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  • #92660
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Hello everybody,

    I am about to go into my 4th semester in college, and as usual I am very nervous. Not just nervous about the classes themselves, but about my interactions with other students, how I will be perceived, how I might not make any friends, etc. Normally, I would be fine with this, I’d learn to just deal with it day by day, just being grateful that I am one day closer to having the semester end. However, I was just reading the rubric for my class, and I found out we have a group presentation, in front of the class. Now, this is enough to send my nerves over the roof. I have never been good with presentations in class. However, in this class there will be 48 students! While the presentation is not until the last month of the semester I am very worried.

    I am worried that no one will talk to me, and thus I will have no one to work with. Or worse, that I will have no one to talk to, which means I will be at the mercy of other groups to let me join and then I won’t fit in.

    For me, this means that I know I need to start making friends early on. Which isn’t easy for me. I have social anxiety, and I always dread meeting new people, much more so when I know I will need to make acquaintances in order to find a group.

    Aside from the group presentation, I am very nervous about the first day of the semester, and the rest of the semester to be honest. What can I do to calm myself down? How can I get my anxiety to subdue?

    In order to get the best advice for me I thought I would add what it is like for me on a regular basis. Usually the night before the semester starts I can barely sleep. Then in the morning I am a nervous wreck, knots in my stomach, feel like vomiting, loose stools, and despite being hungry I cannot eat because I just cannot stomach it. Once I get to school it all intensifies. I feel this nervousness that I cannot shake off and seems to somewhat cloud my judgement. What I mean is, I might plan to walk slowly, to make sure I am going to the right room, getting all the things I need, but my anxiety takes a hold of me and I do things faster than I intend to and sometimes forget to do other things I had intended to.

    Throughout the rest of the semester, I still feel the same way, regardless of if I actually make a friend, or I am doing good in class. Of course the anxiety is not as intense, but it’s still the same thing, every morning. It’s very draining. I have found that the things that make my anxiety flare up again throughout the semester are exams, despite how prepared I am, and knowing I have to do a presentation, which will naturally keep my anxiety high throughout the whole semester.

    I have found that the very few things that help make me feel somewhat “safer” and calmer while in class is wearing my hair down, wearing a long sweater, and having my glasses on. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, but it sort of feels like having a curtain between me and others and it naturally makes me feel somewhat better. I know that realistically speaking this is all in my head, but I don’t know how to overcome it.

    I have already planned accordingly so as to make it as easy for myself as I can.

    I will arrive 50 minutes early. I will immediately go to the bookstore and pick up my textbooks for class. I will look over my class schedule and try to memorize the room numbers, about 30 minutes before class starts I will walk to try and find my classes. I will then head to the restroom and attempt to calm myself down, because I know that is when my anxiety will be at an all time high. I will then try to be 10 minutes early to class as I do not want to be one of the last ones there.

    While this all seems like a good plan for me, I know that it will all be different on Tuesday. I will go to the bookstore, and I will check more than a few times to make sure I have the right textbook, I will then look at my schedule more than a few times. I will then rush to find where my classes are at, and then I will be anxious because there is still a lot of time left. I will then go to one of those study halls they have and then say to myself, “I better get going, I don’t want to be late.” I will head to the restroom to make sure I look good, and then if I feel like I am taking too long I will rush out and head to class, although I know I am still early. I will then make sure I don’t sit near the back, but rather near the front and near the edge, so that I can get out quickly. I will also hope to be one of the first people there because I rather have others choose to sit by me than me choose to sit by others.

    I know how extreme this sounds. But that is how it is for me and I don’t know how to deal with it or make it less intense. Any help is appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read through this very long post.

    If I am being honest with myself, I would drop the course if I could. Meaning if my parents wouldn’t say anything about it, and if it didn’t impact my academic standing. However, I know that I need to get this course over with if I want to get any closer to my degree. So I’d just rather get it over with.

    #92674
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    Good to see your thread today! I was wondering about you after your regular posts on one of the threads ended: I followed those and thought you were doing an excellent job there. When I thought of adding something … I noticed you already attended to that point.

    To this thread. You wrote: ” I might plan to walk slowly, to make sure I am going to the right room, getting all the things I need, but my anxiety takes a hold of me and I do things faster than I intend to and sometimes forget to do other things I had intended to.”

    I know anxiety very well, unfortunately. OCD, Tourette Syndrome, two clusters of symptoms fueled by my ongoing anxiety. Any and all insight I had before the start of my therapy in 2011 did nothing at all to alleviate my anxiety. Insight into the past is very important but it is insight of a different kind that is necessary to train the brain to function differently.

    When anxious the brain is rushing. So even though you plan (as in your quote) to walk slowly to class, while you take that slow first step with your legs, your brain already is 100 steps ahead in a rushing mode and all hell broke loose already, on your first step with your legs.

    The training of the brain is about slowing down the brain while you slow down your legs, in this example.

    No easy and fast way to do it (certain drugs will do it easy and fast at first before you build tolerance and otherwise side effects and addiction and complications come into play).

    Training takes time and attention (also called mindfulness). I found slow yoga (there is a current article on the home page here on restorative yoga) and Tai Chi are excellent practices of slowing body movements and brain at the same time.

    Over time, with attention, you learn to distinctly see when your brain starts rushing, that very moment and you slow it down before it is 100 steps ahead of you.

    Deep breathing, hot baths, all these help but the operation of the brain has to be changed all day long and that is a lot of work. You can learn how to do it. Over time, months or a few years, you will notice great improvement. It is a long term goal and practice.

    What do you think so far?

    anita

    #92695
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    How thoughtful you are. I’m glad to be doing well in other aspects of my life. Thank you for your guidance, it certainly has helped me stay away from my ex.

    Wow, OCD. If I may confide in you, I believe that I may have it. I have many things that I do in repetitions, and disturbing thoughts that drive me to keep doing them. I haven’t seen a doctor about it because I am scared. Worried about what it means. I fear that it will just escalate even more or that they won’t understand. Aside from my social anxiety, I also have general anxiety. I’ve had it for such a long time that you’d think that by now I’d be able to manage it.

    “When anxious the brain is rushing. So even though you plan (as in your quote) to walk slowly to class, while you take that slow first step with your legs, your brain already is 100 steps ahead in a rushing mode and all hell broke loose already, on your first step with your legs.” This makes perfect sense to me. It really hit the nail on the head. I try to quiet my body, to take my time, but my brain is going 90 miles an hour, and the worst thing about that is that I can’t quiet it.

    I had thought about getting prescription medicine to help me out a little. But I’ve heard of how addictive they become so quickly, it’s not something I want to mess with.

    I’ve tried yoga before. However, I am not particularly flexible, and I become frustrated with the poses. I also have not been able to experience that mindfulness with yoga, regardless of how many times I try. I don’t understand what it is I am doing wrong. My mind refuses to quiet down.

    I’m going to try to give yoga another chance. I really need to work on my anxiety because it’s so overwhelming. I want to be able to slow down my brain. That would be such a big achievement for me.

    I think you are very right with everything you’ve said. However, my question is what other things can help me achieve the mindfulness I seek?

    I’m not proud to say that for the past two hours I’ve been busy looking at my class rubrics, getting my belongings together and organizing my backpack. I tried my best to remember everything I would need for class, and since my mind is so busy trying to make sure I don’t stumble into the wrong room, that I have my schedule, ID, etc… Well I almost forgot to pack writing utensils, so as you can assume. I am very worried that I’ll forget one thing or another. I just want to cry, I wish I didn’t have to deal with all this worrying, it really distracts me and stops me from enjoying and living in the moment, but then I wouldn’t be myself, would I?

    #92696
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    You wrote at the end of your post: “… but then (if you weren’t anxious) I wouldn’t be myself, would I?”

    Can you imagine, Aislynn, for just a moment, that being yourself is actually being calm and clear…?

    I used to think that being sick with anxiety was me, that there was something wrong with me. After all, if THIS is me, there is something wrong with me, a brain defect, some defect. And I had good reasons, so it seemed, to believe I was defected: the Tourette tics were good enough a reason.

    What I realize is that there was nothing wrong with me, no defect. What happened is: I was injured, harmed as a child and my tics, and other manifestations of my anxiety are the consequences of those injuries inflicted on me.

    There are many symptoms to excess, ongoing fear (anxiety)- those symptoms are categorized (artificially, by psychiatrists) in categories titled: OCD, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder.. so many, many grouped symptoms, but the root cause for all is excess, ongoing fear.

    it is not easy, but there is a way to heal.

    Regarding medications, or as I refer to them controlled, prescribed drugs taken on the basis of (the doctor asking): how do you feel with 50 mg of this? not good enough? Let’s put you on 75 mg. After two weeks: how are you feeling? worse? let’s get you off this medication and get you on this other one.. or let’s add this one…A TRIAL AND ERROR basis), I was on them for 17 years, heavy doses, and my life circumstances got worse over time, reaching a bad state toward the end of those 17 years. Finally off them all since Oct 2013, a hard process getting off, took me 1-2 years.

    The training of the brain, you can do it, Aislynn. Maybe with help of a psychotherapist, a good one… maybe alone, at least some…

    Regarding yoga and such… I couldn’t take it at first, resisted any type of relaxation: meditation was out of the question. This is often the case with very anxious people, feeling more anxious trying to get quiet. Once you get over that phase, these practices are extremely helpful, over time.

    Please post anytime!

    anita

    #92721
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear Asilynn:

    You asked: “what other things can help me achieve the mindfulness I seek?”

    Patience and gentleness with yourself; treat yourself like you were a little girl afraid. Be gentle with her, don’t give her any negative criticism as telling her: “You shouldn’t be that anxious… what is wrong with you? and “You should be able to better manage your anxiety…” And such self talk. Talk to her (to yourself) gently, encouragingly. Fear is a very powerful force and she (the child in you…you) need all the support.. the gentle guidance along the way. This is of most importance: can’t heal without being gentle and patient… kind… that is being loving toward yourself.

    In addition to this: being mindful means, getting outside your thinking, thinking, thinking part of the brain and paying attention to what is around here, the Here and Now, directing your attention to what you see, hear, smell, etc… slow exercise and stretching makes it possible for you to pay attention to how the body feels… and over time you weaken the thinking, thinking brain.

    It is like often you are a floating head, swollen with thoughts that are not useful. With mindfulness, you shrink that big floating head and connect it to your body and to your Here and Now environment. You anchor that floating head… this is my experience.

    Take it slow, easy and gentle, Aislynn: no rushing this process.

    anita

    #92730
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Right now, no I cannot fathom myself being calm and clear. My impulses drive me. I plan things and then they happen very differently. Not because of the circumstances, but because I find myself making impulse decisions based on my anxiety. However, being calm and clear is how I picture my future self being.

    “I used to think that being sick with anxiety was me, that there was something wrong with me. After all, if THIS is me, there is something wrong with me, a brain defect, some defect. And I had good reasons, so it seemed, to believe I was defected: the Tourette tics were good enough a reason.” My thoughts exactly, about myself. That my brain is messed up, that I am ill. Not a positive thing to think about.

    “What I realize is that there was nothing wrong with me, no defect. What happened is: I was injured, harmed as a child and my tics, and other manifestations of my anxiety are the consequences of those injuries inflicted on me.” However, this makes perfect sense as well. I know deep down that my father issues and bullying are what led me to develop anxiety. I was not born with it. This happened because of my experiences.

    “the root cause for all is excess, ongoing fear.” So true. Most of these disorders do seem to be out of fear, lots of fear.

    “Regarding medications, or as I refer to them controlled, prescribed drugs taken on the basis of (the doctor asking): how do you feel with 50 mg of this? not good enough? Let’s put you on 75 mg. After two weeks: how are you feeling? worse? let’s get you off this medication and get you on this other one.. or let’s add this one…A TRIAL AND ERROR basis), I was on them for 17 years, heavy doses, and my life circumstances got worse over time, reaching a bad state toward the end of those 17 years. Finally off them all since Oct 2013, a hard process getting off, took me 1-2 years.” This sounds scary. A doctor, just toying around to find the right combination and dose, sounds very dangerous, especially considering that they are doctors. I am glad that you were able to get away from the prescription drugs. It’s not something everyone has the strength to do.

    Honestly, in regards to my disorder, I am not yet at a place where I believe I need psychotherapy. You know, maybe it’s my disorder that is controlling me to some degree in this aspect that keeps me from seeing that I need help. Right now, I just feel that I need to work on it on my own. I want to see how far I can get on my own.

    “feeling more anxious trying to get quiet” Yes, exactly. I can do meditation from time to time, and it really helps, but yoga, I’ve never been able to do so. I looked at the article for restorative yoga, this seems much more manageable than doing regular yoga for me. I am not pressured to do all sorts of poses, just the ones that I feel help me.

    For as long as I can remember I’ve had anxiety. I would count the letters on every sign I saw, or street address, not just once, or twice, but more than 6 times. I hated odd numbers, if I found a word with an odd number I would add to it or make it a sentence and I wouldn’t stop until it was even. I would be scared of getting run over, even when crossing the street at the appropriate times. I would have to check the stove, and go into each room more than a few times before leaving the house because I feared something bad would happen if I didn’t. I was scared of missing my bus stop. I would be afraid other cars would hit me while I was driving. I feared others would judge me based on what I wore or said. I would count and analyze everything multiple times, as if I had looked at the information wrong or hadn’t remembered correctly. If I went to a place regularly and something was out of order I’d freak out and think I was going to have a bad day. I couldn’t bring myself to change my schedule. So far, I’ve made progress on my own. Some of these habits are still very present in my life, but they are not as severe as they used to be. I think it has to do with the fact that ever since I graduated high school I am not around people as much. I have been taking some of my classes online and don’t really have to deal with people face to face. Also, it helps that I am an introvert and don’t really like to go out much. But I can’t spend the rest of my life avoiding groups of people, can I?

    I don’t think I’ve said this before, but thank you so much for listening to me talk about my anxiety. It’s not something that anyone else I know quite understands. I know a few people with anxiety, but theirs isn’t as bad as mine so they don’t completely get it when they see how much I struggle.

    #92795
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    ” Be gentle with her, don’t give her any negative criticism as telling her: “You shouldn’t be that anxious… what is wrong with you? and “You should be able to better manage your anxiety…” And such self talk. Talk to her (to yourself) gently, encouragingly. Fear is a very powerful force and she (the child in you…you) need all the support.. the gentle guidance along the way. This is of most importance: can’t heal without being gentle and patient… kind… that is being loving toward yourself.” This sounds right. I read something about 2 days ago about validating my feelings and the anxiety I feel. That they are my feelings and should be acknowledged and taken seriously. That by not validating them I am not helping myself. I do have to work on being loving and supporting of myself when it comes to my anxiety. It’s just that sometimes I get so frustrated with my fears that the rational part of me speaks out saying it’s silly or something like that.

    “being mindful means, getting outside your thinking, thinking, thinking part of the brain and paying attention to what is around here, the Here and Now, directing your attention to what you see, hear, smell, etc… slow exercise and stretching makes it possible for you to pay attention to how the body feels.” This clears it all up for me. I didn’t really know what to expect to feel through mindfulness. I must admit I expected it to be some sort of spiritual awakening of some sort and I just didn’t think I was getting anywhere. But this really puts it in perspective for me.

    “Take it slow, easy and gentle, Aislynn: no rushing this process.” I will certainly take my time with this process. I want it to work out and I want to do it well. Every day that I practice being mindful it will get easier. It might hard at first but I’m willing to do the work that is needed.

    #92798
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    You wrote: “Right now, I just feel that I need to work on it on my own. I want to see how far I can get on my own.” This is fine. I believe there is a lot you can do without a psychotherapist and it is also true, unfortunately, that a good number of psychotherapists are not good enough. So however far you can get without one, is a good idea… as long as there is no rushing.

    If you want, we can go on and on about this on this thread, you post, I post on and on and if this thread gets too long, then start a new one…Your choice. I am willing.

    Mindfulness is it. This was introduced to me in 2011. Before that I was the opposite of mindful: I was spaced out, not paying attention. So practice it and let me know how it goes…

    The symptoms you describe sound very OCD like but even if you went to a doctor and diagnosed with OCD, it will make no practical difference. Best bet for you at this point, I believe, is mindfulness. Now regarding yoga, you don’t even need all the props mentioned in the article. The Child Pose, the Corpse Pose and the chest opener (standing and arms to the side, chest in front, or lying down on a pillow so your chest is up) are the three… as well as some stretches. In this regard yoga is really stretching and relaxing, not performing or exercising. Do the relaxing stretches and resting ones only.

    Post again, and again… as many times as you want and as you are able to.

    You have what it takes, Aislynn: I know you do. I don’t write something like this, that you have what it takes, just to anyone. I stick to reality and to what I believe is true and real and so when I wrote you have what it takes, I mean it.

    anita

    #92799
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “If you want, we can go on and on about this on this thread, you post, I post on and on and if this thread gets too long, then start a new one…Your choice. I am willing.” This sounds great. I would very much like to do that.

    I can relate to feeling spaced out and not paying attention. For me, it happens all the time. I could be talking to someone, listening to them talk while my mind is elsewhere. It happens more than I’d like, again, because my mind just doesn’t know how to stay still. At any moment, I’ll be thinking, speaking to myself about whatever is on my mind, or just dazing off.

    You’re right, it probably won’t make a difference. Not much they can do anyway beside prescribe me something.

    “The Child Pose, the Corpse Pose and the chest opener (standing and arms to the side, chest in front, or lying down on a pillow so your chest is up) are the three… as well as some stretches. In this regard yoga is really stretching and relaxing, not performing or exercising. Do the relaxing stretches and resting ones only.” Those happen to be my favorite poses when doing yoga, along with a few others. I like that you said yoga is about relaxing not exercising. The way everyone else says it they make it seem like a sport about being flexible and I’ve always had a hard time with it. I struggle with a vast number of the poses and find myself uncomfortable most of the time,unable to reach the mindfulness I seek. I like the idea of doing just a few poses at my pace. For some reason I was not focusing onbeing mindful of my body, relaxing or my breathing. Rather I was trying to keep up with the various poses trying to achieve them as best as I could.

    “You have what it takes, Aislynn: I know you do. I don’t write something like this, that you have what it takes, just to anyone. I stick to reality and to what I believe is true and real and so when I wrote you have what it takes, I mean it.” This means a lot to me. It really does. It helps that someone else besides myself believes it is possible for me to become mindful and reduce and control my anxiety. It means a lot because I’ve dealt with the anxiety and behaviors most of my life all by myself. Sure, they know about a few of my obsessive behaviors, but they don’t know the full extent. I can’t even imagine what my family would think if I told them about it.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Aislynn.
    #92805
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    You wrote last that you can’t even imagine what your family would think if you told them about the extent of your anxiety. What do you think they would think?

    About Mindfulness: anchoring that “floating” spaced out head in a body and in the Here and Now environment. Back in March 2011 when I was first introduced to the concept by my then good therapist, he sent my email short guided meditation audios that started me on mindfulness. They all start with sitting comfortably (but I learned to do these things while lying down and later walking..), taking long, slow breaths. After that the audios were combinations of paying attention to the sounds around me (and in me), connecting to the sense of hearing, paying attention to what I see, sense of seeing, feel with my hands, sense of touch, even smell, taste and later paying attention to sensations in the body, pressure in the chest area and staying with the sensation, as well as paying attention to feelings otherwise, like sadness or anger, and paying attention to my thoughts, as in recording the thoughts I am having within a minute.

    This all was a long, long process. You can’t do it all quickly. It is not a performance thing, you have to relax into it and let time do its thing. You can’t “get it” and do it …from now on. You get it for a moment, go “Ah”- and then you forget, get spaced out again…

    Again and again the audios were about it being okay to lose focus, to get lost again. Mindfulness is about returning again and again to what you pay attention to. You get lost in self talk while listening to sounds, you NOTICE you got lost, you GENTLY bring yourself back to the sounds… again and again and again…

    Do you think you can download guided meditations, short to start with, on mindfulness? There are different ones by different people and you can choose who fits you better.

    anita

    #92819
    Benite
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn,

    I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. No one should have to go through so much. I think Anita has given you a lot of great tips on how to deal with your anxiety. If you need more resources, I know someone who has suffered from social anxiety and managed to overcome it. He shares his story and tips on what he did that helps him leave a normal life now. His article is published on my blog titled how to overcome shyness. I also have articles published from survivors of general anxiety and panic attacks. I don’t think I can leave links here, but you can check out my website through my profile. I hope this helps.

    #92893
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    They would most probably not take me seriously. My step dad in particular, although a great man, would tell me to get over it. My mother, well she wouldn’t even have a talk with me about it, she’s not too much of a believer on mental disorders, she doesn’t comprehend it and takes it too lightly. I guess this all comes from them being fairly outgoing, and they’re oblivious to other people’s struggles. They don’t see how hard it is to get me to even ask a sales associate where to find a particular item. When we go to the store and we can’t find something they make me go ask around, I guess to them I am just shy and they want to help, but they don’t see how much I struggle with it, how much discomfort it causes me. To them, it is as though if they cannot physically see the ailment, it does not exist. They are very ignorant when it comes to mental health disorders other than depression. My mother is the kind of woman who if she saw someone park in a handicapped parking space, and saw them get out and walk just fine, would make a snide comment about them, not taking the time to realize that perhaps they have cancer, a mental disorder, heart disease, etc. I know my mother and step dad love me, they’ve been a great support when I have an off day, and I feel broken down or depressed or am physically ill. However, my mental disorders, well they wouldn’t be too understanding.

    What you described about how your therapist helped you with mindfulness helps me. It helps me have a more concise idea of what I should be aiming for, trying to do. I think that for now I’ll try and focus on sight and sound. Right now, it’s too much for me to try and pay attention to the sensations and feelings within me. For example, even deep breathing is a sensation that I am a bit wary about. It makes me feel heavy, not physically, but emotionally, I feel the tension in that breath and I despise it. It makes me feel wound up like a coil.

    “You can’t do it all quickly. It is not a performance thing” I think this is something I will struggle with along my journey. I’m the kind of person that likes to see progress quickly and loves to measure where I am, I am always trying to compare my performance to where I think I should be, or how I think I should be doing. The whole performance thing is something that has always been an issue for me, not in terms of how I rank against others, but to how I believe I should be ranking. I tend to think I am my own worst critic.

    “Again and again the audios were about it being okay to lose focus, to get lost again. Mindfulness is about returning again and again to what you pay attention to. You get lost in self talk while listening to sounds, you NOTICE you got lost, you GENTLY bring yourself back to the sounds… again and again and again…” This answers one of my questions very well. Just yesterday I was in the car on the way to the store and I had been feeling a bit of anxiety ever seen I woke up, so I thought, what better time than to try to practice mindfulness, you know, give it a try. So I sat there quietly, listening to the crunch of the wheels, the sound of the wind blowing against us, I payed attention to what I was seeing, the light from the sun, the shadows that the other cars cast, the grass being green under a bridge, but the grass being brown out in the open. I got lost for a while thinking how the grass could be green while being away from the rain and sun, but the same grass be so brown while out in the open. I realized I was talking to myself, and tried to focus again on what I was seeing, some run down buildings, some that were closed, others still in business and I got to thinking how they could let their place of business get so shoddy. After all, at some point they were in good shape. I then got caught up in paying attention the colors of the cars, we passed a gas station and I saw a police officer pulling someone over. I got to think about the reason, maybe they were speeding, didn’t use turn signals, or had expired tags. It was like that, me focusing on what I was hearing or seeing and then getting lost in my thoughts and speculations. It felt good to pay attention to things I otherwise wouldn’t have. I guess you could say I go around my day like a zombie, noticing what is around me, but not enough for it to spark my thoughts. I liked trying to focus solely on what I saw or heard. It was a nice distraction from thinking about all the other things I would have had on my mind. It certainly made me feel calm. I did get lost in my own thoughts A LOT, but at least I wasn’t thinking about my anxiety, or school, or anything else that would make me worry. I was calm, if only for the rest of that morning. I am usually uneasy about even being out at the store, having others glance my way, trying to get an item while there are others where I need to get the item from, or the cashier trying to make small talk to me. I’m usually as far away as I can get from the cashier, usually by pretending to be on my phone, or at the very back of the line while I let my sister be at the front. For once, I did not shy away from the cashier and she was a very pleasant person. It was nice to not be nervous about her talking to me. Something I usually avoid at all costs.

    Yes, I definitely think I can download some mindfulness audio tracks. I was thinking it’d be a good idea to have some at home, to listen to when I am having anxiety about going out, or even when I am not anxious, just so I can get the hang of it slowly. Then I also thought I’d have some other audio tracks to help me while I am walking around downtown to get to my bus stop. The college I attend is downtown, and while my parents will take me in the morning, I’ll ride the bus home. I’m just too anxious about those cramped parking spots at my school, and the parking lot is always full to the max. I also have a lot of anxiety while waiting for the bus, and while I am on the bus. I’m afraid the bus won’t come, that I’ll miss my bus stop, that the other riders will stare at me, and just other unpleasant thoughts about having to wait with people. So, I think it’d be a good idea to have some audio tracks for then as well.

    Benite, thank you for your concern and help. I will most definitely look at your profile and check out your website. Thank you for the help.

    #92896
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    good to read your progress. You describe everything so well! Like I wrote before: you got what it takes!

    And since I already went through excellent therapy that helped me so much, I will be glad to share what he taught me with you. The short guided meditations is a good idea, one to start with. Focusing on sight and sound only is excellent. You choose what is comfortable for you, not overwhelm yourself, that would be counter productive. In good psychotherapy, the therapist will not encourage you to overwhelm yourself- that would be silly. He will go at your pace, so choosing your pace is excellent.

    You did a great job being mindful of sights and sounds as you described above and of the thoughts you had. You noticed Sounds, Sights and Thoughts. You noticed when you lost focus on the first two, you didn’t (my understanding) beat yourself up for losing focus/ attention (very important) and you returned to sights and sounds. And you felt calm.

    Of course, not eternal calm: a thing to remember. It is a matter of time and never is there a “happily ever after/ always calm kind of existence. Good job!

    As to the first part of your post, i would like to write about it when I am back to the computer. If you get this post before I am back, can you write about … was it your biological father who bullied you? A bit about that? This is a bit of an Insight thing, different than mindfulness. Mindfulness is most important at this point though. So share IF you wish: remember it is about YOUR pace and you CHOOSE-

    anita

    #92897
    Aislynn
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “good to read your progress. You describe everything so well! Like I wrote before: you got what it takes!” Thank you. I believe sometimes I am much too detailed with myself about my thoughts, and with others. Some people would say I am too mature or philosophical for my age.

    “And since I already went through excellent therapy that helped me so much, I will be glad to share what he taught me with you.” Thank you. This means a lot. Especially considering that it would be hard to get good help. I live in a state that is known for not having good mental health services or help.

    “You noticed when you lost focus on the first two, you didn’t (my understanding) beat yourself up for losing focus/ attention (very important) and you returned to sights and sounds.” You are correct. I did not criticize myself or get angry or upset about getting lost in my thoughts. I just thought to myself, “Ahh, I’m getting sidetracked. Let me focus on something I see or hear.” Then I’d try to continue with my observations.

    “Of course, not eternal calm: a thing to remember. It is a matter of time and never is there a “happily ever after/ always calm kind of existence. Good job!” Thank you, this helps. I was worried I wasn’t really doing what I needed to.

    “As to the first part of your post, i would like to write about it when I am back to the computer.” Great, do so. I really value you asking for insight. I consider you to be a very observant and great person and I know that you can probably understand things about myself that I cannot analyze properly because I might see it differently.

    Well… I have about 4 memories about my biological father aside from the day he left us. They are basically the only things I remember about him. I remember us moving in with my grandma when we first moved into the state after traveling more than 500 miles. I cannot recall anything about that initial time other than this particular day they had gone out and when they came back they had bought us a snow globe from the disney store. I don’t remember him much in my memory, just that he was around. Another faint memory is of him sitting on our blue recliner watching tv, and another is of him hosting a party for his friends, like he did, all the time, I recall. One particular day he had some of his friends over. My mother was serving them coffee and my younger sister was being careless and running all over. It so happens that she bumped into my mother and my mother accidentally spilled the coffee on her. It fell onto her stomach and burned her. One of my father’s friends was a very nice man (about 4 years later, he would become my step dad) and he left our apartment, went to buy some ointments, returned, gave them to my mother and told her what to do with them to help my sister. I don’t recall my father doing anything, as though he wasn’t even there. There are two other things I remember about my father. He once struck me with a belt. I don’t recall what I did, but I remember being very angry afterwards, thinking “how dare he hit me”. Another time, I remember being mad at him for not letting me paint my nails. Once again I was angry. I considered him oppressive, and even at that age (7 or younger), I remember thinking of him as controlling. All of my memories of him involve me feeling alone, like there was no connections. I feel this darkness in all of my memories of him. So no, he did not bully me, he just wasn’t involved.

    I was actually bullied in the 6th and 8th grade by different girls. In 6th grade I was a tomboy. I wore loose clothing and didn’t care much about my appearance. 6th grade was at a different school than the elementary school I had gone to. It was a much bigger school with a lot more diversity. I only had one friend from elementary that I really spoke to and naturally we met other girls in 6th grade. I am hispanic but I had never been around other hispanics much. It was strange to me and I quickly realized how much I didn’t fit in. It was also very clear to the other girls my friend talked to. They teased me, called me a lesbian, spread rumors about me, excluded me, talked about me, asked rude questions, they asked why I dressed like that, why I didn’t have a boyfriend etc. It wasn’t long before the other girls got wind of the rumors and started talking about me as well. They all bought lunches, and I brought mine, which was enough to make them bully me even more. I liked the color blue, they liked red. Another reason for them to not like me. It was too much for me to handle at that age. I hated going to school. I constantly felt judged and talked about. I would cry in the restroom and in my room at home when I was alone. I once convinced my mother to let me miss a week of school, feigning sickness just so I would be away from it all. I had enough of it and started molding myself so I could fit in. Things got better after that but I became self conscious. I got a boyfriend just to prove myself to them and started wearing red, and jewelry and lip gloss, etc. I was glad when the girls who had teased me weren’t going to the same school for 7th grade.

    I don’t recall much about 7th grade. It was all right I suppose. In 8th grade however, I had another encounter with bullies. This particular girl thought it was funny to laugh at me in gym class because I didn’t know how to throw a basketball. I got angry and decided I wasn’t going to let her talk about me that way. I went up to her and we got in a physical fight. I was hoping that would be the end of it, I had already had enough of bullies, but it was just the beginning. She was a year younger than me and would always try to intimidate me and one of my other friends. She would bump into us in the hallway and physically push us and say mean things. It would happen almost everyday. I was terrified. So terrified that me and my other friend would always email each other so we could arrive together at school. I was so scared when this bully’s older sister confronted me. I was so scared that I pushed all of the blame on my friend (I feel so bad for doing this to my friend but I was very scared after learning that this bully was into boxing). The older sister asked me why I had gotten in a fight with her sister and I said to her, “I did it because she said mean things about me and my friend, I was just trying to defend myself, it was my friend who started it all with your sister” (Which was true but I felt bad for turning my back on my friend). My bully’s sister was nice and said she’d get her sister and friends too lay off of me, and it worked. They then only bothered my friend. I was glad, but I still felt scared. Near the end of the year the returned to calling me names. I was glad when we ended up not going to the same high school. I was terrified of these girls, there were about 5 of them, and they had all taken turns bullying me, pushing me, calling me names. I remember being not just scared, but terrified. SO MUCH so that when I saw this girl, at my college during my first semester for a small one hour class, I hid behind my computer and basically sped out of the classroom once it was over. When I saw her in the hall I hid my face and tried to be as fast as possible. I felt nothing but anxiety and fear. In middle school I recall not feeling like I confide in any of the teachers to help.

    #92898
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Aislynn:

    You wrote: “My mother…she’s not too much of a believer on mental disorders”

    It is a chicken and egg issue. If your mental disorders are things that fell off the sky, it is one thing. Maybe she doesn’t believe things fall off the sky.

    If your mental disorders are the consequences of her behavior toward you, well.. if she does not believe that a forming child is affected by the child’s parents’ behavior toward the child… well, this is a giant blind spot, isn’t it?

    When a parent believes that his or her behavior has no consequence on the child’s mental health… what kind of oversight is it, Aislynn? What kind of blindness is it?

    You wrote in an earlier post above: ” I know deep down that my father issues and bullying are what led me to develop anxiety. I was not born with it. This happened because of my experiences.” I agree.

    anita

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