Category: January 2018

Help! we all need somebody…

Help! we all need somebody…

Help, we all need somebody, not just anybody…..do these words sounds familiar?  If you were alive in the 1960’s and 1970’s you might easily remember songs by the Beatles. What an awesome group they were and to this day their music revolves around the world for so many to enjoy. If you haven’t heard of the Beatles, find some youTube videos and hear what you have been missing.

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Why, the Beatles? I don’t know except this song came into my mind and as I listened to the lyrics, I mean REALLY listened, I realized how  the words remind me how important it is for those of us living with mental illness to have our “Help” list. Whether we have it written down on a piece of paper or on our phone, or mentally remember it, it is so important to know who we can contact if we are going through rough times. If you haven’t listened to “Help” in a while, here are the lyrics and the youTube link is below:

(Help!) I need somebody
(Help!) Not just anybody
(Help!) You know I need someone
(Help!)

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round

Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?

 When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone, I’m not so self-assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?
Help me? Help me? Ooh

lyrics provided by http://www.genius.com

Don’t these words ring so very true to you? I know they do for me. How often have I needed help when I am feeling down? Goodness, I cannot even begin to count the times. And how about when my feeling of self-worth is so low that I cannot think straight? I recognize that older I get, the more help I may need; the more my bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder diagnoses started to manifest themselves, the more I needed help finding the way to get me through a dark time. And ohhhh how I appreciate all the assistance I have been given over the years.

Do I have a list written down for me at this moment in my life? No, I don’t but I know who to call. I know that family, my therapist and a few friends know how hard I have worked to get to where I am today. I know if I need to I can pickup the phone, or write and email.

I strongly urge all of us to keep a “Help” list at all times. Keeping the list as a note in our phone will help reminding us WHO we can call rather than scrolling through a big list of contacts. Having the list written down by our bed is also a good reminder that there are people to reach out to even in the lastest hours when we thing we are all alone.

And PLEASE keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number close at hand 1-800-273-8255. Remember, you do not necessarily need to feel suicidal to call this number. It can be a great number to call if you are feeling lost, alone, or in the dark of night. Trust me, I have used this number many times over the years and have received a lot of comfort. AND, if you ever have a friend that you want to share the number with, you have it handy.

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I hope you enjoy the video below. The Beatles are definitely a group that made such a huge impact on music.  Their overnight popularity was beyond reason. And little did I know that their music would reflect on life for me today…in this moment.

Share your list ideas your best way of keeping your “go-to” folks’ phone numbers readily available to you.

Take Care

Jenny

Twinkle, twinkle little mindful star.

Twinkle, twinkle little mindful star.

I  am pretty sure we have all done this – taken a moment to look up to the sky on a clear night and look at the stars. Did you know that this activity is a great tool for practicing mindlfulness? It is also a great tool to settle your mind when you may be overly stressed.

I haven’t been out side much since my recent surgery. It’s wintertime so I don’t miss it a lot, but when I do go outside I realize how awesome the fresh air can be.; it smells so good and the sun on my skin is like a tonic.  Last night I was off to the store when I just decided to sit in my swing outside and enjoy the sky. I couldn’t believe how many stars I could see. Thousands and thousands as far as the eye could see. There was a very small moon which made the stars pop out even more.  I am very fortunate to live in a part of the country where I see stars – a LOT of them!!  Even when my daughter visits from a nearby city she comments about the sky at night. Beautiful is an understatement.

As I sat on the swing, I started to NOTICE. First thing I realized is how cold it was. Not like it has been in the east this winter, but cold enough for me to be a tad bit uncomfortable, yet still enjoyed the feeling on my face of brisk air with a slight breeze. I noticed the sky, boy did I notice the sky. The vastness made me feel so little, contemplating one star realizing that it was a sun so incredibly far away. I searched out a few constellations that I recognize, but don’t quite know by name (except for the big dipper, of course), and I mused about whether there was anyone looking down on me. I sometimes hunt down satellites that I see buzzing across the sky, but not this time… I was getting a bit to chilly.

The big dipper

While I only sat outside for a few minutes, it was a fantastic practice in mindfulness. It is wild how I can feel my mind calm, how my body relaxes and for that moment, I am beyond content.

Do you practice mindfulness or are you new to learning about it? It is not as hard as  you may think. It doesn’t have to be about meditation, it is basically a sense of “being in the moment.”  On the next clear night, go outside and look up. Find a star or a design of stars that you enjoy looking at and think of nothing else beyond those stars, beyond that beautiful sky. The fact that you are going outside will readjust your brain to a better place, and then take a moment with the stars. Try not to force anything in your mind. Just BE.

In the moment

Let me know if you practice mindfulness. Share your thoughts with me, I would love it!

Jenny

 

Anxiety, Panic and Vertigo

Anxiety, Panic and Vertigo

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I want to say right off how much I appreciate my followers and readers. I enjoy writing my blogs, and it really means a lot to me that you continue to read. And to new readers, WELCOME! Enjoy today’s topic and check out some of my previous blogs.

It’s funny how my topics seem to just pop into my mind at times. Today, I was watching the news (oh dear, should I really do that?!?!), and was watching 3 people stand at a podium, 1 in the middle and 2 on either side. I immediately thought, “How can those people stand up there without anything to hold on to? Don’t they feel like they are going to topple over because they are dizzy?  I know I would!” I am always a bit envious of people who can stand up in front of people to speak, or literally, just to stand!

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Approximately 28 years ago (I am now 51), I was living as a single young woman, working as a secretary in a healthcare consortium and life was good, I lived on my own with my cats and all in all couldn’t complain about life. One day I was sitting at my desk when a HUGE bout of dizziness (vertigo) just bowled me over in my seat. I didn’t know what was happening and I felt terrible!! My coworkers had me lay down, got me some water and after about a half hour I felt fine. Little did I know this was the first noticeable onset symptom of mental illness. I had my brain scanned, visited various sorts of doctors with no luck. These episodes of vertigo would just hit me without notice and I couldn’t determine a pattern and it was very upsetting living with the unknown. It wasn’t until TWO years later that my brother’s girlfriend witnessed what was happening and she said it was a panic attack. WHAT? NO, that’s not me, I’m just dizzy!

Well, she was right!!

It took a couple of years trying to get better on my own (25 years ago you just didn’t talk about mental illness like you can now…We still live in stigma, but it’s getting better). Long story short I went to see a psychiatrist. Wow, I felt REALLY crazy!!! I didn’t like him at all but he prescribed me an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. Thankfully, it helped and the horrid feelings of vertigo and loss of self became a bit easier to live with.

My life and my mental illness have traveled quite the journey over these past 25 years. If you have lived with mental illness for a long period of time, you know that it can be a challenging journey. If you are newly diagnosed, you will learn your own journey and with the right kind of help, you WILL be able to manage.

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So, despite all of this, guess what? I STILL HAVE VERTIGO!!! I will not stand in front of a group of people, nor do I like even standing in say a small group of people. My mind gets a bit stressed and I feel like I could just teeter-totter with vertigo and fall on the ground.  I imagine this is a long term effect of my anxiety. I rarely have full-blown panic attacks anymore, but anxiety seems to live with me and reminds me from time to time that he can cause me real problems (anxiety has to be a “he” in my mind!!).

How does anxiety or panic manifest within you?  I would love to have you share some tips on you manage  your anxiety.

Take Care

Jenny

Indira Active

Borderline, the Chameleon, and Perception

Borderline, the Chameleon, and Perception

Borderline Personality Disorder is a condition which affects approximately 1.6% all the way up to 5.9% of the population (see NAMI). A person with BPD is characterized by  difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.

This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as self-harm (e.g. cutting). (see NAMI)

BPD is very difficult to treat, let alone live with. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder over 10 years ago (I am now 51), though I know that many of the traits were brewing in the background before I had a terrible turn of life with my mental health in my late 30s, early 40s. I am happy to say that with a lot of hard work and therapy I now am managing my BPD (along with bipolar). For those of you still struggling, know that there is help and there is hope.

For today, I want to write about the Chameleon Effect , BPD and my perception of life at the moment.

Mirroring, or the Chameleon Effect is a challenging aspect of BPD and you may not really be aware it is happening. Your changing colors to adapt to the situation or person may feel natural, but indeed, trying to learn to have your OWN place in YOUR world is so important to positive mental health.  In an excellent article by Sarah Myles, she describes this phenomenon:

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One of the biggest and most challenging aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often ‘The Chameleon Effect’ – or ‘mirroring’. This is the constant, unconscious change in the person’s ‘self’, as they struggle to fit in with their environment, or the people around them. It is, essentially, a fluctuating identity. It is the manifestation of a basic inability or difficulty in establishing a stable sense of self.

The presence of The Chameleon is often one of the main obstacles to effective initial treatment and diagnosis of BPD, as it affects the interaction between patient and doctor, and can mask the disorder itself. It also effects and masks the way in which BPD intersects with other disorders that may have developed in connection with it – creating a complex web of behaviours that can be hard to untangle. The irony is that, without diagnosis and treatment, most are unaware of The Chameleon, and it is only through awareness that The Chameleon can be managed.

Have I lived as a chameleon in my life? You bet you!!!  I remember having a good coworker and friend when I was young that before I knew it I wanted to dress similar to her and like similar things; I had a boy friend that smoked, and lived a life I many not typically want to live, when sure enough I picked up his lifestyle; I had a husband that I began to mirror more and more in my life including feelings about where we lived, things we did, thoughts on people and their outlooks that was somewhat degrading; I have been friends with a man for almost 8 years (previously romantic, now just friends) who absolutely cannot stand this area, and so lo an behold my view of where I live got worse and worse. These are just a few examples of the mirroring that I know have happened with me….my list could go on and on.

Is this anyone’s fault? Of course not!! And someone with BPD doesn’t just mirror negative, or positive, sometimes mirroring can have a positive effect.  What’s going on within us can’t be helped, until we learn to NOTICE! I actually didn’t even understand this symptom fully until the past couple of years. Looking back I saw how my chameleon was ever-present.

Now, I am single woman, my kids are either grown or pretty self-sufficient so I am having more and more time to BE. I went for a drive today with my son (I’m not totally independent yet due to my surgeries so I do need my awesome chauffeur). I was telling my son how much I really do

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My son…he is not a fan of pictures!

enjoy where we live. He was a bit confused since he says I have always hated it…but no…I don’t hate it. There is a beauty to where I live, the people I run into are kind, I am so close to the mountains that I hope to be able to walk the trails again. For this moment, my 3 kids live in the same town as I do, and my oldest daughter lives in a larger city less than an hour away that is up and coming, bustling with new life and I would even like to move there at some point.  So yes, I am finding my own perceptions of my life, where I live and what I do – for me.  I know that chameleon is always around and may come for a visit. And like I said, is it a bad visit? Not necessarily as long as we can NOTICE what we are feeling and if wer are content with our likes and dislikes…for the moment.

 

 

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Jenny

The Long, Dark Hallway

The Long, Dark Hallway

Oh my goodness, we all have been there – INSOMNIA!!!!  We can’t seem to get to sleep and it can be so unsettling. And then when we do finally fall asleep our mind is still wandering in the darkness of our dreams.

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That was me last night. I Could Not fall asleep. While living and managing my Bipolar and BPD diagnoses, I have a combination of medications that works for me. Trust me, it was no easy task to get that combo figured out (that’s another blot topic!), but it does work for me. I can take my meds at around 9:00 pm and by 10:00 pm I am asleep for the night, usually in a dreamless slumber. Recently, due to a couple of surgeries I have not had a good night’s sleep in almost 6 weeks. Trying to get comfortable, taking pain medication, I just never can sleep very well. Last night was different.

I took my meds as usual. 10:00pm I was still laying there with my eyes wide open and not tired at all!!!! I decided to do what I they say is bad – I looked at my phone, checking out the news, Instagram, what have you. That only lasted a few minutes and again I tried to sleep. Sheesh, what was the problem?  My mind was wandering all over the place which didn’t help things. Around midnight I finally was asleep.

My story doesn’t end there.

I don’t dream very much anymore, due to the meds. Sometimes it makes me sad because dreams can be so interesting. But last night a dark dreary dream snuck through my mind. I wish I could remember what was going on (or more likely, I’m glad I Didn’t remember) I do recollect walking, or rather dragging myself down this dark hallway….on and on and on…and on. It was quite terrifying I believe. I couldn’t keep going, but I knew I had to. After what felt like forever, a door opened to a bright light. I was so thankful, and then I heard, “Mom, MOM!”  It was my oldest son, he was waking me up from this terrible dream and I was so grateful. He kept asking me, “are you ok?”  I muttered that I was ok and I was sorry. I was pulling my brain from that fog of dream and sleep and darkness. He said not to be sorry, he was just worried about me. How sweet kids can be…18 year old young man that he is now.

I’m sure you have been in a similar dream state. It Sucks!!! I didn’t want to go back to sleep and end up down that hallway again. But eventually I did, and slept the rest of the night.

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We all need sleep, that is true. But if you have a mental illness, sleep is CRITICAL. Especially when moods are all jacked up like mine have been recently. We need our sleep to keep those brain waves functioning properly and to give our body and mind rest. Again, sleep for those of us with a mental illness is a MUST!!!

How do you handle insomnia? Share with me your hints for a good night’s sleep

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”  ~Thomas Dekker

Jenny

Rapid Cycling: doesn’t get you in shape!!

Rapid Cycling: doesn’t get you in shape!!

Have you heard of rapid cycling ? I would like to say when Ihear that term that I think of  people in their “spinning classes” or the lovely lady on the new commercial that rides her indoor bike right at home (Peloton, isn’t it?). Unfortunately for those of us who live with mental illness, Bipolar in particular, rapid cycling is a demon that lays low in our brain until is sneaks out to say a not so pleasant “hello.”

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I thought I would share with you a portion of an article from the DBSAlliance. This organization is quite renowned in the research of Depression and Bipolar. Their articles are interesting and easy to read and you will be able to empower yourself with knowledge which is so important in managing your illness.

Click on this link for the complete article:

What is rapid cycling?

Rapid cycling is defined as four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in any 12-month period. With rapid cycling, mood swings can quickly go from low to high and back again, and occur over periods of a few days and sometimes even hours. The person feels like he or she is on a roller coaster, with mood and energy changes that are out-of control and disabling. In some individuals, rapid cycling is characterized by severe irritability, anger, impulsivity, and uncontrollable outbursts. While the term “rapid cycling” may make it sound as if the episodes occur in regular cycles, episodes actually often follow a random pattern. Some patients with rapid cycling appear to experience true manic, mild manic, or depressive episodes that last only for a day. If there are four mood episodes within a month, it is called ultra-rapid cycling, and when several mood switches occur within a day, on several days during one week, it is called ultra-ultra-rapid, or ultradian cycling. Typically, however, someone who experiences such short mood swings has longer episodes as well. Some individuals experience rapid cycling at the beginning of their illness, but for the majority, rapid cycling begins gradually. Most individuals with bipolar disorder, in fact, experience shorter and more frequent episodes over time if their illness is not adequately treated. For most people, rapid cycling is a temporary occurrence. They may experience rapid cycling for a time, then return to a pattern of longer, less frequent episodes, or, in the best case, return to a stabilized mood with the help of treatment. A small number of individuals continue in a rapid cycling pattern indefinitely.

Yes, I can relate!!!

In the early years of my illness, I learned that I suffered from ultradian cycling. If I ever look back at my mood charts I used to keep I could see how erratic my moods were in any given day, even any given hour. My brain was sooooooo incredibly all over the place and I wished I could shake myself out of it (there were times I would literally hit my head with my hand trying to “come to”).  The more I learned about rapid cycling, the less severe my episodes were. I know medication and therapy helped as well.

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So why am I writing about this today? Well, I realize that I think I may be going through a dose of rapid cycling….not the fast highs and lows as before, but definitely something is up. For one, I can’t focus on ANYTHING!!!! I have started puzzles and stitchery and books and tv shows and on and on…. I am happy one morning when I wake up and just pissed off by night-time. I just can’t…I don’t know….stay level!  Can anyone feel this way? Of course!! It’s not something that only people with bipolar have, it is just much more pronounced and common with this mental illness. Also, I know that part of my up and down has to do with my physical heath and lack of mobility. I am not living my life as I normally do which can definitely make things a bit wonky. I can just “feel that feel” like the old days but you know what????

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I NOTICED IT!!! As soon as I realized what has been going on in my mind besides my physical health, I started to feel a little better. Does the rapid cycling immediately stop? Of course not, but I can work towards feeling better. I have to remember that this cycle WILL go away. I always think of how ocean waves hit the beach and then retreat, that my moods and cycles are similar. I have to be gentle with myself – that’s a tough one for me. I need to continue taking my medication as prescribed. I also know that if I feel I need to, I will visit or call my therapist.  I will be ok, I know I will…this is is mild if I think back to past years . I am thankful that I am so much healthier now.

Do you suffer from rapid cycling?  How do you work through these spells? I would love to know your ideas

Jenny

Do you hear what I hear??

Do you hear what I hear??

So I am sitting here at my computer (well a laptop that my work brought me), and realized that it doesn’t have MS Office on it. I started the download and oh my goodness I saw that this was going to take a long time!!!

Rather then jumping up and doing chores around the house (well, let’s be honest I can’t even jump or do much right now, but I did take down my Christmas decor), I decided to do an exercise in mindfulness. I used my sense of hearing and decided to work towards blocking out everything else except what I could hear. I did have to pause a couple of times to write out what I was hearing so I could share it with you, but as the time passed I focused more and more on my practice in mindfulness.

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I took time to NOTICE:

1. Little bubbles popping in soda can like little tiny fairies dancing inside.

2. The long sigh of my dog, as if he finally fell deep into sleep.

3. A car driving by – a bit too fast – more annoying than reminding me of anything special.

4. The tap tap on my keyboard as I write this so I don’t forget when I share you. For some reason I enjoy the sounds of a “clicky” keyboard; especially when I am typing with very quickly.

5.The computer makes a soft whirring sound, keeping technology doing what it’s supposed to do.

6. A small creak in the house followed by another and then another….it sounds like the house is trying to rest and cannot get comfortable. I know how that feels.

I come back later to write this and I realized as I engaged in this lesson my breathing became deeper and slower; my busy brain slowed down to just the task at hand….it was quite wonderful the calm I felt:

7.The crack of my shoulder – nothing painful, just a shoulder reminding me that yes, I am 51 years old.

8. A dog barking way off in the distance; I wonder what he is hearing?

9. A jetliner overhead – funny how loud it sounds when one is being mindful of only sounds.

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As I opened my eyes and began to bring the rest of my senses back to my Self, I noticed again, that I felt calmer and with introspection.  I looked at the computer and saw that my program was still installing, so here I am , writing my experience to share with you. I hope you all can take a time to practice Being within one sense (sight, hearing taste, touch, smell). Try to let that one sense be in charge and let the others slip away, if only for a moment. Notice how you feel. You may be surprised at the calming effect this practice can be.

Share with your mindfulness skill or questions. Let’s practice and share our ideas.

Jenny

To “Friend” or not to “Friend”

To “Friend” or not to “Friend”

Yes, that is the question!  I must say I really do enjoy social media. But I don’t think the appeal for me has ever quite been for the “social” part. Years ago I joined Facebook to see pics of my children and their schoolmates and to feel a little closer to their world. There was a very sad point in my life when my younger daughter moved in with her dad when she was 16 and she never spoke to me – goodness for almost a year and a half. I was able to have social media to catch a glimpse of her and know she was ok. I am soooo very thrilled to stay that 4 years later she has given me a beautiful granddaughter, and my daughter and I are closer now than we have ever been. Anyway, I would see my kids pics but I found that I enjoyed Facebook for “liking” news sites, entertainments sites, hobby sites and so on. I could view interesting articles that pertained to my liking all in one place. I still do that with Facebook and Instagram and others. I  do waste more time than I should scrolling through these pages, but honestly, I am ok with it.

 

Then there are the so-called social media friends. People that you may have met, once, people you work with, and other random folks. Our sites all of a sudden can have hundreds of “friends” that we hardly know. We see little snippets of their lives scroll through our news feeds as they see snippets of our lives as well. Why? What are either one of us getting out of this? We don’t really know one other!!

I have cleared out my Facebook acquaintances over the years. I am usually around 100 people on my list. Even that number seems high. I am a naturally more introverted person, so my social circle is pretty darn small. Looking at those 100 names made me think, “hmmm.”

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I came to a realization about a week ago that maybe it was time to go through my friends list and update it. As an aside, I think I may be feeling a wee bit sorry for myself right now since I have had such a rough go with this hip replacement. Anyway, the day before my surgery I made a post and there were the usual, “I’ll pray for you,” “good luck,” ” let me know if you need anything,” etc. Don’t get me wrong, the sentiments were nice. But what surprised me is basically not a single “friend” asked how I was doing (except a few workmates). It rather surprised me and made me a bit sad. My oldest daughter reminded me how that is a problem with social media…. people really don’t interact with others like you think they might or you hope they would.

So, I have done a bit of clearing out on my Facebook account (my other social media doesn’t have this “friend” problem). I of course have kept all of my family, I still have coworkers on the list,  and a few random folks. I feel strange hitting that “unfriend” button with so many, but truly, I don’t know them or if I do we have no contact on social media.  I don’t want them to take offense or get mad at me removing them from my page. Is that silly? See what Social Media is doing to our brains?

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My list is down to 64 people and that seems ok with me….for the moment. I still feel worried that I have upset the people I got rid of. I feel unsure about how they will now feel about me. But, I KNOW this is the part of me that talks when my brain wants to be goofy. It’s that part of my self-esteem, or rather lack up that haunts me. It’s part of managing my Bipolar and BPD that is so crucial in positive mental health.

I will be OK.

And so will YOU!!!

Jenny

 

You are a PRIORITY, not an OPTION!

You are a PRIORITY, not an OPTION!

Have you ever heard the term “self-care?” It is a term that you hear in the media, when you are reading, or listening to a podcast or talking to your therapist. Self-care is a crucial part of managing  mental illness, but it can be so easily forgotten about., especially whe we are in the midst of a mental upset. So how do you go about practicing self-care? It can be difficult to get started. Some of us even feel like we don’t “deserve” down time, but that is not the case. It’s easy to read a list in a magazine article and say, “ok great ideas, but unrealistic for me.” I know that I don’t have a luxurious bath arrangement where I can put candles around and relax. I know when my kids were younger it was all I could do to get 10 minutes alone in my room – taking a walk alone in a park was not realistic with 4 little ones at home.  Read a book?  Usually when I need self-care, my mind is so filled with “stuff” that the last thing I can do is sit down and concentrate on a book. Have you ever felt these things? Those lists of self care can be awfully daunting (and depressing).

The KEY is to make YOUR OWN list!!  Find what works for YOU!

Making a self-care list that works for you is so important. When your stress is high and your patience is low, taking a look at that list and picking a couple of ideas to bring your SELF back to a place of calm is wonderful. With time you might be able to just look at your list and feel a bit more peace.

Another piece of your self-care list is to make it fun, or beautiful or interesting to look at. If you are artistic or not, you can make a list worth looking at. The more you WANT to look at it, the more you can sort out the ideas in your busy mind and find a self-care item that can work for you – in that very moment. Having a selection of self care activities is also important. If painting your nails makes you feel better but you are at work, you may need something that works at work!!

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Keep your list everywhere! On your mirror, in your phone, on a file of your computer, on your bedside stand.  Keep that list in places that you can easily access it. When you are feeling stressed or just don’t think you can cope in that moment, have that list where you can look at it and pick what may be right for you for right now.  It’s amazing when you come up with your own stress reducers your success in self-care and self-calm is so much higher.

Here are a few of things on my list. I know when I engace in certain calming activities that I am trying to shake my brain into a new mode of thinking as quickly as I can. I think of all of my senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell) and what may work best if I am stressed:

  1. I love those little strawberry candies that are wrapped in red foil to look like a strawberry. Do you know the ones I mean?  I keep them at work all of the time so I can suck on them and have a little mental break if I need one. The sweet taste and sugar sensation can bring me to a happier moment.
  2. Going outside is always a good choice for me. I don’t necessarily have to walk anywhere or do anything special, just getting outside, no matter the weather, taking some long deep breaths and finding some Calm
  3. Play with my dogs. For those of you with pets, you know how great o\pet therapy  can be. Getting a few treats and playing with my dogs or maybe relaxing with my cat next to me is very healing.
  4. Writing – writing can calm me – be it for this blog, for myself or just getting out “blech” from my brain to paper. I used to only write in black composition books, but I have come more adept at writing or typing whenever I need do. It is very brain cleansing.

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How do you  practice self-care?  Again, above anything I can say is MAKE YOUR OWN LIST!  You know what is good for YOU. There are tons of websites with self care ideas. Check them out and find what works and write it down. Seeing a huge list of someone else’s ideas can be stressful in itself when you are having a tough moment.

Let me know your self-care ideas!

Jenny

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BEWARE! Blogging and Self Esteem

BEWARE! Blogging and Self Esteem

Hello lovely readers! So I had great intentions when I started writing this blog page. I wanted to offer my knowledge and support and maybe make a buck or two along the way. Granted, I have only been writing for a short time, but those of us with self-esteem issues and if your are just starting to create your blog page:

BEWARE!!!

Writing is a great outlet for me and I believe it can be for anyone. I used to write emails to my therapist; long drawn out details of my life and where I was at and what was going on. We had an agreement that he would not answer my email, but he would read them and we could discuss them at any appointment. Some people might find that cold of him, but I believe it was how he needed to set his boundaries and I have always respected that. Even in the latest hours of the night and darkest moments of my writing, I knew he would read my words, digest them and be prepared to talk about them. And that was enough for me.

Blogging is similar in the fact that I think someone is “out there” reading my words and taking something away from them. The problem is those damn analytical stats that are available to you 24/7. Do you know what I am talking about? No matter what platform you use for blogging (WordPress, which I use, Blogger, Reddit, etc), they all have a page where you can review your readership numbers. Which blogs have been read, how many people have visited your site, on and on. If you are a data person, it’s quite interesting. If you struggle with self-worth or positive self-esteem, this page can be a bit harrowing to look at.

Here is a look at a portion of my current analytics page:

analytics 1.jpg

Have you ever been on a diet and you start obsessing about the scale? You check the scale at least once a day, if not more. It can be depressing to watch the scale go up and you are sooooo happy when it goes down. And when it goes up you beat yourself up because of that last bowl of ice cream you ate or some yummy donut. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. For some of us at least.

I have noticed a similar feeling with watching the analytics page on my blog. I feel great when I see more readers and feel rather a failure when there is hardly anyone looking at the page. I decide that I want to give up and figure nobody wants to hear what I have to say. It is a vicious game being played in my brain. I know I just need to “STOP” and look at the reasons why I am really writing this blog and determine if it’s ok that my readership is small. Am I enjoying the process of writing, creating, finding photos to post and more? The answer is yes! I do enjoy this whole blogging process. It gives me  a focus and gives me pleasure. I just have to throw away that damn “scale!”

scale

So if you are new to blogging or have been around for while, try not to look at the analytics page. At least not so often. Those of us struggling with self esteem or mental illness need whatever help we can give ourselves to stay on track.

So WRITE, CREATE, ENJOY what you are doing. Ultimately, it’s for your own benefit and feel good about what you are doing. At least for this moment.

Jenny