A Bit Dull – Update.

Winter the Dolphin

Image by dbr Atl via Flickr

A few more dollars in the Family Money Jar.

My daughter asked me if I’d ever seen moldy boogers.  (We had just “learned” that often cheese she eats is “moldy” or “aged.”  Somehow that brought her round to boogers.)

Spent over $200 on groceries today.

Ate my weight in theater popcorn watching, Dolphin Tale with a crowd of children.  I was all weepy, popcorn imbedded in my sweater and the kids kept asking, “Why did they cut off the dolphin’s tale?”  During the movie I texted my cousin, a specialist in orthotics and prosthetics at Shriners Hospital for Children, and it turns out he provided the first prosthetic for one of the actors in the movie.  He is one of my heroes.  Somehow, I suddenly felt even more intimately connected with that darn dolphin.  (Follow that if you can.)

Some so-so reviews from work-related stuff.

Off to go ride the bike.

Thankful for you.

Adequate – Step Away From The Ledge

Repost.

How does one fight feelings of inadequacy?

With Truth I barricade against my lies that I am not enough.  Of course I am adequate; and I fight to know that in more dimensions than just cognitively.  After all, facts change if you don’t believe them.

Take parenting for example.  Wow!  Sometimes I think that strangers would do better.  That the very parts of my soul those children hold would be better off with more distance from their home in my heart.  Am I inadequate to be a mother?  No, but some days I have to beg not to believe the lie.

In these moments of calamitous thinking, I am reminded of the term “all-or-none” thinking.  I am reminded that feelings of inadequacy drink from them like fat mosquitoes.  Catastrophizing is an egotistical view and nothing could ever be that bad or that good.  Not Me.  Not anyone.

Fighting feelings of inadequacy means being a friend enough to yourself to say, step away from the ledge.  To say,

you aren’t so special that you could be that terrible.

To fight right, you have to slide away from all bad into some of the gray area, and stop before getting to all good.  Because believing you are all of anything is just arrogant.

There are temperaments that do better in gray zones than others, those who feel comfortable grazing between thoughts and situations of life.  There are others, however, also.  People who almost seem wired to self destruct; whose own genetics thrash them towards polarity.  Those people are tortured, familiar with the often lonely fight I speak of.

To fight feelings of inadequacy, perhaps you fight your own design.  Hopeless?  Well no.  That is an extreme word and not to be trusted.  Remember at some level, that the truth is in the gray.

Self Care Tip #4:  Move away from the edge.  Be a friend to yourself.

When You Fail, It Is Just Part of Your Journey so Keep On – Presence

No one can tell me what’s wrong with me!

When medications don’t do what we hoped we wonder what that means.  We think about the possibility that our diagnosis is wrong, that we are outside the known world of science or a new variation of diseased who will suffer without a label.  Is suffering without a label even decent?

I predict imminent catastrophe

Image by forestine via Flickr

Stephani wasn’t the only one in the world with these thoughts but she felt like it.  It was as if she was waiting for her real life to begin when she considered herself well.  There was the good part of her that was about fifty percent of her day hanging around.  The rest of the day was wrong.  She wasn’t able to cope with stressors and became helter skelter at random times of the day.

Trading places, in the door and out, out and in, polite enemies at best, the good Stephani and the wrong Stephani vied for platform.  Either part of her never felt fully right because of the looming flaws.  She couldn’t trust herself as long as they divided her life.

I don’t know why I don’t get better.  

I don’t know either.

That’s a precarious position to maintain as a physician.  My job is at stake because who goes to a specialist without answers?  …At least not traditional answers.

Take this pill tonight and put this warm compress on your bladder.  In the morning you’ll feel better.

Darn it!  Sometimes I so want to be that doctor!  But this is me.

What are you waiting for?  Is this place in life better than losing your life?  Why?

And then Stephani mentioned a few things that kept her breathing:  hope to get well, hope to have a family some day, life itself, her husband….

Why are you right or wrong?  Why are you well or sick?  Can you be both?  

Hm.  I saw some relief begin to settle in.  However, I also saw frustration.  Stephani wasn’t ready to be flawed and perfect.  She really like either/or.  That’s fine for now.  We were able to spend a little more time on the idea of loving all of her, of being a friend to all of her and of counting this moment worth living more actively.  If she doesn’t bale on me, we have time for her to get into the same room with herself.  The joining up of her wrongs and rights will make her life journey a lot better and less confusing.

People like Stephani have an addiction-like disease process to the either/or, the extremes, the poles, which we describe as “all-or-none” thinkers.  They remind me of any other blessed addict.  They would most likely do great working this over as an addiction.  Working the Steps.  Then they would understand what any other addict who works The Steps understands.  Failing is just part of the journey.

Questions:  Can you be both flawed and perfect?  How?  How do you love both parts of you?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – When you fail, remember that it is just part of your journey and keep on.

  1. You Might Fall In Love With Your Flaws
  2. Love Differently, Love Your Flaws – Be a Tall Poppy
  3. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
  4. Try, Knowing We Will Fail
  5. Loving Me Without Ambivalence
  6. Codependent
  7. Finding What Perfectionism Can Offer Our Self-Care – In Summary
  8. Celebrate Your Imperfections
  9. Getting Away From All-Or-None Thinking
  10. Adequate

Having Mental Health Means Sleuthing Magical Perceptions Sometimes

Black Magic (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #134 – Looking past the dark magic in your life might require medication.  Be a friend to yourself.

Much of what psychiatrists do at work is help with misperceptions.  Seeing something one way does not make it true.

In Scientific America, there was a great article, “Magic and the Brain: How Magicians ‘Trick’ the Mind,” By Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik | November 24, 2008 | 17.  It tells us that we misperceive things so easily, that people use that quality to entertain others.  Magicians use it to entertain and exploit the limits of cognition and attention.

Magicians aren’t the only ones to exploit that.  We do.  We exploit ourselves.  Tsk.  Not too friendly and not generally as entertaining.

How is having our misperceptions a form self-exploitation, you say?  Because we nurse them and drive our own selves into the ground with them.  No one else is doing it when down to the last trick.

It comes to me that when we feel disconnected from others, we are mistaken.  Some magic turned us awry and we don’t see the gazillioin links touching us all around.  When we feel worthless, when we think we are despised, when we feel singled out for suffering, that be black magic my friends.  When we think our lives our so hopeless that we would be better off ending them, look for the mirrors.  Look for the rabbits and top hats.  We aren’t seeing things right.

When I move the curtains across my clinic day, I often find medical diagnosis hiding behind.  Some sort of biology giving us the slip.

My dad often told me, “Things are never as bad as they seem.”  I realize he was talking about this kind of magic.

Question:  How have you gotten past self-harmful misperceptions?  How have you seen another do it?  Please tell me your story.

Growing Up Is Not Necessarily The Same as Growing Away

 

cant decide so dance

Image by faster panda kill kill via Flickr

 

Self-Care Tip #105 – Grow up, think on your own, and stay connected.  Be a friend to yourself.

Staying connected doesn’t mean loosing your freedom.  Staying connected doesn’t mean immaturity.  And independent thought doesn’t mean disconnecting from others or your foundation in life.

When we move into adulthood, we move into roles requiring responsibility, autonomous decision-making, teaching like parents.   This is confusing don’t you think when we were designed to be connected?  Well when something feels so wrong inside, listen to it.  There is a incongruence with what you intuitive know.  Independence includes dependence

Adulthood means learning to have creative thought while being willing to learn.  It means disconnecting while remaining connected.  It’s not all-or-none.  It’s seeing the strength in vulnerability.  Part of taking care of “Me” includes choosing dependence.

Dependence never takes away freedom.  Sometimes when I listen to people telling me how I should feel or think, I feel caged and start doing things to make me feel less caged.  Unfortunately sometimes that isn’t a healthy thing, like eating chocolate or… well it’s often eating for some reason.  Other people do this too.  They may cut on themselves or bang their head.  Unnecessary, because we are free no matter.  Drugs.  Whatever it is that in the moment somehow springs you from the phantom cage only to put you in another.

Question:  How do you live free yet connected?  How do you deal with feelings of infancy, immaturity, loosing freedom when it comes?  Please tell me Your story.

Getting Away From All-Or-None Thinking

IMG_1738
Image by DanaMums via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #98 – Getting out of all-or-none thinking may mean getting medical help.

Number five on Bella’s list:

The day has been ruined!” Bella said.  Her eyes sparkled and flashed as she spoke of her injury.  Bella was not so pleased with her labor’s reward.  She was not so satisfied with being accountable for her children‘s behaviors, when they thwarted her every effort at having a good family experience.

A reader eloquently commented what I now want to write on my mirror, about her walk through and away from all-or-none thinking:

..really only part of my day was ruined – the part when I was hurt or angry or frustrated or depressed, etc. – and, even then, only PART of me was totally miserable. I was still able to think about other things, get things done around the house, talk to a family member or friend. It’s really calming to know that I can hurt and still function because there are so many pieces of me and my life that are still okay. Suddenly, everything seems to be easier to deal with.

In an earlier post, “Adequate,” we talked about the truth being in the gray.  As my Dad so often told me,

Things are never as bad as they seem.

I had a hard time believing that at times when I was a kid, and now that I’m old-er 😉 I buy it cognitively but find I often doubt is at an emotionally intuitive level.  However, things do get much much much better for all of us after good sleep, exercise, water, and if medically needed, medication.

All-or-none thinking, extreme thinking, catastrophizing isn’t just about coping skills.  It can also be about our medical condition.  It’s very difficult to modulate emotions when you are emotionally ill.  I’ve heard so many confounded people say that they just couldn’t stop themselves from going into extreme emotions.  They struggled with reactions way past what the experience warranted.

A kid doesn’t listen to words and Dad is kicking a hole in the door.

A couple argues over levels of intimacy and the girl finds herself in the bathroom with a cutting tool.

Work is another day of punitive treatment by an employer with lesser intelligence and she’s vomiting up food.

In these examples, we reflexively coddle the person, saying, “Anyone would be upset if….”  However that is not true entirely.  Enabling someone’s illness is easy to do.  Bad things happen to everyone.  But not everyone responds in a way that is repeatedly unhealthy to themselves.

In order to treat ourselves well, we need to take care of our physical/biological/medical needs.  Say hypothetically that we are getting our sleep, and all that good stuff, yet still have involuntary inappropriate extreme emotions, think about an organic reason.  Give yourself a break.

I have told my Dad, “True, things are never as bad as they seem, but only as long as you get out of their current seeming-reality.”  Getting out of that reality, may mean getting medical help.

Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  How do you stay “adequate?”  Please tell me your story.

Walk Away From Your Junk

the rogers park young women's action team

Image by samuelalove via Flickr

Number one on Bella’s List:

There are endless new beginnings.  Had a bad day?  Stop right where you are and call-it out.  Then if you want to, if you are willing, if you are able you can start again.

But who is able?  Anyone who wants.  Even the severely disabled can say at some level that they want to end the hurt.  New beginnings are a privilege.  They are the dandelions we pluck and make a wish on.  It reminds me of when Jesus,

walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

The people were trying to push him over the cliff and they just plane didn’t see him walk among them and away.  We do that sometimes with our “start-over” opportunities.

There’s an interplay of forces that make our new beginning possible or impossible.

  • Humility – a willingness to learn.
  • Biology – a physical ability to stop, drop and roll the fire that’s scorching our emotions
  • Insight
  • Choice – choose it

Bella told me more of her story.  After she said, “The day has been ruined!,” her husband took them all to the table.  He told the kids, “Mom’s right.  The day is ruined.  Now who wants to start over?”  And then they all prayed for a new start.  They walked away from the junk.

Self-Care Tip #93 – Start over any time, every time you want.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Do you find this to be true for you?  Is it a real option to start-over when you want?  Please tell me your story.