October 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm #171763
Hello all! This is my first post on the site and I have to say, I love the community and can relate to a lot of what people are going through. Lately, I’ve been struggling with my anxiety, and it’s prevented me from doing activities that are good for me. I am in a small college of 1500 people, so eating in the cafeteria, going to the gym, even walking around campus, have presented to be harder than usual because everyone is familiar with one another. I guess I’m way too overwhelmed. Also, I cannot seem to turn the voices off in my head that are preventing me from being productive. I am on the correct meds, but I am lacking in skills to help overcome these anxious thoughts. I have drawn away from my boyfriend and friends because I have been feeling inadequate and don’t know how to get out of this slump! Any advice?October 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm #171777PearceHawkParticipant
Welcome to this amazing site. If you want quality people in your life, you have found the place for it.
You mentioned that you are struggling with anxiety. As you know, there are many expressions of anxiety. Some present in a mild form, singular, meaning it is caused by one thing, usually recurrent, while other expressions are because of a multitude of reasons. Would you mind telling me how your anxieties present? Is it one thing in particular or a number of events? Are the “voices off in my head” more like visual memories?
I can tell you that the feeling of inadequacy is a self-esteem issue. I think that in situations where one feels inadequate, it is because of a history of events in your life that have attacked thievery core of who you are and who you want to be. Some of these events can, and all too often are, due to constant exposure to negativity while growing up. This usually starts from within the family, from the parents. Inadequacy can also be perpetuated by comparing ones’ self to others. In many ways it is an admiration of what other people have that you don’t but wish you did. So because of what others have, the standard of how you should act, look, feel, etc has been set. This robs you of your individuality so it is easy to understand how one can get caught up in that current. How does your feeling of inadequacy present itself?
For many, many years I had feelings of inadequacy, that I was not good enough, etc. Essentially I was a prisoner to the past. Many years later, through various means that helped me understand, the sense of inadequacy I had had been eliminated. I realized that out of the, what, 7+billion people on this planet, I am the only one that is me, unique. I stopped comparing myself to others and stopped believing all the lies I was told about me during my upbringing. In doing so I made some HUGE space for me that allowed me to define who I wanted to be. Then I was so elated thinking about what am I going to do with all this space that allowed me to be who I wanted to be and not because of the dictates of others.
I hope that what I wrote is a good beginning that will help you along your journey’s in life, wherever that may take you. I’m here…
Pearce HawkOctober 6, 2017 at 10:19 am #171901
You wrote: ” I am lacking in skills to help overcome these anxious thoughts”-
Learning and practicing the skills you are lacking is the answer then. Did you attend quality psychotherapy before, where you were taught such skills? Are you familiar with such?
anitaOctober 8, 2017 at 9:08 am #172177
Thank you for responding!
The voices are just recurring thoughts that come and go. Mostly just telling me that I’m alone and that no one wants to be my friend, that my boyfriend doesn’t want to date me, I’m a burden to others, I’m stupid, etc. It looks silly written out but that’s the gist of it. These thoughts raise my anxiety and lower my self esteem a lot. As for the feeling of inadequacy, I just spend a lot of time by myself and everyone around me has friend groups/goes out drinking and I don’t. I just have always had issues socially immersing myself. Pretty sure a lot of this comes from my childhood, being bullied in school and treated differently from my parents from a very young age. (I went through intensive treatment in 2014-2016). Honestly, I’ve had times where I realized how “special/beautiful/etc” I am, but it’s the voices that hold me back from embracing that…October 8, 2017 at 9:32 am #172181
You wrote that you went through intensive treatment for two years or so. Would you like to share about the nature of that treatment, what insight you gained, how was that insight helpful, if it was, and were you presented with skills to manage anxiety, such as meditation and mindfulness?
Also, would you like to elaborate on what you meant by having been ” treated differently from my parents from a very young age”?
anitaOctober 9, 2017 at 6:38 am #172271
Thank you for the response! I went to outpatient therapy for 3 weeks in the hospital, a 2 month horticultural program in Hawaii (sounds glamorous, but we didn’t have showers, washed clothes in buckets, etc) and then I went to a therapeutic high school for the last two years of high school (this was December 2014- August 2016). The treatment was very intensive- controlled every aspect of my life in highly protected environment so I was constantly observed and learned coping skills through DBT, group therapy and individual therapy. The hospital and wilderness therapy helped stabilize me, and the therapeutic boarding school taught me skills long term, but because I was 18 it was too controlling for me. Overall, I benefited a lot from the therapeutic experience and I did learn skills for meditation/mindfulness.
As for the parents thing, I am the oldest of 5 and my parents were really supportive growing up, but never knew how to handle my mental illness because I was really unstable on and off (issues prevalent since age 6). I guess I just felt misunderstood and lonely, which impacted my development of secure attachments as I grew up (still happens today). I guess I was just wondering if you had any tips for how I can immerse myself socially where I’ll feel “safe” per say. Also, any tips on mindfulness activities when I’m overwhelmed? I guess I just forget to do stuff when I get anxious and give in to those overwhelming thoughts…
Thank you so much!October 9, 2017 at 7:56 am #172291
You indicated in the last few lines of your last post that you don’t feel safe socially. Incorporating your previous sharing: you are overwhelmed by being around people in your small college, seeing the same people wherever you go, cafeteria, gym, etc. I am thinking that what happens is that as you see the same people daily, you think… that they are thinking: “no one wants to be my friend… I’m a burden to others, I’m stupid, etc.”-
In other words, you are projecting your own thoughts, your own inner critic’s voice into others. And that causes you anxiety, understandably.
My suggestion is that when you hear your inner critic’s voice, its messages, acknowledge to yourself that these are your thoughts, not other people’s thoughts. It only feels like other people are thinking that. You have no way of knowing what they are thinking. (They may be thinking … that you are thinking that they are undesirable in some way).
If you separate your own thoughts from the belief that these thoughts exist in other people’s brain, that will make you, I hope, more comfortable as you come across the same people in college, as you interact with them.
Also, spend some time reviewing the skills you learned in previous therapy and treatments, review what worked for you, what helped you in the past and form the intent to practice these skills again. It is common to forget to use what worked in the past. Return to it and post again anytime.