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Blog 2017-08-30T17:30:57+00:00

What I Fear

What I fear. It doesn't make sense sometimes. It's like my mind finds the thing that I am terrified of and laughs at me. It taunts me and tells me I am going to die, I hurt someone's feelings, I did something wrong or nobody loves me. These are real legitimate fears, and I don't want them to be true. My mind is my enemy and sometimes I want to fight it hard. But that's what I work on by conquering fears, by exposing myself to them in therapy. Fear is real, but it isn't. That's so strange, right? When you are afraid of something, it feels like there is something that you need to protect yourself from. I worry obsessively about what safeguards I need to take. If I'm dying, do I need to take more vitamins? That doesn't make sense but my brain thinks it is helping me. Stop it, brain! You are not helping. You are making me feel more out of control. I'm not into it. I'm not feeling you. I want to run far away from your nonsense. I often imagine a world  in which I was not afraid, an alternate universe where everything is pleasant and [...]

By | May 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on What I Fear

You can’t live in the future when you’re stuck in the past

I'm writing this for you. I've written it and deleted it several times. I'm afraid to say what I want to say. I'm always scared, but I say what I want to say anyway. I'm not frightened of what we are as opposed to what we were. I embrace it. There are wounds, there's messiness, there are things that don't make sense. It doesn't have to make sense. Stop trying to think your way out of something that is emotional. Logic doesn't get you anywhere when it comes to feelings. I don't ignore what's in front of me, that's not who I am. Usually, I'm about guidance. But it's not getting me anywhere this time. Therapist or psychiatrist, what's the difference? Shoemaker or corner store cashier? I don't care. They don't know the answer. I'm stronger than I've been behaving. That person, that wasn't me. I'm tired of saying "I'm sorry." I want to erase what went wrong. I was afraid of the thing that I wanted the most. I am sorry about that, but I've already said that. I'm not afraid anymore. I remember who I am.  I'm writing this for me, who I am, I know her. She is [...]

By | May 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on You can’t live in the future when you’re stuck in the past

I Blame You

I blame you for what you did. Whatever it was, you're wrong. I don't care if I had a part in it. It's 100 percent your fault. Despite what anyone including my therapist says, it isn't in any way whatsoever related to my choices. It was all you; you're selfish, you're mean, you held a carrot above my head and pretended it was a salad. It was a disappointing salad because it was just a carrot. Why did you lie to me? You're a liar. Again, it's entirely your fault. I did nothing; there are no shades of gray. There is only black and white. Nope, not even two colors. There's only one color and it's blue. I refuse to play a role in this situation, this dynamic. I'm infallible, not capable of doing wrong, majestic, and I sit on my throne with a cheese sandwich. You can't have any of it. You didn't share your ice cream sandwich with me, which once again makes you entirely in the wrong. I do everything right. I don't know if you're aware but I'm a beautiful person who never gets food stains on her dress and I always brush my teeth. I [...]

By | May 15th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Blame You

The Anxiety Cage

Is it me or is it anxiety? I can't tell. I'd like to say I knew the difference, but that wouldn't be true. Anxiety has a way of holding my mind in a trap. It can't get out or even move. It wonders and obsesses over one thought over and over again, a feedback loop, needing an escape. It wants to breathe, to move on, get out of that trapped place, but it can't. Anxiety won't set my mind free. Instead, it lingers over the cage, dangling the key, taunting my mind. It wants me to know that it won't relent or give me a chance to catch my breath. It won't excuse me so I can use the restroom. I just want to sit in the stall, hiding. Not even using the bathroom. It's so quiet in there, but I don't get that break. I'm listening to the same words of the same line of the same thought repeating over and over again, haunting me. Is this what I feel or is it anxiety? It's anxiety, but anxiety has convinced me that it's how I feel. But how I feel is afraid, frozen, waiting to find the answers to [...]

By | May 15th, 2018|Categories: Anxiety|Tags: |Comments Off on The Anxiety Cage

I Want to Renew Myself Like a Library Book

I want to renew myself like a library book. I'm tired, I'm not done reading myself, and I definitely need more time. But, I also need some care. My pages are worn and...you know what? This analogy isn't working for me. Let's try another one: I want to publish an updated version of myself, volume 2,3,4, or maybe even 7. Is it a different color? I'm not sure. I know that I'm outdated and I need a tuneup. No, that's not working for me either, not the right literary comparison. What am I trying to say here? I guess that's the point. I'm burnt out, tired, I want to sleep for 87 days. There's too much, my head is hanging low, I want a nap, but I just keep going like the Energizer bunny. Is that life? It probably is. I want the chance to feel new again, have someone heal me, or fix me. That doesn't exist though, because we have to heal ourselves. Even if we're seeing someone else, the onus to get better fall on you and me. Whoever is reading this, I believe you can heal. There have been so many times in my life where [...]

By | May 10th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Want to Renew Myself Like a Library Book

How Are You? I’m Fine. No I’m Not. I Just Got My Period.

When someone asks me how I am, I usually give an honest answer. If I'm not okay, I say something like "having a hard day." But typically I tend to overshare and say something that makes the person laugh, even if it's surprising or seeming inappropriate. "How are you?" "Well, I just got my period, so I'm doing great!" Sarcasm goes a long way with folks. Life is hard sometimes and making people laugh is something I enjoy doing. So if you ask me how I'm doing, be prepared for an honest answer. I might not even know what's going to come out of my mouth, but hey, that's the fun of life. Keep the people guessing and use humor when possible. As a Jew, I tend to use a self-deprecating sense of humor. Making fun of myself somehow brings me joy. It's good to have a sense of humor about one's flaws, because if you can't laugh at yourself then you might not know who you are well enough. Then there are times when I don't feel like oversharing. Maybe I'm going through a rough time and I want to forget about it for five minutes since I've been [...]

By | May 9th, 2018|Categories: Deep Thoughts|Tags: , |Comments Off on How Are You? I’m Fine. No I’m Not. I Just Got My Period.

Depression Sucker Punches You

Remember Mike Tyson's Punch Out for Nintendo? There were different opponents to beat. Each boxer was harder to conquer than the next. There was that King Hippo with the big belly. You punched him right in the stomach and defeated him. When I think about depression, and how it comes out of nowhere, I remember King Hippo. He probably wasn't expecting to be socked in the belly, but it happened. Sometimes depression does that, the sucker punch I mean. You think that things are going along just fine and all of a sudden, BOOM! Depression comes out of absolutely nowhere and that hurts. It's not fun, it's intense, and it can be overwhelming. Nobody wants to feel like that voluntarily. Yeah, depression sucks, and it can come out of seemingly nowhere. But, it's also treatable. You might not necessarily have control over how long it lasts or how severe your depressive episode is. But, there are ways to manage depression even if it does sucker punch you. The thing depression wants you to do the most is stay silent. You don't have to listen to it. You can talk about what you're going through, speak to your friends, your therapist, [...]

By | May 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Depression Sucker Punches You

Failing is Succeeding

We all fail. We all stumble, fall on our faces, try hard to do something that explodes in the worst way possible. You might have labeled yourself a "failure" or a "loser." I'm guilty of doing this. Failure can feel intense to me and I adopt it temporarily as part of my identity. It's not that I actually believe that I'm a permanent disaster because I don't. But it's frustrating to want something badly and have it not work out the way I envisioned. It's probably my perfectionism that's activated when I don't accomplish what I set out to do. In reality, we don't succeed at every single thing we intend to do. That's not the way that life works. Life is series of disappointments followed by successes. There's no way to tell which project you try will work or what you'll succeed at. Wouldn't that be great if there was? There are professionals that can guide you along the way and help you accomplish your goals. When you fail, it hurts. It's hard to not take it personally like it was a deficit in your character that made the failure happen. You didn't try your best, you weren't focused or dedicated [...]

By | May 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Failing is Succeeding

Sharing Secrets about OCD

It takes a while for me to open up; share what's inside of me. I have to feel like I am in safe space, able to be who I am. One of the safest places I can think of is my therapist's office, sitting on her couch. Sometimes it's embarrassing admitting what I'm dealing with, trying to cope with or avoid. There isn't much I can do but hang on sometimes. One of the hardest things to do is manage OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Ruminating over the same thought over and over again makes my brain hurt. The worst is when the thoughts cause me to feel shame or the compulsions make me embarrassed. I don't want to feel like there's something "wrong" with me, but that's what OCD tries to convince us. It wants us to think we are defective or wrong. It believes that it has power or can control what I think or do. The thing about OCD that is the most harmful is that it tries to get you to hide your symptoms. It doesn't want you to get better so it tells you that you'd better cover up your weird thought patterns. You shouldn't think [...]

By | May 1st, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sharing Secrets about OCD

I’ll Have a Depression Sandwich Please

Nobody goes to the store and orders a depression sandwich because nobody wants to be depressed. So why would you spend your time standing in line waiting to order something that makes you feel bad? You wouldn't, however, sometimes you don't even realize that you've had a depression sandwich. Did somebody force feed it to you? Not that you're aware of. But all of a sudden you are incredibly depressed and you don't know why. Can you imagine if you went to a restaurant, ordered spaghetti and meatballs and you were served salmon and rice? That would be strange and you would probably complain (nicely) to your waiter. What if your waiter then came back with "sorry, you're just going to have to deal with the salmon I gave you." That would be weird and also frustrating and you might even become enraged. That is what people who suffer from depression feel like. For me, when I feel depression coming on I get angry at first. Not this again! I thought it was over, why do I have to deal with this garbage again? Depression does not care about what you want, if you ordered it, if you asked for [...]

By | April 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’ll Have a Depression Sandwich Please

In the 4th grade I was a conflict manager

In the fourth grade and my elementary school they offer a program where kids could become conflict managers. I wanted to be a part of this. The goal was to be a peer mediator on the playground. We learned about using “I Messages” to communicate our feelings. For example “I feel angry when you don’t listen to me.” I was trained as a conflict manager, which (as I said) is l similar to a peer mediator. Our goal as conflict managera during recess was to walk around and look for children that we’re having disagreements  with each other; we would stop them and ask if they needed a conflict manager to help. Most of the time surprisingly they would say yes. The way we handled these arguments was quite simple. We would ask one person to tell their side of the story and then we would ask them to use an “I message” to communicate to their friend (who they were having a fight with) how they were feeling. The other party was then asked to repeat back (paraphrase) what they heard using the expression “so what I’m hearing you say is ___.” They would put forth their interpretation of what they [...]

By | April 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on In the 4th grade I was a conflict manager

Love is Dangerous

Here I am listening to a Blink 182 song where Tom is repeating "love is dangerous" over and over again. I could not agree more, Tom. Love is dangerous. When you feel that deeply, that intensely, it's hard for you to see clearly. You can't control who you love or why you love them. The heart wants what it wants. Not being able to control your connection to another person is difficult. It would be amazing if you could turn the "love light switch" off. But it doesn't work that way. When I love someone, I fall head first into that love. My heart opens and I reveal my vulnerability. Once I feel safe and I connect with a man, which takes me some time to do, I will show him exactly who I am. The times that this has actually happened to me are rare when I fully revealed who I was. When I did this, when I was able to freely be myself, I did it without thinking, which is never a good thing to do regardless of the context. However, logic and love don't go together well. They don't because love doesn't care about logic. You can [...]

By | April 26th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Love is Dangerous

Do Kids Really Need Therapy?

When I was three, I went to see a play therapist. I don't remember much of what happened during those sessions. What I do recall is that the therapist was kind and warm. She sat back and observed me playing with action figures. The reason I was there (my parents told me later) was that I was profoundly introverted in nursery school. My teachers told them that I needed to learn more social-emotional skills. My social skills were underdeveloped to the point that the instructors recommended that I stay an extra year in nursery school. This way I could get more practice with making friends and interacting with other kids. Still, here I was in therapy as a child. I was seeing a therapist because someone, maybe one of my teachers, believed I should see a mental health professional. Thinking about this now, it seems funny to me. I was only three and having trouble talking to other children. I didn't have a severe developmental delay in speech or gross motor development. I wasn't on the autism spectrum and I didn't experience trauma (to my knowledge) at that age. So I'm wondering, was therapy actually necessary? I have no clue whether it [...]

By | April 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Do Kids Really Need Therapy?

Ready Player Sarah Fader

I recently saw the film Ready Player One, which is based on a book about a virtual reality world where people are different versions of themselves. In this world, you can be whoever you see yourself as. If you are gawky and pimply in "real life" you can be a supermodel in this virtual world. When you watch the film, you are continually wondering what the characters look like in the "real world" outside of virtual reality. Virtual reality is becoming increasingly popular in our generation, and not just for fun, but it is also used as a therapeutic modality. I never imagined that visiting a fictitious land where you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever it is you want to do would actually evolve into a therapy session. It makes sense that entering into an alternate universe would be a freeing experience. One of the things that people tend to find difficult about therapy is that it's hard to open up about your problems. If you're experiencing emotional pain, you don't necessarily want to let it all out at once. It can hurt. So, if you are placed into an alternate/virtual reality, it might be a [...]

By | April 24th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Ready Player Sarah Fader

Finding the Help I Need

There have been times when I have been at a loss as to what was going to help me. I was depressed, having passive suicidal ideation, and feeling like things just weren't getting better. My panic attacks were daily, and nothing seemed to help. I tried everything from going to a Reiki healer to an acupuncturist. I saw a variety of different therapists including gestalt, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic ones. Nothing seemed to work. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Was it me or was it the therapy or both? I wasn't getting better and I needed to, desperately, but that isn't the way getting well from mental illness works. It wasn't like I could just snap my fingers and make things okay. In psychodynamic therapy, I was asked to recount my childhood trauma that could be influencing depression. I didn’t like rehashing my past and I wasn’t a fan of doing hippie dippy new age stuff entirely to make things better. I like hippie dippy new age stuff but it’s not the end all be all solution to mental wellness. I remember searching through my insurance provider's handbook and calling around to different therapists and asking what kinds of therapy [...]

By | April 22nd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Finding the Help I Need
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