Mental/Physical Balance

Mental physical balance

I am continuing from my last blog post  where I am working on an application of developing myself from a starting point of creation (creating a New Me!), while at the same time, letting go of OCD. Obviously, self-change and self-creation are not as easy as writing a list and sticking to it. The process of making new habits and breaking old ones requires time, dedication, persistence, perseverance and patience, among other qualities (these are just the ones that have come up for me most in my experience).  What I have found is that there must be a balance here. A balance meaning, balancing between the physical doing, and then also walking through the mind/mental elements.

 

It has been about three weeks that I have been working on incorporating these new elements into my life, and my first report is that it is a lot tougher than I thought it would be! I have managed to integrate a few of points to certain degrees. It is like having planted seeds which I am now nurturing to grow, and the seeds are sprouting and growing at different speeds. The good news is that all of them have ‘germinated’ so to speak – meaning, I have given attention to all of the points, and I see potential in each one to develop, and some have already begun!

 

One of the things I noticed is that it is tough to remember all these new things I want to incorporate into myself and my life, when I already have quite a busy schedule. Whenever I confront this point of not having time, I think of a quote I hear that says “saying you don’t have enough time is like saying you don’t care”. It’s true because I ALWAYS find time for OCD/derma, so if I have time for that multiple times a day, I then also have time to give to my own self-creation. So, time is no excuse, this CAN be done.

 

Another mind/mental aspect that has been making this application difficult is the resistances I feel in relation to doing these things. I will prepare a moment for myself to, for example write or to work out. When the time comes, it s like hitting a wall, everything of me does NOT want to do it, and all of me would prefer to go into OCD/derma instead. In this moment, I have sometimes fallen (for which I forgive myself), and sometimes stood and moved me (yay!).

 

When I have moved myself into the direction of my choice, it has never been as bad or as hard as I thought it would be. It has rather in fact always been a huge beneficial support and an empowering self-movement and self-direction. In fact, I often end up feeling a sense of relief and lightness within me, almost as if it took more energy to maintain the resistance to maintain the internal battle than to just pick myself up and move to do it.

 

Self-Creation: Who Will I Be?

The title of this post is an amazing question, because I get to answer it and decide 100% for myself, and that is so empowering! This is not the first time, however, that I have put myself into action to change. One of the biggest realizations I have had is that grandiose sweeping changes rarely last and are not so easy to sustain. Maybe sometimes, but for the following application, I will take it slow, step-by-step.

Below is a chart which is based on the application described in my previous blog. It is the basic ground-work for who and how I would like to be and become. It is, in my view, a ‘healthy’ (as in: normal, constructive, beneficial to myself and my living, self-expansive)  foundation to set for myself as that which I would like to birth as me:

Work on Developing

Exercise

Writing

Maintaining a clean environment

Find a Hobby

Reading

Preparing my Day the night before

Vlogging

Down time

 

Self-Expression

How To

Excercise: Starting with three times a week. Twice doing strength/muscular in my room with youtube videos, and then one jog/long walk on the weekends. Taking a different bus after work so I get a 20 minute walk home .Take stairs in metro.

Writing: Every night post in daily self-forgiveness. Three times a week, one of the following: blog about realizations or sf. Personal sf that is deeper/not public..

Maintaining a clean environment: Create a place for everything. Put things back in their place once done. Do laundry weekly, vacuum weekly. Weekend organizing. Get rid of stuff I don’t use/need. Take responsibility to do after dinner clean up for my mom. Keep my stuff in my room, not in the public spaces.

Find a hobby: when I have spare time I would like to do something creative/artistic. My mom has an art studio at home I can use. I would like to do bead work or stained glass or collage. I would spend quality time with my mom and relate to her through art. I would enjoy it. I would need to buy some supplies but she has all the tools. Arrange to go with her to art store next time she goes.

Reading: On the bus to and from work is when I have time to myself to read a book for pleasure. Prevents me from going into the mind and becoming stressed about the day ahead, or by other passengers.

Preparing my day: Before I go to bed, go into the kitchen and prepare my lunch, the coffee machine. Get clothes ready for the next day. Shower at night, not in the morning.

Vlogging: One French vlog a month. Do regular hangouts discussing topics of self-introspection and self-expansion. One process vlog a month.

Downtime: At least once a week bubble baths, once a week movie.

Self-expression:

Through writing, vlogging and blogging.

With my parents over dinner.

Nightly chats with my partner.

At work.

Do not speak in reaction, practice self-honest expression, breathe through desire for attention. Speak what comes up within me as points or realizations.

Practice how to: Listen. Breathe. Be Natural. Calm. Comfortable.

Write out points to work through fears in relation to communicating. Practice listening, breathing through reactions while talking on the phone or in person. Note points that come up after chatting. Push self-honesty. Listen.

 

In this Moment – I Changed (Planting the Seeds of Change)

seed

I just read a blog I had written in 2013, and I was struck at how much I have changed since then. It’s funny how we can forget how much we have changed over time because it tends to happen quite slowly, and it’s cool to blog and document progress because it produces moments like these. Here is the blog, and at the end I will give an update on how I am doing now:

“I’ve noticed that while on my way to work, regardless of what time it is, I will become anxious about getting to there on time. I have been late to work SO MANY times because of OCD and skin-picking, because I would become trapped within a skin picking session up till the last minute, and then I would have to hurriedly apply make-up to look ‘normal’ again for work. Throughout this entire play-out I would be building and generating anxiety until I was tightly wound up; and this would be the starting point of my day.

This has happened so many times over the years that I find, even when I am not late I  will automatically go into this anxiety before work as a habit because it’s what I’m so used to. It’s become all that I know. I feel as though, if I do not go through these motions I will not be able to get to work at all, because in the past, it has been the anxiety of getting to work that has broken me out of the skin-picking possession and got me moving towards actually getting out the door. So now there exists the belief that without the anxiety, I cannot move myself, and I won’t get to work.

 

Continuing with this common sequence: after I would get myself out the door and off to work, I would be in a really unpleasant state. I would get to work, and would probably have an air about me, or a presence about me that others may react to. Whether I did or not, I can never be sure, but what is certain, is the fact that because I felt so anxious already, and because I would also feel insecure due to the fact that my picture presentation was covered in flaws, and because I created and manifested the anger at myself, the fear, the self-loathing caused by picking, I would reflect it back to myself off of my coworkers.

 

For example: one day as I arrived to work, and as I was walking by a couple co-workers I said “good morning”. One of them looked at me and replied, but the other one just looked at me and turned away and began talking again. As I continued walking to put my coat away I remember this having given me a really bad feeling, I felt like they disliked me, did not want me there, and painfully endured my presence.

 

So, the interesting thing about this is that these thoughts or emotions can only be experienced by me if I created them already- somewhere in my life I accepted and allowed myself to feel these ways about myself, ways which are now activated within and through certain situations. So, within self-honesty I can see, realize and understand that I in fact painfully endure my own presence at times, especially within and as OCD. I dislike myself when I participate in the self-abusive habits that I participate in. I in fact don’t want to be me when I feel the way I do after I have had a pick session, for example.

 

I thought about this that day, and I tried something new to see if they were in fact feeling this way about me, or if I was simply creating it all in my mind. I walked back over there and asked how they were doing, and the other one ignored me again. So I pushed through the fear, self-consciousness and anger, looked straight at her and asked if something was wrong. This seemed to surprise her or catch her off guard, she sort of snapped out of it and apologized. She actually reached out and touched my arm, and participated in a very warm and welcoming interaction.

 

As it turned out, she was dealing with an extremely stressful situation within one of her work-cases, and she was trying to figure it out with the other co-worker. She was just completely wrapped up in it, and had probably worked herself up into a state where she was so self-involved in her own situation that she was not concerned or aware of the impression she was giving off to others- which is the exact same way that I become. So when I pushed it a little by asking her if anything was wrong, I learned it had nothing to do with me at all. I had just been taking everything personally, and consequently feeding my own cycles of self-loathing, insecurity and lack of self-acceptance.
Within the state of mind I enter into within and through the disorder of OCD, I become even more prone to these self-experiences, by taking so many things throughout my day personally because I set myself up to already feel this way: so a glance, a comment, my own internal conversations, etc…  using all of this to accept and allow myself to feel terrible; creating and manifesting an absolutely dreadful internal experience, and then getting home to abuse myself within OCD as a release and escape from it, only to start the whole cycle over again- waking up the next morning and not wanting to face the day ahead. Reluctant to get out of bed, and feeling fatigued on my drive to work because of this absolute reluctance and the anxiety that I create for myself—I mean, is this living? Or is this simply enduring the day? Within and through OCD, I create a life which that I can’t endure and which I would rather escape, but I see now that with a little awareness, I can stop a LOT of the experiences by pushing through the situations I create for myself, simply by using common sense and pushing through a small wall of emotion.”

That is the end of the older blog, and it has been a few years since then…

So how am I doing now?

 

Well, in the mornings, I have a routine that does not include OCD or skin picking. If I slip, it is very minimal, I can get out of it and move on to the next point quite easily or fluidly. I am more aware.

 

When I look at how I arrive at work now I can see that it puts me in a good mood (sometimes a little distracting as I enjoy my co-workers so much that I have to pull myself away and focus on working). I do say hello to everyone, even at times going around to people that sit further away to make a connection and ‘check-in’. I really like this and the dynamic it creates between us.

 

I laugh a lot with my co-workers and generally have a pretty good time, even spending time together outside of work (and have gone on two vacations with co-workers). I would say the relationships I have at work are worthwhile, deeper that I have been used to, but have a light, easy-going feel to them. I am so glad I walked this point, and it is cool to see one of the first moments of correction where it started years ago.

 

So what am I reflecting to myself now within my experience around others? I would say a lot more self-acceptance and self-appreciation. It is to the point where I am now pushing more self-expression, to express me and get to know myself as who I am when I am not constantly judging me and looking at my flaws.

 

This is how the process works, one moment at a time, which accumulates into many moments and then just becomes a way of living. This is how we can create a life worth living for ourselves. Not just with getting along well at work, but within realizing that we are the creators of our own lives, starting with the small, and working to the great. My one condition is that the life I create will be one where I value, respect and honour all Life in my living application, and live according to principle, such as giving as I would like to receive, and doing what’s best for everyone, not just me.

 

Self-Harm: Identifying the Source and Moving Through the Urge

This blog was inspired by the QUESTion: What is OCD to Me?

This is me. I am stopping OCD. Here is my story.

this is me

What does it feel like?

There is an internal experience that I live with that I get both before and after self-harming. It is as if this experience drives me to self-harm, and then is also triggered because I have self-harmed. It feels like a searing burning in my solar plexus, where I am so angry with myself for what I have done, so remorseful, frustrated, helpless and victimized that it leaves me in a state that simply continues the cycle of self-harm.

What effect does it have on behaviour?

This searing, crawling feeling seems so big, like it will take me over. I can feel it physically, and I want to get it out of my body by scratching, squeezing, picking, tearing and digging it out. It is confusing because the thing seems so big, terrifying and unbearable on the inside, but on the outside, I see regular life going by, with everyone in my world getting along just fine. Then I look inside and it is like a pit of torment, like the world is coming to an end.

 

Where did it come from?

 

I wonder, how did I go from an innocent child that would never think such things about myself, to this internal self-hatred and disgust, feeling like I need to be put down and punished?

When I look back I can see there was a time in my life where there was peace. And I can see a few times where that peace was shockingly shaken up in my early schooling years. I was very shy and did not like attention drawn on me, whether it was good or bad, I’d rather not be seen. So, when I was unexpectedly reprimanded in front of a classroom of students the first few times, I felt as if I had been ambushed for no reason. It would be for playing when I was not supposed to be playing, or for work that I did not know had been done incorrectly.

I remember feeling completely confused as to why this was being done unto me, taking it all very personally. And when I would look around at the other students, it was as if they had all taken the side of the teacher, agreeing with her cruel words, seemingly daggers coming out of their eyes and piercing me. I felt as if I had no cover or protection from the pain it was causing.

After having experienced this quite regularly, as happens in school, I began to fear it. It was as if I never knew what might set it off, as I was not intentionally being bad, disruptive or un-cooperative. It was like lying in wait for ambush at all times. This became my protection, the cover of constant fear and hiding, withdrawing within myself and internalizing the pain.

I also mostly hid from adults in my world. I became distrustful and did not want to let my guards down when I was begin treated nicely, because I knew at any moment it could turn. My internal reality became a lonely, neglected and isolated place. And with the internalization of all the emotions, I began to reprimand and attack myself in my thoughts and internal conversations.

How to define it?

I began to believe it all as if it were all my fault. I was worthless, despicable, unbearably intolerable, no good, unable, disgusting and so on. And so it became a cycle of talking to myself in these ways, and creating an unmanageable and unbearable internal reality that I did not know how to cope with, and it began to manifest physically. I remember self-harm OCD starting when I was about 6-7 years old. I caused myself pain and it felt good after, like a relief and release for me.

What is it today?

Fast forward to today, and although I have found many ways to cope and get by, the main patterns and thought processes are still there at the foundation of my self-relationship. What it feels like is tip-toeing throughout the day, but any time I am required to check with myself and look inwards, I am met with this wall of searing fear and self-damnation.

I can see how I connect this fear to a multitude of situations throughout my day.

What will happen is, as I move throughout my day, there will inevitably be moments of challenge, uncertainty, not knowing, and moments that require decision, self-introspection or looking inward. But instead of looking inward and finding a nice, quite open space within myself to play with ideas, I am confronted by what seems like the fiery pits of hell.

It is like trying to find solutions while being under attack.

For example, if I am writing and I don’t know how to express what I am physically experiencing within myself, I will look inward and be met with this unbearable searing wall of fear that prevents me from seeing, from finding the words or from understanding what is going on. In these moments, OCD is triggered, and I look for relief through self-harm.

How to Manage?

 

Self-harm seemed to be my only solution, because I thought that I should not go towards, move into or through something that feels so bad. But throughout the process I have been walking, I have been challenging this. I have during my process, moved through that wall many times, and as unbearable and endless as it has felt, I have always come out on the other side empowered.

What I have found is that on the other side of that wall is forward motion, continuation and self-direction. It is normal to, throughout the day while doing tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or while working, find oneself in a position where some problem-solving is necessary. There are always times when it is not easy and I don’t know exactly what to do. These are the moments where I will often hit the wall and go into OCD.

OCD is like a bottomless pit where you go in thinking you will find the bottom, some ground to stand on to get your footing, to find a safe place in the ambush, but instead you just keep falling. However, there is comfort there, because it is a distraction, a focused-attention elsewhere. There is the illusion of control. There is the aftermath of pain found there as well, that is endorphins that can be used like a drug to feel good, if only for a moment. It is a momentary, absolute lostness.

But what I have realized in pushing myself so many times, is that I do in fact have the creativity to find my way. I just, at the moment, have to find it within or beyond this searing self-hatred, anger, frustration and remorse that sits there in wait. It is like a trap, where many of my answers hide inside, or just on the other side of this emotional wall. And each time I have to pass this wall it fools me into believing it is all real and true, unless I stand up from within it. Stand up and be the authority from within this experience.

How to stand up from within it?

 

The take-away here is that when and as I see OCD is being triggered, it is because I am being confronted by something that requires me to find a solution and act on it. I challenge myself to, in these moments, take a moment and make a space for me to define in words what it is I am looking at. To actually have a look at what it is I am telling myself. I know I have the creativity to find a solution and a way forward in any situation, it is just a matter of weathering the storm that I know will be there. It is no longer an ambush, it is now simply a process of repetition until I prove to myself that I can stand through it.