Facing your fear —- and property24 ……

I am often paralysed by my fears.

I come across as a reasonably confident, articulate and bright person.  The reality is that under it all, and not even that deeply under, I am a quivering mess robbing someone of their village idiot.

I try to give the impression of not being shy nor lacking in confidence.    The reality is that I am shy, lack courage, lack confidence and will gladly go and cry in a corner if something chips away at the outer shell.

My newest tactic is that I keep a facade going.  I do it pretty well, but it has it’s Achilles Heel and that is that the moment someone pokes a hole, even one tiny little hole into the outer wall, then the entire facade crumbles.

I have been building facades for so long, that I don’t know how to do it any other way.  Over the years, and with some really good therapy, I have definitely managed to become more of who I am, and less of who I feel I have to be.

It is a daily struggle, and reverting back to the knee jerk protective position, is firmly entrenched in my psyche.

Stupid things overwhelm me, whilst the big things I can often take in my stride.

I have been in quite a state regarding the idea of having to sell the home I live in at the moment.

I have not moved many times in my life, so the idea of putting all our possessions into boxes, and going to somewhere new scares the living crap out of me.

In my usual manner, I managed to create a catastrophic outcome.  I could only imagine how bad this will go,  how bad the outcome would be, and it was all pretty horrible.

My mental picture of where we would live, was not a good image.  It usually involved a one roomed flat in {enter as bad a suburb as you can think of}, with thin walls, a toilet we shared with the rest of the floor, and us all sleeping in one bed.  The kids would be lice ridden, we would not have TV, and I am almost sure the kids would need to walk the 9.6 km to school.

The more I thought about it, the more I created outcomes that were hideous.  None of my fears and imagined horrors have any foundation in reality.  This kind of mental losing-the-plot is never grounded in any sort of reality.

I dealt with it, by trying not to think about, which of course meant I thought about it all the time.  And the outcomes needed to get more horrific each time I gave the thoughts free reign.

I sat down with my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy guy and he asked what was worrying me the most.   I explained my real estate dilemma.

I explained what I thought, the way my mind was running and the fact that I was paralysed with fear.

We chatted and we worked through the reality versus the catastrophe thinking that I was presently running with.  CBT is not about just telling you to be happy, and then you are.

It is talking through a fear, understanding what you are scared of, then giving you realistic tools to assist you to see realistic outcomes.  Once you have a few of those tools, and you focus on the reality and not the catastrophe, your mind does start to go “oh, well that is not so bad …. is it?” and then it sort of calms the fuck down.

That last phrase is not a technical term, but you understand the gist.

At the end of the session he gave me some homework to do:-

1.  Speak to a bank official who deals with bonds, and get an idea of what you qualify for.  Once you know that it will assist you to know what you can afford, and where you can look.

2.  Look at the areas where you would like to live – that are not going to make you feel like you are disrupting the kids lives too much.

3.  Start looking at properties in the range of the bond you can afford, and get sense of what is out there – how big or small these homes are, and really what  so one.

All very logical things to do.

When your mind is so overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, it is very hard to remain logical, and think through things in a rational manner, because your point of reference is fear.  Naked.  Sweaty. Ugly fear.

I left his office, and did the things he suggested I do — once I had some specific information and facts, the fear subsided.

None of this is a conclusion I could not have come to myself, but where I was in my head space was not going to “allow” me to be rational.

I no longer feel this overwhelming strangling fear that soon we will need to put the house on the market and move.   It does not make me happy, it does not fill me with joy.

I do still feel sad and scared, but it is not overwhelming.

I am not looking forward to anything in the process, nothing.  But now that I can replace the mental picture of chaos and end-of-the-world-as-we-know it, with something tangible, I am no longer that scared.

I can breath, and function.  Deep breath. Deep breath.  Reluctant Mom keep your shit together!!

 

everything-happens-reason-slap-someecards

 

Sense of responsibility ….

I saw my therapist earlier this week – cognitive guy, not pill guy.

We had a bit of a catch up as I had not seen him in a few weeks.

I explained what had happened with chemist guy, and that I had been on the incorrect meds for the last three months, and we discussed how much strain I had been under since December, and how in part it was due to the shift in meds and the fact that I was under and incorrectly medicated.

Long conversation and he started talking to me about how I felt I carried the responsibility for the incorrect medication, which added to the difficulty of being able to go back and speak to the pharmacist.

Logically I could explain that the error lay with the pharmacist.  I sensed there was something not right and had queried it twice.  I felt something was wrong, but after being assured that actually it was correct, then I put my head down and just took the stuff, because two people had told me I was wrong {even though I knew that they were wrong}.

We spoke about the need for me to go back to the pharmacist and explain that he was incorrect.  I explained that the idea of doing that would make me so very uncomfortable.

Dr Cognitive explained that the pharmacist had trained and that was his job to issue the correct medication.  He asked that if the pharmacist had trained and he had made the error and swapped something out, why was I feeling responsible.

I explained that maybe he had asked me to substitute medication, and maybe I had said yes.  I said I should have checked the script.

Dr Cognitive asked how I would have done that if the pharmacist kept the script.

I just said I should have made a copy and cross checked it {you can see logic has no real place in full blown anxiety disorder}.

Dr Cognitive was trying to hammer the point home that I was not responsible for the incorrect script, that surely I could see that the pharmacist held the responsibility.

I had followed the medication and taken it according to the stickers on the boxes, I had followed up and checked to be sure.  The error lies with the pharmacist.

Somehow in this I am responsible that the incorrect medication got given to me, some how it was my error.  I should have known.  I should have checked.  The onus is on me to have made sure it was right.

And this really is an illustration of what is at the core of a great deal of my stuff in my every day life.

Everything is my fault – if something goes wrong, somehow I should have known and anticipated that it was going to go wrong and seen it.  Some how I should have.

When things happen, I always feel like I hold all the responsibility.

You not having a good time?  Don’t worry somehow I should have made sure you did, and it is my fault.

No matter what the situation I always feel like I am on the backfoot.  Instead of being able to assess a situation and see that maybe I share some responsibility, I always feel like it is all my responsibility to ensure things go right, go perfect – it adds a huge amount of weight/responsibility to my day and it is a bit on the exhausting side.

So you see it is not just about going over the pharmacist guy and saying “Hey dude, you might have made a little error over here ….”  it is a bit more than that.

Dr Cognitive and I have a lot of work to do.  Logically I can GET that I need to be realistic, and that I also need to accept that not everything is about me, but that requires me to empower myself, and at the same time be able to express how I feel and be heard.  Which I fail at miserably, and impacts most of my days.

It’s a big ask – and this is the year for letting go of {some} of the sense of responsbility, and accepting that I cannot control and thus be responsible for everything.  Baby steps right?

<<an inflated sense of responsibility is a  standard side effect of anxiety and panic disorder>>

Have brain … cannot speak …..

I subscribe to an email which I receive  from the Daily Love each day.  The emails are exceedingly annoying and I often roll my eyes.

But for some reason I do not unsubscribe, though I am itching to.

I probably endure it as there are some of them that really resonate with me.  I scoff and tut-tut them, but the truth is that there is some “truth” in the rather sickly sweet emails and “universal love” messages that appear on my screen each day.

I tend to “delete” most of them, but my eye can’t help doing a quick scan and read.

Today’s email resonated with me a bit.

It dovetails well in to some of the stuff I am working through Dr CBT.  Most of it comes down to what you think the other person knows, but the reality is that they do not know what you want, so are not aware they are not giving you what you want.

In short.  Communication.

The other person doesn’t know, so they do not react accordingly or give you what you need, so you get angry and frustrated with them because they are not doing what you want them to do.

But they do not know.

And so it goes on.

I struggle with the line between not-assertive/assertive and demanding.

Assertive communicating allows for you to express what you need, in a manner that the other person is clear on what you would like them to do.

You make your point, without being judgemental and attacking.  You make it clear what you need in a situation.

You then give the other person the opportunity to respond.  The key difference between assertive and aggressive is the “demand.”

Aggression is you telling someone your preference, and then demanding they act accordingly.  You may demand internally – so you imply it – but it is the expectation that the other person HAS TO DO WHAT YOU WANT OR NEED THEM TO DO.

Assertiveness is you telling someone your preference and allowing them the opportunity choose to either go along with it or not.  It’s a preference and not a demand.  You realise that it is what you want, but you accept that the other person does not have to do anything.  You accept.  What you want is a preference and there is no universal rule that makes it everyone’s MUST DO.

Yes, you would prefer them to go with your preference, but you remain in the space where it is a “preference” and not a “demand.”

It does not mean you are not disappointed when they do not do it the way your preferred, but the key is to keep the thought that it is your preference that they do something, and not your demand.

You cannot force anyone to do something that you want, that they do not want to do – and expect a good result.  Simple concept, difficult to apply.

The reaction to someone not going along with your preference is annoyance.  The reaction to someone not going along with your demand is anger. ** key point.

I make an assumption, and then my assumption turns into my fact, and I start to plan/create feelings based on that – instead of communicating effectively and allowing the other person to state the way they feel, and then I check in with them to see whether my reality is their reality.

I walk in to a conversation with a pre-determined set of demands, because I have internally already had this conversation, so the conversation is not the exchange of preferences, but merely me stating my demands, having decided the outcome, and getting very angry when it does not go to plan.

<<Side bar – it never goes to plan ….. but this does not stop me from repeating the exact same “conversation” over and over again…>>

I saw this on the Daily Love and I read it and thought “Yep that is exactly what I do…”

I had an “ah ha” moment (love those!) over the Holidays. You know there’s a saying that goes something like this… If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family. You know what I’m talking about.

All those times you thought you had grown and become “so spiritual” go right out the door and BOOM – old habits come back like an itch you just can’t scratch.

When they first got here, I was so happy – and then the first hour passed and I noticed some of my old stuff coming up.

And I was shocked, I was SURE I had outgrown it. I went from an almost 30-year-old man into like a 5-year-old boy around them. It was SO funny.

A couple days later I was talking with my dad and I found myself really irritated at him.

And I didn’t know why. So I started asking myself while I was having a conversation with him “why do you feel this way?”

After a few minutes of inquiry I found out that all I wanted was for my dad to say I love you and ask how I was feeling.

And the irritation was coming because that unexpressed expectation wasn’t being met. And my dad had no idea all this was going on inside me.

I was the one who was aware of the Love that I wasn’t “getting” and I was mad about it.

My dad wasn’t aware of this. He has and does Love me the best way he knows how to, and he is a pretty kick ass Dad!

And this isn’t to say I didn’t get Love from them. No, I got a lot of Love – but there was a certain kind of Love that I felt was missing – and I got angry with them because I thought they were withholding it from me.

But my AH HA moment was the moment I realized that I was mad at THEM for something I was supposed to do.

So the breakdown is this… People give us Love the best way that they know how to. They can’t give it any other way than they do. And if we are trying to get orange juice from apples over and over again, not only are we going to keep getting let down, we are actually insane! Haha.

After I started treating my father this way, it was like an instantaneous shift in our relationship. And I didn’t go to him and tell him all this; I just started giving more Love.

My issue that I am having at the moment is that I cannot speak when something needs to be said.   I cannot tell someone what I need from them.  When I do not get what I need, I am hurt, and I then turn that into anger.

But I am not telling the other person what I need  – so they do not have the opportunity to give it to me.  Do you see how fked up this way of thinking is? I am not sure if you are familiar with it.

I wear it like a familiar shirt, over and over again, even though it clashes with everything, and I do not have a pair of shoes to go with it, I still drag this behaviour out and keep wearing it.

I stand there, and it feels like I am standing with my hands crossed over my mouth and unable to speak.  No one is stopping me from speaking.  I am stopping ME FROM SPEAKING.

The result is I get frustrated and then angry, but this only contributes to the situation that I cannot speak when I need to about something I want to change or that I want to happen.

I know how I feel, I know what I should say, but I just can’t come out and say it.

Then the issue gains momentum, and instead of being about one thing, by the time I say something it turns into a violent emotional puke and it is about 12 things, and comes out garbled.

It does not come out in a constructive manner about discussing the issue – it becomes about the fact that I am having a freak out.  And instead of reasonable conversation, it is me screaming.

I am frustrated.  But I can’t seem to speak out about what I need.

I am not sure if this condition is only limited to me, or you may also be a frustrated-communicator ….

The ability to speak in an assertive – non aggressive – manner and say what I think or feel on a subject, without feeling bad is one of the main things me and Dr CBT are tackling to start this year off.  Part of the trick is to practice it, so it means trying to communicate, knowing you are not so great at it, and maybe it not going as you planned it in your heard.

But then you get better for next time.  I am in Grade R for Communicating Effectively at present.

Maybe I am not quite ready to remove myself from the “Daily Love” mailing list – there is a bit too much there that resonates with me.

Somedays I wish I could sort out all the sh*t on my 12 things list ……

I struggle with life a bit. Who am I kidding? I struggle with life a lot.

And this year has been a bit epic for me.  So many things did not go as planned, so many things got totally out of control.   Mainly in my head.  Then in my life.

I seem to have got a handle on my obsessive compulsive stroke panic and anxiety stuff  – which had totally overtaken my life this year.

Can you say freak out?

I can’t say whether it was an “attack” or a series of “attacks” or an “episode.”  It has been pretty hellish.  Like a roller coaster, but without the aid of tracks and a seat belt.

Either way it left me shattered and clinging on to reality though clenched teeth, and bleeding finger nails.

Now?  I am not best, but I am better than I was.  My grasp is tentative at best, but I really do feel as if I am at least aiming in the right direction.

I am seeing a psychologist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy.  I also see a psychiatrist who keeps me medicated up to my gills.  I believe this will reduce as my coping mechanism kicks in.

CBT is really hard work.

It is much easier to lie on the couch and blame my mother and life, but CBT really holds a mirror/magnifying glass up to your stuff and makes you questions every aspect.

It doesn’t deal with the “past” it deals with “today” and what you are doing “today” and how you can alter your thought processes about “today.”

It is not a quick fix.  It is not as simplem as I am suggesting here.  Dr CBT is pretty good, and I try to see him every week.

The longer the gaps between my visits, the further I notice I drift off into the abyss.  Yes, a somewhat co-dependant relationship if there ever was one.

It is a bit alarming as you drill down to the root cause of stuff, and sometimes you realise, that actually you are a bit sad and stupid, when you sort of thought you were a bit awesome.

There are many things I need to let go or change – and these are some of them:

1.  Internet and Social Media Dependence.  I have spent much too much time trying to find validation in cyberspace, when in reality, I need to find it with me first before I can even think of standing in cyberspace.  I have been the instigator, and in some cases the victim of so much crap.  It makes me all shaky and sweaty just thinking about it.  Having bad judgement and trying to operate in cyber space has not been a great combination. <palm slap with hand>.  Right now I am pretty much off most/all social media, and lurk around only really on my blog.

2. It is not always my responsibility.  I can live life without it being “if I do not do it, no one will” mentality or “it happened because I did or did not do something”.  So what if no one does it?  So what if you stand back and let it happen? So what?  Leave it.  It is not always your problem to fix it.  You cannot fix the world. Right now you are stuggling to button your shirt, leave the world’s probelms to someone else.

3. I am not as important as I think I am.  When I walk in to a room, people do not actually stop what they are doing and look at me and make a judgement.  Really I am not that important to them.  No one gives a shit.  Even those who do make a judgement – really does it matter, and really in a group how many people are there that truly judge you negatively?  And how many people think about the stuff I do or say as much as I think they do.  Trust me, hardly anyone.  No one gives a fig.  Except you.

4. Name the emotion and deal with it individually.  I paint my fears with a big brush.  I paint all my crap with a big brush.  Much easier to have a blanket description and then sit and tremble in the corner.  I can’t do that because it makes me feel anxious.  I don’t want do that because I am afraid.  Does it really make you feel anxious only, or are there other emotions there? Well, actually yes, I am nervous, I am a bit anxious, I am scared and I am afraid. Okay, so that is four different emotions, let’s work through each of those instead of thinking that it is all anxiety.  Makes it easier if you break something down to work through it.  See what each emotion is about, and deal with it.  A bit like eating an elephant ……

5.  Stop putting pressure on yourself to always feel a certain way.  I feel I am meant to always enjoy being with my children.  So when I am with them, and I am not enjoying it, then I feel guilty and I start a bit of self-flagellation because I should love it.  And that is pretty much the cycle for a lot of things. I need to stop telling myself I “should feel anything” and just feel it as it is, and accept it.  Not just about my kids, about so many aspects of my life.  Stop dictating to yourself you are meant to be or feel a certain way.  Who decides this?  Why are you dictating to yourself.  Stop!

6.  You cannot change anyone, so deal with it.  It drive me crazy when so-and-so does such-and-such. It drives me totally off my rocker.  Ask yourself, can you change them?  Generally the answer is no.  If they do it all the time, then accept that it is the way they do things.  Having a shit fit every time, is only making you more insane.  Does it really matter that so-and-so does such-and-such?  Really?  Like in the bigger scheme of things?  Probably not so much.  Well, then do not get so worked up by it, as you cannot change it and you have no influence.

7.  If you don’t like something or don’t want to do something, why do you force yourself to do it?  Well that one is sort of self-explanatory.

8.  What is the worst that can happen? Really if you say something and someone feels bad, can you control how they feel or what they think?  No, so why constantly bereit yourself.  So what if it happens that way, so what?  Is it really that bad? No.  Do you consciously set out to hurt people?  No.  Can you control what people feel or think?  No.  Then stop sitting there taking responsibility for it.

9.  Spend more time in the present and less time in the “what if it does happen” future and “oh god it happened like this last time, I am sure it will happen like this now” past.  Just BE. Just BE.  You are missing out on so much running around in your head.  Sit in the sun, sip your wine, smell the lavendar.  That is all.  Feel the sun on your face.

10.  Stop having this insane dialogue with yourself over every possible issue.  It’s done.  It’s over.  You do not have to relive the conversation over and over again and persecute yourself.  You can’t go back.  You can’t do it differently.

11.  Why judge yourself in the worse possible light?  You cannot actually be as sh*t as you think you are.  Really, you can’t.  More people like you and more people understand you than you think.  Stop being so harsh on yourself.

12.  Just let life live.  Don’t plan so much.  Don’t run it over and over in your head so much.  Stop with the fkn lists.  Don’t try to predict so much.  Don’t try to work in every possible eventuality.  It’s life, it happens, and then you adjust.  It just is.

13.  Drink less wi…….. actually no, stop at 12. 13 is such an unlucky number.

So how are you? And other polite conversations …..

As is customary, most people start a conversation with how are you.

The problem is I battle to reply in the customary: “I am fine, how are you?”

I am not “fine” so tend to say: “I am okay, not great, but okay.  Better than I was a month or two ago….. but okay.”

And then the person looks awkward, and I shuffle my feet.  And then I drawl “Any the wayyyyy ….. ” to sort of act as an ice-breaker.

Never works.  But I repeat this action none the less.

I am still seeing my psychologist guy.  I am not making a great deal of progress. I start these things with such gusto, and then I realise that they are so much work, and then my shine reduces slightly.  And I slump on the couch a bit more.

At the moment I feel part of things, but not.  I do not seem to have the resources to take part whole heartedly in anything.  At the moment breathing; going to work, attempting to appear vaguely “normal” takes all my energy.

So I feel pretty much like the “third person” to my life at the moment.

Not ideal.  No, sadly not.

My medication is probably not “quite right” but I am also reluctant to mess around with them right now.  There is just too much going on, and I do not want to atttempt and adjustment right now.

My physical symtoms include:  a little shake (of my hands) that gets worse as the day progresses; I yawn so much that my jaw gets sore; I am not “lie on the bed and sleep” tired, but I just cannot stop yawning and feeling fatigued; I feel like I am over there, but the other me is over here, so it is a bit disorientating.

I take some stuff to make me go to sleep at night.  I take some stuff to keep me asleep at night.  Works well.

The problem is if our house got hit with a tornado, I would go quietly in my sleep.

Kennith has been less happy with the fact that if the kids wake up, I am so dead to the world, that he always has to deal with it.  I think he is also concerned that in the event of a fire, he will be carrying three children, and a semi-conscious wife out the door.

My appetite has gone for a bit of a ball. I am seriously just not that interested in food.

I do love food though.  I am even partial to a bit of McDonalds which is actually the perfect meal.  By the time my brain has clicked that I am eating, the meal is finished.

So pretty much it is over before my brain can tell me that it is does not want food.  Works well. Or doesn’t.

Any the wayyyyy (see how that works) …….. so it is not all great, but it is okay.  Kennith is presently winning awards for “the most patient and enduring spouse.”

The mania of extreme panic and anxiety has passed — to a large degree (and I use the term mania very loosely as I am not manic).

I am still a bit wired, so I find when I do something that requires concentration for any length of time, I walk away feeling very frazzled and more shaky.

The small things are not as overwhelming as they were.

I spend less time doubting myself, and in obsessive destructive behaviour or thought processes.

I spend a bunch less time on the internet.

I am still avoiding a lot of the forums and blogs I used to troll.  I don’t have the energy to take on other people’s issues, and also the “urge” to interact much.  So I have missed where everyone is and what everyone is doing.

I sleep at night.

Earlier this morning my friend Judith asked me: “Are you back in the saddle?”

I replied: “Well I am in the saddle, but the horse appears to have fled …. So I am sort of kicking my heels in the dust going giddy-up ….. fake it til you make it they say!”

And that is pretty much how it is with me.

So how are you?