Beyond Blue

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The Apple Is an Apple

posted by Beyond Blue

Over the weekend, I was reading Beyond Blue reader Cathy’s interesting blog, “Growing Curious.” She described her not-so-great Thanksgiving in a wonderful post called “This Is Your Brain on PTSD“:

I know I can be dramatic and all, but Thanksgiving was even worse than I imagined it might be.*
It was hell. Even though I love my family-of-origin and nothing “unpleasant” happened in the real world, I felt crazy, unsupported, crazy, insane, mad, impatient, sad, crazy, and in physical pain. My mother’s anxiety ruled the roost, and I tried hard to be helpful (kindness to her) without being an emotional vacuum-cleaner (kindness to me). I came home feeling so much pain in my body that it was like I’d been kicked and beaten.
[I want to be more forthcoming with details here. I would like specific feedback from people who have been in similar shoes. I also want to protect my family's privacy so, you know... how can that happen?]
I understand why my PTSD is raging right now. When things got ugly in my family, they got really ugly. I come by this disorder honestly. How to say this… ugh… My dad almost died a couple of months ago and his health still teeters dangerously. Also, of course, I am a constant witness to the vulnerability of childhood. E is a wonder child, and she’s doing things that I used to do… before the awful things started. My mother chooses Thanksgiving as her most important holiday. No matter what is going on in the family, we all have to stop and observe according to her plan. She used to do it all, and it has been quite an effort to help her delegate some of the work.
Okay, so yes… it makes sense that I feel crazy right now. But the crazy I’m feeling is really big. Like I wish I was dead or something.

Although I felt bad for Cathy, it was refreshing to read something so honest, so real, so raw.
Like many persons (myself included) gripped by anxiety or depression, her thinking goes from “This is unpleasant …” to “I wish I were dead.” There’s not a whole lot of conversation in between those two conjectures. (This is not a criticism, of course, since her brain sounds a lot like my brain.)


That’s the way the depressed or anxious mind—and especially the one diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)–is programmed to think. Just as a body in motion stays in motion, a thought process born in stress and panic stays there.
Unless you teach your mind new tricks. Like Cathy’s doing. Like I’m trying to do.
The primary reason for the last eight years of my therapy is to train my mind to recognize an apple when I’m holding it my hands. To not mistake it for a pear, even though way back in my childhood I once ate an apple that tasted like a pear. And then maybe a few times in my adolescence. And, okay, I grew a pear tree in my backyard for two years after Katherine was born, during which time I picked its fruit and made apple pie.
Every week I learn exercises on how to distinguish an apple from a pear: how to study the shape, the color, the texture, and ultimately how to get the courage to take a bite, not that this has anything to do with the Garden of Eden and original sin. My therapist helps me develop the tools I need to convince my distressed brain that the reddish fruit in front of me really is, in fact, an apple.
In the book “Destructive Emotions,” a collaborative text between Buddhist scholars, Western psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers, narrator Daniel Goleman describes the results of the studies directed by Richard Davidson, a leading pioneer in the field of affective neuroscience:

We each have a characteristic ratio of right-to-left activation in the prefrontal areas that offers a barometer of the moods we are likely to feel day to day. That ratio represents what amounts to an emotional set point, the mean around which our daily mood swings. Each of us has the capacity to shift our moods, at least a bit, and thus change this ratio. The further to the left that ratio tilts, the better our frame of mind tends to be, and experiences that lift our mood cause such a leftward tilt, at least temporarily.

Now, to get there—to a right, left shift—requires a massive amount of hard work. It means getting yourself an axe in order to blaze a new trail of positive thinking in your mind. Because our brain is like field a wild grass. Our thoughts carve paths in our brain so that the more we follow a certain logic (even if it’s faulty logic), the smoother the path for other thoughts to trek down.
The year or so when I was suicidal, my therapist helped me pull apart my thought process, to help me recognize how many times I went from “this is unpleasant” to “I want to be dead,” or from “I don’t like this” to “I give up.”
It was an all-or-nothing thinking, one of David Burns’s ten forms of twisted thinking. The others I adopted (and still do) were: overgeneralization (viewing a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat), mental filter (coloring all of reality by one negative detail), magnification (exaggerating your shortcomings or problems), and labeling (attaching a negative label to yourself instead of separating yourself from the mistake).
I pulled out my copy of Burns’s “The Feeling Good Handbook” last night after reading Cathy’s post to see if I had made any progress in my thinking process. As I looked over the workbook, it was interesting to read how hearing about a friend’s good news was enough to trigger a snowball of negative thinking that ended in, of course, “I want to be dead.”
In order to adopt a new way of thinking, Burns recommends a four-step practice.
Step 1: Identifying the Upsetting Event
Here you name the specifics of a problem you are currently having, or describe a negative memory that is triggering a bad mood or depressive episode.
I wrote here: conversation with Sue (a colleague, who told me about my friend Ellen’s book—how well it was selling, and about her plans for a sequel).
Step 2: Record Your Negative Feelings
Write down your negative emotions and rate each on a scale from 1 to 100. Burns says to use words like “sad, frustrated, discouraged, angry, hurt, anxious, embarrassed, upset, or guilty.”
I wrote these six emotions: inferior (100), jealous (100), angry (100), defective (100), guilty (100), confused (100).
Step 3: The Triple-Column Technique
Here you are supposed to ask yourself what the negative thoughts are that are attached to your bad feelings. What types of things are you telling yourself?
In the first column, “Automatic Thoughts,” you record your negative thoughts and estimate your belief in each one (0 to 100). These are called “Automatic Thoughts” because they come automatically to mind when you feel bad. Burns says that recording these Automatic Thoughts is one of the most important exercises.
In the second column, “Distortions,” identify the distortions in each Automatic Thought. The distortions are the ten twisted ways of thinking:

1. All-or-nothing thinking,
2. Overgeneralization,
3. Mental filter,
4. Discounting the positives,
5. Jumping to conclusions,
6. Magnification or minimization,
7. Emotional reasoning,
8. “Should” statements,
9. Labeling, and
10. Personalization and blame.

In the third column, “Rational Responses,” substitute more realistic thoughts and estimate your belief in each one (0-100).
Here are a few things I wrote down in step three:
Automatic thoughts: “I will never be as successful as Ellen.” (100) “I’m a complete failure.” (100) “I suck at writing.” (100)
Distortions: Emotional reasoning, Magnification, Mental filter, Discounting the positives, All-or-nothing thinking.
Rational Responses:
“Maybe Ellen will be more successful than you. Who cares? Just do your best. Don’t compare.” (50)
“I’m good at some things. I don’t fail at everything. Accept yourself where you are.” (50)
“You’re not perfect, but that doesn’t mean you totally suck at writing. With some work you can get better.” (50)

Step 4: Outcome
Now re-rate your belief in your each of your original “Automatic Thoughts.” Cross out the original percent and put a new estimate.
My original thoughts—I will never be as successful as Ellen, I’m a complete failure, and I suck at writing—all went down from 100 percent to 50 percent.
Dr. Burns says that if you are still upset after doing this four-step practice that you may not have identified the disturbing event, you have something to gain by your negative feelings, you haven’t correctly identified your Automatic Thoughts, or your Rational Responses aren’t convincing enough. I’d add one more thing: you’re on the wrong medication. Because, as I’ve said in other places, all these exercises can only help a person who is stable and capable of cognitive work.
At any rate, with Cathy, I’ll be watching my path of thoughts this holiday season, and will be trying as hard as I can to blaze a new trail inside my mind toward mental and spiritual health.



  • Nancy

    I feel that way right now. I am in business with a self-centered, sociopathic, psychotic lying brother, who is an emotional pig. Gee, Nancy, tell us how you REALLY feel. It’s my livlihood, and I guess also at times, could be the cause of my death. Yes, ok, sounds dramatic. So be it. More bad blood work. My endocrine system has exploded. It’s not surprising. I am leaving for the Doctor on an “emergency appointment” in a short while. I know my mental and emotional being cannot take it any longer. You cannot imagine how many boundaries I’ve set in place; how many times I have gone head to head with him and not allow him to “get away” with his crap. Nothing stops him. He is the psychotic one, but I’m the one who is going nuts. I just told my mother this morning, DO NOT LEAVE MESSAGES ABOUT MY BROTHER and what she does with him on the weekends. It’s so freaking messed up. I am so freaking angry and full of rage. I know it is making me sick. I am not always in this place. I wouldn’t even be writing this if I hadn’t just taken the time to read this post before leaving for the Doctor.
    Unforunately, I now too go to – “I can’t stand this, I want to be dead”. It’s sheer frustration, and I don’t believe that things will change, and I see that I am unable to cope well with this after 28 years. I don’t want to be dead. I don’t even want my brother to be my friend. He doesn’t have to have anything to do with me. Just stop being a miserable, lying piece of crap, who deliberately does what causes chaos. No – I’m not paranoid or exaggerating. I have my General Manager and husband to back up every word that I’ve written.
    Sorry for the ranting. Now I will go cry. This sucks.

  • Nancy

    So – maybe when I return later, I will actually read past Cathy’s paragraph and incorporate or absorb what you wrote, Therese. God knows I need the mental filter and help.

  • Larry Parker

    First of all, Cathy, congratulations on the blog (even if condolences for you how you came to that place in life). You HAVE to join Therese’s interview list for BB readers can get a look at a real blog as opposed to my pitiful mini-blog.
    (That was a David Burns joke. I like my mini-blog; I think it has value; I don’t have the time/wherewithal to expand it now; but someday I might, so I’m pretty realistic about it. And it also doesn’t mean I’m not genuinely awed, in a good way, with Cathy’s storytelling ability — just as I am with our blogmistress’ :-) — without meaning I have to feel badly about my own.)
    But speaking of Burns …
    There are at least two extensive contributors to non-BB depression forums on Beliefnet who are devotees of David Burns to the point of worshipping him.
    One has Asperger’s syndrome. The other is a librarian who has given up all social life in terms of dating (and most other non-Internet social life) and is happy just with her animals — like a horrible stereotype come to reality.
    The thing they have in common is that they are incredibly serious, scientific, LITERAL people by orientation. With my heart-on-my-sleeve emotions and sarcasm — both of which fly right by them (humor? from someone DEPRESSED?) — I’ve had clashes with both of them, severe clashes in some cases. But they’re both ultimately good people. They’re just VERY different from me — and more able to “process,” in a very real way, Burns’ lessons.
    While I do try to practice Burns’ advice (which of course is very good, don’t get me wrong) whenever I can in terms of the “mental reframing” Rita Arens discussed, I can’t fully embrace his methods as a way to live.
    Because I find if I spend too much time overanalyzing things (which I do anyway, according to my own dysfunctional parents, with whom I’m spending a lot of time lately as BBers know … though ironically, I agree with them on that point), I run the risk of paralysis by analysis — instead of engaging in the organic, messy act of, well, LIVING LIFE.
    It would be great if we could live life mistake-free. But we can’t. And sometimes, I find (not all the time — the lessons are VERY hard at times), learning from your mistakes rather than from a textbook is the best way to learn.
    (Funny how I didn’t think that when I got all A’s back in school …)

  • Larry Parker

    “so,” not “for,” in the last sentence of the first paragraph of my previous post.
    (Aaargh, perfectionism — another of Burns’ deadly sins!)
    ;-P

  • Lynn

    Dear Nancy, I know that your job is your lively hood , but in any way possible could you get another job? In my struggles along life’s highway I have found that other people do not change , we are the one’s who have to change, ourselves , our situation, sometimes our environment.this being understatement, but your brother does sound difficult.His behavior makes you crazy, the only time he will ever change is when he wants to do the changing , he will never change just for you. My mom passed 4 years ago,disfunctional as she was , she held our family together. Now that she is gone we are all apart. My brother lives far from me , I called him recentally , he will never call back. I even left the message that I didn’t want anything from him , just to say hello. No call back. I felt angry about this. I asked my sister what his problem was. who knows what his problem is.I love my brother, I love my whole family, messey as we all are. I stoped trying to call , I accept that he doesn’t want any contact with anyone but my Father, I will still love him even though he will not be the brother that I want him to be. I will not make myself crazy about it , nor will I blame myself because he doesn’t want to do the family thing. We are who we are.The only true change comes from within. Family dynamics are the most complex and the most confusing thing. I agree with you it does suck.

  • Nancy

    Lynn – Thanks. Before I leave, I just wanted to mention, that yes, I have no expectations of any relationship with my brother. That has been gone for many years. This is strictly (well mostly) in regard to business. I would consider making a change if my body was not consumed with ME/CFS/FM. There is no way possible (truly this is not an “excuse”) to make a change given my current state of health, or lack thereof. I’m teetering as it is.
    I do understand that people do not change because we want them too. That’s all an illusion. Perhaps, that is why I feel so low. I know the truth and it is painful. Being very ill compounds the frustration. I know this too shall pass, and for now I need to regroup somehow. I’ve been through this many times before.
    What amazes me is that the people who cause the harm either justify what they do or don’t see it or whatever. I cannot be in other people’s heads. Mine is enough to deal with. As you can see from what I wrote previously, it’s a very difficult day, and I feel as though I’ve lost all of the “skills” I learned to cognitively reframe and center myself.
    It’s also difficult since I am currently housebound and bedridden (when not in the office or at the doctor) because of the illnesses. This has to be one of the most challenging times in my life; although I thought nothing could top things from the past.
    I get the whole PTSD thing. It comes on way too easily these days.
    I’m not one to rant and then not want feedback and stay in the problem. However, at this point, changing jobs is just not an option and I still have children (although not babies) who I am responsible for.
    I thought I had changed myself inside out from within. Obviously more is to be done. I’ll be back later. Thanks again, Nancy

  • Nancy

    I feel like a blubbering idiot today. I’m really sorry everyone, but you guys are a safe place; the only one except my husband.
    The mental anguish feels unbearable at times, and I hate this “I want to die” feeling. I don’t really want to be dead. I just don’t want to feel another thing or think another thought (temporarily).

  • Tom

    Cathy,
    Been there done that, in your heart you really want him to “understand” or somehow sense your total frustration and anger! I had a boss/partner who put me in the hospital twice, so dont let him get you to that point!
    No job, no amount of income is worth getting sick over! Find another situation, or at least start looking, that alone will give you some peace in the situation even if you dont find anything right away.
    If you are secure in this job, Tell the jerk off, and do it in front of people who he might respect. You sound so much like me it’s scary…big heart, a need to be respected, and you put up with this because he is your brother…run away or tell him where to stuff it!
    Tom

  • Lynn

    Dear Nancy, I am sorry for all your pain, I can relate, I am experiencing somewhat of a similar situation, physical Pain that absolutly contributes to the mental difficulties. I am isolated and only go out to the doctors, I don’t drive so I have to depend on my son or daughter-in-law to get me anywhere. I just took a trip to mass. (I live in wa. state) to bring my other grandaughter here for a visit.I was miserable the whole time , in pain and frustrated and depressed.I think I pissed off my best friend back in mass. I finally had to cave and ask for a wheel chair to get me to the gates and on and off the plane. I was mortified, but you know I finally asked for help instead of killing myself to walk, a real break through for me.we always do not have to do everything ourselves and there is help. Anyway, maybe a few days off to regroup would be good for you , if possible.when you feel that crappy, you don’t tend to be very effective in any task.At least that is the case for me.You most likely really deserve a break and to do something nice for yourself. Please be nice to yourself and ignore your @#%*&%# brother.

  • Larry Parker

    Back to Nancy …
    Ugh. I’ve heard the rule that family businesses can often break up both the business and the family; my ex-father-in-law and his brother had only just begun speaking again, about two decades after a failed partnership (by all neutral accounts, not my ex-father-in-law’s fault but rather that of his brother) at the time I first met my ex-wife. Which made things difficult for my ex-wife, to say the least, since her best friend was and is her cousin, her uncle’s daughter.
    There are two 12-step type sayings, if I may say so, that seem in order here — “one day at a time” (even a night’s sleep, if you are able to get one of course, may make things more manageable, even if only slightly) and “first things first” (you can’t do anything about your brother, even successfully ignore him, without finding out first what you can do — if anything — about your deteriorating physical health, which obviously impacts your mental health).
    I know he’s your brother, and I’m sure you love him underneath all the anger and frustration (or maybe you don’t!), but in general there has to be a place in one of Dante’s circles of h*ll for people who intentionally try to trigger/worsen other people’s illnesses.
    We all hope and pray you get some good news (or at least less bad news?!) with the doctor. Larry

  • cathy

    Nancy, my heart is with you. Please be gentle with yourself and put your health first. Other issues may shift in a positive way if you make your day as healthy as possible for YOU.
    Therese and all, thank you for your insights and sharings. It’s been a treat to “come out of the closet” a bit and meet some kindred spirits. The blog has been a private, somewhat anonymous project for a couple of years, and it’s nice to meet some people who understand. Thank you for helping that happen, Therese.

  • herman van diepen

    Wow reading about a horrible Thanksgiving has brought back memories,however it seems the momma of my kids and I are at a much more comfortable place.We had a warm and peaceful sharing with Nadia and Peter ages 19 and 17
    So for now anyway,I am at peace with Nancy and these few days after the fact I’m not in any sort of “aftermath” of emotion.Gracias senor.
    I am a 52 yearold adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse.My family life has been hell all my life and I am pretty much estraged from my siblings.I have done extensive counseling and am the outcast for speaking up about the abusive behavior.I have nine brothers and sisters and a lot of dysfunctional lives in the family.All i can say is don’t give up,it will take time,but,it does get better.

  • Wisdum

    Re – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: The Apple Is an Apple ?
    “A rose is a rose, is a rose, is a rose, is a rose. A rose by any other name would be the same” (Billy Shake)
    “A thorn is a thorn, is a thorn, is a thorn. A thorn by any other name would still be a prick!” (Wisdum)
    “My Life has been a Love song, sung to me by God”
    “Sing, sing a song!”
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=wY6insZjCfU
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Blanche

    Boy, can I relate. I’m not only depressed and a recovering alcoholic (my ecape mechanism), I have to put up with my husband’s dysfunctional family. Thanksgiving was a true challenge.
    My husband’s youngest brother is a raging alcoholic, with a personality disorder. He’s an a____hole even when he’s sober (which is rather rare).
    He’s unemployed, 51 yo, and “Mommy” (the enabler) pays his mortgage, utilities, college courses, food, etc. She’s in denial about his drinking.
    After having to drive him 94 miles to the other brother’s home for turkey day, he proceeded to get very drunk by sneaking beer & wine. After knocking things off the wall in the kitchen, stumbling, and babbling nonsense (very obnoxious), Mommy asked what was wrong with him, what happened.
    She proceeded to tell us he’s “allergic” to alcohol, whether it’s “an ounce or 10 ounces”. I bit my tongue to keep from hysterically laughing.
    We hauled him home (he fell asleep for part of the way, yay), and I called my sister-in-law when I got home. She said after we left Mommy asked her how much he had to drink. She said that she didn’t know, as she didn’t want to get in the middle of it. When her husband came into the room, she asked him how much his brother had to drink. He replied “anything he could get his hands on”. Good for him.
    She called me the next day and said she didn’t see him drinking. Me, with a bigger mouth than my sister-in-law, said “He sneaks it, that’s why”.
    Waiting for Christmas now, ugh.

  • Nancy

    Good morning everyone – Yes, Larry, One Day At A Time. Wow – yesterday was a low one and a very long one. I read everyone’s comments last night, and I felt truly blessed for the support. I feel that even more so this morning with a somewhat clearer head.
    After a visit with a condescending Endocrinologist – another “top in his field” physician telling me that I probably drink too much water, and that this is what is contributing to some of the readings on the blood work that seriously concerned my other Doctor in NYC, I thought, “Well, if I didn’t go across his desk and strangle him, at least I have some impulse control in order.” If he could have read my mind though, his head would have fallen off of his shoulders and on to his desk. So be it, I’ll get the blood work done that I need to; get the results from him and move on to the group in Norwalk CT that specializes in the illnesses I have.
    Re: Tom
    “Been there done that, in your heart you really want him to “understand” or somehow sense your total frustration and anger! I had a boss/partner who put me in the hospital twice, so dont let him get you to that point!
    No job, no amount of income is worth getting sick over! Find another situation, or at least start looking, that alone will give you some peace in the situation even if you dont find anything right away.
    If you are secure in this job, Tell the jerk off, and do it in front of people who he might respect. You sound so much like me it’s scary…big heart, a need to be respected, and you put up with this because he is your brother…run away or tell him where to stuff it!”
    Wow – you get it. Yea – that’s scary. You’re right. I
    He reminded me of the old days when depressive illnesses couldn’t be diagnosed and recognized as they are these days (even now not with 100% accuracy and treatment). But he’s “too smart” for his own good type of attitude. Not what I really needed or wanted yesterday.
    Then we were off to the Orthopedist since my poor husband fell down the basement stairs, and his foot looked like something out of a bad medical book. Hairline fracture was the Dx., but draining the mass of blood pooled in his big toe was the painful part for him.
    I said to my husband, “What happened to us? Did we just skip over middle age these past few years and are ready for the nursing home?” Kind of tongue-in-cheek, but I was still feeling so sad. We’re blessed to have each other.
    So, I know that if I were physically stronger, the mental and emotional would be more in sync with how I was functioning a few years ago. I pray that one day (not too far away, please God) that I regain some of the physical strength, which will increase the coping mechanisms overall.
    Funny, Larry, that you should mention that I probably love my brother. I do, which is why I probably turned myself inside out to accommodate him for so long. But now, I’ve been through so much with him that I’m trying not to. I’m better off if I don’t love him. I’d rather be indifferent (as he has been).
    Family business – short version: sucks for family and marriages. My first husband was also in the business and continued to work for me after the divorce, and ugh – I have stories that are so twisted that if I think about them now in order to provide some insight, my brain will short-circuit for the day. Suffice to say, my sons were never going to be, will never be near this business that will die with my brother and I. People would ask me when the boys were growin up whether or not they would go in to the business. My reply was/is always – “No, I love them way too much for that, and I wouldn’t let my brother get his hands on them” (I’m referring to emotional harm – not physical abuse – however, just as damaging, if not worse)
    My mother is phoney and again, I had blinders on and/or supressed it all. An apple was never an apple in my family. It was always about me. I’m wrong, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah.
    You could look at an apple, anaylze it, know it to be your truth, and still have the rest of the characters in the play tell you that your wrong, it’s a watermelon and you just don’t get it. Or that there was no fruit at all to name.
    So, my truth today is that I am going to take the suggestions you all were kind enough to offer with the support and take it easy (hopefully) on my brain today. I am going to attempt to keep the intellect over the emotion and stay in the moment. First things first – right Larry? – Yes, I’ve been trying every avenue about my deteriorating health, which is why I’m going to another specialist on 12/11. Your so correct when you say that it’s even difficult to “successfully ignore him” while ill. I was so much better at this stuff a few years ago.

  • Nancy

    Excuse me everyone. I have no idea what happened, but I was typing and inserted the post from Tom at the end, where I was going to respond/reply to his accuracy on “readin me” and the situation and his good thoughts.
    In the middle all of a sudden, my screen froze, my posting was gone and came up with it as a finished post with Tom’s paragraph inserted, incomplete in the middle?!?
    So to simplify the confusion, my post was suppose to read at the end of one paragraph, ………….. that specializes in the illnesses that I have.
    to – skip down past the re: Tom again to………. He reminded me of the old days……..
    sorry everyone, I have no idea how that happened. Let me just close in saying thank you to this special group and your feedback and support, Nancy

  • Nancy

    Re – Tom -
    “If you are secure in this job, Tell the jerk off, and do it in front of people who he might respect. You sound so much like me it’s scary…big heart, a need to be respected, and you put up with this because he is your brother…run away or tell him where to stuff it!”
    You know what’s amazing, he’s been told off and in public. He does not care. I’ve taken all of my fears of “he won’t like me” or “I’m afraid to stand up to him” or anything else, put them aside and confronted him time and time again. I now do not speak to him and respond to him via fax. He leaves messages. I fax replies. I have PTSD from the ringer of the fax and phone line (now – how crazy does that sound – but it’s after years of lawsuits coming over the fax from customers and all sorts of debaucles on the phone that I’ve had to resort to turning the ringer off of both so that my adrenaline does not go from 1 to 100), and I take it all a phone call at a time, or a fax at a time.
    So, at least I don’t look back at that portion and go – shoulda, woulda, coulda. He knows what he is all about. He jokes that when he dies, people will be lining up at his casket to spit on him, and he laughs about it. Yep, that’s my sibling. He’s proud of himself. Go figure out that type of ego.

  • Larry Parker

    (((Nancy)))
    If pain results in wisdom, I’m only a tiny bit of the way to you in wisdom — but I also wish you were a lot less wise (sigh).
    Is this firm a 50-50 partnership? Since other family members were involved at one point (e.g., your ex-hubby), how did they get disentangled from the business? I KNOW there have been stories in the news about larger partnerships where one partner wants out, the other doesn’t, and after a lawsuit the company is sold with both partners getting a 50% disbursement. (It doesn’t sound like selling your 50% in and of itself is an option, since the company would be worthless without your keen mind overseeing your brother’s poor judgment … sigh.) But I do realize litigation, especially given your medical expenses, could be even more stressful than the status quo — which, needless to say, would not be good.
    And one more sigh, to that endocrinologist. Unless you’re sucking down your entire local reservoir every day (Oradell, right?), how on earth can drinking too much water be BAD for you?!
    (Glad to hear you at least have another doc lined up, albeit a long drive away …)

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I ,ust have missed something in the comments section brcause i’m totally confused! (NOT the kind of confusion that I get from my “creative wiring, honest to goodness justified comgusion because all of the details aren’t there. I get that Nancy has a brother with whom she runs a family business and that this causes her much stress because she and her brother don’t see eye-to-eye, but that comes from reading the responses of others rather than from reading what SHE shared. Consequently, I’m even MORE handicaped than usual (LOL) in terms of offering support.
    Therese, your post was, as always, insightful and informative…and you do NOT “suck at writing! I weish I could find that priest who first gave you that mindset and tell him a thing or two(but I guess your aforementioned”care package” probably at least gave him a LITTLE pause…one would HOPE so anyway. It’s always difficult for me as an educator to discovwer that a fellow “teacher” has responded to a student with insensitivity..preist or not…and I’m grateful at least to know that he did it privately rather than in front of your fellow learners. I have NO idea who this Ellen is, but let me tell you, you aren’t an apple OR a pear, you’re a PEACH! I have a difficult time imagining how any of your friends could be more successful than you are if you measure success (as I try to do) in terms of the number of fellow human beings you have helped down their individual roads of life. Your acerbic wit and your wonderful way of defining the “characters” in your life(I feel as if I KNOW Eric, David, Kathryn and your sisters are a testament to your skill with words. If there was a New York times Bestseller’s list for bloggers, you’d have reached and remained at the number one spot SEVERAL times IMHO! As is always the case, since you offer your skills for FREE (over the internet, it’s easy to devalue them because in our society we tend to measure sucess in terms of the amount of dollars attached to it.And although we look to the next life for our “rewards”, waiting for our mansions isn’t always, if ever, easy. Nonetheless, i’m certain yours will afford the most spendid view heaven has to offer and will beone of the largest, most elegant structures there. (picture a swimming pool complete with waterfall and adjoining hot tub, landscaped gardens with every kind and color of blossom in abundance, graceful Greek columns across the wide veranda, a veritable “Tara” of a mansion if you will. And once again, you will no doubt open your doors, heart and arm to all the other denziens of Heaven in order that you may share your bounty.(translate skills and wisdom in earthly terms.
    Nancy, I’m SORRY you experienced techno difficulties, but selfishly am glad that at lrast YOU CAN SEE THAT i’M NOT CRAZY (Okay, I AM, lol) because what you described is exactly what so frequently happens to me when i’m commenting. In terms of your brother, as I said I’m somehow missing your original comments, so I can’t honestly comment. but the “spitting thing” cracked me up! Having buried my father who had spent many of his years on earth making MY existence a series of PTSD events, I can testify to the fact that you’ll be in for a number og (positive) surprises when that day comes There won’t be nearly as much “spitting” as your brother rather perversely imagines. Even the most obnoxious of individuals have had positive effects on the lives of others (in spite of themselves) and there will be people lining up to share those anecdotes as well.
    Last but not least, to my friend(If I may be so bold) Wisdum, your comment on the thorn is PRICELESS(Apologies to Master Card) To anyone else who makes their (tortured )way through this rambling post, hang in there and BE GOOD SCOUTS (be prepared) because the holiday season replete with more family gatherings is just getting underway..we still have Christmas and New Years to muddle through.

  • Larry Parker

    2 Corinthians 12, huh, Wisdum?

  • zana

    Therese, hope this gives you evidence that you do NOT suck at writing. I teach very young children how to begin writing. A couple of my first instructions are to write what you know and use details that will paint a picture in the readers mind, in addition to saying “Please remember your snacks are in your backpacks and not on the end of your pencils.” We study authors over the year that inspire these beginning life trekkers to see that many other people have feelings and experiences similar to theirs. The professional term is called Accessing Prior Knowledge. Their phonetically spelled stories are touching, brutally honest at times, deeper than most folks would credit a six-year old for having and a delight to read. If I used our rubric, you would score Outstanding.
    I am home today, still in my jammies, recovering from a trip to an extraordinarily beautiful place for our Thanksgiving holiday that gave me a full week of rest, the first full belly laugh I’ve had in well over a year, and an oh-so-welcome break from the chaos and daily challenges from my life back home. I started throwing up right before climbing into the car for our nine-hour return visit. We actually had to stop in at the local ER for a couple of replenishing IV bags full of electolytes and medication before pulling into our driveway.( My therapist gently chided that Freud would have a field day with this.) I began the work week and smiled at the beaming, albeit sleepy little faces entering our classroom doorway, but instantly felt my mind and body rebelling against the pressure of resuming my day-to-day tasks and worries.
    I’ve been trying to remember all the things I am learning as I climb my out of that hole. Ever since I got home from work yesterday, I have felt myself slipping as I struggle to remember my CBT skills, too. Remember to breath, be mindful, identify distorted thinking so I can push the delete button on those negative, overblown, beating myself-up-once-again thoughts. And oh yeah, had to run upstairs and take the meds that I forgot to take as my mood brewed like hurricane force winds. Feeling pretty shakey there until I sat down at the computer with my bowl of microwave oatmeal, the only thing in the house that doesn’t smell like the huge science project in the refrigerator I forgot to throw away before we left for vacation. (Any one else forgetful of such seemingly no big deal things? What helps you remember? My notepads keep getting bigger, brighter, but I still lay them down somewhere then get frustrated when I can’t find ‘em. I am seriously {of course} tech impaired.) Anyway, the first thing I opened up Therese, was your CBT blog. I actually spit my oatmeal onto the computer screen when I read your emotion rating (100, 100, 100…sorry about the less than delicate details!) Please, know that I was in no way minimalzing your feelings when I laughed out loud. It was tremedous appreciation for the absolute true to life details you share with us about this mind boggling illness in your writing. I just wanted you to know how much this reader connected with your story. That, my friend, was the the hand-up I needed today.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    EW:zana: Try post a note pads stuck in conspicuous places…it’s helped me, and they come in allsizes and colors now. There are even some cutsey oneswith little sayings on them. back when I lived in the real world, was still allowed to drive and had a job, the center of my steering wheel bore a nearly permanant one which read simply, “Meds?” I also learned to put a daily dose into an old empty script bottle and keep it in the one drawer of my desk whicj locked so as to have them there if I suddenly remembered I HAD forgotten them another trick which helped me was making an X on the back of my hand in a bright water color(NOT permanent ink) marker When enough people ask you what it means, it helps you remember.
    Also

  • Anonymous

    Re -Larry Parker | November 28, 2007 1:54 PM
    2 Corinthians 12, huh, Wisdum?
    ** Hi Larry, I guess there really is nothing new under the Son (or is that Sun ?) You had me scrambling to my Bible to check that. I have some serious problems with Paul, mostly because he is the guy responsible for corrupting all of Christianity. We are not Christians for the most part, we are Paulists! Paul was a Roman, not a Hebrew Apostle, and the whole concept theology of Romance (what the Hell kind of Love is that, abuse, torture and crucifixion and any other form of torture you can dream up ?) As far as being the thorn, thatsa me, trying to correct all of that Paulist BS corruption and bring it back to the Way of the Truth and Light that Yeshuah intended it to be. That a**hole set up all this de-pression we are in conflict today, since he ran off to Rome and arrested Christianity from the Ju(dah)’s (probably along with a partner like Pontius Pilate)God is Love, and Yeshuah was all about “sacrifice in the name of Love”. The bottom line is “How much are we willing to sacrifice in the name of Love?” and given the gift of “freewill” by God, there is nothing that God dictates that we need to put up with a lot of BS abuse,torture, crucifixion or worse in His name!
    There is no such thing as forced Love. If you take aWay freewill, Love ceases to exist. If Love ceases to exist, then God ceases to exist, since God has defined Him/Her Self as Love with a simple “I AM!” It is not very likely that God will cease to exist, so maybe we should focus more on the joy,peace and happiness that Love brings forth, instead of all this Paulist Roman bullshit! “Only God is Wholey” (or is that Holy?)
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Larry Parker

    Wisdum:
    Out of respect for Therese’s faith, I’ll just say (with a bit more moderate tone) I agree that some of Paul’s long-term influences on the Church were negative, no matter what the Vatican may say.
    That said, I think 2 Corinthians 12 is a fascinating (if much shorter) metaphor for depression and its meaning for our relationship with G-d, on par with the Book of Job.

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I also had to check Larry’s biblical message. If you take the time to read the preceding verses, it gives you a much broader picture of what Paul was attempting to say. There is a school of thought that “theman I know” was actually Paul himself! (the one caught up in to the third heaven in a vision) Paul also makes it quite clear that he doesn’t want to be seen as “better than the average bear” (or Christian in this case.It’s interesting to look at it if Paul WAS referring to himself as he states twice that “only God knoweth.”
    Wisdum, I know the Roman Catholic chutch has commited some terrible atrocities over the centuries since Christ walked this earth,(sorry, T, but look at the crusades and the Borgia papacy) in the namr of “Christianity, but I think it’s infair to lay all of that at Paul’s feet. after all, wasn’t Peter the first pope?
    I wholeheartedly agree that Christ was all about love and self- sacrifice, in fact from Genesis on, I think the message of the Bible can be boiled down into that one four-letter word! Let’s not accuse poor Paul of being the foremost corrupting influence on the church’ he made some real sacrifices after his
    epiphany on the road to Damascus when Christ spoke to him. I think all of his epistles are also primarily about love albiet more of the “tough” variety. His insecurity about his own salvation (…only God knoweth…”) is comforting to me when I find myself wondering about my eternal destination in much the same way that Thomas’s doubting is. I also understand that he was not Hebrew, but doesn’t that speak to Christ having scarificed himself for ALL of humanity? Most of the early Christians WEREN’T Hebrew by origin. (That whole “prophet unhonored in his own land” thing.)Oh, the original twelve were all undoubtedly Hebrew since they were all recruited in the Gallalie valley as Christ began his ministry on foot through the land of His birth. But after His death and ressurection, many if not most of those who followed him were Greek, Roman, Turkish or Albanian by birth. And im grateful for that, as my own ethnicity would keep me an “outsider” if that were not so.

  • Wisdum

    Just a bit more on Paul (the perpetraitor of Christian corruption) If you look closely at all of Paul’s writings, you will see that he has a dis-claimer in all of them. He is of the school “Do as I say, not as I do” (which of course the Roman Catholic Church is famous for!)All those things that he says not to do, he has done, and dam little of the things he says you should do!
    In his best and most famous piece 1Corinthians 13, he is talking about himself! The best part of that piece BTW is, if you place the word God instead of Love, you will have a perfect definition of God, since God defined Him/Her Self as Love. Also there is no record of a female relationship with him in the bible either, what’s wrong with that picture?
    Speaking of wrong pictures, and money trail; 85% percent of Christianity is based upon what Paul has said, 5% based upon what Yeshuah has said and 10% based upon what everybody else has said. What’s wrong with this picture? In the course of a year, just look back upon how many sermons were about Love as opposed to sin. If there were more than two or three on Love and what Yeshuah taught, that would surprise me! We are not focused on Love…we are forcused on sin! You think we need to re-focus?
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Ro

    I had been experiencing the same feelings for a long time although not as intense as yours. God led me to a wonderful Inner Healing Retreat where a family team ministered to me. It outlined the importance of forgiveness therapy. People hurt us knowingly and unknowingly and we keep all these memories in our beings, body, mind and spirit until we choose to forgive. To ease the pain, we get sucked into wrong behaviours or patterns of thought, things that feel good and help us to cope (or so we think) These are actually dangerous behaviours contrary to God’s good and wholesome, loving plan for us. Usually they lead to substance addictions (drugs, alcohol), thought and emotional addictions (craving approval, bitterness, anger, depression). However, God tells us for our own good that to avoid this dangerous trap, we must forgive (Mark 11:25-26).
    Forgiveness is not a feeling. Anyone who comes to mind that you have bitter feelings towards, use this technique and watch God work. I had done therapy too (Yes, CBT as well, in fact I’m training to be a counsellor) but this is spiritual healing and cleansing which a secular therapist will not do.
    I didn’t know I had so much unforgiveness. I always wanted to forgive but I didn’t know how!! It was so simple! I had the body of an old woman and a bitter face to go with it :) (not anymore)Well, I actually felt pain leaving my joints and my internal organs, my head etc over the 3 day period during counselling and confession and afterwards every time I said the words ‘I forgive you so and so for…’
    Here are the steps of Forgiveness Therapy which must be verbalized i.e out loud (the rationale is that hurts to our person come in through the five senses and must leave that way):
    1. A accuses B (take as long as you need)
    2. B sincerely asks forgiveness of A
    3. A forgives B (‘B, I forgive you for…’)
    4. Say the words, “Jesus, wash us both in your Precious Blood.”
    5. Imagine:
    Jesus is cleaning us
    Jesus is loving us
    Jesus is healing us
    I really recommend a Charismatic Catholic Inner Healing Retreat…it provided the breakthrough in a spiralling depression. They usually pray over you, lay hands on you and give you a word of knowledge from time to time. And another thing: they pray to cleanse you of any occult influences. At first I didn’t agree with what they termed as occult (yoga, vipassana) besides the usual astrology, palm reading, black magic etc. I had been doing yoga and went for a 10 day vipassana retreat the year before (I live in India). They explained it this way: you can’t do these forms of meditation and exercise without getting caught up in their philosophy which is contradictory to God’s Word in the Bible and of course the teachings of the Vatican. It was true that I was so spiritually confused! I was thinking about reincarnation and karma and all these Eastern concepts which were undermining my faith in Christ. Another thing they said was that when people get involved in these things (sometimes they’re led in to it as children which is not their fault but they need to renounce and be cleansed anyway), they give the Enemy a foothold to control them; they relinquish God’s control and of course, follow Satan’s plan for their lives which is inevitable destruction. This would have sounded fundamentalist and weird to me if I hadn’t experienced it for myself. The lady who prayed over me told me I had headaches and when she prayed I felt pain behind my right temple for a few minutes and have not had a single headache since (i used to get them every day). My frozen old lady’s shoulder is healed too. This would not respond to physiotherapy. Another benefit I derived from this retreat was that I had lost faith that God was good (dangerous) Someone said this was the basis of all sin to believe that God is not good. Well, it became clear to me that God was here to restore me to health in mind and body and therefore HE must mean all the other good things He promised for my life! I realized very experientially that it was I who was blocking God, not He who was refusing me. Praise Him!!!

  • Larry Parker

    Ro:
    I will be saying something about this in tomorrow’s (later today’s) feature Therese was so kind to ask me to participate in.
    Not so simple as you portray, whether you are Christian or not. (And one of the parties in my case wasn’t, as you’ll read.)

  • Lynne

    I have a hard time getting through some of these longer posts.(just my disheveled brain) But my general feeling is that most religion is either a shield or a sword. People use it as an excuse to hide behind, or a reason to attack other people. I don’t believe Paul should be given so much credit for corupting christianity as it were.I believe he had a lot of help. I can’t believe some of the ourite crap that passes for religion today! Turn on most T.V. stations on any given day and you’ll get an earful of everything from soup to nuts but very few biblical references that are’nt so paraphrased that you could’nt even imagine what the original text was! Plus there’s a church on every corner but do they teach beyond their own personal beliefs? Who has ears to hear and eyes to see? Oh Lordy forgive me!

  • April

    In my opinion Paul is a revered religious figure and would be in Heaven now. I would encouge all of you to read the King James Bible, in which the word is CHARITY not Love. God knew it would take a King’s command to get the writings as close to the real thing as possable, and the King James is the oldest version. I would also like to say I think your a wonderful writer. But your therapist a QUACK! You need real help in your Journey, God’s help,and this is the best:
    Deliverance Ministries, Inc.
    2828 N. W. 57th street,Suite 305
    Oklahoma City,OK 73112
    1(405)842-5509
    http://www.delmin.com
    Now when it is a trauma, it takes inner healing,which takes some time. so save the therapist money, and hop a Plane and go to Deliverance, best of all it’s free, because Jesus alresdy paid the Prize on the cross. Now it is full Gospel,which would be beliving the whole Bible and walking with God daily. Now my friends,Jesus and God, I will talk to so I will know your ok.
    Love and Prays Always,
    April

  • Larry Parker

    April:
    Please clarify your Christian judgment about who is a good writer but has a quack therapist.
    In this thread alone, it could be me, Wisdum, Therese herself, or a bunch of other suspects.

  • Anonymous

    This person needs to develop more confidence in herself, stop putting herself down so much, and stop being negative!! We are all loving beings of God’s creation- and let yourself stop doing as others expect- do what pleases YOU!!

  • Larry Parker

    But isn’t the whole article about HOW YOU DO THAT?

  • AJ

    Christ…deliverance….therapy….examples, beliefs, and guidance. Who is King James? A king that loved Shakespear and rewrote a book according to him. Translations and transmutations. His version serves as a great psychology book on human nature, self and others. Jesus serves as the example and God is love. How can love be vengeful, jealous, wrathful. What does it serve to obey from the fear factor instead of the love factor? How does pure love change it’s form? If we all love as God loves and obey as Christ obeyed, perhaps the second coming would arrive sooner. Perhaps, the second coming will occur when we all take on Christ consciousness. Imagine that. A world consisting of love and not anger filled, selfish and self gratifying souls that have forgotten our true, original nature. One of love and peace.
    From the viewpoint of one who is just visiting! Thank God!

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