand RESENTING having to be at an Al-Anon meeting because “Why should I have to be here if I don’t have a problem?? It’s the alcoholic that has a problem!! Not me!” YES, I understand that too. You are not alone.

In Al-Anon it’s hard to shock people because each and everyone has a story similar to tell.

Peace out.