Choosing to Love or Hate Yourself

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I have been really busy the past week.  My youngest was home from school for three days, then we went out of town all weekend.  Next, my older one was home yesterday and again today due to an injury.

All of these things are out of the ordinary; out of my normal routine, but I think I have handled them fairly well.  I ran errands with my youngest on her days off and I was anxious  doing that, like I always am.  I took an Ativan for anxiety each day we were out of town, like I always do.  I was anxious and worried about my daughter’s injury, like any parent would be, until I found out it wasn’t serious.

Everything is status quo.

Is that acceptable to me?  Do I want to change my anxiety level when I have to run errands or go out of town?  Sure I do.  Can I?  I don’t know.  I’m working on the self-talk, but it only goes so far.

I wear out easily when I have to do all the things I have done in the last week.  I can choose to accept this or fight it.  I can choose to be easy on myself because of it or hate myself for it.  It is a choice.

This is where the true self-talk comes in; the self-talk that leads to depression or keeps me stable; the self-talk my doctor challenged me to pay close attention to.

I choose acceptance.  I choose self-compassion.  I choose to love myself how I am, where I am, independent of what I can or cannot do.  Doing is not a criteria on which to base my self-worth.  I am inherently worthy.  And so are you.

Medication Update

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I tried cutting my Adderall down to 2.5mg in the afternoon and I got too exhausted and nonfunctional.  So, I am going to stick with the 5mg (and my normal 10mg in the morning) for now.

I am putting a call into the neurologist today because the 120mg of propranolol did not decrease my migraines this month.  I expect he will bump it up to 180mg now.

I started on a new medication  six days ago called spironolactone for some acne issues I’ve been dealing with for the last few years since my hormones changed.  Both the propranolol and spironolactone lower blood pressure and raise potassium levels so I have to be careful; watch for signs of dizziness, etc. and get my blood drawn in a month to check my potassium levels because apparently it can be really dangerous if they are too high.

Meditation Update

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I’ve still been doing my breathing meditation three times a week on average.  It is becoming easier to focus on just my breathing, but my mind still wanders some.  It is very relaxing and I do enjoy it.  The ten minutes go by very quickly.  Every so often I surprise myself and have the attention and desire to do it for twenty minutes.  It feels really good to get out of my head for a short time.  You should try it if you can.

 

 

Is Bipolar Anger to Blame?

driving-918950_640I had a major bout of self-hatred last night after a minor incident of road rage.  When dropping my daughter and her friends off at school another driver was going against the flow of the approved traffic route set up by the school, which blocked my way for a few seconds.

As I waited for him to get out of the way I gave him the death stare and said over and over again, “You are going the wrong way.  You are going the wrong way.”  I started fumbling with my window to roll it down so I could maybe yell at him as we passed when I heard my daughter say, “Mom, just stop.”

As soon as she said that, I literally felt myself being sucked out of this kind of time warp vacuum where everything was standing still and I was in a silenced tunnel with just me and this guy, moving in slow motion like in a movie or something.  When she said my name, and I turned to look at her, all the sights and sounds of my environment came flooding back into my awareness.

It was really freaky to realize how focused and close to a black out state I get with my rage sometimes.  Is this part of bipolar?  I can’t imagine that “normal” people get mad to this extreme over something so minor.  The thing I was mad about wasn’t that he was blocking my way, but that he wasn’t following the rules.

I would say that people who don’t follow the rules is my biggest pet peeve, but it is so much more than a pet peeve.  It is more than nails on a chalk board.  It is more than torturous.  It has got to be one of the worse things out there for me and I don’t know why it bothers me so much.

When people think they are above the rules or the law, or more important than everyone else by cutting in line, parking illegally, etc. to save time, it enrages me.  The unfairness of it all is too much for me to comprehend, and I am one to say something rather than to keep quiet.

I wish I could keep my mouth shut because I embarrass my children and I hate that.  I want to learn to let things go more; to not let these things bother me so much.  If only I understood why they bother me so much to begin with I might be able to resolve it.

I get just as angry, if not more, when the unfairness happens to someone else as well, not just me, even if that someone else is a stranger.  It’s crazy.  It drives me crazy.  I need to just live and let live.

I am not sure how to get out of this self-judging mode.  It is what I am supposed to be working on  – not judging myself so harshly.  I suppose I didn’t roll down my window and yell at him, so it’s ok.  I hate that my daughter had to snap me out of it, and that I made her uncomfortable and I am sure scared.

That is what makes me hate myself – because I scared her I am sure.  My anger always does, because I yell when I get angry and she’s told me many times she doesn’t like it when I yell.  It upsets her.  (Sigh.)  I’ll just keep trying.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice

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“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Remember that old saying mom used to tell us?  I think it is a useless piece of advice at times when it is necessary to stick up for one’s self or set a healthy boundary with someone.  However, say for example, you are given an opinion for which you did not ask, then yes, maybe that person should just keep his mouth shut.

Case in point:  I got a new hair cut yesterday and my youngest daughter comes home from school, takes one look at me and says, “I don’t like it.  It’s too puffy on the sides.”  Normally I would have been secretly hurt a little, but laughed it off and responded with something like, “Oh yeah, it kind of is.  Oh well.”

However, I have noticed something inside of me as I have stopped allowing myself to have negative judgements about myself.  I am suddenly feeling the urge to challenge those who negatively judge me as well.  So, instead of my usual response, I gently said to my daughter after she criticized my new hairstyle, “Please only say positive things about me from now on unless I ask for your opinion.”  She said she was just giving her opinion and I reminded her that I didn’t ask for it.  Then I asked her if she would have said something like that to one of her friends and she said, no.

In general, my kids tend to say negative things to me about the way I look and act in a teasing way, and we all laugh about it, but after awhile it starts to wear on me and my self-esteem.  I feel like I am at the point where I don’t want to listen to it anymore.

Of course, my normal self is saying, “Oh, Jessica you are being silly.  They are just joking around.  Quit being so sensitive.  You are making a big deal out of nothing.”  After all, I tease my husband, and really, we all tease each other sometimes.

I think I may just be extra aware of it because I am being so conscious of my own negative judgements.  It is such a fine balance between being able to joke around and being offended.  I am truly confused right now about where I stand with everything.

I know with the hair comment, what my daughter said was rude.  But, with the other stuff, like them teasing me because I cry over sappy commercials or because I am forgetful or about getting old, it really is said in loving fun.

What do you guys think?

Tired of Anxiety

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I am tired.  Anxiety does that to me.  I was awake at 4am this morning thinking about a meeting I have to go to later today that I am anxious about.  It has me anxious because one, I have to leave the house; two, I don’t know where this place is, I’ve never been there before, and three, I have to meet new people.

I told myself I was being stupid, then I caught myself.  Since I now have a no tolerance policy for negative self-judgements, I immediately stopped the “I’m being stupid” thought and replaced it with, “I am not stupid.  The anxiety is simply a part of my disorder and I can’t help it.”  It is just a fact of my life.  No use making big drama over it.  Geez!  Get over myself, Jessica!  Acknowledge it and move on.

Move on to what though?  The anxiety is so damn uncomfortable and nagging!

Distractions.  That’s what I usually do is distract myself.  So, I’ve spent all morning on creative projects such as photography and baking.  I am trying not to stress eat all three dozen chocolate chip cookies I made.  It is really hard.  😉

How’s your day going?

We Always Have a Choice

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I wear clothes that are at least five years old.  I use my make-up down to the last swipe of lipstick and dust particle of eye shadow.  My hair is full of dead ends before I’ll get it cut.  I borrow books, paint my own nails, have my husband give me massages, and wax my own eyebrows.  In other words, I never spend money on myself.  I figure with kids and bills and a house, there is always somewhere else the money could be used.

So, the other day when I was taking photos of my daughter and I mentioned that it would be nice to have a reflector to get the shadows off of her face and my husband said he’d go get me one, my first reaction was, ‘Oh no.  I don’t need that.’  He said, ‘But you want it and you deserve to spend money every once in a while on things you enjoy.’  After he said that, I honestly agreed with him, but it took him saying it for me to admit that, ‘yes I do deserve to give to myself every once in a while.’

I think as moms, women, wives, etc. we are so used to giving and sacrificing for others that sometimes we lose sight of providing for our own wants.  Many lose sight of providing for their own needs as well.  I don’t believe that I do the latter.  Although, how would I know?  How can I tell if I am ignoring my own needs?  What is a need in this case versus a want?  I don’t have the answer to that.  Maybe I should research it.

I know I need a lot of rest, and I do take the time for that even if the kids are home.  I used to feel guilty for laying down during the day when they were here, but I don’t anymore because I need that time to myself.  It was great progress for me to let go of that guilt.

I also need to be at home a lot.  Spending too much time out in the community wears me down to the point of becoming over-stimulated, over stressed, and in physical pain.  So, I say no to taking them everywhere they want to go.

Sometimes I over do it, however, when I force myself to go to too many outings that I don’t want to miss, such as birthday parties, school events, games, and recitals.  Nothing is perfect, but I always have a choice.  I do see that I always have a choice, which is good, because the worst feeling in the world is feeling like a victim to my circumstances.  I used to feel that way before I figured out what my limitations are.  But, now that I know what my mind and body can and cannot tolerate, I can for the most part choose whether or not to push it beyond that threshold.

What keeps me from thinking that I have a choice is the negative self judgements I inflict upon myself.  When I am negatively judging myself, I will push myself too far.  I am finding out that as I work on getting rid of the negative self judgements, my sense of choice is returning and becoming clearer and clearer each day.

Why is My House So Dirty?

room-436725_960_720Last week my psychiatrist challenged me to be more aware of when I negatively judge myself.  I guess I should say, be aware period, not be more aware, because honestly I hardly know when I am doing it.

I think at times I do know, when it is really obvious, like when I look at my face in the mirror and think, “You look so old,” or when I catch myself in the mirror coming out of the shower and think, “Fatness!”  But for the most part it happens so subtly that it doesn’t even register as negative judging.

For example, I rush around the house to get the chores done because I don’t want my husband to do any of them (because he will if they are left undone for things like the dishes and laundry) because I feel guilty about not being able to work outside the home due to my mental illnesses, so I try to make up for it by doing everything inside the house. My unconscious negative judgement is: I’m a terrible wife for not having a paying job.

I really had to analyze my motives for why I was doing what I was doing to get to that root negative judgement that’s been driving my frantic house chore efforts all of this time.

I’ve really combatted this judgement for the past four or five days and guess what?  My house is a mess!  Oh, things are getting done, but not in record speed like they used to. I do the dishes when I feel like it, not when I think I have to in order to beat him to it. If he happens to do them first then that is fine. I will not feel guilty over it, especially when he doesn’t even mind doing them. (It was always all me, making myself crazy for nothing.)

Laundry is getting finished a little later in the day and that is ok, too.  I even left the last load in the dryer for a day or two before putting it away and the world didn’t end!

My cleanliness isn’t all due to thinking I’m a bad wife for not being able to work outside the home, however.  It also has to do with me being a germaphobe and having a tiny aversion to clutter. I’m trying to think if there are any negative judgements associated with those things and I don’t believe there are except when it comes to having company over. When that happens then my house must be spotless, because if it is not, I will judge myself as lazy or messy or gross. Or is it that I am afraid that is what others will judge me as?  Probably both.

I do worry way too much about what other people think about me. I even worry about what other people think about those who are close to me, such as my children and parents, like somehow who they are and what they do is a direct reflection of my character. Crazy, right?  I have a lot of work to do.

Being Mindful of Your Emotions

buddha-452028__180So in dealing with my social anxiety and fears of what other people think of me, I decided to dig out my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) binder and review some skills I might be forgetting to use.  The first thing that jumped out at me is “Wise Mind.”

Just when I didn’t think I was crazy enough, according to DBT, I have three minds:

  1. Emotional Mind
  2. Rational Mind
  3. Wise Mind

Emotional Mind is what I have been in all day as I have fretted over last night’s outing with friends.  What did they think of me?  Was I funny?  Whas I a dork?  Did they like me?  Did they think I was nice?  Or obnoxious?  Or weird?  Will they ever want me to go out with them again or will they invite me just to be nice?  Emotional mind feeds the fear big time!

Rational Mind recalls what everyone had to eat, what topics we discussed, and what everyone’s name was.  Rational mind doesn’t really help relieve the fear.  In fact, rational mind completely ignores the fear.

Wise Mind is like the old Chinese grandpa Buddha guy.  “Ommmmm.”  Wise Mind takes into account my feelings and the facts of the given situation.  Wise Mind says, I understand your fear as someone who has social anxiety disorder.  That must be really hard for you.  However, let us look at the facts.  Those who engaged in conversation with you did seem to genuine laugh and made complete eye contact with you.  Those who didn’t may have not been interested in the topic at hand or had something else on their mind.  There is no way to know that they were necessarily thinking something negative about you.  To try to figure out if they were or not is a complete waste of time, because short of asking them, which you will never do, this is something you will never know for sure.

Wise Mind says, Yeah, I hear what you’re saying dude, but let me lay it out for you in the nicest, most compassionate, loving, and validating way I can.  I love Wise Mind!