adult children of alcoholics, holiday ideas, holiday stress, holidays, life

Empathy and Compassion

I watched a short  video today by  by Brene Brown. It is a cartoonized portrayal of characters showing empathy. I felt inspired by this video to post my own thoughts about empathy and compassion.

.. The ideas in this video are powerful and it is well explained in the video.. In order to really listen to someone in a way that helps them, we have to find something in ourselves that helps up to relate to their situation.

It could be that someone has a problem that we have not experienced. But there is a good chance that the emotions they are feeling are things we have felt before.

I am going to give my own feelings and experiences and then I will put a link to the video that inspired me to post this.

I have never had Alzheimer’s disease yet I am able to empathize and connect with my clients in a meaningful way. If one of them is feeling scared because she does not know where she is , I can relate that feeling.

I once was  very lost in Baltimore City in a downtown neighborhood, I did not belong in. I was driving all by myself and I became very disoriented and could not understand the map.

I did not feel safe stopping to ask for help. I was afraid something bad would happen to me.

I could run out of gas or become so upset that I would have to pull over. The neighborhood was full of gangs and had a high crime rate.  Being lost there felt very dangerous and I was in extreme panic..

This is how it feels sometimes  to someone with Alzheimer’s disease or any kind of dementia.

They come out of their room and have no idea where they are. They do not recognize the people from yesterday. Everything is strange and frightening. They do not know who is safe or who they can ask for help.They are afraid of what bad things could happen to them, because they are alone and lost in a strange place.

So, in this way, I can draw from an experience in my memory, to put myself in their place.

If you begin by feeling this vulnerability in yourself then you can connect with the person.

Once I see what they are feeling and connect with that feeling inside of myself, I can begin to say and do the things that will help them.

I will say to them ,”I know you feel scared. You don’t know where you are. This is a safe place for you to be.”

I explain to them,  “The people here are nice and we are here to take care of you and make sure your needs are met. I will walk with you and show you your room and the dining room where we will eat. See, there are your things and your bed. You have a nice room here that you can sleep in tonight. You are safe. You are safe.”

It feels good when someone realizes that you really do understand. It is the best way to help someone else. You validate their emotions of  fears, sadness, depression or anxiety. Let them know that you have felt that way before also.

“I have been afraid before also. If I was here and did not know where I was , I would be afraid too. But you are safe and everything will be ok tonight for you. I will be here to help you find your way.”

We all need someone to help us find our way sometimes. The compassion of one person to another is true humanity.

See the link for the video below. It is very short, only about 2 minutes.

Namaste,

Annie

anxiety, christmas, holidays, life, top 10 list

Annie’s Top Ten List – Christmas List for Santa / Top 10 list

What would I want for Christmas if I could pick anything at all?

I thought this would be a good way of thinking about things and taking inventory , if you will, of my brain.

It might be helpful for you to make a list for yourself. It will not be a list that Santa will grant for you or that you may get any of at all. But it will help you to get to know yourself a little better.

1. Peace of mind. This is a phrase which is thrown around all the time. I am sure that different people have completely different ideas of what peace of mind means to them.

When I think  of what it would be like to have peace of mind, I think of feeling calm and not having any anxiety, In order to not have anxiety, I would need to be financially stable, feel healthy and have a deep spirituality.

2. Time to create and connect. I always feel like I am squeezing out bits of time for the things that i love, in between doing the things I need to do in order to survive

. I would love to have unlimited time to create poetry, music, art and to write blogs. I would spend much more time really connecting with other people in a meaningful way.

3. A stronger and more flexible body to do yoga with. I love yoga and I feel better when I make the time to do it. I used to be able to do the postures better and with no pain.

I am losing flexibility and getting in and out of the postures is painful sometimes. I would like to be able to enjoy yoga and be able to progress into more advanced postures.

4, Passion. I want romantic passion and love that is unconditional and selfless. I want to have time to be close and not have to fit it in between all of the survival activities.

5. Magic. I want magic. Magical moments of connection. Magical spiritual experiences. Ability to see all the magic around me. Ability to create magic in people’s lives. The ability to put the ideas of quantum physics and the “power of intention” 

* if you are unfamiliar with quantum physics, please watch “What the Bleep. Down the Rabbit Hole” movie*

6. Home. I have felt homesick for years. I want to live somewhere I feel I belong. A place that I had input on choosing. A place that feels safe and calm. A place that I can be myself. A place that has furniture and decorations that I love and had input in selecting.

7. To be seen. I feel invisible a lot of the time. I feel misunderstood , isolated and alienated. I want to be seen for who I am and have my intentions understood.

8. Humor. I would like to be able to laugh and smile. I would like to be myself and be able to express my sense of humor without being misunderstood. I would like for life to be peaceful enough that there was more room for laughter.

9. Inspiration. I would love to be able to easily access inspiration for creating music, art and writing without being burdened down with anxiety.

10.Acceptance. I want to be accepted for who I am. I want to be myself and not have to struggle to fit into the status quo. I want to not be punished when I think outside the box and do not just go along with what everyone else does.

holiday ideas, holiday poem, holiday poetry, holiday stress, holidays, inspirational, life, poetry, religion, spirituality

Live Like It’s Your Last Day

Live like it’s your last day

To hope

To Love

To be real

Live like it’s your last day

To create

To become

To feel

Live like it’s your last day

 Inspire and encourage

 Comfort and support

 Connect and discuss

Live like it’s your last day

To discover and to share

To believe and teach the others

To be sisters, friends and brothers

Live like it’s your last day

Your uniqueness must be shared

Your creativity and your flair

Your  true nature is always there

 

alcoholism, health, holiday ideas, holidays, mental health, mental illness

Recovering Alcoholics Have to Survive the Holidays

While everyone is having a fun and relaxing time, some people are struggling to survive the holiday season. It is easy for people to forget the recovering alcoholics who are used to drinking on the holidays.

If you are a recovering alcoholic and this is the first year you have not been able to drink to get through the holidays, it will create anxiety for you. You may feel depressed because your usual method of turning off the anxiety is not accessible.

I have not been through this myself. I did however, live with a guy who was recovering. The holidays were hard for him. It was hard to find other tools to get through. It was hard to see that other people were drinking and getting their party on.

Other people I have talked to, have told me that it is hard for them to socialize without the alcohol. The alcohol helps them to feel comfortable in a group. They feel self-conscious or shy otherwise.

There are people that have been sober for 10 years or more that will still feel the pressure and anxiety of the holiday season.

My thoughts are with the people that are on the path that they believe is best for them. I pray for your strength and happiness. I pray for a peaceful holiday season for you.

If you are not an alcoholic and have not thought of these things, please be considerate of others at your office parties and other events.

Namaste
Annie

anxiety, holiday ideas, holiday shopping, holiday stress, holidays, mental disorders, mental health, mental illness

Shopping During the Holidays and Social Anxiety Order

OMG! Holy Crap! What is with these people??

They are everywhere. They are aggressive and impatient. They are rude. They are all on top of me, in front of me and behind me. I hate grocery shopping this time of year. It either gets worse every year or I get more anxiety from it every year.

It starts on the way to the store. There is traffic everywhere and many people think that their holiday errands are more important than everyone else’s. I was driving this evening on a back road with a speed limit of 30 mph.

I was going 35 and this big ass truck is practically in the backseat of my car. The brights were on , as if it isn’t bad enough when a truck is that close and their lights are high enough to be too bright to start with.

I am not going to speed up because some bully guy is driving up on top of my car. It is too dangerous to speed up. I have learned the hard way that it does not satisfy them.

They are stilled annoyed at you from driving the speed limit to start with and will still ride right up on you, You can’t slow back down if you see police or anything or if the road changes to a lower speed limit. They won’t allow you to slow down.

So then I slowed down to turn into the grocery store and he got madder and hit his gas so hard that he scared me whipping around to pass my little car. I can’t stand this kind of bullying.

Then the parking lot at the grocery store is a nightmare. People drive and walk right in front of you. You can’t even get into a parking space. People will hang their car doors open for 5 minutes to talk to someone they just happened to run into. They have one foot in their car while they are standing there blocking the open parking space.

I the store the real zoo begins. You would think these people have never been in a grocery store before. They block the aisles with their cart and don’t try to move at all to let you pass. They will stand in front of whatever food you need to get to and just stand there talking on their cell phone, while you wait.

They can see you, can’t they? Why do they think I am standing behind their cart and waiting?

God forbid you say something to them. They roll their eyes at you for interrupting their conversation. Is their cell phone conversation so important that they had to have it right in front of the frozen pizza case?

In the check-out aisle these people bring 85 coupons with expired dates and argue with the cashier, while the line backs up. Then they write a personal check, that they have not filled the paperwork out at customer service for.

They get frustrated with the poor cashier who is putting up with this for minimum wage. By the time you get to the register, the cashier is all ready to defend themselves.

On the way out, some little kid was playing with a huge orange shovel (the big ones that are for the driveway). His mother is oblivious, while he pushes the thing right towards my feet. He very nearly tripped me as I was trying to get out of the store alive.

Mom finally notices, as he almost knocks down an old woman. Mom does not stop him. She continues holding up the cashier as she talks on the cell phone while checking out her groceries.

What is the deal with people on their cell phones asking the cashier to WAIT A MINUTE while they talk on the phone? Can’t they tell the person on the cell phone to wait a minute?

Where do people’s manners go during the holidays? Maybe it is just in New Jersey. I dont know. People here are not usually considerate to begin with, and it seems to get amplified by the season.

If a car slows down to wave to me, to let me out onto the road, I have to check their licence plate to see if they are from California or some other place. It is so rare for NJ plates to ever let you out in front of them.

I don’t even go to the malls unless my kids really want to. Women turn into aggressive shopping monsters.

Merchandise is knocked onto the floors and it is left there. People actually walk over it or even step on top of it.

They will run on front of you to grab the last Monster High doll right off the shelf in front of you. Even if they saw you reaching for it. (My youngest is a big Monster High fan)

So I don’t know what I was thinking, going to the grocery store at 8pm this evening. I will go back to my midnight grocery shopping. For everything else – THANK GOD FOR AMAZON !

anxiety, christmas, holidays, mental health, mental illness

Holiday Anxiety

Be proactive this holiday season. Make sure you do not lose track of yourself in the midst of all the chores, errands, and worrying about what others want.

Every season, people become depressed and have horrible anxiety. Keep on top of yours from the beginning of the season. Holiday Anxiety and Depression – It is like an infection – It is easier to prevent that to cure it.

Keep your daily schedule reasonable. Don’t try to do more than you can do. You are not a super-hero. It will exhaust you and your resistance to illness, anxiety and depression will go way down.

Keep up with the basics – sleep and rest !!

Remember , people always expect you to do all kinds of things. But they are not aware of what is going on at your job and in other areas of your life. They are also not aware of what is going on in your mind. They do not know the anxiety or depression you are feeling. They cannot be the judge of how much is too much.

You can’t please everyone. In fact, some people will complain anyway, even if you make inhuman efforts to make them happy. Some people could have the whole world and would still complain it is not enough.

You can only do what you can do. You have to know what is reasonable for you. That is all you should try to do. You will just frustrate yourself otherwise. Then on Christmas you will see that one little thing would not have made any difference anyway.

Make time for yourself. Don’t spend every minute you are not working preparing for Christmas. It is not fair to you.

If you would not expect someone else to endure the level of your errands and chores and work schedule, then don’t try to endure it yourself. Cut some things out. Christmas will come and then it will be over in a flash.

Take care of yourself. You deserve to have a good holiday too. Not just all the people who you are trying to satisfy.

Namaste,
Annie

christmas, holiday stress, holidays, top 10 list, Uncategorized

Annie’s Top Ten Lists – Top Ten Annoying Things About the Holidays

10. The closer you get to the mall, the more people cut in front of you, practically taking the front of your car off.

9. The bell ringers will ring that damn bell right in your ear and publicly shame you if you don’t put a quarter in their bucket, even if your hands are full.

8. Your mother-in-law will ask you what you want for Christmas and then get you exactly the opposite.

7. No matter how hard you try, there will be three hours of wrapping to do on Christmas Eve.

6. Old ladies will rip a toy right out of your hand, in Walmart, because it is the last one.

5. You gain ten pounds eating chocolate, because you know someone will talk you into cutting the junk food for a New Years resolution and you’ve got to fill up now.

4. They start the Christmas music in the stores so early in the season that you can’t stand it by Christmas.

3. When you arrive at the homeless shelter to volunteer, one of the food servers offers you a bowl of soup because the stress of the holidays has reduced you to looking like you slept outside.

2. You run out of scotch tape at 11:30 pm on Christmas Eve when you have three gifts left to wrap.

1. All of the radio stations on Christmas Day are playing Christmas music. You would kill to hear a rock song.