How I Create Peace In My Life

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The moment I found out that I had limited myself to a definition of ‘peace’ in my life that involved running away, escape, and complete removal from my daily environment, was    the moment I was asked to really have a look at it. I would like to experience more peace in my daily life, but I have never really taken a step in awareness to actually create it.

After involving myself in a process of self-change about 10 years ago, I have taken many steps in awareness to create things in my life, resulting in a life and experience that is tremendously different from the path I was on back then. In this blog, I want to share an example of how this kind of life creation works for me, how it starts so small and so simply, and how it can seem so insignificant at first, but with a little attention and nourishment, can grow into a real and substantiated way of living.

In this case I was having a look at the word ‘peace’. The action of looking is always the first step for me in the journey of my own self-creation. I immediately saw that I had been living the word ‘peace’ as something that can be attained mostly when I am away, ideally on vacation at a tropical destination with a beach, the ocean, and being faaaar away from work, bills, stress, home and all of daily life.

The first thing I did when I decided to look at this word was to apply a little honesty: this way of living ‘peace’ is unrealistic because I can’t afford to do it regularly, and I simply can’t spend all my time avoiding my real-life reality situation. Also, this would mean that to experience ‘peace’ I would need to spend money, “extra” money I don’t always have, and when I do, I usually end up stressing about it later.

And now a little more self-honestly: ‘Peace’ defined in this way is more like escape. It is a temporary hiding from myself. Even when I do go on vacation I still feel anxieties come up, I still worry, I still judge myself and, for example, my body… I still face concerns and uncertainties the same as I do when I am home. And when I get back, it usually takes less then a week for me to move back into the things I was trying to escape in the first place, because the reality is that I cannot escape from myself, and I cannot escape my own mind.

Is it enjoyable to escape on vacation? Yes! Without a doubt! But is it real? No, unfortunately it is not real peace.

So how do I define real peace? I define it as something substantial that I can integrate into my life at any time, no matter where I am. I define it as peace in mind, being and body, where I understand and am confident about who and what I am in that moment, even if I am not perfect and even if I have made mistakes, I can be at peace with myself and where I’m at.

Now I ask questions: How do I live this? What is the first baby step I can take where I plant seeds of peace within me that I can nourish and grow to develop over time? This is what I did:

I took a look at these questions while I was at work. I brought them up within myself I moments that were the opposite of peaceful – emotional moments of stress, rush, anxiety, pressure and distress- and I had a look at how to create peace in those moments. What I found was if I take a moment for myself to bring the emotion up (instead of pushing it down and moving on with my day), that I would feel it all throughout my body. Yes, it would be uncomfortable to immerse myself into emotional experiences of stress, worry, anxiety, pressure and distress, but I saw I could stabilize myself within that discomfort, and have a look around at what was creating it, and then ask my questions about how I can create peace in these moments.

I saw that in order to create peace, once I identified what was creating the inner turmoil, I would have a look at myself, as a person, and see all the steps I had already taken to support myself within and through turmoil in the past.  This helps me to see that I am not so lost and alone as I sometimes feel in moments. I have really stepped up over the past ten years to be there for me, and how rarely do I give myself credit for this process I have walked to support myself? Well, now is the perfect moment to do so. This helps to set the platform for peace, as I really feel that I am here for myself no matter what, and I can depend on me.

The next thing I did was to look at what steps can I take to resolve the current situation. What am I resisting, avoiding or hesitating on? Do I need to make a decision, do I need to take a step? Do I need to re-align my focus? Do I need to take 10 minutes to just go breathe? Maybe I need to do some self-forgiveness, or maybe I need to write something down instead of relying on myself to remember it. All of these have come up for me as solutions at different times, in moments of inner emotional turmoil.

The action of taking the experience into me entirely, looking at it, and scripting a solution for myself, I saw creates a little peace within me. Once I have taken steps to actually walk the solution, I feel even more at peace. At the end of the day, when I take a look back at how I lived that day, at how I stood up with, as and for myself, how I walked a different path than I would have had I continued on with or suppressed the inner turmoil, I can breathe and live that peace that ‘I got this’. This is just my start, it will be a process because some days I do not live my best potential, and so I understand from here it will take time. I am at peace with that.

I can see that over the past ten years I have proven to myself that I am here for me. I have little by little created a self that can take this process of redefining and living words for example, and implement it over time and watch it actually take root and grow in my life. I can see that I can create myself, develop and expand myself in ways that are beneficial to me. I can see that the tools and principles of self-forgiveness and self-honesty along with self-change I use have had a huge impact in my life because when I first heard of them, I could see the common sense and self-empowerment, but when I actually asserted myself to apply the information, I saw real change.

Anyone can do this, but it is not a quick fix. It is a way of life where the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years put in to it – time that would be passing anyways – are all moments of opportunity to turn self around and direct self into a way that is really how life should be lived. Where I (self) decide who and how I am in any given moment. I choose the direction, I am at the reigns and steer my ship through the stress, the anxiety, the breakdowns and the build ups, the highs and the lows. I parent myself. I soothe myself. I give myself peace that is real. I find stability.

 

How to Get to Work Without Ruining Your Day

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I left off in my last blog by re-scripting my morning routine, effectively editing out any OCD behavior. I saw how it in fact not only completely sabotages my mornings, but also sabotages my relationship to myself. It does this by severely undermining my self-trust, as I have shown myself that with OCD, I can’t depend on myself because I can’t depend on whether or not my own actions will be congruent with my intentions.

Also, the fact that I accept and allow myself to fall into compulsions in the morning causes me stress and anxiety, due to the fear of being late for work, which fuels and perpetuates the disorder throughout the day. This ‘starting the day out on a bad foot’ creates a nearly impossible foundation for me to walk throughout my day with the vigilance and discipline I require to manage OCD, which I require to do throughout the day and into the evening.

With this re-scripting, I have seen my anxiety levels decrease in normal and uneventful situations. This is why I am continuing on here, where I have done my morning routine, and I am now heading out the door and catching the bus to the metro. In future blogs I will do them same for stressful events and circumstances that arise, but first I have to start with a platform of stability:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to steal little moments of time from myself, when I see that I’m not ‘late’ yet, and using these stolen moments to go into OCD knowing that I don’t yet have control over it and that I will almost inevitably take too much time, which accumulates into me ending up leaving my house only minutes before the bus arrives, causing me to have to run and worry that I won’t catch it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think that I have nothing to do with spare time in the morning, because it’s not enough time to do anything constructive, wherein I become stressed by the idea of spare time, because in the morning, that means time alone with me, and time alone with me is difficult when I’m not preoccupied and distracted because in those moments I feel the intense urges of OCD coming forward and beginning to react in my body.

When and as I see that I have little spare moments of time, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-direction by reminding myself that I do have better uses for that time, and that it is in fact precious time. I direct myself to walk through my morning tasks until they are done, unaffected by the possibility that I may end up with extra time, and if that time does, I direct myself to find a better use for it, such as spending more time saying goodbye to my partner or walking more slowly to the bus to be able to enjoy the day, for example.

I commit myself to push myself to stop wasting precious time on OCD, and to instead invest into myself, using that time to add value to myself and my life, instead of taking value away.

I commit myself to continue to breathe through the suppressions coming to the fore, instead of pushing them back down and distracting myself, so that I may walk through my tasks uninterrupted by OCD, even if it feels bad/uncomfortable, I know it will subside/go away eventually.

I commit myself to say longer goodbye’s to my partner, and to walk slowly to the bus when I have extra time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel triumphant when I catch the bus when I’m late, as if I had won a race or beat the odds, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that I had already lost the moment I left the house, because I had missed moments I could have spent with myself, preparing myself to effectively handle myself throughout the day.

When and as I am running for the bus when I am late, I stop within myself, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by reminding myself that it is not in fact me that is moving myself and feeling triumphant, but rather the stress energy that I had accumulated during the morning as I create a situation where I am late. If I in fact have to run, I run as self-movement, with and as breath, with no extra ‘motivating factors’ coming from my mind, feeding the OCD cycles.

I commit myself to continue to remind myself to remain stable within myself, no longer utilizing the self-created stress-inducing scenarios to feed and perpetuate OCD within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become uneasy around the passengers on the bus.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that all the passengers on the bus are looking at me and judging me in some way, causing me to become self-conscious which makes my skin crawl, causing me to feel dirty.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that the passengers on the bus are looking at me the way I look at myself, when I look at myself through OCD/dermatillomania, close up and looking for imperfections, narrowing in on every flaw and going into judgment/repulsion due to my mind creating the ideas that my skin is dirty even when it is not.

When and as I see that I am sitting on the bus and I begin to feel my skin crawl, and I start feeling generally dirty due to the presence of others, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by using common sense to determine that I am completely the same as I was when I left my house, when I at the gym, and when I’m with my partner, and these are all moments/situations where I feel normal. I bring myself back to normalcy through breathing through the thoughts/sensations that I am unclean and remind myself that it is not real, but a self-created sensation in my mind, therefor I can change it and choose to feel differently.

I commit myself to stop myself from feeling dirty and unclean by constantly and continuously stopping, breathing, using common sense to remind myself that the feelings are not real, and releasing/letting go of the thoughts.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to observe the other passengers and to judge them, because this creates a fear of judgment in myself, as I wouldn’t want someone else to look at me and judge me the way I know I am looking at and judging others.

When and as I see that I am judging others on the bus, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by reminding myself that the only judgment is self-judgment, which means I see something of myself in those that I am judging, and so long as I judge, I will be judged, because I am judging me instead of changing me. I bring forth self-acceptance by letting the judgments go, and embracing the presence of those that I see around me, placing myself in their shoes, and seeing within self-honesty, that which I am judging in myself.

To be continued….

OCD/Dermatillomania: How to Prevent the Tension Build Up

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I will be identifying what it is throughout the day that I react to in stress/anxiety/fear/irritation/agitation/anger. These reactions hit me in jolts and seem to remain within me instead of being processed out and diffused over time. For me, as an OCD/derma sufferer, it remains inside and builds up, causing me to feel tense, anxious and wound up most all of the time. What I will do is walk through my day, look at the triggers, and release them with self-forgiveness, self-commitments, and self-corrective application.

 

Morning:

 

I wake up, several thoughts get me out of bed:

 

“I need to go to work”

 

“I can’t be late for work”

 

“What do I need to do to be as fast as possible so I can get to work on time”

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to wake up thinking “I need to go to work”.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect emotional stress, anxiousness, and a ‘rushed’ energy to the thoughts that I wake up with in the morning of “I need to get to work”, “I can’t be late for work”, and “what do I need to do to be as fast as possible to get to work on time”.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if I don’t rush, or go as fast as possible, that I will be late for work.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing stress, anxiety, and rushed-ness to exist within and as me.

 

When and as I see that I am going into stress, anxiety, and rushed-ness in relation to the fear of being late for work, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to comfort within myself by reminding myself that I set my alarm to give me an adequate amount of time to prepare, and that I make it to work on time every single morning, unless there is an unforeseen circumstance which prevents me, in which case I will call in and explain, which is as much as I can do.

 

I commit myself to push myself to walk through my morning routine within/as self-direction, comfort and ease, as I move from one task to the next with common sense,  instead of stress, anxiety and rushed-ness within the paranoia of being late/developing a bad reputation/being fired.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to terrorize myself with thoughts that if I am late for work, my boss and managers will be angry, my colleagues will judge me, and I will develop a bad and undependable reputation, and I will lose my job and fall into debt, and not get a good reference from which to get another good job.

 

When and as I see that I am imagining pretend consequences of scenarios where I am late for work, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to common sense by reminding myself that I am rarely late because I manage myself and my time in such a way to prepare myself to get to work on time, that this job is not the only way to support myself in this world, that I can live in such a way to avoid large debt, that I already have enough references for work and even if I didn’t, I could still get a job and make new references, and with the skills I am developing, namely discipline, perseverance and consistency, I know I ca be successful at most jobs I can get.

 

I commit myself to let go of my past self-definitions created by memories of a not too distant past where I  didn’t have the essential life skills I am now developing, I wasn’t able to hold down a job mostly due to my OCD, I was accumulating debt, and I was not in control of most elements in my life. Within this, to also see that even from there, I was able to correct my life over time, step by step, to get myself into/back into an empowered position.

 

I commit myself to talk myself down from terrorizing myself with pretend doomsday scenarios that are blown out of proportion, and to instead have a self-honest look at the actual reality of the my life situation.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think of myself as a bad and undependable person.

 

I commit myself to continue to work towards being and becoming more disciplined, consistent and organized at home, because I then bring these habits into everything that I do, and with these skills I will, over time, become someone I can depend on and therefor will be dependable for others.

 

I commit myself to continue learning how to incorporate living actions of self-acceptance and self-care into my daily life and routine.

 

I commit myself to stop feeding and following the self-depreciating and self-judgmental thoughts that ‘I am not good enough’, or ‘I can’t be depended on’, because I know this is self-sabotage, and that I am walking a process of self-acceptance and self-worth, teaching myself how to be dependable for me, through self-application and pushing myself towards becoming consistent and self-directed.

 

When and as I catch myself thinking negatively about myself as ‘who I am as a person/employee’ in judgmental and self-depreciating ways, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-worth by reminding myself that this way of thinking is disempowering and is an avoidance mechanism within which I can find the justification and excuse to not change, not push myself, not challenge my current way of being, and to continue with OCD.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to sabotage my self-trust, within and through picking my skin instead of directing myself to complete that tasks I set out for myself, tasks which I put in place to support myself to be organized and on time, such as preparing food/clothes the night before, taking a shower, and reading/writing myself out, and then going to bed on time.

 

When and as I see that I am picking my skin instead of accomplishing constructive, self-supportive tasks, I stop, and I breathe, I bring myself back to self-love and self-support by pushing myself to breathe through the experience instead of continuing on picking, within the understanding that relief or ‘end point’/completion experience will not come through picking, but will be made real through actually applying the discipline to move through daily tasks/obligations/responsibilities, thus developing the self-trust required to be able to depend on myself that I will not create anxious, stressful scenarios for myself to live out and remain in the anxiety disorder mind.

 

I commit myself to continue to push myself to replace OCD/picking with constructive tasks that serve to support me to release myself from the disorder.

 

I commit myself to NOT judge myself when I fall, but to constantly and continuously pick myself up and try again, each and every time until it is manifest.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear that if I have more time in the morning, I will pick my skin.

 

When and as I see I have spare time in the morning, creating the desire to act out OCD impulses, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-support and self-stability through self-movement and self-direction, within the understanding of the choice that stands in front of me: to pick, or not to pick. I choose not to pick, and to walk through and bear the accumulated consequences of this choice until I have processed it all and it is done.

 

I commit myself to bear the burden I have created for myself until it is processed, figured out, understood, seen, re-directed and re-scripted.

 

I commit myself to walk through the self-created consequences of having lived with and depended on OCD for so many years, because I see, realize and understand that there is no other way.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe that if I don’t feel rushed, I will not move effectively and will pick my skin.

 

When and as I see that I am creating the feeling of ‘rushed’ as a way to avoid facing and walking through what I’m really feeling, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to presence, awareness and self-movement with breath, by reminding myself that I choose not to live a life of avoidance, and that I have it in me to face that which lies beneath the surface, no matter how unpleasant it is, because I have already proven it to myself that I can do it, it’s just a matter of continuing to do it over and over, until it is done.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel physically anxious and stressed if I am not rushing and moving fast within the belief that I will not get to work on time, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the anxious, stressful rushed energy is not valid, and it’s not what’s moving me. I am moving me, and the emotional experiences of anxiety, stress, and rushed-ness are only in my mind, and are all a part of the disorder.

 

When and as I see that I am feeling anxious and stressed when I should be feeling calm and relaxed, I stop, and I breathe. I allow myself to feel the stress and anxiety without attaching any values to it, but to accept it and understand it, to breathe through it, to speak at least one self-forgiveness statement, and to push myself to move myself regardless.

 

I commit myself to learn how to effectively walk through the OCD mind reactions, by trial and error, writing myself out, and practical application of what I script for myself through self-introspection and understanding.

 

 

Compulsive Skin-Picking, Causes, Solutions, continued

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I am currently looking at what is going on inside my mind that creates the conditions in which I build up pressure within myself in such a way that I have created and perpetuated the need to pick at my skin as a form of release. In my last blog I described an event at work, which was where I had made a mistake, and I had gone into quite an exaggerated reaction when I interpreted a co-worker’s reaction to it. This reaction stayed with me throughout the day as a pressure/irritation and un-comfortability within me, and was but one example of the accumulated experiences that together contribute to OCD/dermatillomania/skin-picking.

I have extreme and intense reactions to things, situations and events, and it builds up as negative emotions within me, which begin to feel like a constant pressure and un-comfortability which can’t be escaped. I find when I get home after a day of this, I need a release, and the only thing that apparently ‘works’, is compulsive skin-picking. The release I feel from picking at my skin is such that it’s as if I were releasing the day’s tension.

Unfortunately, I have seen for myself that ‘just stopping’ and not doing it doesn’t work – the tension is there and needs to be released. I’ve tired many many things, but in the end they are not long-term solutions. The solution I am looking at now is changing the way in which I handle situations and events throughout the day, so that I don’t create such big, intense reactions.

The strategy or technique here is to identify and thus learn to notice in day-to-day life instances where I am triggered and need to step in to direct or support myself. I am starting by the example from my last blog, where I had intense negative reactions to my perceived reaction from a coworker. It has been fascinating for me to find out through the process of self-forgiveness (see below), that all the things I thought the coworker was thinking about me, I was actually thinking about myself!

In addition to this, I also realized that the way in which I work has been developed over time where, when I am confronted with something difficult to do or learn, I had developed techniques to ‘get though it’ with the least amount of what I had perceived as ‘suffering’, where for me, ‘learning’ and ‘suffering’ had become interlinked.

This was mostly developed throughout my schooling years, and I realized that within the public school system, I had created an idea or perception of myself wherein I believed that I was less-than most pupils. I believed I wasn’t as smart, and that if I faced a challenge or a difficulty it meant that I was unable to do it (wasn’t smart enough to think it through). So instead of actually trying, I would want to avoid the whole challenge or situation, because I wouldn’t want to face the fact that I felt so insecure and less-than, that I felt it was easier to try to fool everyone around me and ‘fake-it’ through the situation.

Of course, this is a terrible tactic, because in the end, even if the goal is achieved, the grade passed or the job acquired, within myself, I would know I didn’t actually have to understanding and know-how, and I was actually just coping. I would also know that I didn’t actually let myself be challenged, or let myself really try and see how my self-expression would come through in terms of how I would handle the challenge or difficulty if I weren’t hindered by the belief that ‘I can’t do it’. The consequence of this is constantly feeling insecure about one’s own work. Feeling that there is something to hide and fearing exposure, and this fear would be realized every time I would slip up or make a mistake. It would be like “ah-ha I knew it! I knew I would mess up/now they know I am a fraud!”. In this way, it also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, exactly as I describe in my last blog, which should be read for context.

The following self-forgiveness reveals how I exposed my hidden fears to myself, in order to come to the realizations that I mentioned above. Owning the truth and reality of myself now opens up the possibility for change, which is why the self-forgiveness is followed by self-corrective applications and self-commitment statements.

These are things I have written for myself, so that instead of going into my usual, automatic reactions, I can now look at my new ‘plan B’, and remind myself that there is in fact an alternative way to react and comport myself throughout the day. A way in which I divert myself from building up the anxiety, fear, stress, anger, agitation and irritation which I later need to take out on myself in the privacy of my home, my bedroom or my bathroom – spaces which should be safe and nurturing, but which become instead linked to self-harm and self-damning depression.

I have already experienced much success with this technique and have done a lot of this type of writing which has greatly assisted me to reduce the aforementioned emotional experiences in my life. These are the experiences which I see lead me to compulsively pick my skin. I will talk more about the triumphs in my next blog, but for now, please read the following self-forgiveness and see the applications I’ve written at the end, because the application is where the change happens, and when it’s been planned out, it is MUCH easier to implement.

This is how I release myself from my past ways:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to go into fear and self-diminishment when I make an error or mistake.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that making an error or mistake tarnishes who I am.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place my self-image, self-value and self-worth outside of myself and into ‘roles’ I occupy in my job and life, without first looking at who I am within the role/position/job etc…

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think that I can strive for roles and titles alone, without doing all the necessary work to earn them through learning and understanding the work, job and tasks, which is a process that involves making mistakes, and within this:

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to think/perceive/believe that my value and worth will increase just because I have advanced or achieved, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the test of time will always show me who I really am, and if I have in fact built myself up on falsities which will eventually fall, or on actual practical application, practiced and developed over time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to go into a self-defensive stance when I make a mistake/error, because I want to hide the fact that I fear that my mistakes and errors are caused by my carelessness or lack of understanding, because I have in fact been careless and not understood in instances,  and that this should be hidden in order to protect myself from having to accept responsibility for the fact that I either cut corners or pretended to understand something when I didn’t actually fully understand it, and did not care enough to learn but rather instead chose to preserve my self-image and ego.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to cut corners within work I deem ‘hard’ or ‘boring’ in order to ‘save time’ and ‘get it over with’, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it usually costs more time and consequences in the long run when corners are cut in the short run.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to pretend to understand something before I actually understand it, as a survival technique I learned in school and later at jobs, so that I appear to be conforming well, doing what I’m ‘supposed to do’, being a ‘fast learner’ and therefore a good student/employee so that I can survive in the system, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the most important thing is who I am within what I am doing, and when I take the apparent ‘easy route’, I am not developing myself, and thus denying myself of self-trust and self-confidence.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel panic, anxiety and fear when I don’t catch on to something immediately, because I fear the judgment of others that I am a slow learner and I am not ‘getting it’, thus confirming my worst fears and harshest self-judgments.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to waste the moments of potential information integration by using them instead to fuel my general panic, anxiety and fear reactions through self-judgment and self-intimidation by reflecting it off of what I think others might be thinking.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to, in moments when I feel that something is challenging or difficult, to automatically assume I can’t do it, that I’m not smart enough, or that other’s can do it but not me because I am slower and less-intelligent than others, and thus create methods and strategies to ‘get through it’ and satisfy those around me, instead of actually giving myself the opportunity to just go for it, to give it a try and see if I actually can do it.

When and as I face a challenge or a difficulty, I stop, and I breathe. I bring my whole self into that moment in order to give myself the opportunity to actually apply myself and challenge myself to see how I can work it through and find a solution. I bring myself back to self-confidence and self-trust by reminding myself that even if I can’t do it in that moment, that is not a defeat or a dead-end, and that I can work with obstacles and try different routes to get to the goal, and within this thus then end up actually developing myself, and contributing to building self-trust and self-confidence in myself.

I commit myself to support myself and nurture myself to build the self-confidence and self-trust in any way I can, in order to create myself as what I will need to be in order to walk through this disorder.

When and as I am learning, and I see that I am going into a panic, anxiety and fear in moments of hesitation or difficulty, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the physical and open up the space within myself to learn safely, by stopping the self-judgmental thoughts and instead focusing on incorporating and absorbing and being able to apply the information that I learn.

I commit myself to teach myself how to learn, how to love to learn, and how to create a safe internal environment for myself in which my learning is nurtured and supported.

I commit myself to see, realize and understand that there is NO place for self-judgment and self-diminishing thoughts within learning nor within anything I do whatsoever.

When and as I see that I am going into a pressured and ‘rushed’ energy and feeling like I need to cut corners and ‘get it over with’, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to the pace of the physical by moving myself to do everything I do with the utmost attention and care, within the realization that in the end, this will get things done more efficiently for the long term, and in the end, this is actually love made visible.

I commit myself to do everything I do with great care, as if that which I touch and give my attention to is my greatest creation, because it is through my actions and words that I do, in fact, create myself, and thus this world.

 

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Anxiety Series – Walking Through Anxiety, Dis-Arming Dermatillomania (part four)

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In my next blog I will continue with how I applied the practical steps of walking through anxiety, and how I was able to successfully avoid an anxiety reaction in one of the circumstances . This experience has changed my entire self-experience, opened up a new understanding of how things can be different, and showed me that it IS possible to learn how to become the master of one’s emotions, and no longer remain the slave.”

If you can recall and bring up the experience of anxiety within yourself, you can probably relate to that fact that the energy experience is sporadic, chaotic and intense. This detail is important to remark because we can use this information to see, realize and understand the best way to approach ourselves when we are in these situations (beginning an anxiety reaction). If, for example, we are too hard on ourselves, the anxiety energy can and will use this approach to further intensify itself. If we panic, it can also serve to fuel the anxiety. If we become mad or frustrated, it can perpetuate the anxiety.

It’s as if a child is throwing a tantrum and the parent screams at the child in an attempt to subdue or control him to make it stop. This can further upset the child and fuel/perpetuate the tantrum. Now compare this to speaking in a calm and stable manner to the child, this may not be an instant blanket solution, but it will not further aggravate the situation, and the child can be talked down slowly, and the tantrum can not last forever. Anxiety within self functions in the same way.

This example demonstrates how our self-approach can either assist and support ourselves to walk through and out of the anxiety in a calm and stable manner, or conversely, how it can further perpetuate the experience if we do not take the wheel, gain control and direct ourselves.

Within this understanding, one can keep in mind that any self-judgment, guilt, anger, shame, or any other emotion can and will be exaggerated when in an anxiety reaction, and therefore serves only to aggravate the situation, whereas being calm, stable and gentle can dissipate the chaotic, sporadic and intense experience going on within us. This is the difference between getting caught up in the anxiety and believing it is necessary, believing that there is no way out, and this is ‘who I am’, instead of understanding it as a reaction that has been triggered and will now play out, but that we can remain standing within the understanding that we can choose not to play into it.

The goal here is to eventually prevent the reaction from occurring in the first place, but we must first deal with what is already here, which is the existence of anxiety reactions and generalized anxiety which we see as beyond our control. It is not.

In order to see the control one truly do have, it is important to understand what is going on within self.  Within this we are practicing how to look at everything to do with anxiety completely objectively; to see anxiety as a reaction, a substance or an entity that is triggered by thoughts/memories, to recognize that this simply requires to be managed by oneself, and to understand that anxiety is not simply an inevitable part of self that one must learn to live with and constantly react to.

To illustrate, here is a practical example from my life where I was able to recognize the anxiety quickly and dissipate the reaction:

Last week, I was about to start cooking (which, in my previous blog I had mentioned as one example of when my anxiety is triggered). I had just had a very busy day and when I got home I could feel I was high strung. I felt a stress and a buzzing sensation in my body, and instead of calming myself down, I immediately moved myself to begin the next task, which was to prepare dinner. Within this internal energetic experience of ‘stress’, ‘rushed’ and ‘buzzing’, it feels like there is a pressure to do everything quickly and hurriedly, everything is rushed and there is no time for rest. This set of circumstances set me up for falling into the anxiety reaction I described in my first example from my previous blog, where my anxiety connects to a sense of overwhelming-ness.

 

I was alone at home at that moment so I was able to speak to myself out loud. First, I used the breathing techniques, and then I used a specific voice tonality (calm, stable and directive, to offset the intense, chaotic and sporadic energy of anxiety), and spoke some self-forgiveness for what I could see I was doing to myself.

In the same calm, directed and stable voice, I talked to myself about what I was doing, how I was making things more difficult for myself and that it wasn’t necessary, and how I could proceed calmly and in an organized way. I was able to slow down and create steps for myself, and eventually I put together a meal while remaining as present and aware as possible. When my partner came home I recognized the fact that my mood was light, I was able to have fun and communicate easily and enjoy the moment, which then allowed him to be light and open, even after a long day at work.

If I had accepted and allowed the anxiety reaction, I would have instead experienced what I had become so used to, which was feelings of varying degrees of irritation, impatience, or no desire to communicate. When another person is subjected to this the mood feels heavy and tense. If ones’ partner comes home after a long day at work and is met with someone that is overwhelmed/stressed causing irritability, impatience and being non-communicative due to anxiety, it affects the entire atmosphere, the moment and the overall relationship negatively. This can contribute to creating a toxic home environment, especially when repeated daily over many years. This is one of the consequences of accepting and allowing oneself to live with generalized anxiety, it doesn’t just affect yourself, so the responsibility to face and manage one’s anxiety disorder is a self-responsibility which extends beyond self, to create a harmonious environment with others (sometimes by standing as a living, leading example – yes, we are THAT strong).

 

Within my own self-assessment, what I’ve learned over the past few weeks has been that it is of utmost importance that one recognize the brief moment where anxiety first starts – before it is able to connect to and amplify other emotions, memories, personalities and patterns. This is because in that small moment, when I look at it and recognize it, and can say to myself “oh, this is just anxiety sneaking in because of the particular circumstances I am in,” and the anxiety feels small, insubstantial and powerless. But when I miss this moment, the anxiety is able to connect itself to the emotions, memories and thoughts, then an anxiety reaction has been triggered and it must now be navigated through.

Once an anxiety reaction is triggered, it must now be walked through.

Walking through an anxiety reaction:

Being within an anxiety reaction feels so real, and the anxiety feels so much a part of me that to deny it would be to deny my own existence. I try saying to myself “it’s just anxiety, it’s just anxiety,” but part of me fights back, proving to myself it is real and valid, and I experience rushes of emotional energy, and I am flooded by negative thoughts and future projections. In these moments, when I’ve missed the opportunity – I direct myself to breathe, I feel the waves of anxiety pass over me. It feels extremely uncomfortable and unbearable, but I tell myself it will end, it can’t last forever, it has to end eventually. I sometimes speak self-forgiveness to understand where the reaction came from in order to trace it back to the thoughts or memories that triggered it. This is what the tool of self-forgiveness allows one to do. I have to continuously pull myself back into my body, even f it feels exceptionally uncomfortable in there. I pull myself out of my mind, because I understand that is where it is all taking place. I try to keep myself as physical as possible, feeling my body and focusing on what I’m doing. Continue to do these steps, to focus on breathing and self-acceptance.

Embrace and accept self within the reaction – do not perpetuate it by judging self or becoming angry or upset, instead embrace it as what you are experiencing FOR THE MOMENT because of having gone into auto-pilot in unawareness the moment before. Watch for the thoughts/emotions/memories/fantasies that will come to fuel the anxiety. Gently but firmly direct oneself to stop thinking about them, and focus on the HERE, NOW moment in your physical environment. The anxiety will end, and things will go back to normal in a matter of time. It’s just a matter of time.

Prevention is the Best Cure

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. This will be the topic for my next blog.

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more!

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

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In my previous blog I had listed five examples of where, when and how I am triggered into anxiety reactions in my day-to-day life. What I noticed, which was also mentioned in the interview recording I am being supported by, is that there is not such a huge variety in terms of instances where my anxiety is triggered. This is not to say that it is not triggered a lot – I am saying that the circumstances within which anxiety is triggered are very similar and quite limited. This is, in a way, good news in terms of bringing the anxiety energy to a point of diffusion, and directing self within these situations. This is because seeing as the variety of circumstances is limited – I will get ample practice, and the skills I develop will be useful in many situations and many times throughout the day (instead of , for example, having many different anxiety reactions wherein walking through them one by one would take more time).

Please read my last blog for context, as I will be proceeding on to the next step of what to do when and as one is in these anxiety situations. Also note that I am listening to a series that provides a general framework and understanding of anxiety, what it is and how it functions, and I would strongly recommend investing in this series yourself when you are able, as I have been listening to it several times so as not to miss any details.

In my first blog on this topic, I explained how anxiety in itself functions as a moment’s hesitation wherein the mind has time to connect past memories, mind-patterns or entire personalities for example, to a current similar situation wherein the anxiety then acts as an amplifier of this emotional energy.

An example of such a play-out could be for instance, when one is preparing to leave for an event, meeting or other occasion. The moment could be when one would look at the clock and calculate the amount of time required to finish preparing to leave, versus the amount of time required to get there, leaving the possibility of not having enough time.

What will happen in this moment is that anxiety will now be triggered in an instance, as if from nowhere, and from that one moment it can then build until it becomes intense enough to change one’s entire personality during the time the anxiety is generating/being generated and fueled/fueling thoughts (eg: being late, memories of previous times one had been late where there were consequences; thoughts about how one’s late-ness will create consequences again in imaginary scenarios and play-outs), which can then for example cause an influx of emotions such as guilt, fear and remorse. If I place myself in this situation I can see that I would then go into a ‘rushed’ personality, where I become easily irritated and even angry due to thoughts, fears and back-chat of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’s’. Then comes the guilt and self-judgment for not having been more organized and for having put oneself in this situation in the first place.

The above example demonstrates how one can be overcome by the mind and generate and use a lot of energy, and actually do things that could be harmful or consequential (eg: driving too fast, getting angry at others), when one could have in that first moment, grounded oneself and instead directed oneself to remain practical, calm, and stable.

The above example is one in which all the possible effects or anxiety had been triggered. There are, of course, varying degrees of complexity and intensity, depending on how much we play into the thoughts/emotions/personalities/mind-patterns etc… how much we believe them to be real, and how we react to them. For example, sometimes I find myself reacting within continuously feeding the situation, as if contemplating every possible play-out and all worst-case scenarios would somehow create a solution for myself, but instead it just intensifies it and feeds it, when the solution would have been to catch the anxiety in its initial stages and stopped it then and there.

This brings us to the next step in the process of directing one’s anxiety. The reason I have spent so much time looking at, describing and writing out how anxiety functions within and as me, is because in order to stop the anxiety where it starts we have to slow ourselves down within ourselves, enough so that we can catch the anxiety when it starts. We have to catch it before it is able to connect, attach and bring up all the patterns I mentioned in the above example. This is where and how one gives oneself the opportunity to ground oneself in the physical as soon as one notices an anxiety reaction being triggered. To ground oneself in the physical is to function according to the needs and demands of physical reality only, meaning, real reality -the ‘real world’- and not the world within ourselves- not the world of imagination and fantasy where worst-case scenario play outs seem so real, where fears and emotions can rule, and where self-judgment can sabotage things we had been working so hard to build.

The interview I listened to described breathing techniques used to bring oneself back from being ‘sucked in’ to the mind and grounded back into one’s body, because the anxiety exists entirely in the mind. It also describes in great detail the voice tonalities which are most effective when one is within an anxiety reaction, how to speak to oneself to walk oneself out of the reaction and into self-direction. I don’t have enough time/space to repeat all of this information, but I will go into what it is exactly that I will speak in blogs to come.

In my next blog I will continue with how I applied the practical steps of walking through anxiety, and how I was able to successfully avoid an anxiety reaction in one of the circumstances . This experience has changed my entire self-experience, opened up a new understanding of how things can be different, and showed me that it IS possible to learn how to become the master of one’s emotions, and no longer remain the slave to constantly feeling anxious.

Stay tuned!

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.