Tag Archives: self care

wishing i felt better but i don’t—this time with some compassion

i shared my first pass of wishing i felt better but i don’t with a friend. she said i had a good use of words. i believe that she selected those words partly in case she had to lower the boom. she, in her usual gentle way picked out some the good she heard.

then, in her usual deft and gentle manner, she suggested that i come at this form another direction, coming from a direction of compassion, this time. by doing that, the chance of Mary hearing and accepting my message I want to send would greatly increase.image

initially, i had an internal battle with that idea. i want my cathartic feelings to be expressed; I wanted Mary to experience some of my gentle and subtle rage. but the war quickly ended and i begrudgingly came around to see the value of her point. below, find my second attempt to share with Mary, my current state of being, this time with at least an inkling of compassion.

this time with compassion

clouds and sunlight

asking for help to find my blue sky-replies

 in my previous post, asking for help to find my blue sky, i asked one of my sister to practice acknowledgments with me. i explained what they were, gave her some examples and share the benefits with her .i got two replies from her. i  found them to be disappointing. her replies will be indented; my thought will be out-dented. her two replies came within an hour of each other.

reflections off the water

self care struggle


i have a belief that self care, or lack there of, ends up in every recipe for depression. i also believe that if there were a group of depressed people around, a fight might break out surrounding whose struggles with self care contributes most to their depression. here, you will find one of my arguments why my struggles with self care weighs me down.
Mary and i had planned to go to a dinner this saturday. the dinner is a group, come as you are, low pressure affair. the more each of us thought about it, we separately made a decision that going to the dinner didn’t rank high on our priorities.
the separate thoughts came together in a conversation. “i’ll go if you want to go.”‘ echoed back and forth. okay, then our saturday night is free, no obligations.
a day or so went by and I remembered about a certain part of the saturday evening that excited me. a conversation ensued. “you know, i thought about saturday evening and I changed my mind; I really want to go.”‘ i said. Mary replied,”okay, then we will go.”
end of story, right? if it where only that easy.
i had only asked for a change in plans and met absolutely no resistance, but an ashen color washed over my now long face. it felt like i had just fought a long, hard battle.  the fight made me feel exhausted.
Mary noted my change in color and shift in energy. really, at this point, i had barely noticed it myself. she asked me what happened. after a brief moment of thought, i realized that my attempt, an uncontested attempt, at self care, going to the dinner, had resulted in great wounds or more likely the opening of old wounds.
you see, self care didn’t really show up on the curriculum in my household. formal training on self care didn’t exist. I guess we, the children, learned what we learned through osmosis. we were just let to absorb it from else where. many times when we practiced self care at home, the results often ended up getting rebuffed.
i find it funny, in a sad way, that there exists underlying jokes on sex education with kids and the affects it has on adult lives. those jokes for self care don’t appear to exist but the results can be far more damaging.
a seemingly harmless and successful conversation about the saturday dinner caused painful flashbacks to my childhood years. there, untaught attempts at self care, only those learned on the proverbial streets and in the imaginary back alleys, those childhood defeats, more often than not, today, still echo in my mind.
today, those childhood failures at self care, these learned patterns, continue to haunt me and trip me up. seemingly successful exchanges end up in a ball of flame. no wonder self care ends up as an ingredient in my depression recipe; even successful attempts at it, can result in serious setbacks.
another view of the tatoosh range


most of us have heard of the grand daddy of ideations, suicidal ideation. that generally happens as life seems to be headed on a steep downhill and there doesn’t appear to be anyway to stop. maybe it’s the thought, “i’d be better off dead.” or the even more solidified thought, “…and this is how i’d do it.” fortunately, a majority of the time the fog lifts just enough for the head to clear and the thought remains just a thought and nothing more. the situation that caused the problem clears and the thought goes away.
what about the healthful ideations, the thoughts about healthful situations? sometimes they remain unfulfilled or become muddled. i claim, at least for me, and probably others, that these thoughts can be just as wearing, just as dangerous.
let me start off explaining a little more what i mean by healthful ideations. these are the thought about things we do that help us to stay or get healthy. things like, self care, reaching out to friends and to a support structure, and creating fun are some examples. while all of these appear to be healthful endeavors, they are not always healthy endeavors. i’ll explore each of these further and show how they are a struggle for me.
self care
i see self care as a good thing. in performing self care, i see myself good and worthy of the care i am giving myself. i say i am important and deserving of the care and love i give myself. there would be few and far between that wouldn’t see this as a healthful ideation. how could this possibly become an unhealthy ideation?
recently for me, there have been two companies that have charged me fore services for which i had only implicitly agreed. a phone call stood between me and a form of self care. i feel too wound up  about today; i’ll call tomorrow. then tomorrow becomes tomorrow’s tomorrow…
or perhaps i want to have a conversation with a family member or a friend to establish some better boundaries. there is already a certain amount of self doubt for me; i haven’t ever been particularly good at self care. the opportunity gets lost and doubting mind claims, that it wasn’t really that important.
each failed attempt at self care builds upon one another. it becomes somewhat the opposite, kind of a self-discare. “i’m not good at this; why even try?” “failure is guaranteed more often than not.”
the healthful ideation of self care becomes wretchedly ugly. the ideation becomes transformed into something it is not.  how could something so clean and pure like self care end up in such a mess?
reaching out
i think that reaching out to friends and/or a support structure to be a good thing. in making a connection, i admit that the world is bigger than just me. additionally, it can be an opportunity to get out some of the stuff i’ve been holding inside. i can also potentially be a gentle ear, to hear about someone else’s struggles and perhaps even be a comfort to them in a time of need. i would probably have to search high and wide to find someone that would disagree that reaching out would not be a healthful ideation. how could anyone see this as an unhealthy ideation?
it’s happen enumerable times to me, i’m going to call my friend joe; i’m going to call him at 10:00. then 10 becomes 12 which becomes 2, which becomes 4, which becomes 6. by the time that happens, i decide he is probably home with family. i don’t want to bother him now. i’ll try again tomorrow. tomorrow comes with similar results. tomorrow’s tomorrow lays out in a similar fashion…
each one of those failed connections can be seen as a defeat. as the defeats pile up, self defeating thoughts enter the mind. “maybe it’s best that i didn’t call joe.” “he probably didn’t want to talk to me anyway.” “i wonder if anyone really wants to talk to me.” “no one is trying to call me.” “why even try.”
the healthful ideation of reaching out becomes an unhealthy monster. the ideation becomes a twisted wreck known as isolation.  how could something so clean and pure like reaching out end up in such a mess?
creating fun
i am on assignment from my counselor to go out and have some fun this week, go out and do something fun that may even have low intrinsic value, like bowling or a ride on a ferry. i can see the value in this; it could be a temporary release and a lightening of mood of this hell hole i find myself in. i would be hard pressed to find someone who would not agree that making and having fun is a good aspiration and a healthful endeavor. how could anyone see this as an unhealthy ideation?
a group i am in has a outing planned to a meal and a movie. these are typical thoughts that might run through my mind. “what does betty think of me?” “did i do something wrong?” “what did i said, was it funny or rude?” “do i even belong here?” “can i even afford this?” how can something intrinsically fun gets swept away in fear, anxiety, and worry.
each worry, unspoken fear and each gut wrenching anxious moment eats away at the fun. slowly a flip begins. the “fun” event ends causing far more grieve and pain than even could be derived from the fun.
the healthful ideation of creating or having fun becomes an unhealthy beast bogged down, stuck in a muddy mess, unable to move.  how could something so clean and pure like creating and having fun end up in such a mess?
while there would be near universal agreement that unhealthful ideations like suicidal ideations are dangerous, i believe, and kind of contradictory, that healthful ideations come with there own set of problems. they can create such demons as self doubt, self destructive behaviors and self loathing just to name a few. nothing like having the good guys fighting against  you; that only serves to make the battle that much harder.
reflections off the water

why’s it gotta be so hard

i hate depression. i’m in pretty deep right now. i know because self care is such a struggle. why’s is gotta be so hard? i know i gotta do stuff good for me, but i just can’t seem to do it. these are just some of the good things i’d like to do.

  • be open with my wife. that’s just to scary. she might no like where i’m at.
  • take a walk every day. my body seems stuck in molasses.
  • talk to friends. the phone feels like it weighs 500 pounds.
  • avoid sweets. the draw sucks me in like a black hole.
  • speak up for my needs. if i’m feeling down, i don’t feel important and my needs don’t feel important to me. i get clear formed thoughts in my head, but they seem to get lost on the way to the mouth.
  • take time to build resilience. its easy with something like superbetter.com. there seems to be a mental block  to doing that. it’s as i have already lost the battle, so why fight.
  • avoid being a victim. it’s so hard to battle from being the role of a victim. in a depressive state though, i feel like brer rabbit playing with tar bunny. stuck.
  • avoid isolation. on my deserted island, where i feel so alone, the nearest land seems miles away. why even try.
  • get out of the house. it as if all of the doors are locked from the inside. no way out.

i want to get back to a place where these are easy to again. I don’t think that’s to much to ask.