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:
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.
- Treat Physical Illness
- Balanced Eating
- Avoid Mood-Altering Drugs
- Balanced Sleep
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 with 50 children each? I was overwhelmed, too low self-esteem and way little voice projection. If we hold on too hard, all we come away with are empty fists and tense shoulders.
3. decide what you truly want: I know I still want to give back to the community somehow, I just learned that this is not the way. Sometimes we fall many times before we find our way. I know I want animals; farm animals may not be them. I may walk dogs for exercise for a veterinarian or something. When we know what we want, it’s easier to let go of what we don’t want.
4. don’t ask too many people for advice: I only called one person when I was about to leave the farm, and that was my counselor. I called him twice and he didn’t get back to me in time. So I made the decision on my own. The problem with asking multiple people what they think is we often get multiple answers and it muddies up the water. Yuck. No one wants that. 🙂
5. don’t listen to what others say after you let go: You’ll get all kinds of opinions after you make your decision to let go, but really—what do you care? All that matters is how you feel. Do you feel happy, relaxed, free? Then ignore them all.
6. celebrate your freedom: You just have to do something to celebrate your new found freedom, even if it’s something as simple as going to the DQ. You. Are. Free. It’s not usually simple, and it’s not usually easy, so make a huge freakin’ deal out of this. ❤
Ciao, Bella. xx
But first; what is self-esteem, really? According to Merriam-Webster.com it means “ a confidence and satisfaction in oneself.”
Synonyms for self-respect include: confidence, dignity, morale, self-respect, self-assurance, self-regard, self-satisfaction, worth, and self-content.
My favorite is worth. 🙂 I like it better than self-esteem. Self-worth. How much do you value yourself? How much are you worth? Your self. What’s it worth, really?
If you find yourself coming up short, try these steps:
1. Sleep on it. Most often, when we are feeling low about ourselves, we’re tired and drained. A good night’s sleep may help you feel better.
2. Talk it through. If you have a trusted friend to talk to, excellent. Talk it out. There’s nothing like bouncing off ideas. You tell your friend what sucks about you, he tells you what really stands out. Yin/yang. It’s the perfect balance. If you don’t have that kind of a friend, reason it through with yourself or write it out.
3. Go for a walk. The best thoughts can come while you’re walking, and besides the exercise will lift your spirits. If you have a dog, bring him/her.
4. Do something nice for yourself. We’re taught to do nice and help others, but I want you to do something nice for yourself! Treat yourself to a movie, buy yourself a book, or some jewelry, whatever would make you feel happy.
5. Find a way to be needed. I just said to make yourself happy, but one of the best ways to feel happy is to be needed. It’s weird but true. As long as it’s not overwhelming for you, help somebody out.
I hope some of these steps helped you feel a little bit less lousy about yourself. These are just a few things you can try. I’m sure I haven’t exhausted them all. Sometimes I scan Positively Positive, and it’s really hard to stay down after being their a while.
Ciao, bella. xx
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 used to get so mad at my sister when she wold blame her absurd or borderline abusive drunken behavior on her disease. Even after becoming a regular around the tables, it took me a long time to get that being a drunk is a disease and not a choice. I know, ridiculous right? Who in their right mind would choose the humiliation and shame attached with being an alcoholic? She is responsible for any fallout, and she has to try to amend as much as she truly can, but she has to love herself first and foremost. That’s why it’s called a selfish program.
I wish there was such a thing as a teleporter, so I could teleport myself to a tiny, solitary island far, far away from any living people until I Get Better. Until then, I keep apologizing, then praying and trying again. I’ve started taking my Flexeril (20mg per pill, a muscle relaxant), which I had a WHOLE bunch left over from when I initially hurt my back years ago along with 3x daily dose of Xanax. It makes me sleepy, and a little loopy, which is a weird trip to be on with all the racing thoughts and flighty ideas in my brain. But it makes me a little less prone to blurt out the first thing I’m thinking—I would do anything to not hurt my mom or my sister. Go ahead. Let me have it. Tell me I’m using, that I’ll become a drug addict. I’m already addicted to prescribed Xanax, what’s a little Flexeril thrown in?
I better stop now, because I’m very tired, and I know I’m not making sense. I guess the take-away from this is: be very careful when we go to judge or feel resentful of someone else. We never know when we’re going to be the one struggling with a problem which can easily be judged and resented. But only when we accept ourselves and love ourselves where we are can true change begin to happen.
When I talk to my sister now, and I hear her go into “beat up on Carol” mode, I try to jump in and get real logical with her. She did the best she could at that time with the information that she had. Now she knows better, she can do better.
This is my first ever dysphoric mania episode. I feel so lost at sea. And it’s super hard to take that same advice and apply it to myself. All I keep thinking is “Idiot. Stupid. Mean. Jerk. Way to go, jackass.” It is probably the reason that I still have suicidal ideation and that many with this type of mania attempt suicide.
Argh. I’m blabbing and I’m getting totally incoherent. Please be gentle with yourselves today, no matter where you are on your journeys.
How often have you heard those words, or even said them to yourself over holiday foods during this season? Don’t despair, it’s never too late to learn new habits or try something new. Here are five ways to fight holiday weight gain starting now:
1. Absorb: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A glass of water before a meal is a good idea, too.
2. Activity: Exercise is always a good idea. I recently got a Wii console for an early Christmas gift, and Zumba to exercise to. I don’t always do it, but it’s on my list of New Year’s resolutions, to exercise to Zumba at least four times a week.
3. Avoid: Don’t eat for emotional reasons. When you reach for that ice cream, ask yourself if you’re sad, bored, angry, or even joyful.
4. Await: Slowly count to 10 before you cheat. Then, if you still want it, eat it, You’ll know you made a conscious choice.
5. Always: Always eat breakfast. It helps start your day right by making you feel full to begin with, and it really is the most important meal.
So, you’re at a party and you’re read to go home. Trust me, I’ve been in this spot many times. Just as my own take on things, here are several ways you can take care of yourself and not call too much attention at the same time:
1. Park a little ways away from the madding crowd: When you arrive at the party, try to park away from the cluster of cars. In other words, don’t box yourself in so that it becomes a hassle (so-and-so needs to move his car, which is behind whats-his-name’s car, which is behind your car . . . ). Even if you have to park a block away, it’s worth the extra effort.
2. “I have to go let the dog out.” Pets are a fantastic excuse for having to leave a party that’s still going strong. If you have a dog, bring it out and make it earn its keep. 😉
3. “We need to check on the kids.” You’ve left the kids to fend for themselves, and they’re just at that age where they are competent enough to be alone, but you need to make sure they haven’t trashed the place or started their own party. Wonderful.
4. Take a break. If you just can’t leave yet, take a break. If you smoke (which I am in no way advocating, but I am addicted) use that as on excuse and take a smoke break. Leave the room for a few minutes to clear your head. If you are at all like me, sometimes the voices can get overwhelming at a party, to the point where I’m seeing the person’s lips move but I can’t make out what they’re saying. That’s when I know for sure, I need to get out of here for a bit.
5. Go to the bathroom. Everybody uses the restroom during a party, don’t they? If you don’t make it a practice. When in there, do a 30-second stress reducer. Make a fist. Find the place on your palm where your 3rd finger touched. With your thumb on that spot on your palm, and another finger meeting it on the back of your hand, massage that exact spot for 30 seconds. It’s a guaranteed stress-reliever!
6. Text your partner. If you’re with a spouse or significant other, text him/her that you’re ready to go.
7. Plan ahead. Know ahead of time that you have somewhere else to be (another party, you social butterfly?) and let the host know you won’t be able to stay long.
8. Decide on a signal. This one only works if you’re with someone else. Similar to texting, but something you both agree ahead of time that will be your signal to go. A nod of the head, touching the earlobe, bending down to tie your shoes, putting your hand in your pocket, saying a special word (mistletoe or dreidel, anyone?) . . . any of these can be your go-to signs.
Well, I hope this has helped. With Christmas and Kwanzaa approaching, and Hanukkah just past, we still have some parties and places to go.
I posted earlier this month about dogs, and how we should try to be more like them. Animals know intuitively when they need a break. Dogs are not far removed from their wolf ancestors, who needed to conserve energy for hunting and gathering. When I take my Lucy out for a walk, you would think she’s on a hunt. Her nose is constantly to the ground, unless she hears a noise. Then she has to see what’s going on. 😉 But when she’s not playing, walking, eating, or otherwise occupied, she sleeps.
I find it difficult to sleep during the day due to some of the meds I take for bipolar disorder and CFS. But this is what I do when I know I absolutely need a nap and I’m having trouble. I go into my bedroom, close the blinds, get a light blanket, and turn on a cd, maybe Sleepy Rain: With Delta Brainwave Pulses. I have other cds I listen to, including a Brahms Lullaby for babies. 😀 Hey, whatever works.
Just be sure to get lots of rest this holiday season. It helps your immune system fight off these nasty colds and flu that are making the rounds.