A Testimony of “Being A Friend To Yourself,” From Bipo Blogger

You might recognize these five questions from yesterday’s blog-post.  Thank you for your testimonies.  Is there anything more powerful than hearing someone’s personal story?  I think not!  Here is what Bipoblogger has to say.

Q1:  What does being a friend to yourself mean to you in real-time life practice?

A1:  That’s easy, but not so easy, LOL!  Being “a friend to yourself” means that I acknowledge I need to respect myself, just like I do other people.  It means not sabotaging my self, plans, job, relationships, etc.  I love myself enough to not kick myself when I am down. 

Being bipolar can be so detrimental to my being, but just like normal people, I still have the need to …allow for room and time to grieve about whatever horrible circumstances (were) caused (by) the bipolar disorder.  

…Stop every once in a while to acknowledge my accomplishments and own that.

Q2:  What helps you do this one time vs. another?

A2:  Yes, I have found that BPD is in part an anger disorder and knowing the true source of the anger can help me go forward.

I have chosen to no longer hurt myself cause when I do, and anyone else, I build up layers of hurt and it hurts to start to take the layers off when I’m ready, so why even do it? …

Also it helped me so much to learn that God doesn’t deal with me the way I deal with myself or another.  I’m not a fanatic, but I just believe in what makes sense.

Q3:  What still hinders your efforts?

A3:  Wanting to be better than I already am.  Not accepting that the balance I have is better than having less or no balance at all, …(which means various kinds of) risky behavior.

Q4:  What has pushed you past those barriers?

A4:  Really just forgiving myself for how I was affected by BPD and remembering that I am breakable and valid as a human, just like all of us.  If I keep practicing a constructive way of life, I will be okay, and that has been true for the last 3 years.

Last push.

Q5:  How do you understand the interplay between biology and choice in being “a friend to yourself?”

A5:  I was created with the choice to choose how I live my life and I do, BPD or none.  Natural inclination is to do the wrong thing because I am imperfect.  I seek power, fame, notoriety and in someway someone, including myself is gonna get hurt in the process.  …People without mental deficiencies don’t experience or don’t carry out to this degree.  So in short, biologically the deficient brain makes more extreme choices, overly withdrawn or overly outward and destructive.

Whoa, I smell smoke.  I never think that hard.  LOL.

Questions for you:  

  1. Anything you’d like to share with Bipo Blogger? 
  2. If you had a blank page for this, what would your own questions be?  What would you answer?  

The Growing Process Shifts From Shame and Fear to Friendship

Hello Friends.  Tonight ends our pilot run of the self-care workshop series.  Whoop!  Thank you for your support.  Very much.  The growing process, when in the company that we have here, shifts the experience form one of fear and shame to one of …well this:  friendship, with you and with our own selves.

One of our participants was kind enough to send me his recap,

Some of the points that were most important to me were:

  1. Going toward our temperament/the languages we use,
  2. Invest in your bank,
  3. Going against your intuition,
  4. The energy balance as illustrated by the triangle diagram,
  5. It doesn’t always feel good to perform self-care.
  6. categories in the bio…model and how they interrelate, i.e. biopsychosocial model.  (Smile.)

Pretty good! Huh?

This was written after our second week.  After tonight, we can add,

  1. Accountability for our flawed self doesn’t mean blame or fault.
  2. Our flaws become part of our opportunity for growth and personal presence.
  3. Self-awareness is a tool for,
  1. Understanding our agendas,
  2. Bettering our sense of presence,
  3. Freedom that is ours independent of our effort, morals, or any human quality
  4. A freedom that we want to fight for with everything we’ve got to preserve.  I.e., a freedom we can lose.
  • Using the biospychosocial model as a tool for,
    1. Understanding where our emotions and behaviors are coming from
    2. Understanding where emotions and behaviors of others are coming from – such as STIGMA

    I wish I had another summary from one of our participants rather than my own.  I can make this so much more complicated than it is!  I am learning.  I am flawed.  I am accountable.  I am not blamed.  I am in the company of friends, including myself!  Whoop!

    If I get another summary though from “someone,” I’ll pass it on for your perusal and comments.

    Again, thank you and until tomorrow…!  Keep on.

    I’ve heard, “It Never Hurts to Ask”

    It never hurts to ask and what I learned from Honda

    Honda stojan

    Image via Wikipedia

     

    I am a believer in Honda.  They’ve won me over with their automatic doors, convenience in just about any way they can, but mostly because of their Starbucks coffee, fresh-baked cookies and 10% discounts.  “Ten percent?,” you ask.  Well, not so easy as that.  We have to ask.  Ask nicely.

    Honda has, if not taught me, reinforced my once shaky belief that if you ask for something, you’re more likely to get it.  Sounds obvious but how often we don’t.  We don’t ask.  What are the barriers?  Flip it and we wonder what helps us ask?

    We bring out our biopsychosocial model again.  (Hear the whip-ahhh! as it comes out of our pocket?!)

    Question:  What do you find when you break it down?

    Those barriers or the helps we have in other areas of our life, including with our own friend, Me.

    Self-Care Tip #277 – If you want to change something, ask.  Including when it’s about yourself from yourself.

    Codependent,… Or Something?!

    Inquisition condemned (Francisco de Goya).

    Image via Wikipedia

    Codependent.

    It’s a term a lot of people use but I don’t think we are all using it to mean the same thing.  It is poorly defined and confusing.  If codependency were a medication, we would call it a “dirty medicine,” because it hits so many “receptors.”  It is nonspecific.

    Who hasn’t ever been shamed by the fear that they are codependent?

    You are codependent! 

    Am I codependent!!!??

    The word implies blame.  Blame for what?  And that is one of the places we walk away without benefit.  Was the word useful to any of us in any way?

    In general, vaguely, codependence implies awareness and participation with mal-behavior that we are powerless to.  Treatment preferably includes a twelve-step program that includes the surrender of what we don’t have power over to our Higher Power.  Codependence may incidentally be combined with brain disease and of course that would need medication therapy.

    There are however a few things that must be cleared up.

    1. There is nothing shameful about being married, the child of or of any relation to an addict.  That position doesn’t diagnose us with codependency unless that’s what that word is being used to define.  You never know.
    2. There is no shame in wanting to be with people, depend on people, seek people out to problem-solve and get energy from being with people.  That position does not diagnose codependency unless that’s what the word is being used to define.  You never know.

    However,

    1. There may be a relationship to family of addicts
    2. There may be a relationship to anger problems
    3. There may be a relationship to kids of parents who expected perfect kids, spouses of spouses who expect perfect spouses, pet-owners who… (Oh wait.  That’s not right.)

    BUT, per Dr. Q, if we find ourselves…

    1. in recurring negativity – perhaps an argument that happens over and over
    2. with an increasingly limited ability to participate in life
    3. powerless
    4. doing things we wouldn’t normally do/out of character
    5. tied into someone else’s mal-behavior
    6. consciously aware of that someone’s mal-behavior

    IT’S WORTH THINKING ABOUT IT.  We might not be codependent, whatever that means, but we do need help.

    Questions:  How do you identify this in your life or someone you know?  How have you been able to stop being dependent on someone you knew was repeatedly doing mal-behavior?  Please tell me your story.

    Self-Care Tip #275 – Forget the shame and just get about your work to figure this out.

    Finalé – Me Again. Everything Starts and Ends With Me – Even Emotions and Behaviors.

    We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

    1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
    2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
    3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
    4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
    5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
    6. Me! 
    7. Finalé – Me Again.  Everything Starts and Ends With Me – Even Emotions and Behaviors.  (Today’s post.)

    We have covered in our series that emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  We reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool, and then restated the simplicity in looking for and at Me to discover where emotions and behaviors come from.

    Today we leave Rob and meet Iva for our Finalé.

    Mother and daughter

    Image by Video4net via Flickr

    Self-Care Tip #272 – Look!  Me Again!

    Iva was crying.  Things could not go on as they were.  It must stop!  The tension and recurring emotional crisis’ between her and her daughter were cancerous to her family.

    Iva was trying.  She’d come a long long way.  On antidepressants now, exercising three to five times a week, down twenty pounds and into her honey-moon clothes from many many years ago.  She felt so much better about herself.  She was no longer yelling at every stressor, she felt pleasure again and liked being with her kids, including her daughter… when her daughter wasn’t throwing fits.  However, her daughter was “fits-ing” one to three times a day still.  Iva felt like she had lost control as a parent and gave a lot of blame to her little girl.  This is why Iva came in.  Something wasn’t right about that.  It was evading her, however, what that something was.

    To be clear, “little” in this case meant four years old.  Four years old and they could hardly be with each other.  Iva trembled thinking about the teen years ahead.  Iva wondered how a four-year old could drum up so much drama and wield so much power.

    Why didn’t she listen?  Why did her daughter make her resort to spanking and punishments to get obedience?  Why did she whine all the time?  

    Crying again, Iva was still able to break this down as to where her emotions and behaviors were coming from and specifically keep it about “Me.”  That was our job as we crunched this together.

    Emotions shared – Iva had negative emotions that her four-year old was susceptible to?

    Emotions hidden – Iva hadn’t gone towards her own something or other?  Maybe she didn’t even realize the negative emotions she felt toward her daughter in the first place to go towards them and see what was there.

    small conscious self and BIG unconscious self – Iva had an opportunity to play, work, know and own this little portion of what made her who she was.  The BIG unconscious self she was doing well taking care of with her basic needs – time with her Higher Power, medication compliant, exercise, sleep, diet, water and so on.

    Biological, Psychological, Social selves – (A whole bunch of stuff you’ll have to read the previous blog-posts on!  Awesome paradigm.)

    And then, finally, Me.  In the space between her and her daughter, Iva had forgotten that it was about Me.  Iva was putting a lot of blame on her little girl.  That’s a lot of pressure for a child to shoulder.  It is not appropriate for a parent to shame her child this way.  This isn’t a moral statement unless we make it one.  It just is.  It-is-not-appropriate.  That’s all.  Iva circled back around and saw herself there.  Her Me.

    Iva left thinking things were looking up.

    Questions:  Even in your most difficult relationships, how do you own your emotions and behaviors?  Or is there a reason for them outside of yourself?  Please tell me your story.

    Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

    steps 15

    Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

    We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

    1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
    2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
    3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
    4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
    5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
    6. Me!  (Today’s Post)

    What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

    Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

    Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

    Me.

    For example:  Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–> Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

    Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

    Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

    Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.

    The Biopsychosocial Model for Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

    Waitress.

    Image via Wikipedia

    We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

    1. Emotions Are Contagious
    2. Our own Emotional Junk 
    3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
    4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea 
    5. (today’s post) 

    What we’ve covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion,” so to speak.  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might have the ability to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care and have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  …Yesterday took us out to sea away from our narrative for a bit, where we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the rest.

    Self-Care Tip #271 – Use your biopsychosocial model as a tool to help your friend – You.

    We return today to Rob and Yesenia.  (Remember Rob?)  Rob has shown us three important ways of considering where his emotions and behaviors come from.  This is the biopsychosocial model of looking at our functioning in the context of illness.

    • Rob’s biological factors include his own genetic primary illnesses as well as his genetic vulnerability to emotional milieu on his genes’ expression.  It also includes Rob’s temperament.

    Going toward what our temperament finds pleasure in will naturally bring more good things to/in us and others around us.  (See blog post, Hear, Be Heard, Believe and Speak in Your Own Language.)

    • His psychological factors include how he is or is not able to cope with his wife’s emotions and behaviors.  There is obviously more involved but, snore.  (Ahem.  Oh.  There I was.)
    • Rob’s social factors include his wife’s emotions and behaviors.  Yesenia’s untreated emotional illness gives Rob a difficult interpersonal relationship to contend with.  …Where to start?

    Questions:  How has looking at your biopsychosocial self collectively as well as in parts been a useful tool for understand your own emotions and behaviors?  Is it difficult to do this for yourself?  If so, what limits you?  Please tell me your story.