Posts Tagged With: sleep

Day 122: Progress Report

Here’s a list of some areas where I’ve been making some real progress:

1. Setting priorities.

I’ve been including taking care of myself as an important consideration, when I’m deciding on my next choice, next step,  or next decision (especially when I’m overwhelmed).

Also, I am letting go of some anxiety and fear of consequences when I’m making choices (for example, “If I make this decision, what if it’s the WRONG one?).  That  helps me think more clearly and make more balanced decisions.

2. Being present in the moment.

Letting go of anxiety regarding fear of consequences (see directly above) is helping with that, too. What’s also helping?  The fact that it is so friggin’ beautiful outside right now …

flowers2

… as Spring has sprung in  Boston.

3. Realizing I have “all the time I need.”  

This really helps me, when I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping lately, so it  is especially helping  me to take my time, be careful, and think. I notice that when I take my time, I get as much done as when I’m rushing (and I make fewer mistakes).

4. Sleeping.

Yes, I see progress there, too. For example, I’ve been falling asleep more easily.  My sleep challenge, lately, has been waking up in the middle of the night, and having trouble getting back to sleep. Last night, though, I did some things differently.  When I woke up (probably around 4 AM), I:

  1. did NOT look at the clock,
  2. noticed my thoughts about what I might blog about today,  but let them go, and
  3. noticed my fears about possible disconnects with people, but let them go, and
  4.  noticed my guilt about things I haven’t gotten done, but let them go.

5. Writing.

Doing this daily blog has helped improve my writing.  Also, it’s helped me tell my story in a “better” (more healing, more clearly, more nuanced, more balanced) way.

6. Self-consciousness.

I’m not as concerned, lately, about what other people think, especially when I’m doing “weird” things, like walking down the street, listening to music and singing. What does “weird” mean to me?  Well, I don’t see too many other people walking and singing out loud.  However — here’s a thought — when I do see other people doing that — I like it!

What’s help me reduce self-consciousness?  Thoughts like that one I just had, above, plus:

  1. Letting go of mind-reading (I don’t know what other people are really thinking)
  2. Realizing that I am neither as important nor as unimportant as I fear (most people aren’t noticing)
  3. Realizing if my worst fear is true (that other people think I’m weird) … SO WHAT?

6. Mistakes.

When I realize that I’ve made a mistake, especially one  that might

  1.  cause a disconnect with somebody else or
  2.  “get me into trouble” (especially at work) ….

… I STILL get a sinking feeling and panic a little. But that panic has been passing more quickly.

Also, I’ve been able to say helpful things to myself quickly, such as

  1. “it’s probably not as bad as you fear,”
  2. “you can probably repair this”, or
  3.  (once a week or so) “SO WHAT?”

Okay, that’s the end of my progress report, for today.

In the therapy groups I do — if it’s appropriate, comfortable, and the group wants to do it — we applaud when somebody reports progress (or doing something new).

applause, please

Are there areas for improvement?  Oh my goodness, yes.  And, originally, when I first start writing this post, I wanted to highlight those.  However, since that list would include

  1. giving myself more credit for what I am doing (rather than focusing on what I’m NOT doing) and
  2. feeling good about my accomplishments (without thinking I’m being too self-absorbed or conceited),

I’m going to bring this post to an end.

If  you want to read more about cognitive distortions, like mind-reading, check this out.

If you want more information about ways to challenge these distortions (including the “So what?” method), see here.

And, as always, thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 121: Why I relate to the Boston Carjacking “victim”

This blog post is dedicated to a wonderful, amazing member of “my team,” Carol.

I woke up this morning at 4 AM.  (Why am I doing that? I’m working on it, people.)

Almost immediately, I came up with these ideas for blog posts today:

  1. Fear of humans — and other creatures —  loving me too much. (I’m not ready, I decided, to write about THAT, yet.)
  2. “What’s in a Name?” (about what it’s like to have a name that nobody can pronounce or spell and which some people seem to make fun of).

I had decided on the latter topic (thanks to my childhood friend, Debbie, with whom I’ve recently reconnected via Facebook and blogging here).

Before I started writing, I took a quick look at the news headlines at cnn.com.  (Why, oh why, am I doing that?)  (I’m working on it, people.)

And I saw this article, titled “Carjacking victim recalls differing demeanors of  bombing suspects.”

I would like to make this a short blog post, since I think there’s A CHANCE I might be able to fall back asleep for a little while. So I would like to present two quotes from this cnn.com article and confess about why I relate to these excerpts.

Okay? Here we go …

Danny had stopped his vehicle to send a text when Tamerlan walked up and tapped on the window. The suspect, allegedly carrying a handgun, opened the door and got into the passenger seat.

When I was 22 years old,  I was driving back to where I lived with my roommate Barbara, in an apartment in Cambridge. It was late at night.  My memory is that I had  been visiting with my long-time friend, Jon, and we had been talking about our relationships with other people, as well as other topics. (By the way, believe it or not, Jon appeared in my blog post, a few days ago, here.)

After I parked my car, in back of my apartment building,  and got out of it, there was a man waiting for me.  As soon as I saw him, my heart sank.  Sure enough, he meant me harm. He took me into my car. I was sitting in the passenger seat.

Under questioning by Tamerlan, Danny played up being Chinese and tried to humanize himself by talking about cell phones and family. Danny told CNN he felt being Chinese helped save his life.

That’s exactly what I tried to do with this guy, in 1975:  “humanize” myself, because I had recently read an article — in Newsweek, I think — about how rape was an act of rage. What I got out of that article was this: one thing that might help me survive would be to humanize myself to the rapist. So, I said everything I could think of, in service of that.  And I told him that I had a pacemaker and to be careful.  And he stopped. And I said, “I’m scared.” And he said, “I’m scared for you, too.”  And I had no idea what that meant, when he said that. I thought I was still in danger.

But, I wasn’t.  He left, soon after that.

During the carjacking, Danny thought about a girl in New York whom he really liked.

He thought he’d never see her again.

I thought about my roommate, Barbara, asleep upstairs in our apartment. I thought I would never see her again.

I did. I saw her the next morning.  Now, she is my biggest supporter, as I write this blog every day.

Wow.  That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

I’ll tell you what’s most amazing to me, right now:  Maybe this topic IS related to topic # 1 (see above)  (as well as to how I can be scared by other people’s anger).  (I’m working on both of those, people!)

It’s incredible what happens, sometimes, when you are “putting it into words.”*

Thanks for reading these words today, dear readers.

______

* This is a personal “shout-out,” to my faithful reader,  Lena.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 119: I woke up differently, this morning

Waking up, this morning, felt different.

Here’s what I noticed:

Even though I was having some anxiety-based dreams, right before I awoke (where I was trying to find my way through a huge concrete compound, with lots of elevators, accompanied by people whose motives and feelings towards me were ambiguous, at best) …

Even though I usually access worries or problem-solving as I am first waking up  …

This morning, I awoke towards peace.

And when my thoughts first turned towards this blog post (moments after awakening), the title that occurred to me was, “How to Move Towards Peace,”  because I wanted to share this feeling and my newly hatched “wisdom” about it.

But I’m not sure whether I have the wisdom, yet, to formulate a “How To.”

For now, I just want to express gratitude that my natural inclination, this morning, was to move toward peace, to find moments of it before and as I was reaching consciousness, and to know that I might encounter moments of that in others, today.

I don’t need to encounter it today, but I am open to seeing it.  In this moment, I feel open to seeing  everything else I encounter today.

Including my son, who just woke up.

Thanks for meeting me here, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 113: I am solving problems in my sleep!

Well, I may not be getting a lot of sleep — during this Year of Doing Things that Scare the Hell Out of Me — BUT here’s something I’m noticing:

I am solving problems while I am sleeping.

This is what I mean by that:

All year, whenever I’ve had to do something that scares me (like a presentation, for example) (today!), I wake up in the morning — BING! — with ideas that are going to help me that day.

I wake up with specific ideas about How to Do that Anxiety-Provoking Task.

What are the tasks which have been causing me anxiety this year?

(1) Presentations I am making in front of people at the hospital where I work.

(2)  New therapy groups I am doing with people.

Why are these particular tasks causing me anxiety?

(1) Because they feel new (once I’m practiced at them, I’m not anxious any more) and

(2) They feel important to me.  They matter to me.

The chance for failure — when things feel new AND they are important — that causes my anxiety to go up.

Makes sense, huh?

Thank goodness, for how my brain is working right now!

It helps me have faith in my own process, as I learn and grow this year.

Thanks for reading, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 90: How I got back to sleep last night (featuring selling and sound effects)

Good morning!

Even though I often wake up feeling uneasy, this morning I woke up feeling pretty centered, relaxed, and optimistic.

I woke up in the  middle of the night, too.  (I’ve posted about mid-night awakenings and other sleep challenges,  like here, here, and here).  And I came up with some ideas, after waking up,  about how to get back to sleep.  I liked those ideas, to the extent that I thought, “I’d like to blog about that tomorrow.”

(Hmmmm.  It’s a weekend blog; therefore, I feel a digression coming on.  And what I would LOVE, right now, is  a sound effect for digression.  How about a quick day-dream-y harp?)

Digression about Selling

I’m STM (Smiling to Myself) right now, because I’ve noticed that the first few paragraphs of this post sound like I might be trying to sell you something. The language reminds me of the beginnings of advertising pitches: “I USED to have THIS PROBLEM. And then, I TRIED THIS.”

And just yesterday, I wrote about selling, fears about being taken advantage of, and how that can screw up  interpersonal connection.

But let’s face it, I try to sell people things, too.  We all do, don’t we?  Passing on advice or ideas is a kind of selling, even though the focus of giving advice (and of this blog) is not generating money.  Here’s a definition of “selling”, from the Free Dictionary:

1. To exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent.

2. To offer for sale, as for one’s business or livelihood: The partners sell textiles.

3. To give up or surrender in exchange for a price or reward: sell one’s soul to the devil.

4. To be purchased in (a certain quantity); achieve sales of: a book that sold a million copies.

5. a. To bring about or encourage sales of; promote: Good publicity sold the product. b. To cause to be accepted; advocate successfully: We sold the proposal to the school committee.

6. To persuade (another) to recognize the worth or desirability of something: They sold me on the idea.

I’m focusing on that last definition, which fits best.

As much as I think of myself as a Person Who Does Not Like To Give Advice (even though I’m a therapist!), I do like to persuade people — especially if it’s about something valuable I’ve learned.  So even if I do lose my investment  in the results of my persuasion — whether it actually helps somebody or not —   it’s still a kind of selling (according to Definition #6).

I mean, geesh!  Even linking to another blog post (as I have, several times, in this post) is an attempt at persuading you. When I link like that, I am essentially saying, “This is something else you might find helpful.”

So, in conclusion, Ladies and Gentleman of the Blog-o-Sphere, I am selling, too (according to Definition #6), even if it’s just Something That Might Help.

(Okay, now I want a sound effect to indicate the end of a digression, and a return to the point before the digression.)  (How about a gong?)

End of Digression About Selling

So here’s what helped me last night, when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I asked myself these questions (and gave brief responses!):

(1)  Is anything worrying you?

(2) If there is, what is it?

(3) Is it really something to worry about? That is, might you be safer than you think?

(4) Is it something that could be attended to right now?

(5) If so, could you do something quickly, as a next step?

(6) If not, could you make a quick note about it?

I didn’t have a pad of paper by my bed (or my cell phone) to make a note (which seemed like an important part of the process to me). Nevertheless, I got back to sleep pretty quickly.

And I woke up feeling pretty centered, relaxed, and optimistic.

That’s the data, folks.

I’m going to put my cell phone within reach tonight, before I go to sleep, and try this (one weird trick) again.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 79: Tears and Take Aways

The title of this post came to me, earlier, when I was thinking of possible topics.

It relates to my experience as a therapist, as well as to my personal experience today.

Yesterday, somebody in a group therapy session thanked me for “inviting crying.” She noticed that I have, in my office, big boxes of fluffy tissues within  sight and easy reach. (I sometime invite tears more blatantly, saying, “all your feelings are welcomed here.”)

Something else I invite? Take aways,  at the end of an individual or group session.  I often ask people to name something they want to remember — something they want to “stick” with them after they leave.

Today, I went to see a psychologist, who is a sleep specialist.  (I mentioned this in this previous post, about sleep.)  It was a very useful and helpful meeting.

I told her a lot, about my medical history, my sleep history, and my current sleep issues. She gave me a lot to think about.

Here is the Take Away that is sticking for me right now, out of many wonderful suggestions she made.

She suggested that I tell myself, before I fall asleep,

“You are not going to die, tonight, in your sleep.”

Her style was very matter of fact, and she spoke the language of data.  She made an unemotional, convincing case for this.

And I knew that was my important take away, because once I really took that in and believed it ….

….. that’s when I needed her box of tissues.

As always, thanks for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 76: Random Thoughts about Sleep

I’ve written in this blog before about the Topic of Sleep  — like here, herehere, and here, and less directly in other posts, too.

Sleep does seem to be An Issue for me these days. As a matter of fact, I’m seeing a Sleep Specialist this week (for the first time ever).  So, of course, sleep is more on my mind.

Also, several people I work with in individual and group therapy have been talking more about sleep lately.

Sleep is in the air.

I think that’s enough of a reasonable introduction for this post.  So without further ado, it’s Random Thought Time!

Moving the clocks back (or forward) screws people up.

Man, people in general have seemed “off” this past week, in so many different ways. I ran a group on Tuesday where EVERYBODY was late, by a substantial amount.  That would have seemed quite weird, except “duh!” we turned the clocks forward last Saturday.  And people have been talking more about sleep problems this past week. People have been more forgetful.  I was definitely more emotional.

We seem to negotiate our ways through the world by taking in cues that help keep us on track and safer.  I imagine disrupting any of those cues — like an hour suddenly disappearing — poof! — like a magic trick  (where did it go?) — would put us off balance.

We never know how we are interacting with the world when we’re asleep, unless somebody tells us.

What kind of sleeper are you?  Are you restless?  Do you snore?  Do you talk in your sleep? Do you look like you’re making balloon animals or do people consider calling 911?

Unless you have a video camera set up in your room, you’ve heard information regarding “You, While Sleeping” from other people — either experts or people you know in a rather intimate fashion.

And when you find out information that surprises you, that’s a little disconcerting, isn’t it?  When somebody you love (or are paying for their expertise) (which could cover several circumstances) starts a sentence like this:

“Did you know that when you’re sleeping, you …..”

Don’t we cringe a little?  Whatever the hell follows that opening, like …

  • … say rude things about the President
  • … look so peaceful
  • … snore like a lumberjack
  • … seem smarter
  • … look disturbingly like my cousin Flo
  • … poke me repeatedly in the abdomen
  • … perplex the cat
  • … wake up, every six minutes, screaming
  •  … are adorable
  • … try to eat the pillow, or
  • … do something that none of us in the Sleep Research Foundation have ever seen, so can we have your autograph?

… it’s going to re-cast our self-image, in some way.

Which can take some work, right?  Also, this might be a Prime Time for self-judgmental thoughts.  Let’s watch out for those, shall we?

Sleep is one of those “natural things we all do” that nobody seems to know how to do these days.

I guess I have nothing else to add to THAT.

I mean, I could list lots of other things we are all supposed to be born knowing how to do, that still seem difficult, to the extent that lots of people are making lots of money helping us do them, but …. nah.

It’s time to wrap this post up.

Chances are that the topic of sleep will be creeping back into this blog, pretty soon. Especially since I’ll be meeting with an expert, this week.

Thanks for being here, dear reader. And may you sleep the sleep of the innocent and the satisfied, all your nights. (Even if you look and sound really weird while doing that.)

Categories: humor, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 69: To Do Lists (How NOT to get overwhelmed)

So!   I’ve been learning a lot lately about managing tasks and ideas, almost as quickly as this guy:

gary-lockwood

(For previous references to this Star Trek episode in this blog, see here and here.)

Here are some things I’ve been learning (and re-learning) about getting things done, without feeling overwhelmed.  (By the way, if you feel overwhelmed by the length of this list — or by all the links  in this post —  see #1, below.)

# 1. You don’t have to do everything immediately.

Often, you don’t even have to do anything immediately.

When I think of something I have to do, sometimes I act immediately for fear that I’ll forget it or I won’t do it.  And sometimes that immediate action is not only unnecessary, it’s not advisable.  (For example, lately I have been fighting the urge to record an idea or make a phone call on my cell phone while I’m driving.)

Have faith that if an idea is important, it will re-occur to you in the future. When you think of a task you need to do, even if it feels urgent, take a breath and allow yourself to ask a few questions about it — How urgent is this, really?  How should I prioritize it? When might I have time to do it well enough?

In general, have faith in your process. Try  telling yourself “I have all the time I need” (even if you don’t really believe it).

# 2. It can help to write things down.

To Do Lists for tasks and lists of ideas can be very helpful, especially for actions or ideas that (1) you can’t act on it on the moment or (2) you are likely to forget.

I have mixed feelings about To Do Lists.  They can help me remember things, but I’m concerned they might become Dreaded Lists of Shoulds and Proof To The Universe about What I’m Not Doing.

Also, I might lose a To Do List, and then spend precious time looking for the friggin’ thing.

However, I do have a big notebook at work where I write down my Really Important Things To Do, and that seems to work.  I’ve been trying to use my various electronic devices, too, as additional Ticklers, Reminders,  Updates, Notifications, etc. etc.  but haven’t quite mastered those options yet.

A Digression (and short Temper Tantrum) about Tasks and  Technology

There are SO many choices of how my cell phone, my lap top, and work computer can  remind me about stuff!!  Eeeek! That gets  overwhelming.  It’s like technology is getting better at helping us keep track of things at the same exact pace that technology is making us need to keep track of more things.

End of Digression

#3.  If there is an idea or a task that you CAN act on in the moment, consider doing it in the moment.

This may sound contradictory with #1 above, but there you go.

Letting go of shoulds and the anxiety about “I have to do this NOW!” can help you act in the here and now (and procrastinate less).

Here are some thoughts that can make it difficult to act in the moment:

  • This is important, so I have to do it well (or perfectly).
  • I don’t have enough time!! (Hint: there’s never enough time for perfection.)
  • There’s a chance for failure here, and that would make me feel worse.

To deal with paralyzing perfectionism, fears of failure, and too-much-to-do,  practice giving  yourself some slack.   Try doing something  that’s Good Enough, within a short period of time.  Making some progress will help (and you can always go back to it later).

#4.  Set limits with other people.

If other people are involved in the tasks you need to do,  it’s very helpful to set their expectations.  This can do wonders in reducing future anxiety — it’s like an anti-anxiety inoculation!

Here’s how it works.  When somebody is making a request of you (verbally or implied), respond with some version of this:

I can do this. I cannot do that.

An expanded version  of the above is:

I can do these things  (by this time).  I cannot do these things (unless I get more resources). 

You might worry that the person you are setting limits with will take offense at that.  If you are clear, direct, and specific, they will probably appreciate knowing this information.  And,  they will be more likely to leave you alone while you are getting things done!

You might not set limits or manage expectations perfectly. You might  promise something initially which you can’t meet. (I’m getting better at setting limits, but I tend to over-promise and under-estimate the time I need to do something.) If you over-promise or under-estimate,  let  the other person know as soon as possible,  thus reducing your future anxiety and guilt, as well their potential pissed-off-ed-ness. 

#5. Allow yourself the room to be “not perfect.”

You may think you need to be perfect, but nobody else expects that from you. (If somebody does expect perfectionism from others, they will be disappointed. If they don’t learn from that disappointment, they will be disappointed — and ineffective at dealing with people — their whole lives.)

You  don’t  have to get things right the first time — whether it’s managing expectations, writing, or anything else. You can recover from most “mistakes.”

Do you believe that?

Try believing it, and see what happens.

#6. Set limits with yourself.  

Give yourself a time limit to work on something. Limit the number of tasks you are going to try to accomplish.  

For example, I find it helps me to set a time limit on how long I spend writing my blog posts during the week days, and also limit myself to one blog post per day.

#7. Take care of yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Consider the possibility that you don’t HAVE to do anything right now. (I wrote a long post about that, here.)

If you are physically uncomfortable, change your position or adjust the heat.

If you need food, get yourself some (as soon as you can).

If you need sleep, get yourself some (as soon as you can).

#8.  Prioritize.

Recognize that you might have too much to do, and  choose one task to do next.

Let go of guilt and judgment about what you’re not doing. (I wrote more about that, here.)  

Notice and compensate for distorted priorities.

(Here’s some typical distorting prioritizing from me, which I’m doing less these days:

I need to do this NOW, because if I don’t, this person will be ANGRY, and I’m afraid of that person or I’m afraid I will lose that person.)

Where I work, everybody has too much to do, and that seems to be getting worse as time goes on.  People are coming up with creative ways to deal with this.

A  nurse I really like came into my office the other day to share how she manages having too much to do, without becoming overwhelmed.

One of the things she told me was, “I ask myself,  ‘Which is the task and which is the interruption?’  If I  can’t tell which is which, that means I’m overwhelmed. Then, I choose one and proceed with that one. And …. I cannot  choose incorrectly.”

I thought that was great.

#9. Recognize that there are some tasks you just don’t want to do.  

Allow yourself to have some sort of tantrum about that, if that would help.

 (I DON’T WANT TO WORK ON MY TAXES TODAY!!!!!! It’s not fair!!!)

(Better.)

Then, break that task into small steps and take the next one.

(First, I have to locate my documents. How about one document?  That seems do-able)

Consider giving yourself a reward for doing a task you don’t want to do. 

(I’m going to see the movie “Argo” at 4:30!!)

Also, try to reduce the pain of the actual process.

(Somebody at a group last week suggested working on taxes while listening to music you really love. I’ll listen to music on my headphones while looking for these friggin’ documents.)

Let go of cognitive distortions and the resulting guilt or shame about this:

( What’s the matter with me?  This shouldn’t be so hard!  I’m such a weird-o about doing taxes. Other people don’t have this problem. I probably shouldn’t even be writing about this in the blog. People are going to think I’m strange!  There is NO reason why I haven’t been able to get to this before today!)

(Hmmm. Actually, all of those statements above are false.)

(Better.)

#10.  Figure out short cuts and save them, for future easy access and use.  

Figure out short cuts that work for you, and try to make these short cuts easy- to-access, especially when you’re in the midst of being overwhelmed.

I’ve been trying to figure out short cuts at work lately, because I have way too much to do. (Like everybody else there.)  For example, I’ve been making templates of the notes I need to write,  giving myself prompts and choices for information I need to include. 

I’ve been trying to figure out short-cuts here, too, so I can blog more quickly and efficiently. For example, I looked for a short-cut, yesterday, for inserting a copyright symbol at the end of a blog post.

It’s even simpler than I expected. You can simply type a copyright symbol. On a Mac, it’s Option + G. 

#11. Let go of judgment about how you’re doing.

Tell yourself “I’m doing the best I can” in managing tasks and ideas (whether or not you believe it). Cut yourself some slack, especially if you’re doing something new (or something that feels new, because you haven’t done it enough times or recently enough to feel practiced).

#12. Be aware of your strengths and limits.  

Use your strengths whenever you can, and let go of judgment about your limits.

#13. Ask for help, especially regarding your limits.

This may be hard to do, but try this, please.

#14.  If  you are stuck, choose something easier to try.

If you are having trouble getting things done, choose one task that seems the most do-able in the moment.

#15. Consider editing your list. 

Change priorities and even delete things that just aren’t that important to get done.  Consider making things simpler.

#16. Pad your list, to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.  

Put things on your list that you’ve already started. Add  routine tasks. This will give you  a sense of accomplishment when you cross them off..

#17. Notice your resistance, letting go of judgment.

If you’re resisting doing something, assume that — on some level — that resistance makes sense. See if you can figure that out.  Even if you can’t, try to let go of judgment about the resistance.

Also resistance may mean that you don’t yet have what you need (data, support, completing something else first) in order to continue with your task.

Wow!  That list included a LOT of what I know, about a lot of things.

I wonder if there’s anything I have left to tell you  for the rest of this year?

Hmmm. Maybe I should do a To Do List about writing future blog posts.

  1. Start a list of ideas for future blog posts.  (Pssst!  I’ve already done that!)
  2. Keep adding to that list.
  3. Remember that I don’t have to come up with completely new topics.  I can keep writing about similar topics, in different ways (hence role-modeling the importance of “practice, practice, practice”).
  4. Consider spending the rest of the year posting more scenes from that Star Trek episode with Gary Lockwood.

That’s a good enough list, for now.

Thanks for reading.

© 2013 Ann Koplow

(Note:  I just want to let my  regular readers know that my test results came back and I do NOT have endocarditis. Yay!)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 51: Honesty, Judgment, plus Sleep (again!)

Honesty is really important to me.

And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

But, I wonder if my focus on honesty is unrealistic.

I wonder if my childhood experiences have made ma kind of an Honesty Fanatic. I wonder if my childhood experiences have made me Too Judgmental about other people’s honesty — not allowing for human imperfection.

Not knowing how I compare to other people — who haven’t had my childhood experiences — regarding honesty and trust, reminds me of something I wrote in Day 21 of this blog.  That post — in which I wrote about how getting ill  (even with a cold) could affect me — included this section (which I’ve italicized here):

Even when I’m a little bit ill, being sick affects how I feel about myself.

I’m not sure whether that’s common for people. I haven’t really checked that out in any real way with other people. In other words, I haven’t used the helpful skill — an “antidote” to the Cognitive Distortion of Mind-Reading — of Reality Testing.  To put it more simply, I haven’t asked other people, “When you are even slightly ill, does it affect your sense of self worth?”  I mean, I know that serious and chronic illness can definitely affect people’s sense of self-worth, but A COLD?

The reason I haven’t really checked that out  before is this:  I assume that I’m different from other people in how illness affects me, because I dealt with so much illness when I was a child.  So I just assume that I’m “weird” when it comes to that.

So tonight I’m thinking that maybe I’m “weird” —  also —  about other people’s honesty.

Because this is how I am in relationships: if I think somebody been dishonest or deliberately misleading, it has a major effect on how I relate to them.

Now, I have seen other people be very All or Nothing about Trust issues.  I’ve heard people say about themselves, “Once somebody breaks my trust, that’s it.  I can’t forgive them.”  I’ve also witnessed other people be much more “forgiving” about trust issues — including resuming a relationship when their partner has cheated on them.

I don’t know how to gauge What’s Normal or What’s Appropriate when it comes to Trust and Honesty.

I think I’m pretty rigid about the issue of honesty.

Actually, the word “rigid” is  self-judgmental.  It’s a form of labeling, one of the 13 cognitive distortions.

So I won’t use the word “rigid”, but I will say this. If somebody is dishonest or misleads me, I get really upset when I find out about that. I withdraw.  It takes me a while to trust them again.

So, how “normal” is that?

And if that’s not a useful question, then how about this question: How can I negotiate the issue of trust in a way that’s helpful for me and the people I love?

By the way, I’m writing this post during a bout of insomnia, which I alluded to in yesterday’s post, and which I am going to do something about.  (I’m not just saying that! I got the names of two sleep specialists, and I plan to start the process of contacting them tomorrow.)

But I’m not sure what to do tonight.  I woke up at 1:30 AM and had trouble getting back to sleep. I remembered reading that some sleep specialists suggest this:  if you have trouble sleeping, don’t lie awake in bed too long —  get up and do something else.

So after I had stayed awake until 2:30, I got up, left the bedroom, and started this post.

But now it’s 3:03.  And I’m not sure whether to continue with this post or to try to go back to sleep.

Because there’s a direction I could take in this post, now.  I could share something that happened to me when I was a kid, that has made Honesty so important to me.

So that’s one decision point, right now:

To share or not to share that memory?  That is the question.

Let’s say I decide to do share that memory in this post, then I have another decision point:

To write that now or later, during this 24-hour span of Day 51?  That is the second question.

Well,  I’m thinking about what would most likely help me sleep right now. (And as I’ve said in previous posts, one of my guildes for writing this blog is to ask myself the question: what would help me most right now?)

So what’s the best strategy for getting back to sleep tonight?. I’ll explore that by answering those two questions I posed above:

Question #1:  Should I share that childhood memory?

Answer: Perhaps.  And maybe soon. I HAVE written down that memory elsewhere, so I could copy a version and paste it, pretty quickly.  But that would still take time and energy, and doing that right now probably wouldn’t help contribute to getting back to sleep.

Question #2:  Should I write that now or later, in this 24-hour period?

Answer: It turned out that was too restrictive a question.  My answer is this: I won’t write about that on Day 51.

At this point in the post, it would be helpful — for me —  to tell myself this:

I have all the time that I need.

This is, I have time to write about this childhood memory, and to write more about the issue of honesty and trust.

That is, I’ll write more in future posts, and finish this post now.

Farewell, for now, and thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 50: Sleep — Needs, History, Distortions, and a Wish

I’ve been struggling to get enough sleep lately.  I seem to be a person who can function pretty well without enough sleep.

(Sometimes I think the world is divided into two types of people: (1)  People who can function “well enough” without taking care of their sleeping needs and (2)  People who can function well enough without taking care of their eating needs.)

(Sometimes I think the world is divided into two types of people: (1) People who think that the world is divided into two types of people and (2) People who don’t.)

So even though I am used to functioning without enough sleep (by the way, I CANNOT function without enough food), I still feel pretty lousy when I get less than 6 hours of sleep a night. And getting 6 hours or more has been a problem for me lately.

I know a lot of people who struggle with sleep issues.  It seems to me that this might be an epidemic —  although I’m not an expert about sleep, by any means.

Speaking of being an “expert”,  I plan on writing a future post about Experts — and the punchline for that post will probably be something like this: We Are All Experts, But Only of Our Own Experience.

So while I’m not a Sleep Expert, I am trying to access, right now, my expertise about Sleep and Me.

And expertise starts with looking at data and history.

So that means  that, in order to improve my sleep, I might start by looking at my history of sleep issues.

But I’m resisting doing that right now.

That resistance probably has to do with my preference — or tendency —  to focus on the present moment rather than focusing on the past.

That preference — for the present over the past —  might have to do with several things, including my perception that I don’t have a good memory.

Pardon me while I indulge in a rather long digression about that thought: I Don’t Have A Good Memory.  However, you might find this digression useful — since it will reference several Cognitive Distortions, all listed and defined here.

Digression about the thought that  I Don’t Have a Good Memory.

This thought is probably  an unhelpful piece of self-judgment, which seems to involve several cognitive distortions, including Labelling. Because what does “not having a great memory” mean?  Does that mean I think that my memory is not as good as most other people’s? If so,  that thought involves the cognitive distortions of Comparisons AND Mind Reading.   Also, now that I think about it, I do have some data — from cognitive tests I’ve taken — that indicate that I have a Very Good Memory, although I seem to have trouble holding on to that data. (More proof that I have a bad memory?) (Kidding!) . Also, maybe I’m comparing my memory now to how my memory used to be when I was younger, another form of the distortion of Comparisons.

Shorter digression about the thought (expressed 4 paragraphs before)  that I Tend to Focus on The Present Moment Rather Than On The Past.

It’s not all or nothing. (Wouldn’t you know it? This is related to yet another Cognitive Distortion.) That is, I don’t have to look at the past OR the present. I can  look at both the past AND the present when I’m working  on growth and healing (in myself and others). 

Hmmm. I got pretty caught up in those digressions, where I noticed and challenged some cognitive distortions. Is it possible I can find my way back to The Topic of  Sleep, and finish this post before I leave for work?

I think I can. Here are some things I know, this morning:

Most nights, I am not getting enough sleep.

I have had some resistance to looking at this issue.

I deserve to get enough sleep.

I would like to get enough sleep.

I can access my own experience and expertise about this issue.

I can also seek help — from people who have expertise about sleep — to work on this issue.

Wow.  As often happens when I write a post, the post goes places I don’t expect.

However, where the post is ending up, this morning,  relates to a wish I made as I was writing it.

I wish that I could get more sleep.

I think I’ve taken some steps — and identified others — in this post, which may help me move towards that wish.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.