Risk

By Michelle Lemme

Awake at 5:00 a.m., the “witching” hour, when I am most consumed with ruminating thoughts about my daughter, SA.  I do everything in my power to stay in the present moment, but I am unable to find the calm that almost always come when I do my diaphragmatic breathing.  I pray, but am not sure what it is that will bring me relief…I love my adult child, she needs help and I cannot provide her with what she needs.  Our situation, after nearly 8 months apart, has not improved.  I am not yet strong enough to have her in my life, it is simply too risky and my husband and other daughter are terrified that I will descend into the depths of hell again if our interactions continue.

In late November, after nearly 8 months of virtually no contact with each other (see Into the Darkness), my daughter and I reunited.  We met at my therapist’s (Marlene) office.  For the better part of an hour, Marlene spoke with SA about my illness and the impact that our relationship has on my psyche.  Marlene was brilliant; there was no finger pointing, no blame or shame.  Sarah and I held hands and [...] continue the story

In Their Own Words 1 : Allan

Over two decades of living with psoriasis has taught Allan a lot-including the importance of a strong support network.

The Present

By Michelle Lemme

Twelve weeks of Day Treatment and 8 weeks of Anxiety Clinic all come down to being mindful; actively participating and staying in the present. Sounds easy right? Not so much. Just ask anyone who lives with chronic anxiety, (anxious predictions lie in the future, not the present), depression, bipolar, OCD or any other mental health challenge. My prediction is that they would tell you that being mindful takes practice, dedication, and focus and that sometimes it is just plain hard work.

Don’t get me wrong, I get why “all roads lead to mindfulness“. When you are actively focused on the present, there quite literally is no room for those pesky, irksome “should haves”, “could haves”, and “what ifs” that can drag us back into the past or take us to some imagined crisis in the future.

Being mindful requires living with uncertainty (frankly, just typing the word causes my heart rate to accelerate). Personally, when the gnawing, nagging fear of uncertainty starts to take over, I do my best to quickly identify the thought, push it away, and then deal with it in my “worry” place (area reserved for worrying, where I challenge and then change the worry thought triggering [...] continue the story

Journal Entry

By Michelle Lemme

UGH, longest day ever in Day Treatment… I hate how I feel; fat, bloated, irritable, sad, exhausted (depression or menopause; doesn’t matter, the symptoms for both are almost identical), skin and everything else totally dried out, worrying non stop about everything and nothing until I want to scream STOP. Jeez, with all these amazing feelings how can I possibly NOT love myself (core belief=I’m unlovable). In any case Wednesday is the day we do Self-esteem, Depression and Worry (I am a star pupil in all classes, but these in particular, I really excel at).

Key learning in Self-esteem today? Apparently having a minimum of 10 “Rules to Live By” is a bit ambitious for someone like myself to take on and “challenge”. I need to get it together, focus and figure out which one or two rules are the most debilitating so I can damn well start to change my automatic thoughts. Such difficult work; honestly, overwhelmingly, mind numbing hard work and self-examination. Needs to be done or change is not possible. I need to control my thoughts, my thoughts can’t continue to control me (I’m exhausted just thinking about how difficult this will be for me to master).

The [...] continue the story