POSTS WITH TAG: mental health

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    I've never been good at breaking the ice. I tow the line between social and anti, equal parts Homecoming Queen and homebody. I throw myself into social situations and immediately regret doing so, wishing I was at home in my comfies on my couch. Then, when on said couch, I'm often feeling like I should have accepted the invitation, shouldn't have rescheduled, should've gotten my lazy butt in the shower and made some effort. (I've never claimed to be sane.)

    Three years ago, I'd just settled into a new city and job, lamented about how hard it was to make friends, went on to make tons, then abruptly left the little network I'd built to move back to an old city but new territory: motherhood.

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    I am the queen of memory glitches lately. The other day I was running late, furiously searching everywhere for my iPhone ... when it rang in my handbag ... which was on my shoulder ... and my iPhone was right on top. It wasn’t buried under a mountain of crap for once. It was right there. I looked at it, dripping with sweat and frustration, and laughed. I convinced myself my toddler must have stolen it or, in one of my weaker moments, that it was conspiring against me to get me fired. It was surely anywhere but where it was supposed to be.

    To take charge of my raging case of mommy brain, I rounded up experts who are much smarter than I am for some excellent advice to boost brain power and function. Now all I have to do is remember these tips:

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    A heartwrenching, gut-churning story out of Ocala, Florida involves a woman who gave birth to a premature baby in a motel bathroom after binging on crack cocaine. Thirty-seven-year-old Chrystal A. Hassell, who was seven or eight months along, reportedly cut the newborn's umbilical cord with her teeth after she went into labor. She later called 911 upon seeing that her baby had turned blue.

    Hassell is now in jail, on suicide watch. Thankfully, the infant is hanging on, albeit in critical condition at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

    What on earth are we, let alone law enforcement, to make of this? Perhaps that what happened here is as tragic as it is horrific.

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    I spent much of my life looking about five steps ahead of me, always planning my next move without ever actually experiencing or enjoying what was happening right at that specific moment.

    Perhaps it's because I'm getting older (and my kids are getting older), but I've decided that focusing on today is not just the healthier choice, but also the happier one too.

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    I'm not quite sure when I decided my own instincts weren't good enough to protect me. I suppose when you grow up in a household where you need to control your emotions, you learn to do just that so you can survive another day.

    Now as an adult, I struggle with knowing whether those twinges, those gut feelings (sometimes literally), are to be acknowledged and listened to, or quashed and excused as defenses.

    Well, here's how I finally figured out my instincts are always right.

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    I tend to have expectations that are much too high for other people (and, heck, even for myself), and all they ever lead to is a whole lot of disappointment.

    But the truth is, just telling myself to lower my expectations doesn't work either, because let's face it: if you expect something, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

    So lately, I've been trying a new approach introduced to me by my therapist that I think is pretty darn smart. Maybe it will work for you too.

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    When I tell people that I hadn't talked to my dad for a year or so before he died, I cannot tell you the number of times I get all sorts of looks of horror as if I've committed some awful crime.

    I realize that some people feel as though family members should get a lot of extra chances, even if they've hurt you deeply. In fact, I was one of those people.

    But now I say "screw that." These days, I'm all about protecting my heart. If only I had done that sooner.

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    If you remember (get it?) the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, it centers around a man who wants to erase his memories of his painful relationship so he can get over his broken heart and move on with his life. Not a bad idea. There are definitely days I wouldn't mind having a spotless mind -- I think there are things we'd all like to erase from the brain's playlist. But that's just a movie. It will never happen. Orrrrrr ... will it? Reportedly, it could happen sooner than we think. Those crafty scientists are working on a way to erase traumatic memories ... and they think they've got it figured out.

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    I'm not sure about you, but Pinterest overwhelms me. Between that and design blogs (which I really love, by the way), I end up feeling like a slacker on a regular basis.

    As much as I try to look away, it's nearly impossible when you work on the Internet and actually need to visit these sites as part of your job.

    I'm finding that there's a fine line between admiring what I'm seeing and feeling some sort of obligation to try everything. And then the guilt starts to seep in.

    Well, you what? No more.

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    As much as I consider myself to be a good communicator most of the time, I am a total victim of the crystal ball mentality. I'm pretty sure I just made that up, but I bet you're familiar with it.

    It's when you assume people will know what you want and need without you actually saying it.

    As you might guess, this not only puts the other person in an awkward position, it can lead to a whole lot of disappointment. So I'm working hard, maybe even starting on my New Year's resolutions early, and ditching this way of thinking once and for all.

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