I've decided to create my own meme. Here's how it works - you put down 10 things you really dislike, followed by 20 you really like.
The concept is to get some frustrations off your chest, and then to get positive again...
so here goes.
Ten things I can't stand: 1. Contractions that aren't getting me anywhere. 2. The fact that my pelvic bones aren't sitting right. 3. The fact that the hamster cage smells. 4. Having to walk the dog when I'm exhausted and it's hard for me to walk. 5. Computer viruses, even if they're in someone else's computer. 6. Handkerchiefs because they seem totally gross to me. 7. Clothes that need to be ironed or hand washed. 8. Having to wear long or longish sleeves & hats in the summer (for religious reasons). 9. That I can't wear my rings anymore because my fingers are too swollen. 10. Being sick.
Twenty Things I LOVE: 1. That my husband made all of our food for Shabbat. 2. Having 2 dishwashers. 3. That I don't have to deal with the dating scene anymore. 4. Having a great, supportive family. 5. That my husband has a good sense of humor. 6. Skydiving 7. Swimming (& just floating in the water) 8. Cream puffs 9. The internet 10. CSI 11. Petting my dog 12. River rafting 13. Air conditioning 14. Macaroni and cheese, especially after spending the day at the pool (don't ask me why, it just seems like the perfect end to a perfect day.) 15. Holding a baby while they're falling asleep. 16. Watching a baby take their first steps. 17. The smell of a freshly bathed baby. (are we sensing a theme?) 18. Ultimate Mocha ice blend with whipped cream (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) 19. Buffy the Vampire Slayer 20. SUSHI!!!!!
For the first time this week, Yaakov came home on time. You'd think I'd be thrilled. I'm not. Why? Because he came home, said hi, took a 30-minute run on his treadmill, took a quick shower, and has been sitting at the dining room table working ever since.
I ain't quite feelin' groovy yet, but overally, I'm feeling much less negative. This did not come about because I "thought positive." This came about mainly because 1. I got some medical help for some issues, including allergy medication to help with the previously incessant coughing. 2. I've been out of the house a whole bunch since my parents got back. 3. I haven't been spending so much time alone.
I was slightly annoyed at Kefirot's post on depression, but he clarified in his comments that he recognizes that gratitude is only part of the story. I find it very frustrating when people expect me to "pick myself up by my own bootstraps" from depression. If I could do that with any success, I would have already done it. I have a whole bunch of things that I do to get myself out of bad moods, even really depressed ones. For example, I will often watch television to distract myself from my thoughts. I try to see other people or at least talk to other people on the phone, because they will get my thoughts to go elsewhere. If those things fail, usually a good sleep will shake off some of the mood.
For the past two weeks, none of the above were helping at all. "Fake it 'til you make it" was also not getting me anywhere, because it's hard to fake not having crying fits...
Anyway, there was a point to this. If you know someone who is suffering from depression, there are things you can do: 1. Encourage them to get medical help. If you can take them to the appointment or make the appointment for them, that's very helpful - they may not be able to take those steps themselves.
2. Provide a listening ear. Let them get out the issues without being judgmental - things like "that's rough" or "I'm sure that hurts" or "I once went through something similar. It's really tough" help much more than "well, look on the bright side," because someone who is depressed is consumed by their problem. Don't belittle it. It will just make them angry.
3. After you've listened through everything once, change the subject. They need to feel heard, but obsessing is useless.
4. A good meal - when a person is depressed, they will often either eat junk or not eat enough. A good square meal can really help.
5. Protect yourself - If you're being drawn into the depression, don't let it happen. If the person shouldn't be left alone, turn on the TV or watch a movie - they can't talk to you and draw you in, but they're not alone either.
6. Protect yourself and your friend- If you think there's a real suicide risk, get the person committed to a psych ward. It's not your job to be on suicide watch. Don't take responsibility for more than you should!
I'm not a therapist, so this isn't professional advice - but people who have helped me a lot have generally used these things...
Everyone keeps telling me to be positive. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a pessimist by nature, but honestly, I'm just having a little difficulty overcoming that at this point...
Pollyanna is a nice fairy tale. I don't think I'd ever be able to "just be glad" that I got a pair of crutches instead of a doll, for example, even if it does give me the opportunity to be happy that I don't need crutches. (Yes, that's an example from the book... I don't think I ever saw the Disney Movie.)
Anyway, so, I'm not exactly a natural Pollyanna... More than that, I'm in the midst of a hormone storm. Add the fact that my pelvic bones seem to be adrift, causing seriously bad pain whenever I walk, change sitting position, or turn over in bed, and the mood is just not so good.
So last night, I had contractions all night - starting at 11pm. The problem was that they were not consistent - I had three in a row 3 minutes apart, then one 7 minutes later, another one 5 minutes later, and well, you get the point... so they're not getting longer, stronger, and closer together (which they're supposed to do) so I'm sitting here pondering what to do. Husband came home at midnight, exhausted out of his gourd, and knowing he had to go grocery shopping at 7:45 (b/c that's when he could get a ride) and that he had to go to work today.
So I was on my own. He had to sleep. So I got busy - I packed a bag for Poofy, (the dog's gotta eat, right?) I finished packing my bag. (I added a robe, some socks, stuff like that. Most of the stuff was already there.) I took a nice hot shower. And then the contractions had kind of eased up. So I tried to go to sleep. I managed to sleep, but I had horrible dreams about the baby having a shark in there with it, about going into labor and not being able to find the ward and having to climb up a wet slide to get to the nurse, about Yaakov not being there with me... just bad dreams that make me fairly certain I was having a lot of pain but was managing to sleep through it.
In the morning, I went to the women's clinic here in town, and they put me on a monitor. The contractions were way lighter at this point, and the doctor didn't even bother to look at me. He just told me that nothing was happening, and that's life. I was crying. I just felt like "I worked soooo hard all night, and you're telling me I accomplished NOTHING?!"
I know it's irrational. But it's how I feel.
Anyway, my parents are back! I thought I'd go to their house and they'd cheer me up. Instead, I got a lecture on being positive. Strangely, this lecture led me to cry much more...
It's really awful when you're doing your best and feeling miserable and basically you're told that you're doing a crappy job because you're letting a whole boatload of frustrations and annoyances get you down.
This is not the first time people have told me to be positive...I'm thinking that next time someone tells me to be positive, though, I will positively punch them in the stomach and ask them how positive it makes them feel!
A week or two ago, Yaakov was asked to perform and give a speech at City Hall in Jerusalem. Those of you who know Yaakov well know that public speaking in Hebrew is not something that comes naturally or easily for him.
Actually it's the Hebrew that doesn't come naturally or easily for him. When he was a kid, he studied acting, and even did some acting, and he has natural performance ability - something I completely lack.
At any rate, he's happy to juggle for anyone and everyone, but the speech was another story... so I offered to come and give the speech for him.
So my mother caught me on a chat (from China... they're still there) and I tell my mother this - about how I will be speaking in front of Mayor Lupolianski (or however you spell it)... We go on to talk about other things, including the fact that I keep having contractions, apparently still Braxton-Hicks (or Mason-Dixon, according to a friend who teaches Poli Sci) and that I have an appointment with the doctor to find out how things are going on Thursday.
So this morning, I wake up to see an email wishing me good luck for today, to which I automatically respond "my doctor's appointment isn't until Thursday, but thanks."
The article called "Jet Set Kids" talks about a new trend - many wealthy parents send their kids to camp by plane, often on private jets which serve special kid-friendly food, show kid-friendly movies, and sometimes even have in-air manicure service.
In general, I'm slightly put off by conspicuous consumption. However, when I really think about it, I try to be realistic. If I had oodles and oodles of cash pouring out of my ears, I would probably have my own indoor swimming pool, a maid, and lots of other nice things. I don't begrudge anyone who has more than me what they have. Really. (Which is not to say that I'd mind if they decided to share the wealth.)
But some things irk me. Especially when it comes to over-indulging children.
Children are fairly adaptable, and they develop expectations very early. These expectations carry through to adulthood.
I'm not big into camping. I never enjoyed it as a kid. This is probably because my dad used camping as an alternative to a motel when we were moving. I associate camping with long days, uncomfortable dirty bathrooms, going to bed early, waking up at the crack of dawn, packing the car, and moving on. Probably doesn't help much that we generally ate canned sardines while camping and my mom wasn't much of a camping fan.
Last year, when we went to the Israeli juggling festival, there was another family there who had brought five of their six kids. The kids love camping. They camp at these great festivals, they spend a lot of time with their parents and friends on camping trips. For them, camping is a no-stress time.
Hanging out with them was a big help for me. Especially because they'd thought to bring cooking supplies and food. Forgive me my obsession with all things edible, but there is only so long that one can live on gefilte fish and matza, especially when there isn't even any horseradish. Anyway, after a batch of matza brei and grilled veggies (they're vegetarians), my whole view of camping was radically improved. Add in the early morning swim in a natural stream with my husband, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
When we camped in Ireland, I was a lot more positive about the experience as a whole. We still didn't quite manage to get the food right, but we did a lot better, the shower experience was less than perfect, but Yaakov and I had a lot of one-on-one time, there were fun things to do every day, and we had a really nice time. (also helped that we brought an air mattress. When I sleep well, everything's much better).
So... back to the point... When you're a kid, what you're exposed to is what you learn to expect. If your parents think you're too good to ride the camp bus, then how will you manage if you need to ride a bus? Not to mention the loss of the experience.
I personally only went to sleepaway camp once, and it was in Israel (so yes, I did take a plane to camp.) The flight was a terrible experience. I was accidentally placed in a totally different section of the plane than the rest of the group, and the guy sitting next to me decided to tell me his whole life story, including showing me the scars from a suicide attempt... but that's another story... the point is that if the camp arranges a bus full of campers going up to camp, it's a great experience.
When I was at camp, we did loads of touring, and we spent some great times on the bus. Our tour guide was so much fun that we waited expectantly for the days he was on our bus (there were three busses and we only had a guide some of the days). We played games on the bus, talked, got to know each other, and just generally had a nice time. The camp made sure that we had a stop every 2 hours or so, even if it was just a bathroom break. Some of my best times that summer were on the bus.
Why would a parent want to spend lots of money to take away a great experience? Do these parents expect to be able to ALWAYS pay for their children to take the plane instead of the bus? I confess that I did kinda put my foot down about going round-trip Philadelphia-Toronto by bus, but I was 3 months pregnant at the time...and we certainly didn't take a private jet. I also insisted on taking the train rather than the bus for the JFK to Philadelphia trip.
I guess what I want to know is what will these kids do when they encounter the real world, which does include three-hour bus rides, and doesn't always include great in-flight entertainment. Will these kids realize that you can pack a book and a walkman (sorry, an Ipod) and manage even on a squishy, unpleasant bus ride?
I once had a girl tell me that it was "humiliating" to ride on a bus. Not uncomfortable, not unpleasant, but humiliating. I was in absolute shock, especially as someone who has easily taken hundreds of hours of bus rides, if not thousands... I understand people who think that busses are unpleasant, especially if you have to switch buses or sit next to people with less than ideal hygeine... I certainly thought it was unpleasant when I had to take a 7am bus to get to a 10am class b/c there wasn't a later bus...
Anyway, there was a point to all this... oh yes, my point is that it isn't the conspicuous consumption that bugs me about this new trend. It's the message it sends and the precedent it sets for these children.
I don't blog about Poofy very often, but last night, he was so sweet that he merits an entry on my blog... For those who are curious, he also has his own blog called Give a Dog a Blog.
Anyway, lately, I've been sleeping on our (new) couch a lot, because it has a layer of down which makes it softer than the bed. It also has a back to lean against.
Apparently, last night Poofy was unhappy with this arrangement. As soon as I settled down on the couch, he came over to me and stood next to me in an impatient stance. After a few minutes, I got up. He walked back towards the bedroom, stopping to make sure I was following him. As soon as I got into the bed, he curled up next to me. I think he really wanted me to sleep in the bedroom with Yaakov.
It was amazing watching how clearly he communicated when he can't SAY anything.
Oh... by popular demand, here's a current picture so y'all can see how big I'm getting.