Unlikable: Me Too

Poem:

I feel unlikable

It sounds young

Immature

It sounds like I’m fishing

But I feel unlikable and it is what it is

I can list my attributes

And do also remember

What others have said

In their own throws of comparisons

It is disconnected though

Me talking to myself

An echo in a cavern

Otherwise quiet

Unlikable might be better said

Disconnected

And I was created for connection

I’ll never survive any pilgrimage on my own

I’m designed to say, “Me too”

But just this

Improves my sense of company

I can’t know why

Writing it out

Makes me think of you reading it

And saying something back

Selfcare Tip: Look for connection. You are not alone.

Question: What improves your connection? Will you tell us an example of a time you turned it around; went from feeling alone to then connected?

Keep on!

But I’m Not Someone Who Likes Taking Meds

pill

Presley couldn’t breath. A truck just drove through his thorax. A monster-hand was closing around his heart. He couldn’t swallow well. Was something stuck in there? Dizziness nearly dropped him, but instead of moving to sit down, like any other normal person would do, he bolted. A fire chased him. He had to escape or he would die. In the bathroom where he found himself, the mirror reflected a sweaty face and crazy eyes. Was he dying? Presley’s phone looked blurry as he dialed, 911.

Please help! I’m having a heart attack!

That was the first time this had happened. After the third visit to the emergency room over the past month, Presley was able to avoid calling 911, although still convinced he was going to die when the next episode hit. He agreed to seek counseling, where he was taught different skills to connect his mind and body, to slow his breathing down, to process, even when he was convinced he was dying.  For a time, Presley improved. It was like it never happened. He was almost able to convince himself that it wouldn’t happen again.

This turned over and over, feeling like he was going to die while losing his mind, re-engaging in counseling, thinking he was better, stopping counseling, and then another violent emotional event, thinking for sure, he would die.

It was after his second trip to the ER when he received the recommendation to schedule an evaluation with a psychiatrist. But he preferred to work through this in therapy. Presley didn’t like pills. He wasn’t someone who medicated. An olive-skinned athlete, he lived clean and didn’t believe there was much that healthy living couldn’t cure. And Presley did live clean. He ran fifty miles a week. He ate raw foods. He read his Bible.

After several months of this, his therapist, Dr. Wu, recommended he get a psychiatric evaluation. However, Dr. Wu agreed that he would continue to work with him, whatever Presley chose. (Was this the right thing for Dr Wu to do?) Presley chose, no. No psychiatrist. What would a psychiatrist do to him anyway?! He wasn’t crazy. (Except when he thought he was.)

Presley visited his primary medical physician, Dr. Belinda Jones. It had to be better than seeing a shrink!

Dr. Jones, I don’t want to take meds.

Dr. Jones, cleared him for any medical condition that might be contributing to his events. Only then was she able to convince him to try a “safe antidepressant”, escitalopram. After one pill, Presley had the worst event of his life. He’d never had any experience that was more terrifying. Presley didn’t go back to Dr. Jones, “of course.”

When these emotional tornadoes hit more frequently, he became paralyzed with fear that he would have them in public and be humiliated by them. Presley stopped going to work.  If it wasn’t for his rent, he’d never go back. But he had to. So finally Presley agreed to see a psychiatrist. …

To be continued

  • Sincerely, Dr. Q

Questions: What would you tell Presley? 

How would you like your physician and/or therapist to handle this, if it were you?

Why is Presley so opposed to taking medical therapies?

Please speak! We need to hear you.

Self care tip: Keep on! 🙂

God Exists and God is Personal

God and me

As there are so many views on what “God” means, and because that’s not what we want to debate here, we have a useful premise. 

God exists.  God is personal. 

Nor is our purpose to worry over the function of religion, to roll between index and thumb the business relationship between us and God, nor to tidy up the religious wars between our nations. 

The purpose here is to discuss how to be a better friend to Me, in the context of the premise, God is and God is personal to Me. 

If God is, then He is personal.  Otherwise, there is no point to God, as far as you and I are concerned.

Question:  How do we treat ourselves well in the context that God is personal to Me?  If God exists and isn’t personal, what is the point of Him?  How does working under the premise that God is and God is personal improve the way you care for yourself?  Please speak out.  We need you.

Self-care Tip:  Accept that God is and is personal to you and keep on.

How to Trust Whom You Serve and Whom is Serving You

Michael E. DeBakey, world-famous cardiothoraci...

Much of what we do in medicine is elementary. I wouldn’t know how to quantify the amount of plainness involved with our goings-on. Behind the writing of controlled substances on pricey government controlled paper, behind our, “Hmm’s”, our flow of learning and teaching, and more (or less) than the laying on of professional hands, we are… we are common.

To say it simply, physicians are dealing with themselves. In medical practice, separating the self out, effectively breaking the emulsion of the physician from their personal journey leaves many of us suspiciously grouped into the numbers of old and lonely but practically excellent. Some medical specialties are infrequently bested by anything other than 80+ hour work-weeks, knowledge retention and steady hands. The imminent peril and the literal moment by moment of life-saving interventions helps the rest of us understand.

Even so, I’ve known some who have been “the best” and still managed to be connected to their personal. I imagine some other dimension is forced open by all the space that that kind of nearly fictional human occupies: Cardiothoracic surgeon, Anees J Razzouk, M.D., at Loma Linda University, for one; Gisella Sandy, M.D., critical care specialist, general surgeon and medical missionary in Peru, for another. We are all happy to say that the list is long here. We think of the ordinary physicians planted around our planet who are heroic enough to do the simple. After all, how much can a physician offer to her patient if she hasn’t taken care of herself first?

Those of us who seek medical care from a physician will be interested to know that the physician as well as the patient can only carry so much before things start to fall out of their arms. Before a sack tears on our way from the car to the kitchen, before there is spillage and things go unnoticed, we want to know that they thought about it. We want for them what they want for their patients in other words. Accountability to Me.

Wanting this for others, because we are afraid, is understandable. But it’s not at the aorta where life pumps and freedom flows. Each of us, regardless of fancy prescription pad or paper gown, to trust the other, we must have their own wanting. Wanting this for themselves. For Me. That is the pulse on trusting each other.

Questions: How has being a better friend to yourself improved your trust in those who are serving you? How has being a better friend to yourself improved your ability to trust those you hope to serve? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Follow the thoughts that bring you back to Me where you will healthily grow your accountability, wanting and trust. Be a friend to yourself

You Are Allied, Chosen and Of High Value to Our Efforts In Self-Care

Squirrel

Image by nsavch via Flickr

I remember starting with my research team about eight years ago. Some of the terrain between then and now returns like a welcoming committee every time I consider a team venture.

My research team and I have learned a rhythm and trust in each other’s talents that constitutes much of the travel pleasure experienced. However, knowing that their excellence is “behind” me, in front, and surrounding has been much of my medium for improvement. It has taken a lot for me to get this far, not absconding what we still hope for. What obstruction a colleague is when they lose their interest in growth. I am thankful they allow me multidimensional space to change, know my flaws and relax to know theirs. The ability to gift this to someone takes a lot of bank.

One of the beauties of having had received this type of gift once, is that it improves our vision to know where we might find it again. You readers have chosen me to work with but I have also chosen you and this is why. You have bank. Thank you for being persons of such high value.

When someone wonders about our talents, they are simultaneously wondering about our flaws. Standing under such scrutiny takes courage, I admit, but courage is improved by a sense of safety. Thank you for being safe. That takes bank.

I am a teacher. I am very good at teaching about emotional quotient, emotional and behavioral insight and interpersonal exchange. I am very good at teaching efficiency and perspective to achieve that. I am a Jedi in intuiting emotional milieu and harnessing that information into the goal at hand. I can do this for others, as well, with empathy and speed. I am talented.

Now. Surely when put this course way, and with your growing familiarity with me over the past one and a half years, you have some knowledge about my flaws. I am inspired that you believe more in my brilliance than in my Achilles. I am inspired that you ally yourself with me to make sure that my flaws do not kill me off and thereby kill the self-care work we endeavor together. That takes a lot of bank.

Your bank is more than you were given in your gene-purse. Your inheritance does not account for your long hard work on the continuum of growth. That is from intersecting personal dimensions that include things like in-process God-deposits, choice and more choice.

It is said that wealth begets wealth of which you are a rich example. Your riches are blessed, just as the men who did not bury their gold. I am happy to be with you, who are getting more bank. I am smart enough to know that after the shower, I will find something in my benefit. Ruth knew that of Boaz. Pond fish know that about the rain. I know that about you.

We are at a turning of seasons now, when creation takes stalk. Like so many squirrels, brown bears, tree frogs and you, I am glad when my pantry and borough reflects that I have a team, (allies to my desire and labor to be a friend to myself,) who are safe and rich and want Me. Wow. That is what they call, “Bank.”

Questions: How does it feel to know that you are known as, “Money-Bags?”

How do you choose allies to your self-care venture?

How has your sense of safety affected your ability to invest in yourself?

Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Remember that you are chosen and of high value.

What Makes A Doctor-Patient Relationship

Power

Image by JAS_photo via Flickr

In our last post, The Struggle in A Doctor-Patient Relationship To Not Get Personal, your comments were critical to bringing it all together.  So much so, that I think it’s worth our time to review the main points about the doctor-patient relationship.

1.  People wonder about how to relate or conduct themselves.  It’s not clear and there are no directions.  In fact, for something so objective, why isn’t it?

  • a subject I have often wondered about – Cindy Taylor
  • when I see the new Doc, I just tell my story and describe symptoms????  – Sekan Blogger
  • hope that those professionals would be much more upfront with their patients – Nancy

2.  The professional distance itself between doctor and patient lends to the healing process

  • The doctor patient relationship is one thing that makes healing possible – Pattyann
  • if friends could help me I wouldn’t need to see a professional… – Patricia
  • distance …is such a strength – Kate Shrewsday
  • something far more greater than what a friend could provide and if I knew the intimate details of her life, that would have changed – S Sanquist

3.  The exchange of money for service is generally part of its constitution and brings motives into question.  Is there a price for the value of a patient’s health or even life?

  • You better keep me alive or there will be less money for you to make – Carl D’Agostino

4.  Power Imbalance

  • health professionals and I are not on the same social level when I am the patient and they are my health provider – Val
  • It (is) a loss to move from friend to patient. That is just how it has to go in the self-care process. Then there is the anxiety of the Dr. discovering who you really are and perhaps being disappointed. – M
  • same fine line in the teaching profession – Sarah McGaugh
  • most of my relationships have some sort of power imbalance – Shout Abyss

In truth, all relationships have an imbalance of power.  In healthy personal relationships, there is a flux in power, back and forth.  It’s a problem if they don’t pulse and is possibly one of the signs of an abusive relationship.

However, this doesn’t hold true in doctor-patient combos.  They are imbalanced by design and stay that way.  It feels counterintuitive at times to those involved.  But a good physician is like a good book – he/she/it is there for Me.  It is a unidirectional relationship.  There aren’t many good unidirectional relationships otherwise, …except for all those others.  You’ve heard of police, cashier’s, housekeepers, entertainers or, for example as Sarah reminded us, teachers.  But these are professional relationships and none of these are personal either, are they?  Unless you’re human, and then they are.  Oh bother!

Self-Care Tip – Find out what pleases you and what bothers you about your doctor-patient relationships.

Question:  What does please you and what does bother you about your doctor-patient relationships?  How do you imagine it would be if it were even better for your needs?  Please tell us your story.

Strategize Your Energy Deposits and Your Work To Heal Emotionally

Working from home

Image by ishane via Flickr

Work works if it’s in something we find pleasure in.  That’s where we will find empowerment and self-esteem.  We don’t resent the labor as much.  We feel less controlled, boxed in and manipulated by others.  We have more gratitude and optimism.

The realm of biology enthroned on helices of DNA are socialized and demystified some with the tools of our temperament. Our temperament, sometimes called our personality, has built-in guidance we can use to steer our energies biologically, psychologically and socially.  Directing our energies strategically both maintains our emotional and behavioral health, but also is a healing force on the way our genes express themselves.

Wow!

This is one area that insight might improve biological function.  Generally, I don’t have much faith in insight if the biology isn’t there to support it or produce results.  However, when it comes to the excellent tools outlined by Jungian Typology, we have true assistance.

Mopping a floor with a metal clock on a stick, combing my hair with my shoe, drinking out of a lidded bottle – you get the message.  We have design.  We have areas of strength and brilliance.  We have power.

Self-Care Tip – Do what you were designed to do.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  Is this a realistic tool in your life?  What’s helping you vs. slowing you down from using it as a tool?  Can you share an example or more?  Please tell us your story.

Deliberately Setting Myself Up To Improve

dayspa-1

Image by samuelalove via Flickr

Self-care is about improving life, not harm.  Even though it includes doing things we don’t enjoy and sometimes hurt, it doesn’t harm us.

That’s a useful meter-stick when we wonder about something in our life.  Is this harming us?  Including people.  Do I feel better about myself when I’m with them?  Do they help me become a better person?  A better friend to myself?  Or, do they turn me toward things that harm me?

When thinking about our days activities, our choice of employment, things we put in our body, put them by this “No-Harm Meter-Stick” and see how they measure.

A deliberate check-point in my life is consistent with a deliberate goal.  …”I want to be  healthy.  Is this improving my health?”  “I want to have good self-esteem.  Does this improve my self-esteem?”  And the journey is consistent with the beginning and the end.  If the goals for the moment isn’t consistent with our big picture goals than they might not be the goals we want.  Like putting substances in our body that feel good for the moment but harm our life.  There are innumerable examples of this but you get the picture.

Questions:  What checks you when you need it?  What has been useful to remind you in this area or that to be friendly to yourself?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Deliberately set up feedback in your life to let you know that you are a friend to yourself.

See blog-Post:  “You” Are The Best Gift

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

Immanuel Kant developed his own version of the...

Image via Wikipedia

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.

Presence – What is Turning In You?

How the pages turn slowly in life

Image by Nina Matthews Photography via Flickr

It’s summer break already and that means more Mom-time for the kids,… and a few other things.  But if there’s more Mom-time for the kids, we all know what there is more of for Mom.  These things come together and equal more spending-money-time combined with less work-time.  This can’t be without consequence.

I’m thinking stress, memory-makers, lots of kissing marshmellow-cheeks and tears to show.  Always tears.  The kids cry of course but if I do, its all,

Mom!  Oh NO!  Mom!  Stop crying!  Agh.  I can’t stand it when you do that!

Lots of exclamation points are involved.  I’m thinking this summer will have some of that because some days are stressful and painful.  Others are just too beautiful to leave unstained with tears to sign my name by.  Get ready kids!

Tonight, this is what I have.

I am licking my finger and turning a page.  I feel the book as the page slowly fights the air to pass over.  I haven’t seen the other side yet but the way the page lifts up and toward me, I know that this part is significant in itself.  Lick my finger, press it down and sweep up.  Up and passing over, just.  The page is turning and so are we.

Question:  What is turning in your life?

Self-Care Tip #280 – Pay attention to what is turning in you.

We Try Knowing We Will Fail. The Wonderful Journey Of Flawed People.

The t-shirt

Image by plαdys via Flickr

It’s 9:23 PM and our little kids are still awake!  They’ve cried.  They’ve laughed.  We’ve cuddled.  We’ve spanked.  They’ve taken two showers and brushed their teeth twice.  We ate several times.

I was riding my bike, watching a movie, (I love that!), and my daughters were taking turns coming in to complain, wet me with their tears, snuggle, hold me; you get it.  My exercise and my movie were peppered with refreshing breaks.  Sitting on the couch chair nearby with my five-year old during one of these intermissions, holding her, I was able to say,

It’s okay.  

I was able to do this because I was the one in the casita getting pumped up and my husband was the one in the house herding children to bed.  He had the tough job that turns me into a turnip and I had this.

You can do it.  You can try again.  You can try again, even if you are trying for the one-hundredth time.  You try and you try and you try again because that’s what makes our lives beautiful.  The trying part mostly.  Not the arrival.  

And that’s when I grabbed her and held on.  I suddenly felt so blessed.  From this off-night, I was given the reminder that the trying part of life is where it is at.

It’s 9:33 PM and I think they’re asleep.  Sigh.  Tonight was awesome.

We are flawed people.  We try, knowing we will fail.  Who does that?!  Why would anyone do that to themselves!?  Smile.  Ah.  Sounds wonderful.

Questions:  How is your journey?  Have you been enjoying your failures lately?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip #273  – Enjoy your failures.

Where Do Emotions and Behaviors Come From?

Emotion

Last night at our self-care workshop, we asked the question,

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

The answers, were nice and varied; none the same.  It’s such a great question though, don’t you think?  It would be great to hear from you as well.

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Then, would you tell us if it has qualified your worth?  self-esteem?  confidence?

Has it affected where you go for help with them?

Self-Care Tip #266 – Answer, “Where do emotions and behaviors come from?” for better self-care.

Scheduled Intimacy – Mother’s Day: The Good and The Not So Good

Afghan women celebrate mother's day at a guest...

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #256 – Think about the good and the not so good on scheduled memory-maker days like today.

Questions:  What do you think scheduled intimacy has to offer you?  How do you manage to allow the not so good to come together with the good in your life?  Please tell me your story.

Just like any scheduled memory-maker, Mother’s Day brings the good and not so good.  And for most of us, we have some of both, even if just a little.

Yesterday, in the company of my three healthy children, I couldn’t help but notice the lady I sat beside was sniffling.  “Should I say something?  Should I not say something?

…Almost six years ago, my nine year-old niece suddenly died.  One week later I delivered my second child.

I don’t remember most of my daughter’s first year of life except a couple random things.  My sister-in-law, sitting alone on a rock just staring.  I remember her clothes, the weather during that moment, the texture of the rock, but I don’t remember nursing my baby.  I think this was still in the first month when I saw my sister-in-law on the rock.

We buried my niece’s ashes under a Jacaranda tree and it took forever for that tree to bloom.  I watched its skeleton month after month thinking, “This is terrible!  It needs to bloom!”  Isn’t that ridiculous?  And I remember my brother, red-eyed.  The lines on his face cut in deep.  He said,

I’m so glad you’re having this baby Sana.  It’s just what we need.  You remind us, this baby is reminding us that we are still alive.

The good and the not so good.

Of course I sensed what my brother was saying, but I still had a moment of hypervigilance when my body seemed to say, “What?!”

There was a lot of insecurity and emotional confusion that year but I don’t remember much more.  I believe my daughter  breast-fed, learned to sleep through the night, transitioned to solid foods and took her first steps.  But I don’t remember.

Namibie, une femme Himba et son enfant

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I turned to the lady and asked,

Are you sad?  Is there something you are sad about?

More water-works.

I used to have a son.  I had a son.  He died.

The good and the not so good.

Right on schedule.  Mother’s Day came.  We knew it was going to happen.  And yet our bodies crack open, poorly defended.  Little our calendars did for our emotional preparation.

The lady grabbed my hands in further intimacy than I anticipated.  She told me her name but I wasn’t listening.  I was thinking about my niece, her sometimes blooming tree, my children around me; so much.  I was thinking about the good and the not so good on scheduled memory-maker days like today.

There is a coming together of our parceled selves that have been scattered to the east and to the west by the winds.  There is a coming together that this Mothers-Day, Christmas, Valentine’s or my nieces birthday, have on us and the process itself is bruising.  It is an opportunity to gather what we will or won’t.  It is an opportunity to be present with our changing selves.  In the tears, in my daughter’s crooked rainbow pictures and backwards letters,

bear mommy, i love yu….

In the grip of a stranger’s hands, in the company of our own Mom’s, wherever we find ourselves on these blue-lettered calendar days is where we have this

Hope all you moms had fun today!

Image via Wikipedia

opportunity to do some of the sometimes hard work to grow presence.   Without it, we will continue to change.  That can’t be stopped.  But with it, with our choice-making, with accepting the gift of our folding up of the space between our past and our present, if we hadn’t cried again for our loss, if we hadn’t we might not have remembered what has made us and who we are.  Changed.  Covered by Love.  Connected.  Doing what a friend would do for Me.

Tonight my daughter sits on my lap.  We are watching a blue-ray recording of Les Miserables (musical) Twenty-Fifth Anniversary touring production at the London’s Barbican Centre.  I am listening to an excellent tale of the good and the not so good in life.

To God, our Mother, today was scheduled and I thank you.

Interrogatives of Self-Care

Cover of "The Elephant's Child"

Cover of The Elephants Child

Poem by Rudyard Kipling

following the story “Elephant’s Child” in “Just So Stories


I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes
One million Hows, Two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

Self-Care Tip #233 – Define self-care with your adverbs.

The Interrogative adverbs of self-care:  what, where, when, why, who and how.  These are also known as The “Five W’s” (and one H) of self-care ;).

What is self-care?

Where?

When do we do self-care?

Why do self-care?

Who?

How do we do self-care?

I asked my daughter today,

M:  What does taking care of yourself mean?

D:  Taking care of myself so I’m healthy and can have fun when I’m old.

M:  How do you do that?

D:  I don’t know.  I can’t think of that.  (Conversation ends without flourish.)

These are our questions.

Questions:  Please pick one or more of these and answer from your own self.  Please tell me your story.

When Things Get Heated, Remember to Ask Your Friend’s Opinion. You.

Check the Meaning

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #237 – When things get heated, get a second opinion with your friend.

What would my friend say?

When in question, ask.  And who is the friend we are referred to here?  The “Me.”

This is a great check point to give ourselves.  Things get heated between her and him, she gets a second opinion.

Barbara had read this blog and tucked something of its fabric away in her blended space between conscious and sub.  Then one day, while zoning out listening to her husband yell and criticize her, she saw herself.  It was as if she split into the participating Barbara and the observing Barbara.  The participating Barbara suddenly didn’t feel so alone.  The word, or more the concept of “friend” came to mind and she put it together.

Now generally when she is in a situation that hurts and bewilders her, she is remembering to ask her friend what she should do.  Asking used to take longer, but now it comes to mind as quickly as the thought of consulting an intimate partner would.

What would my friend say?

Things weren’t peaceful yet in her life, but just asking her friend what she would do has helped Barbara a lot.  Barbara explained to me that if she were with a girlfriend, say Sally, and Sally gets worked over by her husband, Barbara wouldn’t have any problem thinking of what Sally should do about taking care of herself.  Barbara says that being her own friend is almost the same.

And then for me, it clicked.  I can ask my friend.

What should I do?

Question:  When getting hurt by someone, how can you get friendly with yourself in the moment?  Please tell me your story.

Imagine If You Were Your Own Friend, And Take Your Advice

Postcard - Sexy Woman writing a letter

Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL) via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #234 – Imagine if you were your own friend, and take your advice.

Joana Johnson, author of CreatingBrains.com, full-time mom of six, part-time University history teacher, student, wife, confidant, friend and sister-in-law… (no she’s not running for president) …Joana asked me today,

Write a letter to someone you love sharing what you want them to do to take better care of themselves.  You don’t have to give it to them or you can.

Now imagine what letter with what self-care requests would someone who loved you write to you?

…You’re right.  I’m going to have to talk her into running for president.

And so, I offer this challenge to you.  I wonder after you.  I am sitting in waiting.  Please tell us this part or more of your story.

Guilt Furiously Chasing You Is Commonly Experienced In Illnesses Of The Brain

Orestes Pursued by the Furies, by John Singer ...

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Self-Care Tip #221 – If you feel chased down by guilt, stop running and get friendly with yourself.

I’m so busy!  I am trying to work, raise three kids, and be a wife!  …and I’m just spread so thin!

It was new for Connie to think that where she was at in life was linked with her choices.  Somehow she intuitively felt taken along by it all, a current of life as people say, of either randomness or design.  Who could know, but it was more than her choices, she was sure, and she resented the influence on her life’s design.  Not that she had intended on taking over what was playing on her.  She just simmered in the house of cards hoping that when she got to make a play of her own, she’d make a good one and come out better for it.  In the mean time, she just had to keep moving fast.

Things would have been fine, except that over the past six months, she hadn’t been enjoying what she was living for, her kids, parenting, being a wife or her employment.  Yes, she was also  living for God but no, she wasn’t enjoying Him either.  Did she want to?  Did she feel guilty about it?

I feel guilty all the time.  It’s the guilt that gets to me.  It’s like I can’t see or feel much else.  Just when I think I’m about to get into what I’m doing, guilt comes chasing at me in a fury!  Distracting me and worrying me.  I’m on edge more and irritable from feeling defensive, and trying to get away from whatever this is.

Connie looked at me when I said,

Self-care begins and starts with “Me.”  Although we may be living for others and other things, even living for God, if we don’t take care of ourselves, our health first, our emotions and behavioral health included, we can’t give much, in the way of living, to those others.

I could see her pupils change and I got a little excited.  She was hearing something that affected her whole body and I sensed it was hope.  (See, I am an Emotions Jedi.)

We talked more about approaches she was using, prayer/meditation, exercise, grit and determination, waiting it out for better days to come and others.  Then I introduced the medical paradigm.  (You’ve heard me say it.)

Behaviors and emotions come from the brain.  We culturally think that they are volitional, under our control.  But how much can we really control of what the brain does?  Some.  But when we do the best we can with what we can control, and our behaviors and emotions are still hurting us, affecting our quality of life, damaging our relationships and connections – we need to look for biological reasons.  That’s where choice can still come into play.

She was looking and nodding.  This was at her “consideration stage” of introducing these new ideas.  I said,

I thought of telling you about this when you talked about guilt Connie because maybe your guilt is coming because of a brain illness.  It’s common in several emotional illnesses, like depression or anxiety, and in these illnesses it commonly comes in force, like you’ve described.

Her pupils had reduced to their earlier size, and her posture said she was winding down for that visit.  Whatever we discussed after that would be low yield, so we made a follow-up appointment and called it a day.

These days later, remembering Connie gets me thinking about what I would have said if she had been available to still hear more.  This bit about freedom to choose self-care, yet saying we have little to do with how our brain works can get confusing.  It might seem contradictory.  Tomorrow, I’m going to discuss it more, but for today, it would be wonderful to hear what you think.

Questions:  With behaviors and emotions coming from a material biological organ, the brain, yet knowing that we are free to choose for our self-care, what gives?  How do these ideas jive?  How have you seen it play out in your life?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Is About More Than “Me”

Self-Care Tip #208 – If for no other reason, get friendly with yourself simply to survive and you’ll see what that means later.

my self care reminders

Image by CatrinaZ via Flickr

It is not unusual to think of “selfish-care” when we hear “self-care.”  I can imagine children gripping their mother’s skirts more tightly, husbands pulling their helpmate’s hands away from this influence, church-folk sniffing over rejections to service-calls or friends personalizing the way their phone doesn’t ring as much as it used to.  This is a natural response, although it is a false perception.  Think – feeling suffocated by her penance, he’s wearing a martyr’s cross or she’s giving to us from victimhood.  Those are the times we would rather not receive the gifts of time, person or anything dripping with that kind of guilt and implied debt. This kind of service comes from someone impoverished, giving on credit.

I’ve been known to say, “We can’t give what we don’t have.”  Or as Jasmine said,

You can’t give someone a ride if you’re all out of gas!

So when is self-care selfish?  To be true to what self-care is, I’d say almost never.  However, because the question comes from such an intuitive fear in any of us, “never” can’t be an entirely fair answer.  To answer it best though, we need to turn it over and go back to trying to discover why we wanted self-care first.  What brought us here?  Jacqui said it well in yesterday’s post-comments:

Ditto about ‘self-care boot camp’. I may steal that one. You’ve given me permission to be selfish if need be. It’s all about self-preservation.

Sometimes we are reduced to self-preservation.  It has an intensity to it, a survival mode of live or die, which may be appropriate to a desperate condition in life.   Many of us know what that feels like.  So in this context, self-care is in part about survival.  Alright.  But is survival a selfish need?  Are we worth that little?  Does the life in us hold value only at that level?

rejuvenation.self.care.logo

Image by guttersnipe.76 via Flickr

You hear the clomping my words are making and can follow that I answer, no.  Survival has far reaching significance.  I matter.  You matter.  We have value beyond our own selves and Me booting up to live better also ripples over those same infinite number of connections.

I am confident that if for no other reason than getting friendly with yourself simply to survive, you will still see at least some of what more that means later.  Self-care is about more than Me.

Question:  When do you think self-care is selfish?  Why do you think self-care is not?  Please tell me your story.

For Our Own Benefit – Share What You Got

Two young girls sharing a plate of spaghetti. ...

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Self-Care Tip #205 – Sharing Love with others is friendly to yourself.

For every person you care about and talk to about Jesus, they’re that much more likely to be led to Jesus.

I recently heard something to this effect out of the jolliest, most well-intentioned man.  He quoted some of my favorite verses such as “the rocks will cry out” and others to support his understanding that we hold responsibility to share the gospel.

I’m not here to say how Jesus works.  However, I have a hard time believing that God would leave your salvation up to the likes of me.  I have a hard time believing that God would leave my salvation up the the likes of you.  I do however think that it is good self-care and possibly helps us choose God more deliberately, more thoroughly and more decidedly.  Sharing the goodness in us, sharing what brings love into our lives, sharing what brings love to others, sharing what brings more connection between us – that has to be good for us.

Question:  How has sharing Love helped your narrative, your self-care and your connections in life?  Please tell me your story.