Tag Archives: therapy

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

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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.

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

Last winter, housebound and often in bed, I watched the video above many times every day. Who knows why it makes me laugh out loud—though I will admit, dogs and food rank as two of my favorite things.

At any rate, more than 123 million YouTube views say I am not alone. I am pretty sure I accounted for a healthy portion of that number.

Let me just say that it’s a downer struggling to recover from a disease that affects your mind, your body, your family life, your career, and your bank account. Sometimes you just have to look to humor to get by.

To my daily task list (swallow pills, infuse IV drugs, inject blood thinner, follow steps to detox, rest, exercise (baby steps), rest some more, and eat loads of vitamin-rich food), I have added: laugh.

Continue reading

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