There’s So Much Left To Learn And No One Left To Fight

Keep in mind while reading this that I am fully aware of how absurd and totally counterproductive my thoughts are.

Last week I had a mini heart to heart with someone, and for the first time in a long time truly felt understood and not judged.  I was reviewing a case with my supervisor, and multiple times he commented that I was unusually quiet and wondered if something was wrong.  I denied anything being wrong.  After the case review we were randomly chatting, and he asked again if something was bothering me.  I stated that I felt that I can be annoying to my coworkers by talking too much and therefore was currently choosing to keep to myself unless someone wanted or needed to talk to me.  He stated he understood, but historically speaking, that strategy doesn’t work long for “someone like me.”  Someone like me being, in his words, a happy, bubbly person.  I may attempt to portray this personality to others, but, as my husband has told me, I am a very angry, resentful person.

Anyway, my boss basically said that attempting to keep to myself would most likely backfire on me because that’s not the type of person I am, and I was letting my fear of being disliked by my coworkers negatively impact my behavior and thoughts.  What we eventually got around to is that in my attempt to control my environment, I subconsciously yet purposely sabotage events and relationships essentially making everything I fear a reality.  When I said that I’m constantly trying to control situations because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, he pointed out that most times there is no other shoe.  What’s more, if there is another shoe, am the one pushing it off the shelf.

I’m so worried that I’ll be caught off guard by something bad that I almost make it happen so that I have the control.  I’ll hurt me before you can hurt me.  Because if you hurt me, that will prove to me that I’m not good enough and I’m not worth NOT hurting.  So I sabotage everything good because of the paralyzing fear that it will go bad anyway.  Because I’m broken.  Or so I think.

But the thing is, I’m not.  Tonight while conducting a counseling session with a client very similar to me (anxious, self-sabotaging, belief of not being good enough) I had a mini epiphany. (Notice everything is “mini.”  Why is that?)  I’ve had this epiphany before, and I’m positive I’ll have it many times again.  I’m not broken.  None of us are really broken.  We may have flawed thinking.  We’re insecure, and we make mistakes, but none of these traits equate to brokenness.  They simply mean we are human.  As such, we are not perfect.  That is what it means to be human.

I am no less “good” than anyone else.  I may have a different thought process, a different work process, a different approach to life, but that in no way means that that other person is any better or any more “right” than I am.  In grad school I saw classmates stressing about papers and midterms.  I worried that I was not worried enough about these things.  My husband asked what my grades were.  When I told him my grades were A’s, he said, “Then I think you’re doing it right.  Did you ever think that the people who are so stressed are the ones that should change their approach?”  This doesn’t mean that my classmates were wrong.  It just means that I wasn’t wrong either.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s the same.  We all struggle just in innumerably different ways.  I will continue to make mistakes.  I will have many more moments of self-doubt, even self-loathing.  I will continue to drive my husband to the brink of lunacy with my clinginess and need for reassurance.

But I am not broken.  I am human.  And so are you.  And we are wonderful.

We Believed That We Could Change Ourselves, The Past Could Be Undone

I have this incessant need to have people like me. I insinuate myself into situations in order to have the most exposure to others, especially coworkers and friends of friends. I am annoying. I annoy myself. I worry that when two or more coworkers are talking in a whisper or low tone, they’re talking about me. I think often that I am purposefully excluded from work social happenings or friendships.
I have minimally attempted to leave people alone, keep to myself, only speak when spoken to or when I have a question or concern. Basically not try so hard to be liked. The adult me knows that if I just “chill out” ( as the hubs tells me daily) and stop trying so hard, life will be much easier and more enjoyable. Not everyone has to like me. And, better yet, it’s totally okay if some people don’t like me. “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” But needy teenager me is highly sensitive to and paranoid about rejection.
I was somewhat bullied in high school, except that’s not what it was called back then. It was just called high school. For most people, high school kinda sucks, but those people get over it. I’m a big girl now. I SHOULD be past that. I’m a married woman with a Master’s degree, a house, and a car. I have some good friends. I SHOULD NOT care about high school or coworkers or whether or not people like or include me. But I do. And, as my mother-in-law’s pastor once said, there is not a Book of Should.
So what do I do? How do I get adult me to have more influence over my behavior and thoughts than needy teenager me? I have no clue. I don’t believe in one ultimate solution or answer. So I meditate. I go to yoga. I take my meds. I try to keep to myself (mostly doesn’t work). I tell myself over and over that people don’t have to like me, and maybe if I stop trying so hard, more people will want to spend time with me. I stop seeking acceptance from others when I know I don’t totally accept myself. I stop believing that the decisions other people make have anything to do with me because I am not the center of anyone’s life except my own. I stop expecting unreasonable responses from people I know will never deliver, and I accept who they are because I want them to accept that this is how I am.
I have tons of self-help books that I’ve only partially read, but I hear they are good. One of them is “I Need Your Love. Is That True?” I attempt to implement the strategies I HAVE read in that book (about 4 chapters). But it’s a good question. Do I need your love? Probably not. I need MY love of myself. I need the love of my higher power, which I know I have. Before others can love and accept me, I have to love and accept myself. ALL of me.
We are human. Our neediness, clinginess, flaws, moods, mistakes, they are what makes us wonderful and beautiful. We are perfectly imperfect. Now as soon as I figure out how to start believing that, I’ll let you know.
P.S. As another example of seeking acceptance, I have my husband read most of my blogs before I post them.  I want him to read them and finally “get it.”  But he doesn’t, or more accurately he doesn’t get it the way I want him to.  And he won’t because that’s not who he is.  And I have to accept that and stop expecting him to suddenly be someone he is not.

God Help Me. Am I the Only One Who’s Ever Felt This Way?

I don’t remember the last time (if ever) I was able to focus on one thing at a time.  I’m sitting in a very useful training for my job, and the trainer is very good, but I’m also thinking about this blog, wondering if my coworker like me, figuring out the best route to the vet after work, and worrying that my eye sight is getting worse.  My brain never stops, even during meditation and hypnosis.  This is probably why I constantly have to pee so much at night, because my brain needs something on which to focus, and that’s the only thing on which it can focus.

This leads me to wonder how many people with OCD and Anxiety Disorders have co-occurring AD/HD.  How many of you have felt this way?  Have you felt that you couldn’t pay attention to one thing at a time?  Have you gotten distractedly fidgety in meetings no matter how interesting or important the topic was?

Because when a question pops into my head, I have to figure out the answer, I Googled OCD and AD/HD.  I found a really interesting article by Amitai Abramovitch, PhD, & Andrew Mittelman that after reading had me going, “duh.”  The biggest thing that I believe should have occurred to me being a Professional Counselor is that OCD is a disorder of Compulsivity while AD/HD is a disorder of Impulsivity.  This being said, the article states that 21% of children and 8.5% of adults have both.

So go here and read this article and let me know your thoughts and if/how you’ve experienced this:http://ocfoundation.org/default.aspx?id=3043  

What Helps? What Doesn’t?

So in the past seventeen years I have tried a myriad of therapy and self-soothing techniques to effectively live with the symptoms of anxiety.  In this blog I’m asking you to comment on what you’ve tried, what’s worked, and what’s been utterly useless in your journey to wellness.

The most effective strategies I’ve experienced have been EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and to some extent hypnotherapy.  I also take Pristiq 100mg which has been the most effective anti-depressant I’ve been prescribed.  I know many people that don’t believe that Pristiq works at all, but it works for me.

Strategies that have been less than effective have been regular talk therapy, couples therapy, Zoloft & Paxil, and distraction & avoidance.

So my hopes are that this post and its comments can be a forum for sharing our strategies in the spirit of helping each other.  We do not exist in isolation.  We are not “other”.  We are not weird.  We are not broken.  Please share, and let me know if this is helpful.

Hey Your Glass Is Empty; It’s a Hell of a Long Way Home

So I worry about a lot of stuff, but most of my worries fall into four categories with one major theme: 1) My relationship with my husband (and most people) (because I’m not good enough to keep him happy/satisfied), 2) Money (because I’m not good enough to make enough or save enough money), 3) My weight (because I’m not good enough to maintain a healthy weight), 4) The set up and cleanliness of my house (because I’m not good enough to keep my house clean enough and well decorated enough to have people over).  Notice the theme?

I’m not good enough.  Or better stated I’m only good enough for now, temporarily, until something better comes along.  I’m tolerable for the short term.  I’ll do for now.  I truly believe that anyone that has any relationship with me is only doing so because they’ve settled and are just waiting until they don’t have to put up with me anymore.  I don’t believe I am the love of my husband’s life.  I don’t believe that my friends hang out with me unless they have nothing better to do.  This consumes my thoughts everyday.

I’ve attempted meditation and counseling, but I mostly find myself worrying that I’m not good enough at meditation.  As a counselor I feel like a hypocrite when I tell my clients that there is no right or wrong while meditating, the purpose is to just notice what you’re experiencing, when I constantly judge myself while meditating.

I guess one of my goals for this blog is to work through these worries by putting them into a visual, tangible format.  When something is tangible, it’s more controllable.  It’s easier to cope with something physical than something mental.  Then I worry that by wanting to control my worry, I’m not being mindful and accepting.

So that’s where I am.  Taking yoga, making spreadsheets and lists to organize my life, constantly complimenting my husband to an annoying extent, repeating “So Ham” (I am that) multiple times each day, and lost in indecision whether or not to say what I’m thinking or participate in a conversation.

30 Minutes in My Head

Here is a snapshot of some of my thoughts within a 30 minute period.

8:45AM I left my work laptop at home.  I overhead coworkers asking a question; I know the answer but don’t want to appear like I’m eavesdropping.  I say nothing.  I peeled the gel polish off 2 nails on each hand, and now I have to meet a client.  I hope his mom doesn’t judge me.  And this backup laptop is VERY SLOW.  I need to get my nails redone, but I’d have to put it on my credit card, and that would be bad.  Snap, crackle, pop.  Seriously this laptop is annoying.  Or maybe just different.  Maybe if I got used to it I’d be fine.  Ugh, gotta poop.  Hope I’m not still sick.  Sometimes I wonder if the person at work that pays my bills just pays no attention or just doesn’t care.  They fired my last person for lack of productivity, but this person is much slower in my opinion.  Am I too judgmental?  I’m sometimes afraid of people. 9:10AM

Cleaning Naked

So I just cleaned my bathroom naked.  Why?  Not because I was worried about getting my clothes dirty or some need for cleanliness.  I had just gotten out of the bathtub and saw that the sink and toilet were needing to be cleaned.  I was worried that if I got dressed (which meant leaving the bathroom to get clothes) something would distract me causing the bathroom to not get cleaned.  So there I was nude scrubbing the tub, toilet, and sink, hoping the Scrubbing Bubbles wouldn’t get into a sensitive area that would cause mass discomfort.

This happens quite frequently.  Not the cleaning naked, but attempting to get something done without being fully prepared because I’m worried that if I don’t do it while I’m thinking about it, I will forget or get distracted.  If I can’t get it done, I ruminate on it until I can or until I get really irritated and just miserable to be around.  If I attempt mindfulness and “letting it go” until I can do something about it, I very often become distracted leading to numerous partially done tasks or completely undone tasks.  I forget to pay bills; I forget to get my license tags renewed; I forget my lunch; I forget to put on deodorant.  I’ve often wondered if in addition to OCD I also have AD/HD.  Is that even possible?  Or is it just that there are so many obsessive thoughts running through my head that I can’t possibly remember everything I need to remember?

I just know that I need to sweep the floors now, but I also have to pee, but I also need water, but I also need to pick up my husband’s socks, but I also need to find that $20 from yesterday which means I have to clean my purse which reminds me that I need to clean all my purses………

I need a nap.