Notes to Self

May 25, 2017

Shoulder tap that anxiety tantrum

Filed under: Healing, Take a deep breath, Them vs. Me, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — me2self @ 4:34 pm

I haven’t been to therapy in perhaps a year. I haven’t written on this blog for a long time as well. I have been busy with daily routine, and busy trying to ignore what makes me miserable.

I am happy to admit that I have made some progress over the past months…catching myself soon after I enter a anxiety tantrum (you know, when you get all upset, angry, frustrated, annoyed and just pissed off miserable and you don’t know why)…. I’ve had fewer of these (or so I think; I really should check with my husband). My therapist once told me that what I needed was someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I have headed down this path, so I can stop myself and backup. I tried to get my husband to do this, but 1) that isn’t fair to him and 2) he doesn’t necessarily know when I am on that path. So it is up to me.

It seems that this should be an easy thing to do…when I find myself enraged, annoyed, or have swirling thoughts in my head, I need to stop and backup. But that’s the key…FINDING your self. These anxiety tantrums are like having a blindfold over your sense of self-awareness. You simply lose sight of the bigger picture and get lost in these minute details of things that you think are life altering and/or catastrophic.

Hmmm…self-awareness. Like realizing that the thing you are being anxious about is directly related to the horrible things your mother would say to you on a daily basis (Or the things that you now say to yourself because why stop the negativity after all these years?) and not really a problem in a normal world or frame of mind.

I am certain that most anxiety is all about the tug between feeling that we are not living up to the standards put forth and knowing that these standards that are unreasonable, unattainable, and irrational. We are functioning at the mercy of the lessons we learned as children and/or by our current understanding of what “society” expects of us, and our gut reactions to them. The opposition and confrontation of these two sides happen subconsciously. We, then, need to have a shoulder tap to come to a place of self-awareness, backup out of that situation and stop the two sides from fighting – to stop the anxiety tantrum.

But how?

February 18, 2014

It’s anxiety time!

Filed under: Take a deep breath, Whatever — Tags: , , , , , , — me2self @ 4:11 pm

The past two days I have felt like my brain is swirling around in my skull. Slight headache, tensed facial muscles and slightly blurred eyesight.

At first I thought it was a cabin fever from being stuck inside the house with two kids for four days (lots of snow!), but then this morning it hit me. It’s anxiety.

Since I can remember my family has never hesitated to tell me how impatient I am, how I rush to make decisions and how I have to fix things immediately. Well the jokes on them because all this time I have suffered from anxiety, not innate negative qualities resulting in my being a complete failure (or is the joke on me?).

Up until this morning I felt that my anxiety was focused on one event or issue; acute attacks which eventually pass when I feel resolution has been achieved. But now I feel inhabited.

I am disappointed by this development. I thought I was more accomplished than this in my journey to freedom from my pathologies of old.

I guess I should focus on the positive – that I am aware enough to have realized this. But I cannot, I am too annoyed.

February 17, 2014

All that glitters is not gold

Filed under: Growing pains, Life's little things — Tags: , , , , — me2self @ 2:47 pm

It’s been quite some time since I have posted on this blog, but I have a good reason…I had a baby! Now, as a mother of two, I find “life challenges” take on a whole new meaning…getting dressed in the morning is a life challenge! But hopefully I can get back to regular posts on this blog, as it has been very helpful to me and hopefully to any readers.

 

The other day I was looking in the mirror (while washing my hands – I certainly don’t have time to just stare at myself!) and noticed a gray hair. Upon further investigation I found a few more. I quickly stopped looking.

As an ‘over 35 year old’ I should expect this, and have had a few in the past which I quickly yanked out, but I am not ready to go gray. I have fought my age since I turned 30. I actually stopped celebrating my birthday that year, which is hard because my husbands is very close to mine. Over the years I realized that I feel like I haven’t done enough, accomplished enough and succeeded enough and that is why I hate getting older. Like each year is another marker of my being a failure.

I imagine that someday I will realize my potential, release myself from the strings of negative people in my life and live free without these clouds above my head. An image of self-confidence and self-assurance. And that image isn’t of an old lady.

My husband has always said that I better do what I want/need to do and get over it, because age is age.

I would love to have a view of what I look like in the world and see myself as others do. If this were possible, what do you think you would see?

September 1, 2013

Low self-esteem can be exhausting!

Something relatively minor happened at work on Friday and I am still obsessing over it. I have lost sleep because of it.

I have learned by now that when I can’t “let something go”, its because I haven’t resolved it for myself.

The event happened, I reacted, called a few folks, got a resolution and yet I am not done with it.

The issue, I realized this morning, is the way I treated myself when the question first arose. The doubt and worry I had about something so minute. When I talked to a friend/co-worker she told me what to do and it was that simple, yet I was envisioning everyone thinking I was a terrible person! And so I made it a bigger deal than it was, and now I am angry that I did that.

My husband said to focus on the fact that I have recognized his and how that is furthering me along the “road to recovery”- that I am becoming a better person. While I agree, I still can’t stop being completely annoyed.

It isn’t just the event and the ridiculousness surrounding it, it’s that I think so lowly of myself and that I let my family continue to treat me so poorly to encourage the low self-esteem for so long. I am tired of finding more ways and further reaches of how my poor self-image affects my everyday life. I am not surprised by the effects, just where it comes up and how it then affects me.

I am just tired of it. I want to be “normal” and not think twice about little stuff. I want to stop doubting myself so quickly and I want to stop obsessing when I do.

I’m just tired of it all.

April 16, 2013

A portrait of resistance

It occurred to me yesterday that I have been slowly uncovering all these varying coping mechanisms or ways that my parents shaped my thought processes but I don’t really have a general idea of what a picture of me would look like.

This is what I have so far:

I am a judgmental person (to myself as much as, or more than, to others) because I was always criticized and I learned to be critical.

I have this idea of how the world should work and if people don’t fit my schema then I get angry; much like how my parents and sisters got angry if I didn’t act the way they wanted me to.

I have anxiety, probably because I was never allowed to have my feelings, show anger or voice my disagreement with decisions made without regard to me.

I believe that I will always fail at everything I do, because nothing I did was good enough or the way they wanted it.

I believe I am unworthy of unconditional love and I am only as good (or loved) as what I can do for people, because I was not good, and did not deserve support and encouragement if I strayed from their idea of who and what I should be. The more I did for them, in the way in which they wanted it done, the better a person I was and the more loved I was (and by the way, this is still going on – I was recently kicked off the will because they felt they couldn’t rely on me any longer. A few years ago they kicked my sister off for similar reasons.).

Hmmm, I can’t think of any others right now, although I know there are more.

So I asked my therapist, if I feel like I will always fail at everything that I attempt, why do I try? What makes me have initiative and drive? What makes me continue to take chances and try new things and put myself out there? Why didn’t I just settle for something safe?

His only response was that people often have this core that is resistant. It survives and continues on regardless.

So, instead of painting a picture of my faults, here’s a picture of my resistance:

I have been married to a wonderful man for almost nine years; we have been in love for sixteen (we dated 7 years before getting married).

I have a beautiful, happy, healthy little girl who knows she is loved.

I have a few really good friends and am making more.

I have a job in which I am respected, relied upon and am really good at what I do. I will be promoted soon.

Even though I don’t like what I see in the mirror, I know it’s a superficial disgust and that the person standing there is really a beautiful, kind, loving, intelligent and wonderful person.

Even though I think about the time I spent sad and broken and how that may have kept me from being more than I am now, I also remember the moments that I shined and stepped out of my shell to be truly magnificent.

Despite the lack of consideration, respect and care that my family showed me, I am a caring person who considers other peoples feelings and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt (at least once because I’m not a fool!).

I am not who they are.

I am not who they want me to be.

I am me.

I survived and I resisted.

My picture of resistance is colorful and blooming everyday. It’s made of tears, fear, anxiety and sorrow but it smells like love and joy (and it tastes like coffee).

How about yours?

 

June 29, 2012

I am what I am (and it’s not in a dress)

My daughter loves water. She loves to play in it, splash in it and, I guess drink it (she is still a baby and gets mostly milk!).

She will splash in puddles, loves to have the indoor and outdoor faucet’s turned on (she gets completely soaked when outside!), she loves her baby pool and bath time and if you have a bucket or glass of water, she will stick her hand or arm into it!

I am pleased with her love for water, and for her lack of fear of the water!

I used to swim competitively. I used to puddle jump and walk in the rain for hours. I still love sitting on the porch when it’s raining. I rarely carry an umbrella.

Last night it rained.

This morning my daughter wanted to go outside (as we usually do before leaving for work/daycare). I couldn’t say no because she put on her jacket and then brought me MY shoes and then brought me HER shoes, and then sat down so I could put her shoes on her feet! There was no saying no to this 15 month old!

So we played and thankfully only her jacket got wet (daddy saved her from sitting in a puddle!). There was still some time before we could leave (waiting for daycare to open) so I decided to show her what happens when you shake the branches on a tree after it has rained.

We stood underneath the tree – her in my arms and I shook. The water rained down and she smiled. I shook again. She giggled.┬áThis is living.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

“Again” she signed to me. So I shook again.

She squealed in delight, she closed her eyes and put her face to the sky, she opened her mouth to catch the rain.

Needless to say we were pretty wet. I wasn’t wearing a jacket (she was but her hair was wet).

I arrived at daycare with a wet shirt (like I had been caught in the rain). I explained myself to a few people and they all thought it was great.

I walked to the car smiling – I had given my daughter a wonderful moment that I will always cherish.

I realized that I am, always have been and always will be, a gal in jeans and not a dress.

Makeup runs in the rain and high heels get stuck in grass. They just don’t fit into my life.

I would rather sleep or cuddle with my husband, daughter or cat than spend that time doing my hair or makeup. I’m a wash-and-go type gal and I should just embrace it!

More importantly, this doesn’t make me less feminine or inferior to other women who do chose to (or need to based on career/office dress policy) spend more time on their appearance.

Maybe, if they had the choice (or more courage?) they would also shake the branches of a wet tree upon the heads of their children.

So keep your pantyhose and your foundation. I’ve made my life without them (and one could argue that I’ve directed my life so I could live without them!?).

I am what I am and I think I am beginning to like me.

Loss worth losing

As our children grow and mature, with every step taken, we lose a little.

Mothers no longer needed for nourishment: loss.

Babies no longer wanting to constantly be held: loss.

Toddlers walking without holding parents’ hands: loss.

Toddlers no longer needing to run to mommy’s arms when novelty appears: loss.

When children sleep through the night in their own bed, peel and hold the banana all by themselves and successfully use a fork or spoon for an entire meal: loss, loss and loss.

Ever since she stopped nursing my daughter has been sleeping better – rarely wakes up (vs waking every 2-3 hours), and sleeps in her crib (vs in the bed with us). We have begun trying to get her to fall asleep in her crib without us holding her.

However last night my daughter fell asleep in my arms. I thought: this may be the last time she cuddles me like this. I grew sad (and am tearing up now) and felt such a sense of loss.

But I know that it is loss worth losing. I know it means we have done a good job as parents – we have provided this little baby with what she needed and she is growing up well.

That is the fundamental purpose of parenting. To give and let them grow.

“With all of its glories and all of its faults, life is but a bittersweet waltz”

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