Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Struggle for other-centeredness

I'm relieved. I'm doing much better than when I last posted. I do find I have to pace myself and give myself time to do my own thing though, otherwise I tire quickly.

Several days ago I noticed myself dumping all my feelings on my friends. I'm the kind of person who doesn't lie easily. When someone asks me how I am, I let them know - sometimes in great detail....not a good idea. But a day later I realized what I was doing. I also realized that analyzing my feelings only made me feel worse. I was dwelling within.

The neat thing about blogging is that it's ok to do some of that. Blogger friends can "change channels" if they get tired of us. But most of the time they understand and know what to say to help. They go through the same stuff.

Yet I know that - in the life I live away from the computer - I need to try to be more other-centered if I want to recover. It's good to hear about my friends and what they're up to. I also know that it's in giving to others and doing for others that I find my strength and happiness. I'd much rather do for someone than to be done for. I want to be a contributor, not a consumer - a conqueror, not a victim. Much of the doing I can do is to listen to and have an interest in the stuff that concerns my friends.

When I caught myself "dwelling within" a few days ago, I emailed my good friend, my major supporter from church. Explained how I wanted to be more other-centered. Would she call me when she had time to chat?

This friend is a retired teacher, a psychologist of sorts. She knew just what to do. She has called me a couple of times now and found all sorts of fun things to talk to me about: all the interesting people she has invited for a huge Christmas drop-in at her house, how she volunteered at a school to read to the children, how she dealt with the difficult children (she's the most loving person I know, but used to be known as the strictest teacher in the school she taught at). She made me laugh.

We talked about how my days were going and whether I was pacing myself enough. She encouraged me. We had fun in our phone visit, only talking a bit about how I was. When we hung up I felt good about myself. I felt good to have a friend who made a point of touching base and taking the trouble to guide the phone visit in a direction that was healthy for me. I felt good about not dwelling so much on myself.

I'm starting to feel strong enough to invite a couple of friends over if they have time. This is so good!! I'm very thankful.

I know many of you have been dealing with the same things I have and I hope that you, too, will find a way to overcome. I hope that you, too, will come to enjoy this Christmas season.


bipolar_girl said...

Hi Marja! Merry Christmas! I left a reply to you on my cooment box I hope you get to read it. Anyways, your post is what my friends have been telling me all these years--in order not to feel lonely, we oughta stop looking within ourselves and start giving of ourselves. take care

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate with you post. I struggle with that too...thankfully we both recognize it! That's a good step!
Thank you Jesus for teaching Marja and I this valuable lesson. Amen

Bleeding Heart said...

I A L W A Y S give to others! That is what I do. That is who I am. I am like a counselor to my friends...I listen, I care, I share, I am the one they come to when they need a friend.

I write for 2 Women Abuse blogs and have helped so many abused women around the world!

I used to write for a Women Abuse column for a major online E-zine for FREE!

I write Non-Fiction books/Self-help books on areas that I know well to help others.

I would visit nursing homes every year with my son for Halloween, Easter, and Christmas to see the Older Folks.

I am always there...But when I truly need a friend...When I need a shoulder to cry on...No one and I mean no one is there.

I am just emotionally drained to help others. I have done it for soooo long!

This past week I have been in such a funk! I have not called any of my friends and can you believe after being there for ALL of my friends not ONE called to just ask "How are you?" "Are you OK?"

One friend called for lunch because SHE is going through a Divorce... it is always about them!

No one knows that I was seconds away to possibly being admitted into the hospital for a mental breakdown.

I know we all have problems...we all have our own dilemmas, but my goodness...Friendships are a Two way street in my book!

Bleeding Heart said...

One friend saw my daughter in a restaurant (This is the friend who called for lunch - and she knows I have bipolar!) and she tells my daughter to tell me (Jokingly) "Tell your mom I am going to kill her for not returning my phone calls!"

If I don't return calls, don't you think that Maybe something is wrong.

This is what I mean!

marja said...

Do YOU call your friends in the way they call you when you need them? Maybe they're just not aware when you're going through a difficult time, so they don't call. You NEED to call THEM sometimes.

I DO let my friends know where I'm at so they can support me.

You're right. Support has to go two ways.

Looks like I got you all upset, Dream. Sorry about that.

Bleeding Heart said...

You didn't upset me at all, Marja. I think that your post was wonderful and I totally agree. I was just venting more towards my emotional state of mind right now:-)

My point was...if a friend of mine...vanishes per se...I call..I find out where they are...I ask if they are OK...Is there anything I could do to help.

But when I vanish... what I get is "Why haven't you called?" "Are you kicking me to the curb?" and of course that previous comment I left that my friend told my daughter "Tell your mom I am going to kill her for not returning my calls." To me that is self-absorbed...how about..."IS your mom OK - I haven't heard from her?" What about Maturity - Respect?

It seems to be about THEM - Self-absorbed!

I am not crying wolf here by any means...

I LOVE to give to others...I always do...

But at times, for me, I get emotionally drained.

Or maybe it is the company I keep.

Bleeding Heart said...

I am sorry...I know I haven't been the best person lately to associate with...I guess it is part of my down and depression and maybe I should just stay away for awhile until this bipolar low thing passes:-)

marja said...

PLEASE don't stay away, Dream. I fully understand how you're feeling and this is the place where you need to be allowed to vent.

But please do find someone who WILL be able to support you - not only here, but away from the computer too.

You've inspired me to write another post - maybe tomorrow - about support being a two way street. That's so important for us to realize. There are times when us givers need to take too.

marja said...

BTW, Dream writer: I LOVE YOU :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Marja,

I am just catching up on blogs...I have been thinking of you and wondering how things were going. I will keep praying for you. It sounds like you are pushing through, better than last year. I am glad for that.
If it gets too hard, you would let us know, wouldn't you?

Love you!!

marja said...

Thanks, Jessica. Yes, I believed I've pushed through, just in time for Christmas. I thank you all for being so supportive. This wasn't really all that bad.

And DESIREE: I have forgotten to respond to your comment. Yes, I read your comment. You know, you're far too good to me. Thank you so much for encouraging me in many ways.

Anonymous said...

sorry its taken a while to get back to you but glad you are doing better

Anonymous said...

Hey Marja,

Yay!! :-)

I am so happy to read that you made it! Praise God! I am truly happy for you! I know how much this means to you and your family.

I just got your comment on my post...thank you. I am really blessed. my parents are so loving and supportive. Thank you :-)

lots of hugs and love from Atlanta to Canada!

Anonymous said...


So I don't know what it is: but I honestly believe that bipolars world wide are having a hard time.

I'm glad you are comming through it: mine didn't hit me until last week: but I feel like its starting to let up. Slowly but surely I'm comming back around to the usual bubbly me- and its nice because I missed it- and I was seriously concerned that i was getting too depressed. I was getting very suicidal.

I've found that I do better when I feel like I have a more understanding support system. Since I have started working in the ER with different more caring people- I've enjoyed myself so much: I know that it is lifting my moods.

If you have any other words of advice: I'd love to hear them,
and if I don't get a chance to talk to you before christmas: merry christmas...

PS- you're the first person I've actually told that too- because I haven't felt "merry"...but I guess its a sign that its getting better.

marja said...

TayMachelle: Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're in a work situation where the personnel are caring people. Yes, having an understanding support system is hugely important to how well we do. I don't think I would have escaped the light depression I've been in over the past while if it weren't for the love of my husband and friends. In the end this mood really didn't get all that bad and I was able to pull out of it quite well.

I pray that you, too, will gradually develop a loving support system. Believing in God's unconditional love and grasping just how wide and deep that is has been my greatest help of all. My supporters believe this as well, and reflect that kind of love.