Monday, March 28, 2011

Agoraphobia - what does it feel like?

Most people think that agoraphobia is "fear of the marketplace" because that is the pure translation of its root words.

Agoraphobia often does cause those who have it to stay away from crowded places and linger close to home. But the driving cause is usually fear of having a panic attack - especially somewhere far from help or where escape would be difficult.

Panic attacks are distressing experiences. Most people report having a rapid pounding heartbeat, dizziness, extreme anxiety and paralyzing sense of doom.

For some these symptoms come out of nowhere - for others there are specific triggers - often related to where previous experiences of panic have occurred.

The key to recovery is to learn to not fear the panic but to go with it.

Have you had success with beating agoraphobia? What did you do?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How To Become An Exciting Person - Part 2

I have been doing a little research on this topic since I last posted, searching the internet for ideas, asking regular people for their opinions and seeking out expert scientific studies.

I have found so much information that I will need to write not just this "part 2" but also several more sequels to the whole story! This is good news for those of us who are socially phobia, insecure, or feeling just plain boring!

A great place to start was in defining the goal -- what exactly is an exciting person?

Here is a summary of what I found.

An exciting person:

  • is someone who is not just enjoyable to be around but someone you really look forward to seeing

  • always has something interesting to talk about

  • whatever they talk about they seem to do with passion

  • always seems to have many things on the go in their lives

  • is confident

  • is interested in you too!

  • draws you into their feelings of excitement

  • is adventurous

  • has stories to tell that are captivating

  • has a passion for something

  • sometimes has a great sense of humor

  • initiates activities and get others interested in joining in

  • is bold and not afraid to express their opinion

  • is unique

  • is proud of themselves but also vulnerable

  • connects with others

  • is someone you wish you could be like

  • always has something to say that isn't boring and listens too

  • has lots of friends

  • spends time doing things with others

  • doesn't seem to worry too much about what others think

  • knows everyone around them either loves them or will once they get to know them

  • inspires others

  • some who lights up the room when they enter

  • is happy

  • is optimistic

  • the party doesn't start until they arrive

These came from a wide variety of sources, but together they paint quite a picture. It also shows I have a long way to go. But at least I know where I want to be.

And yes all you exciting people who happen to be reading this list and cringing - I do know that just by the fact that I am making this list and am so pitiful for actually having to make this list that I have excluded myself from the realms of the exciting -- but not for long -- just wait! LOL

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Worry, Fear and Panic - Stop Avoiding the Things You Love

Part of the reason that I am anxious socially is that I feel as though I have nothing to share with others, because I avoid so many situations I basically don't do much of anything these days.

I am reading about how to change that and let go of my fears and anxieties so that I can actually do something with my life. I am now realizing that I need to do those things anyway - you know the saying (and book title) "feel the fear and do it anyway"?

I cannot just wait until I feel no fear to go ahead and try something. Fear and anxiety are part of everyone's lives. I just need to push up against anxiety and not let it control me.

The following quote is from Women Who Worry Too Much, by Holly Hazlett-Stevens, PhD.
I have found it to be very motivational and want to share it with you too.

If you avoid certain situations because you’re worried about the outcome, you never get to learn what would have happened if you had faced thosesituations. You deprive yourself of the chance to see how you would have coped.

When you decide to avoid, you experience a temporary state of relief, but you’re also left feeling powerless and deflated, as if you can’t control your own behavior. Eventually you become discouraged and disheartened as a vague sense of feeling paralyzed sets in.

This is how avoidance slowly eats away your self-confidence over time. Push yourself to feel vulnerable – this allows you to learn that you can handle whatever happens, and that even the most difficult of emotions can’t destroy you.

We’re all capable of feeling intense fear so we can escape life-threatening situations. But usually people avoid things that simply make them feel uncomfortable.

I will be putting this up on my fridge where I can see it everyday :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Trainer is Leaving

My trainer is moving. So far away I will probably not see her again for a long time, if ever.

She is a person I admire and have often wished I was more like. In fact, I have often thought I could probably get rid of all my fear and anxiety problems just by trying to become her.

She has been my lifeline. She has mentally held my hand as I worked through my nervousness about riding. She has listened to all my excuses and helped me to move beyond them. All without judgement.

She has seen me through times where I have been so afraid that I am so embarrassed now to even admit it.

Too afraid to catch a horse, too afraid to lead it over icy surfaces, too afraid to approach when it is windy and they are all running and spooky.

Afraid to walk behind horses tied to be groomed. Couldn't ride in the arena alone - even at a walk. Scared to ride when there were too many horse in the arena. Panic about the idea of loping. Terrified to go faster.

Yes, she has seen me through a lot. I think so many people would have just dumped me and passed me by. How boring to be working with someone who is so anxious about every little thing when you could be perfecting a reining pattern with your latest non-pro superstar.

Have you ever been to a riding lesson where you ride around in circles while your trainer has a coffee and chats with her friend, looking up occasionally to tell you to change directions, then again when its time to collect your money?

Not her. Ever.

She would watch my every move. Correcting what needed to be, and giving constant feedback and encouragement.

Some days I was so nervous before my lesson that I would need to walk or run for an hour before going to try to shake down my nerves. A couple times I swigged a quick glass of wine to quiet my anxiety. Many times I have been physically shaking on the drive over to the barn. Many times I just made up an excuse and cancelled the lesson. BTW I know how terrible this is :(

Most people would probably tell me - hey this horseback riding is not the thing for you! If you are that scared just move on to something else. Go play golf, try hiking, learn to play cards.

But I love to ride and I used to be able to ride and I desperately want to ride again.

She is the one who has been with me and helped me progress for the past couple of years (yes it has been years now). I am not sure what I am going to do without her.

But I am sensing that I need to move on and see if I can ride myself. I need to take all I have learned from her and apply that on my own. Reach somewhere within myself for the bravery to do it myself.