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There is a condition called “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” which means you feel anxious and overwhelmed all the time. Even the smallest everyday chores seem like a mountain. Vigorous exercise and time outdoors in the sunlight really helps calm anxiety. Even with this, my case was bad enough that I had to add an anxiety medication. I would discuss this with your doctor to see the best options. Good luck!!
In my case, and with other people I know with low self esteem, “perfectionism” develops into a real problem. Because I’ve always felt inferior, I think that the only way to measure up and not be rejected, is to appear perfect to others. I’ve never been able to accept my imperfections because its a never ending quest to achieve and prove myself. Its a tough pattern to break out of and I’m still trapped at 65.
I’ve always fallen into this psychological trap. Its called “Romanticizing the Past” and you can google it to find out more info. I look back at any period of my past, think it was wonderful, and wish I could go back to that time. I don’t look at it objectively. I forget that there were many periods of my past where I was very unhappy. So why would I want to go back to an unhappy period? I just look at all of my past as wonderful and wish I was back there again. I’m 65 and I’ve never been able to break this mental cycle. Its left me with a sense of sadness and never allowed me to enjoy the present.
I’m about to turn 65 and thats definitely the way life has gone for me. I was a late bloomer with low self esteem so my teenage years were horrible. Felt like a loser and that things would never get better. Started blooming when I went away to college and made a lot of friends which made me feel better about myself. Life was so much better during these years. Things went well until I was hit with biochemical depression and anxiety in my late forties. It was triggered by a very traumatic event. Spiraled down for about 5 years of pain before I sought treatment. I do need help from an antidepressant but it gave me my life back. I am in excellent health for my age and got remarried last year. Just when things look so bleak, they have a way of turning around.
You are putting a lot of unnecessary stress on yourself. You got sick which we all do and can’t function like we would like. Who defines success and how fast you should achieve it? We all get stuck sometimes. Take one step at a time.
My emotions are way out of whack. I have Borderline Personality Disorder where my emotions are unstable. My emotions are intense, either too high or too low with never a healthy balance. My mood can switch in an instant. I can feel very euphoric one minute and then switch to anger if something upsets me. I’m very hard to live with.March 4, 2018 at 8:23 am in reply to: Don't know how to "take beauty all in". Numb to it all. The world is plain. #195851
I “numbed” my feelings back in my teens to block out the pain of rejection. However, numbing your feelings may help blocking out pain, but it prevents you from feeling pure joy. I have not found the way to unfreeze this cold heart.
For me, inner peace would be to quiet my obsessive mind that replays past hurts over and over again. It would be to like myself just as I am. I’ve read that “forgiveness” is the best way to let go of the past.
Peter: Thanks for the tip. I did order the book and should get it soon. Looking forward to learning about forgiveness.
Lisa: Thank you so much for opening up about your upbringing. I feel guilty for complaining about my past when you had to go through so much trauma. I have a terrible time accepting that life isn’t perfect. All these years I’ve been looking at the negative side of this. I’ve looked at the worst possible explanations for why I was given up. Indeed it could have been a loving gesture to give me a better life. I should be counting my blessings for the love and life my adoptive parents gave me. Think of the “Leave it to Beaver” show and thats the way I grew up. I’ll definitely check out the Buddhist chant you were referring to. Thank you again for telling me your story. It gives me inspiration.
VJ: Thank you for your recommendation. I have already looked into it and it looks very interesting. I especially need to cultivate gratitude instead of resentment and anger.
Anita: Thanks Anita. I think I have been putting too much blame on my therapist. He has said a lot of the things that all of you have said and tried to get me to look at things in a more positive light. The thing he didn’t do was to give me things (homework) that I could take home with me and use on a daily basis. I am loyal to him because we are almost like buddies. He is close to my age and also a runner like I am. We spend part of the session talking about running. Even though I didn’t think he was helping me as much as I wanted, I didn’t want to offend him. I am still thinking about the other things you said and will write more soon.
Mark, I did not receive any tools to deal with it. It helped to open up and talk about it but really no things I could do on a daily basis. Maybe I should be looking for a more helpful therapist.
Peter, thanks for your suggestion. Even at my age I want to make a change. I’ve carried it around long enough. I have heard that the practice of “forgiveness” helps to get over past hurts and pains. Do you recommend a specific way to engage this practice?
I can’t thank you all enough for your kind words and insights. I have had psychologists tell me that there is a physiological connection immediately after birth that is necessary for healthy emotional development. This article seems to bear it out: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235060/ No matter how loving your adoptive parents are, adopted kids seem to have abandonment issues. To make matters worse, I have an obsessive mind. Obsessives have problems letting things go until they find a clear understanding or answer. I need to find a way to get past this since I’m never going to find a complete or correct answer.
Ellimac4u welcome to the site and thank you for your words. I do have a bad habit of being much to hard on myself for things I can’t control. I’ll try to remember your words.
I feel for you. When I was in high school I was rejected many times when I would ask a girl out. I only had two dates in high school and neither girl wanted to go out with me a second time. My self confidence was so low and my anxiety so high, that I froze and couldn’t speak in a coherent manner. Each rejection dropped my self esteem even lower until I believed I must be defective in some way. It became so painful that I gave up rather than take the risk of being hurt again. I was a late bloomer so as my self esteem and confidence started improving in college, I felt more relaxed when asking someone out. Doing things that improve your self esteem and confidence in one area of your life can carry over to other areas. Rejection is still tough for me but at least its not a catastrophe anymore.
You stated that long hours of isolation and stress are the main factors of your addictions. During my teens years I had a lot of painful, stressful emotions going on and became totally addicted to TV. It was the only way to get my mind off the pain. Then during my early 20’s I discovered exercise, specifically running. It got me out of the house, helped clear my mind, reduced my stress/anxiety and was a lot healthier than being a couch potato watching TV. I’m also an introvert and this helped me meet some people and not feel so isolated.
I know I’m a hypocrite. I have very low self esteem which makes me very critical and resentful of others. Its like I try to tear people down so I don’t feel inferior. Now I don’t say these things to a person out loud. Its just what I think in my mind. Most of the negative things I feel toward others are the same faults I have. I don’t like being this way but I’ve never been able to break this bad habit.January 31, 2018 at 8:06 am in reply to: I Have a Real Big Problem, and I Am Not Sure How to Deal With It #189907
Hi Lucas. I can definitely relate to what you are going through. I can only speak to my case but I’ve lived most of my life within these protective walls I built around myself. I have extremely low self esteem as the result of being rejected many times growing up. I felt these rejections were because I was defective in some way. I’ve become hardened and I’m afraid to become intimate because this would mean tearing down the walls, opening up, and letting the real me be seen. I’m afraid people won’t like what they see. This immense fear of being judged negatively and possibly rejected keeps me from becoming intimate. I never got help but I hope you will. Best of luck.