generallyanxious.com

Leslie Jones is hilarious

In case you haven’t heard, Leslie Jones is hilarious.  Comedian, actress, SNL cast member – she makes me, my husband, and our friends LOL from our couches on a regular basis.

In case you haven’t heard, Leslie Jones was cyber bullied to the point that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had to step in.

Here’s a thought.  Remember what Ralphie did to his bully in “A Christmas Story?”  Perhaps that could be staged between Leslie Jones and her cowardly bully.  In the snow.

Continue bringing more JOY to the world, Leslie. I think you’re hilarious, and I’m not alone.

Witness: A True Story Of Addiction, Redemption, And Faith by Lee Hollingsworth

I read this book because Lee is a friend, because I wanted to support his work and get to know him better. Never having had an addiction problem, I didn’t think I’d be able to relate. I was proved wrong in the first chapter titled “Insanity”, where Lee graphically describes the destructive behavior he takes as an addict to make himself feel better. I have been there with every anxiety attack.

My mom told me that 12 step programs commonly associated with addiction recovery are used for anxiety, depression and eating disorders too. Now that I think of it, it makes sense to apply these steps to mental disorders: they guide you to admit you’re powerless over your problem, to surrender and give yourself over to a higher power. I know too well that dealing with anxiety traps you inside your own head, trying to make sense of your delusional thoughts and the reactions of your adrenalin-fueled body.

What would happen if I surrendered, admitted that this was the way I was made and just went about my day the best I could?

Please see my favorite excerpts below. You’d be surprised how easily “addiction” can be replaced with “anxiety”.


A key concept Lee presents in his book is Willingness. Here is his description:

“It is not action. It is not results. It is the essential preparatory state to do something new, different, awkward, unfamiliar or big.”

It’s no mistake this reference comes early in the book. He notes willingness is essential during crucial times such as finding a job or to stop using.

Without willingness, where do you find the energy to change your situation?


“by turning off your own judgmental self, you can do far more than you ever envisioned. When always assessing how I am doing, and not actually doing, I waste enormous amounts of energy. If I stopped to wonder if I could do it, I would not have carried on.”


Humility:

“Our egos cause us to cling to things and behavior we believe we need. Sometimes we think we’re entitled, sometimes we think we are essential. Only in desperation are these characters defects burned away. Only in brokenness do we see our true insignificance. Only in hopelessness do we begin to emerge from the darkness of our conceit. In humility, we are lifted from our prisons. We are liberated by truth and we are flushed with gratitude and made calm. We find ourselves gaining strength in a way we never knew. We have survived. In gratitude we have found a way to live with whatever reality is set before us.”

“I pray to God every day to lend me some of His wisdom and strength. In return, He lifts a little of the haze of human confusion and self-centeredness, giving me a little clarity to get by.”


Lee lists several paradoxical concepts he’s learned through his recovery. Here are several simple, useful truths:

-Surrender can win when nothing else will.

-To truly feel better physically, go to a gym and hurt until you feel better.

-Serve others to help yourself.


“As the evil tentacles of addiction infect every crevice of self, family, and community, so does the illuminating light of God raise up with love and restore those ties among us, with power to build far greater than evil’s power to destroy.”


Lee has a mental checklist he reviews to gauge his physical, mental and spiritual health. It’s the stuff we’ve heard all our lives – get a good night’s rest, eat your vegetables – yet we all need to be reminded to take care of ourselves:

1. Have I been eating well?

2.Have I had enough sleep?

3.Have I been running/exercising in the last two days?

4.Have I been praying diligently?

5.Have I been to a recovery meeting lately?

6.Have I told my wife and children and Dad that I love them?

7.Have I stopped to recognize all the blessings in my life, and how many billions of people on Earth would happily trade their problems for mine?


Peace in Reality:

“I should realize that I am never going to precisely know the way things will turn out, and beating myself up for answers is destructive. Somehow, though, my conscience won’t let me completely relax. Not worrying is too similar to sleeping on the job. Thankfully, scripture gives guidance:

‘be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
Philippians 4:6-7″


Helping Others:

“There is something special about recovering addicts, especially to each other. Perhaps it’s because they have pretty much endured everything, and have probably encountered every comical situation known to man. There is nothing bad you have ever done that cannot be topped by someone else in a room of recovering addicts. For some reason, there is security in that.

I try to be that person to others entering the program. I try to be as open as my midget mind will let me, and tell everyone who will listen what happened to me, no matter how embarrassing, so that they might share their pain and problems with me or others, and not miss solutions others have found. No matter what we go through in life, someone has been through it, and there is a way to manage.”

THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, by DAVID O. RUSSELL (Based on the novel by Matthew Quick)

The Silver Linings Playbook is about Pat Solitano, a man with bipolar who, after 8 months in a mental institution, is full of positive energy and ready to rebuild his life.

Unemployed and separated from his wife, Pat moves back in with his parents. The story unfolds as Pat discloses details of his condition to his therapist, Dr. Patel. He meets Tiffany, a very brash woman with her own problems who seems to want to spend lots of time with Pat.

This movie does a good job showing both the inner and inter personal struggles that mental illness can cause, especially amongst families. It also sheds light on the importance of having a positive attitude and positive outlets in life as a way forward.

If you’re interested, here is a link to the screenplay.


After reading an unhappy ending to a Hemingway novel, Pat wakes his parents up at 4am. It’s easy to root for him – he wants so desperately for life to be positive…

PAT:  …and he does. He does. He survives the war, after getting blown up he survives it, and he escapes to Switzerland with Catherine. But now Catherine’s pregnant. Isn’t that wonderful? She’s pregnant. And they escape up into the mountains and they’re gonna be happy, and they’re gonna be drinking wine and they dance — they both like to dance with each other, there’s scenes of them dancing, which was boring, but I liked it, because they were happy. You think he ends it there? No! He writes another ending. She dies, Dad! I mean, the world’s hard enough as it is, guys. It’s fucking hard enough as it is. Can’t somebody say, ‘Hey, let’s be positive? Let’s have a good ending to the story?’


Pat talks to his therapist, Dr. Patel, about dealing with his condition by “white-knuckling it” (don’t try this at home, kids; it’s exhausting!) and then eventually getting diagnosed with bipolar.

PAT:  Yeah, about a week before the incident, I called the cops and I told them that my wife and the history guy were plotting against me by embezzling money from the local high school, which wasn’t true. It was a delusion. And we later found out from the hospital that’s because I’m, uh…

DR. PATEL:  …undiagnosed bipolar.

PAT:  “Yeah. With mood swings and weird thinking brought on by severe stress, which rarely happens, thank God. And then the shower incident happened and that’s when everything snapped, so I then realized that, oh, wow, I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. And without any supervision I’ve been doing it all on my own with no help and basically I’ve been white-knuckling it this whole time.

DR. PATEL:  That had to be hard.

PAT:  Yeah. It’s a lot to deal with, especially when you don’t know what the hell is happening, which I do now. Sort of.


Here is Pat – lovable, positive Pat – recounting his hospital stay to Dr. Patel, his therapist:

PAT:  This is what I believe to be true. This is what I learned in the hospital. You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.


In this scene, Tiffany, Pat’s new friend who also deals with mental instability, explains her self-acceptance to him, and how important it is (rather brashly).

TIFFANY:  I was a big slut, but I’m not anymore. There’s always gonna be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that, with all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself, fucker?! Can you forgive? Are you any good at that?


Dr. Patel gives Pat advice on controlling his outbursts – recognizing, then redirecting the harmful thoughts.

PAT:  Let me just set the record straight about last night. Hurting my mother was a mistake and I hate myself for
it, and I hate my illness and I want to control it. My father, on the other hand, had no trouble slapping the shit out of me last night, which I did not return ‘cause I could’ve killed him and I didn’t. He’s sixty-five years old. You don’t think I could’ve beat the shit out of him? I mean….

DR. PATEL:  He was scared for your mother and you hurt him as well.

PAT:  Yes, last night was a mess. Okay? And I think he probably just tried to do his best.

DR. PATEL:  Pat, you have to have a strategy. I told you earlier. You need to recognize these feelings coming to
you, otherwise you will be sent back to Baltimore. So when you get these feelings, you need to get to a quieter place, and be at peace with yourself, however you can.

PAT:  Yeah, but that’s easier said than done.


Pat is ashamed of being on medication, as most of us are. It’s always good to hear someone else say it.

PAT:  Yeah. So they put me on medication, which I feel ashamed of.

TIFFANY:  Yeah.

PAT:  So I know.

TIFFANY:  You do.

PAT:  I just gotta get a strategy, you know?


Tiffany gives Pat a realistic perspective on his violent outbursts when he hears his wedding song.

TIFFANY:  You gonna go your whole life scared of that song? It’s just a song. Don’t make it a monster.

TIFFANY (CONT’D):  There’s no song playing. There’s no song. Breathe, count backwards from ten. That’s it.


Pat and his friend from the hospital, Danny, try to explain themselves to Pat’s mom, Dolores. I’ve sometimes wondered about something like a “sixth sense”; although I think I’d be content with just five.

DOLORES:  Pat, you’re up to something, I know.

PAT:  People like Tiffany, or Danny, or me, maybe we know something that you guys don’t know, okay? Did you
ever think about that? Maybe we understand something because we’re more–

DANNY:  We have a sixth sense. I mean, everybody’s got it. Everybody’s just not in touch with it.


In this scene, Tiffany gives Pat a little history of her marriage. This line is a good example of how difficult intimate relationships can be – something that seems so natural to most people can be so hard for others. Thank you David O. Russell for including this in the movie. I have been there, it’s a horrible place, and hearing her say this gave me a small sense of comfort. Thank you.

TIFFANY:  We were married for three years and five days, and I loved him. But for the last couple months, I just wasn’t into sex at all. It just felt like we were so different and I was depressed. Some of that is just me, some of it was he wanted me to have kids and I have a hard enough time taking care of myself. I don’t think that makes me a criminal.