Breaking Out of the Isolation (part one)

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I have always been nervous and uncomfortable speaking up and reaching out to others. Going through school, jobs and life, I have often experienced myself as quiet, shy, and holding myself back from fully participating. Even on more intimate, personal levels, I find the fears and resistances towards reaching out are still existent within me. It is discouraging and saddening when one is too afraid to take the leap and initiate an interaction, because that’s when we start missing out on something that could have been; we are missing out on exploring who we are, and are throwing away our capacity as creators, never getting the chance to see what we had the potential to create as ourselves, or the journey we could have walked. In this we are, in a way, accepting and allowing a diminished version of reality, compared to one that we so easily could have enjoyed.
As time passes and we grow farther from the cradle and closer to the grave, life starts taking on a new seriousness and intensity. This cold, hard reality can lead to asking oneself some pretty substantial questions; Is being held back by fears worth not fully living? Am I prepared to look back on it all, and among all the ups and downs and experiences, feel an underlying theme of regret? Am I not brave enough to live as an equal to others and all that is Here? Will I accept and allow my own self-judgment lead me to live a life of unworthiness?
When we limit ourselves with fears, we are missing out on so much everything life has to offer. If we need support, but are too scared to open up and ask, we are condemning ourselves to isolation and solitude. What is this veil of shyness/timidity/fear really hiding? What is the value and definition we’ve placed on ourselves that is making us feel too scared to reach out to others, or to participate freely in a social interaction?
In my next blog, I will explore this point for myself by using self-forgiveness; forgiving myself unconditionally for the hidden fears, values and self-definitions that I held about myself.
For the entire series:

Self-Neglect: Awareness Emerges (Stepping Out of the Isolation of OCD)

With having dermatillomania/OCD/excoriation disorder, we can tend to isolate ourselves and shrink our worlds down to include very few people. Thinking that this makes it easier is a justification to not have to face the world and the disorder, but instead to indulge into the disorder and hide from the negative consequences it creates by isolating ourselves from the world.

This does not mean the consequences are not there, it just means we are not looking at them because nothing in our world is mirroring to us our actual reality – we are instead creating a reality within which we can exist more comfortably, even though we know very well we will have to face it eventually.

In this video, I discuss moments where small acts of neglect can lead to this isolation, and lead to projecting one’s own reactions onto others, feeling as though it is the world, reality and the people within it that are being neglectful towards us, when in fact it is ourselves that can contribute to this, and thus change it.

 

My Extremely Large and Incredibly Small Victories

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I have been walking a process for about 4-5 years now where I am practicing living self-forgiveness and learning self-acceptance, self-love and self-understanding in my day to day life. I am doing this by actually forgiving myself, in writing as well as out-loud whenever possible, and letting go of all the burdens, bad habits and self-destructive patterns I had been living out for so long.

Forgiving yourself is not blaming yourself. We are not entirely responsible for the disorders we suffer, as there is a genetic component, an environmental element, and then there is society and the system within which we live, which definitely do not support proper healing and recovery on a daily basis.

Self-forgiveness is the same as making the statement that although there are many contributing factors to the development of a disorder such as OCD (derma, trich, germaphobia etc…), within forgiving myself, I am standing up a taking on that responsibility in its entirety. I am stating that I alone exist within my body, and so I alone, with all the support I can get, am taking responsibility for my own healing and recovery. I am using self-forgiveness to bring myself out of my mind, and to stop the internal conversations, thoughts and reactions that cause the emotional build up inside of me throughout the day, among other things.

Even though we are in fact alone within ourselves, it is always recommended to open oneself up to all the assistance and support we can get, keeping in mind the fine line between being supported and developing a dependence.

Remember SELF-responsibility, no one can do this for us. Seeking and utilizing support is not the same as having someone or something else do it for you – because that is impossible, no one else can ‘fix’ you for you. Support is guidance, it’s someone challenging you or pointing things out you may not have realized. It’s someone talking some sense into you when you are unbalanced and lost in emotions/feelings. It can be someone there to encourage you and push you when you face a fear, or to simply be there to listen to you and show you practical solutions you may not have seen or realized yourself.

Interestingly, within some of the best support I have received, I have found the things I need to hear most are the hardest things to hear. If someone were to say “you need to start taking this more seriously and apply yourself more,” for example, I might get incredibly defensive! I have argued about how much I do already and how hard it is for me, and that they don’t understand what it is I deal with on a daily basis.

But what I’ve learned is that this is what’s called ‘arguing for your limitations’, wherein you find yourself actually arguing and building a defense for why you shouldn’t try harder, you can’t do more, you’re stuck and the situation is unchangeable. This is obviously complete self-sabotage, and sets us up for certain failure.

It is in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you’re starting point is: ‘I can’t do this,’ then everything that flows from it, and from you, in terms of your actions, words, choices and decisions etc… will only ever end up confirming your starting point of being limited and unable.

What I have experienced is that there comes a time and a point within this process where you realize what you’re doing, because nothing is working and nothing is changing, and the same pattern just keeps on repeating itself. This is the time and the point I reached where I just had to suck it up and say ‘ok, it is time to actually apply myself for real. I started by finding a new starting point, one based in the statement “I am Here to assist and support myself do whatever it takes to manage and/or overcome this.”

Unfortunately, it is not so simple as making a statement. When I am told things that might indicate I actually have to change and step up my application, I look at why I react defensively. Not only with OCD/derma, but with anything that I wanted to improve, such as keeping things tidier at home and applying myself at work. The defensiveness I feel is covering up the fact that I am fearful. I am terrified of letting go of my current way of being and doing. I am scared of my perception of what the change will be like. I am fearful of losing a part of me and of my identity.

It may seem strange, but I’ve discussed this reaction in past blogs, and will go into in more detail in the near future. For now, I see it as a good sign. I see it as a sign that I am building myself up, my stance, my application, my self-will and my self-directive principle, and the disorder is actually feeling threatened.  Please read this blog, to understand some dimensions of The Fear of Not Having OCD/derma to depend on.

 

Anxiety Series – Dermatillomania: Anxiety Dimension Solution (part five)

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My life had become ruled by anxiety. I had even developed an anxiety disorder called dermatillomania. This blog is focused on ‘picking apart’ and dismantling this disorder, instead of doing so to my skin. I am doing this so that I can restructure and put myself back together in a way that I can accept, because I cannot to continue to accept this disorder in my life.

In my last blog series I walked the process of deconstructing anxiety reactions to see what exactly causes them and how one can firstly, direct oneself to walk through them in a way where one won’t feed into and perpetuate them; and secondly, avoid triggering them at all. I have proven to myself too many times already, that I can’t simply stop my compulsive skin picking and other OCD tendencies. I am now working on making the internal and external changes necessary to create the environment in which change will be possible.

For practicality, in my last blogs, I listed five examples of every-day situations that trigger anxiety in my own life. As a side note, in doing this, I actually got to know myself and who I am within the anxiety, and how I can handle its onset. The process I have walked in my last few blogs has been a very interesting, and I have been successfully practicing what I’ve taught myself for several weeks now (in terms of preventing or walking through the anxiety where it would have normally taken over). I’ve observed quite a significant change in my experience of anxiety, as well as the frequency of anxiety attacks. The biggest difference has been at my job, where my overall stress level had been reduced. I highly suggest checking out my other blogs in this anxiety series in order to apply the same process in your own life.

Here is where I left off in my last blog: “The best solution is to keep practicing being able to recognize the moment anxiety first starts, because that is where it can be stopped. The goal is to prevent the reactions from taking place at all. This requires a slowing down within self, and a self-awareness perhaps not previously developed. I will work on these aspects over the next weeks, by studying my examples of ‘anxiety-triggering situations’ I wrote about in my last blog. I will ‘study’ them by walking through them one by one, doing self-forgiveness on all the points so that I reveal to myself any hidden self-sabotage and to see what exactly is going on that leads me to create an anxiety reaction within myself.”

I have been going to the gym for the past year or so. What I noticed at first was minimal to no upper-body strength. After a year of working out with weights, swimming and boxing, I have noticed visible musculature and a slight but noticeable increase in strength. It has been awesome to see something develop from virtually nothing. The muscles were not there before, and now they are. It’s as simple as that: they are new, I created them. When they are tiny and not very strong, even the lightest weights make me tremble with effort after a couple of reps. But I know that if I simply continue to apply myself they will inevitably grow. I am mentioning this because it’s the same with developing self-awareness. I personally develop self-awareness through self-forgiveness, because it is very effective at peeling back the layers of the mind to reveal what is under the anxiety, what is causing it, what thoughts are creating it, and what reaction to those thoughts are fueling it. It is like seeing the ‘worst’ of yourself while in a gentle and supportive embrace.

Warning: I’m about to go into some self-forgiveness statements. They may seem repetitive and detailed… but I continue to apply it because, like the muscles, self-forgiveness has assisted me to develop self-awareness where once there was none. I am becoming able to, in the moment of reaction, identify where the reaction came from, why it came up, and how to walk myself out of it. I’m not always successful, and sometimes I’m too late, but like my muscles, I know that if I keep practicing and applying myself, I will become more effective and will eventually be able to let go of the anxiety point once and for all, because it will no longer be an issue in my life.

Here is the first example of where anxiety is often triggered in my life:

Example 1) Anxiety + Overwhelming-ness

            My first example is in relation to food preparation. It starts when I begin to think about organizing meals and food for the next day or couple of days, or as I begin cooking. It’s a simple task that I think I could actually enjoy, if I didn’t become bombarded with thoughts that become overwhelming.”

I will let you know in advance that in the below self-forgiveness, I revealed to myself that I held an old belief that a ‘good woman’ is defined by her ability to cook. I had no idea I held this belief, nor any idea of the pressure I placed on myself due to it. I also found out that I compare myself to all the women who have ever impressed me with their cooking abilities; women that had been cooking all their lives – an unfair comparison as I had only learned later in life, and I therefore lacked much practice and practical experience. I found this very interesting, and I can see how the anxiety blows my reactions to it out of proportion. I also found out a lot of simple, practical things I can change, like not taking on too much, organizing myself before I begin to cook, keeping a clean workspace, as well as making a plan ahead of time and sticking to it.

Read the self-forgiveness on the example below to see how I found this out, and what I plan to do to instead cook for the simple enjoyment of it, no pressure, no judgment, just my hands working with food in gratefulness of the sustenance being provided. After the self-forgiveness, read on to see how this is related to the perpetuation of dermatillomania.

Self-forgiveness:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become anxious when I start to cook.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing starting to prepare food to be a trigger point existent within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become anxious.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing anxiety and anxiety attacks to exist within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to want to rush the process of cooking food to ‘get it over with’.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, within this ‘rushed’ energy, begin to cook immediately and figure it out as I go, instead of taking a moment before I’ve started to plan how I will be proceeding.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to try and attempt to cook something when I haven’t left myself enough time, instead of seeing what I have frozen or if there is anything around that is quick to prepare.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not consider cooking when I plan my time, viewing it as something I can quickly get over with in a rush, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that food preparation takes time, and quite a lot of planning before-hand,

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that organizing daily food preparation into my life is difficult and impossible, instead of seeing that every time I push myself to do it, I learn a little, and become more effective and organized over time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to take out all the ingredients and try to start everything at once in the aim of saving time and going faster, without realizing that I create a messy and chaotic environment, reflecting my messy and chaotic mind when I follow through with this pattern of becoming rushed and then trying to do everything all at once and as fast as possible.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to spend more time thinking about the outcome of my labour than time spent planning it in the first place.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create an expectation about what others will think when they taste the food I prepare, and to, within this, develop a desire for positive feedback, in order to obtain validation that I believe I require, because of the idea that ‘a good woman knows how to cook.’

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to base any part of my value and worth as a female upon my ability to cook food, or my lack thereof.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that a ‘good woman’ can cook well, and to think about all the women I know who can cook well, and make things I cannot make,  thus placing pressure on myself to prove that I am a ‘good woman’ too, by trying and attempting to make amazing things when I don’t yet have the know-how, which is setting myself up for failure.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to set myself up for failure and then judge myself as having ‘failed as a woman’ when I inevitably make a mistake.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to distract myself away from the actual cooking by thinking about the potential positive and negative reactions to my food – thus preoccupying my mind and not focusing on what I’m doing, distracting myself with the thoughts instead of realizing that it only takes one wrong ingredient or one wrong move to ruin a meal.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, within the desire to avoid a negative reaction, begin feeling upset and defeated when one part of the meal or another doesn’t turn out as I had imagined, creating pressure, blame and self –defeat when I’ve let something cook too long, or when I’ve made a mistake.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to build up anxious energy while I am cooking, wherein pressure is place on the reaction to my cooking, and I end up taking the reaction personally, whether good or bad, because I had built up energy which now needs to be released in a feeling (good) or emotional (bad) experience by which I would then define myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to define myself by my feelings and emotions.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place pressure on to the reaction of others to my cooking, due to me having participating in thoughts, feelings, emotions and imaginations within and throughout the cooking process.

When and as I see that I am about to cook, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself out of my mind and back into my physical body in the present moment, here, by giving myself a moment to organize, check for ingredients, plan the process and proceed one step at a time.

When and as I see that I am starting to go into a rushed and chaotic experience while cooking, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the pace of the physical, slow and steady, by taking a step back to look at my environment, ensuring I do not have too many items out or too many things going on at the same time, tidying where necessary, and assessing the most efficient way to proceed based on the requirements of what I have going on.

When and as I see that I am going into the ‘pleasing’ character while cooking, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself into the lightness of the moment by taking off the pressure of cooking from the starting point of pleasing, and replacing it with the starting point of cooking for the mere fact that I enjoy cooking, experimenting with food, and learning from my mistakes.

When and as I see that I am searching for validation through cooking well, I stop, and I breathe.  I bring myself back to self-worth by reminding myself that my value is not in my ability to cook, but in the time and care that I invest in myself, creating my self-value, by, for example, cooking within and as self-enjoyment, open-minded learning, self-evolution within organization and pre-planning, thus creating myself as someone that can cook well because I have walked a process of trial and error, planning and organization, and practice over time.

I commit myself to learn to simply enjoy cooking, in all its aspects and everything it entails.

I commit myself to embrace myself within the mistakes I make, and to learn from them.

I commit myself to put in the time to plan and organize meals, to cook around discounts at the grocery store, and to cook for my health/body, allowing for pleasure as well.

I commit myself to cook for fun, because it’s a necessity, so I might as well have fun doing it!

This above example relates to dermatillomania, because the condition is not necessarily a complete focus on the skin. It is a symptom of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is created throughout the day and carried around within the mind and body, It builds up and from time to time, reaches a tipping point where it needs to be released. Often when I get anxious it feels like a discomfort within me, and it becomes very uncomfortable like an itch that, when left unscratched, becomes the overwhelming focus and then an obsession and compulsion until the energy is released and dissipated. I rarely look at what throughout the day created the anxiety, things of varying degrees that I didn’t face in the moment, but instead suppressed.

Usually when I do take the time to investigate, I find self-defeating thoughts which make me feel bad, lonely, isolated, hopeless etc…  which are soothed either by the endorphins released by the pain of picking or the complete focus on the skin and it’s imperfections, rather than the thoughts that are creating the pain and discomfort.

All of these thoughts are connected to energies expressed as feelings and emotions, which we then believe is who we are, but it’s not true. We have the choice to turn any self-defeating situation into a moment of self-empowerment. The thoughts that pop into our heads are just robotic programs that we’ve programmed into and as ourselves over a lifetime of believing ourselves to be the energies (feeling and emotions) we are able to create in our minds. We simply need to invest the time and care into ourselves to re-program how we think and act and do. This is effective, I have already proven it to myself. Like going to the gym – it’s just a matter of time before the results become real, visible and measurable!

 

Dermatillomania and Self-Sabotage: Why it Happens

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Within this blog, I am continuing from my last blog where I stated “I will demonstrate how to investigate, understand and find the source of thoughts, forgive them, and re-script a new way of being/thinking/doing while incorporating Mr. Schwartz’s suggestions.” Within this statement, what I am referring to is the thoughts that cause the internal energetic environment, or feeling/emotional state that leads to picking. I am going to look at where the thoughts come from/what leads to them, pulling them out like strings. I will then forgive them, which releases and diffuses them and the energy they create within self. Then I will ‘re-script’ a new way of being and doing.

 

In my previous blog I had documented an example of how I negated a picking session. To briefly re-cap, I identified a moment where I knew I was setting myself up to pick my skin, I defined that moment in words and used the tool of self-forgiveness to ‘diffuse’ my mind. I then made a plan for how my afternoon would play out upon walking into my empty apartment, and I lived the plan instead of participating in derma. Please read that blog for context by clicking Here.

 

It was really amazing to walk this solution and have it work, but unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as finding a single solution and having it work like magic or like a quick fix. Everything has multi-dimensions and layers that have to be exposed and walked, and so here I will describe a point of self-sabotage that opened up the next time I tried to employ the same technique of ‘making a detailed plan and sticking to it’:

 

I was trying to think of a plan for when I would wake up in the morning. I knew I would have free time so I knew there would be the temptation to pick. I tried to think of a plan and I became continuously distracted; I felt bored and frustrated by making a plan. I would go ‘blank’, and then I started really resisting making a plan, saying to myself, “it’s the weekend, I’ll figure it out tomorrow, why am I putting myself through this now? “ The feeling I had within me was a strong defiance and negative emotion towards pushing myself to do what should be an act of self-support. But it did not feel self-supportive at all. I felt like I was depriving myself or losing something and there was a strong presence of fear.

 

This entire play-out was me using my mind to sabotage myself within living a solution I had found and proven to myself mere days prior. I am going to investigate these reactive thoughts by using self-forgiveness as follows:

 

(side note: at the end of this blog I gathered the realizations I revealed within and through the self-forgiveness process)

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have an adverse reaction to making myself a plan for the day so that I can support myself to do something OTHER than pick my skin.

 

Now to describe the reaction in words through self-forgiveness:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not want to make a plan for my day because I feel it is ‘boring’ and ‘constrictive’ and it makes me feel ‘trapped’ like ‘I can’t move’ or have ‘no freedom’.

 

Now to figure out WHY I feel this way:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to manifest the energetic experiences of ‘boredom’ (which is generally avoidance), ‘constriction’, ‘trapped’ and ‘loss of freedom’ in connection to the thought of making a self-supportive plan to help me avoid a picking session.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel ‘constricted’ and ‘trapped’ when and as I would make a set plan for myself for a period of time because I think/believe/perceive that if I stick to that plan there will be no time for me to ‘do what I want’.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that making a plan prevents me from “doing what I want,” when I can see clearly that “doing what I want” means picking my skin because I subconsciously want to repeat the pattern and live out the compulsions because I think I need to satisfy the urge, within this I see, realize and understand that I subconsciously fear having a plan because I see it as a threat to my picking sessions, and if I don’t get my picking sessions, I will feel horrible.

 

Here I have to now recognize the distinction between ‘what I want’ – which is to stop picking, and ‘what I think I want’ – which is to satisfy the urge to pick my skin by following through with the compulsion.

 

Within the following statements I am using Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz’s techniques of re-attributing and re-valuing thoughts, except that I’ve added the dimension of self-responsibility. (For example, where he would say “this thought is not me, it’s my OCD, I would say “this thought is my creation, I take self-responsibility to investigate how/why I created it, I realize it is merely a mind-creation and that it does not support me in my living, I forgive myself for having accepted and allowed this thought, and I will no longer accept and allow it to exist within and as me, I commit myself to…..” and then I will specify the change I intend to live). I’ll expand on this in my next blog.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that being free to pick my skin is the same as being free to ‘do what I want’.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that I want to pick my skin, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it is the OCD, the disorder that I have created within and as myself as my mind which leads me to believe this is what I want due to myself having used skin picking as a coping mechanism for various reasons throughout my life.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not see, realize and understand that what I really want is to live out the self-supportive plans I make for myself, because they are plans made within self-direction, meaning plans that I made to intentionally support myself, benefit myself, and assist myself to walk towards stopping this disorder and healing.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel trapped if I think I won’t have a chance to pick my skin.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear not being able to pick my skin within the thought/perception/belief that I won’t ever feel better and I will feel intensely uncomfortable forever if I don’t get to pick.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that the bad feelings will last forever and that I can’t prevail or wait them out or survive them, and within this I remind myself that all energy eventually runs out.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel an intense fear when I think I’m not going to be able to pick because I feel like I am losing/denying a piece of myself.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to identify so much with dermatillomania that I have begun to believe it is part of Who I Am and a part of me that I couldn’t survive without.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that I would die without derma, and to translate this subconscious thought/perception/belief into extreme fear and anxiety on a conscious mind level which seems undefinable and inescapable whenever it comes up.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel suffocated when I make a plan that doesn’t involve derma, and within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to associate the acquiescence of myself to this disorder to breath itself, as if without it, I couldn’t breathe.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to associate breathing and freedom to derma instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that I have it exactly backwards, wherein this disorder is controlling me, suffocating my natural expression, and it has me trapped like a prisoner in my own body.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to sabotage myself by adversely reacting to making a plan because in reality I subconsciously want to continue to pick because I have lead myself to (subconsciously) believe that if I don’t pick I will suffocate and die, within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place this disorder as more important and more vital than myself and my real life and my real breathing and Who I Really Am.

 

So what the this investigation process reveal? Reality check:

 

1) That I sabotage myself from supporting myself to heal because deep down I don’t really want to heal, I don’t want to let go of derma because I believe so strongly that I need it and that I would die without it. I have led myself to see and experience it as a coping mechanism that I cannot cope without, although here I remind myself that I have never actually tried, and that it might not be as bad/difficult/terrible as I imagine. Please read a similar blog I wrote on the topic: The Fear of NotHaving OCD.

 

2) That I had never clearly made the differentiation between ‘what I want’ and ‘what I think I want’. This point needs to be hammered home because ‘wanting to pick’ is my default programming that I immediately go to, I trust it and follow it through despite experiencing the same consequences each time.

 

3) That I blind myself to the reality consequences I create for myself when I pick. It’s like I forget each time I start a picking session, that the consequence of that session will probably feel just as bad or worse than the feelings I’m escaping through picking.

 

4) That I feel trapped if I see I’m not going to be able to pick. When I look at this statement now I see that I am only trapped to face myself and the feelings/emotions I have created. I will look into this in blogs to come. Conversely, I feel that if I can get the opportunity to pick, I feel free and liberated. I have this exactly backwards in my mind.

 

5) That I irrationally believe that if I don’t participate in derma I will die, and this deep deep belief creates an underlying fear that builds up regularly.

 

I will go up till here for this blog, and continue with scripting my self-commitments and self-corrective application in my next blog.

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Yoga and Overcoming Derma (part 2)

Yoga and overcoming derma 2

In my last post titled Yoga and Overcoming derma I discussed how I was brought to yoga within my battle with my greatest addiction: OCD. I had written a list of the qualities, skills or activities I wanted to work on developing in my life as a point of self-creation as I let go of OCD.

When you let something go, especially when it is a big part of your life, it is necessary to, at the same time, create yourself as something new.

I have found this to be exceedingly supportive because to create something requires time and thus discipline, focused attention and energy. Not an emotional or feeling energy which can end up feeding the addiction, but a ‘doing’ energy, which involves breathing; breathing through reactions, breathing back to stability, breathing to control and maintain movement and balance during yoga practice, and so on.

What I have found is that not only in doing yoga, but also making space for yoga in my life which is very busy, I have begun to live words such as: discipline, organization, self-movement and self-worth.

This is because I had to go through many steps to find the studio, pay for the membership, get the proper clothes and items (either buy, borrow or locate), find a place in my schedule and a frequency that suites me, and actually follow through on my decision each time I decide to go.

Once in the studio, there is a whole other set of words to be lived: calm, quite, slow, still, relax, release, patience, breathe, gentle. These are words that I had not been living in my day-to-day rush in the 9-5 rat race, and words which are necessarily developed while practicing yoga. These words I KNEW I should be living, but had not lived them in so long, or in too specific a context, that I was unable to bring them into my busy mind and working life.

I do hot yoga, and when my mind is not clear, or I am being impatient with myself or rushing, the heat begins to bother me. But if I have a clear mind and am actually living the words mentioned above, I embrace the heat and it feels wonderful in my body. In these instances, I walk out of the studio feeling refreshed (especially when finishing with a cold shower), and my body can more easily acclimate to the temperature outdoors, whether it be exceptionally cold or hot, it has less of an effect. I feel stable, self-sustaining, and more resilient.

In relation to addiction or OCD more specifically, the effects are multi-dimensional. There are the physically supportive effects, where I am physically doing something else, doing and going to yoga instead of the addictive repetitive acts. Then, there is also support for the energy build-ups within OCD, which pushes one over the edge when faced with compulsion (or with addiction it would be the similar urges). Within yoga, the energy is released physically and more constructively, in a calm and controlled manner while building muscle and burning calories, sweating and maintaining focus.

And then there is also the mind dimension, where the new words lived can be applied in one’s relationship with their mind. For example with me, within my mind-body-beingness relationship, there tends to be a lot of friction. There is a harshness, the words ‘discipline’, ‘focus’ and ‘structure’ had a severe, anxiety provoking edge to them. There is also self-judgment, impatience, over-stimulation, rushing, compulsions and so on. The mind can be a very busy place.

You can imagine how welcomed living the words: ‘calm’, ‘quite’, ‘slow’, ‘still’, ‘relax’, ‘release’, ‘patience’, ‘breathe’ and ‘gentle’ has been as I have introduced them into how I work with my mind. Now, throughout the day, when I have the compulsions, or feel the sharp stabs or rushing, impatience and stress, I can more easily take a deep breath, and access a part of me that is newly developed. One that finds a deep silence within me, where I am more untouchable and unwavering in my resolve. this part of me I more easily discovered and developed through practicing yoga, and all the steps it took to get there.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading.

Yoga and Derma

yoga and derm
 
I began my relationship with yoga about 15 years ago, and it was contentious for a long while. Having struggled with OCD for most of my life, most times getting out the door in itself is a difficult challenge. Not to mention going into an intimate class setting and then into some very strange positions. But I never gave up on yoga – or I should say, i never gave up on myself within and as my practice.
 
I have decided to take on OCD in this life, and in one way or another, everything I do relates to this battle, either directly or indirectly. Battling OCD is much like battling an addiction. This battle is also going on at a dna level, where I’ve inherited this disorder through genetics. Some would say this is impossible, at least not without medication.
 
I did get to a point where I was advised to take medication, so I have tried medication. What I did with that is that I learned from it. I could see it’s effects on me and I could see that it would also be possible to have the same impact on myself through decision-making in self-awareness. So I could mimic the effects of the medication within myself, but of course, this takes mental-discipline and consistent self-awareness that I am still developing.
 
 
One tool of support I learned from the interview Creating Balance while Changing Yourself is how to establish a balance between letting go of the old, while creating the new. Letting go of OCD while creating the new me as Who I Am and Will be without this disorder in my life.
 
Very true, from the description:
 
This interview shares practical and creative ways to give yourself structure as well as freedom when taking on the more challenging and addictive patterns you want to change.
 
It has been many months since I learned about this balance, and over the months I have continuously applied the practical application mentioned in the recording.
 
I wrote out a list of things I would like to work on developing in my life, and then a brief ‘how-to’, keeping it very practical in terms of making it very live-able for me in my life and current situation. The list includes everything from exercising more regularly, to developing self-expression, maintaining an orderly and tidy environment to down-time.
 
 
This application gives me the structure and foundation upon which to support myself to stand as I tackle the challenges of facing OCD. Part of it is the fact that when I previously tried ‘just stopping’ OCD, there was a big space, gap or hole left in my life which I sought to fill and didn’t know how. It would inevitable always lead back to OCD. Or, I would try to replace OCD, but that made everything I did about the disorder and not about me. There is a slight difference between replacing and addiction and letting go of an addiction. This is emphasized in the recording and the outcomes are very different – one leads to healing while the other to suppression.
 
Continued in this blog: Yoga and Overcoming Skin-Picking