Odd News, Apparently I’m Stylish

Dear Readers,

 

 

Edgar Allan Poe Collection Vol. 1

You may have noticed the odd news.  Stylish Zahara nominated me as a stylish blogger.  This is one more example about why technology is a form of self-care, because despite it all, Zahara made me feel great!

 

It is also another wonderful example of things never being all about “Me.”  Probably this is because you readers and commenters are so dang stylish!  We should all take a look in the mirror and wink.  I just did and it was a thrill.  (Do stylish people do that sort of thing?  See what I mean?)

The down side of this nomination is the to-do list.  I’ve never been good at to-do lists.  But, I do want to qualify at one of my only chances to be called stylishhhhhh stylish.  Every cuckoo’s egg hopes to get away with this!

Present seven things about yourself:

  1. I don’t enjoy hygiene but I do it.  (You might want me to stop now.)
  2. I loved being the only girl in my family growing up.  Mom didn’t count because she was Mom.  I now know what that is like.
  3. Edgar Allan Poe was my favorite author in high school.  I’ve tried to memorize Annabel Lee several times but settled for just saying I did.
  4. We used to have fourteen cousins living with us in our house when I was a kid.
  5. I binge eat.  Not always, but enough to scare me …and my pants.
  6. My dog is not neutered so I can’t take him to doggy-day-care.
  7. Every day writing this blog surprises me in so many ways.  Don’t let my calm and stylish demeanor fool you.

Here comes the fun part of the to-do list.  Me jumping up and down over you is the highest form of fashion.  Ooo!  Ooh!  Whoop!!!!  Here come my moves.  (Loud crashing sounds assault us.)

Name six other bloggers for the award.  Contact them and link back to the person, (in this case Zahara the wonderful,) and hope that everyone listed pushes this forward:

1.  Joana Johnson in Creating Brains.  Nothing like nepotism, (she’s my sister-in-law.)  But I have to tell you, I’ve always thought Joana was stylish.  I remember my brother describing her the first time he saw her.  It was in the ’80’s and she was rocking the hair bows and lace.  She was his first and last love and I’ve never questioned why.  You can sense it in her writing.  She’s got style.

2.  The best grammarian I’ve ever known, Sarah McGhaugh in Bird in Your Hand.  Sarah brings style to grammar like none other.  And she really likes grammer!  Only that kind of contagion could influence my well-learned bad habits.

3.  XCandyXCane writes well about her fight with mental illness in Moose Lips Sink Ships.  She’s eloquent and real.  That’s classy.

4 and 5.  I have a hankering that won’t go away for both ThysLeRoux and The Only Cin.  They were some of the first to compile my supportive blog community.  They have style.

ThysLeRoux is a marvelous cartoonist and humorist.

Here's Thysleroux's latest work sample

Cindy is an artist of life truisms, ah-ha’s and food, wielding all that using only photographs and words – she’s got one of the hugest vocabularies one person ever demonstrated and a great eye for food.  It’s a pleasure on many levels to read her work.

6.  Kevin Blumer is a living example of what self-care can do for someone who hadn’t been caring for himself.  He is open and he’s available to the world around him – style many of us just don’t wear easily.

7.  I know, seven is too many but I had to list our honorary blog-jacker, Mr. Rick C.

Now you guys do your thing!  Push it forward.  There are sooooo many other lovelies out there with serious style that should be on this too short list.  ….You lovelies know who you are!  Take care of yourselves.

Your Own,

Dr. Q

Emotions: The Physical Gift We Can Name

Leprosy hand affected fourth digit

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #148 – Identify your emotions, navigate, and get help.

Mad.  And when Mia was angry she wanted to go eat.  Nervous.  When she was nervous she wanted to go eat.  Like a wire with a current, she couldn’t stop her thoughts from moving and moving.  Although eating soothed her in less than a shard of a second, it was also followed by self-loathing.  Self-loathing brought on more eating and then purging.

Sitting in my office, Mia said it was like she was looking at herself from the outside in and the self on the inside could hear the, “Stop!”  Demands, petitions, and begging to stop came from the other Mia, who was loosing her command-authority in a scary-fast way.

How often we hurt ourselves but blame a trigger, an emotion, a person, or an act of malice.  If only we could say, “Put the offense down and take two steps back.”  But sometimes we can’t.  It’s easy to piously say, with habits and cassocks or soutane (French for traditional priest’s attire) in place, “Don’t make decisions based on emotions.”  It’s easy to say, “Be objective, we can’t trust our emotions.”  But if emotions are what we use to interpret the world around us with, if that’s all we have, what can we do?

Emotions are ideally the color, texture, perfume, music and salt in our physical self.  Emotions are our spiritual sensory system.  Not being able to trust them is a big loss.  Being blind, deaf, anosmic (can’t smell,) unable to taste, and numb would make it really hard to interpret the world around us too.

Paul Brand, MD, coauthored with P. Yancy, “Pain:  The Gift Nobody Wants.”  This book uniquely tells Dr. Brand’s story of working with lepers in India.  Leprosy is a disease that causes a person’s nerves to stop working so they lose their sense of touch and subsequently can’t feel when they hurt themselves.  A once harmless thing like bumping a finger for example, is extremely dangerous.  Lepers can’t feel the pain, and so don’t accommodate for it and protect themselves. You can imagine that bumping a finger but not reacting to it leads to tissue damage when it is done over and over, until one day the finger falls off.

Dr. Brand is right.  Pain is a gift.  And so are emotions.  Including emotional pain, if serving as intended, to protect the individual and not self-destructive things such as bingeing and purging.  The purpose of this post is not to get into what binging and purging is.  That’s just an example of behaviors that might grow out of emotions gone amuck.  Emotions that we used to trust.  That use to tell us who is a friend and who is an enemy.  Emotions that used to know who’s side they were on.  Emotions that forget their own like that can be just as extremely dangerous as leprosy is to our tender fragile fingers.

The purpose of this post is to flatten the mountains of understanding between here and there.  Between understanding that emotions are as physically important as anything else, such as the spinal cord.  The purpose of this post is to furthermore say what to do about it once we can 1) identify the problem and 2) get past the stigma.  Mia did the eating and purging stuff, but she also asked for help.  3) Ask for help.

Lepers have still so few options to help their disease.  Us with emotional illness are very blessed because we do.  We have medications, psychotherapy, coping skills, miracles, and more.  We have a lot.

Question:  How do you define the space between emotions and other “real” medical illnesses such as diabetes?  How do you navigate around stigma?  How do you ask for help?  Please tell me your story.

Get Treatment to Move On – Addictions

Molested by his cousin, neglected by his parents, he watched his intoxicated father beat his mother.  Thinking she would die too many times, he ran away, returned in a police car over and over again, as if wanting to get away was a crime.  He came back and raped his neighbor, more than once.  He spent a lot of time trying to get sex even though he knew it was ruining him and others.  He lost interest in almost everything else.  He suffered uncontrollable impulses.

He was 18 years old when he left it all for the safety of prison.  During the next fifteen-some years he was diagnosed, treated, and kept.  But kept for what?  For eating.  He gained weight, until he needed 2 seats to sit in.  Eating became his preoccupation.  He didn’t have sex.  He had food.

He was released to a home for sexual offenders, put on a diet and lost weight.  He lost it big and fast and felt in control.  He started purging and not finishing his meals.  He thought about purging all the time.  He knew he shouldn’t do it.  His voice was changing, raspy and his throat hurt but he still purged.  He wasn’t having sex.  He wasn’t over-eating.  He was purging.

For whatever reason, no one had yet seen the pattern.  Mostly everyone saw sex offender.  Me included.  I was trying.  I was trying to treat him with empathy, trying to get past the bile that comes when I think of rape, trying to consider the courageous things this man was doing now in life.

In one of my favorite scenes from the film, Rachel Getting Married, Kim played by Anne Hathaway argues with her sister about her own chances to have a future:

Rachel: Kym, you took Ethan for granted. Okay? You were high for his life. You were not present. Okay? You were high.
Kym: [Whispering] Yes.
Rachel: And you drove him off a bridge… and now he’s dead….
Kym: Yes, I was. Yes, I was stoned out of my mind. Who do I have to be now? I mean, I could be Mother Teresa and it wouldn’t make a difference, what I did. Did I sacrifice every bit of… love I’m allowed for this life because I killed our little brother?

I thought of this and somehow through all that trying, I did. And because I could empathize, a space opened up for me to be more objective.  That’s when I saw it.  I saw the pattern.

Addictions migrate.  Someone who may have started out as a food addict, might turn to gambling, and then later to alcohol.  Someone with sex addiction, might turn to food and then later to purging.

It can be like that game I used to play at Chucky Cheese, trying to hammer down the little animals that pop out of holes.  We need to treat the disease of Addiction regardless of how it’s dressed, or else it will keep popping up.  And like Kym, if we do, although perhaps terribly wrong in some unchangeable ways, we will still have a future.  If you’d like to read more about this “kainos” (Greek word for the opportunity to be made new,) read the post New versus New.

Self Care Tip #62 – Get treatment to move on.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What do you think?  Please tell me your story.