Quit smoking: Managing the Bloating, the Weight Gain, and the Constipation…

As planned, I quit smoking AGAIN on Tuesday, June 20-some-odd, 2009. I prepared for this by changing my diet and adding exercise to my weekly schedule. Two major life changes! These are things that I did not want to give up or change. I’m no different than the rest of the world…I want my life to change in major ways…but I don’t want to have to change in major ways…and I certainly don’t want to step outside my comfort zone!

About a week before I quit, I began to ride horses with my daughter in the evening…awesome exercise! I also cut WAY down on sodas, diet sodas of course…I cut WAY down on the number of protein bars eaten PER day…and I added a bunch of fruit to my daily diet. I had just recently noticed that I was bloating even though I was still smoking…and I noticed that this occurred after a breakfast of diet soda and a protein bar…and a protein bar for lunch! MAJOR BLOAT! It went away in a few hours and did not cause weight gain though! However, I became mindful of a “while smoking bloating pattern.”

The Tuesday morning that I quit, I purchased a box of generic brand Nicorettes gum. I got the 4 mg strength for folks who smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day rather than the 2 mg strength for folks like me who smoke less than 25 per day. I did the math…it makes the gum half price for me! I would smoke about 15 a day, so I just chew a half piece several times a day. I chew it to keep some nicotine in my system to keep my body revved up so I don’t get so bloated and constipated…and gain 7-10 pounds in 7-10 days!

Everything went well the first couple days…but, everything wasn’t perfect. By Thursday afternoon, I hadn’t pooped for about 4 days…so, I bought a box of Correctol…a laxative that’s SUPPOSED TO BE very mild. The box says to take 1-3 tabs…well, not being a laxative queen, I took just one Thursday evening. Nothing happening by Friday afternoon, so, I took another one. Well…things began to happen Friday evening…and I think everything cleared out including the box of cherry tomatoes I had for lunch that day. Needless to say, my weight was good Saturday AM…and I’m not smoking…and I’m not bloated…nor constipated right now!

Laxatives are a major concern…and something I’ve taken about three times in my life because I absolutely don’t want to become addicted or dependent on laxatives. This will NOT be part of my weekly non-smoking plan! I purchased Activia yogurt yesterday…it’s guaranteed to increase regularity if you have one a day for two weeks. I’m trying that.

Some may think I am entirely crazy to be posting about bowel habits…however, if you go to this link and type in various keywords or keyword strings related to quitting smoking and bloating…or constipation…you will see that MANY people are having this problem. It will tell you how many times in the last month these keywords were entered into google for a search. Also, many people are reading this blog…so, there’s other people who are struggling with this as well. I write this as a help to others…and maybe, folks will benefit from my struggles and come up with a Game Plan to quit smoking that fits their lifestyle and needs.

Another point. I shared my struggles with my sister. She was going with my Dad to his cardiologist that day. She spoke with the heart doc and he was seemingly oblivious to this side effect of quitting smoking. He told her that if I was so constipated, I needed to see a Dr. immediately because I had something major going on! Boy, did she call me back with a great sense of urgency in her voice! FUN-NY! Also, my boy became ill this week and I took him to our family doctor. While there, I asked him what I could do about this problem. Because of what he was advising me, I told him several times that the MENTAL part of quitting was no big deal, it was the physical side-effects that were kicking my butt…and leading me to relapse. You know, I don’t think he ever really heard me because he continued to talk about mood, irritability, bitchiness, etc. Could this bloating–constipation thing be a side-effect that the medical profession isn’t noticing?

In case you’re curious, my Doc recommended Wellbutrin as a medication to help quit smoking. He says he’s had a very high success rate with this, around 85%. He said Chantix isn’t doing so well in his practice. He also recommended the nicotine patch. He didn’t like the idea of the gum because he said you can’t really control how much nicotine you’re getting…like chewing faster, longer, etc. His concern is that I’d end up with a nicotine gum habit to deal with!

I got the script for the Wellbutrin, but I’ll hold off filling it. Will finish the trial of what I am currently doing and I’ll see how it works. Will go to Plan H, I, or J if this current Game Plan doesn’t work!

Well, that’s the update. I hope I have good news at the end of this next week. So… so far so good…for the first 5 days of NO SMOKING attempt number 6 or 7 this year!

How do I recover from Borderline Personality Disorder: A DBT-CBT perspective

Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It will require a lot of perseverance and focus…and Mindfulness every waking hour. It will require great effort to gain control of out-of-control emotions, behaviors, and thought processes. Then it will require great control to MAINTAIN control over time. You’ll have to want recovery more than anything else in life. Just like the alcoholic…to recover they have to want recovery more than anything else in life. You’re attitude will have to be “Recovery is my #1 priority” and then you’ll have to act in ways to make it so.

The question of how to recover from BPD was posed to me and I wrote a couple paragraphs to give the person an idea of what it would involve. I did not spell out a comprehensive treatment program, just an overview of some things it would involve. BPD is a severe personality disorder that requires a comprehensive treatment plan and years of therapy…and years of practicing new behaviors and skills to undo and change years of dysfunctional responses. So consider the following information to be an overview of the process and know there’s more to it!

Some aspects of recovery include:

    Therapy
    A support system
    Mindfulness
    Practicing life-enhancing coping skills to replace self-destructive ones…and using these in the heat-of-the-moment…and on a day-to-day basis to keep negative emotional levels as low as possible.
    Challenging self-destructive Emotion-Driven Thoughts with Rational Mind thoughts. Rational Mind thoughts relate to the unchanging TRUTH and facts about a situation, our life, other people, etc. Our Emotional Mind thoughts are based on our “in-the-moment perceptions”…or the way we think about things when we’re in an emotional state. For instance, when we’re upset, we may think and say, “Nobody cares about me.” This will be a habit…so we’ll have to catch ourselves (Mindfulness) and turn on Rational Mind and say, “Many people love me and care about me. I’m just thinking that because I’m upset right now. That’s just stinkin’ thinkin’” If we think, “Cutting would help me to feel better.”…we must catch ourselves and say, “Cutting helps in-the-moment, but it ends up causing me more pain and problems. Calling a support person and working through the moment will help me NOW and in the future. Cutting is relapse for me and will only bring me down and land me back into the Cycle of Suffering. I want recovery and I’ve got to use life-enhancing coping skills.” Wise Mind is already kicking in and will be offering some suggestions for getting through the moment.

Borderline Personality Disorder also involves dysfunctional relationship dynamics and patterns. Part of the recovery process is awareness of our sensitivities and our typical responses in relationships. Mindfulness is essential here. When we catch ourselves responding in old dysfunctional ways, we’ll have to use Rational Mind and Wise Mind to alter our responses. Like when someone hurts our feelings, we might think, “She is such a b—-. She was never my friend. I’m never going to talk to her again. I don’t get mad, I get even.” That’s Emotional Mind thinking…it’s Emotion-Driven Thinking…thoughts that are driven by or are caused by whatever emotions we are experiencing. We’re thinking that way just because we’re Big-Time in Emotional Mind. So, we’ll have to catch ourselves and challenge that thought with Rational Mind. For instance, we might remind ourselves of the truth about her and other people, like “She’s usually nice to me. Maybe something’s going on with her and she’s not in such a nice mood right now. She’s been friendly and she’s been my friend. Everyone has their moods…and I guess she’s in one right now.” Wise Mind would kick on and make some problem-solving suggestions, such as, “I’ll pull myself together and go on with my day and TRY not to worry about this. I’ll check back in with her later and see if she’s okay. If something is troubling her, I’ll offer to talk with her about it. If it seems like she’s upset with me, I’ll let her know I appreciate her friendship and I’m sorry if I did something to upset her…and I’ll encourage her to talk with me about it…and I’ll work real hard not to be defensive! I’ll try to smooth things over with her so I can maintain this relationship.”

There’s a lot to working through and changing a lifetime of experiences, habits, thought processes, reactions, etc. Therapy, support groups, a support system, mindfulness, following through with life-enhancing coping behaviors and problem-solving, and an attitude of “Recovery is my #1 priority” are some key elements to recovery. READ self-help books too…and learn as much as you can about recovery. Know that it took a lifetime to get us to this place and time…and it will take a while to recover. It’s step by step, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day…month after month..and year after year. I think it is reasonable to expect that even though we get to a point of being “pretty well recovered” things will still come up…things that will bring up old feelings, insecurities, and issues…that we’ll have to deal with. But, by then, we’ll be real practiced at it and it won’t take long to set ourselves straight. Honestly, I am “pretty well recovered” but I still have to deal with myself on a daily basis. I consider myself to be “a work in progress.”

Another thing to think about is that it is normal to be “abnormal.” Most people have issues and concerns that bother them. Some struggle to get better n’ better…and others remain in denial and blame others, avoid their issues…and remain in a Cycle of Suffering.

Quit smoking the DBT-CBT therapy way: Attempt #7 – Making my “failures to succeed” successful failures

Here I go again. Another attempt to quit smoking. This constitutes try number 6 or 7 this year. However, I’m stubborn, hard-headed, and persistent…and I’ll keep trying until I make it. This is something that is do-able and something I’m able to do!

My last blog entry was a week or two ago and I had resumed smoking because of major bloating, constipation, and weight gain…like 7-10 pounds in 7-10 days. This has happened each time I have quit smoking this year.

My plan is to quit on Tuesday, my next work day. No smokes on the way to work…and none thereafter! Over the past two weeks, I’ve noticed that I’ve bloated even while smoking; however, I haven’t had the constipation and weight gain. The bloating has come and gone. So, I became mindful of the bloat patterns and noticed it seemed to occur when I drank soda and ate a couple protein bars. So, I gave up soda and protein bars for about 5 days and I had absolutely no bloating. WOW! I began eating some protein bars the last few days because I started feeling VERY tired. However, I did so in moderation and I’ve had a few sodas. Only one bloat session occurred. I’m going to practice moderation with both of these because I like them…and don’t want to have to give them up, TOO!

I am going to start exercising today. I’ll get the junk off the fancy treadmill and do that in front of the TV. I’ll ride horses with my daughter a couple times a week. I need to do something to offset the decrease in metabolism due to not smoking…and to offset a couple hundred extra calories that I might consume daily due to quitting smoking. I’ve lost more weight than I care to admit in the last four years and I have no intention of putting on a lot of weight. I can tolerate a few pounds…but then, it must come off again!

I’ve also added several servings of fruit per day over the last week. I’ll keep that up because it will help offset constipation.

If I start bloating again, I’ll buy some nicorettes and give that a try. If I fail this time again, I have a Dr’s appointment in a few weeks and I’ll try something else. I WILL make this happen.

Here’s an excerpt from the DBT-CBT therapy workbook that I wrote…and it’s something I believe in and I live by. It’s from a section entitled, “Failing to Succeed…or Successful Failures.” It’s in Chapter 7, the Rational Mind chapter…where the Emotional Driven Lies we tell ourselves are challenged through Rational Mind. This excerpt relates to the “I’ll never be able to do it.” and the “Everything I try gets screwed up somehow” type of lies we tell ourselves that sabotage our recovery.

“When we fail, we need to SEEK AN UNDERSTANDING of WHY WE FAILED. We need to LEARN FROM IT and CORRECT WHAT WE’RE DOING. We need to change or adjust our plan to deal with what went wrong. Successful “failures” start with PLAN A and go to PLAN B, C, D, E…and so on until things work out! Despite their failures, THEY KEEP ON KEEPING ON!

It’s also important to be Mindful of our successes and accomplishments and to note WE’VE ALL HAD SOME! We also need to realize that WHEN WE’VE TRIED…when we’ve REALLY STUCK WITH IT, we’ve overcome challenges…and WE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL. Consider the 8-18 attempts at recovery that it takes people ON AVERAGE to become clean n’ sober. Through our recovery attempts, we learn about our triggers and relapse patterns. We learn we REALLY HAVE TO change the things in our life that we DON’T WANT TO CHANGE…things that we’ve refused to change, like friendships, activities, and abusive or conflict-filled relationships. Because of our repeated failures at recovery, we FINALLY SUCCEED! That’s because we’ve revised our Recovery Plan SO MANY TIMES that we FINALLY GET ENOUGH OF THE NECESSARY CHANGES made! We’re hard-headed and we’ve got to learn from OUR experiences…and in the world of recovery…these experiences ARE OFTEN RELAPSES.

Changing our LIFESTYLE and our LIFE IS VERY DIFFICULT. We need to ACCEPT OUR FAILURES and UNDERSTAND they’re a NATURAL part of the LEARNING PROCESS…IF we learn from them.

The truth is, WHEN WE KEEP TRYING, things FINALLY work out. Sometimes, we don’t succeed because we aren’t going about it the right way. Therefore, we need to get a NEW PLAN. Sometimes, we try to do more than is do-able at one time. We plunge head first when we’d be better off wading in and taking smaller steps! There are many reasons why we haven’t reached our goals. Fortunately, most of these problems can be overcome with PERSISTENCE and a REVISED GAME PLAN!”

So I will practice what I preach and I’ll keep trying until I make it. I’ll just DBT-CBT my way through it and rather than failing to succeed, I will make my attempts successful failures.

The following are some quotes off the side margin of the aforementioned section in the DBT-CBT Recovery Workbook:

“The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Failure: I expect to fail so I don’t try very hard …so, I fail.”

“If we don’t put forth a FULL effort, we’ll never REALLY KNOW if we can succeed.”

“Some of our greatest leaders and wealthiest people failed many times before they achieved great success.”

“We never fail until we quit trying. Success comes to those who are determined to overcome obstacles
in their path.”

“When we understand our failures are a part of the learning process, then we can constructively accept our failures and learn from them.”

This relates to the 8-18 tries at recovery it takes on average to recover from substance abuse: “Some say, ‘Been there, done 14, I’ve got to be real close to making it!’ Folks who are new to recovery are discouraged, ‘I don’t want to do this that many times.’ Be Mindful that 8-18 is an average. Some make it on the 1st try (they need to write the book!), others on the 25th. Some make it in 3 tries, others in 20. Bear in mind though…these numbers don’t mean it’s okay to relapse 17 times ‘just because we can’ and then work real hard on the 18th try!”

Dream Interpretation – What do dreams about losing teeth mean?

I’m a psychologist and interpreting dreams is something I’m very good at…when I know a person well. The images in a dream are symbols (Jungian psychology), they symbolize something. What a dream image means for you may be very different from what it means for someone else. There are some “universal” symbols that mean just about the same thing for just about everyone in a particular culture because we have all learned similar things about it (similar understandings). However, I strongly recommend NOT consulting a dream dictionary because what a symbol or image means to one person may be very different from what it means to another. That’s because our personal experiences with the symbol or our associations to the image may be very different from the experiences or associations others have for the same image, symbol, or concept.

For instance, for most people, the symbol of a witch is associated with an evil or mean female, often a maternal figure. However, for a particular dreamer, the symbol of a witch may be very positive. Maybe they won a costume contest when they were dressed up as a witch and it was a very positive emotional experience, perhaps they felt very special, “on top of the world,” recognized, or very pleased with themselves because they beat out their bully or rival in the contest…(so it reflects success, self-confidence, overcoming something). Maybe it was one of the first times their mother really focused on them and helped them with a project (the costume)…so it was a time of feeling emotionally connected with their mother, loved and cared for by her…etc.

The best way to interpret dreams is to write out your entire dream…absolutely everything you remember about it even if a detail doesn’t seem important. Then, begin to “free associate” and write down everything that comes to mind for each symbol, experience, emotion, person, or image in your dream. Write down everything that the image or experience reminds you of. That way, you are interpreting YOUR dream…based on what your dream symbols mean to you. Most of the time, this will help you to understand your dreams…and usually it will be a WOW experience.

I have had “losing teeth” dreams….one falls out…then before I know it, most of my teeth are coming out…or crumbling, etc. I have had this dream many times, so my mind, body, and soul is trying to get something across to me…it’s pushing me to pay attention to something…to deal with something. It’s trying to help me to heal and recover in that area. The dream keeps coming up because something in that area of my psychological or emotional life NEEDS some work.

It’s a dream image that I have not figured out yet…and it’s odd to me to not be able to figure it out. I guess I’ll be having that dream until I do…or until I heal and recover in that area in other ways.
I have made associations to teeth…and all I can come up with is that they are something that’s supposed to be permanent…we are not supposed to lose these. Maybe it represents the major attachment losses in my life…people who were supposed to be permanent, people I loved and depended on, who left. I have become aware in recent months that I had MANY losses of special people in my age 13-16 time period…and life got real bad for me during those years. I was an utter mess emotionally and behaviorally during those years and for years thereafter. I will certainly pay attention to THAT theme if I have the dream again! Maybe I won’t have the dream again since I am dealing with this on my own!

I don’t fully have this association worked out yet, but I’ve also considered that our teeth are things that are “presented to the world” – people see these as we are relating to them…speaking to them. Losing our teeth may represent some vulnerability in this area…The concept of a defense or protective barrier also comes to mind…and if we lose these, we are somehow vulnerable. Our words are a mirror of our soul and our psyche when we are open and express ourselves to others…and losing them may represent a vulnerability, a weakness, or a concern in this area. Maybe we wish we could keep our teeth and protect ourselves from opening our mouth and bearing our soul. Or maybe if we lose our teeth…we are losing our psychological defenses and we are feeling very vulnerable.

See how this is done. Just free associate and think about what teeth mean to you…and then how those associations relate to your life and your issues. When you start to understand your dream and you begin to grow in that area…your dreams will change as you change. Actually, working with patients, I find that our dreams reflect progress we are getting ready to make…the dream comes first…and then manifestations of that progress or change is noticed as we relate to our world. In other words, changes in dream imagery reflects psychological growth that is going on internally…that we are soon to experience in action! They are a signal of the changes the patient is making…and changes we will soon see!

So, maybe instead of losing all our teeth, one or two or several will come out and we’ll be able to get them back into the socket and keep them in place. Knowing dreams, probably at first, the means for getting our teeth back in place will be crazy and won’t make much sense…but nonetheless, in the dream it worked!

How to Get Control of the Quit Smoking Bloat, Weight Gain, and Constipation! Must DBT my way through it!

I teach DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)…in fact I wrote the DBT-CBT Recovery Workbook, “Out of Control.” I have the skills and understandings for behavioral change…I’ve recovered from many things…and I’ve kicked many habits…but this one is kicking my butt this time. This is a follow-up to two previous “I’M TRYING TO STOP SMOKING” WordPress blogs. It’s been about two weeks since my last blog on trying to quit smoking and the bloating and weight gain that compels me to resume smoking. So, I’ve been smoking again for the last two weeks. It’s really a love-hate relationship with smoking…I love to smoke, I hate to smoke. I hate it more than I love it and I’m determined to quit. My plan continues to be to get a Game Plan for quitting. I am going to a conference tomorrow in California on risk assessment, the Reid Meloy PCL-R one. I didn’t want to suffer the agony of being three sizes bigger and “feeling fat,” so I’ve allowed myself to smoke for this period…two weeks plus the conference.

Folks in my DBT Group would say I am just sabotaging myself and falling into the trap of Emotional Mind by coming up with Emotion-Driven Lies and Excuses to continue smoking…that my excuse to smoke is nothing but an excuse to smoke. Alike many people who sabotage themselves this way, I would say, “I’ve got a plan to quit and this is part of my plan. If you knew me, you’d know I was going to quit…and this is part of my quitting plan.” And everyone else would say…”Bull Sheets…that’s just bull, Sheets!” And I would say…”Just sit back and watch. I’ve quit many things in my life and I will quit this…come hail or high water…I’ll find an umbrella to make it through this storm.” And, I will. I’m determined to quit and I’ll find a way. If I knew that smoking two more weeks and through the conference would cause me lung cancer, I’d put this cigarette out right here, right now, and call it quits. Glad I don’t know that! I do think about it though and I’ve asked God to see me through this…and keep me safe while I get ‘er done.

I sent an email out to the Docs and nurse practitioners at the hospital yesterday and was just about desperate enough to send an email out across campus. I explained this bloating – constipation – weight gain problem and I asked if they knew of a medication or patch that would minimize this. I read a bit about Chantix and stopped at the side effects of constipation and gas! I haven’t studied any more…so, I don’t know if Nicorette gum or other nicotine replacement therapies will help. I’m hoping some readers will share their experiences and we can figure out what to do. Many people are reading this blog, so many are struggling with the same thing. Please leave some comments and let us know what works and what doesn’t. I’d really like a magic pill or patch so I can easily quit smoking. I’ve quit 5-6 times this year and I’m fine mentally, emotionally, and psychologically after the first couple days…until this bloat thing happens and my weight soars…and my pant size increases by 2. So, if I can get this bloat thing figured out, I’d be quit again in no time. I seek the “No pain…big gain” method of recovery!

So, if I don’t know of anything else to do when I return from the conference, I’ll set another quit date, try Nicorette gum or something similar and go at it again. I understand that the gum is expensive…and I did try to sabotage myself with that excuse…but, my Rational Mind isn’t going to put up with that crap and quickly reminded me that smoking is more expensive. Ended that. I do have a doctor appointment set up in early July and I can get some information from my PCP at that time if Nicorettes doesn’t work. I’ve also become Mindful that my current diet is very high in fiber and protein and that may be why I am having this new problem with quitting smoking. I’ve always been able to quit for long periods of time and have never had this problem…until this year. Maybe I have to change my diet and eat more roughage rather than soft protein bars. Maybe I have to exercise more often. Do you know that riding a horse burns about 200 calories an hour? All I have to do is to go outside, sit on a horse for an hour, and let it take me for a walk! That’s sure a lazy woman’s way to exercise. If I can hold on while the horse gallops, I can burn about 500 an hour! I thought about putting a sign on my horse’s butt and trotting past power-walkers on the road or galloping past a jogger that says “I’m burning more calories than you!” FUN-NY! Yes, I know I’m not getting the same cardio benefits…nor pulmonary…but the mental picture is quite amusing!

Long blog short…I’m still smoking and I’m not done quitting! I’ll keep folks posted on this journey and what I learn as I go…and what I have to do to get there! Hope there’s a magic pill!

Working Through the Pain of Verbal and Emotional Abuse: Self-Disclosure in Therapy…A Question of Professionalism…Does It Hurt More Than It Heals?

Someone who loves me and supports me told me that I’m making myself look bad and unprofessional by writing these blog entries and sharing so much of my personal neurotic self. She questioned how I think I can look professional and be a respected author of a therapy workbook if I am presenting myself as so messed up. I’ve thought about this all along…and I did expect this point to be raised. I haven’t thought through it at a deep level though…so my thoughts about it aren’t so organized…so what I write now will be pretty raw…but here’s what I think at this moment in time.

I teach my patients that most normal people are messed up in some ways…that there are few VERY NORMAL PEOPLE who have no major emotional issues and concerns. I believe that ALL PEOPLE struggle with themselves in some way or another…at least at some points in their life. I don’t think that NORMAL people are perfectly normal. I think the kinds of emotional issues and concerns that I struggle with ARE NORMAL…that many people struggle with the same things…or similar things…or other things that dog them just the same. I think that normal people are messed up…I think being “ABNORMAL”…IS NORMAL. I think that people who are putting on a PROFESSIONAL FRONT are PUTTING ON a professional FRONT. I know that some people are highly self-controlled and very tightly wrapped…and, that’s ABNORMAL.

What’s wrong with them that they can’t admit or reveal their humanity, their weaknesses, their struggles…Why is it that they feel so strongly about presenting to the world as SO PROFESSIONAL and SO NORMAL? What is it that they don’t want people to know about them…or what are they so ashamed of that they’re hiding…or what is it that they don’t want people to think about them? What is so bad about their true self? Why do they have to hide their humanity and who they are as a person? Why is it that they feel the need to separate themselves from humanity and place themselves on a “I’ve got my life VERY WELL TOGETHER and I’m better than you…or different than you…I’M PROFESSIONAL…I’m DISTINCT…I’m in a different social class…I am one that is respectable…I have overcome my humanity” pedestal?

Boy am I going to piss these people off!

I think that if we can’t accept ourselves, our weaknesses, our humanity, then we have major, big, emotional issues and concerns. I think that if we have to put ourselves on a pedestal and create a facade of absolute professionalism and perfection…then there’s something wrong with us…something wrong that we feel we have to distinguish ourselves from humanity…from the “common people.” Has our sense of self been so beaten that in order to FEEL OKAY…we have to be SO self-controlled…and maintain such a professional self-image and presentation to others…so that we can feel a sense of integrity, wholeness, togetherness, and acceptability? Why would one have to distinguish and separate themselves from humanity in order to feel okay? Do we feel so bad about who we are…and our humanity…that we have to distinguish or separate ourselves from others…and humanity?

Why can’t I just feel okay about myself…and accept that my emotional and psychological weaknesses are okay and acceptable…and normal? Why would I have to CHEAT and DECEIVE my patients and book readers…and put on this facade of PERFECTION or near perfection…and interact with them in HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL ways…in order to gain their respect by deceit and trickery? Is my sense of self-respect so low that I have to heighten my sense of self-respect by conning other people into having over-esteemed respect for me?

Do I have to fill up my empty tank of self-respect with THEIR RESPECT for me? If my tank of self-respect is filled enough…I don’t need others to fill that tank for me…because it’s already filled enough. Granted and obviously…my tank of self-respect falls below what is healthy because I struggle with it so. However, I’m not going out in the world trying to get others to fill this tank for me. In order for my tank to be filled adequately and to stay that way, I must have the resources to fill it on my own…rather than begging, borrowing, and stealing respect and self-esteem from others.

I continually work on myself and continually struggle with my humanity and my emotional beatings and slaps from the past. I don’t want my reservoir of self-respect to be so vulnerable to the destructive whims and neuroses of others. I continually work on myself so my reservoir of self-respect increases over time…so I am not so needy of being filled with respect by others.

If I am truly to experience self-respect, it needs to come from within…it needs to be mine…else, the amount of respect I have for myself is going to be ever vulnerable to the waves of approval or disapproval from others. I’m tired of living that way. I’m tired of my sense of self being tied to what others think of me…because not everyone is so healthy as to treat us or to regard us consistent with our level of deserving. We all know that other people put us down in order to feel better about themselves…that others may blame us for things instead of blaming themselves…that others criticize or find fault with us because they don’t want to acknowledge or deal with their own faults and weaknesses…that they make us look bad so they don’t have to look bad…and they take credit for what we’ve done so they look better…or they don’t brag on us like they could because somehow it makes them feel less than.

I have received many emotional beatings and slaps in my journey through this world. I’ve had many people in my life that have been very emotionally unhealthy and have been emotionally and verbally abusive and hurtful to me. I have sucked in…and have personalized what they’ve said to me, how they’ve responded to me, and how they’ve treated me. I derived a sick sense of self-respect and self-esteem as a result…a level of self-respect and self-esteem that does not match the reality of my life, my talents, my accomplishments, etc.

I have been very hurt by several authority figures. Some have been victims of emotional abuse and have come to derive a heightened sense of self and empowerment by putting others down…they feel powerful and in control when they weaken the self-esteem of others…they feel in control by overpowering and beating others….and some of these people are filled with so much unrestrained pain and anger…that they have major Emotional Mind eruptions…and they spew the hurtful and the ugly all over their environment.

I have also been subjected to some very narcissistic people as well…people that are so sick inside or so emotionally unhealthy that they interact with the world and present themselves…and on the surface think of themselves…as superior to others. Instead of giving other people due credit, instead of speaking of others in the positive ways they deserve, they demean us, take credit for our work, and don’t show us the positive regard we deserve. They psychologically esteem themselves at our expense. They so much need this to feel okay about themselves. This is a defense mechanism for them…a defense against experiencing their humanity and emotional vulnerability…and the pain and ugliness they feel inside. This is a destructive coping behavior…it is a narcissistic defense.

I have been so beaten and demeaned by my interactions with some of these people that I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m tired of the anxiety, self-doubt, insecurities, and all the crap that I’ve felt and suffered through as a result. I’m so tired of the Emotional Mind beatings that I put myself through…that I’ve had to turn on Rational Mind to take a true look at myself…and to decide for myself who I am and what I have to offer to this world. I’ve decided to appraise my own self-worth and to protect my vulnerable sense of integrity. I’ve decided to minimize the impact these emotional unhealthy people have on me…and to rely on the positive regard other people have for me…and the positive regard I have for myself.

This psychological issue is something I will no doubt struggle with for a long time…it’s not an easy thing to overcome. I’ve spent most of my life tied to and deeply affected by how these people have regarded me or have treated me…that it is a rather engrained way of regarding myself. I am working on it…and I will continue to work on it. I will be affected by future insults…but, I will work to minimize the impact they have on me. When one of these insults comes my way, I will work to be Mindful of how it’s affecting me and I will work to disseminate the truth from it. I will ask myself, “Did I do something to deserve this? Is it undeserved and an unrealistic appraisal of me?” If I did something, I will own it…and I will work to continually improve myself in that area. If it makes me feel bad about myself that I keep doing things that cause others to have negative regard for me, I will work to soothe myself and to remind myself that I’m not perfect and that I’m a work in progress. I will try to come up with a Game Plan or a plan of action to better control myself so the same thing doesn’t continue to happen in the future. That’s all I can do. I refuse to destroy myself and my sense of self over it.

I write the things I do in this blog to reach out to other people who are hurting and are struggling with the pains of life…to recognize that in their abnormality, they are perfectly normal…that everyone or most everyone struggles with things…and that what separates the so called normal from abnormal in our mind is how much we know about them…and how much they are willing to know and acknowledge about themselves. I believe that in my abnormality, I am very normal. I feel defective, but I know I’m at a level of good repair…perhaps even better repair than most people…and that, I am a work in progress.

Further, I feel that I have the level of knowledge, skills, understandings, and achievements to be thought of by others as a “professional” and that if people know me, are around me enough…they will easily have that respect for me. I no longer feel the need to ACT professional so people will respect me. I think I can be myself and share myself…and do so while carrying out a professional job. My profession is to help people to achieve self-respect and to gain relief from all the pain and turmoil that drives destructive coping behavior, self-destruction, other destruction, and life destruction…so that they can feel okay about themselves and will begin to interact in the world in a productive, life-enhancing fashion. If I achieve that, then I’ve done good…and I’ve fulfilled my professional responsibility. If being “unprofessional” in appearance by revealing my struggles and weaknesses and my recovery journey…helps to reach a subset of hurting souls, then it is worth being regarded as “unprofessional.” Really, the unknowing opinions of others matter little in the big picture of the world…and any help given to tormented souls matters most.

Now, all this is not to say that I NEVER ACT professional. My profession requires I abide by an ethical code of conduct…and I am very invested in acting professional in that manner…because those things make a major difference in the care and treatment of those I serve. Further, when I’m around people that I am expected to impress or need to impress with my professionalism…I can generally do a good job of pulling that off. I CAN ACT professional for the sake of making a professional impression when I have to…I just don’t choose to live that persona otherwise.

Fighting Through the Battle to NOT Smoke Cigarettes…Armed with DBT-CBT Skills and Understandings

I weighed myself this morning and I lost 4 pounds over the past 24 hours. Back below the 130 mark. That part of my Emotional Mind feels relief. I’m about mad and frustrated though that this is the way things are…that I have to smoke again to get my body working again…that smoking does this for me and my body is addicted to the cigarettes. I’ve smoked and quit smoking probably 20 times in my life with about 6 times being over the last 5 months…I’ve never had this kind of problem before when I’ve quit smoking. My body has never reacted like this. For me, quitting smoking has always been a choice…a decision. I would decide to quit and I quit…and that was that. I was fine. It was a no big deal type of thing. It was a decision.

Today, it’s not just a decision. It’s not so easy. I’m having big major problems quitting. My body is addicted and it’s causing me big major problems. That makes me angry / frustrated because I want to be in control of my body and my life. I want to be able to make decisions about my behavior…and to be able to change my behavior without all these problems. I want to decide to do something…and then it happens. I did quit smoking for 10 days because I set my mind to it…but then, something happened. The something that happened is that a big boulder fell out of the sky and slammed right into the middle of my recovery path. That something was the bloating, constipation, and subsequent MASSIVE weight gain. My reality changed. Things aren’t the same as they used to be. I have something new to deal with.

That reality is that I’m not 16 or 25 or 35 anymore. I’m getting older and my body is changing. Things aren’t the same as they were before when I’ve successfully quit smoking…and my task in life right now is to adjust and deal with my new reality. My reality is…my body is having a major GI (gastrointestinal) response to withdrawal from cigarettes. My body is reacting in a big way. My reality is that to be successful with quitting smoking, I am going to have to find a way around, over, through, or passed this big obstacle in my recovery path. I am going to have to find a way to deal with it.

A bit of history. I have lost 145 pounds over the last 4 years. I was never FAT until I got FAT at about the age of 29. I was usually in the 115 to 135 range…but then, marriage to a man that eats, children, and a job AND a business away from home that created a chaotic out-of-control eating lifestyle…led me to gain a pound or so a month…over many months…to become VERY overweight. This is another story and over time, I’ll blog about it. But today, I’ve lost a ton of weight…and I am determined NOT to get fat again. I don’t want to go back there again.

So, it really alarms me when my weight starts going up and I’m NOT IN CONTROL. Since I quit smoking 10 days ago, my weight went up 7 pounds. The last day before I quit smoking, it jumped two pounds. Rationally, I know it’s not real weight, granted maybe ½ a pound of it is because I was eating a bit more those days. However, I went up two pant sizes and even the bigger size was a little tight. My Emotional Mind was very disturbed. If we can even call it Wise Mind…it kicked in and said smoke again, get your weight back down, and get a new Game Plan. That sounds like a horrible Emotion-Driven Lie I told myself. However, I know me and I know my sense of determination and I can get away with that. I am bound and determined to kick this smoking thing because I don’t want to be 65 and tied to an oxygen tank. I have other plans for my life and it doesn’t include toting around an oxygen tank. I will find a way to make this happen…one way or another…and come hail or high water.

I still have some options. I can talk with a doctor and find out if a patch or a pill can ease my physiological withdrawal from cigarettes and can keep my body from reacting so intensely to the lack of whatever poison it is in cigarettes that is causing this bloating, constipation, and major weight gain. I can start exercising regularly to keep my metabolism up and to offset the increase in calories. I can ask my family NOT to bring ANYTHING in the house that will tempt me to eat…to hide it in their room, leave it in the car, but to keep it out of my range of vision. In the last few days, Sour Cream and Onion Lays potato chips came in the house and a box of Reeses’ cereal. Even snacking on those added 300 calories to my day…on Thursday…the day I decided to smoke again. I can also make some calorie / diet changes to what I normally eat on my own and without temptation from others. I can adjust my routine diet. I’m not done yet. I still have some options…and I still have a helluva lot of fight inside me to get past and through this tough time. Come hail or high water and boulders that fall out of the sky, I will make it through…because it is important to me to quit smoking. Do pray for me because I really want this to happen…and I need all the help I can get!

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and extending through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing: service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook. The full title is “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” – Recovery Works Publications, 2009.

Quit Smoking and Bloating, Constipation, Reduced Metabolism, and Weight Gain!

The same thing happened again…I got bloated, constipated, and my weight went up. I gained 6 pounds and 2 pant sizes. Not a happy moment. Good-bye slim fit Wrangler size 9 and hello size 11 regular fit! That’s going from a size 7 to a size 11 with just 6 pounds…6 pounds in my stomach and waist area that is! If you read the other blog post I wrote recently about my struggles to quit smoking, you’ll know that I’ve quit smoking 5-6 times this year…and each time I got bloated, gained a bunch of weight REAL FAST…returned to smoking…and lost it all real fast.

One time I was eating a lot of nuts and blamed it on the nuts. Another time I blamed it on starting birth control pills. This time, I didn’t change anything in my life…but, the same thing happened. As is typical, I talk to my friends when I’m in distress. Today, I spoke with a friend…and he said the same thing happens to him…the bloat, the constipation, and the weight gain when he quits smoking. I told him another friend told me that smoking increases metabolism…so I assumed not smoking results in decreased metabolism. Well, knowing he’s had the same experience, I googled and read about what happens when you quit smoking. This pattern is typical. It’s not just about eating more, it’s about the GI tract slowing down, constipation and bloating! So, I learned something new today.

Well, I started smoking again this morning…because now I have gained 6 pounds and I went up two pant sizes. My plan…get a Game Plan, just like I teach in the DBT-CBT class. Obviously, recovery from smoking is more than just stopping smoking…it’s going to involve some major life changes…some of which I have no interest in changing. I have to decide what to do. I already drink quite a bit of water and I eat a LOT of fiber each day. I guess I have to add regular exercise…URGH! I am also going to visit with the doctor and see if there is a magic pill or patch that will help me transition from smoking to non-smoking without all this bloating, constipation, and weight gain. I can deal with a little weight gain…but not something that makes me feel totally Out-of-Control.

So, my plan for now is to smoke for a couple weeks, let my body readjust to all the toxins and poisons in the cigarettes, and…enjoy it as my weight goes back down and I get to smoke again. Then, with increased knowledge and a different plan, I will try again…and I will keep trying until I make it. I sure hope cigarettes don’t kill me in the meantime.

One thing I have to think about is that when I stop smoking, my caloric needs will go down by about 150 calories a day because my heart won’t be pumping so fast. My metabolism will go down because I won’t be smoking and causing my heart rate to unnaturally increase. If I’m eating 300-400 extra calories per day because I’m not smoking…then that’s about 500 extra per day…and one extra pound of true fat per week. I am going to have to do something to offset that! It will be hard to reduce caloric intake by 150 calories a day because I normally eat about 1200 calories per day! So, I have a definite problem.

Another thing I have to keep in mind is that I lost the first 100 pounds without smoking and I have been slender before without smoking. Somehow I did it then, and I have to do it again.

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing: service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website http://www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook – full title “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior.

Trying to DBT-CBT My Way Through Quitting Smoking – The Battle Between Emotional Mind and Rational Mind

This is my 5th or 6th time to quit smoking this year. This is something I’ve always been really good at. I’ve successfully quit smoking over a dozen times in my life. No joke…I really mean it! I’ve quit for long periods of time, like years at a time…and then, I pick up a cigarette…and here I go again!

I have most often quit when I’ve gotten sick. It was always a “planned quit”…”I’ll quit next time I get sick and cigarettes taste horrible.” That was a very effective plan. The problem this time…is that I haven’t gotten sick enough to quit and I’ve had to find other reasons to quit. No, please don’t pray for me to get so sick that I quit! Don’t want to go there on purpose…especially in this age of swine flu!

I’ve also quit several times due to pregnancy. I’ve also quit before when I dated someone who didn’t smoke…I knew what it was like for a non-smoker to kiss a smoker…been on the receiving end of such a kiss…and it’s plumb nasty! All in all, I’ve smoked and have quit many times over my 40 year smoking career.

Because I didn’t get sick over the last 18 months…well, not sick enough to quit smoking…I’ve been smoking for 18 months now…with the exception of some short periods of not smoking over the last 4-1/2 months. I did a planned quit on Jan. 5th – the day I went back to work after the holidays. I did fine for about 5 days…my weight had been going crazy and I gained about 13 pounds REAL FAST…like over a two-week period when I was eating 1200-1300 calories a day. Being a professional dieter (like I am a professional smoking quitter!)…My Rational Mind knew that weight wasn’t REAL weight…that it was water, poop, whatever…but, it wasn’t FAT. However, given I’ve lost a ton of weight over the last several years and the last thing I want to do is to gain all my weight back…my Emotional Mind was going crazy…and I was freakin’ out…

I was telling a friend about the weight gain…the bloating…and all the concomitant gas. I told her I shouldn’t be gaining weight because I wasn’t eating that much. She asked what I was eating…and I bragged on eating a very healthy diet of nuts. Well, thank goodness she knew a little something about nuts. She told me that nuts cause bloating…and can cause all that extra gas! I told her I sure wanted to get rid of all the bloating but I was rather enjoying having the ammunition to get even with my gassy family. Well, I did a bunch of googling and found out she was right! So, I got off the nuts and took up smoking AGAIN. My weight dropped as quickly as it came on…and I was RELIEVED!

My Dad was hospitalized for a stroke on Feb 1st…about 3 weeks into my most recent smoking indulgence period. Baylor Heart Hospital in Dallas is NO SMOKING all over the campus…there are NO smoking places…inside or out…imagine that…a heart hospital that does not support smoking. So, given we were living at the hospital for a week, and given my father was a long time smoker and obviously just had to quit cold turkey, I had to give up smoking AGAIN.

That went just fine for a few weeks…and since I wasn’t smoking, I figured it was a good time to start the birth control pills my doctor has prescribed for pre-menopausal hormone replacement. I tried them about two years ago…but my weight went crazy and I quit. Well, this time wasn’t any different…my weight went crazy again. I was gaining 1-2 pounds a day…and about 8 days, 12 pounds, and two sizes later, I quit the pills three days early and started smoking AGAIN!

As expected, my weight went right back down…and I lost a few more pounds. YEA! Well, after about two weeks of enjoying this most recent smoking binge, I set a date to quit smoking AGAIN…on my next “return to work” day. I did just fine for about five days. I quit at the wrong time of the month…the part of the month for me that my weight goes up about 5 pounds…regardless of caloric intake. My Rational Mind knows it’s just water…maybe some extra poop…but, I’m bloated and I have to wear a larger size…and that’s NOT okay. It was also Easter time and my child brought a large bag of some VERY FRESH chocolate covered raisins home and of course, she had to show me what she had. Okay, those were consumed the first night, but I skipped dinner to offset the increased calories. The next day, my friend visits and brings over Easter candy that she found on sale…of course, it’s chocolate stuff…and of course, I consume that…however, because I missed nutrition the night before, I ate real food, too.

Okay, we’re doing “the weight done gone crazy” thing again. My Emotional Mind was freakin’ out…so I asked my husband to bring me some smokes on his way home. I told my family and my friend that I would quit smoking AGAIN once my weight was under control and to NOT BRING SWEETS INTO THE HOUSE if they wanted me to stay off smoking. Our recovery has to be a family affair…our support people need to support us and to help keep our environment as temptation free as possible. Very few people will recover if they live in an environment filled with temptation. That’s why we’re told that we have to change people, places, and things.

Okay…a few weeks went by and I quit again. I quit for five days and I started smoking again because I was stressed out at work…and just because I wanted to. It wasn’t about weight…it was about MY WANTS. I WANTED to smoke.

So, now here we are at Saturday, May 23rd, 2009. I’ve quit AGAIN. I’ve been off cigarettes since Tuesday, May 19th when I went back to work after a long weekend. The week went well, though Tuesday at 4pm when it was getting close to quitting time (at work), I was thinking about the 23 minute drive home and how I could stop off and pick up some smokes…and how nice that would be. I thought about how much I REALLY WANTED a cigarette…and how I was really “Jones-ing” to smoke.

As I sat on the pot at work…my Emotional Mind and Rational Mind was battling it out. My Emotional Mind desire was to smoke. My Rational Mind was fighting hard to talk me out of it and my Wise Mind was telling me to GET THROUGH THE MOMENT…go straight home…you’ll be alright…you’ve done great all day. My Emotional Mind was coming up with all these schemes to smoke, like “I could just smoke at night…and not smoke during the day.” and, “Remember, I don’t want to live ‘til I’m 90 and have to live in a nursing home…if I smoke, I’ll die in my 70’s and not have to deal with that misery…and it’ll be better for my family that way.”

Well, Rational Mind fought back and told me, “It’s an Emotion-Driven Lie to think that you’ll just smoke in the evenings…that may work one day and then you’ll be back to smoking full-time AGAIN…that’s bull Sheets.” Finally, after conducting this fierce battle over the porcelain pot, my Rational Mind spoke again in my sister’s tone of voice…and said, “Think about what you’re doing to your lungs.” – oh thanks a lot for that Rational Mind…spoil my fun. Then, my own voice kicked in with Rational Mind and asked, “What do you desire more…to be a smoker…or a non-smoker?”

Well, that was a defining moment for me…and I said in a strong voice (inside my head)…”I most desire to be a non-smoker.” and…that was it…I sighed deeply, flushed, and went on with my evening. I drove right home and it was wild…while I waited at the Walmart light, it occurred to me that I hadn’t thought about cigarettes until just that moment when I thought about not thinking about cigarettes. That was pretty cool!

I’ve done great until today, Saturday…the 23rd as referenced above. I’ve gained three pounds because it’s that time of the month. At the beginning of this most recent non-smoking attempt, Wise Mind suggested that I wouldn’t start freakin’ out until I gained 8 pounds…to give myself a larger window before taking action! I weighed one more pound on Wedn morning, one more on Thurs…and one more on Friday. I was the same weight this morning.

That should be exciting because maybe the monthly weight gain is slowing down…and the eating an extra 100-200 calories a day not smoking isn’t adding up too fast. My Emotional Mind was a bit disappointed…because if I would have gained another pound or two, I could have smoked again. I was actually disappointed. I even weighed a second time just to be sure. Aren’t we sick?! I say “we”…because we folks who struggle with recovery do all sorts of things to sabotage ourselves…so we can return to our habits and addictions.

Of course, I was Mindful of my mind games and reminded myself that I want MORE to be a non-smoker, save the money, breathe better, it’s more professional, I don’t want to be burdened with the habit and the NEED to smoke when it’s inconvenient and I’m going to be late for a meeting, I’m smoking up my book profits, God’s been good to me and look how I’m taking care of his blessing….etc. I also reminded myself that I told my Group on Wednesday about what helped me to win the relapse battle on Tuesday (what do I desire more)…and how awful it would be…to have to let my Group down by telling them that I’m smoking again. What a horrible example that is. What a hypocrite I would be. I’m encouraging them to change everything in their lives as they try to quit life-encompassing habits like drugs and alcohol…and I can’t overcome smoking. All these Rational Mind thoughts attacked that sick Emotional Mind Game…but, I did think that I could just not smoke in the mornings…that I wouldn’t smell like smoke during Group…and if they asked, I could lie. The faces, the stories, and the hearts of some of my Group Members flashed through my mind…and the guilt trumped my desire to smoke.

Today is Saturday and it’s a time when I spend long hours on the computer. It’s a time when I really enjoy smoking…one cigarette after another. It’s a very convenient and relaxing time to smoke. So, today has been tough. I’m glad I have no smokes at home, I’m glad the store is about 10 minutes and a major hassle away…and that I hate leaving my home on my day off…and my husband hasn’t said, “I’m going to the store, want anything?” I did hear my boy ask his Dad if he was going to “Buffalo Fina” after he drove to a friend’s home to feed their horses. Thank goodness, my husband said, “No, I haven’t thought about it.” Thank goodness I didn’t say, “Hey, could you pick me up a pack of smokes.” I’ve had to remind myself so many times today what it is that I really want…and it’s to be a non-smoker.

I ate fine today…but a part of me wishes I will have gained an extra pound in the morning. I did pray this time around for God to help me through this. I told him that unlike in the past, I may not be able to do this on my own this time…that it was getting harder. I’m off work tomorrow and Monday…Memorial Day weekend. Lord, keep me focused…keep me Mindful of what my goals are…help me through the rough moments…and help me to be bursting with pride and excitement on Tuesday when my Group asks, “Did ya’ smoke?”…and I can say “Came close…came real close, but worked through the moment…for hours and hours over that long weekend!” See me through this Lord, Amen. This makes me smile and gives me hope that I’ll make it through. I don’t want to be a disappointment to others…I want to be an inspiration.

UPDATE: 5-26-09 (Tuesday)
I think I made it through! Got through the long weekend WITHOUT smoking. Had several tough moments each day…really desired to smoke…but used all my Rational Mind – Wise Mind – Talking Myself Through the Moments skills to make it through. Been off cigarettes 8 days now…guess I saved about $40. Almost enough to purchase another pair of boots off Ebay! I’ve probably made it through the toughest point…the long weekend. I bet I can be done with cigarettes…if I choose to be.

Something my patients taught me is that we don’t just relapse when bad things happen…we also relapse when positive things happen…that fun, excitement, good news, and similar positive experiences are also a relapse trigger. I’ve twice experienced this during my 5-6 attempts at not smoking this year. About 2 weeks ago, I relapsed into smoking following an exciting event (good news) and great news this weekend just about sent me to the store to buy some smokes. Celebrating, partying, drinking….and smoking all go together. Add to that the memories of the best times as a kid…often involved smoking, too…and drinking…and partying! It’s just Emotional Mind experience that we have to talk ourselves through. Some Rational Mind statements for me include…”That was then, this is now…those WERE some fun, carefree times. Life is different now. Smoking is a bad thing for me now.” “I MOST DESIRE not to smoke. I want to be a non-smoker more than I want to smoke.” “This moment will pass…I’ll get my mind involved in my work in a few minutes…and I’ll be okay for awhile.” “I want to be an inspiration to people, not a disappointment.”

By the way, my weight is good…have only gained 1 pound during “this time of the month.” I worked harder on my eating this weekend so I wouldn’t have an excuse to start smoking! I was very Mindful of my Mind Games! I made a point of putting up food my family left on the counter so I wouldn’t snack on it all day! I also ate a bunch of sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds SEEM to reduce my appetite. They’re also good cuz they give my mouth and hands something to do…a fine replacement for cigarettes. You know what else I might try…pomegranate seeds. They make for quite a bit of hand and mouth work!!! I haven’t eaten those since I was a kid! Oh Lord, I cannot cycle back to fond memories as a kid and smoking! Man, our Emotional Mind is relentless!

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and extending through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing: service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook. The full title is “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” – Recovery Works Publications, 2009.

Pride vs. Humility…You Must Be So Proud of Yourself

I’ve had to ponder an awkward moment recently.  A lady I know from the Youth Horseman Club my family belongs to asked me if I had finished my book yet.  I told her I had and she asked if I had  copy she could look at.  I gave her a copy and a few hours later, she came up to me and excitedly said, “You must be so proud of yourself.”  It was an awkward moment because I didn’t respond.  I began thinking about that.  Unless I’m really anxious, I’m not one to just blurt out an impulsive response.  The moment passed and probably due to the awkward nature of my silence, she went on to something else.  Because I don’t know her so well, it bothered me as I processed the day later.  “What did she think?  It was so unnatural.”  I pondered it of course…and I’m stunned that I don’t feel proud.  I SHOULD BE so proud of myself.  I SHOULD be walking around “with the Big-Head” for awhile.  But, I didn’t feel PROUD…and I still don’t!

Rather than feeling proud, I feel like I have accomplished something. I worked my butt off, I labored….I put in THOUSANDS of hours. I worked hard, so I accomplished something. For some reason, that doesn’t equate to feeling proud of myself. I earned it, it didn’t come easy…I accomplished something. I put in the hours, I got something done.  I feel “even”…not proud.

I also feel like it was in the realm of something I could do, that I had skills for…so it was an expected outcome…

The other thing I thought about is that I strongly dislike people who are “so proud of themselves.”  Their pride is usually ugly…it often involves devaluing others. They feel superior to others…I don’t feel superior to others…I feel like I worked my tail off and I got something done. If everyone worked their tail off, they’d get something done. It’s not a matter of being superior to others…it’s a matter of being focused and dogged determined to get something done.

I also think about this project as being God-driven…and many times, I experienced it to be a “not me” experience…a “where did that come from” experience. Sometimes, I’d finish writing a section and fall back in my chair…and I’d say, “God, that was good.” Then, recognizing what had just happened, my next thought was usually, “God…that was good! That was awesome! That was really great! Thank you, God.” I had the moment of realization that what just went through my head and onto the computer screen…DID NOT originate in MY head! I recognized who authored the passage! In case I lost you here, I recognized that God wrote the really great parts of the book, not me. So, I don’t feel proud…I just feel like I put in the labor…that I worked hard!

The other thing I think about…is that God wants me humble. He wants me to love and respect his people…not to put myself on a pedestal…and to consider other people less than me. I think God gave me these types of skills, and these types of experiences, to equip me to do this…and when I accomplish this…that means I have accomplished something that was set out for me to do. It was expected. I don’t feel proud… I feel like I accomplished something I was supposed to do.

Now that I’m finished with the task…God is giving me some rest! I don’t feel driven, I don’t feel pressured, I feel relieved.

People ask me if I’m going to write another one. Though I can’t imagine ever being driven enough or crazy enough to do something like this again…I know it’s down the road for me. “When?” they ask…”When God lays the pressure on me again…and the only peace I get…is by working my tail off.” I’ve told people before that I feel like I was born to work…but at least I get some periods of rest now and then!

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing: service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook – full title “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior.

Gettin’ Started – An Awkward Moment!

Not being an experienced blogger, this seems quite awkward.  However, I’m doing it anyway.  I have just published a DBT-CBT Therapy Workbook and everyone tells me I have to do a blog!  As might be expected, I am a clinical psychologist.  I work for the State of Texas at Big Spring State Hospital.  I’ve just celebrated my 20th year with the State.  That means I’m not a spring chicken anymore…but it also means I have 15 hours of vacation time per month (yea!) and I’ll be retiring…in 8 years!  That probably seems like a VERY long time for younger folks, but for the older folks, it’ll fly by!  Time really seems to go by faster the older we get…maybe that’s just because we don’t remember so much about everything that happened in between the years!

I thought I would write about the new understandings my patients teach me…and the new understandings I come to by working with them.  I also thought about sharing some of my own struggles and experiences to show that we’re all human…that we all struggle with our humanity.  We all have emotional issues and concerns…and the task we have in life is to work hard to deal with ourselves…and to do the best we can to be okay…and to help others along the way!

I hope you enjoy the blog!

Copyright Statement: Material contained within this blog is copyrighted protected with all rights reserved © Melanie Gordon Sheets commencing in 2009 and extending through the present age. Please request permission to quote or otherwise use material obtained from this blog by emailing us at:
service@dbt-cbt-workbook.com

Please visit the website www.dbt-cbt-workbook.com for more information about the DBT-CBT Workbook. The full title is “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” – Recovery Works Publications, 2009.