Adventure

Update

So, I wrote a whole long blog post and it somehow accidentaly got deleted.  Here are the main points:

  • I got a job!  I’m teaching ESL to Chinese students online through VIPKid.  You must have a Bachelor’s Degree or an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and 1 year experience with children.  They prefer that it’s in the classroom, but they’ll accept tutoring, babysitting, and the like.  If you’re interested, please let me know and I’ll give you more info!  I’d really appreciate it if you use my referral link if you decide to apply:  https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=5980771  .  My first class was actually really rough because the kid didn’t speak any English and just kept repeating everything I said.  I have another class this Sunday though and I have faith that it will be better and that I’ll get better with each class that passes.
  • I have been doing a terrible job on my TBR pile for the summer.  I read through part-way through the fifth Outlander book then decided to re-read The Handmaid’s Tale even though I had just read it about a month ago.  It’s just so good!  I had a blog post about it, but I took it down as I am re-writing it along with my re-read.
  • I was depressed for seven months, then I started to feel better, but it was apparently TOO better because I became manic.  Now I’m rapid cycling which means one day (or for a couple days) I sleep all day, then the next day (or next couple of days) I have a ton of extra energy and want to do everything and spend all the money I don’t have.  My doctor put me on lithium, which brings the total psychiatric drug count up to 8 and the count of medications that can cause weight gain up to 6-7.  I get really sad when I look at pictures of me from when I was thinner and think about how I thought I was too fat and unattractive then.  Sad because I’ll probably never be that thin again and sad because I let someone make me feel gross and disgusting when I was beautiful.
  • Here are some upcoming things I’m excited about:
         SEPTEMBER- ED SHEERAN WITH MY DAD!!
         SEPTEMBER- Dad’s 20 mile swim
         SEPTEMBER- My cousin, Malea’s wedding!
         OCTOBER- Possible beach trip with my parents and my pup
         NOVEMBER- LADY GAGA WITH TIFFANY!!!
mental health

@JaredPadalecki is a Grade A Jerk. (And here’s why @DanSpilo sucks, too) #SPN #Supernatrual #JaredPadalecki #DanSpilo

This blog post is not going to make me popular with the Supernatural Family/ Supernatural Fans, but it is honest and it is true and that is ultimately what matters to me.  I used to be one of you, but I just can’t be anymore after the way I’ve been treated.  Please try to understand that before blasting me with hatred.

You may recall the below post, all the way from back in August of 2016.  That’s right, almost a whole year ago.  In it, I detail the long process by which I find out that I’ve won a contest and I’m supposed to receive a phone call from Jared Padalecki (of Supernatural and Gilmore Girls fame) and then am slowly and repeatedly let down by him, the Represent team, and his team who clearly don’t care about his public image or how he hurts his fans.  I’d like to note that I was alternatively very manic and very depressed (but mostly very depressed) for the time all this was happening and that my mental health was far from good, to the extent that ECT (electro-convulsive-therapy/ shock treatments) were something my doctor and I were considering.  As someone who claims to be a mental health advocate, you would think Jared would want to take care of his fans and keep his promises to them, but you would be wrong.

In addition to everything you see below, there were several texts from Jared’s manager, Dan Spilo, claiming that Jared had forgotten the phone call or describing various reasons why it must be postponed including everything from “I just texted him and he said “OMG no I didn’t I’ll do it this week, what did she say?” to “a family member is sick.”  The last text I received from him said “He is out of country but I’ll remind him in the new year” and was received on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016.  A text from me in February, April, May, and June all received no response from Dan Spilo, despite him assuring me multiple times that the phone call would in fact take place.

For someone who claims to understand and care about mental illness, it is blatantly obvious that Jared doesn’t care about MY mental illness.  He seems to give little to no thought to how his actions could affect someone else with a serious mental condition.  As much as he has an understanding of depression and anxiety, he very clearly lacks the empathy required to comprehend what it may be like to have Bipolar Disorder and have your hopes and dreams dashed because a celebrity you greatly admire can’t find five minutes out of his busy schedule in a whole year to make a phone call he promised to make.

In addition to the texts back and forth between me and Dan, I even sent the open letter I wrote to him and to Jared’s publicist as an actual paper letter.  I never even heard back from the publicist.  This just shows me that both Dan and the publicist lack any type of care for what Jared’s public image is, which is a shame because before all of this happened, I sort of worshipped the ground the guy walked on.  Now, I’ve completely boycotted this entire season of Supernatural and all things related to it because I’m so pissed off at the way I have been treated.

So here’s perhaps the final update: I’m now positive the phone call won’t happen even though I was promised over and over again that it would.  Dan won’t return my text messages and Jared hasn’t found the time to call in almost a year, which leads me to feel like both of them are behaving like assholes.  I’m so very disappointed in both of them and in the way that they chose to treat this devoted fan.  Jared has forever lost a fan who greatly loved, respected, and admired him.

An Open Letter to Jared Padalecki’s Manager and Publicist

UPDATE 4/10/2017: Dan Spilo still not returning texts, still no phone call.

UPDATE 3/8/2017:  I still have not received a phone call and Dan Spilo has stopped returning my texts.

UPDATE 12/31/2016: I received a t-shirt, hat, sweatshirt, and buttons from the “Family Always Has Your Back” campaign.  When I talked to Dan, he said that Jared was out of the country and he would remind him about the phone call in the new year.

UPDATE 12/20/2016: No change since the last update. Last communication from Dan was in November.

UPDATE 12/6/16: The phone call hasn’t taken place, the shirt Dan Spilo (Jared’s agent) promised me hasn’t arrived, and Dan has stopped returning communication.  This whole business is really shady and upsetting.  Nothing should have been promised if nothing was going to happen.

UPDATE 10/21/16: The phone call still hasn’t taken place and I haven’t heard from Jared’s manager in a month.

UPDATE 9/22/16: The phone call still hasn’t taken place and has been postponed.

UPDATE 8/26/16: The phone call still has not taken place, but Jared’s manager seems like he is on top of it. I am hopeful that it will take place this week or next. I know Jared is very busy with work.

UPDATE 8/15/16: I heard from Jared’s manager and the phone call slipped through the cracks.  It WILL still be happening! Represent doesn’t speak for Jared or his team. I’m so relieved that they didn’t know what had happened. They do t shirts well but not so much customer service.

To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Catherine Cottam and I received an e-mail from Jennifer with Represent.Com on June 27, 2016 letting me know that I was one of three lucky customers to receive a call from Jared Padalecki as a thank you for supporting the “I Am Enough” campaign. She said “the call will take place sometime this week.” I e-mailed her back the next day as soon as I saw the e-mail with my phone number and some additional information.

I contacted her again on July 7th as the week had come and gone but I had not received a phone call. She let me know on July 8th that Jared had gotten super busy with work and that the Represent team had just sent him a text to remind him to give me a call. For the following three weeks, I didn’t go anywhere without my phone being right by my side. I emailed Jennifer several times with no response before getting an e-mail that bounced back saying her e-mail account had been suspended.

At this point, I was starting to think the phone call might never take place. I attempted to contact Jared and Represent on Twitter. I tweeted that I had won a phone call but had yet to receive it and the people at Represent said the phone call was being rescheduled and that they would e-mail me with more information. That was on July 26th. When I still hadn’t heard anything on August 3rd, I attempted to e-mail orders@represent.com and support@represent.com.

On August 8th, I attempted to contact them via Twitter and Facebook private messages. In addition to refusing to respond to any of my e-mails about the phone call, part of my order had been delayed and, at the time, I thought they had only sent me one shirt of the three I had ordered. I opened a case with the Better Business Bureau to see if I could get the rest of my order, get refunded for the previous order I had cancelled, and get them to respond to me to let me know what was going on with the phone call situation.

Today, I received an e-mail from Filip from Represent.com letting me know that Jared got really busy and the phone call will not be taking place at all, in spite of their earlier e-mail and Jared himself posting about it on Facebook. He informed me that his colleagues have tried to arrange the call “with Jared’s team” but he hopes I “understand that people as busy as Jared are very difficult to get hold of.” I told him that I do understand that, but that a phone call shouldn’t have been promised if it is never going to be made. This is bad business and is bad branding for Jared. I feel frustrated that I have just now been informed that the phone call will not take place. Jared said he would call someone who purchased a shirt. Represent and Jared both said one of those people would be me. I have bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and Jared has been such a role model to me with how open he is about his struggle with mental illness, but I am so so very disappointed in him and in Represent.com now.

I have purchased several shirts from Represent.com in the past and have six of Jared’s campaign shirts, but I’m afraid I can’t in good conscience support Jared’s campaigns if he isn’t going to keep his promises. I had to be hospitalized for mania at the end of May and I took one Always Keep Fighting shirt and two Love Yourself First shirts with me. The nurses on the psychiatric unit loved them as they, like me, are huge Supernatural fans.

Please let Jared know that his campaigns meant a lot to me and that I’m sorry I can no longer contribute to them. I just thought you should know that all of this happened and that it was handled terribly by the folks over at Represent.com. At this point, I don’t expect a phone call, but I would appreciate a real explanation from someone about why I was lied to.

Sincerely,

Catherine Cottam

Cdcottam1@gmail.com

Edit: To be clear, the goal here is to make Jared’s management team aware of what was said in their name by represent and to hopefully receive some type of explanation about it.

 

 

Adventure

Factor V Leiden and DVTs

You may recall that in 2015, I had quite an exciting week when I had a small pulmonary embolism and ended up in the hospital via a very exciting  terrifying ambulance ride.  They found a large blood clot in my left leg that day by ultrasound.  A few months later, after I got off of coumadin, I was tested for a variety of clotting disorders and they found that I have Factor V Leiden, a mutation of one of the clotting factors in the blood that increases your chance of developing clots.  You can be heterozygous (one copy of the gene) or homozygous (two copies of the gene).  Homozygous is supposed to be the more dangerous of the two.  I am heterozygous.

I went on a hike recently and my legs were killing me.  I assumed it was just because I was extremely extremely out of shape, but over the past few weeks my legs have really hurt and been swollen.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the car recently (even though I get out to walk every hour or hour and a half) and I became worried that I may have another blood clot, particularly a few nights ago when the pain was so bad that I had to take a leftover pain pill from the last time I had a clot.  I expressed this concern to my dear friend, Monica, and she urged me to go to the doctor.  Early the next morning, I sent a message to my doctor via our patient portal explaining the situation and saying that I thought I needed an ultrasound.  She replied as soon as the office opened saying that I should be there at 10:50 for an ultrasound and that I would have an appointment with her immediately after.

The ultrasound took about an hour as they did both of my legs.  River was very well behaved.  She got up once from her spot but came over to lay by me and didn’t move again until the ultrasound was over.  I expressed concern to the ultrasound technician when she hovered over a specific spot for a very long time, but she assured me she just wanted to be thorough.  After the ultrasound, I went back to the waiting room and was called in by my doctor’s nurse shortly thereafter.  She asked me some questions and left to scan in a copy of the genetic testing I had done (it tells you which medications are best for you and which to avoid) to my file.  She left a sheet of paper behind, which I am sure she didn’t mean to do.  I took a picture of it.

clots

The doctor came in and told me that the results were inconclusive for a DVT but that it was likely that I had one and that the ultrasound technician had sent my ultrasound to the radiologist with a request for a rush read on it.  My doctor wrote me prescriptions for Lovenox and Coumadin but told me to wait to get them filled until I heard for sure whether or not I had a clot.  She told me it was a different dosage of Lovenox from the last time I had a clot and that the pharmacy may not have it on hand and I may have to go to another pharmacy.

I left, much calmer than I thought I would be after seeing on a sheet of paper that I had multiple potential clots, and went straight to the pharmacy.  I figured that if they were going to need to order the Lovenox and Coumadin, it would be best if I went ahead and had them filled.  I reasoned that I could always not pick them up and tell the pharmacy I didn’t need them anymore if I didn’t have a clot.  The pharmacy didn’t have the medication but they ordered it and said it would be in the next morning.  The nurse called while I was still at the pharmacy waiting for my pain medication the doctor had given me and said they had found a clot in the low part of my right leg.  There was nothing I could do about it at the moment, so I went home and propped my legs up, as I had been told to do.

When I got home, I realized I had a lot of questions about my clot that hadn’t been answered.  Where exactly was it?  How big was it?  Did it block the vein completely or only part of the way?  I sent these questions to my doctor via the patient portal and this was her response:

Nonoccluisive clot in femoral vein on right; non occlusive clot in popliteal vein on right; occlusive clot of peroneal vein on right and non occlusive clot of left femoral vein. non occlusive means the vessel is not totally blocked that blood is getting past the clot So there are multiple clots in the right leg and “only” one in the left. It is fairly extensive! They do not comment on the old clot so I suspect it has reabsorbed. No wonder you are hurting. Try to take it easy and keep legs elevated. No strenuous activity. Don’t do much at all for the next few days.

So while the nurse told me I had one clot, I actually have FOUR clots and one of them is blocking the whole vein.  One clot would be scary.  Four is terrifying.  Until the blood thinners are in my system at the correct level, I am at risk of part of any of the clots breaking off and going to my lungs (causing a pulmonary embolism) or heart, or brain.  For the next 2-6 days I will be very anxious.  I have no doubt I’ll have at least one panic attack, which will feel like a pulmonary embolism, which will be terrifying.  I went to the pharmacy yesterday morning, picked up the Lovenox, and immediately gave myself the shot in my stomach in my car, not wanting to wait a single second more.  I give myself a shot of the Lovenox every twelve hours and I started the Coumadin last night.  My INR level will be checked on Wednesday.  That’s how they measure if there’s enough Coumadin in my system or not.

I messaged my doctor today asking for a referral to a hematologist.  She said there wasn’t really any point in going as I’ll now be on Coumadin for life and it’s not as though they can take me off of it to do any testing, but she agreed to make the referral since it would make me more comfortable.  I have questions that I want to ask the hematologist and I imagine that my parents do as well.  Plus almost everyone in my Facebook Factor V Leiden Support Group has a hematologist, so it seems like I should have one, too.

Anyways, that’s what’s going on with me!

mental health

The Intervention Letter Part 2

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a failure.  Like someone who is unsuccessful and doesn’t give back to the community.  Like someone who will never be a productive member of society.  Like my life is worthless.  Like I was a fraud for going to a Returned Peace Corps Volunteers event because I only completed 5 months of service.  I’ve felt hopeless, helpless, lonely, and ashamed.  You guys seemed to really like my last Intervention Letter, so I’ve decided to write another one for how I’m currently feeling.

The Intervention Letter
The quote on the right says, “We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty.”
-Captain Malcolm Reynolds

The Intervention Letter (Assignment from Park Ridge IOP)

“The script each person reads during a family intervention is called the intervention letter.  We are going to be writing an intervention letter to ourselves regarding our negative core beliefs.

Ideally, you want your letter to:

  1. Communicate genuine love and compassion for yourself, and to convey that you only want to see yourself get better
  2. Help yourself realize the severity of the impact of the core belief on daily life
  3. Help yourself to understand that your belief and its daily self-talk manifestations and behavioral impact cause hurt and pain
  4. Clearly express commitment to accept change through challenging negative core beliefs and living as if you believed new balanced beliefs about yourself/others/world
  5. Clearly express the consequences of not adjusting beliefs and living with old patterns of negative thinking”

 

Dear Catherine,
Look at you, out in the world doing things even though you’re depressed and all you want to do is stay in bed and watch Netflix all day every day!  You took two memoir writing classes, you’re taking a sewing class, you’ve gone bowling and out for tea and to numerous movies, even some where you had to sit by people you didn’t know.  You’ve somewhat kept up with your blog, you’re doing a podcast and blog with Joanne about mental health that is helping who knows how many people, and you try your very hardest to be there for your friends when they need you.  You submitted an essay you wrote to eleven different publications.  Even though you haven’t gotten published yet, you will one day.  You are courageous, strong, intelligent, and giving.  You write well and you take good care of River.  Even the vet said you’re a good dog mom.  You make a conscious choice every day to do Opposite Action- getting out of bed and going and doing things even though you want to hide away from the world and everyone in it.

Your core belief that you are a failure is affecting everything in your life.  It changes the way you view yourself, others, and the world around you.  You are constantly comparing yourself to other people’s success even though their definitions of success may be very different from what your definition of success needs to be right now because of your illness.  You are depressed.  You have been depressed for seven months.  You need to cut yourself some slack.  It is not feasible or realistic right now to expect yourself to have a job or own a home or buy a new car.  It is not fair to you to judge yourself based on where the lives of people you love are or are going.  You have different needs from them right now.

Your job is to keep getting out of the bed, day after day, until one day it doesn’t feel so monumental.  Your job is to try to keep showering as often as possible.  Your job is to take your medications as prescribed.  Your job is to go to therapy for your appointments.  Your job is to have active conversations with your psychiatrist about what the next step is.  Your job may or may not include ECT in the coming months, which I know is very scary for you.  Your job is to keep yourself alive.  1 in 3 people with Bipolar Disorder attempt suicide and 1 in 5 successfully complete suicide.  Your job is to not become one of those statistics.  In those respects, you are very much not a failure.  When you change your definition of success, which won’t happen overnight, you’ll see that you are accomplishing great things for where you are in your life and in light of the fact that you have Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Attacks.  You are alive after suffering from Bipolar Disorder for 3.5 years.  That in itself is a feat you should be proud of.

Your self-talk about you being a failure and your life being worthless has a horrible effect on your mood.  I know that it’s hard to change your self-talk, especially when you are depressed and feel like everything is horrible and going horribly wrong, but try to use your Thought Diary Worksheets to help you come up with better and healthier ways of thinking about yourself.  Telling yourself “I am worthless”, “I don’t deserve to go to RPCV functions”, “I’ll never amount to anything”, “I am not a productive citizen”, “I am incapable of helping others”, and all of the other self-talk you have been using lately is unhealthy.  It is demeaning and untrue.  It’s time to print out those worksheets and keep them with you in your purse.  It’s time to keep copies beside your bed.  It’s time to really use them because you know how well they can work to change negative thinking patterns.  It’s time to commit to different ways of thinking.  You must at least try, even if you don’t believe the “balanced thoughts” section at the end of the worksheet at first.  You must keep trying and trying until you start to belief in your worth as a person again.

If you keep going down this road, you will just become more and more depressed.  If you keep letting these thoughts control you, you could have to be hospitalized again.  If you don’t start trying for change, you’ll never know how much better you could feel.  I know it’s hard when depression has you in it’s grips.  I know it feels like this will never end and you will always feel this way, but you’ve come out of this before and you will come out of it again, even if it means increasing your medication by a bunch or doing Electro Convulsive Therapy.  You are so loved by so many people and you owe it to yourself and to them to do your best to get better.  So please, try the worksheets to help you overcome some of your “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.”

Love Always,
Catherine

 

 

Thought Diary 3- Resource for Negative Thinking

 

Adventure

TBR for the Summer/Fall

My To Be Read Pile is growing quickly, but I wanted to share some of the books I’m hopeful I will read this summer and fall.  If I read them, I’ll try to write reviews about them so you know what I think about them (with the exception of the HP books probably, because if you know me at all, you know I love them).  If you want any of these books, I suggest purchasing from smile.amazon.com instead of regular Amazon.  You still get Prime benefits if you have Prime, but a portion of the proceeds of your sale goes to a charity, I suggest Together Rising in Falls Church, VA.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
⚯͛△⃒⃘
I try to re-read the entire Harry Potter Series every year, but I’ve been struggling with my mental health so much that I didn’t finish it last year and I’ve barely started it this year.  Pottermore is starting a book club to re-read each book and Mugglenet offers a chapter by chapter podcast that I’m interested in, so I’m hoping to do this re-read in a very interactive way.

A Study in Charlotte and The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte.jpeg
The Last of August

I read and LOVED the first book in this series, but by the time The Last of August came out, I was in the grips of a terrible depression and couldn’t focus enough to re-read A Study in Charlotte and read The Last of August.  It had been a while since I read the first book, so I wanted to re-read it before I read the second one.

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

The Inconceivable Life of Quinn
This is one of those books that just keeps popping up on GoodReads as one of the best YA books coming out this year, so I feel obligated to read it.  I’ve got it on my Nook and it may be one of the books I work on at the beach.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic
I still haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but Big Magic just kept popping up in interviews I was watching with Glennon Doyle Melton and Brené Brown and I ADORE those two.  Plus, I love the idea of creative living beyond fear and I thought it may help me with my quest to write my own memoir.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass
This book has kept popping up in my life and I’m really working on learning how to love myself right now, so I thought this might help provide the inspiration I need.

Almost Adulting by Arden Rose

Almost Adulting
Do you see a theme here?  I really wish I could get my life together and maybe reading enough humorous self-help books will help me accomplish that in some way.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime
This one I want to read because I adore both Trevor Noah and learning about South African culture.  Even though I lived in South Africa for 5 months, there is so much more for me to learn about what Apartheid was really like from someone who actually lived through it but is closer to my age than the late great Nelson Mandela’s (I read Long Walk to Freedom, it was indeed long and parts of it were hard to get through).

Challenger Deep by Neal Schusterman

Challenger Deep
I want to read Challenger Deep because it is based on the author’s son’s struggle with schizophrenia and I am pretty much always down to read a story that is based on mental health and raising mental health awareness.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Voyager
This book I want to read because I want to know what happens in season 3 of Outlander before I actually watch it.  I’ve read the first book and part of the second, but I had trouble finishing it as I was in the psych ward at the time.  I put it down and never picked it back up.

That’s what’s in my TBR Pile/ on my TBR list.  Let me know in the comments what’s in/on yours!!

Blogs I Love

How Self-Love Can Help You Succeed.

(From Catherine: This is a great post on learning to love yourself, something I have definitely been working on lately.  It’s a journey and not something that can just happen overnight.  Be kind to yourselves. #BloggingBoost #BloggingBoosters)

The Blog Dahlia

#apostwithnoimages

#theonlythingyouneedtoseeisYOU

Last week, I spoke about finding your purpose. I feel it’s important to be driven by something (your purpose) that is meant to magnify not only the happiness in your life but also in the lives of those you encounter.

You see, when you feel good about yourself you are in a better position to influence the direction your life goes and encourage and uplift others along the way. For that reason, I am ranking self-love one notch higher on the priority front over finding your purpose.

I have paid tribute to, in various degrees, self-love in a few of my posts. If you missed any of them, click here for the one about happiness, or here for my thoughts on committment. Maybe positivity is what you’re lacking. This is just for you.

The way in which you identify with yourself has strong direct and indirect influence…

View original post 575 more words

Adventure

The Intervention Letter

Tonight, I’ve been looking through my journal and blog entries that I’ve put together for my memoir and I came across this assignment that we did while I was in the Park Ridge Intensive Outpatient Program.  I had forgotten all about it, which is a shame because the whole point of it was to change my daily thinking.  I’m feeling a little nervous and raw about sharing it, but I feel like it’s important and I know I’m not the only person who feels this way, so to anyone else who feels this way, I just want to say- you are not alone.

June 21, 2016

The Intervention Letter (Assignment from Park Ridge IOP)

“The script each person reads during a family intervention is called the intervention letter.  We are going to be writing an intervention letter to ourselves regarding our negative core beliefs.

Ideally, you want your letter to:

  1. Communicate genuine love and compassion for yourself, and to convey that you only want to see yourself get better
  2. Help yourself realize the severity of the impact of the core belief on daily life
  3. Help yourself to understand that your belief and its daily self-talk manifestations and behavioral impact cause hurt and pain
  4. Clearly express commitment to accept change through challenging negative core beliefs and living as if you believed new balanced beliefs about yourself/others/world
  5. Clearly express the consequences of not adjusting beliefs and living with old patterns of negative thinking”

 

Dear Catherine,

I want you to know that I really love and care about you.  You are a kind, compassionate, loving, and giving person.  I admire your bravery.  For example, you’ve traveled the world and you chose to join the Peace Corps.  I admire how much you care about other people, as evidenced by your volunteer trip to the orphanage in Kenya, you joining the Peace Corps, you getting your M.A.Ed. in School Counseling, and the empathy you show by hurting and loving so deeply when others are hurt.  I admire the strength it took to admit that you need help and to check yourself into the hospital.  I admire your conviction and the commitment you’ve made to wellness in spite of your bipolar disorder.  I want nothing more than to see you live a full, normal, and successful life.  I know you have what it takes to do that and have the power within yourself.

Catherine, I can see that your negative core belief that you are “not enough” has negatively impacted your life.  You have avoided taking risks romantically and, over the past three years, you have spent most of your free time in your room on your bed alone except for the company of River.  You have avoided spending time with friends because of your “not enough” core belief and it has had a negative effect on your wellness in terms of the progression of your recovery with bipolar disorder.  You have, throughout your life, made incredibly questionable choices about the men you have dated because you didn’t think you deserved any better due to your belief of not being skinny, pretty, funny, smart, successful, and competent enough.  You have dated men who disrespected you, cheated on you, or were even emotionally abusive to you and who didn’t respect what you wanted and didn’t respect your body.  All this was because of your core belief that you are “not enough.”

Your belief that you are “not enough” affects your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in ways that are hurtful and painful.  Your daily self-talk of “I’m not pretty enough.  I’m not skinny enough.  I’m not smart enough.  I’m not successful enough.  I’m not independent enough.  I’m not ___________ enough.  I’m not enough.” is emotional abuse.  When you think something enough times, you start to believe it.  It also affects your behaviors, some of which I already wrote about.  You would never speak to someone else you care about in this way and you shouldn’t ever let someone you care about speak to you in this way either, not even yourself.  This obsessive and ruminating self-talk is harmful and abusive and it’s hard to understand why you would allow it to continue.  Since it has caused you to stay in your room so much, your negative core belief has affected your friendships.  Your friends are patient and understanding, but they aren’t saints and it was unfair for you to expect them to wait this long to hang out with you regularly again.

Catherine, I’m asking you to accept change.  Every time you think your core belief, I’m asking that you change it to I am enough.  I ask that you remind yourself that you are enough each and every day.  I challenge you to live as though you believe you are enough, even if you don’t always feel that way.  This may look like being more confident when stable or depressed and it may look like imposing the 24-hour rule on things that are big choices when you are manic, because you are so much better than some of the impulsive choices you have made.

One major consequence of not adjusting your core belief and of living with old patterns of negative thinking is that if your thought pattern remains the same, your feelings and behaviors are unlikely to change.  You will continue to put yourself down and may make more decisions based on the false idea that you are not good enough and therefore do not deserve any better.  It is imperative that you start making changes in the way you think and replace “I’m not enough” with “I am enough” in your thinking.

Love Always,

Catherine