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Deconstructing My Neurosis

Your psychiatrist will never require this of you, but at some time in your checkered career of anxiety and depression management, it would be wise to deconstruct your neurosis--that is find out what exacerbates it and what diminishes the symptoms.

I'm deconstructing on a regular basis because it helps me to place blame where it should go. Blame is a big thing in my world because unless I examine the genesis of it, I tend to wallow in it. Yes, self-blame can whittle me down to the equivalent of a toothpick. And we all know where toothpicks end up, right? Yes, dear, it's in the circular file along with my self-respect and self-image.

Let's start with genes. My genetic inheritance could be better. First off, my dad was a piece of work. He criticized everyone and everything. Once during a nasty interchange with my sister, she thought she'd hurt my delicate ego by stating that "Dad never liked your husband." This, of course, was no surprise to me. My rebuttal: &qu…

Stupid Stuff I Don't Need to Know!

The holiday season is the time for lists: You make lists of gifts you need to give and ones you'd like to receive, you make lists of New Year's resolutions; and you make lists of future Christmas card recipients.
Truth is I don't make any of those lists. There's one list I do make but up to now I've never put into writing. It just floated aimlessly in my brain and once in a while pressed a few buttons and girded me into action.
Did you ever realize how much stuff is shoved in your face--stuff you don't need to know? Well, when I hear a fact that has absolutely no relevance in my life, I try to banish it from my mind. Usually I fail because once I hear something, it lingers. For a while. It filters into a brain lobe, curls up in my grey matter and sucks the life out of other data I'd like to store.

In retaliation for this gross negligence here are two lists. The first one is Crap that I Can Live Life Without Knowing; the second, "Stuff I want to Remembe…

Have I Told You About My Aunt the Witch?

Once upon a time in a far-off land called New Jersey, a young girl was fortunate to have a middle-aged aunt who was a witch. She was neither a good witch nor a bad witch. She was like a real person only with magical powers.

She had the ability to cheer up people with just a well-placed comment or quip. She was not obsessed with her children--in fact she treated them like adults (which actually they were). She was a whiz at card games. She flirted with every man she could--the girl's mom even accused her sister (secretly) of trying to steal her husband while she was in the hospital recuperating from surgery. She rarely cooked. She had an extensive network of friends, preferring them to family members. And she had a tragic loss--her first husband died of heart ailments.

The above attributes only added to her mystique and intriguing personality. The young girl really liked her aunt, mostly because she was the only aunt her family was speaking to during her impressionable adolescent y…

You Better Not Pout!

I''m not a big fan of this time of year. Hanukah, Christmas, New Year's. There are some logical reasons for this. When I was freelancing for magazines, I hated this season because I swore no one was reading my queries, they were being tossed in the circular file, and every editor was enjoying vacation days. So nothing got done as far as I was concerned. Also, if I had to interview people for an article, chasing them down and scheduling them for a phone interview was an iffy business. They were either crowded from work deadlines or like editors, busy shopping and making merry.

Now that I'm not freelancing for magazines, I still get the blahs just thinking of the holidays. The first sign of my malaise usually comes when someone in the neighborhood puts up his Christmas lights. This year someone dared to  put them up BEFORE Thanksgiving. That really pissed me off--that someone had broken the implied contract that all decorations would be delayed until at least Black Frida…

Mad as Hell But I Gotta Take It

What do you do when you get up in the morning and you're irritable? You don't have a specific reason, but there it is: a massive amount of anger targeted at everything and everyone. You're even angry at the dogs, and you love them. And your feeling makes no sense since you can't attribute it to anything tangible such as a bad dream or another rejection of the writing kind.

That's how I am today, and I don't know what to do. I don't think I said more than two words to my husband before he left for work. He probably suspects that I'm in a foul mood, but he probably doesn't figure that I'm angry. When I get depressed I'm usually into self blame and that's energy turned inward. But today I'm turning the energy outward. I'd really like to kill someone--then maybe I'd feel better.

However the better part of aggression tells me homicide isn't going to be on my agenda for the day. Could be that the nasty feelings come from watch…

Loooooong Weekends

Are long weekends like the past Thanksgiving Day one all they're cracked up to be? Retailers like them because they help jump start Christmas shopping. Everyone flocks to malls and discount stores or logs in online and spends, spends, spends. After all, there's nothing else to do but fight with your family, eat leftovers, or go to the movies (if you can afford it, they're so expensive nowadays).

So economically speaking the long weekend is a boon to marketers and sellers of anything. But what about the physical and emotional effects of a long weekend? Unless you're self employed and can work from home, you cannot even stay busy and calm your anxious mind with work projects. No, no, we're trained from birth that work is bad and recreation is to be sought after. The idea is to make enough money so you can order others to go out there and work their asses off.
I'm not good on long weekends. I hate cleaning so I can't depend on that to keep me busy, and there&…

T-Day is Almost Here: What Do We Have To Be Thankful For?

For some families, taking turns at the Thanksgiving table to recite "Thankfuls" is mandatory before heaping food onto the plate.In other families, dysfunctional ones for the most part, everyone is wearing a pretend smile and feeling sorry for themselves that they're stuck with this bunch of pain-in-the-asses. Which family are you in? That's for you to figure out. I'm in a group that's getting more popular as we age. Both my and my spouse's parents are deceased and no sibling or cousin lives nearby. And we don't fly on T-Day. Just the thought of standing on all the lines and pushing my way through cold, rainy weather sends chills down my spine. So we will eat alone. But don't feel sorry for us. We've got the pets and Netflix, which has truly become the number one distraction among boomers and millennials. It's definitely therapeutic to list a few thankfuls at the T-Day table. For nervous, anxious, or depressive people, it's a great op…