Posted by: Marie | June 29, 2009

(98) Intake advice

Post #98
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 18, 2009]

Today was my first session with Dr. Barb. Well, technically, it was not a session, it was the “intake”. She diagnosed me with PTSD, depression, disturbed sleep, stress, anxiety and difficulty with weight, nutrition and exercise management.

The Island by Martin Chen

The Island by Martin Chen

After getting the clinical preliminaries out of the way, we had a mini-session. Some of the points she made were:

* Healthy habits are not optional – no matter what

* I should say affirmative words as I employ healthy habits (while I eat, as I brush my teeth, etc.)

* My habit of binging on soft, creamy foods indicates a need for affection (crunchy foods would indicate the presence of anger)

* I should take 10,000 steps in the course of an average day (about 5 miles, 8 km)

* I should make a point of taking care of myself in little ways (walk home from work the “long way” so I get a little extra exercise, pull back my shoulders, make sure my self-talk is positive, etc.)

* I should think of my healthy habits as life-long habits – I’m setting myself up to be a sexy senior!

* I should not eat in front of the TV because metabolism declines dramatically during mindless eating. Instead, I should appreciate what went into the creation of the meal – the hours I worked to earn the money that paid for the food, the farmers who farmed, the animals who died – I should chew well, really taste the food, set my fork down between bites.

* When I told her about how I’m sharing my story with others though my blog, she suggested that I instead use my blog to share suggestions, tips and other uplifting information that has been useful to me – keep the focus positive instead of negative. I told her that I wanted to share both sides of the story – the positive and negative – if I don’t include the negative, how will people who are in dark parts of the journey relate to my story enough to glean hope from it? She said that sharing the negative parts would only serve to keep my readers “spinning” in their own negativity – that it could cause them to get and/or stay stuck.


She introduced me to a term: A.N.T.S. (automatic negative thoughts), which was created by Dr. Amen in the book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”. She told me that I should look for and “kill” these “ANTS”. She suggested using a rubber band around my wrist – when I discovered ANTS in my thinking, I should snap myself with the rubber band.

Some ANTS she talked about include:

* All or none thinking

* Hyperactive brain (always thinking – overly dramatic)

* Focusing on the negative

* Predicting what is going to happen (not allowing space for joyful surprises)

* Predicting what others are thinking or feeling (mind reading)

* Feeling guilt/shame about something that happened rather than seeing it as an opportunity

* Labeling

* Laying blame on something outside myself or someone else when the issue is really with me


Dr. Barb also gave me some “steps to loving yourself”:

* Refuse to criticize yourself – instead, choose to approve of yourself – tell yourself how well you are doing with everything

* Stop terrorizing yourself with whirlpools of negative thoughts – instead, switch your thoughts to pleasant mental images

* Treat yourself with patience, gentleness and kindness and don’t beat yourself up – forgive yourself instead

* Change your thoughts from self-hatred to more loving thoughts

* Reach out to positive friends and family – allow them to fulfill their gifts and purpose

* Be aware and release your past patterns, triggers and negative behaviors – acknowledge you created them to fulfill a need – find new ways to fulfill those needs

* Learn and apply knowledge about nutrition, water, sleep and exercise

* Once a day say “I love you” to yourself in the mirror – express the growing sense of love you feel for yourself

* Do it now – not when you get to your goal weight or land your ideal job

Quotes 010


  1. These are good tips, Marie. I like Dr Barb already! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey, Kerro –

      Dr. Barb does make a point of encouraging her clients to see the bright side of things! She’s an upbeat person . . .

      Good to hear from you!

      – Marie

  2. “My habit of binging on soft, creamy foods indicates a need for affection (crunchy foods would indicate the presence of anger)” This is SO true.

    I go for crisps when I’m angry. And when I’m upset – usually because I’m longing for care, looking after, affection – then ice cream, chocolate, easy to swallow foods are what I go for.

    I’d never really thought about it consciously like this until I read what you wrote. Wow. Thank you for that.

    Have a good vacation!

    • Hey, K –

      I’m glad to hear from you! How are things going?

      You are right . . . I had never realized the creamy/cruchy association either, until she pointed it out to me. It is absolutely true for me, too.

      Thanks for the vacation wishes . . . I just took a shower and am now doing up my laundry so I can pack . . . I have to leave my house at 4:15am, so I’ll likely head to bed a bit early tonight. Talk to you next week!

      – Marie

  3. I’m not sure I agree with the soft vs. crunchy foods. If it’s so, then I must always and forever be extremely angry! lol

    However, I greatly agree with your new Ts suggesting that writing about negative things keeps you there. My own T cautiously gave his stamp of approval on my blogging in the first place and since then, he has suggested several times that I stop reading/writing for a week or two.

    I can tell that writing and/or reading a lot of stories so closely related to mine keep me in a state of flight or fight and panic. Sometimes, tho, writing it gets some GREAT insight, opinions, and suggestions.

    I think she gave you too many “tasks” at the same time. I would have cratered by the time I left there – hope you were okay with them all. How did you do with it all?

    You’re up to 4 months ago!

    • Hey, Ivory –

      Well, I’m sure the creamy vs. soft thing isn’t 100%, LOL . . . just a good guideline for some people.

      I can see Dr. Barb’s point about the negativity in the blog . . . but, I think the yulky stuff is just as important as the feel good stuff . . . there are lessons to be learned in all of it. I am just very careful to make sure I share the resolutions and solutions as well, when I have them.

      The big list of stuff that Dr. Barb gave me didn’t faze me much . . . the vast majority of it was stuff I had already heard/read before . . . so, it was more like a refresher course.

      LOL . . I see you are tracking the shortening of the lag time . . . yes, I’d like it to keep it at more like three months . . . we’re getting there!

      See you in a week! Thanks for dropping in!

      – Marie

  4. I think that you balance the negative and positive very well in your writing. Besides reading about so called “negatives” helps me to learn about myself. I know that I am not alone. And when I read about the positives I am learning that there is hope.

    I know that focusing constantly on negatives is not healthy but life isn’t all positive either.

    I guess finding balance is the hard part.

    • Hi, lostinamaze –

      Thank you for your encouraging words . . . I agree with you about the value of the “negative” parts of our processing. I think, sometimes, you have to wade through the negatives to sort through them and figure out what is accurate and what is not — and what to do about it all.

      – Marie

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