I Work on Relationship Goals in Individual Therapy

I'm talking about myself  When you go to therapy, usually you talk about yourself. You're more likely to work on your personal goals in individual therapy rather than problems with your partner. I've been thinking about whether or not you can improve your relationship by talking about it with your therapist. I talk about a variety of issues in therapy; some have to do with me alone, while the others are about the people in my life. I've been to couple's counseling before, but in individual therapy, issues have come up with my partner. When I discuss my relationship challenges with my therapist, I set goals for myself as to what I want to happen in the long term. Asking my therapist for feedback Before I talk to my partner about a problem I'm having, I sometimes discuss my feelings with my therapist so that I understand the issue better. When I talk to him, I want to be prepared to articulate my feelings in a truthful way that he can understand. My goal is validation, and I want him to listen to my concerns. By doing the preliminary work in individual therapy, I gain emotional insight into how I feel, and [...]

By |October 15th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Work on Relationship Goals in Individual Therapy

I’m a Neurotic Jew

I am a Jewish woman and I am neurotic. I was raised in New York City, which makes me even more neurotic. I’m a worrier. I’m always concerned about what could happen and I frequently engage and catastrophizing. I worry so much that I could get a medal. My anxiety is next level.  There are stereotypes about Jewish mother is being neurotic. And I fit every single one. I love my kids and I worry about them. A Jewish mother's "hobby" is to worry. If you can call it a hobby, I guess. It’s not that I like to worry. It’s that I can’t help myself. Obsessing about things is so natural to me that once I start, I can’t stop. It isn’t necessarily fun, but I’m used to it by now because I’ve been this way for my entire life. Even as a child, I was a worrier. I didn’t know what neurotic meant, but I heard my parents use the word all the time. I came to think of the term "neurotic" as an eccentricity. I am quirky and part of my idiosyncrasies are that I have anxiety. Anxiety isn’t fun, but it is a part of what I [...]

By |October 12th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m a Neurotic Jew

Compulsions Can Be Dangerous

Compulsive behavior is disruptive but there's more... Compulsions are not as benign as you might think, or as I thought. I live with OCD which means that I have ruminating thoughts. I struggle with checking to see if my keys and my wallet in my bag over and over again. It takes a toll on my brain and my body. I find myself physically and emotionally exhausted. I want to crawl into an OCD hole and cry sometimes. But I have to keep moving with my day. What helps? Mindfulness, breathing, telling myself something I learned from the book "Brain Lock," which is to identify that my symptoms or discomfort are a result of OCD. It's not my fault, I have a brain that repeats, like a skipping CD or record (oh yeah I brought it back there). Rituals and OCD My OCD is strange because I also have ADHD so my rituals get interrupted because I’m distracted. I’m trying to find my keys for 45 minutes and then once I get them in  then I spend another 20 minutes making sure they’re still in there. This ritual is annoying but it’s benign. I'm not going to hurt anyone by [...]

By |October 9th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Compulsions Can Be Dangerous

Listen to me, and I’ll listen to you

Listen to Me When I'm feeling emotional, all I want is for people to listen to me. It's upsetting when  I express my feelings, and the person on the other end doesn't respond; it hurts. The more I feel they're ignoring me, the louder I get. I feel like I’m screaming my emotions, not literally but passionately expressing myself and the individual isn't hearing me. Silence is deadly  I know that I talk a lot. Sometimes listening to myself exhausts me. I can't decode through each one of my racing thoughts, but I'm getting somewhere, I swear. When I’m expressing myself passionately, I want the other person to echo what I’m saying. I need them to give me feedback so that I know that they’re listening. I don’t like to talk to myself;  I feel like I’m on stage reciting a monologue. It feels like the silence on the other end of the conversation is stonewalling. I'm fearful at the moment because there have been times in my life when I've been stonewalled. People have denied what I was feeling. I felt alone, and yet I was with another person in the same room. I never want to feel that [...]

By |October 6th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Listen to me, and I’ll listen to you

Being Brave and Facing Medication That’s Not Working

I can't count how many medications I've tried Since I was 18, I've been on a plethora of medications, psychiatric medicines, and the list is incredibly long. When I saw my first psychiatrist, I started on Prozac, which is a standard choice for someone who has anxiety and depression. It worked for a while and then stopped working. I've been on a variety of different medications since that time, and unfortunately, since they're still perfecting the art of psychiatric medicine, they've been tweaked over the years. Even talking about being on all these different medicines makes me feel anxious. What if something is wrong with me because I'm relying on psych meds? I know this is my anxiety brain talking, but it still scares me. All medications are monitored If I were taking any medication other than psych meds, it would be monitored, such as insulin or blood pressure medicine. Psych meds are the same, they need to be managed by a professional, and there's nothing wrong with that. But, the stigma of taking something that makes me less "crazy" hurts me and makes me feel shame. Why can't I manage my symptoms "on my own?" Maybe I'm defective, and [...]

By |October 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Being Brave and Facing Medication That’s Not Working

Loving Yourself Myself Isn’t Easy

I annoy myself It might sound weird, but sometimes I annoy myself. I know I'm engaging in a behavior that is irritating, and yet I keep doing it. My OCD makes me repeat myself often, and it annoys my friends and family. I don't want to keep saying the same thing over and over, but there's a reason for it. I feel like the person isn't hearing me. And it's not like saying it 300 times is going to make them listen to me any better but it somehow seems like it will. Part of my fear is that my feelings aren't valid. I know this isn't rational, but I still feel this way. It's frustrating that my brain is eating itself and trying to make me believe that I don't matter, which leads me to my next question, do I love myself? Do I love me? That's a good question. I suppose it depends on the day. Today, I'm frustrated with myself. Tomorrow, maybe I'll see things differently. There are days when I can see my value; I notice what my good qualities are and what I add to the world. Then there are other days when I feel [...]

By |October 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Loving Yourself Myself Isn’t Easy

I’m Not Always Right

My opinions are powerful I have strong opinions. Whether I verbalize them or not, I feel passionate about my stance on various issues, and it shows when I debate things with my friends or my partner. What I'm realizing is that my opinion isn't the only one. I need to listen to others so that I can view things from alternate perspectives other than mine. It's difficult when I get locked into my viewpoint. I want to convince the other person that I'm right, I see things clearly, and I'm determined to get the person to follow my lead. I'm stubborn, but I know I'm not omniscient. I struggled with my obstinant behavior, and I'm learning what to do next. Mindfulness and ADHD I tend to interrupt people when I don't agree with their opinions, but that's not productive to a back and forth discussion. It's hard to curb the impulse to interrupt, but I'm working on ways to stay in the moment, take a deep breath, and listen to what the other person is telling me. They're allowed to have a differing opinion from mine. Two diverse perspectives can exist, and there's validity to both of them. When I have [...]

By |September 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m Not Always Right

I Don’t Want My Kids to Remember Me Working

I work hard as a single mother, and it's difficult to stop working, even for a moment. Whether it's preparing food for my kids, sitting at the computer writing articles, helping my daughter with her homework or teaching my son multiplications tables, which (by the way) he knows well know. I was impressed! Other than the parenting I do, I'm continually chasing freelance writing gigs, and working my day job, which thankfully is a remote writing gig. I'm so grateful that I can work from home, but honestly- working from home is work. People need to realize that I'm always thinking about my job, considering what I'm doing on a given day, how much I can manage and I want to please my co-workers even if I'm not sitting in a cubicle near them. What do my kids see? My kids see me, probably, as a hard worker, but they also watch me on the computer a lot. I'm writing into the night hours, trying to think of creative ideas for my side jobs, or finishing up an article for my day job. I'm lucky that I get to do what I love, but I worry about the balance between work [...]

By |September 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Don’t Want My Kids to Remember Me Working

I’m Trying to Focus

What a day to think about focusing. My brain is all over the place, as it usually is with ADHD. I'm trying to write and I keep getting distracted by all the things I want to do, all the creative endeavors I want to embark upon and can't get accomplished. It's a balance, but when I'm flooded with ideas, I want to see which ones stick. I want to try them out, throw them into the universe and see which ones people want to connect with and want to pay attention to because I never know what will work. But that's not what I need to do. I need to focus on what's in front of me. As much as it hurts my brain I need to do that. Living with ADHD is so challenging. It interferes with my everything, it shows me what I can't do more than what I can. Too often it can leave me feeling down, deficient and like a failure. But, then there are days when my hyperfocus makes me feel like a superhero. I feel like I can do anything, and it's amazing. I write an article at warp speed. The words flow out [...]

By |September 26th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I’m Trying to Focus

The Box is Open But You Don’t Have to Look At Everything Inside

Down in the dark Imagine you're in the basement and you come across an old worn box. It looks as if it's been there for potentially years. Open the box slowly. You can start by ripping the tape off and look inside. See what's in there and pick one object. It could be an old notebook whose pages are worn. Maybe it's missing the majority of its pages. You know that you should toss it, but there's something nostalgic about it. You want to remember the time you bought it. Then it hits you, an ex-boyfriend gave it to you, and that breakup ended badly. You're struggling to throw the notebook away, but your hands won't do it. I've held that notebook many times, and it was hard for me to let it go. I looked at the yellowed pages and cried, hoping they would show me something, anything, that told me whether to dispose of it or hang on to the thing. Eventually, I threw it out, but sometimes a page whips past me, hits me in the face, and I remember fragments of something that once was. You've opened a box of emotions   When you confront trauma, there [...]

By |September 25th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Box is Open But You Don’t Have to Look At Everything Inside

Facing What’s Not Working

Fear I'm terrified right now. I've come to a point where I realize that certain things in my life just aren't working. I've been in denial, fooling myself that I can do everything. But no one can please everyone all the time. The more I try to over-exert myself, the less I get done. The more promises I make where I over-promise, the more pacts I break. I don't want to be this way. Sometimes I have great ideas, and sometimes my thoughts (when I execute them) don't work out. I'm not blaming or shaming myself. Don't get me wrong; I'm not blaming myself or placing all the responsibility on me for choices that don't come to fruition. I'm looking at what causes me pain and attempting to tweak that so that I'm making better decisions than I have in the past. I can't know what the future is going to bring, and there are times where I'll think that something is a smart decision at that moment, but it burns me. I'm not going to blame myself, but instead, take responsibility for my actions. Self-loathing Versus Personal Responsibility I tend to beat myself up, say things like "I hate [...]

By |September 24th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Facing What’s Not Working

What can you learn from how a child plays

What can you learn from how a child plays Talking to himself My son talks to himself when he plays with his Legos. He's been talking to himself while playing since he was small and he still does this at 10. The sound of his voice eases my brain; it's familiar, calming and soothes my mind. It makes me happy to see him engaged and content. He's in his safe place, making his tiny men come to life, and acting out his feelings. We also play together. He loves to strategize and beat me at chess. Lately, he's into playing Stratego and talks about the Napoleonic War, which he learned about by playing the computer game, Roblox. My daughter prefers dramatic play rather than board games. She's got a wild imagination and comes up with wacky ideas on the spot. I love her spontaneity and exuberance. She's adept at creating imaginary scenarios like a pretend hair salon, a fashion show, or movie set. Her dramatic play is a lot of fun and I love the ideas she comes up with. She likes to film videos where we tour her room or where we act out situations with her littlest pet shop [...]

By |September 20th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on What can you learn from how a child plays

Do we speak the same language?

Relationships are Bizarre Relationships are weird. You connect with a person that you see often, and sometimes you're on the same page, while other times, you're reading Emily Dickinson and the other person is reading the Encyclopedia Britannica. Why are people so complicated? I don't know, and frankly, I don't care. Sometimes I want to be understood. Is that too much to ask? When you're working hard to get the other person to see your perspective, it's exhausting. It feels like an emotional trip to the gym. I don't like exercising, in case you haven't noticed. But anyway, there are good times. When your partner acknowledges your feelings even if he doesn't agree, that's a win. You see things her way also though you want to punch a wall because you've heard the same argument 800 times, and you want to stop talking about it. These are triumphs when you're with someone you care deeply about, and both of you win. Is it worth it? When things are hard, you may find yourself wondering: is it worth it? Do I stay in this relationship? Only you know the answer to that question. Sometimes love isn't enough to make things work. It [...]

By |September 19th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on Do we speak the same language?

You Don’t Have to Understand Your Family – You Can Accept Them With Help

I'm writing this article because I want people to understand how helpful and life-changing family counseling can be. It's not just sitting around talking about feelings with your family; it's finding ways to solve extremely complicated problems. It's beginning to heal relationships that you can't fix without intervention by a trained mental health professional. There's nothing wrong with you if you're having problems remedying a relationship with your parent, sibling or even a grandparent. That's why family counseling exists, and it's an option when can't seem to fix your problems with the ones you love. Family relationships are complicated  Family dynamics are complicated; there's no doubt about that. I've struggled with trying to change people, trying to make others see my way of looking at things. I can point to many instances where I've butted heads with my parents either individually or collectively because they didn't see it "my way." And the truth is, they don't have to see it my way. There are times when they won't see it my way whatsoever, and as much as I try - my dad might be stubborn in his opinion. I might have a point I need my mom to understand but, [...]

By |September 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on You Don’t Have to Understand Your Family – You Can Accept Them With Help

I Want to Dispose of My Anger

It's not mine When I wrote the title of this post, I thought "I don't want it to be mine." I'm angry, but I don't want that anger. I don't want anything to do with an emotion that causes people to act unpredictably, say hurtful words, break things, and cause potentially irreparable damage to relationships. When I get angry, I feel ashamed of myself. I consider what I could have done differently. I think about ways to avoid feeling an emotion that pushes me to my limit, frustrates me and hurts. When I'm mad, I don't know what to do with it. There's nothing to do One of the mistakes that I make and many others do as well is trying to fix emotions. Emotions aren't rational, and what you can do is experience them, work through them and find a way to accept what you feel so that it passes. Sadness, anxiety, and anger all feel overpowering to me, and I'd like to reject them as soon as they're a glimmer in my eye. But I can't control what emotions come into my consciousness, all I can control is how I manage them. I hate anger and I want to [...]

By |September 18th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Comments Off on I Want to Dispose of My Anger
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