Every Day the Same

Low, low moments in time for Rosa.  It boggles my mind that I can have such great support and still feel such a wreck.  It boggles my mind that I can feel such a wreck and not let it show.  Sometimes I almost convince myself I feel fine, when I am in the heat of the moment, caught up in things.  It is when I am alone, when the lights are off and the sun has set, that the depression wriggles it’s way back into my brain.

I thought about blogging in the morning, because maybe then I could get a sense of how I feel fresh and new and ok, if just for that little bit.  DSB and I have our coffee, and I am ok.  My house is not a disaster and I don’t have laundry piled up and I have great plans for the day.  I’m gonna ___ and ___ and ___.  And then when I’m done, I’m g0nna write the blog post that will save the world in the most amazing way.

It’s laughable, really, how wide of a spectrum my mood travels during the course of a day.  Happy mornings, irritable mid-days, anxious afternoons, sometimes an easy evening, and then darkness, in the darkness.  It’s actually quite exhausting, and, come to think of it, am probably not getting enough sleep.

I have been staying up reading, addictively, on my new Paperwhite (sorry, I have probably only mentioned it 503 times since Christmas).  It is not holding a charge very well, but I think that  might be because I am using it far more than the 30 minutes a day it mentions when it mentions a “several week” battery charge.  I also leave the Wi-Fi on so I can download books at a moments notice and get updates.  That slows it down, too.  Moving on, no more Kindle drivel.

I know I haven’t mentioned it lately, but I am still not smoking.  I have some incredible stats to brag about:

One month, two weeks, two days, 12 hours, 0 minutes and 54 seconds. 2790 cigarettes not smoked, saving $354.33. Life saved: 1 week, 2 days, 16 hours, 30 minutes.

Yep, I’d say that’s pretty good.  Still with a few slip-ups, mostly one puff that leads to gagging and coughing and saying, “What the FUCK was I thinking?!?”  But I’m not gonna lie.  I miss smoking.  I miss the way it used to make me feel, the way I could hold it in my hand, the way it was a shared habit between me and people I care about.  And now I’m on the outside.  It’s actually pretty hard, more-so over the last several days.

Ok, now I’ve gotten off course.  Or maybe I haven’t.  This blog can be like my mood…up and down and all around.  I think I probably lost people after the first little bit and then they scan through the rest looking for something interesting.  Or, that could be my in-the-hole self-esteem talking.  I don’t know and at this very moment in time, I’m gonna go crawl into bed with my not-fully-charged Kindle and read.  And read and read and read, until it’s not so scary to go to sleep.

Good night and light me a candle when you get a minute.


Self-Loathing in the Face of Self-Compassion

Reverb13 Day Nineteen Prompt, provided by Jill at A Thousand Shades of Gray, is as follows:

The Buddha said, “You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

In the past year, I have been on a mission to understand and practice self-compassion, which is sometimes defined as “extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering,” and what I have learned has made me realize that this practice is at the heart of everything. 

How will you practice self-compassion?

Talking about practicing self-compassion and actually doing it are quite two different birds.  All throughout DBT, there are mentionings of practicing self-compassion.  And really, I’ve never been good at it.  And frankly, I’ve never tried at it very hard either.

Below the surface, there is just so much self-loathing.  Even now, when I’m doing better, I still really hate myself for a variety of reasons.  From the fact that I can’t seem to keep shit straight at home to the “failures” I see in my interpersonal relationships.  I turn quickly in judgement of myself, over and over.  At the slightest action or inaction, I belittle myself in my head.  I am not sure I could be kind to myself, if I tried, and I really am not sure how to try.

My thought is, “S0 what, you let yourself off the hook for things just in the name of self-compassion?”  I guess so.  I don’t really know.  You criticize yourself less, see yourself as more human, give yourself the benefit of the doubt?  I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know if I can even try.

But I find myself telling people I care about to be kind to themselves.  Be good to yourself, be kind, be loving.  I can encourage that in others but I can’t pick up a torch for myself?  This topic hits a raw nerve, because although I have come so far, I still, deep down, hate me.  I’m sure that isn’t quite right, but it is so.

Self-Compassion, Another Sticking Point

I sure was in a bad place, or maybe just a strange place when I wrote last night’s post.  I was trying to explain to DSB why I felt like hell about not getting anything accomplished.  He didn’t try and say that I actually did get some things accomplished (which I did), he just gave it the same ultra-rational take as he does on everything: “Stop thinking about it and do it.  Just do it.”

Sometimes I feel like my life is a Nike commercial.  Being urged to “just do it” constantly.  It just isn’t that easy and I do wish it was.  After blogging, I would like to add that I gave myself a facial and took a shower.  It felt very nice, almost like I was rewarding myself for my breakthrough.  I am hoping I can do something similar tonight, if not tomorrow.

Part of DBT is that you are supposed to be kind to yourself.  I, and most people with a mood disorder, am not very good about it.  Because really, seriously, let’s just admit it, deep down (or maybe right at the surface), there is a good bit of self-loathing going on, at least some of the time.  At least that’s how it is for me.

I have taken a well-known self-compassion scale in DBT many times and found the same one here, that you can take yourself, if interested, as well.  My scores are miserable.  I am not kind to myself, am full of self-judgement, don’t feel part of humanity, feel isolated, am not mindful, and am over-identified.  I have taken the same scale many times throughout my “recovery process” and have always turned up the same.

How many people do you know that are self-compassionate?  I can’t think of many, but I don’t have a very big circle.  Maybe you know people who love themselves and care for themselves and are easy with themselves when their flaws are revealed.  That, according to the only two therapists I have had in my 17 year stint in DBT-based therapy, is what it’s all about.

To heal, you must be kind to yourself.  You must practice self-compassion.  Be easy on yourself, and give credit where credit is due.  It’s been 17 years and you think I would have “bought in” by now, right?  Why haven’t I?  Is it willfulness, rearing it’s ugly head?  Perhaps.  Is the lack of self-compassion learned behavior?  Certainly could be.  I can point to the major players in my life and look at how hard they are on themselves and think, “hmmmm, I wonder…”

It doesn’t really matter where it came from, just that it’s hear.  I do believe you, oh you two therapists out there, when you say that I need to be kinder and gentler with myself, do nice things for myself, treat myself well, cut myself some slack.  It is just so damn hard to do.

After my self-administered facial and long shower last night, I felt amazing.  If that is just one small step towards giving myself some kindness, I might even try it again.  There’s a little voice telling me I don’t deserve it, but the long term goal is to  quash that voice and start thinking about what the next kind thing is I can do for myself.

Cure for Self-Loathing

Sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking that everyone hates me, because I am soooo unlikeable.  Recent evidence has come to light that most people actually don’t hate me, and that my perception of other people’s actions or non-actions often don’t have anything to do with me.  The amount of assistance, love, and thoughtfulness I am receiving from others in my life right now makes it really difficult for me to keep up with my personal belief that I am an unlikeable piece of shit.  Go figure.

I went over to the new house yesterday to find some beautiful floors.  QoB and Frog Queen have really been working hard!  I can’t believe how good they look!  I was cussing up a storm, so happy!  Isn’t that weird to cuss up a storm when you’re happy and excited?  Yeah, maybe.  I think I come by it honestly, though.  🙂

I had some much-needed relaxation last night, hanging out with my step-sister and brother-in-law.  We had a little Mexican fiesta, complete with margaritas.  Woot woot!  It was really nice to hang out with them because, between our schedules, we don’t see a lot of each other.  And it was nice to do something fun and relaxing.  Looking forward to more of that in the future!  Just gotta get moved, now!

So I’ve really been working hard with the dogs on their separation anxiety and overall anxiety.  I have been giving them bones, which, amazingly enough, Kizzie has not been burying!  That’s why I hadn’t been giving bones for so long, but it turns out that Kizzie has turned over a new leaf and is actually enjoying them  now, rather than letting them rot in the ground and then digging them up six months later, all disgusting and wormy.  Let’s just say that isn’t something you really want in your house.  Yuck!

My plans for today are to bring some boxes of stuff over to the new house, sort through a bunch of clothes and donate them (or at least get them in the car so I can drop them off tomorrow), and then vacuum the house I am living in now.  It has gotten pretty dirty.  Not disgusting, just lots of dirt and leaves and bamboo that the dogs have tracked in.  I am hopeful that it won’t be such a problem at the new house, because the area that will be fenced will be much more manageable to keep cleaned up and free of yard debris (much smaller).

My stress level has been slowly lowering over the past few days.  I know I had my little breakdown on Friday, but overall it has been better.  I had realized that I was only getting about six hours average of sleep over the past year (there’s a counter on my CPAP), and I had thought I was getting much more.  Now I am taking care to go to bed a little bit earlier and sleep in a little later.  I feel better already!!

Today is St. Ignatius Loyala’s feast day, so Dad and I are going to mass this evening to celebrate.  Dad says we can call him Iggy, since he was a Jesuit and I went to a Jesuit college.  Not so sure about that, but it will be nice to get back to church.  I have missed the last few weeks due to the hectic schedule of moving and I have really missed it.  Need to figure out here within the next month where I am going to RCIA classes.  There are a few more churches I want to check out, but my heart is already pretty set on one that I have already been to.  We shall see, though.

A tribute to QoB and Frog Queen:

Barenaked Ladies, If I Had $100,000,000


Thought Smorgasbord

I think I have been avoiding the blogosphere lately because, well…sometimes it’s hard to examine oneself, especially when one is not being very kind to one’s own self and does not really want to examine such.

My eating and lack of any type of exercise whatsoever have been beyond ridiculous over the past several months.  And I wonder why I just keep gaining weight.  I think I have given up on losing weight and I think that all occurred not that long ago.  I am not sure how to make that change or become motivated.  There is a part of me that even thinks, “Oh, you don’t look that bad!”  Getting new clothes has helped with that, and, no, I don’t think buying new clothes when one has nothing that fits to wear is enabling a person to be heavy and not change.  It has really been necessary…can’t/shouldn’t really go to work with belly hanging out and pants cutting off circulation.

Had a very interesting discussion with QoB last night regarding laziness, weight gain/loss, exercise, motivation.  It wasn’t exactly a discussion, it was more QoB telling it to me like it is and me listening.  It can be so painful to examine oneself sometimes…seriously!

This “discussion” last night left me thinking about a lot of things today.  One of the more important ones was “I think you can love yourself more than you do.”  At the time it was said, I believe my reply was that I didn’t think I would ever be able to do.  And then there was talk about “feelings” vs. “choices” and I didn’t have much to say after that, just listened.  Sometimes I need to just listen.

I am not very nice to myself.  I am all the time telling myself how dumb/stupid/ugly/fat/worthless I am, even if that is not the image that I project, especially at work.  Those are thoughts that run through my head all of the time, however.  Those thoughts and thoughts about things that I could and should be doing.  The neverending “my house isn’t clean enough” gets really old, for others to hear, too, I would think.  It gets old for me to think about.

Change is unlikely unless one becomes uncomfortable enough with the status quo to do the things, complete the tasks, work on the things necessary for that change to happen.  I have become comfortable with being extremely overweight, with high levels of anxiety, with ignoring and neglecting my body and spirit.

I was sitting around this morning, thinking that I couldn’t remember the last time I had been truly nice to myself, nourished my very being with something positive.  It made me feel sad and confused, like you do when you realize there has been something painful going on and you suddenly realize there is something you can do about it.

I decided then and there that I needed to put more of an effort into sacred self.  I decided I need to practice loving myself so I can be a more effective and centered person.  And, yes, so I can love myself more…and start caring about things like my health, my body, my emotions, my stress level.  Instead of just plodding through.  Because, that is what I do…just plod on through and ignore and numb, ignore and numb.

QoB made an interesting point.  She said that, at some point in time, I have decided that I am going to be the best discharge planner it is possible to be.  I agree with that.  What was also said is that I have done that, accomplished that, have been working 40 hours a week, actually working, something I have never even before contemplated being able to do, and I am doing a good job.  It has become my focus, what I am striving for.  I have done this thing and ignored everything else.  Everything.

I would like to say that I am going to start exercising, eating healthy all the time (instead of usually healthy, but with regular injections of junk), quit smoking, blah blah blah.  I’m not going to say that.

What I am going to say is that I am going to work toward being mindful of how I am feeling, where I am, what I am doing.  I am going to try and pay attention to my body and what it is saying.  I am going to start doing nice things for myself and not worry so much about work and whether or not my kitchen is clean, beating myself up all the time.

I started today by giving Kizzie a bath.  It is something I keep thinking about and something that has been bothering me.  I keep putting it off because it is hard for me to kneel in front of the bathtub because I am so heavy.  This morning I practiced opposite to emotion, said, “Yes, I CAN!” and threw that dog in the tub.

It was freeing to do something I didn’t think I was physically capable of doing.  I almost felt as if a little weight was lifted off of my chest, that it’s a little easier to breathe, that possibly, just maybe, all hope is not lost and maybe I can do a few more things that I have listed in my head as physically impossible.

Sometimes, I know, I can surprise myself.

I mentioned before about getting new clothes, trying to feel better about myself and be “work appropriate.”  I also managed to find a couple of pairs of really nice winter shoes yesterday.

My hair has been really bugging me, I am really hating it, and I just had a haircut.  It wasn’t a very good haircut and I have been wearing it pulled back almost since the day I got it cut.  I firmly believe that having a good haircut is essential to feeling good, looking your best.  The haircut I had wasn’t cutting it.  Even though I know that I didn’t absolutely “need” a haircut, that I had just had one, I knew I was unhappy.

So, using my discretionary weekly money, I went and got my hair cut.  It looks amazing and I already feel better about myself.  Just doing those nice things for myself.  It’s important, and deep down I know that, I just have a hard time doing the littlest nice things, acting instead on autopilot that I am going to treat myself like I have always treated myself, and beat myself up some more.  I would like to decrease, eventually cease doing that.  So, that is what I am working on.

Rather than looking at all those little trees (losing weight, smoking, eating too much junk, beating myself up, obsessing about a clean house, drowning myself in stress), I choose today to look at the big picture, that forest, if you will.  The key in this is to start loving myself, so I can care about all of those little trees and do something about it, instead of just beating myself up.

I could use a little “feel good” music.  Have some Barry.

Barry White, “The First, The Last, My Everything”