From change

B is for Blaming

My sister’s three children, who are grown adults now — the eldest is forty, and the younger two are in their late thirties — like to blame her for the way their lives are now, drawing on countless stories of a “horrific” childhood raised by a sometimes absent practicing alcoholic. This is always heartbreaking for Carol but she has learned to say “Goodbye, I’m hanging up now,” when it gets redundant and too difficult.  I’m sure their childhoods were indeed difficult, but at what point does one say, “What’s happening in my life now is up to me. These are my choices. No one…

How I Survived A Life-Threatening Illness

“Change is inevitable We can depend on that. By letting go of our efforts to influence the future, we become freer to experience the present, to feel all of our feelings while they are happening, and to more fully enjoy those precious moments of joy.” –Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al-Anon So, you might think, as you read this, that bringing humor to the situation is insanity. But you know me and my sarcastic wit. Would you recognize me any other way? ūüėČ Besides, the alternative is too stupid to consider, and useless. Plus really, who…

What Could Be Scarier Than a Great White Shark??

Happy ninth day of Twelvetide. I wish you health and prosperity this day, and a modicum of sanity as we go and be with various family and friends that we may have a genuine¬†love it or leave it¬†sort of ambivalence toward. Living with¬†ambivalence¬†is not for sissies. Let’s assume for a bit that you¬†don’t¬†live in or anywhere near¬†Flint, Michigan, and as far as you¬†know¬†it’s safer than it’s ever been (since that great white shark in the 70s) to dip your toe back in the water. I give you three simple words. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS If your heart beats a little quicker…

Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?

I almost closed/deleted/whatever my blog yesterday, which I’ve kept since (I think) May of 2007. Anyway, it’s a pretty long time. It’s just getting to be like FaceBook to me, which is why I mostly stay away from FB these days. FB is all about the houses to me. The big ones, the prettiest ones, the ones with adorable kids on swing sets in the backyards, handsome couples walking hand-in-hand down the neighborhood for all to see. Most of the rest of us stand there and admire, whistle, and applaud. Oh, and we can’t forget the likes. The more likes…

A-Z Blog Challenge Reflections

In retrospect, this month-long challenge was good for me. I can still say that, even after the whining, complaining, staying up at night thinking about topics, taking forever to write, obsessing, worrying, and stressing so much that I made myself ill. I¬†loved¬†every haphazard minute of it. You bet I did. But it all starts out the same way. It’s like “Oh, a¬†challenge! Shiny, Shiny!”¬†And then after a few days it dawns on me that this is a¬†daily ritual¬†and I made a¬†commitment¬†and all those other big scary words most adults should never have to hear in their lifetimes. See, I’m not…

Neutralizers

Welcome to the letter “N.” It might be easy to smile or, even, laugh at the picture I’ve included with today’s post of Will Smith from MIB holding a neutralizer. But–picture this. There you are, stuck in a panic-anxiety cycle, with no clear end in sight. Along comes handsome, sexy, Will. He flashes his neutralizer at you and suddenly you’re perfectly fine. In fact, you can’t even remember what it was you were so anxious about! Because that’s what the neutralizer does, right? It zaps your memory. I think that would be incredibly clever. In a way, outside of the…

Keenness And Learned

Today’s post is brought to you by the letters “K” and “L.” Please forgive yesterday’s lapse; it was not a good day for me. As described in¬†Definitions.com,¬†keenness’ 3rd definition is: “characterized by strength and distinctness of perception; extremely¬†sensitive or responsive.” I think again, we see the double-edged sword, where perception and sensitivity can be either a strength or a hindrance when taken to the extreme.¬† I think if we dig hard enough, we can see that that’s true. It’s very true for me, I know that much. My sensitivity allows me to know when someone is feeling upset or out…

Exposure Is Like A Four-Letter Word

Or at least, it should be, and that’s the word¬†fear.¬†In the book I’m reading about social anxiety disorder, , there is lots of talk about¬†exposure¬†as the main solution to dealing with most anxious and troubling situations. The first part of the book helps one figure out what exactly is distressing and anxiety provoking. It’s all very individual, of course. Then we’re supposed to put it in a hierarchy, like from least anxiety-provoking, to moderately anxiety-provoking to severely anxiety-provoking. I’m just reading this book to read it for now. When I sit down to really look at situations and make a…

Apprehension

Writing 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…

The Anxiety-Exhaustion Tango

Sometimes, I’m surprisingly tired in the evenings before I go to sleep and I have to stop and figure out why. With generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (just being the anxiety issues), it’s a lot to sort through. Usually, if it’s not a physical reason, if it’s not because I’ve helped someone move their apartment that day or something else equally taxing, I know it has to do with anxiety and emotions.¬†So then I sift through my day. When I was in high school my sister moved back home with her three young children…

Changes

I got an interesting email from WordPress in which told me they “missed me.” You and I both know that’s propaganda-esque crap, but the stats show people still visit my site even when I don’t write, which hasn’t been for months. The problem is, I’ve changed a lot in that time. I don’t want to write about the same things. I’m not the same person anymore. I don’t go to Al-Anon, I¬†hardly¬†whine about my sister and nephew anymore, and it’s just not on my radar. They live in Ann Arbor, and I don’t see them often enough that they are…

Is It Giving Up Or Letting Go?

  1.¬†decide it’s okay to let go:¬†When I walked away from Maybury Farms, when I let that go, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. You have to know that whatever you are holding onto does not belong to you, living or inanimate. It is¬†not yours.¬†That makes it easier to let go. 2. don’t hold on so hard: ¬†I was holding on so hard to the farm that I couldn’t enjoy myself. I mostly had panic attacks, anxiety so bad that I had to take pills before each tour. I couldn’t even enjoy the children. How do you enjoy tours…

Why I Don’t Like Al-Anon Meetings

Okay. This post might make a whole lot of people angry. Let me just start by saying I¬†love¬†Al-Anon itself. It literally saved my life and my relationship with my sister. So let’s just clear that up, while you are looking at the silly meme on the left. It’s¬†not¬†about Al-Anon as a whole. Whew. There. This¬†is why I don’t like the meetings anymore: 1.¬†People complain about the same old things.¬†I’ve been to a lot of meetings, and okay. I get that some things are harder to let go than others. But it’s really tiring and sad to hear the same person…

Ciao, Bella

I started this A-Z blog challenge (late) just a few days ago, with such joy and high hopes. But then reality set in. The fact of the matter is I’m still terribly ill, and I fall asleep in the middle of writing. My brother the attorney warned me today that I shouldn’t even be driving because I could get arrested for driving under the influence of medication. I’m awfully tired¬†all the time,¬†and I think I perhaps made up that 2 1/2 hour window to make myself feel better. I have countless flashcards to be sure to know before April 29th.…

Gambling on Goals

Goals are so crazy popular, aren’t they? I mean, I went looking for one quote on goals for this post, just¬†one,¬†and they were all so contradictory. Some said set your goals high and don’t stop ’til you achieve them. Others said it starts with the spirit, and if that wasn’t true, forget about it. Then there’s the one who says to set¬†small¬†goals and build upon them. So even the meaning of the word¬†goal¬†is somewhat sketchy. I know of a famous, at least famous on my terms, writing website, which has a whole¬†board¬†(forum) dedicated to the topic of goals and the…

Putting On That Other Pair Of Shoes

Gentle readers, I’ve been trying and trying to write this blog, wanting it to be gentle and light, to bring you good vibes so you’ll come back and keep reading. But my mind and heart are heavy with all the colossal blunders I’m making that I keep wanting to slough off onto my illness. A mixed episode of bipolar disorder is nothing to laugh about. It’s like a modern version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. My loved ones never know who they’re going to be speaking to from one minute to the next. Until I got into Al-Anon, I…

Love Yourself Through the Process

When I saw this cartoon it made me laugh so hard, and I was drinking coffee at the time. ūüėÄ Then I realized it’s all about expectations and how what we think about things make them difficult. I hope that makes some sense. We dive into recovery and expect¬†so¬†damn much from ourselves from day one. God forbid we don’t meet those expectations. So when we can learn to laugh at ourselves it’s f***ing fantastic!! When I told the brilliant Dr. Walker this morning (therapist) that it wasn’t fun making paper cranes anymore, and I told him the whole story about…

Distraction, distraction everywhere and not a point to land on.

The good news is I’m sleeping better. Five and a half hours of sleep last night. Bad news is I’m still flitting from thing to thing to thing like a bird in a cage who can’t decide on a perch to settle. As I’m writing this post, I am surrounded on the table by origami papers (for the 1,001 paper cranes, of which I have yet to make one), a jigsaw puzzle, and a book on anxiety. I’m reading all at the same time (picking whichever book fits my fancy at the moment):¬†The Husband’s Secret,¬†When Panic Attacks,¬†The Mayo Clinic Guide…

A Rose by Any Other Name

I’m so incredibly nervous writing this, and at the same time . . . feels like home. I have been completely overwhelmed by the positive responses to my last blog post. Just–flabbergasted, truly. Those lovely comments came on the heels of a little over seven months of severe depression and severe anxiety, which brings me to why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. So many times, when one grows up in an alcoholic family, or any sort of dysfunctional family, it becomes¬†all about¬†the alcoholic for so long, or about the person or sickness that draws the most attention from…