Daily Archives: January 10, 2014

A Culture of Codependency

Some life lessons are learned all at once, but more often they are learned over time. For example, I was told during my hospitalization at the beginning of the school year that I had a codependency problem, but it wasn’t until the end of December that I truly grasped how pervasive the problem was. Through therapy, I’ve been able to start correcting my thought patterns and behaviors. Part of correcting these thought patterns is increasing my awareness. I think I’ve stumbled upon a culture of codependency.
The media glamorizes codependency. From a young age, we hear phrases such as “your better half,” “he completes me,” “I need you.” These are not healthy messages! I know I’m biased, but I think my parents did an excellent job raising me. However, I still felt less valuable when I was the girl without a boyfriend. I thought having someone to kiss you and text you goodnight meant that somehow you were worth more.
I believe relationships have their place in the happiness equation, but relationships do not equal happiness. Truthfully, I was too sick and unreliable for all of my past relationships. I do not regret them, but I know that things would have been better if I hadn’t been dependent on my significant other for happiness. I remember scaring the crap out of my sophomore boyfriend by telling him he was “my everything” when he kissed me goodbye one day. That’s a lot of pressure for a teenage boy! That’s too much pressure for anyone, really. Now there are knights in shining armor who claim they can handle it, but this creates a broken cycle of codependency.
Let me demonstrate with a metaphor my therapist at the hospital used:
When two healthy people are in a relationship, each person has their own friends, interests, and hobbies. One plus one equals two.
When two people are depending on each other for happiness, they are broken. They are halves. A half plus a half equals one. Not two.

I have been half a Milkbone for too long. After the hospitalization, I broke up with Chris so that I could repair myself and become whole. But I didn’t do that. I sought out other relationships because I was terrified of being alone. I didn’t value myself. I thought that I was only worth what a boyfriend would appreciate.
This year, I am fully committed to taking care of myself and developing healthy self-esteem. Right now, a boyfriend does not fit into that picture. My values are changing, and I no longer see having a significant other as being of the utmost importance. I know multiple powerful women who are successful, funny, and happy – without being in a relationship!
I hope that eventually our culture reflects the need for healthy relationship role models. I hope that relationships are seen as the synergy of two exciting individuals, not the fusion of two sick people that are grasping for meaning in each other. We need to spread messages of strength, self-worth, and independence to young people. I believe that by doing so, we will be promoting mental health and wellness. And in my book, that’s always a worthy cause.

Sisi, thanks for contributing the treats for this post.
This post is dedicated to my friend, Magalie. She was a powerful voice of reason this semester when I was going through boy troubles. I admire her honesty and appreciate her friendship.

Does your Spouse care? Mine…

Today is my week and 2 days not smoking. Its hard! Especially when your with friends that smoke. Last night was the biggest test for myself…and.

I PASSED!

No literally, I passed it around to someone else. Neither my husband or I lit up, which is a great feeling. I finally feel like I have a gasp on something. Well that all went way as soon as. I got home. My husband…

Sigh.

My husband isn’t a motivator or an acknowledger, will never be a motivator or an acknowledger, and I need to remember this from now on.

We got in a huge fight (which I will tell you I didn’t feel that angry about at all, and kind still don’t) about him not acknowledging me NOT smoking. We got into the car, and about 15 mins into going home I turn to him and say “good job on not smoking!”. He said thanks. I waited for him to say it back, but he didn’t. I then ask him if he was going to tell me it back and he BLOWS UP! Saying he was going to do it on his own time, and now it means nothing if he says it, and that I’m going to hold it over his head forever.

The funny thing is, I think he only got mad because he wasn’t going to say it at all. He wasn’t even thinking about saying it. The other day he even asks why I even keeping track of my non-smoking days..

I guess my challenges are not significant enough for him to acknowledge? Maybe I’m asking too much from him to say good job to me? Maybe he just doesn’t seem to notice how much good I’m doing for myself…but should he?

Should he motivate and encourage me through stuff that’s really my problem anyways?

After all was done, He got really really mad that I didn’t say good night to him before going to bed, but I told him that I would do it in my own time….like him…

How much are spouses suppose to care??

P.s.: HAPPY WEEK AND TWO DAYS TO ME! Feeling good!


Blog For Mental Health 2014

Hey, kids – it’s that time again! “I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I …

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Blog For Mental Health 2014

Hey, kids – it’s that time again! “I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I …

Continue reading

How Do I Get Out of This Chicken Outfit?

Just kidding……I’m actually enjoying being bombarded with information! This new venture of mine is so complex that I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the tip of the iceberg, and it’s become very clear to me in this past week that I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was undertaking when I said “Yes” to this job.

I feel like a toddler trying to cross a freeway…..I am soooooo not ready for prime time. And yet, it’s all OK because nobody is expecting me to know it all in two days. Or two months. Or even two YEARS, according to the head department manager.

I’m not freaking out. Maybe I should be; I know my fellow newbie, Carl, is on the verge of it, and he’s a retired Army colonel who’s lived more in his sixty years than most people would in two lifetimes. But even though there’s a long, hard road ahead, the challenge is positively invigorating, and learning that I beat out fifty-four other people for the position literally forces me to think just a wee bit differently about myself.

I almost fell off my chair when I heard that. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen to me. I’m still trying to grasp the fact that twelve people thought I had what it takes to do this job in the first place…..today one of them told me, “I can’t wait to see you in action!”

And once again, I wonder: what in the universe has changed so drastically as to allow me the chance to start completely over, and at this level of responsibility? Only a few short months ago I was going downhill at warp speed; now, I feel as normal as it’s possible to feel, and suddenly all of the anguish and the persistent sense of diminishment seem long ago and very far away.

Now before you go “Uh-oh!” let me simply state that I’m on guard, because I know how much trouble I can wind up in when I get to thinking too positively. But this particular period of remission has a different quality to it that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’ve been in good shape now for only few weeks, which is certainly nothing to write home about, but this time around I haven’t had a lot of variance in my day-to-day mood, even with all of the excitement surrounding my fresh start.

I’m not sleeping well—I’m trying to process WAY too much stuff in too short a time and my brain is a bit overheated. But I am in bed when I’m supposed to be—in fact, lately I’ve been in bed even earlier than I’m supposed to be—and of course I have my old friend Zyprexa PRN to subdue any budding screw-looseyness before it gets out of the starting gate. I don’t have time for bipolar symptoms…..I just want to make sure they don’t make time for me. KWIM?

:-)

 

 

 


Scratching

When I’m anxious, I scratch my face. It’s one of my compulsions. Thank you, OCD!
Is that person staring at me? Scratch. Did I remember to print out my essay? Scratch scratch. I have a test after lunch. Scratch scratch scratch.
Normal break-outs look worse and last longer because of my scratching. I’ve made myself bleed in class, and I have some scarring. It’s not even a conscious decision to scratch. Sometimes I’d be writing, and I would realize that my left hand had done a number on my face.
I got the idea to start using a Tangle from beckie0 of YouTube. Beckie has trichotillomania, which means she compulsively pulls out her hair. In her videos, she often shows herself using a Tangle. When she gets the urge to pull, she plays with the Tangle to occupy her hands. She has many different Tangles of all colors and sizes.

I ordered this Tangle from Amazon. Actually, it’s my second Tangle, because the first one fell out of my backpack on the way to class the day it arrived in the mail. Each one costs less than ten dollars (but I still felt awful about wasting the first one). I would really recommend it to anyone struggling with picking/scratching issues.

I can squeeze it, spin it, twist it, and roll it without any damage to my face. Sometimes even just holding it is enough to keep my hand occupied. It has these cool little bumps that I can pick at or rub to replace the scratching sensation. I try to be discrete with it, and none of my teachers have said anything. The key is really remembering to take it with me.

I’m sorry today’s topic isn’t very pleasant. I know that scratching is pretty gross and unhygienic, and it’s probably my compulsion that most disgusts me. Are there any other scratchers out there? How do you cope?

The Importance of Nurture


My little boy has been sick with a stomach virus today.  I am grateful that Jacen has a great immune system (hooray for boobie milk!) so he rarely ever gets sick.  But, stomach bugs seem to catch all of us at some point or another on many occasions during our lives, and even the power of two years’ worth of breastmilk can’t always fight against that particular fate.  Especially when his sister had the bug a few days ago.

So, lots of snuggles today, which I love.  Now, don’t misunderstand.  I am NOT glad that my baby is sick.  I hate to see him miserable, and he’s too young to understand why I am being very stingy with what he can and cannot eat so as to try to minimize the pukies.  In his toddler eyes, though, I am just trying to starve him!  So, he may have some trust issues with me at the moment, but not enough to get out of my lap.  And I love the closeness.  Anyone who has had a toddler boy knows that the chances of them staying still longer than a second and a half at any given moment during the day are nearly nonexistent.  But, while he has still had bursts of playful energy throughout today, for the most part he has been happiest to sit in my lap and read or watch his favorite television shows. These are the times when I get to provide extra comfort and reassurance to my child, which is something that often gets lost in the normal hustle of day-to-day life.  Instead of trying to keep up with him and prevent any injuries, I get to hold him and show love in quieter, more tender ways.  It takes me back to memories of times when my adopted mother rocked me and comforted me during my many, many illnesses of childhood.  It’s true that my mom and I have not had the most loving, healthy relationship, but every time I think of those nights she stayed up with me I can’t help but feel grateful for what she did for me.  It was those times when she proved her love in ways she could not otherwise do.  It was those times when I felt safe and important.  And those memories cover over a multitude of sins in other departments.

I am definitely not saying it’s okay to be a crappy mother except when your kid is sick.  But I know and you know what it’s like to try to be the “perfect” mother and fail so miserably.  Even without a mental illness to muddle up good intentions, there is human error.  I know my children will not have all good memories of me.  But I hope they remember my snuggles.  I hope they remember loving words whispered in their ears right before they drift off to sleep.  I hope they remember that I loved them, every day, the best way I knew how.