Greenshoe Mental Health Retreat

Today I completed day three of this five-day mental health retreat. This is not a spa-like fluffy mental health place. This is a stay at an Airbnb room, drive in at eight every morning and stay until five every afternoon, no cell phones allowed, trust the process workshop. The therapist is freaking amazing!! She is so firm but so sweet. You know those people who are being sweet? She’s not being sweet–she just is sweet. It’s been three days, we’ve tried her patience, and she’s never slipped a millimeter. Not a freaking nanometer! And I am SO good at catching fake. This lady is the real freaking deal.

This particular workshop deals with codependency. I may or may not have struggled like once with it. Today, I did what they lovingly refer to as debriefing.  It. Was. Not. Fun. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I was going to cry. I have stuff, y’all.  I did not know I was going to both feel like I had been wrung through a spin cycle on a newfangled HE washing machine and like I was floating a bit. Afterward, we wrote some letters to some people that we aren’t planning to send. Just a one-sided conversation that we needed to get off of our chests. It was ugly cry city for me. My Butterfly waterproof mascara has gotten a workout this week! It is good stuff, ladies!

butterfly

Anywho…it’s been a very difficult week. We have two days left to put all of these pieces together and really make some lasting change in our life. I’m so excited and also so afraid to develop expectations. I’m all in, though. They told us early on that we will get out of it what we put into it and I’m seriously doing my best. I’m not holding back. I want the best bang for my investment.

Oh, I almost forgot: Greenshoe is a non-profit. You have to pay a deposit, but at the end of the week, you get it back if you complete.  They have a 99% success rate. I’m just so glad I invested the time and money into doing this. I think my family is going to be very happy, also. If you want more info:

http://greenshoe.org/about/

GS

I’m curious to know what you all have done that might be similar to help deal with or heal from codependency or other mental health problems. What would you look for in a retreat of this length?

Actually,

Amily

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Life is Quick

You know I hear cliches all of the time about how times goes by so fast. This month’s already half over, or it’s nearly over. The year has flown by. I can’t believe it’s already June, or whatever is appropriate to the date the comments are made. Even lunchtime and bedtime sneak up on us within a day. And we have the flipping sun to sort of keep us on track with that!

I remember being a little girl. Okay…I am still pretty small, but I mean before I had lived much. I remember time taking forever! Waiting to go somewhere was torture. The weekend was SO slow to arrive. Waiting for a birthday or holiday was so damn impossible that the best approach was literally to forget about it as much as possible. I remember my sister’s favorite Saturday morning cartoon was the Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show. I hated that show because it was soooooo looooooong. It seemed like a three hour long show to me. I’m not making this up. I was shocked when I got about twelve and noticed it only was a half hour show. I could not believe it. It had felt impossibly long to endure only a handful of years before.

I have learned that scientists believe this occurs because we stop learning. When we encounter new places, ideas, words and concepts everyday as a youngster, it slows time for us. Our perception of it, anyway. As we get older and run out of things to learn and experience, time seems to speed up. This makes good logical sense to me. But that isn’t what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about the knee jerk responses that make our life what it is. It’s in the quick seconds that our life is really determined. We may spend years planning our degree, envisioning where we will plant ourselves and what trajectory our career will take. But after the interview, when you’ve been offered a job, there is a split second where you make the decision. You may waver. You may change your mind four times. But there will be a defining moment where you said yes or no to yourself. It’s way bigger than how you answer your friends and family. It’s how you answer yourself that molds your life. And it is quick, slippery, and there really is no reverse. We innately know this. It’s why our bodies release endorphins to get us through this process. Our stomach produces serotonin, creating an uneasy or queasy feeling the very second that choice is made. We like to think we can stall, delay, and really take our time making these decisions, but it doesn’t work that way. We stall, sure. We prolong the process, but it ALWAYS catches up with us. And it ALWAYS is a split second that creates our destiny. Life is quick like that.

Actually,

Amily

Managing Very Tall Toddlers (Adults)

There is simply not enough money in the world some days to make me want to continue to manage these very tall toddlers. And I am fortunate: my staff is far smaller and far better than most! But they are damn maddening! It is SO hard to remain professional and refrain from making snarky comments from some of the crap they say.Case in point: the person who is responsible for getting hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars collected, posted and then deposited for us from insurance companies every month tells me this morning that she doesn’t want to be responsible for a company credit card to run an errand she volunteered to run. We’re talking like a fifty thousand dollar limit card with really high fraud alerts, for a 10 minute errand she needs run because she didn’t properly inventory her position and has now run out of a supply. And she didn’t professionally state her position on this, either. It came out like, “Oh… no…I am not gonna be responsible for that card.” But you… want me to …  expect that trust…you actually…your job is…  I. Can’t. Even. I find myself wanting to ask her “Are you three?!”Can we just assign a word, I don’t care what it is, that can be spoken in a room and everyone in the room has to pause, inventory their most recent behavior/words and realign them to a professional level? I SWEAR it’s how we’re raising these kids! They are ridiculously quick to point out anything anyone does or says that can be even misconstrued into being rude or offensive. At the same time, they have literally zero responsibility for their own actions and their own words. It makes me nuts. I feel like I’m running a daycare, except they’re all taller than me, can leave if I tick them off, and I’m depending on them to get the work done. It’s like trying to talk a two-year-old through making lunch for the group.The happy news is this will not be my job in a couple of years. I can’t decide for sure if I’m going to be the two-year-old or the person who owns the daycare. Both sound like interesting prospects. I’m a little paranoid about getting sucked back into the day to day people management if opening a business, and I’d rather take a long walk off a short pier, frankly. But I don’t know that I want to work alongside these kinds of idiots, either.Y’all…be good to your manager! (Even if he/she’s an asshole: likely they’re a lovely person who’s been driven mad and totally jaded by their staff!)Actually,Amilycropped-img_0064-3.jpg

Sleepless Nights

I haven’t had trouble sleeping in so long, now. I’m not sure what happened last night but let me tell you: sleeplessness sucks!!! It’s a feeling you easily forget when the kinks get worked out and you’re snoozing properly. I’m hoping to forget this soon! I feel so damn bad this morning.

First, I am so sorry to those of you who struggle with this on a regular basis. So. Sorry. Like if you’ll give me your address and the time you give up trying in the morning, I’ll happily send you coffee daily, level sorry.

My middle child who is now thirteen never slept as a baby. I was up half the night with her every night for like two solid years and when she was two, we had baby number three. Baby number two still kept me up at night from time to time even after that. I would have been suicidal for a while there, except I could never get enough sleep to be able to plan something like that. It was so bad. I would not survive it at this age; I am not even joking.

So, here I am trying to operate on almost no sleep today. It’s literally physically painful. Like there is a heartburn like churn deep within my abdomen reminding me how exhausted we are. I know–trust me, I. Know.

My heart truly goes out to all of you struggling with this. I really did forget how unpleasant is it. If I never blog again, you’ll know it happened again tonight, and it was too much (little?)

Actually,

Amily

Why is the Thrill Gone?

The thrill is gone…again. This is maybe the most frustrating phenomenon ever for me. I find something I like, someone I like, music I like, something, anything that gives me a little shot of adrenaline every time I think about it. Next thing I know, it’s not there anymore. Oh, the person, place, thing is still there; the rush that came with it is not. The newness has worn off. The shiny isn’t so shiny. It’s lost that new car smell.

We still go through the motions for awhile. Sometimes we search for a way to bring back that feeling we’re searching for, that “loving feeling.” ‘Cause it’s gone, gone, gone, right?! WHY does this happen? I think if we could figure this out, we could SERIOUSLY change the world as we know it. How do we “find” contentment???

We get tired of our toys as toddlers. We’re tired of our new job in no time. We’re tired of the new car, house, appliance, jewelry, clothes, decor, etc., that we bought just not long ago with our hard earned money. I think the worst part, is that we get tired of our people. We “need a break” from our kids when they’re just babies. We wish our spouse would go out of town for a week every now and then. We wish we could gently pursue the looks we get from the guy in line next to us. We wish our parents were more like so and so’s parent. We get a new friend and accidentally abandon our “old” crew in search of the new with this new person/group. Same with our hobbies and interests. The new restaurant or store we found that we gush about to everyone who will listen is old news in a hurry.

We literally spend our entire lives doing this. The pursuit of every next great thing. We need a rush, however small. We’re keeping up with the Jones in some cases, but honestly we’re feeding the monster within us that just wants a little high. Constantly. We’re all addicts to it. Like animals in a zoo, we’re constantly waiting for feeding time.

I’m not sure it’s always been like this. I’m not sure this is a human condition. I don’t think that affairs and materialism and the physiological pursuit of happiness were such a thing a hundred years ago. Life wasn’t so disposable. People and relationships weren’t disposable. We didn’t trade in our car every two years for whatever was newest. I may be wrong, but I don’t think affairs were such a widespread problem. People didn’t throw away their children or neglect them at the rates we do, now. We didn’t need the newest technology the minute it hit the market. We wore our clothes until they needed to be replaced. Same with our cars. We fixed what we now replace.

So how did this happen to us? And what becomes the man who just spends his entire life searching for the next thing? How discontenting. How unfulfilling. How do we (I) stop? I have all the questions and none of the answers.

Actually,

Amily

I have some days off. It sort of just happened by mistake. I am even booked for a vacation in July, which is not at all going to be a vacation but, rather, an intensive personal growth workshop. But for the next four days, I am not required to report to the office. I’ll go in and check messages and faxes. I’ll check my email remotely and handle anything that comes up. I’ve brought some stuff home that could use some attention if I get around to it. But for the most part, I plan on working on my sunburn these next four days. I’d like to say tan, but if we’re being honest, I’ve learned to embrace the pale that is me. I am just preventing skin cancer at this point. I’ll keep some trusty spf 50 and some bottled water close by. I’ll set up a chair that will allow my toes to touch the water. I’ll take a moment to be grateful that the kids are old enough that I don’t have to keep a constant eye on them. I’ll provide snacks and drinks and let them do their thing. And I will just chill behind my very expensive sunglasses. No phone. No laptop or tablet. Just me and the cool water that will be the early summer lake. I may just not leave. Though at some point I will run out of food and as much as I love water, I absolutely cannot stand to eat what comes out of it. So maybe four days is going to be just about right.

Actually,

Amily

Color Guard

Some people…I really just have to bite my tongue at times! I just got back from taking my daughter for color guard uniform fittings. We’re in a new building this year and this will be our first experience with this coach. I am like the humblest of the humble parents- no “Dance Mom” here! But I’m not liking this lady so far! And I’m not excited that it’s started like this.

My daughter is not petite. Baby girl got all kinds of back, and thighs, and chest. Neither of us love this development, but it is what it is. So this coach’s first question is “About how tall are you?” She replies 5’3″. The coach, with me sitting there right beside them, says “Um…well I’m 5’4″…so you can’t really be 5’3″…?” Pregnant pause…

Me: [well, as a matter of fact,] “She is”…awkward pause…

I can tell she’s, in her mind, letting us get away with it.

Her: “oookaaay”… she types it in.

At this point, I’m internally dialoguing, WTH is this?! But, let’s move on to the next question.

Her: “How much do you weigh?”

She tells her. The coach looks over at me, raises her eyebrows and asks me if that sounds right. And it wasn’t like a double check, it was a flat out “this girl isn’t telling me the truth,” eyebrow raise.

What’s really interesting is she takes like every measurement known to tailoring in this session, anyhow, so it doesn’t matter what the answers even are to these questions! She did the same thing with her shoe size. I don’t know if this chick is into body shaming young women or just an ass hat or what!

I don’t want my daughter nervous that I’m not going to get along with the coach. I also don’t want her to think it’s okay for people to act like that, though. In my defense, I kept very cool and never let on that I think this woman was incredibly unprofessional, not to mention plainly rude to act like she was lying.

Hopefully this is incredibly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But the buildup of this kind of crap is why I don’t know a single female who’s happy with their appearance.

Actually,

Amily