Forum Replies Created
April 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm #74801
I’ve recently started a book called ‘The Happiness Trap’ and it’s the best book I’ve ever read for anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety and panic attacks since I was a child. I’ve been affected by it on and off over the years. I’ll go months and months feeling great and in control and then something will trigger panic, and I will live in a state of fear and anxiety for months after that. The Happiness Trap teaches a therapy called ‘Committment and Acceptance Therapy.’ It’s about acknowledging your thoughts, not trying to run from them or push them away.
A simple technique it teaches (that has helped me a lot!) is saying ‘I notice I’m having the thought that…’ Instead of ‘I’m feeling so anxious and scared’ say ‘I notice I’m having the thought that I’m feeling anxious and scared.’ Too often we view our thoughts as absolute truth, but they really aren’t. I can think, ‘Pink elephants are real’ but it doesn’t make it true. Our thoughts are just words. Once we acknowledge them as just words, they lose a lot of their power, and aren’t so scary. This technique works with lots of other things in life, too.
Just know you aren’t alone in this struggle. It makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one.January 17, 2015 at 9:35 am #71476
I just came across this because I saw ‘invisible voices’ as the title, and I have this issue too. Not with being hit or being in an abusive relationship but negative self-talk in general, largely to do with anxiety. I am sorry to hear you are going through this. I thought I’d offer my take, if it’s okay.
Do you know how when you’re on an airplane, they explain how the oxygen masks work? They tell you to put the mask on yourself before helping anyone else, including your children. Because you can’t help them if you are not safe first.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to leave that relationship. It’s a place that you aren’t safe, and that is the first requirement of a relationship. Safety, respect, trust – those are all fundamentals. It sounds like you’ve had abusive relationships before, and that you’ve lost sight of what a normal, healthy relationship is. If it’s abusive, in any way (including verbal) it is not healthy.
You can’t take care of your children if you don’t first take care of yourself. Leave the toxic, dangerous and upsetting relationship, no matter how hard it is for you, because you will never get better for as long as you stay in it. Be strong for yourself and for your children. By taking the time to take care of yourself, you will also be taking care of them. It’s time for you and your kids – but it must start with you.
I don’t know you but I wish you the best. Listen to your heart. Listen to the stronger voices. Listen to the feeling in your belly. Sometimes, our heads get confused. But our hearts know what’s right. Quiet down and listen. You’ll feel the truth, and you’ll feel what’s right. Look at your children and do what is best and safe for them. Don’t let them grow up witnessing their mother in a bad relationship. Do it for yourself and for them. You must protect yourself in order to protect your children.
You can do it. I believe in you. You’re stronger than you think.
AerisAugust 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm #62959
Hi Switch (and anyone else who may be struggling with anxiety),
I’ve suffered with anxiety on and off since I was nine years old. I won’t say it’s ever really gone away – it seems to come and go like waves. I’ll go months and months feeling normal – if any anxious thoughts come, I’m able to disregard them easily. But then, at some point or another, my wave crashes and the anxiety comes rushing in again. I can’t explain how or why. I don’t know why I can handle it sometimes and other times I can’t. But you are not alone.
Suffering with anxiety feels so messed up, I know. We think, why me? No one else has this problem. Why can’t I just live my life? It’s hard because you know you’re being dumb. You know there’s nothing actually wrong, you know you aren’t going to die. Yet, we feel anxious and scared anyway, even though there isn’t real danger. It’s easy to get upset at yourself and think you’re just screwed up and will never change. I’ve felt like that too. But I never give up, and neither should you. We’re strong and we can overcome this struggle.
It helps to slowly challenge yourself. Slowly do the things you’re scared of. The more you do them, the more you’ll prove to yourself that you can do them, and you’ll build up your confidence. When we feel anxious we’ll as, is this a reason to be scared? No, because I did it the other day and it was fine. I know that it’s easier said than done. When anxiety is at a peak, many things are scary – I recently got scared to drive to a nearby town 30 minutes away! I never realized how much it had taken over my life. It made me scared of things I used to do without thinking. We don’t have to let it control us, though. We are in control of our own minds. That’s the most important thing to remember. We have the power to choose whether we want to feel anxious or not. We can change our emotions, and in turn, our experiences and our life. It takes patience and time but the truth is, we have the power. That means there is always hope to overcome it.
It’s easy to feel like anxiety is a monster that you can’t control – it just pops up whenever it feels like it, and you have to fight it off or hide from it. I think that’s where we develop our idea of ‘safe places’ and ‘safe people.’ But we need to realize that everywhere is safe. Everywhere is safe, as long as we’re there because all we need is our minds. We are all Dumbledore – we just have no idea how powerful we are (I hope there are Harry Potter fans out there). Anxiety is something we create – that means we can un-create it. Stay strong and believe in yourself. Life can be amazing if only we let go of our fears.March 2, 2014 at 8:21 am #52078
I read your post and noticed similarities between your life and mine. I have never been married but I do have an unstable mother (she suffers from depression and schizophrenia) my father passed away when I was 14 and I became used to being the ‘rescuer’ as well. You grow accustomed to taking care of the people you care about because they need you. But sometimes you forget to take care of yourself, which is the most important thing we can do. You can’t help others if you are not well (a drowning person cannot save another drowning person). I also understand being a chameleon. I’ve had a passion for acting my entire life and through my characters, I’ve been able to hide from myself. I’ve always wanted traits that other people have, and been so eager to step into someone else’s shoes, that I don’t even know what I look like anymore. It’s been a journey of stepping back and really looking at myself and saying, ‘who am I?’
I think that your tendency to be a chameleon and change depending on the circumstances is a form of protection for yourself. One I’ve used, too. If I’m scared in a situation, I pretend I’m someone else, someone who could handle it better than me. It helps. But this is a form of hiding. It’s a barrier between yourself and life. It isn’t easy, but I think a good first step for you is to acknowledge your feelings. When you’re scared, instead of changing into someone who isn’t, say, ‘I feel scared right now. This situation has me feeling uncomfortable and I’m not sure what to do.’ I know it sounds simple, but this technique has worked wonders for me. Just acknowledging how I feel instead of hiding from it. Once you say, ‘hey fear, I see you there’ it is extremely refreshing and actually is less scary. You’re more afraid of what you can’t see. Once you acknowledge what it is, it’s tangible and therefore, you can let it go instead of hiding from it. This works in all situations. If you’re around your bickering family and it’s getting to you, acknowledge it. ‘I’m having a difficult time coping with this hectic, frustrating energy. I’m going to take some time away to clear my head.’ Rather than just sitting by and letting it take you down, or forcing yourself to cope, you’re listening to your body and mind.
I’m sorry that this is so long. To summarise, I would say just start listening to yourself. Don’t sit down and analyze your every thought — that would be impossible. Simply start acknowledging how you feel. ‘This tense room makes me feel stressed.’ ‘I’m happy about this accomplishment.’ ‘I had fun doing this activity or learning about that subject.’ Take everyone else out of it and listen to yourself. Your body is smart. Start to listen instead of tricking yourself. There’s no need.
You’re unique, special and interesting as the person you are. Be brave. Take off your mask and take it one day at a time. Just remember — you’re worth getting to know. You can’t live your life without you.