Baggage Check Live: "Add some S'mores every once in a while"

Aug 21, 2018

Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior was online to take your comments about her advice column, Baggage Check, and any other questions you might have. These comments may appear in an upcoming column running in Express and online.

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Hi, everyone-- and welcome!

Such a spirited discussion last week. Apparently my fears of every last chatter being away on vacation were unfounded. What is on your mind today?

In today's print column, we've got a LW hurt over the fact that she wasn't chosen as a bridesmaid for a longtime friend's wedding. And in the other one, we've got a couple who are very happy together.... unless they are traveling. Can anyone relate? 

Let's talk!

My husband of 40 plus years and I do not have similar travel styles, so we limit the travel time together, and (because he is less flexible) try to do things that are comfortable for him. So when I want to do something outside his comfort zone (hike the Appalachian trail, fell walking in Britain, skiing in the Alps) I do this with friends or affinity groups. Works for us.

Sounds like a great balance. 

Any room for another on those fell-walking trips? I'd bring the good cheese!

This happened to me 10 years ago, so I understand your hurt and disappointment. I went to the wedding and (after being a little critical and judgey of the bridemaids) ended up being really happy that I didn't have to do all of the required wedding party stuff. But Andrea is right, try to not let this impact your friendship. My friend doesn't even talk to her Maid of Honor (let alone her 7 bridesmaids) anymore; but, I was in the room when she had her first child.

I'm glad to hear that you came out the other side! I do think it takes time and perspective to help the sting go away. 

Hi! I think I have a normal amount of anxiety, which during the day I can deal pretty well with by exercising, getting enough sleep, eating well, etc...However, I'm noticing (maybe in the past few years...) my anxiety seems to get worse at night. For the few hours before bed, my mind will fixate on something. This could be something I said to someone earlier in the day that I now think was really dumb to say, it could be a mistake at work that I made a year ago, or it could even be something in the news. This makes me really anxious until I go to bed. When I wake up, I realize it wasn't that big of a deal and I can handle it again. Do you have any tricks or tips for how I can calm my mind down and relax during these hours before bed?

This may sound paradoxical, but it does make me wonder: are you getting enough sleep?

None of us are, it seems. I know. But the fact that you wake up feeling less anxious in the morning means that your well-rested mind is quite capable of keeping a healthy perspective. I wonder if at night, your mind (and body) are overly fatigued and begging for rest. Would it be possible for you to go to bed a bit earlier?

That said, feeling more anxious at night is a very common cycle, even if people aren't overly fatigued. Can you identify what makes it worse versus better: does the season make a difference? (If it starts earlier in winter, for instance, then we know that darkness versus daylight play a role.) Are there parts of your evening routine that make you ruminate on things a bit too much? Are there interactions you have or don't have that get your mind racing (spinning your wheels on social media, watching too much upsetting news, feeling lonely for interaction with others? Answering emails from work?)

The more you can identify what makes it worse, the more you can figure out what can make it better. For instance, if it's got some physiological roots and you feel the tension particularly strongly in your body, you might try some yoga or breathing exercises. Mindfulness meditation or visualization can help if it's a mainly cognitive issue. And if it's a logistical issue-- too many thoughts swirling of things left "unfinished"-- you might think about something symbolic like writing them down and crossing them off a list or shredding them in a shredder. Or burning them if you want to get wild! Make yourself a little nightly ritual (and add some S'mores every once in a while.)

Can anyone relate? 

 

I've felt similar emotions, but I was not invited to the wedding. We were really close throughout college but drifted off a bit when adulting happened. I always thought I would still invite her to my wedding... until I found out she had hers and didn't invite me. I understand weddings are expensive though and she may have been trying to keep it under a certain number of people.

Yeah, it hurts.

So, if I may-- if you always assumed you'd invite her to yours, and you understand that different weddings have different costs and characteristics, why would her decision automatically lead to your changing your mind about inviting her to your own?

Ugh, my bf and I are the same way. I am a hardcore planner, while he prefers to do more relaxing, less-touristy things. What I've done is try to come up with a mix of both when I make an itinerary and run it by him ahead of time. It seems to work, though he sometimes still groans about getting up earlier to sight-see.

Sounds like a few groans are a reasonable side effect of an otherwise beautiful compromise. Well done! 

What do you do/write for someone in hospice that you know but are not close enough to visit? In this case, she is a parent's close friend. She will not be getting better. I was thinking of a "Think of You" card, but I have no idea what to write inside. "We are sorry and sad that you are dying," is, um, far too blunt. Do we just not do anything and leave it to our parents to visit and communicate?

Please, please, please do NOT not do anything.

Did that make sense? 

I simply cannot tell you how many people are worried about saying the "wrong" thing in these situations (happens with grieving too), and end up doing what is really the ONLY wrong possibility, which is to disappear. You will regret missing out on the opportunity.

You don't have to say "sorry that you are dying." You can expand on the theme of "thinking of you." You can mention specific and pleasant memories, things that this person taught you, ways that they will be with you in your heart, ways that you are sending them love. It is about connection, after all. Doing the reaching out. THAT is the beautiful part, not the exact verbiage. 

Depending on the person's personality and interests too, there might be other ways to connect: a note about a book that made you think of them, a commentary on the Nats' horrors, a trip you took that made you think of them for XYZ reason. 

I'm telling you, you will do fine. Connection is what is important here-- and even if you stumble or are too "blunt"- it's not like they are not aware of what is happening and you are reminding them anew. Loving intentions will guide the way. 

 

 

I had and still occasionally have this issue, the best recommendation from the sleep doctor I saw: get out of bed--only spend time in your bed when you are about to sleep or intimate times (so if you like to read or browse the internet before sleeping, get out of bed to do it), and if you get into bed and can't sleep, get out of bed and walk around or stand until you feel tired enough or ready for sleep (it took me about a week and a half of forcing myself out of bed when I wasn't tired or keeping myself up with stressful thoughts, but now when I get into bed it takes me minutes to fall asleep because my brain only associates my bed with sleep now!)

Thank you! These are definitely gold standard "sleep hygiene" tips. 

I do get the feeling that the OP is doing a lot of worrying even before bedtime approaches, though. 

Totally. There are several things that could help: chamomile tea before bed, aromatherapy (lavendar or honeysuckle essential oils) , and, in my case, hormones. The "alarm clock at 3 a.m." was defused by a low dose of progesterone once I hit perimenopause. Meditation can help, too.

These are great suggestions to think about. Thanks. 

My partner and I are about to go on our first trip together? Any tips to make sure Is smooth sailing? This is also my first time traveling with a significant other in more than a decade so I’m not even sure I know my travel style with a partner!

Ooh, now this is exciting! 

You probably DO have a decent idea of your travel style if you think about it. The main axes of conflict I tend to see are the structure/planning versus spontaneity, and the worrying versus risk-taking. And sometimes when one person needs more alone time than the other does.

Oh, and the Energizer Bunny Touring Mayan Ruins versus the Beach Bunny Laying on the Sand With a Drink Named After Mayan Ruins conflict as well.

Discuss things beforehand. What level of planning is acceptable to you both? What level of spontaneity? Do you want to divide and conquer certain roles and tasks? What are your expectations about how you'll be flexible in certain ways, when things go wrong (which they'll inevitably do?) What do you each prioritize on this trip and how can the other respect that? 

My husband was promoted to a high-profile position about 2 years ago. His additional pay allowed me to stay home with our kids. Whereas he used to do around 30% of the household chores, he now does almost nothing. When he does do anything (after I ask, multiple times), he’s angry and storms around, sometimes for days. He has intimated that I should happily take care of everything with the house and kids, as he is “very important” (his words) and he could find someone to take my place (either as his wife or as a domestic employee) in a heartbeat. He feels that when he’s home, he should be free to spend his time as he wants. When I try to talk to him about our situation, he’s immediately furious. When we’ve attended counseling, he denies all of his behavior and says I’m lying. I went to counseling solo, but didn’t find it particularly useful as I just spent all the sessions retelling what happened with my husband and not reaching any conclusions. This is not the man I married. I have no respect or affection for him anymore. I’ve spoken to a divorce attorney, who said I wouldn’t qualify for alimony as I am able to go back to work, and that I would be at the mercy of my husband’s unpredictable schedule. The attorney advised that I stay in the marriage if I can stand it, since post-divorce I would have the same responsibility for everything that I do now, plus work, but with none of the money from my husband. I don’t know what to do anymore.

I am sorry for this.

Your letter started out in a way that I was going to jump in with some general suggestions about navigating new roles, about "quantifying" the "work" that at-home versus out-of-the-home partners do, about divvying up household chores when one spouse brings home a huge amount of the bacon.... pretty typical conflicts for many couples.

But this is a much deeper problem, as you know, and it sounds like he is not treating you with respect-- and in turn you have lost it for him as well. 

So, chatters should chime in here, but my first question: what the *&%$ is up with this attorney?

Of course this is not my field of expertise, but it's rare I've heard of someone being advised to stay in an unhappy marriage in such a stark way for seemingly invalid reasons. Again, I'm no legal eagle but even the "you won't get alimony" piece simply doesn't pass the sniff test for me. 

So, my first thought-- you need a different consultation with a different lawyer. And-- we can get into this when the time comes with more information-- I would certainly argue that your peace of mind and happiness and mental health are worth many things, including some monetary sacrifices if it comes to that. 

Can anyone help shed some light here? 

I *highly* recommend the Insight Timer app, which has hundreds of meditations, soothing musical pieces, etc of varying lengths. It's the only kind of 'meditation' I have been able to do, and just recently used it to help calm down one night before bedtime as my brain can also get the better of me.

Though I don't have direct experience with this app, it is always a boon to have new ones to check out. Thanks for this!

Maybe if the OP reads or listens to a podcast before bed, that may take their mind off of things. It may be the OP needs a low key hobby in the evening? (I'm reading it as there are no problems actually falling asleep, just as time where the brain wanders into anxiety land)

Yup, that was how I read it too.

And these are lovely suggestions. Thank you. I think certain hobbies are fantastic for inducing a meditative calm. (That's probably why I have nineteen unfinished sweaters still attached to knitting needles.)

Although mine hits in the middle of the night. I wake up obsessing over things that happened or, even worse, could happen (but probably won't). I have learned to force myself away from those thought with a 'happy scenario' that I play in my mind. It generally allows me to get back to sleep fairly quickly, and when I wake up, all those anxieties are gone. I've also found that taking some tylenol before bed helps to knock me out.

Another helpful tip from someone who's been there. (Though I need to emphasize I'm of course not a physician so can't co-sign on the Tylenol rec.)

It's really common for people to have a subtype of insomnia where falling asleep is not the problem, but waking up in the middle of the night and worrying is. I like the happy scenario idea-- seems like a form of visualization, and could be particularly effective with some breathing exercises as well. 

After several emails and hourlong phone calls, a terrific man and I agreed to meet on my side of the river Thursday evening. In the morning, I asked if he'd have eaten and threw out a few ideas: fro-yo, a stroll, anything locally he might like to see? He said he'd get back to me when he got to town. I ate dinner in my bathrobe, not knowing what to dress for. He emailed (didn't call--?), and we went back and forth, totally baffling, and he finally asked for suggestions. "I offered several suggestions this morning, and you didn't take me up on any of them," I wrote. "I don't even know where you are. I don't know what to do here." He said we'd "have to meet another time" and left in a huff. That's that. Andrea, how do I avoid such indecisive or weenie men?

Well, to be fair, one of your suggestions was asking him if there was something he wanted to see, right? I'm not getting the vibe that any of your suggestions was "There's this new place on Elm Street that serves bacon cookies. Want to try it around 6:30?"

NOT that that would have necessarily been a good idea, but I'm only making the point that it seems like there was a little wiggling on both sides, and his not "taking you up" on it wasn't exactly him turning down a specific idea, but just him not upping the ante.

Though the "went back and forth" sounds like that is the part that could be most frustrating-- as it was a big pile of nothing. I could certainly see how you would be annoyed at that. 

So, how do you avoid this in the future? I think you be a little more specific about what you want, and if the waffling is continuing, then you know it's a no with this person.

And hey... you're avoiding these guys successfully already. You just have to put in some emails and phone calls first.

Good luck!

 

 

 

I visited a dear friend my age who was in home hospice care for Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She said to me, "You know I'm dying," so (although I was feeling hysterical inside) I replied with a calm affect, "Yes, I know." I believe it was the right way to handle it. She died two weeks later.

Thank you for this. Lots of people report that they were glad they didn't let discomfort and difficult feelings get in the way of those final connections. I am glad you got that time with her. 

She absolutely should see another attorney. I can't know the alimony laws in her state but, they are there to take into account that one spouse might give up his or her place in the workforce to take care of the household. Alimony or spousal support might last at least long enough for her to get back into the workforce comfortably. OP please see another lawyer, your husband sounds like he's being a real jerk and you don't want your kids to continue seeing this kind of treatment in the house.

Thank you. This was my gut instinct as well. 

A few years ago a friend died before 50 of cancer. I knew him for at least decade before he met his wife - we were never boyfriend / girlfriend. She was warm and including to me and my husband I visited them across country. But she has a 'family is first' attitude, which is different from mine. I have a tiny family and I really nurture my friendships. As he was declining, she rightly guided his socializing and helped him conserve his energy, so I really didn't get to see him - and wasn't invited to this last birthday hurrah. I went to the his memorial service across country a month or so after he died and wasn't included in the 'family' dinner etc. His brother was kind enough to say how important my friendship was. This all hurt - and even though it was a few years ago - still hurts. But I don't think it was personal against me. It is how she views the world. I can't imagine what she was going through and including me must have been the last thing on her mind.

You are kind for being able to take this perspective, even through your hurt. I am really sorry for your loss.

As a big proponent of friendship (with an obnoxiously hot pink book to prove it!) I am 1000 percent with you-- good friends often are just as intrinsically woven into the fabric of our lives as are family. It is just too bad in our culture we don't have official ways of recognizing this (beyond bridesmaid-dom, I guess) and so we often struggle with the language to even convey this meaning. And hence people are left feeling bereft in ways that there aren't even official words or "roles" for. 

Oh, geez. My husband is an anxious driver who is driven positively nuts by traffic, and hates to listen to music in the car (how can you not have tunes for a road trip?). Meanwhile, I hate to fly - I'm claustrophobic and get migraines from the bright lights and noise of airports - and I spend most flights a cranky mess. So when we drive, I do the bulk of the driving/figuring out routes/finding music we both like. And when we fly, he's in charge of sorting out tickets/navigating our way through the security and to the gate/wrestling our luggage into the overhead compartments, so I can take meds and freak out in relative peace. The idea is that if one person finds something difficult, the other person should step up and take on as much of the burden as they can. In the end, travel is less about compatibility and more about learning to work as a team. Also, after many years, I finally got him to acknowledge that visiting his parents does not count as a "vacation." Even if they do live in a vacation spot and have a pool. (Being a houseguest is not relaxing, therefore it doesn't count.) So now we're taking more trips that are just about us, and not about family visits.

I like it. Taking the mindset of being a team working for a common goal is rarely a bad thing in a marriage!

You know, it's interesting: the whole "does this count as a vacation"? concept. I see that conflict so much. Families have such varying styles on that front, from making almost all their trips about visiting others to avoiding others at all costs on their vacations! And of course, within any given couple, those preferences could be starkly different!

 

Do you go local? I have travelled a lot all my life and my family and I would always 'go local'. We'd stay at a family owned b&b take public transportation etc. My husband and his family have barely traveled. He needs a hotel and finds it stressful if he can't talk to the people where we're staying. The first time we went to Morocco I booked us into a little family owned Riad. We had to decamp pronto. I've learned to travel one way with my husband and by girlfriends and I travel differently ... .

Another vote for saving the kind of travel that doesn't appeal to your partner, to do on your own or with friends! Thanks. 

And I'm a big fan of local "travel" as well-- often it's just a state of mind, and even the slightest shift in scenery is enough to bring about real relaxation. 

 

My mother was a demon knitter but hated sewing it together. So her friend took that part and they shared the results. This same friend taught me to knit - and as she's Swiss I knit in the continental fashion.

Yes yes yes!!!! I have a true soul mate in my absolutely amazing husband. But second to that I would not mind finding a friend who likes weaving in the ends after I knit something!

And continental all the way, baby!!! I made the switch ten years into knitting, after my wonderful mother-in-law taught me. And I've never looked back! 

A vase of flowers; those tiny florist cards can't fit any more than "Thinking of You" and your name, anyway.

It's a thought, though I do occasionally hear about a glut of flowers in this situation (and I really think a few memories or more substantial words could be so meaningful if OP is up for it!)  

I recently went thru a divorce after being a stay at home parent. i strongly recommend you find a full time job and another attorney. Your attorney gave you lousy advice. Your husband has lost all respect for you, sounds like he's treating you like hired help. When he's done with you, he'll move on, so you should be ready to do the same on your own terms.

From someone who has been there. Thanks. 

I get that asking people to be in your wedding party is supposed to be an honor, but it's really a lot more fun to just attend as a guest.

It can definitely be lower stress!

I had a really really really close friend from college but purposefully did not ask her to be my bridesmaid because she lived halfway across the country, and I didn't want to give her the burden of having to feel like she needed to plan anything, or come fly to me, or any of that, which is why I didn't ask her. Maybe something similar is at play here? Maybe she's just trying to be a good friend and not put more on you because of geography or costs.

Could be. Though it gets so tricky in these situations-- assuming that they don't want the burden, when in reality they may be like LW!

I always felt the same way about "save the date" cards. Was I just making it harder for people to say no if in reality it was too much travel for them? 

I second the suggestion regarding progesterone. If you are a woman experiencing anxiety at night, I highly recommend getting your hormones tested. Looking back, that was the very first sign that I was in perimenopause, only I didn't realize it until much later and lost a lot of sleep in the meantime. I also recommend meditation, as that has really helped me as well.

Even if it doesn't apply to OP, this might help someone else. Thanks. 

Read, yes, but don't browse before sleeping. The blue light from screens has been shown to keep people awake when they should be sleeping.

Yup. Definitely use a blue-light filter or some of those fun glasses. 

My most consistent anxiety symptoms show(ed) up just before bed or while trying to get to sleep, ever since I was a kid. I was NOTORIOUS for laying in bed for hours unable to sleep because my brain just wouldn't stop. Took until college (and adding depression to the mix as well) to realize it wasn't just a weird tick of mine. Along with (or as part of) developing a sleep routine, I recommend adding something like a favorite podcast or reading a book since the issues seem to start with too much thinking of tomorrow. Melatonin may also be a useful supplement, and you can even trigger improved natural production with blue-light blocking apps/glasses or raising your core temp a few hours before bed by timing your exercise routine or taking a warm bath. Last, one of my doctors recommended me to get a pet! Their weight and warmth in bed is generally very soothing (try weighted blankets as well if a furry companion won't work for you), plus there was the added bonus for my anxiety that nothing is going to be able to get into my home without them realizing it long before me

Thank you for this. A lot of useful stuff here, as there's definitely a lot of people suffering over sleep (even without opening last week's can of words!) 

This has happened to me my entire life. I've tried all of the tricks and tips already posted. What works for me is to listen to NPR on a super low volume (think one or two bars) with one headphone in as you're laying down to sleep. You won't be able to make out exactly what the broadcaster is saying, but your brain's effort to try to figure out what's being said is enough to prevent the anxiety loop from starting in your brain or to shut it down if it's already started.

This is a really interesting take! Thanks!

I totally get this...I work full time but my husband thinks he does a lot around the house even though he rests while I do everything else after work. Could the husband be anxious about being the sole breadwinner? What would he say if you suggested going back to work? (If you're considering divorce, keep your skills up to date.) Can you hire a cleaner/handyman once in a while to do what your husband won't? And yes, your attorney is an idiot.

I think these are all good thoughts in general, though I do suspect in OP's case the ship has sailed and they're past this point. 

Wow - new lawyer AND new therapist. Alimony (depending on what state you are in) isn't guaranteed, but if your income is less than your husbands you can ask for it. If he doesn't agree then it goes to the court to decide how much and for how long... and the going to court part can take a very long time and a LOT of money. So it depends on how long you'd want to drag out the divorce proceedings, and how much money you want to spend on a divorce.It can add up very quickly. How unhappy are you? Will you better off poor and happy? Or financially secure and miserable? And ask yourself this: what message are you sending to your kids? That's it's okay for the mom to be a domestic servant?

Thank you. Very helpful ways to frame things.

And I should have chimed in about the therapist part as well-- it did sound like there was room for improvement there (though admittedly I don't know too many of those particular details about what was happening in sessions.) 

Timing is also a factor. I'm a slow waker who can't face food until I've been awake for at least an hour and a half and have had coffee. My husband bounces out of bed ready to eat. We've managed this so far, in that he waits to get out of the hotel in the morning and agrees to an early lunch or brunch for me.

Ah, yes!! We had a letter about this in the past year or so. Great point. 

In our case, visiting his parents counts as a vacation for my husband, as he's used to their house rules and constant chatter, can eat anything and feel fine, and is happiest just sitting by a pool with a book. Plus he hates to spend money, so it's relaxing to have a free place to stay. However, it's not a vacation for me as I'm drained and left cranky by living in someone else's home, constant chatter, heavy food, and lack of activity. So we keep our visits (not vacations!) relatively short, and have started taking trips on our own that relax us both.

So glad that he was amenable to that!

You would be amazed how many times I've heard this dynamic-- professionally and personally! 

I hate that you didn't even know if he would have had dinner. It sounds like someone had the take the bull by the horns and I guess that seeing as it's more your neck of the woods it probably would be down to you - I'll have had dinner, how about we have frozen yo and go for a walk or get coffee. Does 8pm work for you? But what sticks out to me is that he gives you no idea about when he'll get there and if he'll have had dinner.

Yup, being left in limbo like that definitely made me irritated on OP's behalf. 

About a month ago maybe I submitted a question regarding an old "friend" who had sent me an email essentially breaking up, and then a subsequent email saying never mind, I'm willing to try if you are (and I hadn't even responded to the first email). I took your advice and emailed her back saying "I'm sorry you are hurting from memories from our childhood. I feel that we've gone in separate directions, but I wish you nothing but the best." She emailed me back saying thank you, and that she wished me the best too. I'm not sad it's over but I am glad I emailed her. It created a solid end to it so there are no lingering questions.

I am so glad!!

Nothing makes me happier than peaceful resolutions to things we brainstormed in this chat. Thanks so much for writing in! 

I usually have the opposite problem - 9/10 times when I'm in an anxious spot in my life (such as in the months after starting a new job, or during and following a breakup, etc etc), my anxiety occurs in the morning. I don't want to get out of bed, I have a pit in my stomach, etc etc. By the end of the day, I'm usually feeling like the world is okay. Sometimes I just need to actually live the day out to remember that it isn't that bad. But, on those days where my anxiety hits me at the end of the day - usually where something "bad" has happened during the day that I'm fixating on - I 100% just need to sleep! It's when I'm overtired and so immersed in a problem that I can't see reality, and I'll usually wake up feeling better. Obviously, it's easier said than done to just go to sleep when you're anxious, but for me, just remembering that the odds are that the problem won't seem to daunting in the morning, even if it feels overwhelming right now, goes far.

This is a really interesting contrast, and in fact I have worked with people whose anxiety peaks first thing in the morning. I do wonder if we are physiologically predisposed to feel "better" at certain times than others, just like our alertness can vary with our circadian rhythms. 

Breakfast-hater here again. My dear mother-in-law was always waiting until I got up to drag me to the set-with-china-and-cloth-napkins dining table for a full bacon-&-eggs while I was still half asleep, and it became a major point of contention with my husband.

In-law breakfast drama-- yet another data point for how many things can be triggers for vacation conflict!  

My wife wants to do things when we travel, but doesn't and won't plan, leaving it up to me. I don't mind, but if I don't watch myself I get fixated on where we have to be and when. I figured this out about myself and tried on our last trip to just enjoy the moment. It worked. Self-knowledge is a wonderful thing when you finally get it.

Woohoo!! That is lovely. 

I'm shocked no one else caught this - OP's husband is basically threatening divorce if she doesn't stay in line. Heck, he may already be consulting an attorney himself and already has someone in mind to take her place! OP, you need legal advice and legal protection fast. Anyone of who threatens to throw you to the curb for asking him to take out the trash is someone who won't hesitate to ACTUALLY throw you out like YOU are the trash. Get out - for your kids, and for yourself.

Yes, yes, yes. I read that first and had a strong reaction and then forgot about it in my second pass.

That is NOT something that someone who loves and respects you ever says. 

Thanks. 

My ex-husband was like this. I made all the plans, came up with all the details. Eventually he started resenting it -- not that he ever had a better idea of his own (or voiced it, even though i always asked him for it). I want someone to be 50-50 with me, that's all! Good for her, the OP, for starting out being aware of this. Not sure the answer really told us how, though. I *have* asked for participation but just never got it.

That makes a lot of sense. Better for OP to be able to avoid the heartache of this in the future! Thanks for this wisdom, though I'm sorry you had to come about it the hard way. 

Depends. I had a near-fatal respiratory infection, and after I finally got out of the hospital, two very kind friends each sent me a lovely vase of flowers. Unfortunately, in my condition the pollen made my still-labored breathing even worse (despite my being on an oxygen machine), so the flowers had to be exiled to another room.

An important consideration. Much appreciated! 

My grandmother-in-law, a formidable lady I greatly admire, was placed on hospice a couple of months ago. When my husband went to visit her (and I couldn't accompany him), I wrote her a card where I told her some of my favorite memories of her interacting with my kids and what I will remember about her. I also wished her peace and comfort in the days ahead. Writing it made me cry, but I'm glad I did it. There's no need to beat around the bush -people on hospice know they're dying. But everyone (near death or not) needs to hear nice things about themselves sometimes, and if you don't do it now, you may regret it later.

Thank you. This is beautiful.

I am truly sorry for you and your husband's loss. 

Thank you for all the suggestions. I will check out the resources you suggested. I want to clarify the following: I work outside the house full time. So I don't get any extra naps in during the day. The decision to co-sleep was mutual based on cultural ideas. We are careful with the baby. We are trying to get the baby into the crib by our bed but baby keeps bumping head against the rails and that has got us worried. So we bring baby back to bed once we are in the room. When we are not, baby stays in crib. Life has been difficult in the past month. More and more arguments during the day and more snide remarks/putdowns at night. Lots of door slammings and storm-outs. He canceled plans I made his birthday but made time for last-minute drinking with his friends. I am constantly close to tears and just looking for a safe space to vent.

(Original comment from Aug. 7 chat.)

I'm really glad that you wrote back in, though I am so sorry that things have been getting even worse. It does sound like this is much more complicated than just sleep (though I hope everyone reading this realizes what assumptions they may have made without justification.) 

Please, please, please do check into the resources and avenues we talked about. You've got a lot of people rooting for you in this!

 

Are we sure we're not the same person? I'm also a breakfast hater! I like a little bit of coffee, and some time to wake up before I have a light breakfast. Meanwhile MIL would get deeply wounded if I didn't bounce out of bed to eat a giant plate of gooey, rich eggs Benedict. (At which point I'd get an awful stomachache and have to go back to bed.)

Perhaps there needs to be a support group!

And then there are those of us in the middle-- more than willing to eat our share of gooey breakfast goodness, but also preferring to do it while in our beds, still wearing pajama pants and a T-shirt from 1997. 

SO many helpful suggestions from you guys today. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

I look forward to next week already. In the meantime, I'll see you in the comments and on Facebook. Oh, and if anyone is struggling with a friendship breakup, this is fresh off the presses (perhaps you listen to it a la our poster with the one earbud-in, one earbud-out, as you fall asleep. I won't be offended!)

Until next week!

In This Chat
Dr. Andrea Bonior
Dr. Andrea Bonior is a licensed clinical psychologist and the voice behind Baggage Check since its start in 2005. She serves on the faculty of Georgetown University and is the author of the Publisher's Weekly best-seller "Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories, and How They Inform Your World" and "The Friendship Fix.”
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