Thursday, June 10, 2010

My To-Do and Not-To-Do Lists After A Painful Break Up/Divorce - Part IV

Go to Part I
Part II
Part III

This Part IV of my article is research based and supported by some trusted mental health organizations. Therefore if you realized that you fit into some of the descriptions below, it is time that you need to reach out for help.

Dealing with grief and lost in life can sometimes be paralyzing. However, sadness will begin to lift after awhile. As time goes by, you started to slowly move on. Nevertheless, if you do not feel any forward momentum, you need to start looking for symptoms of whether you are suffering from depression. When you started to feel unrelenting, overwhelming, feeling like “living in a black hole”, numb, lifeless and empty, this is time when you are at risk of suffering from depression.

Please do not think that I am making a big deal out of it. Feeling down and sad from time to time is normal in life as we do experience setbacks, struggles and disappointments. We all experienced ups and downs in our mood. However, when emptiness and despair is persistently exist and won’t go away, it maybe depression.

Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

• you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
• you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
• you feel hopeless and helpless
• you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
• you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
• you are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
• you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

Common signs and symptoms of depression

• Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

• Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.

• Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.

• Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).

• Irritability or restlessness. Feeling agitated, restless, or on edge. Your tolerance level is low; everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

• Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.

• Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.

• Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.

• Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

(Source: Understanding depression) To learn more about depression, please click on the link provided.

-- to be continued

Monday, June 7, 2010

Laugh of The Day - Marriage Counseling

I got this forwarded joke and I think it is interesting to share here. I hope you enjoy and have a good laugh ;)

Eileen and her husband John went for counseling after 25 years of marriage. When asked what the problem was, Eileen went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 25 years they had been married. She went on and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of unmet needs she had endured over the course of their marriage.

Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and after asking Eileen to stand, embraced her, unbuttoned her blouse and bra, put his hands on her breasts and massaged them thoroughly, while kissing her passionately as her husband John watched with a raised eyebrow! Eileen shut up, buttoned up her blouse, and quietly sat down while basking in the glow of being highly aroused.

The therapist turned to John and said, '"This is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do this?" John thought for a moment and replied, 'Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I play golf."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My To-Do and Not-To-Do Lists After A Painful Break Up/Divorce - Part III

Go to Part I

Go to Part II

4. Feeling Good Exercises

There are a lot of things that we can do to make ourselves feel better. Feeling hopeless, joyless, sad, angry, fear, sorrow; are all normal feelings but it does not mean we should deeply sink into these feelings and can never bounce back up. Allow yourself to feel these unpleasant feelings but you also have to know when to "take a break" and stop sink even deeper into these feelings. When you think that the feelings are too much for you to bear, it is time that you need to do something else. You can allow yourself to have alone time but DO NOT ISOLATE yourself. Finding balance is always important in life. You do not want to take anything to the extreme.

Some people like to lock themselves away and do not want to see or talk to anybody. On the other hand, some may become the social butterflies (hang out with friends all the time) and have no time to deal with their emotions. Neither end is good and healthy but finding the balance between the two definitely is beneficial.

As I mentioned earlier, you want to have the time to take care of your emotions but also have time to be around people, talking over coffee and have fun. Be careful when you share your story with your friends because they might end up giving you some "advices" that may be counterproductive. I am not saying they are trying to harm you but they give their advices or words based on their own believes or personal experiences in life, which might do no good to you. (That is the reason why I say write it out instead of sharing with a random people). Better still, find professional help -- a competent and well-trained therapist. A lot of Asian probably won't buy this one. Well, don't judge until you give it a chance.

Feeling good exercises could be anything that you like to do. Again, make sure those activities are healthy and do no harm to you. Going to gym, yoga, jogging, singing, shopping (guys like to shop too, they just shop for different things), travelling, watching movies, hang out with friends are some of the things that I can think of right now. You can be more creative than me, I am sure. Once again, you do not want to do any of these to an extreme. (e.g. overdo in gym that cause injury, shopping till you broke, keep watching movies till you are not able to do what you need to do - affect your work, school and daily functioning.)

I like to sing and I do this with turning on the music loud and sang out loud with it in my room. See, be creative :P You do not need to get a group of friends to go to Karaoke to be able to do this because sometimes friends are busy with their own lives. Of course when you can get hold on them, good for you. You can tailor your own ways to help yourself feel better, as long as you know those things will not harm you in anyway in the long run.

You can also treat yourself. Watch your own budget and do what you can: go shopping, take a short vacation etc. It also can be as simple as get a haircut, take a bubble bath, eat your favourite food (don't take too much junk food tho), go to the beach (or any of your favourite place), involve more in your hobby and so on.

I like to redecorate my room like move around some of the furniture or add something on the wall. You can even change the smell of your room and change the perfume you use. If you allow yourself to make things better and to feel better, please do something different. Perhaps you will want to take down the pictures on the wall or put the photoframe away, and put all other things that bring back memories to a corner or in a box. I say do these because you do not need to let these things to constantly remind yourself of the happy time you have with him/her and make yourself even have harder time to let go. I am not saying you should do this so that you can "forget" your past. How can you try to "forget" something that had happened? In fact, later on I am going to write about how you should remember your love in different ways. The "remembering love" step comes later but in the earlier stage, you really want to avoid doing things that constantly bring back memories that prevent you from letting go.

-- to be continued

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My To-Do and Not-To-Do Lists After A Painful Break Up/Divorce - Part II

Go to Part I

Go to Part III

3. It is all about YOU now.

Now it is really the time to think about yourself, not him/her. As I mentioned in the previous post, do not contact your ex partner. The reason is not only to set him/her free, but it is really also to set yourself free. You need to free yourself and find the ability to love again. And this time, you want to love the right one. To be able to do so, there are a few steps that we need to do. First and foremost, we need to take care of ourselves in this critical period of time. It is not easy and I think I know how hard and hurt it feels.

You may keep using your time to analyse your former partner:

Is he/she still love me?
Has he/she ever love me?
Does he/she loves me more or the third party? (if there's a third party)
What can I do to make him/her loves me again?
Is there a second chance? Can I turn back the clock?
I wish this is just a dream, a nightmare that never happen in real life...

You may also blame your partner or self blame:

How could he/she treat me like this? I love him/her so much...
I wish I never did this, it's all my fault. I deserved to treated like this. I am such a loser...
I am such an idiot, how could I fall in love with this J*rk/B*tch! And yet I still cannot let go/feeling sad for him/her while he/she does not even care!

These thoughts are all normal. Imagine you reconcile with your former partner with these feelings: guilty, anger, sadness, hurtful, insecure, resentment, jealousy... How good do you think it is going to contribute to the "friendship" between the two of you? Thus, it is really time for you to pull the focus back on yourself. It is really time to LOVE yourself more.

In the process of starting over, there are times we feel ok and good, and there are times we feel miserably lost. Again, it is completely normal when we feel that we want to go back to be together with our ex partner so badly, to the extent that you feel it is impossible to feel happy and joy again in your life without him/her. Even though there might be chance for reconcilement, it is definitely not now. At this time, you need time and space and certain essential steps to heal your broken heart. Sadly, we never taught how to do it in school. Therefore so many people struggling so hard and they either deny the feelings, never trust love again and fool around, or they lost their ability to open their hearts to love again.

How to redirect your attention from focusing on him/her back to yourself? I wrote a "sample of feeling letter" on January 2010 under the title "Single vs. Couple". Writing the letter to your former partner or to an angel (or your own spiritual believe) is definitely one good way to release all the negative feelings. One thing that I want to emphasize here, the purpose of writing the letter is to help you find the forgiveness. People said time is the best medicine in healing the pain. However, Time itself cannot fully heal the pain and make your heart healthy and be able to love again.

When I said write the letter to your former partner, please, please, please, DO NOT SEND the letter to him/her. You may think, "Why not? I want to let him/her know my true feelings and this is a good way of 'communication'." Starting over is different from when you have a fight with your current partner. The word starting over means, you really have lost your partner and love. Therefore sending the letter to him/her seems like, you still have the intention to patch back. I do not see the benefit of sending the feelings letter to your ex partner. In addition, the intention of writing the letter is to help ourselves to find forgiveness and let go, not to make our ex partners feelling guilty or upset, or come back to you. When you still holding on to the hope that you and your ex partner has chance to get back together, you are losing the chance to feel the emotion of fear and fully let go.

--to be continued
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