A Walking Declaration of Everything I Couldn’t Get Right

Am I going to be in therapy my entire life?  I have been going on and off for 17 years, and although there are things about me I have a much better understanding of, I don’t feel any better, anymore confident, any less anxious, any more mature.  I still cry.  I still take everything personally.  I still lash out.

I feel like I haven’t found that one underlying reason that I am the way I am.  EMDR has helped with specific phobias and fears like vomit and letting other people drive me, but this self-loathing, inability to make a decision, fear of abandonment never gets resolved.

Do I just live with it?  Is there a magic formula?  Is it truly day by day?  Will I never wake up one day and realize that I get it, and now everything will be great?  Am I meant to?

Is this where I practice acceptance?  Is this where I take the concept of no positive or negative?  Things just are what they are with no value, no judgement.  Sometimes that sounds so depressing, so boring, so just existing.

I am going to a workshop on cultivating contentment in July, so maybe that will provide some guidance.  I worry, though, about contentment turning into complacency.  I told my current counselor that I am worried that if I become content and accepting of myself, that I will stop trying which will lead to backsliding.  Backsliding into what?  Gaining more weight than I already have?  Becoming more of a selfish bitch?

My mom, friends, and counselor tell me that I need to relax more, but the thing is that I really don’t do as much as I could.  I let my anxiety overwhelm me to the point of exhaustion, and then I get lazy.  When I do accomplish things, I do it in a hypomanic frenzy because I don’t know how long I’ll have the motivation or energy to complete tasks which is often what people see which leads them to believe I can’t relax.  They don’t see all the time I sit on my phone while my 2-year-old watches Bubble Guppies or check Facebook at work.  I could spend more of my lunch breaks taking walks to increase my exercise.  I could create more interactive activities for me and my daughter that will help her learn and cultivate her own creativity, but more often than not I take her to playground and just watch her or put on Bubble Guppies.

Is that the anxiety speaking?  See, it’s cyclical.  I worry too much, and then don’t do anything.  I am paralyzed by the fear of doing something wrong and then the exhaustion that comes from my brain never turning off.

So back to therapy I go.  Back to rubbing on essential oils and yoga (when I don’t make an excuse not to go) and meditation (if I can stop my brain from analyzing whether or not I’m doing it right).

So You Found a Girl Who Thinks Really Deep Thoughts

WARNING: This post is random and disjointed.

I feel I should write more, but I get bogged down with the details, wanting my words to be linear, profound.  Instead my thoughts get disjointed.  I have scraps of paper with questions, phrases, small paragraphs.  Instead of trying to write anything cohesive, I am sharing my randomness.

Questions I ask myself:

Do most people with anxiety also have low self esteem or lack confidence?

I sometimes wonder if I have an antisocial personality.

I wonder if because I know I overreact if I give people more leeway than I should.

Paragraphs:

When things aren’t going my way, and I feel like I have no control, I feel this constant uneasiness. Discomfort.  Tension.  I need to compartmentalize and make things better. I can’t stand uncontrollable (in my mind) chaos.  Everything needs to be tied with a bow.  No loose ends.  I need to have the answer or the path to the answer at all times.

I vacillate between wanting to be more open and stand up for myself and then never speak and isolate in my cube.  I was probably initially diagnosed with depression because of this isolation and helplessness.

Are there really people that don’t think all the time?  Is that possible?  Is it possible to have just one moment of complete peace?  I can’t fathom that at all. (Apparently I’ve been spelling ‘fathom’ wrong my entire life.  Thanks, spellcheck).  Adult me is always analyzing every thought, every action, even in meditation.  “Am I doing this right?  I know there is no ‘right’, but am I on the right path?”  “Stop thinking.  Just listen.”  “Ok.  Am I appropriately listening now?”

Do I do anything solely for myself?  I think I do everything either to make others happy or in defiance of others.  Either way, everything I do is solely to elicit a response from someone.  I will never stop caring what others think of me.

I need to stop pulling out my hair.  Will more meditation help that?  I don’t have bald spots, but it’s definitely shorter in places.

What would happen if I deactivated my Facebook?  Would my anxiety and paranoia decrease?  Do all people with anxiety also have some level of paranoia?  My husband tells me that people don’t care enough about me to think about me as much as I worry they do.  He says this is how I am like Sheldon, that I think people are thinking about me, that they do things because of me.  He also has stated that he doesn’t believe I actually have a disorder.  I have to accept that he will never really understand.

My Pandora is on a Ryan Adams kick again.

 

 

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Let go of your shoulders.  Let go of the space between your eyebrows.  Let your jaw drop open.  Let yourself be fully supported by your chair.  Feel all points where you make contact with the chair.  Notice any thoughts and label them as thoughts.  Let them float by without attaching to them. They are like clouds in the sky.  Let go of all that doesn’t serve you.  All we have is this moment.  Breathe it in.  Notice sounds, smells without attachment, without judgment.  Breathe in.  Let it go.

 

 

Namaste

 

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.

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.