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Month: September 2017

The Fast Forward Button

There’s no fast forward button. Although I would like to skip the times in my life when I feel down or depressed

I can’t.

What if there was a fast forward button? How would that impact our growth? I think that we wouldn’t change much if the button existed. Why? Because pain exists for two reasons: it’s a signal that something in your life needs to change and it’s there to teach you things about yourself that you didn’t know. I’ve learned a variety of life lessons from painful moments in my life.

I have decided that maybe experiencing these painful moments isn’t such a bad thing after all. It can be frustrating, it can hurt
and fucking suck sometimes but I observe that in the times of distress I grow more than I imagined I ever could.

Have you found that? I’m sure I’m not alone. I have wished for that fast forward button so many times. I’ve wanted a magical wand to make things easier, but as far as I know one isn’t out there.

The more I can accept what is happening in this moment the more potential for inner peace I can feel. Despite the turmoil there is a sort of comfort in discomfort. It’s familiar and I know it will pass from past experiences. It can feel like this in romantic partnerships as well. Like you’ve come to an impasse with your partner; sometimes people need the help of a couples therapist to process that stagnation and move forward. And after you two have worked on the relationship either you go your separate ways or stay together. Either way you’re going to grow as people during the therapeutic process.

Pain isn’t fun and that’s why some of us dream of that fast forward button. It’s an escape hatch in the midst of an emotionally charged thunderstorm. It’s the emergency exit button on the subway that you’re not supposed to push unless some serious shit is going down. Actually that’s probably not a good analogy because that’s a button that can actually be pushed for a legitimate reason.

It’s okay to be frustrated and even angry at the pain you’re in. But what if we had compassion for ourselves during painful times instead of wishing for a way out of being angry? You could say to say to yourself   “hey, what you’re going through is rough. You’re strong.” I know that isn’t easy when you’re bombarded with negative intrusive thoughts. I have those every day at this point in my life. But I am learning that I can observe them and then let the words be that make up the thoughts float down an imaginary river. Without judgement, without shame I can let those thought coexist with me.

The fast forward button is a fantasy and we’ll likely never see it. And honestly, I don’t know that I would want to. As painful as it is to work through my issues I am aware that I’m growing as a person because of the effort I put in to myself.


What DOESN’T make me anxious?

I’ve been thinking a lot about anxiety lately. I know, SURPRISE! Seriously, anxiety causes me the most distress out of all the shit I deal with in terms of mental health “issues.” I wake up, I’m anxious about getting my kids ready for school, I’m anxious about getting their lunches ready, I feel nervous about being on time to school and the list goes on and on. Are there people who feel this way? I want to meet them! Who wakes up and is like “this is what I do in the morning and I don’t feel the intense weight or pressure to get all these things done?” That person is my hero, seriously. They are a magical being who I admire and want to emulate.

It doesn’t stop once I get the kids to school. That would be too convenient right? Then I’m thinking: I have to get all this writing done, I need to look for a full-time job and walk the dog. Yeah, the dog causes me so much anxiety. I’m lucky in a way that I’m single. Because I know people who fight about this shit in couples therapy appointments. I don’t have that problem though. Yay me!

But, I do have chronic anxiety, so that isn’t fun. Anxiety is like someone tapping you over and over again. You tell that person to stop and they don’t give a shit. They just keep tapping you repeatedly even though you’ve made it abundantly clear that you don’t want to be touched. Anxiety is that person. It’s not a fun companion to hang with because it wants all the attention all the time. If you don’t pay attention to anxiety it acts like a petulant child. It throws a tantrum and gets louder and louder.

Oh, and anxiety doesn’t give a fuck about how annoying it is. It’s actually pretty confident in its ability to capture your attention. Anxiety is an attention whore. Every time it pokes its head out, whatever method it uses, it is relentless. You have to hand it to anxiety, it gets super creative in the way that it tries to get your attention. Whether it makes you sweat, causes you racing thoughts, tells you that you can’t do things because they are “too much” to deal with or it tries to convince you that “everybody hates you,” anxiety has a Ph.D. in making you feel inadequate. It has studied long and hard at the University of I Want to Make You Question Everything About Yourself.

So what’s the answer to dealing with anxiety? The answer is: sometimes I know and sometimes I have no idea. When I get it right, it’s great. I am able to acknowledge the anxious thoughts and keep doing what I’m doing. When I get it wrong I put my head in my hands and cry out of frustration. I just used the words right and wrong, but there isn’t a right or wrong way to deal with anxiety; it’s what makes you feel better.

What about you? Is your anxiety a pain in the ass? How does it impact you?

My cat hates my dog

My cat hates my dog. She doesn’t want to look at her. When they do look at each other, it’s utter disdain. I find it sad that they can’t be friends. I’ve seen other dog and cat friendships happen. It’s possible, and I try to impart this wisdom to them. If I were having trouble with another human being, maybe I’d discuss that in a session with my therapist. Unfortunately, cats don’t have therapists and neither do dogs; at least not that I’m aware of. If that were an option, I’d ask both of my animals to work out their issues in a neutral environment with a professional who could navigate their feelings toward one another.

Does she look like a hateful creature?








She’s nice and loves to snuggle with us. As soon as she sees my dog, she’s like “oh fuck no.” She’s not into being friends with a creature who whines and barks. I don’t blame her. But, she could at least attempt to work it out with my dog. She’s not even trying. If you want to resolve a conflict, it would be in your best interest to put effort into that. It seems like she’s invested in hating my dog and she doesn’t want to change. She’s content in her discontent. I’ve tried to talk to her about her choice. Maybe she’s not thinking clearly, but I don’t think she cares.

When she walks by my dog, she flaunts her hatefulness. She shakes her tail from side to side slowly showcasing her stripes.

Look, I have stripes and you do NOT have stripes. My stripes make me better than you.

It’s difficult to understand why stripes would make her a more desirable creature, but she clearly feels this way about her markings. My dog is black and white and she doesn’t seem to mind that she lacks stripes.


No matter how much my cat tries to convince her that stripes are an integral part of life, she just doesn’t buy it. I’m not sure I know either way about the stripes. On the one hand, stripes differentiate my cat from other cats that don’t have stripes. But the truth is many cats have stripes, so she’s not that awesome.

The problem is that she thinks she’s awesome. My dog doesn’t see her awesomeness. My dog believes that my cat is a total elitist snob who looks down at people. She’s probably right too. It’s a shame that they can’t see eye to eye regardless of the stripe issue.

They have a lot in common. They are both animals, they both eat from food dishes. They both rely on humans to feed them and pay attention to them. Still, I cannot convince my cat that she and my dog have a reason to relate to one another. She wants to remain a hermit who materializes for food and blankets. We all have our idiosyncrasies and I respect hers.  I admire her independence but I wish she wasn’t so judgmental sometimes.

Know Thyself

There are moments where I think “I know myself.” I can’t exactly pinpoint what those moments are, but they exist. I feel comfortable in my own skin. I know what I’m talking about and I am saying what I mean. It’s a great feeling to know who you are, to know who I am. Then there are moments where my anxiety takes over. I begin to question everything about myself and I do mean everything. What I’m thinking, how I am feeling, what I say to people, how I act, and even these words that I’m typing. It’s difficult to live like this. It’s hard to continually misunderstand who I am. And then I think, this lack of understanding about who I am is actually part of who I am. I am cerebral, I do overthink things and that’s a part of me. So maybe I do know myself more than I thought that I did.

We try to know ourselves for many reasons. Part of it is about being content in life. If you know yourself, understand who you are, you’re better able to cope with the challenges that life throws at you. When you have a sense of self, you’re capable of managing conflicts better because you have a sense of what you feel and can stand your ground. Whereas, if you’re unsure of who you are, you might cower in the face of a conflict. You might (as I’ve done in the past) second guess yourself and assume that the other person has a better point than you do or even that they have more of a right to their feelings than you do.

That’s not the case.

Whether you know yourself or not, you are still entitled to your opinion. I’ve come to believe that knowing yourself takes time. We can spend our entire lives getting to know who we are. Who we are is not fixed. As human beings that “self” changes over time, especially if you’re making a concerted effort to work on yourself.

I find that if something about myself frustrates me, that’s what I need to lean towards. That quality is what I want to examine more closely so that I can work with it as opposed to resenting it. I find this challenging though. I’m not going to sit here and pretend it’s easy to look at my flaws because it’s certainly not. But if we don’t continually work on ourselves we will get stuck in patterns that we don’t like.

Here’s another part of this: once you know yourself, can you learn to love yourself? I believe the answer is yes. However, you can love yourself and also find yourself annoying. I get annoyed with me all the time. I don’t think I’d want to date me for example. I would irritate myself too much. I’m not saying I dislike myself, what I’m saying is that I want to be with someone who is complementary to me, someone I can learn from.

So what about you? Do you know yourself?