I Am the Ultimate Optimist

“A feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future : a feeling or belief that what you hope for will happen.” This is how Merriam-Webster Online defines optimism.

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The other day, I said to my husband, “You know, I’m the most optimistic person you’ve ever known.” With a blank stare, he stood there, looking at me. I knew he was thinking, “On what planet are YOU considered optimistic?!”

“Think about it,” I said, “I never give up. I always keep trying to get better.”

He said, “I’d call that persistent, not optimistic.”

I sat for a moment, understanding where he was coming from…19 years of my depression and anxiety affecting our lives for the worse. I knew I had to explain:

“I am persistent because I know there is an outcome that is better than the past. I’m optimistic because, even though there are times I feel as though I’m broken, I stand myself up again and again, fighting for a better tomorrow. Why would I keep trying if I didn’t have HOPE for a better future?”

So, thank you anxiety and depression for teaching me how to be the ultimate optimist.

Pregnancy & MI: Tenacious Reclamation of My Life

My pregnancy has been a wonderful “tool” to add to my Wellness Toolbox. Being completely responsible for the physical and mental well-being of my child has helped soften many edges of the negative thinking that I suffer from due to my Negativity/Pessimism Schema. While it has certainly been no cure, I find myself falling back upon the most negative of my thinking, “I can’t do this anymore”, “Life is not worth the struggle”, “God, please let me not wake”, etc. less and less. I love my unborn child and want desperately to parent him to become an all-around healthy young man. If I am constantly considering that there are options to life other than living, I do not think I’ll manage my parenting goal. In this way, I am thankful that the reality of my pregnancy has helped refocus, in a healthier manner, the filter through which I interpret thoughts and feel emotions.

That being said (there is always a however, huh?)…

The past few weeks have been LOUSY.

“But Redheadcase, you just talked about how a major difficulty of your MI has grown a bit healthier. Are you grateful for nothing?!” a reader may ask.

That is just the thing…being healthier in any increment does not mean I am at the end of the journey to reclaim my life from MI. I will always be on the road to better mental health and must always remember that there are no quick-fixes or complete goal attainment. Being healthier, whether it be mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. is a lifestyle and not any single choice. Success is not found in a moment or a day, but all those individual moments, days, weeks, months, and years can absolutely add up to a well-adapted, content, and emotionally healthy life for all of us. We just have to accept that we will stumble and fall, make the choice to pick ourselves up when we can, and tenaciously seek help no matter how uncomfortable or hard it may feel. Piece all those battle wins together to claim the victory of the war. =)

_______________

On a side note, I wanted to discuss how the past few weeks have been lousy. Just a few shared experiences and thoughts…

-I have always had much more difficulty with the fluctuation of my mood when I am physically drained and/or hungry. My husband can look at me, seeing me wilt like a flower out of water, saying, “We need to get you something to eat/need to get you some rest because your mood is dropping.” When I am fatigued from a lack of sleep or from running errands or when my blood sugar drops from not having eaten recently enough, I become much more susceptible to the depressions and anxieties of my MI. And I have found that with being pregnant, I wilt at a much more rapid pace, making it harder to catch my decline in time to prevent. I point this out because self-care is of the upmost importance, especially when you are suffering from an illness and ESPECIALLY when you are pregnant, dealing with hormones that fluctuate as they please no matter how carefully you care for yourself. Proper sleep, rest, and diet are essential to an MI-er’s well-being, and we must be willing to tell the people around us that we have to take the time to rest and/or eat. Putting ourselves first is a very good thing because when we are our healthiest for us, we can be at out healthiest for our loved ones. It is a “win-win” for everyone.

-I have really been struggling with feeling useless. (Yea, I am growing a life, yet I feel as though I contribute nothing to anything. 😉  Losing school this semester has really taken a toll on me, as I have discussed in previous posts. I had worked so hard to return to school and to have to stop (again) due to pregnancy-related illness, I find that I feel as though I am good-for-nothing (see how that Negativity/Pessimism Schema sneaks into any crevice of a person’s thinking to try to bring them down?). While I still volunteer at a local hospital, I feel I do little to contribute to my family or the world, in general. This is a thought, and resulting feeling, that I cannot seem to shake. I need a purpose to pursue outside of my home but cannot seem to find one. …Work in progress, right? =)

Well, that is all I have for the moment. I hope this finds everyone feeling well and a little less alone in a world that can feel really lonely. Take care.

AFSP

 

 

 

Out of the Darkness Walks

Walk to Save Lives

Suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 13.7 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts made annually.

When you walk in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walks, you join efforts with thousands of people nationwide to raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives. The walks raise awareness about depression and suicide, and provide comfort and assistance to those who have lost someone to suicide.

SUICIDE CAN BE PREVENTED. YOU CAN HELP. JOIN THE MOVEMENT.

Suicide Prevention

 

 

 

 

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Get Help

You aren’t alone. No matter who you are or what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn’t the answer. We want to help you find hope.

Mental Illness & Higher Ed Make for Odd (But Helpful) Bedfellows

Going back to college after a LONG break for a few years of depressive “bed rest” has been a challenge. My brain is rusty, my thoughts run rampant, and my time management skills need a lot of fine-tuning.  Simply put, I am really out of the practice of using my brain by choice, versus MI using it to manipulate my emotions and thoughts.

Slowly but surely, I am taking back control of all things Redhead…well, some things, anyway. The most difficult hurdles I have encountered on this intellectual journey, both educational and mental, are the ever-present feelings of having few people to lean on, to talk to and finding the confidence to believe that if I keep sanding away the rust on my brain, I will have something worth working with. Who knew confidence, or a lack thereof, could be such a deal maker or breaker? Multiple-choice tests, short answer essays…no problem. I have those down pat. I have always been a pretty good test taker, but paper-writing is kicking my proverbial butt because anxiety locks my brain through my lack of confidence. I know I can write well enough (as long as I proofread, write multiple drafts, and allow time to walk away from the assignment), but I find myself overthinking and overshooting so often that I have difficulty managing writing down an elementary sentence that simply states the subject of my work, let alone writing a paragraph. The first paper I wrote this semester…oh my. At one point, it took me two and a half hours to write one and a half paragraphs. The rampant thoughts cause me to edit as I write in the hopes that gold will poor forth on my first draft. The lack of confidence and the feeling that I need to overshoot all come back to the BPD and trying to manage validation from professors that I am something other than a soon-to-be-found-out-fraud…a woman who is too old and too rusty to be in school…a woman with nothing unique to add to the academic mix.

This semester has been about putting out one paper-writing fire after the next (anxiety induced by assignments and timeframe pressures), with personal and family medical issues to add a little fuel. But I have been hanging in with each blaze, taking a little bit of new knowledge away from the experience to help me fight the next fire more efficiently. Darn those assignment fires…professors ask too much in expecting work from me. =P The last paper I wrote was a wonderful success. I expected a decent grade but did even better than expected. I was proud that I handled my anxiety by walking away from the assignment when needed and, when it came down to it, accepting that if I worked hard and did my best, my best would be pretty good. Somehow, accepting my hard work as its own validity in my effort to write helped free me from the need to perform at a level that is difficult to manage when I have been out of school for so long, and fight the lies of anxiety and depression, in regards to my ability. I learned more from the process of writing my last paper than I did from the text itself. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that! LOL

I went back to school looking to use it not only as a means to a degree but as a tool in continuing to conquer my MI. With each leap of faith I take in allowing myself to write bubble outlines that are not refined and high-browed (Ooo! I need some Crayolas for my next bubble outline!), I take a step further away from the anxiety depression, and BPD that tell me I am nothing.

I will never be without the experience of MI, but I can, and am, overcoming it each day I work towards my goals.

 

Suicide Prevention

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

 

 

 

AFSPThe American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the nation’s leading organization bringing together people across communities and backgrounds to understand and prevent suicide, and to help heal the pain it causes. Individuals, families, and communities who have been personally touched by suicide are the moving force behind everything we do.

  • We strive for a world that is free of suicide.
  • We support research, because understanding the causes of suicide is vital to saving lives.
  • We educate others in order to foster understanding and inspire action.
  • We offer a caring community to those who have lost someone they love to suicide, or who are struggling with thoughts of suicide themselves.
  • We advocate to ensure that federal, state, and local governments do all they can to prevent suicide, and to support and care for those at risk.

Borderline Personality Disorder: In My Words (Part 2)

The follow-up post to “Borderline Personality Disorder: In My Words“, published in June, 2012.

***TRIGGER WARNING***

Please…do not use these admissions against me. Instead, use them to help yourself or someone you know.

“People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense attachments, their attitudes toward family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change of plans.

Distortions in thinking and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone by acting out; i.e. impulsive behavior or suicide attempts.”

-Understanding BPD, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com

The numbered, italicized headings below are the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), used to diagnosis Borderline Personality Disorder. The unitalicized writing is my elaboration on how each BPD criterion affects me.

(I am beginning with criterion#3 as I was not sure how it applied to me when I wrote the first section of this post.)http://gcharacterwoman.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-am-work-in-progress.html

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

-While I have a better understanding of this criterion now, as opposed to when I first posted in June 2012, I know that my understanding will be evolving for a long time to come. However, with that being said, I can now look back at my life and recognize many choices and feelings that are related to the concept of identity disturbance.

At the core of all things that make me Redhead, I am a caretaker; I want to affect positive influence in the lives of others. There has never been any question in my mind that easing someone’s difficulties, great or small, makes me glow on the inside and gives a sense of great meaning to my life. And while this is a wonderful personal attribute, the BPD has made it difficult to #1-balance how much I involve myself with others without sacrificing myself and #2-balance understanding where a healthy sense of “great meaning” ends and an unhealthy sense of going too far begins.

Example #1: For many years, I had a group of friends who, in my mind, wanted/needed me as much as I wanted/needed them. I thought that their experiences were my experiences and my experiences were theirs, so to speak. It was not until a few months into Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) (and a picture posted on social media where all women from “our” group were pictured…except me…on a trip I was not invited on) that I realized I did not hold equal stock in our friendship. To be fair, the signs were there all along but the BPD would not allow me to see them because I did not want to admit to something that (I now know) would have translated into feeling emotionally abandoned. I travelled to their wedding showers and weddings, baby showers, ect. that I was left out of planning (even though I asked to help plan them) and in over 10 years of friendship, I was visited in my home only once by any of the women (and that was because she was in town for a conference…not for me). I simply could not recognize that as I became more and more ill, I clung more and more desperately (Can I make cookies for…?, How can I help with…, Here is $60 to help pay for this shower [that I was not allowed to help plan]) to friendships that I had misinterpreted as more important in their lives than they were. (I sure hope you can follow that example, as I have no clue how to punctuate part of it and my thoughts are not translating into the written word as well as I had hoped. =)

Example #2: This is closely related to example #1, but is a bit more broad in scope. To this day, my impulsive side (thank you, BPD) meets with my caretaker side to want to help people in any way I can. The problem is that while it is noble to want to help people, I cannot substitute the external sense of accomplishment or sense of feeling needed for an internal validation that I give myself. Does that make sense? I have to learn to make myself feel good about myself just because…not because someone in the world “gave me permission” by giving me accolades and validation. I have to learn to validate myself as important, special, and good. External validation is a great thing but only when it is first accompanied by a sturdy internal validation. (Why did I not just say that in the first place?! LOL)

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

-When I originally posted on the subject of how BPD affected me, I was not ready to address how suicide played a role in my life. Since that time however, I have posted “Suicide and Me“, where I wrote about suicidal ideation, explaining that, “Almost every day, I think about the action of taking my life to relieve the pain of living. It is not about wanting to not live; it is about not wanting the emotional pain to continue and believing that physical death is my only way out.” Suicidal ideation and I know each other very well, but I have no intention to ever complete suicide. I have never attempted to die by suicide purposefully, although in 2007, I did accidently overdose on a prescription medication that made me forget, many times over, that I had already taken a dose…until the bottle was empty. This led to my first hospitalization because while the overdose was not intentional, afterwards, I wished it had been successful.

Luckily, I do not suffer from suicidal gestures (hurting myself, overdosing, self-harming, etc… just enough to need medical attention in an attempt to get others to realize just how ill I am and how much help I need), threats (although I have been honest with my husband and therapist that, even without the intention to complete it, I do have a suicide plan), or self-mutilating behavior (i.e. cutting with razor blades, burning one’s self, etc.).

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

-In English: My outward reactions (my affect) can be erratic or unpredictable (instability) because my moods or emotions are capable of quickly changing (marked reactivity). It “boils down to this”: it is impossible to know how I might react to what happens around me because, when ill, my mood can change so quickly…how I reacted yesterday is not how I will necessarily react today because yesterday, I might have been in one mood and today, I might be in another. And scarily enough, the fluctuations in my moods can literally be moment to moment. In the darkest moment of BPD, I can transition from Heaven-worthy joy to Hell-induced emotional pain in seconds. A video of such vacillating moods would make for a good horror movie, to be honest. Jack Nicholson would have nothing on me! (Yes…you can giggle.)

BPD can make me very moody when I am in a depressive episode or experiencing high levels of anxiety. While I am decently successful in hiding this from most people, my husband and my mother get the brunt of it. They often see my mood bounce like a Ping-Pong ball from one emotion to another, having no idea what caused any of the changes. Both my husband and mother can see it in my face in an instant! Sometimes, I am not very nice to them.

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness

-Dude! I feel empty, lost, unimportant, you-name-it, 95% of every breath of my life! It is SO tiring! And I still have no idea what to do about it. I have yet to find anything that fills the void in my heart other than the external validation I discussed in criterion #3, which we already decided was fleeting, unhealthy, and not a very good Band-Aid when I cannot validate myself from the inside. #7 is why #3 is a criterion I can very easily fall prey to. I am sure that in future posts, I will share my journey with my “chronic feelings of emptiness” and ways I discover to help ease that burden. Until then, just know I am searching and open to ideas! =)

8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

-Ooooo weeee! I DO NOT LIKE DISCUSSING THIS. This makes me feel ashamed, dirty, and low as a human. But I need to be honest to better deal with it, don’t I? Geesh.

Ok. So here goes…until a few years ago, I was pretty passive when depressed. Yes, I could say mean things but nothing that stabbed at a person’s jugular, per se, and I certainly never became physical. However…………. (can I just keep typing periods and skip this? LOL), my emotional pain has increasingly gained the ability to spike quickly, making me a person most loved ones would never recognize. Instead of feeling hurt, I choose to feel angry because, well, angry just seems easier. There can be a sense of power and authority that comes with anger, and perhaps, that is why my brain sometimes chooses to turn the sense of vulnerable hurt into powerful pain…a very maladaptive coping mechanism. I have thrown cherished items and relished the plume of dust as they broke against tile floors and hit pictures so my wedding day signature picture (you know the pictures with the matting that people leave messages on?) is hung glassless. And I cannot tell you how hard it has sometimes been to not thrown things at the television when angered. Sorry hubby. 😉

I swear…you have no need to fear me! LOL Maybe pictures, knick-knacks, and TVs, but not people! =) Lord, what people who read this must be thinking.

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

-I do not think I have ever been dissociative (maybe my LPC husband would say differently. I dunno), but I do worry way too much about what others think of me. For instance, my job is made 100% more stressful than it needs to be because I always worry that my boss will see a mistake I make and conclude that I am 100% incompetent. Does it occur to me that she may just note, “Need to show Redhead how to…”? Of course it occurs to me but then the BPD tells me that I am going to be figured out as the fake I am…dumb and stupid.

Oh! And I worry that if I do not take the time to neaten up before leaving the house, people will think I am a stereotype of where I live. What stereotype is that? Well, when I moved from my home state (also my current state) as a 7 year old, I was asked by my new fellow statesmen (young children, mind you) if people in my home state wore shoes. Yeah. We are often judged as barefoot and pregnant, uneducated hillbillies. Do we have people like that where I live? Sure, but does not every place have a stereotypical element to their society? Honestly, most people do not even know we are a state. No joke. But anyhoo, this is related to my post, “I Am Judgmental and I Am Pretty Enough for Ravishing Red!“. I can be judgemental as a defense mechanism, so it is natural that I think people judge me. It is one of those snowball effect thingys. (Yes, I said “thingys”. I have been writing for two hours. Isn’t that sad?! LOL)

Thank you for hanging in with me to finish this post. It was a bit more emotionally tiring than I expected and it is getting close to my bedtime. I appreciate it if you have made it this far and forgiven my writing mistakes. =)

Take care!

I Am Judgmental and I Am Pretty Enough for Ravishing Red!

As I have admitted in a previous post, Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman…With BPD!!!, I am terribly sensitive to rejection, have low emotional stress tolerance, and fear abandonment on many, many levels (abandonment is not just about physical abandonment but emotional abandonment and invalidation). Can you smell the vulnerability?! Most days, even when I am feeling well and in charge of my emotions, a sense of vulnerability sits in a little box on a shelf in my mind, reminding me that it’s presence is with me. And all that vulnerability is tied to feeling vulnerable to my relationships with the people of the world.

In Borderline Personality in the Medical Setting: Unmasking and Managing the Difficult Patient, Randy A. Sansone and Lori A. Sansone assert that BPD “…individuals appear to be exquisitely sensitive and responsive to both internal and external stimuli.” “As we have previously described in patients with BPD,” “…there is a heightened awareness and scanning of the external surroundings; this state of heightened external alertness may explain the seemingly exquisite interpersonal sensitivity of these patients…”. (I simply copied and pasted that quote, so do not sue me if the quotations are incorrect! LOL) I find this assertion to be amazing because I could never put into words (to my satisfaction) how sensitive I am to both internal and internal stimuli, nor able to describe how hyper-aware I am of my surroundings (regarding people, mostly), constantly analyzing all the options of what people MAY be thinking about me. And this is where I become judgmental. Making any sense yet?

Being judgmental is a defense mechanism (a maladaptive one, at that!) that says, “You fear rejection, do not deal well with the emotional stress that comes with rejection, cower in the face of any sort of abandonment & invalidation, and just feel vulnerable in general. Why allow others to beat you to the punch? JUDGE THEM FIRST and then they cannot judge you!”

Too bad nothing that sounds so easy is ever that easy…

Basically, it is a snowball effect…I fear the judgment of others, so I judge first, but because I am judging others, I assume they are doing the same to me! Crazee!!! I know.

The problem is that beyond the moral implications, being judgmental is unhealthy and eventually eats away at everything light and good in my soul. It eventually:

  1. creates stereotypes which causes an entirely new blog subject (I am currently afraid to death of looking like a “stereotypical southern woman”…unkempt hair, wears clothes that do not fit one way or another, and wears pajama pants to go shopping. And I am not referring to the care that money can buy. I am not talking about an expectation to wear make-up, hair fresh from the salon, or clothes from a fancy store. Lord knows many people do not have the money to visit salons or buy name brand clothing. It is about looking like I do not care enough to, well… care.  I feel like I am digging a hole. Oy.)
  2. makes me fear people even more (like I need THAT!)
  3. makes me more emotionally reactive than I already am (Why did you look at my toes?! You think I am not pretty enough for red nail polish, right?! I knew I was not worthy of Ravishing Red!)
  4. and the list goes on and on and on. Oh…the constant dialogue I have in my head! =)

I guess I am sharing this because I know I tend to handle an issue better when I admit it out-right, rather than admit it to myself and then try to handle it on my own. Somehow, handling issues on my own never works our for me…or anyone else, really.

There is freedom in saying, “I am ___.” No if, ands, or buts…just admission of who we are, who we want to be, and how we are trying to get there.

Please do not judge me! Bahahaha!!!

Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Borderline Personality in the Medical Setting. Unmasking and Managing the Difficult Patient. New York: Nova Science Publishers; 2007.

If you feel you are in a crisis, whether or not you are thinking about killing yourself, please call the Lifeline at  1-800-273-TALK (8255). People have called us for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.

AFSPThe American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the nation’s leading organization bringing together people across communities and backgrounds to understand and prevent suicide, and to help heal the pain it causes. Individuals, families, and communities who have been personally touched by suicide are the moving force behind everything we do.

  • We strive for a world that is free of suicide.
  • We support research, because understanding the causes of suicide is vital to saving lives.
  • We educate others in order to foster understanding and inspire action.
  • We offer a caring community to those who have lost someone they love to suicide, or who are struggling with thoughts of suicide themselves.
  • We advocate to ensure that federal, state, and local governments do all they can to prevent suicide, and to support and care for those at risk.

I’m Pretty Happy! No…For Realz!!!

For people who know me predominately through my presence on social media, I can understand how a person might think I live as MI/BPD 24/7. I absolutely admit that, depending on a person’s own experiences and interpretations, I could come off that way. However, I apparently need to share that, in fact, I do live outside of the influence of MI once in a blue moon. =)http://alxa.ru

I actually get to just be Redhead a lot of the time. I do not always have the weight of MI on my shoulders. I do not always feel MI’s pain. Sometimes, I actually get to be pretty happy and content…more or less. Heck…just think about what I was processing, very publically, this time last year. Yeah…I know, right?!

So, if you find yourself picturing me as a 24/7 unhappy, pained, living in the past kinda gal…you can let that go and picture a getting-back-to-a-level-place kinda gal. A work in progress…but I AM progressing, and I am SO happily thankful for that! Bahahaha!!!

And if you do not feel the need to adjust your interpretation of me, I am actually pretty ok with that, too…finally.

 

AFSP

 

 

 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

To fully achieve its mission, AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies:

  • Fund scientific research
  • Offer educational programs for professionals
  • Educate the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention
  • Promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
  • Provide programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involve them in the work of the Foundation

~http://www.afsp.org/about-afsp/mission-and-history

 

Suicide PreventionWhen you dial 1-800-273-TALK  (8255), you are calling the crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to your location. After you call, you will hear a message saying you have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You will hear hold music while your call is being routed. You will be helped by a skilled, trained crisis worker who will listen to your problems and will tell you about mental health services in your area. Your call is confidential and free.

~http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

 

 

Rolling Bookbags, the Pope, and Pie Make for a Hard Day with Good Lessons

Earlier on Facebook, I posted a few lessons that I learned today…

  • I can’t complain about insensitive posts about the Pope if I giggle at the older students and their rolling backpacks (I know…so silly of me).

-This, of course, goes much deeper than a simple, rolling backpack. I believe that laughter is one of the best medicines because it always makes you feel better to some measure. However, when that laughter comes at someone’s expense (even if your intentions are not mean), it just isn’t right to laugh. I have no idea if the other student would find my observation about her backpack funny or not, but it isn’t right of me to assume that she would. She may already feel out of place for being an older student and anxious about needing (assuming there is a need) a rolling backpack. It didn’t occur to me that while minor in offense, my thought could, nonetheless, be offensive and the easier it becomes for me to get a giggle at someone else’s expense, the easier it becomes to let the offensiveness grow in the future. Make sense?wholesalebackpack.com

I didn’t realize my wrong until I saw all the posts on FB that took advantage of the ailing health of an old man (Pope Benedict resigning his position due to ailing health) as an opportunity to make a joke. I was not mad about the jokes, but I did find them insensitive…then my light bulb went on over the rolling backpack. This is a lesson that I will have to work on for some time because, let’s face it…in our society, we can be so liberal in our allowance to laugh at others that it becomes intrinsic and we laugh before we really consider what we are laughing at its impact. Luckily, I am not usually a mean-hearted person, so while it will take time to break that intrinsic reaction, I don’t think it will take a terrible amount of work…just constant self-reminding that I can think better of, and for people.

  • I can expect others to be better if I am expecting, and working toward, the same expectation of myself. No one needs my issues any more than I need theirs. Double standard, Redhead! That is no good for anyone.

-Firstly, let me state for the world and God above…I AM NOT PERFECT, I HAVE NEVER FELT I WAS PERFECT, AND I KNOW I WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. Ok…now that that disclaimer is outta the way…I have made, and will make, a million and one mistakes (well, maybe a billion and one!) in my life. I cannot undo my past, and cannot control my future. However, I can actively seek professional help, information, and life skills that will make me a better person from one day to the next. Heck…that is why I have been in psychiatric hospitals, had more than a few psychiatrists, had more than a few therapists, taken over 35 different medications in 20 years, and lived for four months in D.C. away from my family. In the many years that I have been ill, having recognized that I CANNOT get better on my own, I have tenaciously sought professional help, information, and life skills that will make me a better person tomorrow compared to the person I am today. While the healing process has waxed and waned at times, I have never given up on bettering myself for myself and the people who love me. That being said…that gives me the right to expect the people around me to do the same…seek to be a better person from one day to the next. Of course, it is their choice to get any sort of help they may need but it is also my choice to acknowledge that while flawed, I am genuinely trying to get better, and I can, without guilt, step away from people who do not want the same for themselves if they are negatively affecting my life. And I admit, this is a double edged sword because others have the right to step away from me if I am dragging them down. My hope would be that anyone who I do this to will at least give me credit for the incredible effort I have put into, and will continue to put into getting better. Lord knows I can be a bummer when I am depressed (which is why I “disappear” from people’s lives in long periods of depression-trying not to slough off onto them that which is causing me so much difficulty), and I know that people have problems enough of their own and do not need mine. But I am authentically trying to get better, and I hope that earns me a few inches. =)

  • A piece of pie makes concepts 1-2 easier to swallow!

-Taking a “time-out” and having a piece of pie all by myself (well, actually it was a salad and sweet tea followed by coffee and pie!) does a girl a lot of good. Firstly, I HATE eating alone in a restaurant. In fact, I enjoy most things so much more when I can share the experience with a kindred spirit. Therefore, when I realized I had the desire and ability (anxiety not telling me that I should be embarrassed and uncomfortable to not have a companion) to sit down at good ol’ Bob Evans and enjoy a piece of Lemon Supreme Pie all by myself, I knew I needed to practice that “being alone and comfortable with it” skill, let alone take time out to reflect on a roller-coaster day. So…yes…there are times when food has a positive, self-medicating sort of role in one’s life…at least that is what I am going to tell myself. =)

So…that is it, I guess. I’m as flawed as they come, and I know it. But I am getting better due to a lot of hard work and reality checks. We can all be better tomorrow if we work on being so today.

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime  24/7.

AFSP

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

To fully achieve its mission, AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies:

  • Fund scientific research
  • Offer educational programs for professionals
  • Educate the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention
  • Promote policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
  • Provide programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involve them in the work of the Foundation