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Therapy Monday! Like riding a bike, right? You just get back on and go even if you haven’t ridden in 20 years and your legs hurt just looking at it?
So, big news. No, that builds it up too much. Let’s just call it kind of news.
I did it! I had the hardest conversation I’ve ever had with my doctor. And I know you’re thinking, this conversation shouldn’t be that hard. Unless you’ve been in my situation, in which case you know what I’m talking about.I went in for a physical last Friday and fessed up. This anxiety thing is too much. It’s impeding my ability to enjoy pretty much anything I’m supposed to be enjoying and that sucks. It’s starting to fill my head with images that could play out on the national news and that sucks. It’s to the point that I’m actually anxious about being anxious and THAT SUCKS.
When I put it this way, asking for help sounds very reasonable. But there’s nothing to be anxious about…yet. <—-see, right there?! That’s the shit this bitch will do to you!
Anyway, what? Right. The conversation – there’s nothing to be anxious about. So, when I started the conversation with my doctor, I essentially said, “Hi. Yes, that’s great my blood pressure is athlete low. Oh, my cough is clearing up. Excellent, excellent. sooo…I’m having trouble coping…with..life.”
Which sounds completely ridiculous and the minute it was out, I wanted to take it back. Be all, just kid-ding! Of course I can manage the daily dealings of life. HAHA, Christmas? No problem, who freaks out about Christmas, RIGHT? Hahahahaohmygodhelpmepleasexmas the crowds, ohhhh, the crowds
But the truth was (x-files) out there. My doctor was adorably caring and concerned. He asked me about symptoms and I’ll list them here so you can know. My main physical manifestation is in my stomach. As in, it feels like a million rapid dogs ripping their way out. I also get bad headaches and, occasionally, a racing heart. Emotional manifestations include anger and more anger and being irritated at flies. Flies are everywhere, I don’t understand that at all. Where do they come from and why do they suddenly get in my face? Psychological manifestations (these are the worst) include being sure something insanely horrible is going to happen and then picture the insanely horrible thing that for no reason feels completely real. Even though it isn’t.
Again, when I write it out like that, the problem sounds very dramatic and urgent.
But then I have to add – that’s my reactions…to…life. And I feel stupid.
My doctor clarified the largest freak outs by explaining that when a person is under stress (read: life) and more stress is added on top of that (read: effing mall at christmas), person’s brain has a chemical meltdown. He didn’t say meltdown because he’s professional but you get the drift. The result is an anxiety attack. Finally,he gave me a questionnaire from a big stack of questionnaires – isn’t it nice to know you aren’t the only one? That like, an entire stack of people need help.
I answered as honestly as I could and he very patiently discussed options with me.
Doctor: You know yourself and this is your body.
Me: So what should I do????
Doctor: I can only give you the information to make a decision. I can’t make the decision for you.
Me: This is making me really anxious. Do these options come in direct injections? Also, I’ll need a monkey to inject me because I don’t like needles. They make me very nervous. God, this is, just…hard. Are injection monkeys covered by insurance?
In the end, I decided to go with lorazepam to treat the occasions of overwhelming anxiety. I chose this over daily medication for several reasons. Mainly, I take measures that I find effective to control the daily stuff in my own way, ways like exercise and water and other tricks (I’ll elaborate in comments if you want me to). I assured the doctor that, since lorazepam is addictive, if I find myself needing it more than every couple weeks or so I would call him.
I will if I need to. The great thing about hard conversations is that once you have them, it’s easier to have the next one.
What conversation have you had with your doctor or someone else that was incredibly hard but that you were happy you had it? If you haven’t had that conversation, what do you think is holding you back? Also, feel free to list your current medications. Or if you have questions about lorezepam, I’ll try to answer them from a patient point of view. OR leave stories of the time when lorezepam was used so you could spend less money at the bar and still get really really drunk. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
I feel like I should be cheery about that. Even though New Year’s means nothing to me. I’m still weirdly stuck on academic time and thinking, blah here comes the spring semester.
But I know to many of you, the new year is a time for reflection and optimism and resolutions.
Resolutions are bullshit.
Or are they?
I go back and forth on this. On the one hand, the bad hand, the hand that is always balled in a fist – I think resolutions come from a straight lame place of self loathing. It’s taking stock of how much you suck and all the work it’s going to take to fix that giant ball of suck. Oh, I know, we all try to put a happy spin on it, calling it a resolution and acting like the world gets a shiny new coat of paint every January 1st and if the world can do it by god so can I said the little blue engine that could.
But, the problem is, when that little blue engine’s motivation is to change the terrible thing that is his/her/its fat boiler because that boiler is disgusting then the resolve wears off quickly.
Because self loathing, like fear, is a worthless motivator. Eventually, the self loathing gets the best of you, or the worst, I guess. Anyway, it means dropping out of the gym, letting your schedule get overwrought and yelling Thomas the Tank Engine based obscenities at your kids.
Which you hate, you hate that you do this. Ergo you hate you. ERGO nothing can be done because it’s all a pile of hate. Scrapped bitches. Onto 2012 AM I RIGHT?
Of course I am.
Or maybe not.
Because on the hand that I leave open and reaching, I think maybe resolutions aren’t about self loathing but about the promise of a goal. I like goals. Goals are things you score in soccer. Soccer is about winning and wearing uniforms.
So I think, maybe if the resolution comes from a place of cheering fans and David Beckham, you might be onto something. So how to get from scrapped tank engines to winners?
First, ditch the self loathing. Make your New Years Resolutions about a measured goal. Not about how much weight to lose but how many minutes you can do on the treadmill.
Only don’t get on a treadmill, get on the track. It’s better. Or the street.
Anyway, those minutes are about you doing something, not you hating yourself.
With that in mind, I give you my New Years Resolutions.
1. Tickle the boys, every day. Tickling is an easy thing to do and children laugh when you do it. Win/win.
2. Text my sister and mom every once in a while. Phone calls are for 2002.
3. Stop trying to download illegal Japanese erotica. It’s killed the computer – sorry Danny. Still I’m sure it was you trying to marry Mac and Abobe that really did it in. My stuff was just the scantily clad nail in the coffin.
What about you, you Super Awesome Crew, what are your resolutions? Or do you skip them all together?
Oh did you say that you didn’t want the final set of fancy horse entries? Instead you want a depressing post? Well, it’s your lucky day!!
Background: I had a terrible senior year of highschool. Minus the part where they crowned me Queen of Homecoming/Prettiest/Awesomest Girl in School. But even that was a little annoying. Mainly because my asshole date was not at all into it and because I was Student Body President (shut up) so I had to organize the Homecoming Parade/Half Time Show while also riding in it. Not that I’m complaining. The crown, sash and tiara more than made up for my trouble. I love sashes so much. Except on toddler beauty queens. Sashes on toddler beauty queens are wrong.
Ok, sorry, anyway my senior year really sucked for reasons that I’m over and won’t discuss at this time. The result was I couldn’t WAIT to get to college and leave that town behind me. Check.
The problem with running hard is that when you stop you’re with a whole new set of people, who know nothing about who you were or where you came from and they don’t really care. Let’s face it, other people’s pasts are B-O-R-I-N-G. So, when something happens those around you have no clue what you’re talking about or why it hurts.
Case in point:
cue the depressing part
My friend died. An old friend who was sick for a long time and I didn’t even know because I ran and I suck and I’m so sorry. I didn’t even know until this other friend told me and I was all, “huh wha?” but the conversation moved to0 fast. At home my mom was all, “Oh yeah I meant to tell you that. Here’s his obituary.”
Meant to tell me? WTF?
But Danny didn’t know the guy so I’m not sure he cares much when I get quiet and start thinking. That’s what blogs are for. I was going to write a long thing about my favorite memory but I realized that might be a bit much.
So, in conclusion, I miss this friend. I wish I had looked him up and at least told him how fun he was. How much I appreciated his drugs * and his friendship, not in that order.
I’m sad. I’ve been feeling more like going “home” lately. Because all the bad stuff seems so far gone and the all the good stuff and good people feel like they should be closer.
* note: I no longer do illegal stuff (well not big things, sometimes I do jaywalk). I’m a mother, peeps. So chill out. And yes, this note is mainly for my mother’s benefit.
I love things.
To be more specific, I love people and their things.
When I watch tv or read books, I’m always paying close attention to how characters interact with their stuff. I’m conscious of the stuff I hold onto and the stuff I throw away.
Objects are what ground us. Because we live in these worlds in our heads and it’s such a vast, lonely wasteland there. Even on the best of days, like the first time you kiss someone, or the first time you hold your baby – you’re still the only one who knows what it feels like. You’re alone. Except for the objects that connect you.
The babies hat. Or the ring. Or the picture.
It’s not really the object that matters but the value placed there. Often it’s a shared value. That stuffed doll you loved as a child probably holds the same value to your mother. So you hang on to it.
It’s not the objects per se but the intangible togetherness that they represent.
I can’t find a good picture (IRONIC) so please enjoy this Natalee Dee cartoon.
So, I am a defender of objects. I think possessing items is important and even therapeutic. I think the concrete proof of existence is yes, painful, but bring it on right? Because it’s not all bad, this struggleling to connect and define an abstract concept like “me, you, us, them, world, we”. I find a lot of comfort in the things that that I possess, though there is a fine line between ‘possess’ and ‘own’. The concept of ownership…well, ok, that’s for another post.
Now, look, I’m not talking hoarder shit. Hoarding is a whole other business wherein someone places the objects into value instead of the other way around. Value should always go into objects – at least the objects you keep, treasure, etc.
My point is that you are more than your thoughts, you are a consumer, a creator, a keeper of objects and reminders and stories and props. The next time you find life hard or maybe are saying goodbye to a relationship, pay attention to the objects around you. Destroy them if you want but I’ve never found that very effective. Instead, I hold them (no, I don’t always keep them, in fact, I’m not very sentimental that way with much – though yes, I do have my babies’ first hospital hats still) and I think, ‘this means something. This little item I have represents a time and proves I was there. Maybe it didn’t end well, maybe I didn’t learn everything I was supposed to but fuck, I showed up.’
I showed up and I wore this dress, or I carried this doll, or I read this book. And I know someone else showed up because they tied this scarf or gave me this card or bought me this ticket.
If you caught my Friday Flip Off post within the first five seconds of my posting it, you would have seen me passive-aggressively bitching about people not receiving my passive-aggressive message. Then I took it down because I’m paranoid.
But let’s talk about passive-aggression and why we, me, love it so much. The quick answer is, of course, it’s totally non-confrontational and easy. It’s pretty much the reason post-its were invented.
All images are from PassiveAgressiveNotes – awesome.
I do think a deeper reason is that, at our core, we are concerned for our fellow human beings. We don’t like hurting people. We don’t like them knowing that we have some kind of a problem with how they are doing things. We will cry bucket tears if we actually, say, had to tell the IT jerk that his foul odor is killing the plants. We would rather leave a note. Or drop a subtle comment on wondering what that smell is – lookdirectlyatguyhopehegetsit – no? Damn.
On the surface passive-aggression seems like a win/win. Person gets message. They are not offended, at least not by you since they don’t know it was you. or if they are offended and they know it’s you, you are already miles away and they, in theory, get over it.
Except, sadly, that’s never how it works. The main problem with p-a is that it’s straight fucking confusing. It leaves the person who was p-aed against p-od. The other problem is that if you respect someone (and you should respect people) then they deserve to not be mind-fucked. You deserve to grow some balls and not be a mind-fucker.
The other problem is that by backing out of the exchange (for not wanting to hurt feelings/being afraid of direct communication), you tend to be a LOT meaner than you would be in person. For example, hilariously telling people to die. Die! That’s vicious shit.
Not being p-a is so much easier said than done though. Trust me. I’m like the worst offender.
So how to be less p-a.
First, take a deep breath and evaluate. Know what you want to say and how you want to say it. Don’t be mean.
Second, don’t try to anticipate. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve run 50 scenarios through my head only to have none of them be right. People react in complicated ways for complicated reasons and you can’t see the future. Sucks but that’s the rules.
Third, say what you need to say privately. Don’t call the person out in public. That’s bad manners.
Fourth, do NOT negotiate. This isn’t a pissing contest and it doesn’t have to be a confrontation.
You: Hey coworker your smell is bothering me. I’m not sure if you realize how much.
Coworker: yeah well YOUR smell bothers me and I take showers I don’t know what you’re smelling.
You: Hmmm. I’ll definitely pay more attention to my hygiene! How was your weekend?
See – you don’t need to convince the coworker that he smells or that you don’t. You’ve said your piece and trust me, he heard it he’s just not processing. He probably will later after his stung feelings cool off.
Negotiating leads to fighting and fighting is why people go all passive-aggressive.
Um, not that I’ve managed to have that supposed conversation..but, like, one day?
Perhaps a note first.
You may have heard of it. 4th of July? It involves fireworks and Danny marching down the street to “yell” at assholes.
So, I checked out this book Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies. It’s about overcoming anxiety. For stupid people. Like myself, I guess. Only this piece of shit book really is a piece of shit. It’s ramped up my anxiety levels. That is not what it promised! It promised to overcome them. But instead they lay out all these scenarios that make my heart race.
Like, ok, in one little box they showed the statistics of liklihood for dying in horrible ways. The point was that you are more likely to die in a plane than by a snake bite. Yippedee fucking do for snake fearers but now I’m even more paranoid about planes. Because I have a higher chance than snakes! Snakes are everywhere! Even ON planes.
Now, not only am I still scared of flying, I’m also a wee bit terrified of snakes.
Danny, of course, thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. Mainly because Danny has no anxiety what so ever.
Wait. Scratch that.
Danny worries about strange things that have no bearing in reality. Currently, he’s very concerned that people are taking bites of his food before he gets there. I mean, he gets a sausage at a breakfast place and is all,
“Do you see that? Is that a bite?”
Me: Wtf? No, that’s not a bite! Paranoid!
Danny: It looks like a bite. Like the cook took a bite of this sausage!
Me: It’s an anomaly.
Danny: No, it’s not! Look, it’s a curve and it’s different from the other sausages.
Me: You mean, like an anomaly?
I know. Then the other day, he was convinced some rogue hungry baker had taken an early bite of his brownie.
But back to me. This book also has you ask yourself questions like, ‘how does this anxious thought affect me? What will happen if this thought comes true?’
You know what happens to me when I think about anxious thoughts coming true? I GET FUCKING ANXIOUS.
I need a new self help book. Or a free therapist. Any recommendations?
Also, I guess the mommyblog page reset. So click the juggling whore. That way mommies can find my blog and be like, ‘this is not a mommy blog. you’re a self obsessed cad. I hate you.’
Yes, it’s Tuesday. I was at a training all yesterday and it involved staring at databases for 8 hours. At the end of it I couldn’t take the look of WordPress. It was literally searing my eyes out of my face and I had to go looking for them, then pop them back in and that was a sign that I should not be blogging. Today, I feel much better!
Ok, guess what??? In today’s therapy session I will give you the answer to everything! It’s a two step process to achieving some inner peace. Here it is:
- Quit being a dickhole.
- Start being nice.
Yes, it really is that simple.
If you have been a dickhole for a long time, you might find it hard to stop. You might think to yourself, ‘that’s just my nature and everyone else can just deal with it’. Well, dickhole, too bad for you, we do not deal with it. We shove it and you away. We put your dickholocity into a little box and only stare at it when we have to. This makes it easier on us and harder on you. Because when we have to deal with you, it means that shit has really gotten bad. See we could ask for your help or your company when things are good but you tarnish good shit with your nasty ‘tude and we don’t want that. So…we wait until what we’re dealing with (like say a virus on our computer, IT jerk) is just unbearable. Then your job is harder. In the end we usually hate you even more.
Being a dickhole is physically stressful. It’s hard on your heart – according to the internet or something, I don’t know, didn’t the Today Show cover this? It’s hard on your face, with all the frowning. Basically, it makes you look and feel like shit.
On the flip side, being nice is lovely. You get friends. Having friends is lovely. You get a good heart. You get to smile. You find that breathing is easier because when you are nice to people they want to help you all the time.
It sounds manipulative but it’s not. You will find yourself wanting to help them as well. Even if you don’t feel like being nice, once it’s out there, once that first smile is in place, it just kind of flows.
Do I even need to say that being a dickhole is a full time job?
No one is impressed with dickholes. No one. I don’t care how smart you are if you are a dickhole people will think you are covering for being stupid. Smart people are nice. Dickholes are stupid. It’s like an excel formula.
So, in conclusion, if you are a smelly, harking IT guy – you better start being nice because I’m worried that all your sourness will turn you into a pickled shell of a person.
And the whole planet is full of them. All with different minds, different ways of doing things, different likes and dislikes.
Some of them, for example, watch sports.
Actually, a lot of them do but thankfully I don’t know too many. I know they exist because I hear about tv ratings and sometimes I will accidentally turn to the basketball channel while trying to find a Law and Order. (Law and Order is always on somewhere. It’s a beautiful thing.) However, every month or so one invades my home and I love her.
The whole reason we have cable is so that this lady, whom I love, can watch her sports. Originally, we just had basic or maybe not even that and she was like, ‘Oh god, I can’t watch football. You’re getting cable.’ The price for the cable is that she controls it when she’s here. And I shut up about it.
Except on my blog of course.
This is what’s known as co-existing. At the heart of all therapy sessions (I’m told, I can’t afford that dream remember?) is the issue of politely co-existing with all these other people who for some inexplicable reason, see the world differently. At the other heart of therapy (therapy is like a cow except instead of stomaches it has hearts) – anyway, at the other heart is mothers. This is about both.
How to do it?
Thankfully we, as a species, can’t read minds…yet. Reading minds would cripple us because we all think horrible things about each other all the time. Not that we actually mean them and we still like each other but we do think them. As much as you think you want to know what others think about your existence, you don’t. So put the mind reading thoughts out of your, uh, mind. Did you? I don’t know – why? Because I can’t read minds.
Ok, so then what?
I think the crux of co-existence is biting your tongue. Which I suck at doing. Partly because, while it’s polite, I also think it’s kind of bullshit. It leads to the kind of pent up mean thoughts you don’t want anyone to hear and you feel guilty about later. So I let it out and if it hurts feelings I say I’m sorry or I say something nice afterward and I mean both of those things.
Moi: Goddamn this golf shit is boring.
Moi: I’m sorry, I know you like it and you know a lot about it. You’re a really good golfer. That Japanese golfer is kind of hot and I like his pants.
or this exchange that happened yesterday:
Mom: I think he looks great.
Moi: I’m sorry. You’re a fan. He is a handsome fellow and his ass looks great in those silk pants. If he were a golden girl he would totally be Blanche.
See? I don’t have to sit around and stew and now Mom knows my feelings on the subject. Her response to my complaints, “Too bad. We’re watching this.”
Then I accept that.
How do you co-exist with the ones you love?
You guys. I want to vomit. Are you watching the news? Or the weather? If so you may notice that Oklahoma Shitty is straight floating away. Wonderful. You know what I need on top of an already stressful week? This.
I get ready to leave this morning and Danny has on his weatherlust face but I’m all ‘whatever, it’s summer, no bad things happen in summer, except extreme heat and unscheduled splash pad shut downs.’
Then Danny is all, “Oh you may not want to go in. It’s flash flooding.”
Moi: What the fuuuu—heck? <—noticed the baby at the last second, that’s good fucking parenting right there.
So out the door I go into crazy mad standing pools of water. Only it wasn’t just outside the door so I thought it would be ok and that Danny and radar were just…I don’t know, wrong?
At work water is in the windows. The library basement is flooded. I’m yelling “Don’t use the elevator” everytime someone walks in the door and guess what? Every lazy ass person is getting on the elevator!
I’ve assigned myself the bastian of eletrical safety and if someone gets trapped/electrocuted/starves in that elevator I will feel responsible. Stress.
Books are in danger of getting wet. Stressssssss.
I still have to commute home. STREEEESSSSSS.
How do people handle this calmly? Some even seem to be enjoying it.
I’m telling those bastards to get on the elevator.
The only bright spot is that a coworker is stuck at home with someone from the Weather Channel. And we all know how I feel about the possibility of getting on national television in a ‘person on the street’ interview. Sweet.ness.
So, here I sit, in need of some serious weather therapy.
Norman hasn’t gotten rain. Does this mean we appeased our wizard?
Does mentioning the wizard during a crisis negate all wizard appeasement? Like I’m distracting wizard from his runes or something?
So my internet friend over at Pretty All True was brave enough to post about a friendship she lost, in part, due to both of their problems dealing with her depression. I didn’t link to the post because I didn’t want you to think that Kris was all depression all the time or anything. But you can find it if you want. Anyway, it got me thinking. My best friend, the boys’ godmother and all around terrific lady is bipolar.
I’m not going to go into our friendship or what bipolar disorder is. Instead I thought I would post 5 tips for anyone who has a friend or who is themselves struggling with a mental illness. I actually hate that term because ‘mental’ to me means “spaz” but I think that’s just left over early 90s slang. Also, because I think most people who deal with depression don’t really like to think of themselves as “sick”. Anyway, it is what it is.
So if you have a friend struggling:
1. Knowledge is power
Try to learn everything you can about their condition. Whether it’s depression or bipolar disorder or any number of things that can come up. By knowing what you’re dealing with, you will be better equiped to deal with it. I think this is even more important for emotional stresses than physical ones because you can see physical pain (like a broken arm) and understand why your friend is being so short with you – because damn broken bones hurt and make you kind of snappy. But with depression it just seems like your friend is being a big old bitch for no reason. She/he is not. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, try to learn the warning signs of suicide. Though, honestly, I’m not sure how helpful they are. Mainly because suicide just seems to come out of nowhere no matter how many “signs” you see in the rearview mirror.
I find knowing about bipolar disorder really helps me to not take things personally. I understand that the reason my friend hasn’t asked me about my life is because she’s in the middle of a very ramped up manic cycle that includes paranoia, irrational behavior, elation and there’s just not room in her head for me. Not because she doesn’t want there to be but because, in that moment, it’s not allowed. So I chill and don’t get offended.
2. Keep calling, emailing, texting, whatever
When my friend is in the middle of a deep depressive cycle, she falls of the earth. It sucks to not get emails or texts back but I keep sending them. I don’t care if they drive her crazy, when she pulls back out I want her to know where to go.
3. Be honest
For a long time I tried to play nice. When she was hyper I laughed and played along even if some of the behavior was seriously scaring me. When she was depressed I tried to act like everything would be ok. Then, despite me doing everything I thought was ‘right’, she ended up in the psych ward with bandages around her wrist. She thought it was hilarious but I was pissed and, for the first time, I let her know it. Her actions caused me a great deal of pain and while I know she’s not entirely in control she isn’t stupid. She needed to know what it does to me. By playing along I was enabling her. By being honest, I am now able to ask about her meds, her state of mind, etc. and not pretend it’s all going to be ok.
4. Take care of yourself
Sometimes, I just can’t do it. I can’t take the phone call or I can’t take the way she’s freaking out about something that should be so easy (like working a shift). I know it’s not her fault but damn, it’s stressful and I have a life too. I have my own struggles. I need to take care of myself. So I give it a few days and let myself heal a bit. The surest way to wear the friendship down is if you both end up beaten. One of you needs to take the time to take care of yourself and usually, it’s the one who is most able to. Don’t feel guilty.
If you are struggling:
1. Knowledge is power
Just like your friends, you need to know what is going on with yourself. Learn about your condition, treatments, medications etc. Plus, all the stuff I said above.
2. One thing to try not to say
“You don’t understand me. Your life is great.” You might really feel this but it’s not true. It’s just not. As hard as it might be, especially when you’re depressed, try to see that your friend is human and like you, trapped in their life/head whatever. You can’t see in that life and at the moment you probably can’t even see the truth in yours so passing judgement (even good judgement) will be detrimental.
3. Be honest
Depression is so hard. Really, I hate to see my friend in that much pain. I know it hurts. But I don’t know how much and I don’t know when it starts to get better. I need to know these things. The one luxury the person with depression has is that they know themselves. The friend just has to guess and that can be torture. If you think of it, even if you are embarrassed, please tell someone how you’re feeling both good and bad.
4. Take care of yourself
You don’t have to spend your “good” days repairing burned bridges. Get better first. Restore yourself, then make a call. Don’t feel guilty. That will just make you feel worse and this is the time you get to enjoy feeling better! Your friend wants you to be happy so let yourself be happy.
And the one tip that goes for both
Trust your friendship
I understand that mental illness can kill friendships. There are whole weeks I go without speaking to my best friend because I seriously can’t handle that shit. But I trust that we are friends. When I see or call her the next time, nothing has changed. We’re still 18, sipping wine and swapping make out stories. I trust our friendship, that part that you can’t force, to always be there as long as my friend is.
I hope this didn’t sound preachy or trite because honestly, even though I offer these “tips” I have a hard time following them myself!
I would like to hear your stories – names can be changed to protect the innocent 😉 I always allow anonymous commenting too.