This blog is part of my recovery, and I would like it to remain a safe place for me to share parts of myself and my life that people close to me may or may not know. As a result, while I'm not going crazy with privacy settings, I do ask that if you find this on your own and suspect you may know me, please respect my privacy by checking with us before reading any further. This obviously doesn't apply if one of us has given you the link!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sanguine Saturday: Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas everyone!

And will you look at that? I actually remembered to post this on time this week. ;)

First of all, I'd like to thank my friend Sonya over at My Verse who blogged a Great Things post last Saturday. (Probably not in response to my post, especially as I think hers was posted before mine, and she often posts them regardless, but definitely smile material for sending the positive side out into the world.)

Gold stars also to Sairs, eternally_damaged_butterfly and bpdisme who all left a comment on my last SS post with their own positives/achievements. Go and read them here, and then blog your own to be linked in next week's Sanguine Saturday post!

Success Stories:
I dealt with the panic and horribleness associated with the aftermath of the dentist visit.

I managed to "stay with" some difficult emotions and allow them to exist without trying to force them away.

Carol and I posted my informal police report. It was a very emotional journey to write the form (it took 3 separate versions before it was ready to send), and it was incredibly hard to let that information go out in the world... but it's done.

I faced my fear and wore my fancy top and pretty skirt out shopping. Did people stare? Yes. Did the world end? No. Did I get a great photo with Santa that got me several compliments? Oh, yes I did! And most important of all... did I feel pretty? Beyond all words. I call that a huge success, personally. ;)

4.5 weeks SI and alcohol free.

My cola intake is continuing at no more than 2 or 3 glasses a day, and there have even been several days where I've only had the 1 glass!

I spent some time working on craft projects.

I got my room a little bit more presentable.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
Having two beautiful women tell me to "stay pretty" until they got home so they could see... and then having them appreciate 'the pretty'.
My new Cuttlebug! (Christmas present from everyone in my family!)
Giraffes and giraffe earrings.
Time spent with my nieces and nephew.
The anticipation of my mother's best friend opening the first few layers of his gift and realising just how many there are. (To give you an idea -- his present stands as tall as my knee... and he's getting a gift card.) ;)
Seeing you guys post your positives and achievements last week.

Challenge and cheer-leading statements:
It's okay to feel pretty. It's okay to think I look pretty.
I don't have to try and change every difficult emotion I face. Sometimes it's okay to just allow the emotion to exist within me. Attempting to fight off difficult emotions usually only makes them stronger.
I am safe. I lived through the experiences in my memories already; if I survived the experience, I can survive the memory as well.
Whatever I feel is okay, and it's okay to feel more than one thing at once.
I cannot change the past, I can only work to make the changes I need to make the future brighter.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way. And don't forget to blog your own version of Sanguine Saturday this week! ;)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sanguine Saturday With A Challenge For You

It's been a pretty big week for me. I had a couple of appointments, a pair of wisdom teeth removed, then my mother went in to hospital for an angiogram and discovered she has a leaking valve which needs to be replaced. She also let me know that her kidney is "packing it in" as well.

Anyway, just before today's Sanguine Saturday post, I'd like to invite you all to join in. I want to see your successes, I want to see your grattitudes and positives! And if you have any cheerleading or challenge statements that're working for you at the moment, or that you need to work on at the moment, I want to see those too! When I write next week's Sanguine Saturday post I'd love to have a link of your happy things to share, so get writing and comment with your post's link!

Success Stories:
I went to the oral surgeon and had my remaining two wisdom teeth out. I didn't handle the situation as well as I'd hoped to, but I did survive the experience.

Next Tuesday makes a month SI free; but definitely also worth noting is that it's been a full 12 weeks since the last time I burned.

Next Tuesday makes a month sober.

I've continued to keep my cola intake down at 2-3 glasses a day, with meals.

I had my final appointment with Michele this week, and although I didn't expect it and was very sad, I'm proud of how well I coped with it. (Although, to be fair, I've been referred to another counsellor at the same place until after I move rather than removed from the service.)

I've worked really hard to "keep on trucking" and not give up on long term goals in favour of short term relief.

Was able to spend some time making cards/card-toppers for mum, and getting some craft projects done.

I actually updated my craft blog!

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
My wonderful friends. <3
My nieces and my nephew.
Kitty snow prints!

Challenge and cheer-leading statements:
I am an okay person.
Not SIing doesn't mean I'm not allowed to hurt. It just means I'm choosing to not SI.
I'm an adult and that means I have the power to make choices over my own life.
Whatever I feel is valid, real, acceptable and okay.
Choosing to live better doesn't mean that the hurt that was there didn't really exist.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way. And don't forget to post your own version of Sanguine Saturday this week! ;)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sanguine Sunday (Oops)

Sooo, once again I'm posting Sanguine Saturday on Sunday because I got distracted. ;) Apparently the hardest weeks to remember are the ones where I'm jumping out of my skin ready on Friday!

Success Stories:
I bought myself a ticket to a The Whitlams concert in January! I've only ever been to two concerts (The Whitlams once and Kenny Rogers once) so it's pretty exciting for me -- and it'll be the first time I've ever gone alone!

I'm three days off three weeks SI free.

I'm three days off three weeks sober.

Went to an appointment I was a bit anxious about.

Told a support worker honestly how I felt about a situation, and what it would mean for me! It was a hypothetical situation, but it was one that really bothered me. (This should have gone in last week's but I forgot it. But I did a very similar thing this week as well.)

Spent time working on some of my goals.

I have seriously cut down the amount of Coca-Cola I drink. Like, from 2 litres to 2 glasses kind of cut down. (I'm not super strict on the number, but the idea is for me to drink soft drink at meals only.)

And... I went to the dentist! And not only did I *go* to the dentist, when they said they couldn't do anything about the one I wanted them to deal with, I agreed to return and see the oral surgeon, and I had them do some of the desperately needed fillings in the meantime.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
My hilarious and wonderful friends.
Sarcasm and cheekiness.
Music and singing.
Zuma has come to FaceBook!
Plants vs Zombies.

Cheer-leading statements:
It's okay for not everyone to like me.
It's okay to ask people to treat me with basic respect.
I'm an okay person.
Happiness is an emotion - it doesn't matter whether it's "deserved".
Not everything is my fault or my responsibility.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conquering The Need To Please

Anybody who knows me at all, knows that I am, possibly above all other things, a people-pleaser. As a child, it was a necessary part of my survival - as an adult, it was, I believed, the only way I would ever be liked, let alone loved. So for a long time all of my value came from having others like me, from doing and being everything everyone else wanted me to be. I was a chameleon and I wore whatever skin I thought the other person wanted to see.

If (I thought) you wanted someone to listen, that's what I'd do. If (I thought) you wanted comfort, that's what I'd give. If (I thought) you wanted advice, I'd offer it. If (I thought) you wanted to hear you were wonderful, that's what I'd say. Everything came second to that need to please - everything. I would stay up all night to support an acquaintance; give money away to anybody who asked, if they said they needed it; drop everything for everyone.

And it worked. I had a knack for it. I was good at being what everyone else wanted me to be - too good. Somewhere in all of that, I lost who I was. I lost who I wanted me to be. I lost my substance, and all that was left was the need to please everybody else. And I was fine with that because, you see, most people did like me... to a point.

People loved that I would do anything for them. They valued that I would value them so much... but they, for the most part, didn't have a lot of respect for me. Why should they, when I so clearly had no respect for myself?

2008 was the beginning of a turning point. In 2008 I came face to face with the concept that although most (real life) people "liked" me, nobody actually particularly cared about or for me. I was everybody's friend, but nobody counted me as theirs; as far as they were concerned, I was a hanger-on, an amiable and pleasant caricature, but I was not and had never been, any more than that.

Even after I recognised that, though, I didn't connect the dots. I couldn't understand how everybody could like me so much and not actually like me. (If you're confused, perhaps thinking of it as the difference between an acquaintance and a friend may help.)

And even when I did connect the dots, when I finally made the link, I was too afraid to do anything about it. My entire worth as a person hung on whether others liked me; if I started trying to worry about how I felt about things, everyone would see that there was nothing worth liking in me. So I didn't change much. By this stage I'd agreed to do DBT because that was (I thought) what my case manager had wanted for me. I stayed because (I thought) that was what the group coordinator had wanted.

I dropped everything when (I thought) somebody wanted me to or believed they needed me to. Even as I recognised the re-emergence of my self, my needs, my wants... I put them aside for others. And generally not selectively, either; there was a level of hierarchy, but for the most part, anyone who (I thought) wanted something, got it.

And then... something changed. I don't know if it was gradual, sneaking up on me, or if it was fairly sudden, but I do know that something has changed.

I've started to speak out. I don't just tell people what (I think) they want to hear, these days. I tell the truth as I see it - I try to be compassionate and diplomatic about it, but I'm still learning how to balance that with being true to myself. I'm still learning what it means to have a self to be true to.

I'm interested in helping people, in offering more than a virtual snuggle; I want to challenge people because we cannot grow without challenge. I'm not interested in walking on eggshells for the rest of my life. I'm not interested anymore in putting aside everything I need, everything I want, everything I am, to please somebody else.

Unsurprisingly, I'm less liked now.

Surprisingly, I don't mind nearly as much as I thought I would. It still hurts a lot, and it's very hard, still, to say no to my desire to please someone else. I don't always choose to do it, even when I know I 'should'. It's a learning curve, and this is just the beginning of another journey.

I used to think the world would end if I upset others, if I put myself first, if I failed to please someone...

Let me tell you, the world hasn't ended.

Yes, I'm less 'popular' now, but I feel, in some ways, like I am much more loved. People I truly admire -- people who are imperfect but never give up; who are good, kind, thoughtful people who have learned or are learning to respect themselves and put themselves first sometimes; who understand the value of change and challenge; who aren't afraid to give and take -- have noticed the change in me, in a good way. I feel like I have earned something much more valuable to me than mass outward approval - I feel that I have earned, dare I say it?, the respect of people I look up to. And I have earned something else, somehow, too, because I discovered something when I realised how much I have changed.

Not only would I would much rather have the respect and love of five* of those people than be universally liked; I'd rather respect myself than be universally liked, too.

*(I just wanted to put a number here and since I prefer numbers to be in multiples of 5...)

Cheer-leading / Challenge Statements:
It's okay to be proud of myself.
I don't have to be perfect.
I'm an okay person, and choosing to look after myself and my needs first doesn't change that.
I'm not responsible for other peoples' emotions.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sanguine Sunday This Week

Man, I don't know how, but I forgot to do Sanguine Saturday yesterday! And it's funny because I was so excited on Friday I wanted to do it early!

Success Stories:
Absolutely no self injury all week.
Absolutely no drinking all week.
Called and re-made the appointments I needed to make.
Have been making the effort to wear my pressure garments - even the really uncomfortable ones.
Spent some time working towards goals.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
Having Christmas lights up. (We're adding to them pretty much every day.)
My 'It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas' singing bear.
Good TV on DVD.

Cheer-leading statements:
I am an okay person.
It's okay to say that I am an okay person!
It's okay to put myself first.
I have as much right to be treated well as anyone else.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.