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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New Email Address for Jackson DBSA group

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to send an update regarding our email address.  It is:

Please feel free to contact us at our new email address! 


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem and Make It Stick | Psychology Today

5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem and Make It Stick | Psychology Today

Stigma can eat away at one's self esteem. I came across an article in Psychology Today that I find  beneficial. ~ 

5 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem and Make It Stick

1. Skip empty "affirmations."

John was 25 when he came to see me for psychotherapy. The previous year he had quit his "boring office job" and moved back in with his parents to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He now had a part-time job as a barista, played video games, and saw friends on weekends. As for figuring out his life—he wasn't.

"I think what's holding me back is my self-esteem," he said during our first session. "I just don't feel good about myself—in any way." John had tried to improve his self-esteem by repeating positive affirmations several times a day: I'm going to be a big success, and I can do anything I put my mind to.

"The positive affirmations you're using are not good," I explained to John, "both grammatically and psychologically. But the bigger problem is there seems to be nothing in your life that is nourishing your self-esteem—you're not doing anything that would make you feel good about yourself."

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Indeed, we have to nourish our self-esteem. If we want to feel good about ourselves, we have to do things that actually make us feel proud, accomplished, appreciated, respected, or empowered, or take steps that make us feel that we're advancing toward our goals. John was doing none of these things.

5 Steps to Nourishing Self-Esteem

1. Avoid generic positive affirmations.

Positive affirmations are like empty calories. You can tell yourself you're great but if you don't really believe it, your mind will reject the affirmation and make you feel worse as a result. Affirmations only work when they fall within the range of believability, and for people with low self-esteem, they usually don't.

2. Identify areas of authentic strength or competency.

To begin building your self-esteem, you have to identify what you're good at, what you do well, or what you do that other people appreciate. It can be something small, a single small step in the right direction, but it is has to be something. If John were a champion video game player, that could have done the trick. But he wasn't that dedicated. As a result, the hours he spent playing did not provide his self-esteem any emotional nourishment.

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3. Demonstrate ability.

Once you've identified an area of strength, find ways to demonstrate it. If you're a good bowler, join a bowling league. If you're a good writer, post an essay to a blog. If you're a good planner, organize the family reunion. Engage in the things you do well.

4. Learn to tolerate positive feedback.

When our self-esteem is low we become resistant to compliments. (See Why Some People Hate Compliments.) Work on accepting compliments graciously (a simple "thank you" is sufficient). Hard as it might feel to do so, especially at first, being able to receive compliments is very important for those seeking to nourish their self-esteem.

5. Self-affirm.

Once you've demonstrated your ability, allow yourself to feel good about it, proud, satisfied, or pleased with yourself. Self-affirmations are specifically crafted positive messages we can give ourselves based on our true strengths (e.g., I'm a fantastic cook). Realize it is not arrogant to feel proud of the things you are actually good at, whatever they are, as when your self-esteem is low, every ounce of emotional nourishment helps. (See The Difference between Pride and Arrogance.)

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Self-esteem is not fueled by hope—"I'll be successful any day now"—or by false beliefs—"I'm the greatest." It's fueled by authentic experiences of competence and ability, and well-deserved feedback. If those are lacking in your life, take action to bring them into your daily experience by demonstrating your abilities and opening yourself up to positive feedback (from yourself as well as from others) once you do.

Copyright 2016 Guy Winch

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Wellness as my goal

Let's succeed at gaining wellness. My successes came as I pressed to improve my person and my work. At every success, I looked for things I might improve the next time. 

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

What you wish family and friends knew

Thank you, Bp

What I Wish Family & Friends Knew About Bipolar

Unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, there's no way you will ever be able to understand what it's like to have bipolar.


By Jess Melancholia

I don't know a single person with bipolar disorder who doesn't have that one friend or family member who just doesn't get it. They either have no idea about mental illnesses in general or believe they are something you can "fix."

For me, it's more than frustrating; it's downright cruel. You would think your family and friends would be there to support you. Unfortunately, you get the usual confusion and apathy. Or you get the anger. 

Here are three basic premises that I wish they knew:

You can't understand my bipolar and you never will.

I'm sorry this sounds harsh, but it's 100 percent true. Unless you have walked a mile in my shoes, there is no way you will ever be able to understand. My depressions are so dark and morbid that they drain me of all my energy. The thought of taking a shower or even just getting out of bed is overwhelming. Depending on how low I get, I honestly contemplate suicide because I can't bear to go on like this. My manias are so wild and unpredictable that irritability and insomnia cause major health issues. Sure, it's nice to have more energy—but not when I can't control my actions. Overspending and grandiosity can get me into major trouble in my financial and social life.

Bipolar depression and mania are far more extreme levels of emotions than you have ever experienced or can even conceive of. Trust me when I say you don't—you can't—understand. So don't even try. Just be there.

When I'm manic or depressed, that's not the real me.

Everything is amplified when I'm in the middle of an episode, so it's much easier for me to say or do things that I wouldn't if I were well. This doesn't by any means excuse anything—bipolar is an explanation but not an excuse. A lot of outside stimuli are attacking my senses, and it's hard for me to hold back the things I feel compelled to say and do. The fact is, my bipolar affects my ability to react "normally" to the world around me.

The last thing I need is anger and criticism while I'm trying to deal with my symptoms the best way I know how. My personal catchphrase is, "Don't be ashamed of your actions; learn from them and grow."

Your coping skills won't "fix" me.

While there are plenty of good tips out there for living a well-balanced life, like doing yoga or eating healthy, they do very little if anything to help when you are deep in the throes of depression or mania. Logic and reason go out the window. I fully believe in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) as useful tools to help manage bipolar disorder, but these will not cure it. They just won't. So for someone to tell you that you just need to do this one thing (practice the Tree pose, boost your omega-3s) and you won't be depressed or manic anymore is absurd and irresponsible. It perpetuates the stigma that this is "all in your head" and you should be able to "just get over it."

Here's the bottom line: My brain doesn't function the same as everyone else's, regardless of public opinion. But that doesn't mean I am weak. In fact, it means I am much stronger than you think. It takes monumental courage and strength to live life battling bipolar. Every moment I continue breathing, I am winning this fight.

And I will never stop fighting. Having my friends and family stick by my side gives me hope that I can manage whatever happens. Through their strength, I know I have a reason to keep on going. 

If they only knew how much their support means to me.

Printed as "What I wish family and friends knew about bipolar", Winter 2017

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