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.

 

 

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?

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.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

oldtimer-1537018__180Do you ever 25% want to do something and 75% not want to do it?  This happens to me a lot with social engagements.  Oh, not when I make them.  When I make them it is always 75-100% that I want to go, but when the day arrives, I inevitably wake up thinking about the evening ahead and the dread sets in.  By mid-day I am praying for an illness to strike me down so I can have an honest excuse to cancel.  What is going on here?

I suppose I should clarify that it quite often depends on with whom I make the plans.  This evening they are with two individuals who I am fairly close to and five to six others who I do not know or with whom I am only acquaintances.  I think therein lies the problem.  The OTHERS.  When I was first invited and said yes, I thought it was to be just me and my two closer friends.  The others have since been added.

I have social anxiety, and I just don’t feel like risking the extra energy it may take sitting through dinner with a bunch of people I do not know.  It’s rainy and dreary, and I’d just rather stay home.  In my yoga pants and t-shirt.  And eat take-out.  And watch a movie with the husband.

I know I sound like a whiny baby.  I am a whiny baby.  Oh my gosh, there goes my negative thinking again, which my doctor has challenged me to change.  Here is how I am going to change this conversation:

I would feel guilty for canceling on my friends because we are going out for one of their birthdays, however, this would not make me a “bad” friend anymore than going tonight would make me a “good” friend.  I have been there for this friend in her times of need and advice and many other celebrations.  I have strong values when it comes to friendship.  I have a right to change my mind.  I am not so important that my absence there will ruin anyone’s night.  I can tell her I am not feeling well enough to go and it will not be a lie.  Mentally not feeling well enough is just as valid a reason not to do something as physically not feeling well enough.

To put it in terms people understand, however, I don’t have a problem with telling people I have a bad “headache.”  I find that people without mental illness can’t understand what we go through.  It’s not their fault; they’ve just never experienced those levels of depression and anxiety.

Many will take your word on how debilitating it is for you, and have compassion and understanding when you cancel plans because of your symptoms.  On the other hand, some may roll their eyes behind your back or inside their mind or take it personally when you cancel plans on them because of your symptoms.

When I am not sure what a person’s view is or know that they don’t really “get it” I just tell them I have a really horrible headache, because after all, it is in our head and it definitely hurts.  (Yeah, I’m a bit of a word manipulator.  Oops!  There I go, negatively judging myself again.  Oh well…another time, another post.)

What Does It Mean to Be a “Good” Person?

catholic-1295787__180I made French toast for my kids this morning before they went to school.  It wasn’t the weekend where I had plenty of time to cook and we had a leisurely breakfast with plenty of time to laze around.  No, I had to get my butt in gear and whip up those egg-battered, cinnamon-flavored pieces of bread in record time to keep everyone on schedule.  No frozen toaster waffles or bowls of cereal for anyone this morning.  No, siree.  Mamma made French toast!  I thought to myself, “What a great mom I am.”

Then I stopped and thought, what if I didn’t make French toast?  Would that have made me a “bad” mom?  No, I don’t believe that.  But, what I have been charged with by my psychiatrist this week is to pay attention to my self talk.  So, I think it is beneficial to notice the other side of the coin when I look at what I say to myself when I screw up.  What am I saying to myself when I do something good?

I am realizing that labeling myself as “good” when I behave positively and labeling myself as “bad” when I behave negatively are both detrimental to my mental health because either way I have come to associate my behavior with my core being.  I have come to equate my actions with my true self.

In other words, if I forget a date with a friend, I am a awful friend.  If I lose my temper with my children, I am a terrible mother.  If I “have a headache” in the bedroom, I am a horrible wife.  If I have too much anxiety to go visit my parents, I am a bad daughter.

Rather than seeing myself as a innately good and kind person who makes mistakes, attempts to set boundaries, or tries to deal with an illnesses that is beyond her control, I make these things into attacks on my character.  Why do I do that?  How does one get to a point of so much self-loathing; so much misperception?

I suppose a lot of it goes back to clichés such as “actions speak louder than words.”  Plus, people always judge you by your actions not your intentions.  On the outside, people would merely see a mom yelling at her kids unnecessarily; a wife being frigid towards her husband, and a daughter neglecting her parents.  So, I guess I am judging myself in the same way, which is what my doctor has challenged me not to do.

I think I can rise to her challenge, because unlike those on the outside, I know my own intentions.  I can change the conversation in my head based on my intentions:  I will make mistakes.  This fact I cannot change.  I can decide what to do with my body at all times.  It is mine alone and no one else’s.  And ………..

Wow, I can’t seem to bring myself to deal with that last one about the anxiety and visiting my parents.  I don’t visit them often because of the far drive, and the visit itself brings on more anxiety.  I feel guilty about it.  Some issues just run deeper than others, I guess.  Those involving your parents usually do, don’t they?  It’s better than it used to be, thank to therapy; still a work in progress.  I have hope.

So, what is the point of all of this?  I think what I am learning or need to drive into my thick skull is that ISOLATED behaviors do not define WHO I AM.  Who I am is already established; it is a constant state that will not change.  Who I am is my values, my truths, my being, my spirit, my consciousness – all the things that remain stable and sound across the years and forever.

I love this video that explains about who our “real self” is.  It is an idea I try to hold on to.  It is kind of a deep concept, but I found it very helpful, especially in coming to terms with my mental illness.