Inspirational Excerpts

So I know I’ve been more than MIA the best few weeks, but graduation is right around the corner! Unfortunately, before I turn that corner, I have 2 papers to write, a test to take, an an oral presentation. C’est la vie. For one of my class readings, I was assigned the epilogue from David Treadway’s book Intimacy, Change, and Other Therapeutic Mysteries. The future is a scary thing, and while I’m excited at the prospect of becoming a therapist, I’m also experiencing some anxiety. Here are a few lines from Treadway that I found soothing and inspirational and can be applied to anyone’s life.

“..the only thing we can truly trust is that love hurts. The challenge in our lives is to risk loving anyway and not shy away or avoid responsibility when we do hurt each other.”

“Sometimes we have a great impact on people’s lives, and sometimes we’re just a forgotten name on old check stubs. It takes time for the impact of our work to take root. I remind myself that after the back-breaking effort of planting a new garden, the next morning when one looks out the window, all you’ll see is dirt. You have to give it time.”

“…you will always make mistakes, that the more you learn the more you’ll realize how much you don’t know. Our obligation to all who come to us is to learn from our mistakes, recognize our limitations, and resist taking ourselves too seriously. We need to be able to experience the joy of tears and the tears of joy”

Until next time!

Ariel

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Thoughts For Thursday

To be honest, I was really really freaking kind of depressed yesterday. You see, on Saturday, I went for a nice long run, and during the last half mile or so, I got this pain on the side of my butt. I thought it was just a spasm or a cramp, so I pushed through and didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t go for a long run again until Tuesday, and for the majority of the 5 miles I did, I was in pain. Pain in my calf, pain in my knee, pain in my ass. Once I got off the treadmill, my butt/hip area was hurting so much, I could barely walk. I tried stretching, I tried walking around, and nothing helped. I hobbled home, sat on the heating pad, and tried not to sulk. I woke up in pain, and made an appointment with my General Practitioner (GP). My GP had me do some stretches and determined that based on the location of the pain, I had bursitis. She prescribed me an anti-inflammatory, and told me to make an appt with my orthopaedist to get x-rays. Oh, and she told me not to walk unless absolutely necessary. No walking, no running, no biking, no elliptical. Umm, excuse me?

photo cred: sportlink.co.uk

To say that I took her advice lightly would be a flat out lie. I was immediately overcome with feelings of anxiety, guilt, and depression. Doesn’t she know that running is one of my biggest stress relievers? How can I go from doing cardio 5-6 days a week to nothing? Why me?!

I think my responses were pretty standard of someone who has established (and become addicted to) an exercise routine. The important thing to do is to challenge those emotions, so that you can return to thinking rationally. I don’t talk about my job or internship that much, but I’m currently interning at an Eating Disorder Outpatient Program, so I facilitate group and individual therapy. On Monday, I led a group about distorted thoughts and the importance of recognizing and replacing negative self-talk. There was a lot of discussion about All or Nothing thinking, and ways that you can compromise with yourself to accept alternatives. I did a lot of emphasizing on the fact that behaviors do not define a person: this is something I had to remind myself of yesterday.

Just because I can’t run for a few days/weeks/whatever, does not mean that I am a bad or lazy person. The amount of exercise I do, what I do or do not eat, and how messy I allow my apartment to get during midterms is no indication of how good a person I am. In a society in which those who have a “healthy” diet or frequent the gym for hours at a time are deemed “good,” I think it’s easy to lose track of what actions and activities make us feel good about who we are. I also think that we focus on our exterior more than our interior because not only is it easier to make changes, but it is the side of us that people see more. Receiving validation from external sources is a huge self-esteem booster.

photo cred: coachbetty.com

So what’s my point in all this? That we are a society of labels, and it is up to the individual, not their peers, to determine what they want their labels to read. Instead of letting one label, that may or may not have a negative connotation, define us, I think we should embrace the multitude of things that we do. Someone with a psychiatric diagnosis is not bipolar, they have bipolar disorder. I am not an injured runner, I have an injury. There are so many more activites that I do in one week than run, and I will not let an injury disregard the rest of the challenging and rewarding things that I’m capable of.

–Ariel

The Boys are Back in Town!

And by the boys, I mean ME (Marissa)!

Hi, remember me? It’s been a while, I know…

It’s been a long few months, with a lot of ups and downs, but the cherry on top of it all is that I PASSED MY SOCIAL WORK BOARDS!!! I’m officially a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(there are not enough exclamation points to express my excitement!)

And here’s the story (best read in front of a roaring fire, if not possible, a warm laptop will suffice):

It was one of the coldest days in the metro New York area, and I headed down to midtown Manhattan to take my test. I’m a little crazy about getting place on time, or early, so I managed to have an hour to spare before I was scheduled to go in, so I took the opportunity to have a light lunch (peanut butter & jelly on whole grain bread; carbs and protein are your friends before a big test!) and gulp down a huge water bottle (stay hydrated!).

170 questions later, and I had to contain myself my squealing inside the room full of other people taking their exams, as “Congratulations, you’ve passed” came on the screen. See, lucky for me, they tell you immediately if you pass or fail, and I’m one for instant gratification.

Post test, I met up with my mom, and we celebrated by taking a frigid stroll through Herald Square. To celebrate, and help cope with the freezing wind, my mom was nice enough to purchase me a BRIGHT yellow pashmina scarf, right before we got into the subway. It’s been pretty much wrapped around me ever since. Plus, you probably don’t know this blog world, but I LOVE the color yellow. If I ever get around to any outfit posts (hello new years resolution?) you’ll see that…

Story’s over. Not as exciting as you were hoping for? That’s probably because I didn’t put in the pre-test anxiety part where I was nervous for ~6 months and would call Ariel almost sobbing. But that part’s boring.

Check out the hat I made since I’ve had an excess amount of time now that it’s not all spent studying!

Blammo! Yellow! See, I told you I loved yellow…

So, to wrap this bad boy up, I’m back folks! With 4 more initials at the end of my name: LMSW (Let’s Make Some Waffles?)!

-Marissa