You’re Wrong

J,

Right now, at this moment in time, I really want to quit therapy.  I want to text you and tell you that not only will I not be there on Tuesday, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back again.

This isn’t the result of a rupture. You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I think its the opposite of that. You’re doing everything right and I’m still not feeling any better.

I don’t think I’m ever going to get better, no matter what I do. I can’t escape my emotions, I’m just going to cycle through them as long as I continue to exist.

I don’t blame you for this. I blame myself, because I’m simply beyond fixing. You’ve told me you don’t like that word, but what word fits better? I’m broken; my illnesses broke me long ago and I can’t find enough pieces to put myself back together.

We’re trying, but it’s not working. Maybe we are doomed to fail.

I’ve been in this place before, felt stuck before. Many times in fact. But there’s something different about the way I’m feeling lately, the specific brand of hopelessness that I’ve become twisted up in.

You’re trying so hard to get me to see my progress. You’re trying to sell me on this life that I can have, on these goals that you tell me are good goals. You’re so insistent that I can have a happy future.

I know that you feel like this is the truth. You are not intentionally lying to me. Bless you for thinking that I actually have any amount of worth sufficient to muster up some success in this unpredictable, confusing, and scary world.

All the same, I think you’re wrong.

Sometimes, I’m angry at you, even though I don’t want to be. I’m angry with you for having all the things that I want: a job that you’re great at, friendships, a husband, a life. I’m angry with you for being happy. Not just angry, jealous.

Every time you try to reframe something, ask me to see it from a more positive light, I want to scream because I feel like you just don’t get that it just can’t be that way for me. You assume there can a positive spin because you’ve experienced the good things in life. You assume because you’ve achieved it that I can too.

But I wish you’d stop offering me hope, because I don’t think I’m capable of achieving things in the way you think I am.

I am an angry jealous monster and I hate myself for that. I hate myself for getting stuck in the loop of thoughts about how unfair it is that you and so many other people have these things, and I don’t.

Why can’t I just be grateful for the things I do have? Why can’t I just see all those good things you want me to see? Why do I have to feel so strongly to the opposite?

To me, this is all evidence that supports me being the spiteful, fundamentally inept, awful person I believe myself to be. Why won’t you believe me? The more you tell me I’m good, the more you offer me kindness, the more I want to resist it.

You’re wrong. I know you’re wrong about me. It’s like I’m trying to prove it to you.

The problem is that in my head, it just doesn’t add up. I am learning skills that are supposed to improve my quality of life. I am supposed to implement those skills and my symptoms will decrease. This should mean that I can function in an effective manner.

Except, right now, I’m not.

Somehow, it has to be my fault and I feel like you just don’t want to admit it to me. Either I’m not working hard enough when things get tough to remit the emotions and other symptoms, and I need to do more, or I am doing all I can but I’m falling short because the emotions are just going to keep being stronger than me.

If it is the case of the former, why should I be kind to myself in the face of that? Isn’t being kind in absence of using skills just reinforcing me being destructive and feeling miserable?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. It just literally does not make sense to me. Maybe I’m using a case of absolutes again. I sense that might be true, but I can’t be sure.

Like I’ve said in other posts, and during many sessions, I feel like I’ve maxed out on my quota of complaining about the same problems. Let’s be honest, you’ve heard it all so many times. How many times do I have to tell you that I’m thinking about suicide? How many weeks will I recount the same painful emotions? How many times will I find myself in the same situations, battling the same behaviors?

What else can you say in response to me? You’ve taught me what to do and I should be doing it. I feel at this point that you might be at as much of a loss as I am.

And if all this is true, then what are we even doing anymore?

I think of going to therapy and I’m hit with a wave of dread. She’s going to try to get me to see the positives about myself but the good is not enough to compensate for the bad. She doesn’t understand how it could not be enough, but it isn’t and I don’t know how to explain it. 

I don’t know how to make it be enough for me. I want to, I swear I do, but my emotions keep betraying me. They keep swelling with intensity all the damn time.

And then I feel dramatic and whiny for saying that at all.

I’m sorry, because sometimes I can sense that its frustrating for you that I can’t see my progress like you can. You tell me again and again and again, and all I do is argue with you.

Sometimes, I wish you would just give up on me now instead of later.

Of course, I also don’t wish that, because the emotional attachment is so strong at this point that I can’t bear to break it. Because as much as I want to quit right now, I’m terrified of losing you.

Even a slight modification in the typical therapy schedule fucks with my emotional state. I’ve never once successfully cancelled a session. How the hell do I think that I could actually say ‘screw it’ and stop coming to therapy?

You’re the only person who has ever really seen me for who I am and still believed so resolutely that I’m a good person. You listen, empathize, validate, and somehow still make me laugh. You’ve treated me like a person, not just a client, and have been invested in me getting better. Never judging, always encouraging. I didn’t know how much I needed that until I had it. How much I needed you.

But the emotional attachment I feel is equally breaking me.

You expect me to come in every week and be so vulnerable. To talk about the tidal wave of feelings I experience daily. You think that it will help. You want it to help, and so do I. But it hurts. It’s bleeding me dry, to be so brutally honest and feel supported for a brief moment, only to have that come to a crashing halt as the clock strikes a new hour. My emotions don’t operate on a timetable like that. It continues for me, even after I walk out the door.

When I left your office on Thursday, I sat on the floor of the building’s bathroom for almost twenty minutes staring at the wall, trying to will myself to move. All my emotions were at the surface and it was so painful. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole, so that I didn’t have to go back in the world and contain all of it again.

In short, it sucks to keep reliving that.

In that moment, I was angry at you again. For being able to detach and go home while I was in hell. She doesn’t care, I thought, even though I know you do. Replaced by the thought she doesn’t care enough. 

But what would be enough? Caring enough not to leave me alone when I’m as low as I was? Caring enough that you somehow manage to take away all my emotions. Caring enough to fix me?

Nothing is enough for me. That’s on me, not you. It’s not your job to extend your boundaries, which you already do enough of, to help me contain my feelings. You cannot singlehandedly cure me. You can’t be more than you are without it hurting us both. But I can’t figure out how to both recognize these truths and accept them without feeling rejected and alone.

Yet over and over in my mind, the words are on repeat without my consent. She doesn’t care because you pay her. Or she only cares because you pay her. This is not real. This is an artificial relationship produced only by your weekly co-pay. That’s why she wants you to keep coming, so you’ll keep paying her

I feel extreme guilt and shame for these thoughts and feelings. I try to banish them, but they keep coming back. The minions like to feed wherever they find fodder. I’m so embarrassed to admit any of this, because it feels so needy and childish and I don’t want to have these stupid thoughts. 

Anger, primary emotion. Shame, secondary emotion.

What do I do? How do I escape the pit of catch-22’s that I find myself perpetually trapped in? There is no winning for me. The minions will not let me and I don’t know how to escape from it. They’re pushing me away from everything good in my life, and now they’re making me feel like I’m failing at therapy too.

The minions are telling me to quit. Loudly. Repeatedly. Intensely.

I feel like at this point I should just hold it all in and deal instead of talking to you incessantly about my dark and difficult feelings. Maybe that would be more effective for both of us?

Maybe therapy can’t help me, because my BPD makes me therapy resistant. I’m scared that I’m starting to believe it again.

Maybe you’re ready to be rid of me too.

I don’t know. Things have been so tough lately, seemed so bleak, that I feel like I’m going crazy. My thoughts are a fucking mess.

I know this. I believe that you’re wrong about me. I don’t feel like I have enough good, enough worth, and I’ve let it ruin my life beyond any measurable repair. I want to believe you, but I don’t, and it’s just making me hate myself more. Not only do I feel like I’m failing me, but I feel like I’m failing you.

How do I keep coming to therapy if that’s the case?

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Self-Love Challenge Day 31: One Kind Thing

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Well, here we are. The end of the self-love challenge. I began this in January and now half a year later it is finally complete.

This is going to be a very short and simple one. Unfortunately, I am again in a really bad and difficult place. I am having extreme suicidal thoughts that are consuming me. I wish that these episodes weren’t so close together lately, but every few days I tend to get swept up in the storm again.

In this moment, I don’t love myself very much. My disorders are doing all the talking right now. In fact, every time I start to feel even marginally better, the minions take over by reminding me of all the reasons I deserve to only feel like shit.  No, you must not smile or be happy. You are not allowed when you still don’t have a job or a relationship and are basically failing at all the important aspects of life. 

I have followed through on my safety plan every day this week. Sleep, exercise, meditation, writing, and sudoku. Kind thoughts wherever possible. Today, about all I can do is breathe and just be. That’s all I have the energy for. So I may not be able to accomplish all of the things on my list.

In that post, I mentioned what J’s response was when I told her all the things I was doing. If you even do one of those things each day, that’s great. 

That’s the inspiration. How will I love myself every day, even when I don’t always like myself?

One kind thing. 

I am not particularly great at self-kindness. It seems counterproductive to nap when I know I need to run, to play games when I could be writing a post. Sometimes, I’m not sure which of those is the kind thing. Is kindness pushing myself to do what’s good for me or is kindness allowing myself to do none of the things I really don’t want to do?

I think what is kind is what feels manageable. I’m writing this post, that was manageable. I’ll meditate a little later. I’m seeing a friend even though I don’t feel up for it. But what I really need right now is to cuddle the dogs and unplug for a bit. Take a nap. Listen to music.

That’s the kindness I can show myself. A reprieve without guilt. Maybe tomorrow I can show myself kindness through a run.

Value yourself by doing at least one kind thing for you a day. It’s worth the extra effort.

Self-Love Challenge Day 30: Labels (part 2)

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We use tons of words to describe ourselves. Some good, some bad. Some less clear-cut, dependent on the perception of the people you ask.

I use the words daughter, female, young adult, caucasian, heterosexual (mostly), able-bodied, spiritual-ish. These are all objective, not something anyone can disagree with. They shape me, depending on the other persons perspective of each individual label, and they all intersect.

Then there are the words I call myself. Labels that are so automatic, all it takes is a minor screwup and I’m battered with them. I read this somewhere:  “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” It’s a negativity bias. Idiot. Failure. Loser. Pathetic.

These are the ones I need to remove altogether from my vocabulary, but they are the most resistant. Like a tumor that continues to regrow every time its removed.

I can label myself with emotions. Lately, I’m learning to recognize these labels, and say them aloud, as I feel them. On one end, there’s the beautiful feelings: Hopeful, fulfilled, proud, happy, comfortable. On good days, in good moments, I see these. On the other, the painful emotions that often lead me to suffering. Angry, ashamed, envious, anxious, sad. These labels are often co-occuring and they can be consuming.

I found this visual and it seemed to be a pretty good depiction of the two sides of the coin as explained by borderline personality. upward spiral.jpg

Then the personality traits. When encouraged to, I’ve used these words to in the past. Kind. Honest. Responsible. Empathetic. Organized. Persistent. Motivated. Genuine. Generous. Open-minded. Accountable.

You know what I’ve noticed? Many of those has its own negative spin. When honest becomes blunt or is perceived as disrespectful. When empathetic is regarded as too sensitive. When organization gets rebranded as perfectionistic or retentive. When open-minded becomes indecisive.

That’s what I mean when I say it’s all about the way you look at it.

I let the negative spin dominate so often, because I know there are two sides to each coin. I know one person can observe a friend and have a different understanding of who they are than another person does. I’ve lived my life trying to cater to all sides, to be an endless flow of positive labels while suppressing all the negative, both personality and emotional.

It doesn’t work like that, of course.

I’m learning, slowly, to accept the fact that a person can be both. A little bit of the negative does not does erase all of the positive. There is room to be both kind and responsible, but a little indecisive, for example.  A person can be made up of hope and sadness, even in the same minute.

If I acknowledge that, maybe I can remember to put the positive spin on the negative too. To take the negative personality traits I assign myself and find their other side. To turn selfish or needy into self-aware and willing to self-advocate. To remember that impatience often comes from enthusiasm and excitement.

People say that labels don’t define you. That labels are only for jars and boxes. Whether or not its true or fair, labels are a part of our society. We are made up of them. I don’t see that changing, because human beings naturally look to categorize to simplify our lives.

But here is the important thing. The labels themselves are not so simple. So many of those labels are moldable, which means so is the way we view ourselves.  You get to decide how your labels define you.

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Additionally, as a bit of a post-script,I used a the term borderline a few paragraphs ago. I do associate myself with the Borderline Personality Disorder label, as well as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. There is a huge controversy over the pros and cons of diagnosis, because of the way being labeled can both open doors and produce stigma.  You can read about my personal opinion of the label’s impact on me here.

Self-Love Challenge Day 29: Believe

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This is going to be a short post today, because I’m exhausted. I spent time with the kids I used to babysit, who were visiting for the summer. I pushed myself really hard running for the day. I also spent some time with my parents. So nothing in particular has me feeling this way, just a combination of activities. Either way, I’m going to allow myself to be tired and keep it brief.

When I think of words I want to live my life by, this is the first quote that comes to mind. It has been one of my favorites forever now and I think it is the epitome of focusing on the things that brighten your life instead of things than spread darkness. I don’t always enjoy a simple “be positive” platitude, but there’s something about this one that inspires me.

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The other day in one of my posts, I used the phrase my presence is my power. I read that when I was searching for affirmations to put on the cards I have in my self-care box. It has always stuck with me, especially as someone who so frequently toys with the idea of suicide. Despite everything pushing me towards an end, I’m still here and the knowledge of that gives me strength.
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These quotes both reached out and grabbed me immediately. I have always so strongly been a person who believes that everyone needs to be heard and validated. When you deny someone the opportunity to tell their story or negate their experiences simply because you don’t understand, you become a barrier to their healing. You effectively communicate that their problems are insignificant or wrong. You silence them. We need to live in a world where people encourage those stories being told without judgement, because it sets change in motion.

I was a child that loved Winnie the Pooh. If you’ve never heard this one, I’d be surprised. And I don’t think it needs any further explanation.

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loved these next three quotes because I’ve struggled so much with overcoming my rigorous expectations and the desire to be perfect. I can’t live with the parts of me that are needy and flawed.  But we are human, so we are all flawed. I require so many reminders of this.

Speaking of things that I’m working on, I left this comment on a fellow bloggers post recently, because I’ve been repeating it to myself for weeks. I’m so easily guided by my intuition that I forget that its often managed by a disorder that I can’t always control.

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When I was in high school, I talked to my psychology teacher about the issues I was having with depression. I will always remember her using this phrase, telling me I navigate around my problems. I had to go through them. She was right, because until I started facing my issues directly and really delving into them, I repeated the same broken communication patterns and coping mechanisms for too many years.

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Now that I’m working on “getting through”, I am constantly up against situations that test my limits. Stepping beyond them requires inordinate strength and courage that I’m not always sure I have, because I’m fearful of risk. I heard both of these quotes in movies recently (the first in The Greatest Showman and the second in Kung Fu Panda 3, so at least something good came out of watching that with the kids) and I think they’re perfect in addressing all the fears I have surrounding the outcome of risk.

The healing process is slow as hell. Sometimes it can feel like I’m crawling up a mountain, drawing fifteen pound weights behind me. What I try always to remember is that even baby steps are progress and no matter what, I’m still moving. We are all working towards different things and we have to have our own backs in that war.

Having your own back can mean asking for help by the way. In therapy. With friends and family. By taking a break or getting away for a bit. We are not burdens or bad people for self-advocating.

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This post got a little longer than initially planned, but once I started searching I couldn’t stop. I use an app called Pacifica to document my moods and reframe my thoughts. Part of the app is something called a “Hope Board,” where I can store pictures and text that help me claw my way out of the darkness. I had already pulled a few of those to have on my page here. After this post, I am going to go and add some of these, because I don’t think there’s such thing as too much hope.

There are so many things working against me day to day. Borderline Personality Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Major Depressive Disorder. They bring storms of emotions like anxiety, sadness, emptiness, anger, fear, and shame. But guess what? I am still here, milling through it, taking risks, accepting my flaws, and asking for help. Trying to become the person I want to be. I know what tools to use to weather a storm. I also know that the storms always end.

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So if you’re like me, keep sailing. Keep weathering storms. There’s hope all around you.

An Unexpected Vacation

I am housesitting this week, I think I’ve mentioned this. It’s a beautiful house with two awesome and very sweet pups. Just me and my furry pals until Sunday.

This morning, I was sitting out on their porch enjoying the beautiful sunny weather as one of the dogs meandered up the steps. I felt a blissful feeling of calm all the sudden. A slight pinch of joy. Like I was exactly where I needed to be.

It was how I imagine I would feel if I were taking a vacation somewhere.

It’s interesting. I’ve whined and complained and whined some more about how much I want to travel and see the world. Before I moved in for the week, I was sitting there green with envy over the fact that the family I work for has the means to take their third vacation in six months while I would be getting a measly $50 a day to mind the material possessions and animals they’ve left behind while they explore the world. Unfair. That word spins through my mind.

Now that I’m here in this place, I’m finding that I’m really enjoying my time. Sitting out in the sun. Using the amenities of the home. Coming and going freely. Getting cuddled by the dogs. Like I’ve gone away on my own vacation. Except it’s all for free.

Who knew how much I really needed this?

Recently, I’ve been reading in my DBT book about finding evidence for the bigger picture. There was a statement I liked about how a person standing on the street and a person in an airplane can both be looking at the same landscape, but they’re each getting a different view. One narrow, one expansive.

Envy and desire were the street view. That jealousy of what they have. The focus on what I don’t have and what I desperately yearn for.

But there is more than that, if I take the time to see it.  I’ve had the time and energy to prioritize mindfulness and relaxation and enjoyment. I have comfortable space here, to breathe and think and just be. It’s a break from the busy cycle I’m used to. This is an opportunity to discover some of my own personal happiness and capitalize on it.

That’s the plane view, the big picture.

I’m proud of my brain for noticing that all on it’s own! I’m also proud of it for recognizing that I’m getting stuck on the fact that this will not last, while also making a conscious attempt to stay in the present and enjoy the moment.

It may not be Italy or Ireland or any other place on my bucket list, but it’s still a nice getaway.

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Self-Love Challenge Day 28: Role Models

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One person that is a role model for me is the mother of the two kids I babysit, H. I say this because she had a difficult childhood and managed to push past all that and find herself very happy and successful as an adult. She has a beautiful house, a good husband, amazing kids, a lovely network of people around her, and has the means to travel and experience various adventures in life. She seems to be able to focus on the positive and sees her challenges as obstacles that she is motivated to clear.

A second role model is my now former supervisor from my internship. He is a professional and competent manner who approaches ever situation at school with a calm and clear head. I admire how well he knows the legal and ethical principles that we are required to consider in our practice. He is quite fantastic at the job he does, and I hope to be able to do the same.

A third role model is J. We all knew this was coming, didn’t we? I don’t know J outside of the walls of her office, but I think that I have a good sense of who she is as a person based on the way she practices therapy. What I admire most about her is her kindness. She has an uncanny ability to find the good in anything and can very easily reframe any thought that seeks to impose on that silver lining outlook. J is also very skilled in effective communication. Yes, these are the things we would expect of a therapist, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wish to take on these qualities for myself.

I also wanted to consider whether there were any celebrities who I really look up to and want to be like in any way. The first and most immediate person who came to mind was Kristen Bell. The reasons for this are so obvious with a simple google search.

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Kristen is so open and raw about her own personal mental health struggles. She has been a champion of mental health awareness and erasing the stigma. I really admire that despite whatever challenges she battles, she is able to project this goofy and fun demeanor whenever I see her in interviews. Plus, if you’ve never seen her love ballad to her therapist, you’re truly missing out.

What do I have in common with the people I admire? Like H, I am driven and loving. Things have not been easy for me from an emotional standpoint, but I haven’t given up. Like my supervisor, I have a good work ethic and am very organized. This will help me develop the same problem-solving competency as he has currently. Like J, I am kind and empathetic. I have the capacity to reframe, it just doesn’t come as quickly yet. Like Kristen, I am open and honest with others because I don’t believe we should be expected to bury our mental health struggles.

All good things.

I want to stop and make a point here that something I had to remind myself is that a person could still be my role model without being absolutely perfect. I was back and forth on whether a couple of my “role models” should count as such because while there were tons of positives, I wasn’t blind to the negative qualities they have too.

Because they are human. Humans have faults. That’s okay.

Too often, my BPD gets in the way of my relationships by spotting one or two small flaws in the other person or holding onto they have done that made me feel uncomfortable, confused, or irritated. It doesn’t have to be a black-and-white, all or nothing thing. I can really admire and respect most parts of someone, while also knowing that there are aspects of them I do not want to emulate.

This is important to mention because if I am able to remember this about other people, I should be able to remember it about myself too. Perfection isn’t the goal. It’s not a requirement to be a good or respectable person.

I have quite a few of the qualities of the people I admire. It’s a good place to be and I can keep growing myself as a person without the pressure of perfection squashing me to bits.

Maybe one day I will even be a role model to someone else.

 

Self-Love Challenge Day 27: Safety Plan

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I was in a really low place a few days. These are words I’ve written a lot lately, and they always mean different things. Sometimes, a low place is self-harm. Sometimes its thoughts and images of suicide. Sometimes, tears. Sometimes its withdrawing from everything and everyone around me.

The other night, it was looking up painless ways to die.

My future self likely wouldn’t be thanking me for that, because it would mean that at some point there would be no future self. Any choice other than the one I was making in that moment would have been preferable.

Once I got away from the immediate intensity of my emotions, I resolved that if I was going to allow myself to consider a suicide plan then I had to at least put my safety plan into operation alongside it. Take the good with the bad.

So even though I’m still combatting the inner voice that tells me that suicide is a worthwhile and solid option, I am combatting this with a list of positive, healthy decisions that I drew up when I was in a good mental state.

Today, and the rest of this week while I am housesitting, I am actively making a choice to engage in kindness and make the most of this mini vacation. Although being lonely can be a big trigger for me, I think there is something to be gained from having the headspace to think and function in a comfortable, contained environment.

I am making the choice to utilize the safety plan that I drew up weeks ago.

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So far, I have been very good about getting approximately 9 hours of sleep each night. I like to try to climb into bed around 10:30 and roll out of bed around 8:00. Sleeping in a strange house with two barking dogs does not always mean I’m maximizing on that time, but it’s a start. I’m doing okay with eating too, but I could be better about making sure I have three meals.

Coping statements and affirmations are a huge challenge for me in the moment, quite simply because I do not believe them. It feels like a waste of time to make these statements when I’m feeling low, because I feel like I am lying in a sad attempt to pity myself. Like the other day, when J told me if things were not okay, they would be soon and I mentally called her a liar.

A more accurate sentiment would be that my self-defeatist statements are automatic and engrained now, so any and all attempts to challenge them feel awkward and untrue. But that doesn’t mean they are, it just means I need to practice speaking kindly even if it is uncomfortable to do so. Making new pathways in my brain.

Say it with me now…

I cannot change the outcome of the job; I cannot change how I reacted. All I can do is move forward and continue to work towards the outcome I want by making kind and safe choices.  

My presence is my power. I am working hard on getting where I want to be. These feelings are difficult, but I can tolerate and cope with them. I am strong and persistent. It will not always be this hard. 

The release is its own form of a challenge, because the endorphins released from cutting are still the most rewarding in the short term. Running also releases endorphins, except without the inevitable aftershock of guilt and shame. I think I’m almost 3 weeks self-harm free right now and have I mentioned I’m up to running for 13 consecutive minutes on the first interval of my run? Replacement behaviors for the win.My goal this week is to do some kind of exercise every day. I always feel so proud of myself when I’m finished.  I am also working on releasing my thoughts in writing, because WordPress is one of the safest and non-biased places I have to say the things I would normally stuff down. I need to give my thoughts somewhere to go.

Plus, I went to therapy today. I don’t have to tell anyone here about how that can be a major release of pent up emotions.

Let’s talk about relaxation. I’m somewhat surprised to state that I don’t dislike meditation as much as I used to. Completing one 5-10 meditation per day is also on my list of goals for this week. I’ve been using the Calm app and I find the variety of meditations very appealing. I just finished the Winnie the Pooh series and I think I will be moving into a meditation on connecting with your emotions. It might help me with identifying them more proactively instead of getting caught up in the emotion tidal wave. On the topic of relaxation, I’ve also been loving having two super sweet animals around all the time. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to watch TV with a dog passed out on your chest, but it’s like a furry weighted blanket. Very comforting.

Finally, distraction. You’ll see that one of the options I have listed is sudoku. This can occupy me for hours, and I think I’ll spend some time on a sudoku puzzle when I’m done. My friends took me out for my birthday the other night and I have them coming back tomorrow, so they have also proved to be useful means of distraction from my job troubles.

This prompt was technically only about making one choice. J told me today that if I did any one of these things each day, I could give myself a pat on the back. I see her point, but the real choice here is kindness. Kind choices each day that teach me to value myself and keep me safe.

I think my future self will definitely thank me for that.