Mental Health, Relationships

What to do when your partner sabotages your happiness and achievements

This has happened to me many times. Things are going great and I’m hitting my stride in something. I’m about to celebrate or start a new chapter and boom…a fight starts or silent treatment or whatever happens to dampen the mood.

Just how a partner can love bomb you to manipulate they can also turn the opposite direction and tear you down just as quick.

My abuser was the stereotypical narcissist. All about them but very rarely acknowledge what’s going on with you. In the beginning when he still let me work I was climbing upward in my career. Each job better than the next and a HUGE freakin deal for me. It never failed on the morning of my first day he would pout and huff and puff until I would ask what’s wrong. Then I would brace for a long tirade on how horrible I am and they will see they made a mistake hiring me. My first day jitters were just made 10x worse.

It seemed anytime I started to show self esteem and the threat of independence I guess it was time to tear e back down again. After a while I actually stopped trying hard for things. WTF!!!! I would decline job offers that were presented to me. I would stop sharing anything positive because I didn’t want to set him off.

In that time frame I was also going through a weight loss journey. The verbal abuse about my weight was increasing so of course I went on a diet to again curb the verbal assaults. With every pound I lost I did a little internal happy dance. So when my weight loss was getting noticeable it became a problem. I was getting healthy and becoming again more self confident. I noticed more and more fattening foods entering the house. Cookies,chips,ice cream and all the things that got me to my highest weight to begin with. Will power when I’m hungry is always hard for me. I cave so easy so keeping those things out of the house was a huge turning point. Playing into my weakness I caved and started getting lazy in tracking and for the most part gave up. I never got a you look good or I can see the progress..good job.

So what can we do when these kind of things happen? Here are a few tips I wish I would have done earlier to still celebrate my wins instead of hiding them,

1. If you have a small group of people that you can talk to about your big things let them in on it. I hid my abuse but I still talked to my girls about what I’m doing and how it’s going. Have a text chain that you all can share good news and can celebrate together with people that actually give a shit.

2. Never give up on your goals. Even if you have to keep them all in your head. Once I gave up on myself I slipped farther into the abuse. I started believing what he was telling me. If you still have the fire in you but just can’t pursue right now keep it lit! You will get there. Have a planning meeting with yourself each day on what little things can I do safely to move forward.

3. Daily affirmations. This one took me a bit to adopt. I just felt silly at first and to be honest I didn’t believe it. I had to truly fake it until I made it. Every morning and night when I brushed my teeth I would force myself to say 3 positive things about me. It can be the same every day but you need to give yourself a boost since your not getting it from your partner. Self love people

4. Never stop learning. Try new things if possible. Push yourself a little bit just to prove to yourself you can achieve whatever you need to do and crush it. Being in a funk is normal in these types of relationships so its important to still be true to you and keep bettering yourself. You are NOT a the words coming out of their mouth.

Hope this helps a little when your feeling discouraged.

Xoxo

Amy

Mental Health

Thinking the worst and jumping to conclusions

If thinking the worst and jumping to conclusions were an Olympic sport I WOULD DOMINATE on a global scale. It’s my go too, My wheelhouse, my comfort zone. Is it wrong? Hell yes it’s wrong..but can I stop? No way.

I always joke that I can go from sniffles to death on a simple google search. I can take a minor thing like not texting back right away to them being mad and hating me. If my boss asks to chat with me quick I automatically think I’m getting fired.

Just yesterday I picked up my guy at the airport. I typically get out of the drivers side to go to the passenger side so he can drive. After I pop the truck and get out so he can put his bags in the back we typically meet in the middle somewhere Iwhile I am going around and hug and kiss as a welcome home I love and miss you gesture. This time he walked right into the car and buckled up. No kiss, no hug NOTHING. I of course think the worst. OMG he is mad, he hates me, he’s going to break up with me in the car, He’s got bad news…blah blah blah. I run through EVERYTHING before I even get in the passengers seat. Meanwhile he’s all like what’s your deal while I run through all my feats with him before he pulls away from the curb. I panic and he’s like oh sorry..I was just getting in the car no biggie. He immediately calms my fears and we go about our day like nothing ever happened.

I’m highly aware how exhausting I must be, always having to reassure me the sky is not falling. I really do try and let things play out without a freak-out but if my anxiety is already at a high there is no stopping the panic.

But why do I do this? My therapist says it’s because I have had a lot of loss in my life. Like I need to make sure nothing else happens. Also because of my past abuse I always think I’m in trouble or in the wrong so I need to hurry up and figure out what’s happening so I can brace for impact of bad things and possibly try and fix it. Meanwhile the other person simply forgot to text back. It probably is just a small cold or in my guys case just wanted to get in the car.

So what can we do to try and stop the spiral? Here are the things that I do. It’s still a work in progress obviously but I do try and practice these steps.

  1. Stop Time Traveling– Most of the thoughts I have would be happening in the future. The what if’s. What if I fail? What if he’s going to be mad? What if I see a pretty cloud and am looking up and then get hit by a huge bus and DIE? If we take a minute to think in the present. We can maybe slow our roll. Maybe look at the clouds AND check traffic. Maybe wait and see if he or she is mad before you keep pestering them by asking IF they are mad. Fun Fact: It will probably make them mad if you keep asking.

2. Play out the worst case- So if you must go down the dark path of what if’s.. Then let’s go there. What if you fail? Ok we fail. Do we try again, move on or work harder and figure out what went wrong. What if he’s mad? Ok he’s PISSED. What can we do to make it better? Let’s apologize and figure out where we went wrong so it’s not an issue moving forward. Clouds and getting hit by a bus. Maybe we get everything in a secure place for our loved ones. Let’s not take the day for granted. Let’s always put our best foot forward and live for the moment. Unless that one foot is the foot that get’s you hit by a bus:) By playing it out you take back a little control and will know exactly what to do if the worst does come. You can totally let out a I TOLD YOU SO as well if it makes you happy.

3. Play out the best case- It’s the same game as above but with the better outcome. Again either way you are going to be in control with whatever way it pans out.

4. Would you say this out loud? With the likes like the sniffles turning into a rare illness that will kill you in 6 months. Would you actually tell someone that? Out Loud? With things that can be a little out there I always ask myself that question to see if I’m willing to share my paranoia with others. If it’s my guy I’m more prone to blurt it out since he knows how my head works. If it’s a co worker and telling them my sniffles is going to kill me in 6 months so I’m gifting you my stapler is a bit harder. If it’s hard to sat to other people maybe take a step back and think to yourself am I making this a HUGE deal when it’s in the nothing stage yet.

5. Journal- Sometimes all the steps above are no match for anxiety. I have found that journaling or writing down the fears can have a positive impact. I play the best/worst case on paper so I can see just how outrageous it can be when I read it back. This blog is a bit of a helpful tool for me as well. I know if I write it down others can read. It’s a gut check sometimes.

Everyone is different is how they handle things. Some people are full on jumpers like me and others it’s just a quick thought and then they move on. Wherever you land on the scale just know that we all have moments like this. It’s just how you handle them that makes a difference.

The one thing I found that can help is once I play out worst case I can typically laugh at it so I thought we could all share (if your comfortable) our funniest worst case/ jumping to conclusions moments.

Here’s mine:

I dated a man that lived out of town and when he would come stay with me he always brought a little duffle bag with him for the weekend. One weekend he came and he had a lock on the bag. I’m not one to really go through peoples stuff but I was so worried why all of a sudden he had a lock on the bag. Why? What the eff was in there? Why now? Why can’t you be open and honest with me? Are they murder supplies like a knife and a tarp to hide my body? My thoughts got to the point where I finally had to confront my future murderer. He then opened the lock to the bag and pulled out a fancy blue tiffany’s box and presented me with my DAMN BIRTHDAY PRESENT. Yes folks, I confronted him on my birthday. He put the lock on it because he wanted the gift to be secure while he was traveling. UGH. I’m an idiot.

Ok your next. What have you done when you should of just slowed down and walked through everything?

XOXO

Amy

yellow and pink tulip field selective focus photography
Mental Health

How to handle being alone on a holiday

Hi all,

Today is Easter and I’m alone. My boo thang had to be in a different state for work so I’m rocking the holiday by myself. It took me a bit to be fine saying that but here I am being a grown ass woman letting you know I’m ok with being alone on a holiday. That was not always the case.

Would I rather have a huge Easter dinner and dress up in cute outfits and be around friends and family and eat chocolate bunnies ears first? HELL YES I would. Sometimes things just don’t pan out the way you would like them too.

Over the course of my career I’ve had to work many holidays. For some reason I always felt that was easier than being alone at home. Something to keep my mind busy and just almost think that it’s just another day and no big deal. But when you are alone and you have the day off it is a bit harder to take. I would always hate the dreaded questions ” What are you doing for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years?” Sometimes I would just make things up instead of having to hear myself say nothing. A quick going to see family or my friend invited me over to her house would stop follow up questions.

At my very worst mental state I would dread holidays. I would get so depressed. I would see all the fun activities and events and even though I could have dragged my ass out to them I was having a pity party of 1 at home. I longed for the set dinner tables, the traditional food and the fun and festive atmosphere of people around me.

Now it seems I’m a bit older and wiser and on the right about of meds (hahaha) I can totally do a holiday alone and be fine. Do I still prefer the social part yes but here are a few things I have done over the years to enjoy the days a bit more.

  1. Volunteer

Just because it is a holiday doesn’t mean shelters, services and people in need take the day off. If you find yourself alone and are wanting to get out of the house try and find an organization that could use you for the day. Over the years I have served dinners at homeless shelters, brought Easter baskets to a women’s shelter for their kids, walked dogs at an animal shelter and delivered boxes of food for the elderly that may be alone as well but needed a bit of holiday cheer. You are helping others but are also helping yourself if your struggling mentally with your own holiday sadness. Here is a website you can go to to check on volunteer opportunities in your area. Just type in your city and zip code and you will all things locally.

https://www.volunteermatch.org/

2. Find a local fun run or 5K

Try and look to see if your area has a fun holiday event you can take part in. There is always a fun run or 5K around somewhere. They tend to be holiday themed with fun costumes and festive atmosphere. They always say if your feeling down a good walk or exercise to get the blood pumping can do wonders to boot a mood. You may not know all the people around you but just being in a fun environment will do wonders plus a little exercise couldn’t hurt.

3. Cook your favorite holiday meal

Just because you are by yourself doesn’t mean you can’t have a feast of your favorite holiday traditions. I am the absolute worst cook but even if I can’t make things myself I will go buy at least a few things. Just because you are alone doesn’t mean you can’t have a large amount of pie:)

4. Make the day a ME day

Places may be closed but you can plan ahead and have yourself a little spa day at a day spa or a DIY day at home. The 4th of July for me is my worst holiday. I am embarrassed to admit but I am terrified of fireworks. I’m like a dog and all I want to do is crawl under the bed and hide. So my new and fantastic tradition I do every year is check myself into a really expensive hotel and do a spa day and eat room service and watch horrible reality TV shows all weekend. When the fireworks start at nighttime I’m already a bottle of wine in and I’ll fall asleep around 8. That’s my thing but you could totally pick and start new traditions for yourself.

5. Try not to stress about it

I type this with it being easier said than done. All I’m trying to say with this one is try not to dwell too much on things that your not doing. If your missing some traditions and it makes you sad do a few to keep you in the spirit. Don’t feel forced to do them if it’s just going to make you miss anything. Start your own traditions. Do your own thing and if you want to wear bunny ears just for your dog that’s fine. You do you! The day is just another day and tomorrow will also be another day.

For those of you celebrating with friends and family today enjoy! To those of you like me that are alone today I urge you to pick one thing that makes you happy and go do it, or eat it or just take a nap. It’s your day to do whatever you want. ENJOY IT!

XOXO,

Amy

Author Stories, Therapy

Do you lie to your therapist?

My guess is if you you have ever been in the chair staring across the room at them with the notepad and pen in hand you have TOTALLY lied to them. Right? RIGHT? Or is it just me?

I’ll be the first to admit it that it usually takes me like 6 sessions before I go all in. The very first appointment it’s usually like a get to know you on the surface level. Hi My name is Amy and I’m having a few issues and thought it’s best to maybe come and talk to someone. I have dogs, I work here and I like doing this stuff. Totally like a dating app bio. Putting your best out there first so your not coming off too crazy right?

The next few sessions I ease into what is going on with me but not the ugly crying on the bathroom floor type stuff. It’s weird how I don’t go all in when it’s clear I’m there for help. They ask how I’m doing. I dance around and say I’m fine just sad or “off”. They dig deeper. I give a little but then it’s time to go:) Success in not having to get to the ugly stuff.

By the time the 6th session is happening I’m a freaking mess and then spill it and it’s not pretty. I’m crying, UGLY crying and they are totally going to have to restock the tissues because I’m USING THEM ALL!!

For me when I was in my abusive relationship we moved every 6 months or so. I would have to sneak around to get to my therapy sessions. During that time I would always have to start over with someone new and the cat and mouse game would start all over. My issue was I was still in protective mode and I wanted to feel better but I was scared to give up too much info for fear I would get him in trouble. Like the secret would get out. I would talk about me being depressed. How I lost interest in things I once loved. Moving all the time was hard. All the things but being abused. I would talk about it without talking about it. I always wondered if they knew or if they were going to let me bring it out on my own in my own time. Did they notice my bruises that I was trying to hide?

When I was finally out of my relationship it still took me that long to finally get comfortable with opening up about the abuse. There were some very ugly things that I knew I had to talk about but even the thought of retelling it made me want to throw up. I think I actually had to get up in the middle of a session once to do just that. YUCK!

So why do we feel we have to lie or sugarcoat to our therapists? Are we scared? Too much pain? Embarrassed? I’m sure it could be all three or at least one of them…so how do we get more comfortable with it all? We are paying big bucks for it after all.

After doing a little research I found Time magazine did a little study and found a whopping 93% of us have lied in our therapy sessions. Most of the reasons why is what I listed above.

Regardless of what your in therapy for most of us may find it weird to have someone attentive to your thoughts and feelings. They listen and don’t interrupt and when they start asking questions our defenses go up and lying seems like a way to protect ourselves.

Here are a few things to remember and help you feel comfortable while talking about uncomfortable things.

1. Remember they are there to help you feel better. You took the first step to call to make the appointment. Ease into it like I have done but you and the therapist will become partners in your recovery so you do your part so they can do theirs.

2. I usually wear comfy clothes to my appointments. I tend to bring my legs under my body and if I’m going to be sitting that way I sure as hell better not be in skinny jeans. The more comfortable you are personally, the more you will be in a comfy headspace to open up.

3. Bring a water bottle. If your a cryer like me you need to stay hydrated. I tend to get wicked headaches when I cry so stay hydrated and maybe have some Advil handy too!

4. Just always remember these guys have heard way more crazy stories that you could ever tell. As sad as that sounds you are doing a hell of a good job just for walking in the door. They are there for you. They know the best ways to maneuver around your issues. It took me a bit to understand I could not fix it on my own. Had to bring in the pinch hitter.

5. Just breathe. Keep an open mind. Speak your truth at the pace your comfortable with and know you are strong and going to come out a bit better than the day before. You got this!!

What’s the biggest lie you told your therapist?

I swear she HAD to know I was full of it but I told mine once that the reason why my eyes are puffy is because I have extreme allergies and it kept me up all night. Ugh so lame. Meanwhile I was on my bathroom floor crying all night but of course the allergy lie felt easier to say.

Any tips you have that makes therapy a bit easier I’d love yo hear them.

Til next time

XOXO,

Amy

Mental Health

Daylights Saving Time and how it effects your body.

Hey all,

I know I’m late on this one but lets chat about the crazy thing that happens twice a year that makes us cranky, moody and tired. Daylights Savings Time is not ever a surprise and we know it’s coming but damn if it doesn’t creep up and bite you in the ass at 4pm when all you want to do is go to sleep.

My thing is why does it actually make you so tired losing an hour when we all have had way less nights of sleep. This just seems worse and hard to adjust too right?

Every time it comes around so many people talk about it and complain and I know this time the Senate actually passed a bill to end it..but will it make a difference?

I know that losing/gaining an hour and having sunsets and sunrises mess with sleep schedules and they are the least of our world problems but studies have shown it does take a toll on the body.

Here are a few things I found on this thing called Google

  1. With DST, between March and November, your body is exposed to less morning light and more evening light, which can throw off your circadian rhythm,” When your internal clock is out of sync with the sun’s clock, you can feel tired in the morning and awake in the evening.

2. According to the American Heart Association, in addition to the fatigue, the transition can also affect your heart and brain. Hospital admissions for an irregular heartbeat pattern known as atrial fibrillation, as well as heart attacks and strokes, increase in the first few days of daylight saving time.

3. Losing an hour of afternoon daylight after setting the clocks back to standard time can trigger mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression. A Danish study found an 11% increase in depression cases after the time change.

4. A 2020 study found fatal traffic accidents increased by 6% in the United States during daylight saving time.

Then I found this gem…

Strange as it may seem, Daylight Saving Time might mean you find yourself in more serious legal trouble. According to a 2016 study from the Association for Psychological Science, judges hand out harsher sentences the day after the DST switch.

So basically if you get arrested the judge is going to be cranky like the rest of us so your fate is in the hands of a sleep deprived, moody judge. Good luck folks:)

So what do you think? Are you a fan or hate it or indifferent? I think it’s just the norm now and we all power though but do you think it’s a good idea to do away with it completely?

XOXO

Amy

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