News for July 2012

Annoying People, Teachers of Coping Skills

Annoying people, we all have to deal with them at some point. A lot of us have to deal with them on a regular basis. For many years they have been the bane of my existence, causing me a great deal of aggravation and stress. Just now on the way to the train I was surrounded by people I find annoying.

As I slowly counted out loud to stay calm, usually I sing ‘Soft Kitty,’ I was reminded of a quote from the Dalai Lama. The quote is ‘in the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.’ This made me realize people, and things, we find annoying can be our best teachers of coping skills.

Instead of viewing these encounters as a negative thing, we should look at them as a great chance to practice and learn new coping skills. Now, I would not recommend actively seeking these situations out, but when they arise use them to your advantage.

After each opportunity, we can go back and look at how the skills we used worked. Were they successful for us or did they not help much? We can then determine if the skill we used was the best choice for the situation or maybe we should have used something else. If it was the right one, but did not have the effect we hoped for we can figure out what changes we need to make for it to be more successful next time.

Even if we did not use the best skill for the situation, we still have learned from the experience. We have learned a skill that does not work. This way we now know what not to use.

If we used the right skill, but it was not totally successful, we know we are on the right track. We also know we need to practice the skill more in a safe, non-confrontational place. We know that once we master the skill we know it will help in similar scenarios.

If we used the right skill and have mastered it, we now have a way to cope with a situation that we find annoying and stressful. We Now, we can react in a healthier manner.

Edited: July 30th, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Today I was reminded of a technique for learning to be comfortable and happy with your body. The technique is a very simple one. You stand in front of a mirror and identify the things you like about your body. They can be small things or large things.

Once you are standing there, you can decide to remain there for a certain amount of time or until you have identified a certain number of things you like. I recommend starting out small so you do not get discouraged.

Then, write them down with a short description of why you like each thing. A sentence is enough. Then the next day, start by reading what you wrote last time. Repeat the exercise as many times as you needed to repeat it.

Writing things down gives you something to look back on any time you feel down about your looks. It helps you see the beauty you saw at a different point in time.

Edited: July 25th, 2012

To the Nth Degree

Note: the image associated with this post is Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth. I could not find a good picture of Rheasilvia Mons, the largest mountain in the solar system.

Keeping things in perspective is something that I have struggled with a lot in the past. I have a bad habit of taking things to the ‘Nth’ degree. Where others see a minor bump in the road, I have often seen as an insurmountable obstacle. I am talking Rheasilvia Mons size.
One way I have learned to combat this is by first taking a few deep breaths to try to settle my mind and heart a little bit. Then, I take a step back and look at things rationally and logically and start to deconstruct the situation.

I start by telling myself that while I may feel a certain way, that the reality is very different. I tell myself that most of life’s events fall in the middle and not at the extremes. I also ask myself questions like, what is the worst thing that can happen? If the worst does happen, what are the consequences of it?

When I look at the worst case scenarios, I remind myself that even if they did come to pass that it is not the end of the world. I remind myself that while I am still alive, anything can be overcome.

I also look at my relationship with the person or people involved in the situation. If it is my wife or family, I know they have no reason or desire to hurt me. Even if we are fighting or angry with one another, I remind myself that the anger or the fight is just temporary. They have too much of a vested interest in me and my well-being to want to do anything to hurt me. I also know that my true friends would not try to harm me. I remind myself of these facts and ‘talk myself down.’

When it comes to those who I have a negative relationship or no relationship with, I remind myself that what they say should not matter to me because it does not take away from me or anything that I have. Why worry about someone that I already have a negative relationship with, what do I have to worry about, them liking me less?

Once I have put things in some perspective, I start to work on solving the problem that does exist.

Edited: July 20th, 2012

Boundary Issues

Is that my problem? Do I not have any boundaries or at least not enough?

I often feel like I do not have any boundaries. I do not know where to draw the line between what I am responsible for, as far as behavior, with another person. How much am I responsible? Where do I draw the line for helping “solve their problems.” How much am I responsible for taking care of my friends?

I have had this problem a lot. I have at times felt like I failed those I love when I cannot make their world right. The more important the person is to me, the more I feel I failed. I remember once, one of my friends was having problems with her marriage and was afraid of losing her house, she was having trouble paying her mortgage. I felt like I had failed her because she was depressed about it! I had nothing to do with it, not the slightest my fault, but I felt like I let her down because she was depressed.

I have long tried to take the weight of the world on my shoulders for those closest. My friends always tell me, “You cannot solve everyone’s problems for them,” “it is not your responsibility to solve everyone’s problems, they need to do it themselves,” etc etc etc…

I have no boundaries when it comes to love. I drop them totally, if they even exist. I let people in totally. I hold nothing back. I will take all the pain and hurt of others into myself. I try to protect them from every last ounce of pain. I prefer to let myself suffer than have someone I love suffer even a heartbeat. I put myself through emotional hell, but I do it freely and gladly. It is worth it to me. To me it is the only way to love, but it is not safe.

I need to figure out where to draw the line, so that I can love a person unconditionally and be there for them always, but still let them work out their own problems. Yet still help them when I can and when it is appropriate. I need to learn not to take every ounce of their pain for myself and make it my own. Or do I? Is it a strength and a good quality or do I take it to excess like so many other things?

Edited: July 17th, 2012

101st Post – Blog – Take Two

Yeah, I know I said I was not going to update this anymore, at the time it was my intent not to update it again.  I changed my mind and decided to give it another go of it.

Is it such a surprise from a person who can be impulsive and reactionary that was having a severe episode?

I had not had a day like last Tuesday since October 2011, so about nine months. The day was of intense emotions fueled by several rapid and intense mood shifts. First from baseline to agitated, them from agitated to depressed. Then after leveling out (some), becoming severely agitated again right before bed.

My mood spikes were almost vertical at times. The movement toward baseline was not so radical and was a slow progression. I did not completely level out until some time the next day.

Edited: July 16th, 2012

100th and Final Post

Trigger Warning – Some of what is said below may be triggering to some people.  If despair, hopelessness, and similar things are triggering to you, then you may wish to stop now.

Well this is my 100th post on this site. It seems like a good place to stop. I had originally started this blog to try to help others. I have come to realize that I am not really reaching anyone.

I am defeated.

Best of luck to everyone. Maybe one day I will try again. As of right now though, I see no reason to keep going. Besides, as I came to realize this morning, I am an evil monster and vile human being.

I feel invisible. I am thinking about totally retreating from online. I may deactivate my Facebook and twitter accounts as well. I am not sure.

 

Edited: July 10th, 2012

Appreciate the Small Things

All to often we overlook the small things in life, but it is important to appreciate them. Taking the time to appreciate the small things can have a big impact on your emotional state. When we ignore the small things we miss the delicate beauty around us.

There are two big ways that the small things can help us emotionally. One way that they can help is by providing us with a positive sensory experience. They give us opportunities to use our senses to self soothe more often. Small things are all around us. You just need to find the things that have a positive affect on you.

For example, taking a moment to enjoy the sweet smell of a flower or the steady pitter-patter of rain on the roof can help calm your emotions and bring a smile to your face. The very act of smiling causes your body to release endorphins, one of chemicals in the brain responsible for mood. Releasing endorphins helps elevate your mood.

The other way that the small things can help us is by giving us a sense of accomplishment. Breaking things down into smaller units give you more easily attainable goals. Reaching ‘recovery’ is a goal that you cannot achieve over night. As you work toward that goal, the path can become hard and frustrating; especially, if you suffer a setback. Even when the path is not difficult it can seem like recovery is a million miles away or a fantasy; however, if you appreciate the small things, you something tangible to be proud of and celebrate.

Edited: July 6th, 2012

Toxic Relationships

Would it not be nice if people that were toxic for us were labeled as clearly as the drums in this picture? Since relationships are not labeled for us, we are on our own when it comes to relationships with other people. This means, at times, we are going to wind up in relationships that are toxic for us.

There is a reason why we call these relationships toxic; they have a negative impact on us. Yet we too often have trouble recognizing them for what they are or walking away from them. A toxic relationship leaves you feeling drained and worse about yourself. These relationships can be any kind of relationship and with anyone. They can be with your family, friends, co-workers or acquaintances.

There is a difference between a relationship that has its hard and trying periods and a toxic relationship. You can expect any relationship eventually to have a few rough patches. This is normal and you should expect it; however, in a toxic relationship, you encounter severe and recurring conflict. These relationships leave you drained emotionally. They may even start negatively affecting your health.

I am not immune to toxic relationships. It is important to understand that just because a relationship is toxic, does not mean that the people in the relationship are bad people. A perfect example of this is my first marriage. I will not go into the specifics of the relationship and what made it toxic, but after a few years, the marriage degraded into a toxic relationship.

We both made our mistakes; we both did things to hurt each other and drag each other down, but neither of us is a bad person. We were just bad for each other. Sometimes, the chemistry between the two people causes the toxicity.

I will write much more about toxic relationships over the next few months. This is entry is meant as a brief overview of them.  I do caution you, that there are many articles about toxic relationships online; however, be careful when you read them. Some of them may drag you down.

After reading some of them I felt like I was the problem and that I was toxic to everyone and should be avoided. I knew that was not true, but that was how I felt after reading those articles.

Edited: July 2nd, 2012

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