Tag Archives: counseling

Portrait of a Love Triangle

Made by Courtney, age 2.

Made by Courtney, age 2.

 

 

 

Recovering from the heartbreak of divorce, I eventually signed up for an online dating service. After years of sad, stressful times, I just wanted to relax and have fun, get out in the world, talk to some interesting new people.

He was my third date. Smart, funny, sweet, and kind. With blue eyes and a cleft chin, he was handsome in an understated, classic way. Best of all, there was nothing he wouldn’t say yes to, from new foods to travel. He taught me about sailing; I shared my love of cycling. We took turns planning dates that involved something new for the other person. Over a couple of years we grew ever closer, often marveling at just how close we felt.

Half French, he took me to Paris to experience the culture he loves so much. His goal was to show me every single thing he loves in La Ville Lumière. Unfortunately, I was so tired that I didn’t feel like myself. My customary verve and joi de vivre were flagging along with my body. Continue reading

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Grief is a Rubber-band Ball

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I’m no stranger to major loss. As a teenager, I lost my beloved family home and other ties to childhood in the wake of huge financial losses for my parents.

Then came the death of my father after a five-year struggle with lymphoma. Later came the excruciatingly slow passing of my mother-in-law to Alzheimer’s, and my own mother’s declining memory. 

Then, the nearly unbearable abyss of divorce. A few years later, I’d only just started to approach feeling whole when a tiny tick transmitted the lyme that knocked me to my knees—and even further down.

The holidays, a touchstone to the past, intensify the grief. I feel it in every cell of my being.

Recently I said to my therapist, who is helping me get through the many stresses of chronic lyme, “A year ago, I thought I had a handle on the losses lyme has sent my way. And I sure thought I had processed all that grief from childhood, and all that terrible pain from the breakup of my family. Why am I so overwhelmed all over again?”

And she said, “Because grief is like a rubber-band ball.” Continue reading

Video: Negative Thinking Got You Down? “Stop It.”

I tend to call it “going around the mulberry bush.” My therapist calls it circular thinking. But the best analogy, the one that truly tells you how irritating repetitive negative thinking can be, is “like a broken record.”

To those of you too young to have heard a record skip, trust me. The grating sound sets you on edge just like this destructive thought process.

Negative thoughts start zooming around in your brain, one begets another, and pretty soon they are following each other in a maddening loop that keeps playing over and over. The loop invades your days, and it wakes you from slumber at 3 a.m.

“What if I never get better. What if I can’t get my life back. What if I can’t keep my job. What if I lose my house and savings because of out-of-pocket medical costs. What if my spouse/partner/friends abandon me? What if…”

I have two words for you from the great comedian and t.v. therapist Bob Newhart: Stop it. (Sure, this video is tongue-in-cheek and there’s certainly a time for professional therapy. But sometimes you can change the perambulations of your mind all by yourself. And humor definitely helps.)

Cultivate the mental discipline to cut those thoughts off with one swipe of a magic scythe. Because you don’t have room in your life for stress right now.

To recover fully, you need more than medication to kill the bacteria; you need a strong immune system. Do all you can to avoid stress. Start by watching this video. Hopefully you’ll enjoy a laugh.

Then, listen for Bob Newhart’s voice whenever you catch yourself pointlessly repeating worries.  And just stop it.

Lyme: Lessons Learned

Taking care of yourself isn’t, well, rocket science…
[Dr. Robert Goddard. Credit: NASA on Flickr/The Commons]

I’ve had the misfortune of getting re-infected just as I was pulling out of two-plus years during which I was largely sidelined by lyme and other tick-borne infections. There’s a bit of good news, however. I learned a few things the first time around, and I’m doing things differently.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned. Maybe you can benefit by taking them to heart now, instead of learning the hard way like I did over time and missing out on benefits you could have enjoyed much, much sooner. Continue reading