Friday, March 01, 2013
As you may or may not know, I do suffer from Major Depression. Recently I have had the opportunity to better myself through a 'Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT)' group recommended to me by my psychiatric team. As part of this program I was given some information on some phone apps that I could use that supported the philosophy of DBT. One of the apps (Life Armor) provides information for any situation to help overcome instead of being overcome. Below you will find insight into a common problem of pessimism.
Optimism - It is possible to learn to change the lens through which you view the world. There are six key steps to maintaining a perspective of realistic optimism:
Step 1: Make sure you view the world as it really is. Don't think about what could happen, but pay attention to what is actually going on around you.
Step 2: Focus on things that are positive. In the Army's Resilience program this is called "hunt for the good stuff." Even if life isn't perfect, it's important to focus on the things that work out well.
Step 3: Resist the urge to complain. It usually makes you feel worse. Complaining will push away the positive people in your life and attract people who further encourage frustration and negativity.
Step 4: Decide for yourself what's possible and what is impossible. Question any beliefs you have that something "can't be done." There are many things we dismiss too easily.
Step 5: Be FOR things, not against them. When you are against something you are focused on tearing it down. When you are FOR something you are focused on improving it, and creating new ideas and new opportunities.
Step Six: Laugh at yourself. See humor in your mistakes. Humor helps us take our guard down and not taking ourselves too seriously. We all make mistakes, most mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow. Think back on to something you thought was absolutely true ten years ago, but you now realize was false. Can you laugh at it know? Laughing at ourselves is an important tool to improve our mood, change our perspective, and relieve stress.
The name of the phone app is "Life Armor" It is a free download.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Well I am in the later end of my Spark Coach program today, and I am to write about an area of my life that needs moderation....Hmmmmm.... EVERY THING!
I believe my whole life needs moderation. I can't do things half heatedly. Everything is all or nothing for me. Always has been. Is that from my experiences in childhood? Is it from my military background? Or is it my genetic makeup? I am not sure. But some of my previous blogs can give me a hint of areas to work on.
I think that because my weight and diet have such an important role in my life at this time, I will first focus on my areas within my diet I need to tend to . Sweet treats are more of a kicker to my diet than I once thought. For example, the girl scout thin mint cookies. Oh, boy do I like them. Well knowing that they were in my freezer was driving me mad! It took everything in me to not eat the whole box. I tried real hard not to eat more than 4 cookies (one serving) each day. But I came to the last few left and I panicked. There was six in there. I had to eat all six because if I didn't my husband would and then I wouldn't have them!
Warped thought. Duh! If I eat all six, there wouldn't be any left either! But that didn't cross my mind. I just couldn't let someone else have the last two! How disturbing! That was like I was in a kill mode regarding the last cookies! It was a fight or flight sensation. Scary really! OMG, do I feel like that about my food often? Sadly, yes I am!
When did I get this way? When did I get such aggressive thoughts about food? Wow. I have done that a lot. I often ate so much more than just one serving so I can get the last of something! Wow, that is really sad.
But I am not going to analyze that. What I need to do is compliment myself on the self discovery, Way to go Linda! And then I have to fix it.
I think I will start doing that little baggie thing with my food. One serving in each little bag. And only allow myself to eat them in moderation. If I do that and they come out an uneven number when I initially put them up I can give the extra to my husband. I don't think I would worry then about them being the last ones because I have more in baggies. That will also help my mind in knowing how many I have left so I can prepare myself mentally for the last ones.
All this will be a different way in dealing with this issue of over eating and eating in moderation! But I know I can do it!
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Today I woke up late. I'd like to say this morning, but it was afternoon when I woke up. My sleep was disturbed. I remember waking up several times during the night. Something haunted me all day long about my dreams but I could not put a finger on it! I kept busy and didn't take time to think about much other than my college course and my dog who kept nudging my arm to give him some petting time. I started my SparkCoach program just after lunch. Yet there was something just on the edge of my mind that I just couldn't grasp.
During my gym time tonight with my niece Sarah, I didn't want to chit chat like we normally do, I just wanted some reflective walking time. And then my mind went loose! I thought about my child hood, the years of abuse, my first marriage, the death of my father and my grandmother, the death of my step father, my rough marriage to my current husband, my trips to the psychiatric hospitals, the devastation at being discharged from the Navy because of my depression, more psychiatric hospitalizations, arguments with my sister(s), my step-children's anger at my attempt to leave my husband (their father), So much to think about you would have thought I was having another depressive breakdown, but no...
All at once I realized what was happening! I could see that it was a soul cleansing. With each step as it hit the treadmill, one of the ugly scales of depression fell away, one at a time until I was brand new again. My outer shell was falling away making way for the new me! THE NEW ME!
I felt so energized by the end of my walk! All of the things I have been trying to learn here at spark people suddenly made sense. There wasn't just a bunch of random puzzle pieces but the pieces fit together! The picture was a picture of ME, healthy and at my goal weight! It was amazing!
My blessed niece, with a great big smile, reached over and tapped my arm and pointed at the monitors of the treadmill. I hadn't even noticed that I had walked over 3 miles! I was feeling great!
The most cherished parts about the whole day is not the cleansed feeling or the triumph of reaching a goal way before it's due date. Most of all....it was the quiet understanding in my nieces eyes like she knew just what had happened in that walk and that she was proud!
I don't think I have felt this alive in so many years! That was/is a WhooHoo! moment!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Today I joined the sweet tooth challenge. I really don't think I have a sweet tooth, but I have had problems lately avoiding it. Like at my grand daughters 3rd birthday party and the bag of candy my husband brought home and the girl Scout Cookies. I am hoping to learn some more/better tools to avoid over indulgence of sweets when they are available. We will see how I do!
Monday, February 25, 2013
So, as I was working with the Spark Coach program today, I was lead to reading four article about negative self-talk, how to keep motivated type things. The articles were great! So great that I had to find a way to review them often and share them with my friends.
The first thought that came to mind is a little story about what type of person you may be that I found on OAKTREE10 's Spark Page/Blog:
Grandmother says... Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee; "Which are you?"
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me what do you see?"
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft.She then asked her to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. "What's the point,grandmother?"
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity--boiling water--but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter.
"When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?
Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?
---AUTHOR UNKNOWN —
That story really raised some questions and provoked a lot of thoughts in my mind. I couldn't see myself as just one but all three. I was different things as a situation would call for. Then I thought, is that healthy? Then I started thinking about different situations, what was happening and how did I respond. Well I thought about it last night to the point that I couldn't/wouldn't go to bed. At at nearly 3 AM I dragged my exhausted self to bed. My mind was reeling. I was feeling pretty bad about a lot of things in life. Just beating myself up with all kinds of self talk. From diet mess ups, lack of exercise for two days, finances, to the way I talk to my husband , to the way I can't play with the grand kids, to the fact I am not working, To the fact that I am being guided to going back to college into a field I am not sure I want but others expect it from me, to not really reading my team threads, just entering huddles, etc....Tearful I fell asleep.
This morning I woke up exhausted and puffy eyed. I tried to eat and had no appetite. I had no energy, set up some things to exercise and just couldn't do it. I was in bad shape. My life of self loathing was hitting me in the face, trying to totally overcome my being. It felt like I was falling headfirst into a spiraling depression I have been known to drive myself into.
I told my self this is ridiculous. Maybe if I get online and go to Spark People I can find something that will help me pull out of this funk. I walked slowly to the computer. Dejectedly I turned it on. I went to Spark Coach first. This step was kind of automatic, like a new habit that I have developed. And what was today's program about?
When you mess up on your diet or exercise plan, do you feel like throwing in the towel? Today's session will coach you to get back up--instead of giving up.
Wow. Did I need that today! And I started to see my mood lighten up. Reading the article just confirmed what I was doing, all the negative self talk. All the negative behaviors feeding the guilt. My actions taking over to make my life appear that everything was related or part of a steam rolling train on the track of self-destruction. But all the article had a really nice twist. They turned the negative talk around. From stopping the negative thoughts, to changing the self talk, to recognizing the three P's of negativity.
Actually, the information has been heard before. After all, I have been though so much psychological counseling, AA, Adult Children of Alcoholic groups, and most recently Dialectic Behavior Therapy sessions. I have been a nurse for more years that I want to say and I was also a Navy Psychiatric Technician! I should know all this and be able to fix all these things before they get me down. Right?!
But...I am human! I make mistakes. IF God didn't want man to make mistakes, He wouldn't have created the ERASER! So, There! Put that quote into my self talk to day!
I need to clear something up. I don't in any way blame my negativity on the little story. I don't want to give that impression. I just wanted to help you understand the flow of my thought process so you can understand how today's program had an effect on me.
Also I wanted to share this great information. I know I am not alone in this struggle of negativity. So here are the links from my Spark Coach program today. I hope they help you as much as they have me!
(I don't know how to make them actually take you there)
Well, I need to get up and get some exercise in. My energy is up! After I eat something. (my appetite is back!) And I will be back to spend some very needed Spark Team time! Woo Hoo! Heads up every body, I am back!
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