Serving Others May Not Have As Much To Do With Giving As You Thought

Près de la fontaine

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Self-Care Tip – To be our own friend, be accountable for the service we do.

Bree was someone who was into details.  The moment of now was her reality.  She didn’t naturally consider the, “What if’s,” of tomorrows – but she did for the now.  And in her moments, if she slowed her day down so we could see all the threads individually weaving themselves together, we would see her doing lots of things.  Whirr.  She was busy.

I am a giver.  I know that I give all the time.  And I don’t get much from others.

Bree states she wasn’t getting much.  Giving, yes.  Getting, no.  Hm.  Let’s look at the threads that she spins and weaves.  Is this true?

Question:  Using the biopsychosocial model, what are the

things that Bree, or you, might be getting from giving?  Break it down! 

Are You Empowered to Start Everything and End Everything With Me?

Yesterdays blog-post brought a few neighborly questions for us to follow-up with.

One is regarding emotions from bluebee.  Is jealousy medical?  Followed by, What part of emotion is under our control?  Indeed.

Second, Sarah quietly slipped the question under our door of how to respond to emotions and behaviors that come from brain illness.  How?  Indeed.

Third, Carl banged a little louder when asking, what keeps him in a relationship with someone who is maltreating him verses leaving?  Indeed.

There is a nice flow to these.  They are leading into the next and circle back.  Emotions and behaviors come from the brain, much which is out of our control and some of which is.  The choice to engage in the life of the ill is like any other choice.  Our own.  If it matters to us if the way the brain is working in the “other” is in their control or not, we can spend more time trying to sus that out.  I’m not sure myself when I get it good from someone mean, but it has become easier to take care of my junk rather than there’s.  For that, I will say a million thanks.  If I’m getting yelled at, I do the checks on myself – anxiety? fear? anger? fatigue? shaking? dizzy? tone of my voice? do I know what this person is yelling about? (most often it has nothing to do with Me), empathy? empowerment? You’ve told me that you are growing in similar refreshing ways.

Face Down w/Laundry and Gwen Stefani

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I’ve seen this play out a little in my children.  My daughters and son are supposed to do the laundry every morning before they play.  I don’t know how many years now, but their arguments haven’t changed.

I’m doing this all by myself.  No one is helping me!

Mom!  He’s just laying on top of the clothes!  

Mom!  …

These questions above…;

  • where emotions and behaviors come from,
  • control over biological symptoms,
  • do I respond to others with brain illness
  • or do I walk away

These questions don’t mean much if we don’t find where our empowerment comes from.  Me.  Everything starts and ends with Me.

I’m ill for reasons I have nothing to do with, yet I will be accountable for myself and how I affect others.

I feel emotions I didn’t ask for, behaving ways that I am a spectator to rather than a whole person, yet I will do what I can to gain health.  In that, I have control.

I surrender what I don’t control to my Higher Power.  I take medication.  I exercise, guard my sleep hygiene and get regular sleep, eat responsibly, gather and engage community, attend therapy groups and/or individual, I try while at the same time I let go, I love my flaws as I love my perfections, I try to develop my natural genius, try as often as I can to pour any energies I have in that direction as I know I will heal faster, enjoy life more and be more successful at all my efforts when I do.

It reminds me of that saying, that if I have success, it is from standing on the shoulders of giant midgets.  We are all flawed.  We are all wonderful.  We are supported by others who also are full of flawed perfections.

Do I have control?  You bet.  …And no way.  Always, there are both.

Do I talk when someone is mistreating me? or mistreating themselves by neglecting their own self-care? by letting their illnesses shape their lives?  Do I walk away as that may be what my self-care demands.

Everything starts and ends with me.  There are a lot of stops along the way with other forces, but empowerment is mine.  Indeed.  That’s what I hope my kids will learn when doing the laundry.

Emotions and Behaviors Will Get Better As You Heal.

Punch to the Face

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Don’t worry.

When you hear that, don’t you think violent thoughts?  Or how about, “Calm down?”  Got to love that.  I have visuals of my back swing.  Sure.  You might call them hallucinations.  I’ve never actually hit someone but I have pulled into ready position.

Here’s the thing though.  After all this on-and-on about taking care of ourselves, I have found myself saying things that get awfully close and I’m looking out.  Pretty soon I’m afraid I’m going to get it.  (I’ve got my eye on you!  And you!)

Here’s what happened.  Augustina was wondering what to do about her best friend.  They had quarreled and then quarreled again.

Naming someone, “best-ie” sounds pubescent but Augustina was no child.  Her best-ie had been her chosen family (as Jackie Paulson reminded us yesterday)  since she was twelve, fat and leaked.  Kids were laughing.  Future Best-ie wasn’t.  That’s the kind of girl she was.  Safe; a light in a house that she had gone toward naturally and that had not been put out by Augustina’s misty self.  Wet face, stained pants, fat neck and pimples – Future Best-ie wasn’t laughing.  And that’s about all it took.  She was her friend.

Why had Augustina and Best-ie quarrelled these thirty-some years later?  This was am apparent mystery to Augustina.  You know those kind of mysteries, when they belong to only one person while everyone else with the answer key is looking on.  It was almost like she was standing there, twelve-years-old and bewildered.  This time though, Best-ie wasn’t on her side.  Or so she thought.

Truth is, Augustina had been mean.  She was not keeping dates, she argued easily and she was more self-absorbed than the color black.  It had been months now and then they quarreled.  Augustina missed all the prodrome, the warnings, the recommendations from family, other friends and including Best-ie to get insight and help.  To Augustina, this quarrel stood alone and she was being misused and misunderstood.

So what do we do?  Do we discuss Augustina’s behavior?  Do we explain her problems?  Maybe.  But only long enough to help her join our treatment team.  Once she’s in treatment, we wait.  We for reasons of self-preservation won’t say, “Don’t worry,” but we will come close.  Why?  Because we know that many of her problems as perceived by others and herself will disappear when her brain illness heals.  Do you believe that?  Where do you think her emotions and behaviors are coming from?

See blog post, There is Less Space Between Emotions And Science.

Questions:  When have you seen maltreatment from others that feels personal to you appear without provocation?  When have you seen someone you trusted change into someone who is mean, angry, selfish and reject you when they never did before?  Did you see the opposite happen when their brain illness was treated?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Calm down.  (Duck!  I see you and I’m outta here!)

Give Because You Want To, Not Because You Are a Victim To Their Taking

Giving

Self-Care Tip – Give to others because you want to and have so much to give.

People who live in chaos, generally do because they want it. They are the ones who think you are the best one day and are screaming you down in the next. They pit team-members against each other. Without the team-members knowing what happened they are now distrustful of people they used to trust, feeling suspicious and defensive. The people who live in chaos have their own gravitational force for extremes. Extreme behavior finds them. They are suffering. No doubt, but at the same time, they thrive on this in some way. They choose it. Even so, they don’t know their choices and are ever the victim in any crime scene.

I have seen a few amazing life-stories unfold where these habits were reorganized into friendly behavior. It took years but every time I see these people, knowing where they came from, my mouth is open, my soul lays in splayed humility and I have new hope in the Love that heals us.

Clara was one such as this. I’m not going to tell you all of her story but let you know that now she has woven a net of support around her, people she spends time with, peer groups she attends. She takes her medications and doesn’t change the doses without discussing them first with me. She feels pleasure without having to be at an extreme.

Clara still has some people in her life who haven’t done this for themselves. Who haven’t worked on themselves and become their own friend and she has been tempted to “save” them at times. Clara just told me the other day,

I am not responsible for the fact that she doesn’t have any one else but me.

Clara has been tempted to stop investing in herself to invest more time caring for those who don’t care for themselves. But she didn’t. She maintains her health and investing in herself and she is still living. She gives to others because she has so much to give. Not because she is a victim to their taking. Clara continues to fight for herself and I respect her. I am learning still about doing this for myself and hope you are too. Out.

Questions: Have you ever seen these kinds of miracles in people’s lives around or in you? What was it like? Please tell me your story.

Do You Believe In God?

Yesterday, sitting with all the intellectuals, the thinkers and the brains, my “Big Fat F” felt like I was dressed wrong more than once.  However, thanks to you guys and what we’ve done together, I was able to recognize it and make it through without sautéing the shame of being who I am wired to be.  See blog-post, Hear, Be Hear, Believe and Speak in Your Language.

 

Ma-Student03

Image by rimabek via Flickr

 

There are temperaments that find it easier to believe in God I think; feelers, more so than thinkers at least.  But definitely not across the board.  Whatever our temperament or brain health, we are all deciding what to do with the surging evidence of the evolutionary history of our world.  This can translate into an all-or-none decision for the existence of God.  When logic and knowledge make a seven-day creation unbelievable, than believing in God might too.  When we discover the repeating themes between religions, Buddhist with Christianity with Mayan and so forth, than rather than believing in a message that is bigger than culture and Time, we might believe that there is no message.  When we understand emotions and behaviors on the cellular, hormonal and related biology and draw the line even more clearly to evolutionary origins, we might nod our heads.  “No God.”   When we say,

Everything starts and ends with me,

and in the connections we find, discover humanism decreasing the perceived need to depend only on God, we might pull a hand back, take in breath, go silent and think,

Is this all?

Yesterday, talking about oxytocin, how it was measured and manipulated, how emotions and behaviors were measured and manipulated, I was in awe.  I always am by these discussions.  It amazes me over an over again that we can have this beautiful understanding about emotions and behaviors.  However, there was the curtained message that there is no God.  I can’t say exactly how I believe this to be true.  But I do.  I felt a chill and remembered, even if these things are true, doesn’t say anything about God not existing.

All these things that I use to define my reality, which of them can be really trusted?  Love, Emotions, Time, biology, personality, senses, brain, essence, connections and external input, learning and knowledge, the Bible, visions and more – they don’t have to define the existence of God but for many of us they may.

So I ask you, of all the things you use to define your reality, what do you trust?  Do you use them to grow your belief in God or vice versa?

Self-Care Tip – Work these questions over deliberately before these questions work you over unsuspecting.

Emotions – One Part of The Multi-Paradigm Weave That Makes Us Who We Are

Immanuel Kant developed his own version of the...

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Yesterday we spoke about the emotion, happiness, as it connects to and does not connect to spirituality.  Traditional western religions squirm  or  more, disagree when they hear this.  Everything is spiritual in their school of thought.  However, as our understanding of where emotions and behaviors come from, we have happily disentangled ourselves from the stigma and judgment that comes from the way many people have (mostly unwittingly and often without intended malice) abused us with mental illness.

I know that I have also been in this crowd of prejudiced.  Coming out of that has been fun.  There is still so much that I think I see clearly but don’t, as it is for us all.  The growth we’re talking about is part of the high adventure that brings pleasure to life.

To say it plainly:

  1. Emotions come from the brain.
  2. Emotions are not always directly chosen as we can’t directly choose the way our brain works.
  3. Emotions are what we use to interpret the world around us.
  4. Emotions don’t have intrinsic moral value.  Morality is bigger than the way we feel.
  5. Emotions are not constant between us.
  6. Emotions are a sense.  We’ve called them the Sixth Sense.  Senses are subjective and not objective.

How does this fit into your biopsychosocial model of how you see yourself?

Biology.  Psychology.  Socially.

How does it influence the way you befriend yourself?

How might this influence stigma surrounding emotional illness?

Emotions are just one of the many things that make us who we are.  Many many things.  As we tease these bits of ourselves apart, it is not the same as denying the multi-paradigm weave that makes us who we are.

Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your emotions but don’t put your life on them.

Choice and Biology – Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

Three Legged Race

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I left the light on outside, waiting for my husband to come home.  He was gone, though, to a meeting and wouldn’t be back until Friday.  Some bit of automatic thought current made me flip the light switch and before I realized what I’d done, I flushed.

My husband’s eyes aren’t good and he doesn’t see well without a light.  I can.  I don’t “see” so to speak, but somehow I know where things are and can find my way in the dark.  I’m not a bobcat.  I just remember the way things look by the emotions I felt around them.  This is what was happening that night.

I flipped the switch and there he was.  Walking toward the door.  Distracted.  Fitting his key; almost home.  This was all in the moment that it took me to feel happy and then disappointed remembering he was away.

I turned the light off then because I’m not daft.  But it made me think about what sets our behaviors and emotions in motion.  In that moment, finger to the switch, up, anticipation and disappointment – in that moment, I didn’t choose what happened by the cultural definition of choice.  I responded to patterns that many choices I’d made before had laid down.  Tracks in my brain, hedged and maintained by recurring choices, along with design; my emotions and behaviors also an expression of my temperament.  These moved with each other.  But were they moving along the way we generally think of them, like a three-legged race?

Who was leading who?  Trip.  Get up!

One, two, one, two.  Step.  Step.  Step.  Step.  

And in that moment, my layers of choices were counting out with my biology, “One, two!”  There I was, participant and audience.

When we think about where emotions and behaviors come from, culturally we view them as if they are awkwardly related.  As if biology and choice are tied together at the ankles, about to trip each other up.  We call out to them, hoping somehow they might not show the public how little they know of each other’s rhythms.

But you can see the ridiculousness of this.  Choice and biology are in no way separate.  Design forbids it.  The question of where emotions and behaviors come from in itself reveals our confusion.  They come from the same place.

I can hear the concern that this eliminates free-will.  Answer …”But why?”

After these thoughts that night, I turned the light back on.  I preferred how I felt when I thought my husband might arrive soon.  I chose I guess.  What else could I do?

Questions:  What does it mean to you to fuse choice and biology in the discussion of emotions and behaviors?  How does your culture view this?  Does this affect the way you care for yourself?

Self-Care Tip #282 – Don’t deny the choice available to you to feel and behave as you wish, where that wish surfaced from and the tools you use to make them.