bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for January, 2011

Post It Note Tuesday, January 25

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Look What I Found!

Ever find a note left inside a library book? (Sometimes the note is more interesting than the book itself!)

I love to read other people’s notes. Not people I know, necessarily, but just random notes. I think about what the story is behind those notes. I wonder if the recipient got the note, or if it was misplaced before anyone even received it.

Now, I found a site just for people like me, and I don’t even have to leave the house to read the notes!

Check out Found Magazine online! So much fun. There are lists of “what to do when in Las Vegas,” short notes to mom that will make you laugh, pros and cons lists, etc.

I love this site even more because people write where they found the notes. A Hobby Lobby parking lot, an old desk bought at a thrift store, and this was the explanation for a picture of two boys that was posted: We found this while cleaning out under our couch cushions one day. Nobody in my family has ever seen either one of these kids in our lives. We have no idea how this picture got into our couch.

I hope you will enjoy the site as much as I do. Well, maybe not as much as I do, because then you’ll be wasting as much time as I am!

(Oh, and sometimes (as with most things on the internet) the notes are not always “family-friendly” so proceed with caution, but I would say 90% is fine and dandy, and just plain fun.)

Whoaaa….Dude…

I can’t tell you how much time I spent playing with this website.  It was mesmerizing and just plain fun.

It is supposed to trigger and develop your imagination.

Cool.

What a Chore…

The other night Karen had a friend over, and we pulled out a card from a conversation starter box. The card said, “What chore do you dislike the most?”  Our guest responded, “Vacuuming because it takes so long.” Both Karen and Mark said loading and unloading the dishwasher Because that’s our only chore!”

Yep. Other than doing their own laundry and helping set/clean off the table once in awhile, that is all they are required/asked to do. I felt kind of funny about that, though. They are 12 and 15. Am I doing them a disservice by not giving them more responsibility?

My problem with divvying up the chores is this:  I’m a stay-at-home mom. I can’t get a job due to my bipolar issues, so the chores are what I do when I’m at home. If I had a job outside the home, then I could see giving everyone chores to do. But, I’m not, so isn’t it my job to do that cleaning stuff?

I don’t make them keep their rooms spotless because I really do think that they ought to be able to have their room as they want it. I can always shut the door. If it gets too crazy, though, I do make them clean it.

I haven’t discussed this with Tom, but I’ve really been thinking about this the last couple of days. I don’t want to raise irresponsible kids who become helpless adults.

I’d appreciate any feedback you may have. I might not take it, but bring it on!

Post It Notes on Jan 11

Post it note Tuesday

Increase Your Self-Esteem!!! Not.

I admit that I want to still add “not” to the end of a remark that is so off-base. But that is so 90s. (or 80s. whichever it is, it is passe.)

When I was in the outpatient program at Edgewood after my trip to the loony bin, the counselor there suggested I read and complete the book Ten Days to Self-Esteem by  Dr. David D. Burns. In fact several of the clients were carrying one around.

It’s kind of like a workbook. And, if you did a lesson a day, then, supposedly your self-esteem skyrockets. Well, maybe not skyrocket, but increases.

Misleading premise #1. You aren’t supposed to do a lesson a day. Two a week is recommended. So now we are talking ONE MONTH to Self-Esteem. But that’s just not as catchy.

Misleading premise #2. The cover says I’ll discover the secrets of joy in daily living!  Woo hoo! Yeah, I know joy, and this ain’t it.

Misleading premise #3 (and the final one). I will learn how to defeat depression. (Wow! That’s some book!)

Now, I was truly gung-ho on doing this book. After all, who doesn’t need to boost their self-esteem? Many of you that know me personally probably think I don’t have an issue with self-esteem. Well, it’s tough to have clinical depression and feel great about yourself. (He doesn’t mention that, by the way. He really doesn’t address clinical depression. Even though, he promises to help me learn to defeat it! (see premise #3)) News flash, Dr. Burns: Defeating my depression involves a treatment program that I’m going to write a book about. Better Living through Chemicals-Lose the Embarrassment and Win Back Your Life! Lines are open 24 hours a day, and operators are standing by to take your order!

Somehow, I got off track there. I was gung-ho on doing the workbook.  I did the first chapter and actually thought it was going to be awesome! I was to fill out a survey each time about my depression, anxiety, and relationship satisfaction, and hopefully the numbers would improve.

After I was released from the outpatient program, I kind of put the book aside and did my best to start enjoying life.

Yesterday, I got the book out again, thinking, “I haven’t done anything with that book for quite awhile. I’ve got some time. Why not?”

I did the daily survey, numbers had improved, so far so good.

Then, the questions required me to “picture a time when you were sad or discouraged, blah blah blah.” Okay. I stopped for a moment. Then, I relived my past hospitalization. I started feeling worse. Next step: “List several of your bad feelings here.” (He was kind enough to provide a list for us, in case we had no idea what our feelings were.) Now, I’m sinking into a hole…But, fear not, friends! I was bound and determined to get back to feeling better! On with the next step!

The Stick Figure Technique!

(Okay, now I’m laughing at how funny that sounds. Again, Dr. Obvious came up with an idea that takes up two pages of this fascinating book!) He has a stick figure with a frown and we are supposed to make up some negative thoughts that explain why the stick figure is unhappy. Now, mind you, I took this very seriously. Then, I started to feel really crappy. Not unlike Mr. Stick Man. I pushed on. (still looking like Mr. Stick Man. But fatter.)

I turn the page to see this giant chart where I am supposed to describe a time that triggered certain emotions and what kinds of thoughts lead to that emotion. Guilt or shame, frustration, anger, anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness and discouragement.

“I’ll take GUILT OR SHAME for 100, Alex.”

I started writing the answers for guilt or shame and could barely pick up my pen. I was feeling so down.

I slammed the book shut and said, in my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, “Tomorrow is another day!” (It was an excellent Scarlett voice, by the way.)

But, I’m not going to do the workbook another day. Who needs to relive a very painful time of their lives?

“Bye bye, self-esteem workbook! You suck.”  (Scarlett didn’t say that, but if she’d read this book, she would have.)

 

Tough Times

My favorite time of year is over.  Bummer. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is my smiling time. There is always something to look forward to.

It starts out on Christmas Eve. Dinner with the folks, then off to church, then back home to open presents. This year we didn’t go to church because of the snow. We stayed home and had our own service. Each person chose a Christmas song, and Tom read the Christmas story from the Bible. It was pretty neat, actually.

Then CHRISTMAS DAY! This is my favorite part of my favorite part of the season. We drove down to Marshfield, MO (which we have done as long as I can remember. Unless someone was sick) to be with my extended family on my mom’s side. We always have a great time. Lots of laughing, lots to eat, and lots of love.

The day after Christmas means lunch with several kinds of soup at my aunt’s house. Then we are off to visit Tom’s side of the family. His brother lives in Springfield, so we stopped there first and visited with them and met baby Charlie! After that, we headed to Tom’s mom’s in Joplin. As always, she fixed a delicious meal. No one makes mashed potatoes as good as she does.

The next day we head home for some rest and relaxation, since Tom almost always takes the rest of the days off until the new year.

New Year’s Eve means a wonderful party that our family is invited to hosted by our friends at church. We have a great time playing games, and of course, eating. Now that our kids are old enough, they play games with us, or go off and play other games on their own. This year the “new game” was Just Dance 2. Hilarious, and fun. Yes, of course, I played. Those young whippersnappers nearly wore me out. I may have to get that game just to get some exercise. It’s not as complicated as DDR.

New Year’s Day is a day to relax and enjoy the last day off. (At least most years. This year we got another day, but you know what I mean.) Some people make resolutions. I just start trying to do something better. I cleaned up 1/4 of the basement. That’s saying a lot. Seriously. No, really.

Now, that is all over. (sigh) Wow. I really did just sigh. The kids have the day off tomorrow, Tom is back to work, and the usual routine will start soon enough. We’ll get back to our hurried schedules, which we do because we choose to. But, for one short period of time, we got a break from that. A time where we didn’t have to keep looking at our watches (except for that New Year’s Eve countdown, of course), but just enjoyed being together.

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