Breaking Out of Isolation (pt 2)

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In this blog, I am forgiving myself to set myself free. I am forgiving myself for all the judgements, hidden fears and secret thoughts that have caused me to be a shy, introverted person, incapable of reaching out to others for support.

Self-Forgiveness:

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to be afraid to approach others, to express myself in front of others, and to be myself when with others in a social setting.

 

When and as I am in a social setting, and I see that I am recoiling within myself, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the simplicity of the physical, and allow myself to just be, talk, and move, without the complications of the mind of thoughts, beliefs, judgments and self-limiting fears, within the realization that I can pass from moment to moment and let it all go in one moment, and there is nothing that can cling to me and bring me down except by my own acceptance and allowance.

 

I commit myself to push myself to daringly live in the moment, from moment to moment,

 

I commit myself to prove to myself that there is nothing to fear from others, and that what I fear only exists within me, and is mine to change.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to be afraid to approach others because I worry they will be bothered by me coming up to them and drawing attention to myself.

 

When and as I am approaching another, and I get the sensation that they do not want to see me, I stop, and I breathe, I bring myself back to common sense by trying it first, before making the judgment. By ‘trying it first’ I mean: if I approach another and there is no sign that they don’t like my presence, then I can see that it is only in my mind. If, on the other hand, I see plainly that I am interrupting or coming at a bad time, that this is simply a practical point, NOT a personal point, and I can simply ask if it is a bad time for them. If/when I approach someone, and they react in impatience and annoyance, I remind myself that this is a point that they are dealing with, and has nothing to do with me and I should not take it personally.

 

I commit myself to judge in the moment, based on actual events, as to whether or not I should approach another, and if there is uncertainty, to simply ask.

 

I commit myself to breathe through the reaction of taking it personally if someone seems frustrated or annoyed, because I see that when I am annoyed or impatient with others, it is always because of something within myself, no matter how much I blame and project.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that I am not worth someone spending their time on me or with me, and that there has to be some kind of ‘exchange or payment’ wherein the interaction has to be ‘deserved’ instead of shared unconditionally.

 

When and as I am going into the energetic experience of inferiority within the belief that I am not worth spending time with and have nothing to give, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-worth by sharing myself unconditionally, which is all I can do.

 

I commit myself to slow down during interactions, and to direct myself to, as much as possible, create mutually beneficial sharing through self-honesty.

More self-forgiveness to come!

For the entire series:

 

Anxiety Series – Deconstructing Anxiety, Dis-Arming Dermatillomania (part two)

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“What I am going to do from here is to locate five examples of instances where I go into an anxiety reaction. I am doing this in order to learn how to slow myself down enough to be able to pin point the moment where the anxiety is triggered. I will then use that moment as an opportunity, instead of a falling point. It will be my opportunity to choose who I will be and how I will be and handle the situation, instead of letting my auto-pilot, unconscious mind, default-mode way of thinking direct me, my personality and my actions. – See more from this post: How and Why we Build Up Anxiety

I continue in this blog with walking my process of anxiety, in order to develop the self-will and self-direction to walk myself out of the anxiety reaction and into grounded and practical action as a self-willed decision.

 

The following five examples are of instances where I go into varying degrees of anxiety reactions. (As a side note, ever since I have been keeping track, I have managed to become more aware of my anxiety, and significantly reduce its occurance in similar situations). Please read on.

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. Thoughts such as: what to make, how to make it, the ingredients involved, the quantity I should make, how I can use the leftovers during the week, whether I should get groceries now or later, whether I have the most efficient plan with regards to money/time, will it be good or will I get sick of it, will my partner like it, is it healthy and how can I prepare the  ingredients in such a way to keep their utmost nutritional value, and is the quality of the food any good… and then I will branch off into worries about the environment and the chemicals in the food, and also about money and how to eat healthy on a budget, and so on.

The anxiety in this situation is amplifying the sensation of overwhelming-ness. It starts as I am cooking, and sometimes I ruin the meal because I have become so frazzled, or I start so many different meals and ideas that I spend hours in the kitchen and end up exhausted. This is obviously not normal and is the result of how I subject myself to the disorder in my mind, affecting my everyday life and complicating things that should be straight forward. Physically I experience a racing mind, blurry vision and difficulty breathing.

Example 2) Anxiety towards authority – Anxiety + Panic

I was driving on a dark road and thought I had a turn coming up, but I noticed it was a bit farther down the road, so I veered back into my lane. It was late Friday night so the police officer probably thought I had been out drinking, and for the first time in my life I got pulled over. The big lights lit up my entire car from behind and this silhouette walked up to my window. I understood what had happened and I knew I had nothing to hide or worry about, yet I was so anxious that even the officer commented on my trembling hands.

 

The physical sensation of being hot and constricted and feeling pressure in my solar plexus happened in the past when I was called into the principal’s office at school. I had been watching as my friend threw paper airplanes out the window. Three of us were called into the office and we were questioned one by one. I was so nervous I kept choking because my throat was closing up. I figured they would just assume it was me because of how guilty I was acting.

 

Even when I talk to figures of authority in the workplace, I get this anxious feeling inside of my chest area. I haven’t had any particularly horrible or abusive bosses in my life, yet when they even approach me to chat I become anxious and hot and feel surges of energy within me. I feel like I have to act a certain way or hide a part of myself and I feel panicked that something will be found out about me or used against me and I will lose my job, even when I know this is a completely unreasonable way of thinking.

3) Public Speaking – Anxiety + Fear

As soon as I know I will be speaking in front of a group I begin to feel the effects of anxiety. I start to feel like I’m in a bubble and everything surrounding me becomes like a blur. The sides of my face burn and I begin by speaking extremely fast. My thoughts race and my words can’t keep up with what it is I am trying to say. If I lose my wording I get flustered and sometimes start making points I didn’t intend on making. I can feel everybody’s eyes on me and it feels as if they are expecting something more than I am giving. When it’s over, it takes a while before my heart rate slows down and my face stops feeling flushed, and after when I feel fine again I end up wondering what the big deal was.

4) Anxious about Being late – Anxiety and Worry

My fourth example is being late. Even when I have left myself enough time I tend to leave things to the last minute. Lots of time makes me uncomfortable and I feel like I move in slow motion to use up the time, and often times I end up picking if I have spare time. Only when it becomes last minute do I feel the motivation to move forward and take control of myself and my direction and only then do I get ready efficiently. When I see that I am getting close to the time when I will have to leave, or I see that I am cutting it close, I start to feel energized. My heart beats fast and my breath is shallow and my thinking become very clear. But soon thoughts creep in about how my late-ness will affect others and how I could ruin the night because everyone would be waiting. I begin feeling guilty and becoming mad at myself for not being ready on time. I picture everyone mad at me and I feel like I have been disrespectful. I become very impatient with everyone around me, as if my getting to where I am going is the priority and I will have to hold myself back from driving too fast and tailgating. When I final get to the location I will feel tense and stressed and not very relaxed at all.

5) Making Mistakes: Anxiety + Fear

I work in the banking sector where mistakes are grave, and I am human, and I make them. What I’ve noticed, however, is that when I go into an anxiety reaction I am less effective and more prone to making a mistake. I’ll make a mistake and once I realize it’s like my entire insides drop out from under me, like this internal falling sensation followed by intense self-judgment and regret. I am not excusing making mistakes in itself – it is necessary to learn and develop means to avoid the same mistakes in the future. What is unnecessary is the internal reaction play-out that accompanies the mistake, because when I experience this sometimes my whole day or week can be affected, where I will not be able to focus, wherein it feels like I cannot think rationally or reasonably and use common sense. Smll concepts become seemingly too big to grasp, and I have major back-chat and internal conversations about how I am not good enough for the job and I just don’t get it etc…. However, when I am not in an anxiety reaction, I am quite quick to learn, I am sharp and on point, and I am capable of organizing and doing many things at once, sometimes taking on more than my fair share of responsibility.

 

So there we have it, my five examples of when and as I fall into detrimental anxiety reactions. And for those that do not suffer an anxiety disorder, this will be like a glimpse into what it is like to live with one.

An interesting experience developed after having written down the examples of my experience. As I mentioned, I am following the steps from an interview recording, and within it one is instructed to be very detailed with the examples, especially regarding the physical reactions and the exact moments when they are triggered. Within being so detailed, I really had to look at the examples closely. I had to place myself back into the situations and re-play them in my head, remembering how I experienced myself and everything I went through. I realized that my anxiety is more intense than I thought. In reading my descriptions, it felt like someone else had written them and they seem somewhat extreme, as if I do not believe myself to be quite this reactive and anxious as they portray. As I re-read the examples I find myself judging them wherein if someone else had written them I would think “wow – this person has problems.”

However it is beneficial to have a sobering look at one’s own reality. This has been proven to me this week, in the fact that on several occasions these same play-outs happened again in my life (cooking, making mistakes, being late etc…). This time, I was able to recognize the moments where the anxiety was beginning, I saw some of the triggers as they were happening, and was able to recall my own writing and slow myself down enough to talk myself out of it, so to speak, wherein I was actually able to see the pattern and prevent it. I could actually stop it from occurring – I stopped an entire anxiety play-out that would have accumulated within and as me and later lead to a picking session. I can now see that, with a lot of practice and paying attention to myself, I can greatly reduce my daily anxiety.

In my next blog I will cover the next steps in the process of how to manage preventing and releasing anxiety in the same or similar situations, as a process that can be walked by anyone, step-by-step, as a true act of self-love and self-support.

 

Defining the Sensation That Causes Me to Compulsively Pick My Skin – What’s the Plan?

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Are we even aware of what it is we are thinking or feeling the moment we are so compelled that we start picking our own skin? I seem to think that in the past, before I knew this was a disorder and before I knew it wasn’t normal and that it is actually quite harmful, I don’t recall being aware of what was going on inside of me the moments before I would begin to pick. With the process of self-forgiveness I’ve been able to slow down a little bit, and actually have a look at the feelings I experience within myself the moments where I feel like it’s time to ‘pick or die’.

Of these internal emotional energetic experiences, one stands out in particular. It moves in and takes over quite regularly, and the last time it was intense was today, on my way home from work. It was an overwhelming sense and presence of fear. It was a dizzying uncertainty within which I felt a lack of control. Within this experience, as I was walking home, I knew that if I didn’t do something about it, I would end up getting home to an empty house, finding a mirror, finding some tweezers, and picking in an attempt to make this feeling go away, to ‘ground myself’, and make myself feel better.

The reason why I knew this is because this is the pattern I have become familiar with: I get the feeling, I ignore it and suppress it, and then I act out skin-picking compulsions in order to regain a sense of comfort, focus, and closeness with myself. Because I realized that in these moments, it’s hard to admit, but I don’t like myself very much. I don’t like what I’ve accepted and allowed myself to be and become; I feel alien and awkward, and like all my bad qualities are exaggerated. I feel like I’d rather disappear and not exist except for in the small safe bubble that is created when I pick.

However, I am now continuing to walk a process of no longer accepting or allowing old habits and patterns to control me. I am slowly scripting out new patterns and moving myself as my own self-directive principle, moment to moment, no matter what my internal experience and no matter how I’m feeling. This is the goal, and this is how I took a step today to achieve it:

First I did some self-forgiveness out loud, yes, right in the middle of the street as I was walking, because self-forgiveness can immediately ease the overwhelm experienced in these moments. It actually creates a beneficial closeness, self-acceptance and self-intimacy in these moments that is a cool transition from the detrimental closeness created by skin-picking (detrimental – like being in an abusive relationship of dependency).

Have you ever tried forgiving yourself? Try saying the words out loud and see how it feels, it can be intense… or it can be nothing, depending on our mind-state at the moment you are doing it. When you do it you have to mean it, and I meant it today because I was scared. I was walking into a suffocating trap (an empty apartment) and I knew I had to do something, so my self-forgiveness went something like this:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear going home to an empty house.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become overcome and overwhelmed by this feeling of absolute fear and dizzying uncertainty and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing overwhelming fear and dizzying uncertainty to exist within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear not giving myself a plan or a strategy to use to direct myself in these moments where I need it most, moments where I am in fear and uncertainty.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not be there for myself to arm myself with preventative measures when I know I need them most.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to abandon myself and abdicate myself, my ‘Who I Am’ to this disorder, within the belief that subconscious submission to the disorder will somehow ‘work’ and make me feel better, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that if I continue to submit, I will simply cycle and loop back into the same position, but worse because I will have hurt myself and caused visible damage, and I will have let myself down again.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not trust myself that I will be able to control myself when I get home into an empty house.

I forgive myself for NOT accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that I will be able to direct myself when I get home to an empty house without first preparing myself with a plan or blueprint for how I will go about spending that time between getting home from work and going to bed.

I forgive myself for NOT accepting myself unconditionally, even when I am feeling like self-judgment and self-hate are who I am.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to hate myself

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to ignore and not realize that if I push myself to go home and NOT pick, I will feel SO much self-empowerment and control, and I will create self-love, self-worth and self-intimacy, which are the things I have been depriving myself of through the use and act of skin-picking.

After speaking to myself in this way, the OCD/dermatillomania feeling subsided enough so that I was able to think more clearly. I gave myself a step-by-step plan for when I got home:

Put away my things, take a shower, put on comfy clothes, make tea, make a snack, watch a video, write a journal entry, prepare food and clothes for the next day, go to bed (each step can be broken down into mini-steps for me to focus on when the urge to pick becomes ‘loud’ and distracting).

So instead of accepting and allowing myself to subconsciously feed the fear and uncertainty I was feeling, I occupied my mind with the practical concept of making a plan that I could then live out. This is like using the mind as a practical tool, instead as a generator of overwhelming energetic reactions. This is empowering. When I would start to feel the bad feeling creeping in again, I would push and direct myself to think of the little details of my plan: what kind of tea would I make exactly; what would I prepare for a snack, what will I put on, how will I feel in those clothes. I even began to feel comforted thinking about the nice things I would be doing instead of picking my skin and re-generating the aweful feelings that come with and after a skin-picking session.

So did it work? I only picked a little bit before the shower, but I stopped myself, then I started, then I stopped myself again, turned off the lights, and got in the shower.

The main point or realization within this blog and within this experience I had today is that taking preventative measures can be HUGE when you see you are walking into a difficult situation. The self-awareness and self-discipline it takes to know when, how and why to do this, and then to move and shift your mind into this new way of thinking (instead of falling into the usual patterns), AND THEN moving yourself physically to live out the plan you’ve made for yourself, can be difficult and may not be achieved right away.

Then again- maybe it IS possible, one never really knows. I am certainly not there yet, but I am taking notes and I am practicing. For me it is a step by step labour of self-love, because taking preventative measures is actual self-love made real, tangible and visible.

The feeling I get when I see these things through is indescribable – thus far short lived- but I have seen glimpses, and it’s like breathing for the first time after enduring suffocation.

So to recap:

Look into self when you start feeling like you’re going to pick. Try to define in words   what it is you see and what it is you are feeling.

Do self-forgiveness on that which you have clarified for yourself as your internal experience, in order to clear the mind for practical use.

Make a step-by-step plan for what you are going to do INSTEAD of picking.

Keep focused and the details of the plan and get specific, get VERY specific if you have to. You know how specific and detailed you get when picking? Channel that into plan-making instead.

LIVE the plan.

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The Fear of Being Ugly (part six)

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Continuing from my previous self-forgiveness statements, scripting out here my self-corrections and self-commitments to stop the patterns I live that do not support myself nor anything or anyone else. To change them to patterns of self-support that can be lived daily, in every breath, to support myself to let go of compulsive skin-picking.

These self-commitments and self-corrections are derived from the self-forgiveness statements from Day 169- Dermatillomania: The Fear of Being Ugly, which I would highly suggest reading for context and for its own merit.

When and as I see myself observing others and making comparisons of them to myself in my mind, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-acceptance by accepting everything about the appearance of others as simply ‘Who They Are’ and Where they are At within their own process, the same self-acceptance that I would now afford to myself, unconditionally, so that within my interactions I am coming from the starting point of actual communication; where each one is heard and each one listens, instead of two beings judging each other in their minds, creating secret competitions, causing each to feel better or feel worse after the interaction, instead of simply sharing a moment and then letting it go.

I commit myself to interact with others based on Who They Are, and Not how they look, getting to know who others are in their entirety,

I commit myself to Listen and Hear when interacting with others, instead of looking and thinking.

When and as I see that I am being or becoming influenced by my external environment, based on my reactions to/towards the looks, words or actions of others to/towards me, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to my own decision-making ability by deciding to, in the moment of reaction, let it go, and breathe. I direct myself to move on to the next task, and not carry with me any reactions I may have experienced. I direct myself to continuously let go of the previous moment, until I no longer experience the reaction in the first place, because I had proven so thoroughly how futile it in fact ever was.
I commit myself to clear myself of the reactions I create and manifest within me, moment to moment, making sure I am clear within each moment, not carrying over reactive energy from the last/past moment.
I commit myself to stop feeding the reactions I create based upon the actions and reactions of others. Each is in his/her own process, thus reacting to another is only creating unnecessary consequences for myself and for the other- but mostly for myself.