Archive for category Background & Planning
Ok I love these things as well as my MapMyRuns Weekly Digests!
The other day I sat down and wrote up the work I had done in the last 3 of the final 4 chapters of the workbook and how it relates to my current life. I felt afterwards, I shouldn’t have done that, that no one is listening, and if they are, they’re just thinking, “shut up and get over it.” Then I read this today:
Tim O’Brien, Vietnam veteran, and author of The Things They Carried, once wrote: “Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”
I believe stories can change the world. I always have and I always will. As a child, reading and writing saved my life. It’s why I became an English teacher. It’s why I wrote Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD. I believe stories have the power to help us face our truths, to make us better understand each other, and to teach us the morality by which to live.
Stories can make the unseen seen. They can make the intangible tangible, the general specific. They can strike a chord in people and make them change—make them take action, and even help them heal—the way nothing else ever could.
Though I can hope day in and day out that my blog and sharing my experience with SuperBetter is helping others getting better from trauma, I know I am really doing it for myself. And I have strongly encouraged others to start their own blogs because it has been by far the most therapeutic thing I’ve done. It helps me keep track of my progress and makes me seriously check in with myself on how I am feeling in the present moment. Every time I get discouraged I remind myself of this and sit down and take the time to write.
Ok this post is really just for fun.
On the Media: SuperBetter Diaries Entry 3 – http://www.onthemedia.org/blogs/on-the-media/2011/oct/19/superbetter-diaries-entry-3-movin-along/
I liked this guy’s post about the quests his allies had given him and Jane directing him to check out Omar Little on Twitter: “Take strength! Take courage!!!! Be a warrior not a worrier!” Some of the quests his allies gave him could really brighten up your day. It makes me think I need to seriously do some of my fun quests I gave myself, like the broken babelfish cartoons.
The Hybrid Athlete: Why You Suck and Look the Same – http://www.thehybridathlete.com/why-you-suck-and-look-the-same/
Ok, I think this post can be a little extreme, but I get it and feel that way about people, life in general, and my own physical fitness and battles. I may catch myself complaining, “the course was too hilly” or “so-and-so didn’t communicate with me”, but often I just take full responsibility for what went down. “Your outlook sucks” is often a good reminder to pull me out of poor mental states. And then that brings me to the next two things I read that help explain some things about why I’ve always been able to meet my goals and be so damn driven.
Pick the Brian: 7 Habits Highly Effective People Don’t Have – http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-habits-highly-effective-people-dont-have/
At work, I probably annoy people because I am always evaluating the priorities of things and focus on completing one thing at a time according to that priority. My desk is also always completely free of clutter. I don’t even print out much. Everything is organized on my computer. I am always asking the question, “What is the worst that can happen if I do this?” and just get on with it. I’ve always been a pretty clear goal setter and luckily had training on how to do this. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who blame other people. I actually pride myself on taking responsibility for my failures. I have done it a zillion times at work and personally. Life is not about being perfect. Life is about living it. We shouldn’t be afraid to take risks and try things. That’s my take.
DISC Personality Test – http://www.123test.com/disc-personality-test/
My results explained a lot.
Influence – 32%
Sometimes their concern for people and people’s feelings may make them reluctant to disturb a favourable situation or relationship.
Dominance – 28%
Steadiness – 24%
Compliance – 16%
Free in thought, word and deed, they long for freedom and go to great lengths to achieve it.
discusonline.com talks a lot about the negative traits of my results as well, which I can identify with.
A week ago after a month of debating back and forth, I sent out an email to my friends to tell them my plan of using SuperBetter, the workbook, and therapy to get better and ask them if they’d play the game with me. Luckily, quite a few said yes, they would help me, but how? I started to think of things I needed help with and who I could see helping me with what. These are the missions I came up with so far.
Allies Mission Ideas
Mission #1: Encouragement and Remind me to Power Up – Weekly check in
I have one friend in particular who always inspires me whenever he talks about his day-to-day stuff. One of my most favorite Power-Ups is to learn something new. Undoubtedly I almost always learn something new around him.
Mission #2: Work on Social Anxiety and Isolation – Discuss when I anticipate and worry rather than do – Weekly check in
I have a group of friends who I often feel isolated from. I think it’s because of some of my behavior. I’ve heard they often think I don’t really sync with them or I don’t have the same sense of humor as them. I find that kind of funny, but I get it. And despite that, I really like this group of people and want to continue growing stronger relationships with them. The person from this group who I am thinking about for this mission is actually one of my heroes. She is an amazing person who has accomplished so much, is hardworking, goal oriented, adventurous, fun, introspective, kind, caring, hilarious, and inspiring. All the things that come natural for her, don’t come natural for me. I could learn a lot from this person.
Mission #3: Help Fix My Broken Babel fish – Every other week
This mission got turned down already! But, I think it would still be fun.
I have what I like to call a broken Babel fish. I hear people say something and think they mean something else, which is usually something negative. I almost see drawings being involved here with what was said, what was heard, what they really meant. Then I’d figure out why I thought they meant something negative and stop doing that. This is something we could do once a week or every other week.
Mission #4: Work on Avoidance
I have one friend who asks me how things are going at work, with music, and with other stuff on a regular basis. I don’t know how he can help me work on this yet though. Maybe help me set small goals and check-ins to get me to be able to work on music and go to the dentist.
Mission #5: Stop Negative Self-Talk
I have two friends who are already great at calling me out on this. When I first started dating my boyfriend, he actually made me say two positive things about myself every time I said something negative. I hated doing that so much, that surely the negative put-downs came to a halt.
But, the sorry’s, should have’s, could have’s, forgot to’s, supposed to’s, and “I feel” statements ending with words that are not emotions just keep on coming. And once and a while a negative statement slips out. He has gotten pretty good at countering them with the following statements, which is pretty much what the Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook tells you to think of when you go to say these things.
- “Why are you saying you’re sorry? Could you have stopped X from happening?”
- “You’re not supposed to do anything. You can do whatever you want.”
- “Are you responsible for that?” Or “Do you have any power over that?”
Mission #6: Self-Advocacy – Every two weeks check in
I have one friend who already is pretty attentive to when I don’t ask for something or take something I want. We could check in and tally up my battles for when I was my own self-advocate and where I may have lost, and learn from there. I hope over time I learn to be my own self-advocate.
Mission #7: Goal Check Ins – Every two weeks check in
I have one friend, like me, who is really big on goals. On one hike we talked a lot about goals and I really liked learning about her goals as well. I think she would be a great person to check in with and keep each other motivated on our goals.
Here’s my Quest ideas so far for the game SuperBetter to help work on some of the problems I identified in my previous post. Next I will write about my Allies Mission ideas.
Track Negative Self-Talk – Daily
Track your negative self-talk on a daily basis using a Negative Self-Talk Tracking Form. I created an online form using Adobe Forms to make it easier to track to see my results over time. The form tracks how often and what times and days you say phrases of concern such as:
- “should…” “should have…” “I could have…”
- Self-Put-Downs of your entire personality or character (e.g. I’m stupid, I’m retarded, I’m such a fuck up, etc.)
- “I feel…” statements ending with words that are not emotions (e.g. “I feel obligated…” “I feel overwhelmed…” “I feel sorry for…”
- And my greatest offender, “I’m sorry” (Apologies for no reason)
Avoidance: Track when I won’t ask questions to avoid conflict
After one therapy session, I got the assignment to identify when I’m ok with communicating and when I’m not and what the correlation is to conflict. In what I did test this out on, almost everything was because I was afraid of conflict and I was afraid of being judged.
This one I would like to most certainly use SuperBetter’s Battles to work on it. I’m not good at doing this one yet in my day to day. So maybe something like reflecting on situations afterwards will help me start being more aware.
Avoidance: Work on doing things or going places that I associate with my abuser
There are some places and things I would love to do that I just clam up about when I’m even just thinking about it. Some are going to certain restaurants, eating eggs, potatoes and spaghetti, working on music, drawing and working on creative projects, and going to the dentist.
I will eat eggs, potatoes, and spaghetti, but I feel completely nauseated when I do.
Last week I went to a bar and restaurant because I wanted to spend time with my friends. But, I felt really uneasy about going there. I dug deeper to figure out why and remembered both times that I went to that place resulted in some pretty bad nights when I went home. The first time I went there resulted in such a violent fight that I was covered in bruises for two weeks. That night was also significant because I almost got out of there and I think I would have gotten help then like the night that I did finally leave. But, I went back. I didn’t want to tell my friends I felt uneasy about the place and why, and I decided I was strong enough to disassociate the place with my ex. It is an irrational fear. I can go there as long as he is not there to hurt me.
I hope I can continue to break through these things and be able to do them again in the future. Some might take more work than others.
Self-Advocacy: Treat myself like I treat others and how I want to be treated
One thing I discussed in therapy is how I have no problem at work identifying if something is a waste of time, money or resources. But, when it comes to something I want or need, I spend an endless amount of time anticipating judgment or worrying about it rather than just asking and reacting. If I treat things I want the same way I treat a problem at work, I will ask for what I want and spend a whole lot less time, money, and energy on it. I also find it takes a whole lot less time to react to someone than anticipating what will happen if I ask for something. I don’t think this exact way of thinking will work for everyone, but it helps me act in my best interest better.
When I started therapy last year I set the following goals:
- To have closure
- To build confidence
- Not to repeat the same mistakes
- To change my relationships by having good communication and strong friendships
I had no idea what I was dealing with. Through therapy I found I was:
- Doing a lot of anticipating for fear of being judged
- Doing a lot of negative self talk
- Saying a lot of “Supposed to’s”
- Having a lot of nightmares
- Having a lot of irrational anxiety for unknown reasons
- Doing a lot of avoiding of conflict by not asking questions
- Not being my self-advocate by not asking for things I want or need or putting my foot down for myself
I chose the workbook Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women because the chapters spoke exactly to the things I wanted to work on. It covers:
- Strategies for Letting Go
- How to Stop Negative Self Talk in the chapters “Feel Better by Changing the Way You Talk to Yourself” and “the Power of Nonnegative Thinking”
- How to manage stress by controlling Muscle Tension
- How to get rid of your guilt
- How to get rid of “Supposed to” beliefs
- How to be assertive
- How to overcome fear
- How to identify potential perpetrators
I’m not that far through it, but I already see it gives you some great tools to help you get better, such as a Negative Self-Talk Tracking Form. But, it can be hard to get through it. It is also difficult to deal with PTSD because I often feel very isolated. And I think I know that some of the reasons why I am isolated is because of the behavior I have adapted over the years from being abused.
Now that brings me to SuperBetter!
With SuperBetter you can:
- Identify your goals
- It is probably better for these to be broken down into smaller missions that you can accomplish in a day or week
- Identify your “Bad Guys”
- These are the things I listed above like anticipating or saying a lot of “Supposed to’s”
- Identify your “Power Ups”, the things that make you feel better
- Power Ups can be anything as small as “look at pictures of kittens” to “go for a walk at a park” to as a big as “going to some place new and foreign”, whatever makes you happy and feel empowered or excited about life
- Invite Allies, your close friends and family members, to join you in the game and assign them a mission
- Your Allies can also assign you missions
I already see some immediate benefits here to playing the game.
- It can make getting better fun
- It helps break down isolation
- You are more likely to put the effort in to meet your goals
- You can check in daily or weekly and see immediate results
Here is a story of a person with Crohn’s disease who played a game similar to SuperBetter for more information on how it works: