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.

Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe

Run Away Before You Self-Destruct – Keep Yourself Safe

This is a slight remake from 7/25/10. Hugs to all.


When you feel the pull to do something that isn’t good for you, turn away from it. Do something that you can stand doing at the moment that won’t make you hate yourself now or later.

In the evenings, when the kids are just in bed, the backlash of the day seems to have a few last flicks. Despite the anticipated quiet, my shoulders are tight. Dusk, when the land meets the sky, is when I feel like eating …chocolate specifically.

I purposefully don’t bring it home, except the darkest chocolate sold with over 75% cacao for this very reason. It’s so dark, it’s practically bark.

Home is my safe place and I need to know that it is as safe as possible, even from me. I used to bring treats home that were to be eaten in moderation, but I found that when the monster in me crept out. I’d board myself up in the pantry and polish it off. That would turn me to self-loathing. It was a cycle. I got tired of being my enemy and knowing what was coming next.

Now, I choose to simply go out for my chocolate. I eat what I want when I’m out, when I’m less likely to eat myself into despair. Now, when I’m home, I can pick a different fight rather than fighting the urge to closet eat. Home is a little more safe for me.

Tonight, the kids went to bed ok, but I still took my turn around the fridge and pantry, even though I knew there was nothing, absolutely nothing, I’d want to eat in my house. I am in danger now of developing something of a ritual in this rummage around the kitchen. The good thing is that when I do make the turn, it leads me to the thought of just going to my bike and riding. Tonight, after a 30 minute spin, while watching the last 1/2 of the premi√®re to Glee, I am good again. I’m thinking about the muscles in my legs and the way my body doesn’t walk as heavy as it used to and I feel good about myself. Just like that, I feel a little less self-loathing. I feel more safe.

Self Care tip #1 – Run away before you self destruct. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions: Have you found a safe place? What is keeping your home safe for you? Please tell us your story.

Gathering Friend to Yourself Blog-Post References:
Choosing Safety:
  • basics on Weight Management 2011/06/25
  • Trusting our Clinician, or Not 2011/05/17
  • Self-Care Works You, Pushes You, Tires You Out Until You Are Happily Spent On Your Friend ‚Äď You 2011/04/25
  • Participate ‚Äď Work as Part of A Team With Your Medical Providers 2011/04/12
  • Choosing Connections ‚Äď Take The Good and Take Care of Yourself 2011/04/04
  • Check Your Read. Even When You Feel Shame, Bullied and Herded, You Are Free. 2011/03/26
  • Living Where We Feel Safe is Part of Self-Care 2011/03/20
  • Afraid of Meds 2010/09/19
  • Get in Someone‚Äôs Space 2010/09/08
  • Run Away Before You Self-Destruct ‚Äď Keep Yourself Safe 2010/07/25
  • Number One Reason For Relapse In Mental Illness 2011/04/07
  • So Many Choices, So Little Time ‚ĶFor Self-Care 2011/03/05
  • Say, ‚ÄúI Can‚Äôt Control This‚ÄĚ When You Can‚Äôt 2011/01/31
  • Emotions: The Physical Gift We Can Name 2011/01/06
  • Escape Self-Loathing 2010/10/29
Breaking Negative Cycles:
  • Loving Me without ambivalence ‚Äď Perfectionism v. Passive Surrender 2011/05/28
  • You Can‚Äôt Barter With It. Sleep. 2010/12/03
  • Regardless The Reasons Not To, Go Get Your Sleep 2010/11/22
  • Choose, Gladly, Using Resources 2010/10/13
  • Sleep Hygiene ‚Äď my version 2010/08/29
  • Pay a dollar 2010/07/29

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 РEmotions shared
  2. Our own Emotional Junk РEmotions hidden
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea РSmall conscious self and BIG unconscious self
  5. Biopsychosocial Model РBiological, 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 ‚Äúsusceptible‚ÄĚ to negative ‚Äúcontagion‚ÄĚ in turn and perhaps, be¬†more available to giving and¬†receiving¬†positive ‚Äúemotion-contagion.‚ÄĚ ¬†Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don‚Äôt do their own self-care. ¬†We can have that connection without personalizing what isn‚Äôt about us. ¬†Sigh. ¬†That is nice, isn‚Äôt it? ¬†Then ‚Ķout 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?


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.

Waiting For Self-Care to Start

Self-Care Tip #176 – Don’t wait to start caring for your self. ¬†

I’ll get to it when things slow down for me.

I can’t handle one more stress on top of the kids and all the people who take, take, take.

Don’t take this away! ¬†It’s my only vice!

I don’t have time because I’m working so much.

There are so many good reasons to wait for self-care. ¬†I don’t belittle them. ¬†I do them too. ¬†There’s a reason we here at FriendtoYourself.com call self-care the hardest work. ¬†It is not for anyone who isn’t willing to go through the fire of putting themselves first.

“The fire,” you say? ¬†Yes. ¬†Fred taught me that. ¬†He was down twenty pounds, working out almost every day with aerobic and¬†anaerobic¬†exercises, putting his ear-plugs in when sounds escalated his nerves, more motivated, interested and active. ¬†Fred was growing again. ¬†He said that it had been years since he’d done any of these things for himself and couldn’t believe what the world looked like when he felt so good.

Fred was sad though. ¬†Not depressed. ¬†No, he hadn’t been depressed for at least a year on his medication and even less so since he was taking care of himself physically. ¬†But sad. ¬†His wife wasn’t interested in his changes, she was disconnected emotionally, and more so every day it seemed to him as he began to change physically, emotionally and behaviorally. ¬†His friends were growing distant. ¬†He wasn’t interested in office politics either. ¬†It was a simultaneous coming together of life in himself and a falling away of the life connection in his “previous life,” as he called it. ¬†Surprisingly, the people he loved the most weren’t so happy for him. ¬†Weren’t supportive of him. ¬†He was sad for that. ¬†There are never gains without losses.

This is not to forget the new relationships he was growing.  There was new life all around him and he still maintained hope for the connections he had before.  But those people who he had called his own for years were the ones who gave him all the reasons to wait for self-care.  He was way past waiting.  He was already on the other side enjoying the sun.

Question:  What have you overcome to get at your own self-care?  Is there anything your are still waiting to do?  Please tell me your story.

*Art work (assumed) courtesy of carldagostino.wordpress.com.

Taking Care of Yourself is The Best Part of Your Treatment Cocktail.


Image by schmeezla via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #163 ‚Äď Taking care of yourself is the best part of your treatment cocktail.

ÔĽŅÔĽŅWe often talk about partial or failed treatment in medicine, in each other, in relationships. ¬†But those are only about 40-60% of the time. ¬†There are many people who get full treatment response to medication and self-care. ¬†Mindy is one of them.

Mindy has seen me for about four years in clinic for her depression. ¬†She’s never been very anxious, which is less usual as anxiety and depression tag-team so often. ¬†Mindy’s depression had lurked in her, stepping out in the light and slipping into the shadows, for years even before she started working with me. ¬†We seemed to hit by chance or skill the right medication cocktail that had evaded her, and she was not depressed anymore. ¬†However, she never told me she was great. ¬†She was “pretty good.” ¬†She was, “doing alright.” ¬†She was, “you know, good.” ¬†Mindy wasn’t great. ¬†She was good. ¬†We spent three and a half years like that.

Then about six months ago, Mindy came in looking hot! ¬†(I can say that because I’m a girl.) ¬†She had lost the mom bumps around the midline, dropped padding in the hips, her hair wore a fresh coat of glossy brown, and I could tell her outfit hadn’t been worn more than twice. ¬†Mindy was smiling and sincere when she said,

I’ve never felt better! ¬†I had no idea what taking care of myself would do for me!

Her eyes were telling me their own conversation.  They were so expressive saying,

I can’t believe this is me!

Mindy told me in testimonial fashion, about the strangers who now noticed her. ¬†Being noticed was an elixir and she was drinking it as often as it was served, but not in an arrogant way. ¬†Mindy was still very human. ¬†She wasn’t manic or grandiose. ¬†She was doing what Gary Vaynerchuk describes in his book, Crush It!

‚ÄúDo what makes you happy.¬† Keep it simple.¬† Do the research.¬†¬†Work hard.¬† Look ahead‚ÄĚ (p 12).

Mindy said,

I used to think that what I got from life was good enough; from my husband and from the people out there. ¬†I didn’t know I could get this by just doing what I wanted to do for myself all along.

Mindy was still taking her medication cocktail and had no plans of tapering any of them.  She thought the combination of these medications that took her out of depression, along with exercise and other self-care measures were just right.  Mindy had not forgotten her years of melancholy and sadness even though it was now four years since.

Questions: ¬†1) What is your reaction to Mindy and the 40-60% of people who get full treatment response? ¬†2) Do you have any questions you wish you could ask the “Mindy’s” out there? ¬†3) Or something to say for the other 40-60% of people who don’t get full treatment response? ¬†Please tell me your story.

What’s Happening in Your Space?

Almost finished a triathlon today.¬† If it wasn’t for that chafing because I forgot my biking shorts, I think I would have.¬† I was wearing surfer shorts.¬† I will never poke at people who whine about chafing.¬† They’re right!¬† It hurts!¬† Enough for me to cut my run in half twice.¬† And I walked.¬†¬† People I saw afterward kept saying “At least you finished!”¬† I felt like I had to confess but then I’d want to explain so I left it all out which I know in itself is a little lie if there is any such thing as a little lie, so I’m atoning by confessing to you. ¬†There. ¬†(Breath.)

The truth is, even though I cut across lawn, and walked the cross walk, and broke all sorts of athlete-codes of honor, I had such a wonderful time. ¬†With all my abbreviating, I caught up with my brother, Vance Johnson, and his 10% body fat. ¬†He’s always been sensitive, so he kindly slowed to walk me down the last stretch. ¬†We don’t get to spend enough time together and even a few moments like that are golden! ¬†We were laughing and strolling and probably looking too pleased to be appropriate for the last 40 yards of a long race. ¬†So, of course it took us both a few extra seconds to realize what the woman had yelled as her large frame thundered by. ¬†“If you aren’t going to race, get off the road!” ¬†It was extra shocking because it was like a parallel universe suddenly collided ours. ¬†We were happy. ¬†I with my swollen inner thigh, and Vance with his little sister as audience. ¬†It was over-cast, perfect weather for the day. ¬†The beach was a few yards to our right. ¬†Everything else was San Diego green. ¬†Then, Pow! ¬†“Get off the road!”

At first, I was ticked. ¬†“Listen …,” I said in my mind. ¬†Not nice. ¬†But then I saw my brother. ¬†How could I be angry?

There were many¬†scenarios¬†of this woman’s life that a carousel flashed on the screen in my mind. ¬†Maybe none of them were true. Maybe she was simply an avid committed athlete who found us people soiling her turf. ¬†Whatever the situation was, she was finishing the race and looked like she’d done well for her potential. ¬†She hadn’t cut lawn and street. ¬†She wasn’t walking. ¬†She was running or galloping or something. ¬†But she wasn’t happy about any of it. ¬†Looking back, she might see us as the reason her mood soured. ¬†Regardless the reason or the date and time of onset, she was sour.

It was only a few moments really that my thoughts stayed on her. ¬†Vance had moved on to another subject and I didn’t want to miss it. ¬†Reflecting now though, of course I’m struck by the perspective of success and failure. ¬†A race is a perfect stage for demonstrating something with a beginning, middle and ending. ¬†Sounds like a shortened version of life.

I’m not sure who first said that there is only one beginning and one ending to life. ¬†“It’s the journey that matters.” ¬†Probably God. ¬†Someone who is timeless and infinite would get that. ¬†Today He blessed us with that. ¬†I can’t count on myself to have it the next time. ¬†God knows I’ve been the one screaming something like, “Get off the road!” enough times before. ¬†But next time, I hope I remember what God gave Vance and me today. ¬†I hope I will succeed as happily as I did today when I lost the race.

Self Care Tip #65 РGet into the in-between spaces in your life and go for the joy!  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What have you been finding in your own space?  What do you think?

If you’d like to read more blog posts on the journey, read here.