Posts Tagged With: worry

Day 1724: Pre-existing conditions

I have a pre-existing condition of worrying whenever there’s news about health care  changes to laws protecting people with pre-existing conditions.  That’s because I had a pre-existing heart condition immediately after I was born.

Besides the pre-existing conditions of worrying and congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga) I also have pre-existing conditions of being …

  • a neighbor,
  • a mother,
  • a daughter,
  • a sister,
  • a friend,
  • a girlfriend,
  • a group therapist,
  • a caregiver,
  • a patient, and
  • a photographer.

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I also have a pre-existing condition of loving cats, even ones who have the pre-existing condition of peeing where they’re not supposed to.

Whether you have the pre-existing condition of commenting on this blog or you’ll have that pre-existing condition soon, feel free to leave your pre-existing thoughts and feelings  in a comment below.

This song has been pre-existing for a long time:

 

I also have a pre-existing condition of expressing gratitude to all who help me create my existing blog posts and — of course! —  to you, no matter what pre-existing conditions you have.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 1629: What helps and what doesn’t help

When I help people join my therapy groups, I tell them we will work on doing more of what helps and less of what doesn’t help. I help people understand that by saying, “What helps and what doesn’t help  might include thoughts, behaviors,  and other people.”  Because it helps to change old habits by writing things down, I helpfully suggest they keep track of what helps and what doesn’t help them.

Because it helps to know you’re not alone, I explain that I also keep track of what helps and what doesn’t help me.

What helps me?

  • Acceptance.
  • Love.
  • Creativity.
  • Flexibility.
  • Peace.
  • Connection.
  • Nature.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Blogging.
  • My work.
  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Groups.
  • Mutual healing.
  • Curiosity.
  • Openness.
  • Authenticity.
  • Music.

 

What doesn’t help me?

Does it help to look at these photos?

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What also helps me is gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1550: Worrying and Planning

Earlier this week, I spoke to somebody in therapy who believed  worrying was a necessary part of planning.

I replied, without worrying about it, “No, no, no, no. Worrying is never helpful.  Never.”

While I rarely plan to use all-or-nothing statements like that, I do believe that worrying never helps. People often believe that worrying helps motivate planning. Actually, worrying wastes valuable time and energy while you’re planning.  Planning is much more productive and fun without the burden of worrying.

Even though we weren’t planning on it, we had a good discussion about the uselessness of worrying.  At the end of the therapy session, we both said, “No worries.”

Right now, I’m planning

  • to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” accompanying myself on a Kalimba and
  • to see a house by the water, which we might make an offer on.

I’ve been planning to write today’s blog post in order to let go of any worrying about all that.

I’m planning on sharing all the photos I took yesterday, without any worrying.

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Are you worrying about what music I’m planning to include here?

If you’re planning on leaving a comment, I’m not worrying about that, either.

I’m always planning to end each post with gratitude to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — no matter what you’re planning today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 231: Back to work

I feel ready to go back to work, although I continue to have some trouble sleeping The Night Before Something Important.

Of course, every day is important, but my brain seems to think that some days are more important than others. (For a great joke about the human brain, by Emo Philips, see this short post.) (And while we’re at it,  here‘s another great Emo Philips joke, in another end-of-vacation post, no less.)

Before I went to sleep, a few hours ago, I tried taking a half-dose of  an over-the-counter, “traditional” herbal sleep aid I bought in the UK last week.  Usually I avoid any kind of sleep aid medicine, just because I haven’t had good experiences with them. And it’s not working (yet).

So I’m going to try another sleep aid, which HAS worked for me before: doing a quick blog post in the middle of the night.

Yesterday afternoon, on my Last Day Before Returning to Work After My Unusually Long, Two-Week Vacation, I went for a long walk, listening to lots of favorite tunes.

As I often do, I found that a joyful experience.

Here are some shots I snapped along the way:

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The weather, on that walk yesterday, was “gloomier” than it had been days before, when I took these photos, nearby:

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The point I wanted to make, right now, was there was beauty to be seen, no matter what the weather, no matter where I was walking.

I saw beauty in London and Edinburgh, of course, last week.  In those places, it was impossible to miss.

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But beauty is everywhere, if I’m open to it.

When I return to work tomorrow, there’ll be beauty there, too. My own worries, tiredness, expectations, and “cognitive distortions” might obscure that beauty, for moments.  But it’s always there.

I look forward to seeing it, in the days ahead.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 192: Random thoughts at 4:17 AM, July 11, 2013

Insomnia is in the house.

I’ve had trouble sleeping, two nights in a row.

I get into patterns like this, every once in a while.

So I’m going to jot down some random thoughts, to try to help me get a wee bit of sleep before I need to go to work. (Every little bit counts!)

Here are a couple of “Cures for Insomnia”  YouTube videos I found tonight, which I think will be helpful during nights when the insomnia isn’t quite so stubborn:

I really like the fish in the second one.

My calf muscles are really sore tonight.  I’m wondering if that’s because:

  1. The new walking shoes I bought for my upcoming trip to London and Edinburgh need to be returned and/or
  2. anxiety and fear sometimes make me want to RUN!

Here are some things I want to do, right after I publish this post:

  1. Breathe naturally but more deeply than usual.
  2. Remember that lack of sleep won’t kill me.
  3. Imagine a big, beautiful box. Then, open the lid of that box, put worried thoughts and feelings into that box, and gently close the lid.

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Okay!

Thanks for reading. And sweet dreams for all of us.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 187: On awards, chain-letters, and doing the next right thing

Two people nominated me for an award, yesterday, here on  WordPress.  It was the same award, too.

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This was especially amazing  timing, since I recently wrote about getting applause and recognition (see here for a post about that and, as usual, other things, too).

Many thanks to (1) Christian and his blog Five Quick Minutes and (2) Hue and her blog Thehuepoint for nominating me.

I follow both of their blogs and have already learned valuable things from reading them. So the nominations are even more meaningful to me.

However, I am not sure, right now, about the Next Right Thing To Do.

The Next Right Thing (which I first blogged about many moons ago, here) (and again, here) is our best attempt to make a good choice, based on our values and our understanding of the situation.

It’s very different from The Right Thing To Do, at least in my mind.

When I get caught up in The Right Thing To Do (which implies that everything else is The WRONG thing to do), I get anxious, and go into All-Or-Nothing Thinking and other cognitive distortions.  In other words, I focus on my mistakes (which are inevitable, because I’m human), imagine worst-case-scenarios, and think about all the ways I might hurt or bother somebody else.

For example, here are my anxious thoughts about The Right Thing To Do, regarding getting the award here:

Eeeek! What’s the right thing to do?  I’ve noticed that some people here don’t accept awards. I like geting the recognition, but I personally feel uncomfortable about the chain-letter-aspect of these awards — that I’m supposed to pass them on to other people.  I don’t like chain letters! However, I’m really grateful that people I respect and whose blogs I’ve read and enjoyed have nominated me.  WHAT TO DO?  I see lots of chances of hurting other people’s feelings and/or bothering them!  Eeeeek!

(pant, pant, pant)

Yikes. These kind of worry thoughts can be quite exhausting.

When I think about The Next Right Thing To Do, that feels like a kinder, gentler way.

The Next Right Thing To Do is just one next step.  If the step doesn’t have results I like, I can take another next step.

When I think about the Next Right Thing To Do, I realize that I’m doing the best that I can, and that is good enough for now.

I realize that I will do my best to be true to my values and also consider the feelings of others.

I realize that balancing my needs and values with my concerns about others can be tricky, complicated, and confusing, but that’s life. And I’m not alone in dealing with those things!

So here’s a To Do List of some Next Right Things To Do, for me, in response to getting those awards:

  1. Express authentic gratitude for getting the awards from bloggers I appreciate. (check!)
  2. Name some thoughts and feelings about the experience. (check!)
  3. Lose the chain-letter aspect of the award, which I feel some personal discomfort about, and just list a dozen other blogs I read and have truly appreciated here. (And I’m going to let the bloggers speak for themselves.)

Toemail.  “Pictures of toes, pictures of feet, making the world a better place, one foot at a time.  We are Quillan and Angela and we created this blog in 2010 after deciding it might be fun to do a mail-in photo blog based on the name toemail, after one of us made a typographical error which resulted in that word. We look forward to hearing from you!”

White Trinity. “Being a first-time mom was probably the root cause behind creation of my blog, White Trinity.  Having my baby boy, has led me to realize that I have a lot to learn on this parenthood journey and that I have much to cherish and be thankful for in my life experiences. “

Wholeheartedness. “Thoughts on courage, compassion and connection…”

stuff i tell my sister.  “Who do you call or text with everyday “stuff” that occurs? Your sister, your mom, your best friend? That’s what this blog is about, “stuff I tell my sister”… Great books, photos, music, new ideas, product reviews, exercise and health info, rants & raves and random life thoughts. (from an Oklahoma gal to you♥”

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge. “Simple observations, analysis, and common sense comments.  Having spent an adventurous life with business, traveling, research, and reading wide, Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, has returned to a sunny spot that is more than adequate for entertaining, and reflecting – and, as an added plus, only a short walk to the marina and sweeping sunsets. Phil is known for astute observations, insightful analysis, and common sense comments of city, field, and that odd species: humans.”

Stephen Liddell. “Feet on the ground, head in the stars. I am a writer and a traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track.”

The diaries of the happy loner. “I’m loner and what!!!”

Kitt Noir. “Lover of literature, cats, history, art, food, old movies, seasides and nature.”

Currents and Waves.  Stevehi, “happily retired,” says about himself, by way of introduction:

“Under Construction

That’s the state of things here , a work in progress albeit limited progress .
at times .
My interests for the purposes of this blog is poetry though I do stray sometimes to other things.
I feel I’m in this for the long haul now since my urges to hit delete blog button have passed for the most part . I’ll see how things go and let the words flow when they will.”

Animating your life.  “It’s all about becoming the people we are meant to be. Gently but continually stretching our comfort zones and finding our strengths and getting inner genius out. I’m writing this blog to explore and expand my own association between good art, art that moves us emotionally, and the life lessons we need to learn.”

Psychologist Mimi.   “I am a social marketing expert (or so I have been told by the powers that be) and a PhD social psychologist by training who works in the public health field trying to bring a little common sense to it all and thus, I make everyone call me Dr. Just kidding! I don’t care much for those type of people. I am a New Yorker, who has lived throughout the United States and abroad, but my New Yorker wit (AKA snark; bite) and sensibilities always stay with me. All the world is my television and life is a highway and I like to provide commentary on it. Cheers”

I knew this was going to happen: I am having some trouble deciding which blogs to name here. I am aware that I am leaving out many blogs that I enjoy.

Here are some things that are helping me to decide.

I  am not including blogs I listed when I accepted the previous award I got, here, or other blogs I’ve mentioned in previous posts.

I’m recognizing that I will have chances, in the future, to express appreciation to the bloggers I am leaving out today.

And I’m realizing that there is definitely one more blogger I HAVE to include here, in my list of appreciations:

Ron Scubadiver.  “I am a veteran scuba diver, based in Houston, Texas, with over 1,000 dives who does not take pictures underwater, and can’t offer a good explanation for that. This blog is curated to reflect my current interests and style, so old posts will see changes over time. Somebody must find it interesting, as this blog received over 1,000,000 views from more than 120 countries in a little more than two years.

Please take no offense if I do not respond to “chain letter” awards as they are outside the scope of this blog.

Although there are many landscapes and even some photos of wild animals, my real purpose is, as one of my photographer friends put it, “to capture the essence of what us humans are all about.””

Check!

Thanks to all the bloggers I acknowledged here. (As I say to anybody I include in these posts, please let me know if you want me to change anything I’ve included about you.) Thanks to all the bloggers I read, whom I have NOT included in today’s post.  And thanks to you, for reading today.

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

Day 155: Worrier vs. Warrior

So, yesterday, I wrote an upbeat post, where the moral of the story was, essentially:

Don’t worry, be happy.

I mean, that’s a simplistic retelling, but I believe that captures the overall tone.

Today I woke up, with worry RIGHT THERE, all through me. I felt it in my furrowed brow, in the content and tenor of my thoughts, in the pit of my stomach.

I thought, “Oh, no, not again. Will I EVER stop feeling this way?”

And I listed the reasons why I felt worried, anxious, small, vulnerable, even unsafe, in those early morning moments:

  1. A bank balance smaller than expected.
  2. A weight, on my scale, larger than expected.
  3. A pain in my foot, which I felt with every step.

It helped to list those reasons in my thoughts.

It REALLY helps to write them down, now.

It helps to know I have reasons to be anxious.

Those are the facts.

These aren’t:

I am in trouble financially.

I don’t take good care of myself.

I am too vigilant.

I am not vigilant enough.

The deterioration of my body is inevitable.  I should expect that the physical things I love to do (like walking) will be taken away from me.

This is what happens when I feel good about my life — things goes terribly wrong.

I had more thoughts, this morning, which involved labeling myself in unkind ways. I also lingered, for a little while, in a very helpless, scared, depressed place, inside myself.

However, I did take action.

  • I talked to myself, identifying the worst fears and remembering other times when I’ve felt this way (and survived to tell the tale, obviously).
  • I sent an e-mail to somebody who helps me with money.
  • I put on a pair of shoes which relieved the pain.
  • And, I made a disparaging remark to the scale.

Last, but not least, I started writing this blog post.

It helps to take action … no matter how small the action is.

It turns me from worrier to warrior.

And I do seem to need to fight this battle, against fear and “catastrophizing” thoughts.

I get confused about the “right things” to do, a lot.

But taking action makes a difference.  It  really does.

Thanks for reading, this morning.

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

Day 142: The Heart is a Lonely Blogger (at 2 AM)

My writing a blog post in the middle of the night is not exactly novel (see here for my most recent early-morning musings).

Tonight, however, there are some new circumstances contributing to my being awake at 2 AM, including the very loud construction going on nightly in my town. Indeed, I just now recorded, on my iPhone, shocking evidence of the volume of these nocturnal improvements, but I can’t figure out how to drop that file into this post.

To help you join with me in this experience, here’s a canned version of construction noises, which I’ve used in a previous post:

That’s uncannily close to what I’m hearing, outside my window, right now.

As is my wont with these mid-night posts, I like to keep them short, because I have faith, or hope, that I might fall back asleep this night.

And actually, that reminds me of a subtitle I was considering for this post:  “Faith and Doubt”.

Because — in these wee hours of the morning, as I was having trouble sleeping — that’s where my thoughts have been going.  To faith and doubts about these blog posts: specifically, about how many people are reading.

I know I have written about these kinds of thoughts — How Many People Are Reading? — before (see here).

And while part of me believes that Readership Really Shouldn’t Matter …. nevertheless, these are the thoughts, that are occurring to me, on this topic, at 2:30 AM on Day 142.

On the one hand, I believe that plenty of people are reading.  I know that many people  — those I’ve met and those I haven’t — have subscribed to this blog.  And several people have told me they read this blog and enjoy it — which always warms my heart.  All this  — plus my experience, in groups, that, for every person who voices something, there are other, silent people who feel the same way —  gives me the faith that this blog is being seen and heard enough.

Also, I especially feel good when I put things out in the world just for the sake of expression, letting go completely of the result.

These kind of thoughts tell me that this blog is exactly where it is supposed to be — in terms of readership and everything else.

This reminds me of a sign we had in the large group room at the psychiatric day treatment program where I used to work:

You Are Exactly Where You are Supposed To Be.

A lot of people who saw that sign said they found  it very helpful, if difficult to believe at times.

I have found that sign — and concept — very helpful, too.

So helpful that I almost feel ready to end this post, just letting that concept in, again, tonight:

This blog is exactly where it is supposed to be.

Ahhhh.  That helps. And I do believe it.

My original plans for this Sleepless in Massachusetts post had included the other side of Faith: Doubt.  These doubts would have included the surprisingly low  numbers I see here on WordPress about daily readership.  I am puzzled by these numbers at times, because they don’t match other data, here at WordPress and elsewhere (data including readership maps, numbers of followers, etc.).

That Doubt-tinged Data — of Lower Than Expected Readership — usually doesn’t worry me. But — like everything else I see and perceive — those numbers stay in my mind, ready to surface (especially when I can’t sleep).

But for now, I am content to let go of those doubts and concerns.  I believe, right now, that

I (and everything I create, including this blog) is exactly where it’s supposed to be.

As a result — Poof!  All expectations, “shoulds,” and investments in outcomes — regarding this blog —  fade away.

Even while those construction noises don’t.

I am supremely grateful, in this moment, for your readership.  Goodnight and zzzzzzzzzzzz (snoring noises, for those of you who wonder).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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