If You Spend All Your Time With Eeyore, You’re Not Going to Get the Honey Pot

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” -My dear friend Lorraine Castle.

As we blog about self care, self esteem, and personal development, I thought this was worth a visit. I’ve always loved Winnie the Pooh. As a child, the cute little bear with his gang of buddies fascinated me. The antics of Pooh and Tigger really made me laugh, and I deeply related to Pooh’s struggles to get his hands on enough sugar.

As an adult, I still like Pooh. He’s a cool dude who is loyal to his friends and goes after what he wants, event if he gets stuck in a door after filling his belly. I wish that I had his determination to go after what I want just as fearlessly, but I have a problem. I am not as much of an empath as AK is, and I’m honestly glad about that. I’m naturally too selfish to get TOO bogged down in other people’s emotions. I mean, I’m not a sociopath. I feel things deeply and can empathize with people, but I try not to let other people’s shit bring me down.

Unfortunately, I have a few Eeoyres in my life. You know who they are. They’re the friends or family members sucking the enthusiasm out of everything you want to do. Have a great idea for a new business? Want to start getting in shape? Want to take up  a new hobby that could be expensive or time consuming or both? That person is the first one to point out everything that could go wrong, and try to hold you back from trying. They may be naturally cynical; they could be depressed; or they could be just plain jealous. They dampen our spirits at every turn if we let them, even though, in my experience, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. The Eeyores in your life don’t take chances because they think that everything they try to do is just doomed anyway. They live under a dark cloud, and dark clouds are terrible places to be alone. Have you ever heard the expression “Misery loves company?” Don’t be the miserable company for that human.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to tell you to cut that person out of your life, it’s usually not possible. We live in the real world, where this person could be a beloved family member who has depression and/anxiety disorders. This person may not even admit their problem, and therefore do nothing to treat it, nor attempt to lift himself out of it. After all, it’s not like depression comes on overnight in most cases. It slowly becomes the new normal, and while it might be pretty easy to suspect from the outside looking in, that’s not always the case when it’s happening within your own mind. I WAS that person a few years ago when a Rheumatologist prescribed an antidepressant for pain when I wasn’t depressed, but failed to do any psychiatric testing to see if I had any underlying disorders that could make antidepressants dangerous for me. Spoiler alert: I did. I didn’t go from jogging 3-5 miles a day and working on writing a book to laying around like a slug, day drinking, and not giving a single flying fuck about my life overnight. It was a gradual process, and as I was being diagnosed with chronic illnesses and my discs were hearniating, I guess it felt right for me to be down and give up. It took a near breakdown for me to hit rock bottom and realize that isn’t who I am and that I needed to get on my feet and fight like the badass I am. I’m grateful that the people who love me loved me through that, and I’m committed to loving the people in my life through dark times as well. Still, only you can determine if your black cloud dweller is worth standing by. If she’s your boss or your spouse and her actions are directly affecting your day to day ability to care for yourself or others, it may be time to consider quitting that job, getting marriage counseling, or ultimately separating from the spouse. Those are big decisions and I can’t make them for you, but changes MUST BE MADE.

SO, you ask, how does this work? How do I stay focused and motivated when I feel like I have a 100 lb boulder attached to my leg, but it’s a relationship I can’t or won’t end?

Don't Let a Jackass Keep You From Your Honeypot

Here are some tips. Look at the first quote. You’re the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Find yourself a couple of Tiggers. You know who they are. They’re the people who are bursting with natural joy and energy. These people are their own best cheerleaders, and they generally are the kind of people who want to cheer for you too. LET THEM. Invite them to lunch. Try to spend time with them. I know I have some Tiggers at my office that are incredible people, and Tiggers usually have lots of time for more friends, but you’ll have to curb your own Eeyore impulses, because Tiggers don’t like to be brought down. They’re happy to spend time with you if you’re a Pooh who has her own goals, or an Owl who is distracted with learning a great deal of the time, or a Kanga who is a bit of a helicopter mom. We all have our things, but I also believe that there is room for personal development as long as we’re alive and kicking.

I also believe you need to be open and honest with your Eeyore. Let them know that you’re concerned about them, but be prepared for them to deny there’s an issue. Remember, Eeyore might not be suffering from depression or anxiety. She might just be a nasty bitch, a terrible human, or some kind of sociopath or narcissist. If it’s the former, let that person know how much you love them, but let them know you need a little distance from their constant shitting on everything you do or want to do. Let them know you love them (if you do) but that you need breaks sometimes because their negativity gets you down and you have goals. It might hurt them, but as long as you’re coming from a place of love and choose your words carefully, then I say “too damn bad.” Hasn’t this person been hurting you, by transferring their feelings onto many aspects of your life? Has he told you not to go back to school to pursue a career that you think you’ll love because it’s “never going to work out?” Has he told you not to start another diet because “You never stick to it very long and you just spend all that money on vegetables that go bad?” Yeah. That’s hurtful as hell, and you don’t deserve that, even if you have failed at things before. If we try new things, we either succeed or we learn. There’s no real failure with that perspective.

I do want to caution you that everyone who wants to sit you down and go over pros and cons is an Eeyore. For example, if you tell me that you have no savings but want to quit your $150,000 a year job that you like pretty well to go into real estate because you think it’s easy and a lot less work,  I’m going to let you know you’re wrong. I will, however, help you work out the details of what my job is really like, and help you set realistic expectations and goals. If you tell me you’re going to go from the couch and P90X workouts twice a day, I am going to suggest you go to your doctor first to determine if your body can actually handle that, and tell you to ask him what level of activity you SHOULD start with, and then find you a program that will fit your needs.

Lastly, Eeyore in the children’s books is a melancholy, but loving and loyal, donkey. You need to figure out if your Eeyore is more like the donkey in the books, or a toxic jackass who will always try to keep you from your honey pot.

With Love and Positive (Bouncy Bouncy Bouncy) Tigger Energy,

-Selfish Mitch

Advertisements

Those Bastards! (1) Emotional Advertising and Big Money in Politics Screwing With Our Lives

**I anticipate several “THOSE BASTARDS” posts so I just started it as a series. Makes sense to me.**

If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll know that I’m crazy skeptical of pharmaceutical companies and the doctors who are in cahoots with them. The side effects I’ve experienced from medications given to me in the hopes that they would alleviate some of my Lupus symptoms. I have gained 25 lbs in 3 weeks due to one drug. Another made me suffer a bipolar (literally; it’s not cool to use bipolar as a metaphor) swirl of manic periods and depression. I gained 40 more lbs on a different medication. Yet another made me need a nap after about a 2 hour period of light activity. That was a really lit class reunion, with me being Nappy Sleeperson. I have yet to find a pharmaceutical drug that does less harm that it does good, except maybe Plaquenil, which is an antimalarial drug that somehow makes your immune system weaker, from what I understand. I don’t notice anything different whether I take it or not.

The big name, expensive drugs, though, are insane. Some are over $3,000 a month, and of course doctors love to push those. I don’t know what the payoff is, but I assume it’s a lot. I have a friend who was taking a biologic that WAS working for her, and her insurance decided to stop paying for it. The same exact insurance company she had in October that paid for her medication decided not to pay for it in November. No reason given, just “nope.”

This is what happens when you allow fucking corporations to take control of our healthcare. Corporations with giant budgets lobby Congress and fund campaigns for our Senators and Representatives, and they’re then allowed to do whatever the hell they want to the American public. Those of us who are ill are totally at their mercy. That biologic helped my friend walk. It helped her work and support her family. She can’t do that now because the insurance company clearly didn’t like what it did to their bottom line, so fuck the patient, right?

The drug companies themselves are just as bad. The way that they tug at our emotions in commercials. These kind of commercials aren’t allowed in the rest of the Western World, FYI. They trust their doctors and their own research to determine which medication, if any is right for them. They think it’s totally crazy that their doctor would prescribe one medication over another because of financial benefit.) The commercials show active, healthy people, and happy dogs. Eddy

How do I know they show dogs so often on pharmaceutical commercials? Easy. This giant doofus tells me. My dog, for some reason (the big one) watches TV constantly looking for animals. As soon as he sees one, he barks at it. He’s actually broken a flat screen TV trying to get to some antelopes in a Geico commercial. Those drove him really crazy.

I keep the TV on in the background a lot when I work on paperwork or emails, so I rarely pay attention to what’s on, but I sure as hell know when an animal pops on screen, because Eddy lets me know. The amount of pharmaceutical  drug commercials that feature dogs is insane. It’s constant. They’ve done PLENTY of market research to show what attracts people. Young looking active senior citizens with their dogs seems to be a THING. The thing is, the happy feeling we apparently get from seeing the happy people and the dogs is fully meant to make you think something is wrong with you that this pill can fix. Can it? Maybe, but I’ve learned the hard way to trust no drug, trust no commercial, and be hesitant AF to trust your doctor. That laundry list of side effects at the end of the commercial is legit. They may not happen to you, but they might. If the drug really helps, then I’m all for it, but just be careful. Read the fine print in the drug insert. A lot of times these side effects sneak up on you. I know that the Effexor hell snuck up on me. I wasn’t fine one day, a raging banshee the next week, and unable to get out of bed the next. That’s not how it works. It sneaks up a little bit at a time, so you need to be your own best advocate.

Try to control your health through a super healthy lifestyle. Follow a healthy diet on the 80/20 rule. Eat lean meats, tons of vegetables, fresh fruit, and complex carbs most of the time, leaving junk food and processed food as 20% of what you eat. Exercise enough to get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes, 4-6 times a week. If you’re a healthy person, that should keep you healthy. OF COURSE, if you’re on medication right now, don’t just stop cold turkey because eating a lot of salads works for me. Never, ever, ever do that. Evaluate your side effects and talk to your doctor. Make her listen to your concerns and take you seriously. If your doctor isn’t taking your concerns seriously, you need a new doctor, full stop.

If you’re a person who is already struggling with health, with eating issues, with chronic illness, reach out. I’d be happy to chat with you about things that work for me and what might work for you. I love to help. Just remember to not be emotionally affected by those sweet, cute doggies on the commercials.

In Selfishly Healthy Glory,

-Mitch

Work Sick

I have a few chronic illnesses. I have Lupus, RA, and degenerative disc disease. Due to a few failed back surgeries, I have been diagnosed with “failed back syndrome.” I also have ADHD, and most of these diagnoses happened prior to my 40th birthday. In fact, I spent #39 in post op from the spinal fusion surgery that ultimately failed to fuse, leaving me in more pain than before. The surgeon said that if he went in to try to fix it or remove the hardware, or to try to fuse it again, I’d have a 50% chance of some pain relief and a 50% chance that it would get worse or stay the same. I sure don’t like those odds. I later had a spinal fusion surgery, but that, too, failed to work. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, at first, I considered filing for disability, as a couple of doctors recommended. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around simply giving up at such a young age. I know that people younger than me have had to file for disability, and their reasons are sound. I’m not judging anyone for that choice, but I just KNEW it wasn’t for me.

I’ve always worked really hard and had big goals. I started babysitting at eight. That sounds ridiculous in today’s world, but I guess in small town Montana in 1983, when people knew my teacher parents (and the parents of the kids) were less than a mile away at all times, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I lied about my age on a job application to get a job waitressing at the age of 14. I worked 1 or 2 jobs at a time while going to college full time, which might be the reason I never finished a degree. I have about 170 credits that don’t form a degree, though, so that’s something. (ADHD was real in the 90s, even if we didn’t really know what it was or how to treat it, especially in adults.)

When I started in real estate in 2005, I knew I’d found IT. My career path, what I was supposed to do. It was all so clear. I’d start as a buyer’s agent on a team at Keller Williams to learn all I could. From there, I’d try to move up to the listing agent on a team, and then go out on my own, and then I’d build my own team. The path laid in front of me was so clear, that about a year into my career, I had my team name and logo designed in my head, and I was certain that nothing could stop me. Hahaha. Doesn’t life always have other plans?

First, the market crashed, and it crashed HARD. Luckily, I’d been recruited over to another, larger team that allowed agents to handle buyers and sellers, and continuously found ways to be successful, even with the median price of homes dropping about $200,000 over a couple of years. However, there was stress all around at that time in my life. My husband’s job changed, making him unhappy. It seemed like we were working harder and harder and making less money. I think just about everyone felt that way during that time, but as a married couple who both worked on commission, it was a BAD TIME.

I started feeling terrible. I have had issues with my shoulders ever since I worked my ass off in restaurants and bars, but this was all over my body. The exhaustion was horrible. The foggy mind and the unpredictable symptoms made working a serious hell on earth. It made LIVING a serious hell on earth. All along, I looked fine. That’s what everyone told me. My weight ballooned due to medications for what they diagnosed as fibromyalgia, and from the emotional eating I reverted to when I had no other way to cope with what was happening to me. I’d never learned healthy coping skills. It was food or booze for me, and at that time, I turned to both.

In 2012, my husband got a great job out of state and we moved. I didn’t work for a while and I focused on my health. I worked out as much as I could, ate well, and got my weight down from 230 something to 184, and I felt better.  Still, mystery symptoms reared their head. Finally, finally, I got a diagnosis. It’s autoimmune disease. It’s here forever, but it can be managed. My doctor gave me an antidepressant for pain, even though I was not depressed at the time. Turns out, my brain processes antidepressants as depressants. I was sunk into depression, anxiety, and misery like I’d never felt, but was assured that it was the result of a scary diagnosis and the realization my life would never be the same. I tried working part time from 2012-2015 but, honestly, that depression and the wacky medications made it nearly impossible. Steroids, low does chemo, biologics, etc. I felt like a chemical shitstorm and felt worse. We moved back to Arizona, which greatly helped my joint pain, but I was still depressed, and still taking Effexor. If I missed a dose by about 3 hours, Effexor withdrawal happened. It was like nothing I’d ever felt. It’s like you have electric shocks from your brains to your limbs. Still, I didn’t connect my depresseion with Effexor until I had what was basically a manic breakdown and started researching.

happy

 

I weaned myself off of it, so a lot of the cloud of misery disappeared, but it left my life in chaos anyway. I was back up to over 240 lbs at that point, and in a great deal of pain still. What in the hell was I going to do? Plus, I needed to contribute to my family, and as someone who has ALWAYS worked, except for a dismal failure of a stint as a housewife when my husband and I got together, and I needed the mental stimulation.

Then came the back surgeries and the recoveries, and an office job that I really liked, but was constantly taking time off from for doctor’s appointments and pain. It really didn’t pay enough to make a huge difference in our finances either. So. What now?

 

TO BE CONTINUED….

 

Love and Health

-Mitch