Crazy-Brain part 2

Hello Again! Its ~Drew, back for part 2. Its been a week since I wrote Crazy-Brain. A lot has happened since then, mostly internally. 

First, after a week of level 10 anxiety and panic attacks, I finally came down. It is a relief to be on the other side of my mental shenanigans! In the end, the measures I put in place (see part 1) helped guide me to the exit ramp. 

Second, there is a Buddhist saying that is paraphrased as: you cannot practice patience unless it is tested. I thought about that phrase and changed it to be about my anxiety episode: I cannot study my anxiety unless I am triggered. Let me tell you, maintaining that perspective was excruciating while I was trying to hang onto my sanity. But I was able, in some way, to document my thought patterns. I made a list of my fears at that moment. This was me looking objectively at my anxiety and documenting what was driving it. I also wrote Crazy-Brain part one. I knew that I needed to put down exactly how I was suffering, when I was suffering, and offer it to a wider audience. I wanted people to know they are not alone in their anxiety.
The entire process sucked, and sucked the life out of me.

Third, I have since seen my counselor. She praised me for being strong, and drew attention to some lingering distortions I created throughout the episode. Mainly, these distortions were surrounding my “worst-case scenario” planning (if I get fired, I will do XYZ). “There is a place for that”, she said. “But wouldn’t you rather leave your job on your own terms?” A very valid question. It might be time to move on, but I should do a bit of planning. In the meantime, I will take the feedback I received and try to do what is asked of me. This is all I can do right now.

Last, through it all, my wife was there to support me. She listened to my my frothing insanity. She was there for me right when I needed her. She allowed me the space and time to work through my anxiety. I am eternally grateful to her.

I am fortunate to have resources available to me. I have insurance that pays for my counseling. I have a supportive wife that stays with me even though I have a crazy-brain. I know that not everyone has these two things in their lives. For you, I recommend that you seek out free or low cost resources. A search for “free guided mediation for anxiety” in your favorite web browser will offer a number of free resources. Begin interacting with the meditations when you are not triggered. This will help you when you get triggered because you will already know what to do with the meditations and you can get the maximum benefit when you need it the most.

You can also look for counselors that offer a sliding scale. Or seek out groups that have meetings on anxiety. 

Most of all, know that you are not alone.

Peace and Love,

~Drew

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Posted in acceptance, anxiety, coping, depression, introspection, meditation, psychology, recovery, therapy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crazy-Brain

Hello Blogosphere, this is ~drew and I’m back!

Today I want to talk about getting triggered by anxiety. I am struggling with this today, as I write. This week I had a meeting that was disappointing. I was informed that I was not adequately performing at my place of employment. This message was not easy to hear. But that aspect is not what i want to illustrate. What happened before and after is the subject of this blog.

I saw that I had a meeting with my boss in four days time. I immediately when into a panic. At first I thought, “Oh shit, what did I do?” But then my thoughts turned deeper and darker. As the days progressed, I lost all confidence in myself. I berated myself for every little thing that went wrong, even stupid things like dropping a pencil. When I went to sleep, the thoughts tucked me in. When I awoke, they brought me coffee. All throughout the day I ran scenarios in my my head about what I did wrong, and what my response might be when confronted. On and on I obsessed about this meeting. 10 minutes before the meeting I felt sick. I thought “I’m a loser. I’m a failure.”

The meeting ended up being a very specific change in my performance that my boss needed to see from me, Fair, right? In my mind, I was already there. But if he needs to see changes, then I will comply. But why all the build-up? Why did I put myself through torture for four days? And why, days later, do I still have lingering, non-descript anxiety?

These are all the questions that are swirling around in my cranium a I type this blog. WHY?????

The next question I have is this: what are you going to do about it ~drew?

I have been in counseling for years. I have developed coping tools—things I know will work to calm down my “crazy-brain”(as I refer to my mind when I get triggered).

I don’t have a counseling appointment scheduled for a week, so I am basically on my own to utilize my training to handle this myself, my anxiety SWAT team. SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics, and that is exactly what I need. Truth be told, some of these I should have been doing for awhile as a preventative, but alas, when my mind is clear, and that tightness in my chest goes away, I get complacent. “I’ve got this.” No you don’t!

My plan of action is built around things that calm me and/or bring me joy.

Here is what my plan of action is, starting right now:
Write about it. Share in my blog.
Meditate at least 5 minutes every day. Start slow and build. But commit.
Exercise at least 5 minutes on off gym days. This helps regulate “crazy-brain”
Play guitar at least 5 minutes a day. Start slow and build. But commit.
Listen to uplifting podcasts at least once a week, instead of binging on the (bad) news.

 

Nurture ~drew, nurture.

As I was preparing to write, this article popped up in my feed. The timing was perfect, so I thought I would share.

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/drop-self-improvement-and-embrace-self-compassion/

 

I hope you all are well.

~drew

Posted in anxiety, confidence, coping, depression, psychology, reflection, therapy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Remission and Invitation

During my annual physical last week, my doctor asked me how I was doing with my depression. I said, “Doc, I gotta tell you, its been about 2 years since my last depressive episode. The longest I had gone before this was 2-3 months.” So he wrote down “DEPRESSION IN REMISSION” in my file.

 

Wow.

Remission.

I started thinking about this blog and what a comfort it has been to have an outlet for my thoughts. It most assuredly contributed to my remission. However, I do not want it to go away. My own efforts going forward will focus on educating the general public about depression and those that suffer from it. I will take on the stigma associated with depression in society and tell the story of survival and strength. Your survival and strength.

 

I want your stories told. I have told mine already. I would like to invite anyone who would like to tell his/her story on an established blog (audience!!) to join this blog as a contributing author. If you are interested, please let me know.

 

The only way for society to change it’s perception is to put the truth in their faces over and over.

 

You are strong. Keep Walking Forward!!!

 

~Drew

Posted in C-PTSD, depression, NPD: Narcissitic Personality Disorder, ptsd | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Gravity and Air Pressure

I start here and go back there.

I start there and end up back here

Again.

Too much to take in.

There’s too much to take in.

Information crowds atop  my ignorance

And pushes down on my body.

It is my Air Pressure.

Remnants of my past pull me down

Anchored ’round my feet.

It is my Gravity.

I never feel

strong.

I never feel

right.

I never feel

adjusted.

I’m just surviving the fight.

A little bit easier.

Life should be a little bit easier.

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The Obituary I Would Have Written 10 Years Ago

I saw this in the news today and it tugged on my heart a bit. I feel for these adult children of an abusive mother. Had my abuser passed away 10 years ago, I might have done the same thing. The pain can be overwhelming, especially when the abuser keeps injecting themselves into your life and messing with you. This is no longer the case for me. I feel I have moved beyond where she can hurt me. She still has a way of pissing me off from time to time, but it no longer triggers me.

 

When I read this, I thought of how I was before. I understand why these folks did what they did. I hope they find closure.

I hope this finds you all well!

 

~Drew

http://gawker.com/this-brutal-obituary-is-a-reminder-to-be-good-to-your-c-1286582748

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I am Confident I Lack Confidence

According to Wikipedia:

Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself. Arrogance or hubris in this comparison, is having unmerited confidence—believing something or someone is capable or correct when they are not. Overconfidence or presumptuousness is excessive belief in someone (or something) succeeding, without any regard for failure. Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy as those without it may fail or not try because they lack it and those with it may succeed because they have it rather than because of an innate ability.

The key word is certainty. Being certain that you are right. I see a spectrum here:

Lack of                                                                                                                                      Over-
Confidence                                                      Confidence           Arrogance                   Confidence

1_______________________________5__________7_______________10

We all have met people who fall along this spectrum. But where do you and I fall? Can we be sure? How do others perceive where we fall? Does this perception hurt us in our jobs or relationships? Is this a blind-spot for us? Do we see what others see? Does that matter?

Now that I’m done with rhetorical questions, go ahead and answer them for yourself.

I am the child of an abusive narcissist. I was physically and mentally tortured. Any confidence I may have had was ripped from me. I was taught to filter all things through the lens of how it affected my abuser. I was not allowed to have faith in my abilities or to have opinions of my own. How can you have confidence in yourself when there is no self in which to have confidence? Thus, I had no confidence when I went out in the world. Zero.

That was 27 years ago.

I am a 45-year-old man now.

When I left home, I was certainly a zero on the confidence spectrum. I would say I am a three now. Sometimes a four, but never a five.

I actually have an opinion and a self now. These were hard to come by, believe me. But I watch those who score five and above make  quick decisions and sell it in a way that others just buy it. I can’t do that, even when I am sure I am right. There must be a lack of surety in my voice, because I am hardly ever accepted as an authority, even though I am seen as highly intelligent.

I don’t know how to fix this. Maybe this is a part of my upbringing I cannot fix. Maybe I will figure it out in another 20 years. I am not sure. See, I have the same lack of confidence in myself others must see in my too.

There is another side of this also. I am intelligent and I question. I like to look at all angles before making a decision. I am not good at snap decisions because it takes me a while to weigh all sides. I am cautious by nature and do not do my best work when put on the spot. Perhaps this comes across as lack of confidence.

I have also noted that confident people seem to listen more critically to statements made to them then I do. They seem to listen for errors in statements, no matter how minor, and I tend to listen for truths on which to build. It may seem like a hair-splitting difference, but I see it as much more. If you listen for errors, and only point those out, you are listening to tear down and argument. If you listen for truths, you are listening to build understanding.

I find myself on the receiving-end of the former quite often, which makes me not want open my mouth…ever. I find myself quite often doing the latter. In my opinion, by doing the former, you put others on the defensive. I hate being on the defensive. I was raised on the defensive 100% of the time. I don’t want to put others on the defensive any more than I want to be on the defensive. But maybe I need to.

Perhaps I have just stumbled on to the answer:

1) Speak less often, and when I do, speak to my audience (knowing how they are listening).

2) Listen more critically more often.

3) Learn how to bounce off the defensive ropes and come out unphased and swinging.

 

Whatever the answer, it is most assuredly a lifelong battle.

I will start here.

Posted in confidence, conversation, Narcissism, NPD: Narcissitic Personality Disorder, recovery, reflection | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patience, or Lack Thereof

Patience, or Lack Thereof.

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