Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back

The anxiety dance goes three steps forward and two steps back. I feel like I am moving straight into freedom and then this learning experience moves me backwards into fear again.

The discouragement hits me like a physical blow, right to the chest making me cry in despair. I lose track of the things I have learned and crumble into a weak heap of trembling frailty. Where did my courage go, where is my determination? Did I learn anything over the past few months? I feel like giving up. It seems I can never defeat this thing that prevents me from doing what I love.

Oh, I feel I have tried so hard and come so far. Only a few days ago I could see the distance I had come and was proud of my new found confidence and growing bravery. But all that was blown away in a heartbeat. One lapse of judgement, one tangled set of emotions and all my progress has disappeared. Or seems to have anyway.

I tried so hard and I wanted it so much and now it is all slipping through my fingers. The illusion that I could change myself, that I could be different. I feel like such a failure. I cry and cry, so sad for myself, so completely in despair. Hopeless.

People who are kind see me fall. They help me up and tell me things will be ok - it happens to everyone. Don't worry, its all part of the learning and healing process. You'll see the sun will rise again in the morning and there will be a time where you will find messages and strength and learning. These backward steps are also part of the learning and will teach you something important you need to know.

I cannot see this now, but I hear what they say and I am holding these words tight against my heart.
Love you all

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Confidence - the critical difference

I heard on a recent sportscast that the element of confidence is the key difference between good and great athletes.

After acheiving a certain critical level of athletic physical and mental skill, sports success becomes a mind game. It's what you think you can do, what you believe you can do that counts.

For myself, I am working on building my confidence so that I can do regular everyday things without feeling extremely self conscious or even deathly afraid.

Sports psychologists work with athletes to help them increase theri confidence levels in order to help them reach their goals. I am working on learning these skills to help myself too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Things Agoraphobia Stole From Her

I am reflecting today about how agoraphobia can affect lives, in particular that of my good friend Lena and the things she has missed out on due to having this condition.

You won't be surprised that being afraid to leave your house limits your lifestyle. Lena missed our senior prom in high school because she was worried she would make a fool of herself because she had just a panic attack at school.

She stayed away from prom and she basically pulled away from life after that. Yes, she applied for jobs by submitting her resume on line but she never went to interviews. By the fall after graduation she had experienced so many panic attacks she didn't want to go anywhere.

The more she stayed in the worse things got. She became more fearful, more nervous and more alone.

Lena eventually went to a therapist and got on a treatment program, but she dropped out of treatment.

Years later she rarely ventures out of her safe place - her home. We talk on the phone or I sometimes come over but she really doesn't have much to talk about but whatever is on the news on TV.

Truthfully I feel afraid seeing her - I don't like to visit with her because it scares me how little of her life is actually left. She is still so young but her life is going nowhere - not much past her front door step.

Agoraphobia keeps her hiding inside.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fear Anger Panic and Rage - not the best day!

Some days are good days, some days feel really bad!

Today I am angry, anxious, fearful and panicky for no reason I am aware of.

I took a hot shower for a full 70 minutes in an attempt to blast out the anxiety and panic and rage that is exploding from me. It didn't work.

I am tired of losing good days to fear. I need some kind of help to get myself back. I don't want to waste my life afraid to do anything. Agoraphobia, panic attacks, anxiety - who needs them?

Now self disgust, guilt and saddness are waiting for me.

What is wrong with me I have to wonder. Why does this happen?

Sorry I don't want to bring others down - just venting I guess :(

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Conversation Starters For The Socially Anxious

I received a great deal of help with ideas for how a person with social anxiety can start and maintain conversations at parties for instance.

Here are some of the conversation starter tips I received. They are good - these may come in handy.

Start with :
Hi, I’m Lauren, nice to meet you.

Then follow up with any of these:

How was your day?
What funny weather we’ve been having.
What do you think about (Mention an recent newsworthy trend or topic in the news) (not political or religious please)
Do you know many people here?
Have you been here before?
Did you have to travel far?
Where do you work? How long have you worked there?

Keeping the conversation going after that with topics like these:

What TV shows are you into watching?
Seen any great movies lately?
Read any great books lately?
What’s your favourite hobby?
What type of music do you like?
How do you typically enjoy the weekends?
What sports do you play or follow?
I like your tie/dress/jacket/handbag or other item

It is of course helpful to share about your self as well on any of the above topics. Share your favorite movie or your view on a recent news item, or a hobby you love. You don't want to hold a one way interview!

Further getting to know you questions can include:

What reality show would you go on and why?
Have you travelled much? Which country would you like to visit?
If you could pick any 5 famous people to attend a dinner party you would host who would you pick?
If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
If you decided to author a book, what would you write about?
If you were in charge of the world what are the 3 changes you would make?
Who is the most famous person you have met?
What’s the one movie you could watch again and again?
What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast?
What was your first job, and what was it like?
Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Other ideas to follow with after you have been in conversation and there is an uncomfortable lull or silence.

Acknowledge the silence and feeling of awkwardness - "wow I feel really awkward meeting new people and find myself not knowing what to say" (this can endear you to people by being so honest and vulnerable and may start a sharing on the other person part too)

Also see these great tips

More to come...