Finding my True Self

#120

Postby Vintage678 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:15 am

Hi julia, love reading your posts. I think that it is good that he types that question. It always gets me to thinking, about my gut feelings. Many times i make decisions that are too complicated and i always regret that i didnt go with my instincts and i have found that following my instincts will most always be right for me. I see that rich is being more kind on his responses. :) i just got frustrated with him and had to say it. But, he is not a bully. I realize this now. How can someone who adopts a stray cat be a bully?
I wanted to say that i think you should get your teeth checked out and taken care of as soon as possible. I know it is expensive, but it is part of your health, an extension of the health you are trying to get in order. Whatever you can afford, it needs to be done.
How is your quit going. I notice you dont speak of it often.
I am sorry about your dad. I know it makes you sad and i think it is good that you express your concerns to this forum. And your sister. I would be worried sick about her.
I am now trying to come off of elavil, that i have been taking for insomnia. There are just too many side effects from that drug. This is a real struggle!! I am taking some natural supplements which seem to be helping. Like Gaba, theanine, tryptophan.
Not sure i will be able to pull this off, though. Wont say i cant.
Those electrical cords you spoke about scared me! :shock:
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#121

Postby Julia Stretton » Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:59 am

Vintage678 wrote:Hi julia, love reading your posts. I think that it is good that he types that question. [...]


I'm glad that you are still enjoying my ramblings! :)

What you've got to remember about Julius is that a lot of what he says is true, and statements (or questions) taken for themselves can indeed be helpful. Obviously, nobody can convince other people if they just lie all the time. But the danger lies in someone using those sweet truths in order to lull others into their web of deceit. Julius makes money from people coming to him for consultations, and soft-soaping them is a way to stop them from asking critical questions, which might lead them to cast his own method in doubt. The New Age movement is full of that kind of people, who claim that everything is just about 'light and love' - a concept which sounds great to a lot of people, but which fails when they are faced with uncomfortable truths.

Somebody like he can't possibly not be aware that what they are promoting is nonsense, and the fact that he continues to advance those beliefs, despite knowing how harmful they can turn out to be, means that he can't have a lot of empathy for other people. I posted plenty of links showing that suppressing negative emotions is not only useless, but in fact dangerous - from renowned publications such as Scientific American or Psychology Today, and he denies that they portray the truth. If you look at his video, it doesn't take a lot of observational skills to realise how unemotionally he is reciting his words, and the jumbled and confused way in which he talks about those issues shows that he has no real idea of what he is talking about, but rather that he has just taken various statements out of their original context, to assemble what he believes sounds like a convincing philosophy. A lot of commenters have seen through him, and there is obviously a reason why the amount of 'likes' and 'dislikes' have been hidden. Compare him with people who are truly happy, such as Buddhist monk Pema Chödrön or astronaut Tim Peake - obviously I've only mentioned famous people, as others wouldn't mean much to the public, but you don't need to be known by millions in order to be happy. Those people actually radiate happiness, instead of just talking about it, and even they would be quick to admit that they aren't always happy.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate Julius. Deep inside, he is most likely a very troubled person, and his perceived happiness is built on a very shaky foundation. Someone who hasn't got the capacity to empathise with others, and who just tries to fake those emotions by observing other people, must have a very hard life. Possessing sociopathic tendencies doesn't mean being immune from all kinds of other emotions, and people in that position can be depressed, and even suicidal. I believe him when he says that he tried to commit suicide before. When your only pleasures lie in accumulating wealth and power, life must seem very dull indeed, and it is not something that I would envy anyone for. However, I also feel for his clients who are being promised something which can't possibly materialise, and who will only end up disappointed. Some might have their hopes smashed to such a degree that they end up taking their lives. Personally, I have enjoyed taking his ideology apart and exposing it, despite the sad truth hidden behind his sweet lies. But now I need to focus on other things, so I've blocked him and have left that chapter behind me. If you want to know more about sociopathic types (there are reasons why I don't use the term 'psychopathic'), Robert Hare's book 'Without Conscience' and Hervey Cleckley's 'The Mask of Sanity' shed a lot of light on their modus operandi, and also demonstrate that these people are a lot more common than most of the public are aware of - according to Hare, at least 1 in 100, although he admits that the real number might even be several times higher.

You are right when you say I need to see a dentist. Obviously I didn't just 'lose' those missing molars, but they broke off as a result of decay, and the roots are still there. Even if I am able to afford replacements one day, I will still need to have any remnants removed, and at least half a year needs to pass before further surgery. Best to get that behind me as soon as possible.

Yes, in the past I've worried a lot about my sister. While I've had my own struggles to deal with, she became hooked on alcohol a long time ago, and especially since meeting her husband seven or eight years ago, she's taken far worse substances. When I saw her for her wedding three years ago, we didn't only drink and smoke weed all day, but they had also bought plenty of coke and speed, and even got me a gram of opium, knowing it was something that I'd never tried before. I've always hated coke and what it does to people, and after taking loads of amphetamines in the nineties, that is something that stopped with the new millennium. But on that occasion, I took everything that was offered. My sister once told me that she had just spent three weeks awake on speed, which shocked me at the time, and allegedly her husband had stopped taking crystal meth after they had met, although I can imagine that it was something that both of them might have continued to dabble in. There were probably other chemicals such as GHB involved, as well.

I'm not sure what you mean with 'I don't speak about my quit very often'. I thought that was what I was doing. I try to write about both ups and downs, just like everyone else on here, although mainly I try to stay positive - but I also mention the things that I struggle with. But if it's figures that you're after, I should be ten weeks off tobacco today, and I'll be seven weeks clean from weed tomorrow, if I've calculated correctly. I don't really keep notes, but I went back in my posting history to check the dates, and I used an online calculator to find out the amount of days between then and today.

In the past, I've been on Amitriptyline and other ADs myself, but I stopped taking anti-depressants about ten years ago. I can't say whether that was a good idea or not. I've had a pretty rough time, but obviously I don't know if things would have been better with ADs. It sounds like a good idea to ween yourself off them if you feel that you no longer need them, and those supplements should help. Amino acids are very important for keeping the brain in balance, and supplementing them can be useful if you think you don't get enough of a certain kind with your food. During a past quit, I've taken Taurine but not GABA (they're related), after stopping energy drinks at the time. I thought that it would help me with alleviating stress, but interestingly I've felt very calm since I stopped drinking ridiculous amounts of energy drink about six weeks (?) ago, without additional supplementation. I did get some Passionflower just over a month ago, to help me feel calm, but since I ran out a few days ago I haven't noticed any difference, so maybe they just reinforced my belief that I needed something for that purpose. I feel the same about nicotine replacement - while it can probably be useful in extreme cases of addiction, I've always thought that it might also contribute towards the opposite effect, and make people believe that nicotine is actually something which they need, which might in a certain amount of cases increase the risk of relapse. I guess everyone is different, and what works for one person isn't necessary beneficial for someone else. One problem that I do have is that I can easily feel quite weak and tired. When that happens, I'll often realise that I've forgotten that I'm a caffeine addict, and that I haven't had any tea all day. When that happened in the past, the symptoms would be a lot worse, and I'd often end up with a horrible migraine (which would go away within half an hour of having a caffeinated drink), but even just feeling tired can easily have a negative impact on my life. It's just not a regular ritual for me that I'll remember any time. But after reading your post this morning, I was reminded of how important it is for my functioning to - at least for the time being - ensure an adequate intake of caffeine, so for a change I had a cup of tea straight after breakfast.

I've been going on for long enough, and I'm starting to feel really hungry. But thanks for the feedback! :)
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#122

Postby Julia Stretton » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:14 pm

Behold, the woes of an aspiring artist!

I was feeling alright earlier on. But life always seems to throw a spanner into my machinery when I least expect it, and after a mishap earlier on I've now got those nagging thoughts once again, telling me that whatever I attempt is just bound to end in failure. :shock:

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#123

Postby Vintage678 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:09 am

Oh yes, i cant stand people who are all about the mighty dollar. I have a daughter in law whose father has taught her this behavior and right now i am struggling with her. Well i have been for years now. She has 3 beautiful children and i can see that they are suffering because of it. I have to detach from the whole mess. She also doesnt have empathy or compassion for people. Was taken away from her mom at the age of 6 by her father, so it is way too complicated for me to handle. They are living thousands of miles from me, so i suffer from this situation. My son is not mentally able to handle her either. I could just scream!! And he is not able to handle the kids, but he tries, and thank god he is there for them. I guess they will figure it out, but i can see their daughters will suffer in the long run.
Yeah coke always scared me and i cringe when i hear someone is up for days. I can just imagine what is going on in their bodies. But your sis was up for weeks! How is that possible?
You know your parents seem like good people. I have to wonder why your sister just threw it all away all those years. But i understand that when you are with someone who is an addict, you feed off of each other's behavior, and the cycle continues. I see that you and your dad are extremely intelligent. So i guess that genius runs in the family and genuises dont have normal lives. But, there's that question. What the hell is normal anyway. I hope she is able to maintain a sobriety. If she stays with your parents, they are getting up in age and this will put a hardship on them.


Addictions are hell, as i am finding out right now with the amitriptyline withdrawal. Holy cow!!! I purposely avoided the forum all day because i felt horrible earlier.
But feeling good now so i took a peak.
Julia i cant believe you have been off cigs for ten weeks!! You are so smart!! And determined. And you quit both at the same time. You have to be a strong person to pull that off!! Congrats!!
Well i guess i meant that you dont talk about the struggles of staying off the cigs and weed. Well, sometimes you mention it.
The amitriptyline addiction is hard for me. Ive tried in the past to give it up, but i honestly only sleep a few hours when i am off of it and it is a big struggle for me to continue not taking it. By me talking to you about it holds me somewhat accountable, too. I am not depressed, just an insomniac. And i surely dont want the doc to prescribe all the other addictive mind altering ambiem sonesta freaky sh** they prescribe.
I envy you being able to sleep such long hours. Dreaming. So good for your health.
Im a nervous wreck most times. Lol.
Well, julia, congrats on your long quit. I am happy for you. I would like to see a painting you are working on. I would buy one, if i liked it.
Maybe go outside somewhere and work on it. I love it outside. I hate being inside.
You didnt say a thing about rich. Lol.
Whats your gut instinct telling you? Lol...



:D
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#124

Postby Julia Stretton » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:14 am

At the moment I'm not feeling too great - possibly the lowest low that I've had so far. At least I know that it isn't going to last.

Yesterday I was dealt a blow, when I went to the cash point to get some money out, so I could get the bus to my Chi Gung lesson. But I was told that there were no funds available, and when I got home to check online, I realised that I had gone over the top with my expenditures again. Not only had a direct debit failed (which costs me a small fortune each time), but there are three more payments due until I get paid again next week. That means that I'll have to walk to my bank on the other side of town today, to see if anything can be done - otherwise I'll be paying a huge amount in penalty fees again in a few weeks time. I can't afford to get the bus there, and considering that I'm feeling pretty weak, I'm dreading the walk. It also means that I haven't got any money for food for the next few days, besides what I've already got at home. But after today I'm not going to have anything sweet to boost my sugar levels when I feel that they are running a bit low, and I just spent my last bit that I had left on some juice and a baguette, so at least the hummus that I've got won't get wasted. I also realised that half of my money for next month is already spent, and the next 4 1/2 weeks are going to be an exercise in stoicism. And it means that I can forget about being able to afford the cooker that I was going to get next month.

As if this wasn't already demotivating enough, I also ignored some discomfort that I felt in my lower back, when I did my combined breathing / posture exercises last night. As a result, I ended up with sciatica, which made sleeping very difficult. I haven't had any painkillers for quite some time, but I'll be taking some Ibuprofen after I've finished typing this reply.

I'm also feeling a bit down about how slow my painting is progressing. I realised that the large piece of MDF that I gesso'd is a bit warped, and I checked online to see if anything can be done to straighten it. People were recommending to just lay it flat on the floor and weigh it down, or to simply place it somewhere where people would keep walking over it. But I did put something heavy on top of it for two days, and it has still got a bend in it. So now I don't know whether I should start painting, or whether it will stay like that and my efforts will just be wasted. Instead, I started on one of two pictures that my parents commissioned me to do for them over a year ago, and which I've only just started. But they are going to be abstract / surrealist pieces, and unlike my usual realism, I have no idea how they'll turn out, and whether I've got the right ideas. But even if they turn out a complete mess and I decided that I don't like them, and I want to paint all over them again, at least it's something that takes me out of my comfort zone, which is said to be a good thing.

One of my main problems is prioritising, and when I feel overwhelmed by too much choice, it can easily lead to a state of stasis, where I don't do anything at all. As Richard is an expert on decision making, and I previously found his advice very useful, I decided to take his free online course on goal setting. Although I am capable of grasping some extremely complex concepts, it's often the seemingly easy things that I struggle with, and admittedly I feel a bit overpowered by the information when trying to apply it to my own life, even though it all seems pretty straightforward. But Richard said that I should focus particularly on the 'Actionable' part, so I'll be watching that chapter again carefully, and doing he exercises that are suggested. I also saw that he suggested elsewhere to someone to only focus on one or two goals, if they have the impression that they are faced with too many choices. For me that would be art and health. But even those two topics can be incredibly complex. I'll just see how I get on, and maybe go through the whole course again. It's only a few short videos, so it should be manageable.

I'd reply in more detail, Vintage, but I've really got to take those pills now, and see if I can get a bit of rest before I need to head out for my walk across town. The pain (not severe, but really obnoxious and annoying) is doing my head in, and I just want it to go away.
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#125

Postby Julia Stretton » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:42 am

Vintage678 wrote:i guess that genius runs in the family and genuises dont have normal lives. But, there's that question. What the hell is normal anyway.


I'm not sure whether I'd describe myself as a 'genius'. More like a SubGenius, actually.

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#126

Postby Julia Stretton » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:27 pm

I've just come back from the bank, and it was a huge waste of time. They weren't able to stop the payments or even give me a small overdraft to cover the direct debits that are going to be requested and bounce again. That means that next month I'll have to pay another £100 in penalty charges (or half of that, if I somehow manage to pay in some money on Sunday to cover the two payments due on Monday) ... money that is FUСKING WASTED! I am so furious and disillusioned, and I feel like giving up on everything. With 'giving up' I don't mean starting to smoke again, as I know exactly where that leads to. But just abandoning all my hopes, plans and aspirations. All my hopes keep ending up crushed over and over again, and I feel that I am just trying to push against a huge wall of resistance. I can't see it as anything else other than the Universe telling me that I'm trying to head down the wrong path. I like going with the flow, even if it means occasionally having to shove some obstacles aside. But where is that flow with where I am currently heading, when I'm not getting anywhere?

This art shıt has been causing me a headache for so long. When I was still at college, I would end up with some amazing work every week. Sometimes it would take me several days to get started ... nervousness, self-doubt, the fear of failure would lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed and result in procrastination nearly every single time. Then I'd cram the work into one or two days, and I'd exceed my own expectations of myself. At times, the stress would make me ill, and I'd have to take a long time off, so I ended up missing more lessons than I attended. But I was proud of my work, and I enjoyed presenting it in class whenever I was able to make it. It gave me at least some sense of purpose. In the end, I ended up with a 'distinction' degree, after spending two or three weeks catching up on a whole year's work. Admittedly, not all my absences were the result of stress related to the work we had to do. I had a two-year period at the time when I had swapped weed for synthetic cannabinoids, one of the worst things I've ever done. They made me seriously ill, both physically and mentally. Suicide just isn't an option, including the slow form through smoking and taking other harmful substances. That's something that I established some time ago. But I probably need to let go of any expectations that I have of myself. At the moment I just feel like a failure.

Vintage678 wrote: I have to wonder why your sister just threw it all away all those years.


I could ask the same thing about myself. I guess there are no easy answers.

If she stays with your parents, they are getting up in age and this will put a hardship on them.


I am hoping that she'll be lending a helping hand with things, instead of being a burden. Only time can tell.

Addictions are hell, as i am finding out right now with the amitriptyline withdrawal. Holy cow!!! I purposely avoided the forum all day because i felt horrible earlier.
But feeling good now so i took a peak.


I'm sorry to hear that, but glad you get phases where things are easier. Are you sure you don't want to start a thread on here? It can be very freeing!

Julia i cant believe you have been off cigs for ten weeks!! [...] You have to be a strong person to pull that off!!


It's not really something that I can pat myself on the back for, and tell myself that everything's going to be fine from now on. Over the past twelve years, I've had a number of attempts at quitting, and each time I've relapsed after 5-6 months at the most. This time feels different. i have got resources and insights that I've never had before, I've cleared so much stuff out of my flat over the past two years (which was not only taking up physical space, but also space in my head), and I'm prepared to question everything that I do.

One thing I can say is that I'm definitely not strong. It would be dangerous if I told myself that that is the case. Earlier on, I heard some loud music pumping out of a car, and it reminded me of some festivals that I've been to in the past. I was thinking that I miss those occasions, and I remembered that I've always come across people at those events who have been completely clean and who seemed happy. The fact that drug taking is very common in alternative culture doesn't mean that I need to stay away from people celebrating the diversity of life. But I am far from being strong enough to be around anyone at all who smokes weed ... well, nearly.

Last week, I met a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen since last year. She has always smoked weed since I met her some years ago, but she's also been able to go without when she hasn't had any money, or when there's not been anything available (unlike me, who always fell into a state of despair when I didn't have anything, and who would put weed before basics such as food). We met for a coffee, and then went down to sit at the beach for about an hour. It was the first time since about this time last year that I'd been to the beach - which must sound crazy, considering that it's only about five minutes walk from where I live. But in Summer, loads of tourists come to this town, and I don't like being anywhere where it's packed. However, because of the rail chaos (strikes, cancelled services, overcrowded trains and so on), the tourism sector in this town has been suffering this year, and it was really empty. It might also have been due to the fact that we went to the nudist beach, as I told her that I don't feel very comfortable where all the families tend to hang around - with screaming kids, barbecues and plenty of alcohol - and it is generally less busy there. My friend told me that she had stopped smoking weed two months earlier, but that she had started smoking cigarettes again after managing for a month without. However, even if she had smoked a joint, it wouldn't have been a problem for me. But indoors, or in a large crowd of people, it would have bothered me.

I envy you being able to sleep such long hours. Dreaming. So good for your health.


Well, until two days ago I wasn't really getting much sleep at all. I just can't sleep after about 7 or 8am, and I was often going to bed very late. But recently, I've been going to sleep earlier (around 11pm two days ago, and even as early as around 10am last night). But I'm not sure whether I'll be able to keep that up. Tonight I need to get rid of a sofa, and I'll need to wait until at least midnight before it gets less busy, and I can take it downstairs.

I would like to see a painting you are working on. I would buy one, if i liked it.


I'd rather not post anything that's not finished. I was doing that when I was still on Facebook, but I found that documenting the process would become more important to me than actually finishing anything. But I do offer friendship prices, if you are ever interested.


Earlier on I was asking myself why things can't be like they were in the first half of the nineties. Yes, I was taking a lot of drugs to suppress my emotions, and I didn't dare to ever reveal my true thoughts, and the real 'me'. But I had friends whom I could rely on, even if I wasn't able to open up to them about my feelings. Often, I would wake up on a Summer morning, and after meeting some people in the park, we would head out into nature, to a lake where we would be spending the weekend, with plenty of food and drink, and where we would just be able to jump in the water to cool down. There were plenty of forests where I lived, which gave me a kind of solace that I no longer experience. Fresh smells, butterflies, the sound of birds ... freedom from civilisation and other people, so many untrodden paths ... a bike that would take me anywhere I wanted to ... no plans, no worries, just enjoying the day, without worrying about tomorrow ... it's tearing me apart that I can no longer enjoy that freedom. Where am I? Where am I heading? How do I get out of here???

My parents want to come and visit me on Sunday. That means that I'll need to tidy up a bit. Maybe that's all I need to do, so I'll try to stop worrying about everything else. At the moment I just want to go back to bed and spend the day there, so I can block out all these unpleasant emotions, until I feel a bit more relaxed and ready to deal with them.
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#127

Postby Julia Stretton » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:07 pm

Thanks for the workbook, Richard. Even though we are in the age of multimedia, I still think that I find it easiest to learn from written material. With the video tutorial as a foundation, to give me a rough overview of what it's all about, it should be really helpful.

After I had written my previous post, I didn't go to bed after all. Instead, I made myself some pasta, and then I ripped some stuff off my bedroom ceiling that I had stuck up there years ago. After already having spent about 20 hours painting the ceiling, I thought at the time that I'd add a three-dimensional structure, to make it look as if there were veins running all across the surface. I got a number of old jackets from the charity shop, and cut off the sleeves. Then I cut the rest of the jackets into strips and I rolled everything up, before sticking the individual pieces to the ceiling, and starting to clad everything with paper mache. After realising how much work it would take me to cover the whole ceiling in veins that way, the project became abandoned and postponed until an indefinite future, and since then the ceiling has just looked like a half-finished mess. There are still bits that I need to scrape off, but most of it has been removed. I will also need to simplify the painted areas - particularly above my bed I just want the ceiling to be painted blue, with some fluorescent stars.

I am feeling better now, and it was important for me to declare 'fuсk art'. It is something that will always be coming back to me, but at the moment I feel that I'm trying to force things too much, instead of feeling the natural enthusiasm that fills me with a creative ardour. The most important thing for me is to have enough space, and I am still lacking some important tools and materials, which adds to the frustration. So I will be placing more effort on getting my living space sorted out - not only the work area, but other parts of the flat, as well. At night, there is too much light coming into my bedroom from outside, and I will need some blinds. And I will need to think about how to best utilise my space. The workbench that I built isn't really big enough for the large-scale work that I have in mind, and it is always cluttered. It might make sense to just get some supports that can be folded up and stored away when I don't need them. And I could probably save more space if I rethought how to arrange everything. Also, I will be getting tons of books when my parents come to visit me, and although I haven't got the money for shelving at the moment, I will need to bear in mind that everything will need to go somewhere. Organisation and planning is half the work.

After ripping the stuff off my bedroom ceiling, I decided to have my daily breathing session, before taking my dog out for his evening walk. This time, I was a lot gentler with my self. I paid a lot of attention to how I was feeling, so that I slightly adjusted my position each time I felt any discomfort. I have still got a bit of sciatica, but there should be one dose of Ibuprofen left that I'll be taking before heading to bed. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll have recovered completely.

One thing that I've been wondering about is why so many people read my posts. Do people see me like some figure in a soap opera? Do some identify with me on a certain level? Do others think 'I'm glad it's not me!'? Or is it just certain keywords entered into a search engine that brings people here? In a way it's quite scary to know how many anonymous people visit this forum, especially considering how much identifying information I've provided so far. But on the other hand, it is also incredibly empowering. I have realised that this thread is a work of art in itself - Tracy Emin, eat your heart out!

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#128

Postby Vintage678 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:36 am

If your money situation is so tight, why arent you working to bring in income? If you are so smart in one area, why did you let your bank account go?
You know exactly how much money you are spending. If the money is so tight, then you need to be on your account every single day, checking and balancing. What is going on?? I honestly do not understand when people are very intelligent, but their finances are a effing wreck. You should be job searching until you find a job to help with the very tight situation going on.

Okay, got that off my chest.

Julia, i am sorry you are not feeling well. Hope you get to feeling better and that you have a nice visit with your parents.

At this point, you cant afford cigs or weed or even food. You need to prioritize. You are smart enough to get this thing called life together.

Stay on your bank account like white on rice, you artist. You cannt afford overdraft fees right now. This will literally make you sick.
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#129

Postby Julia Stretton » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:45 pm

Vintage678 wrote:If your money situation is so tight, why arent you working to bring in income?


I think you are seriously underestimating the effect that social anxiety can have on someone.

My last job was around 10 years ago. At the time, I was doubting that I would ever be employable again. But I decided to give it shot, and I applied for a job with a large corporation who have their European service centre in this town. I was told that I had done very well with the telephone interview, so I was invited to the assessment day that several dozen people took part in. I was feeling high on that day, realising how accepting everyone was, and nobody bat an eyelid about the fact that I'm transgender. A few days later, I got a phone call informing me that I had achieved one of the best results ever, and that they were happy to offer me the job. The only other thing I had to do was to take part in a pre-employment drug and alcohol screening. I had stopped smoking weed three weeks earlier, and alcohol wasn't an issue for me.

During the five days that I was there, I was literally buzzing. I was extremely enthusiastic, and despite having previously seen myself as a loner, I was well-liked among colleagues. People asked me to join them for lunch and cigarette breaks, and I was also invited to someone's birthday party. My experience in IT - specifically regarding database programming for a large PC manufacturer - made it very easy for me, I had previously worked with Oracle, and SAP R/3 turned out to be a piece of cake for me. On the third day, after our manager had left in the evening, I was still hacking away at the system. Others who had been there a longer time asked me how it was possible that I was able to continue working without a supervisor being present. What would I do if I got stuck? For me, the answer was easy - I would simply try to solve the problem.

During that period, I talked with my manager about the fact that I had only stopped smoking weed three weeks before the drugs test. He said he couldn't imagine that that would be a problem, but told me to speak to HR about it. I went to see the HR manager, and was told that I shouldn't worry about it. He said that he was sure it had happened before, and told me not to cross any bridges before I reached them.

Two days later, I received a phone call from the laboratory, telling me that I had failed the test. Then I was called into the HR office, and I was told that I had been suspended until the following week, when there would be a hearing. I brought a friend along as an advocate, who had assisted people in similar situations before. At the hearing, everyone expressed their sympathies. They said that they would have loved to have kept me on, but that the US headquarters had completely black & white policies about drug use. I even offered to take another test, and I explained my situation, but to no avail. Obviously I was extremely disappointed. On the day that I went to pick up my belongings, my manager's manager (who was the Finance Director for Europe) called me into his office. He said how gutted he was, and that he had never seen anybody perform like me before. He told me that he had felt similar to me when he had started there as an openly gay man, and that nobody had ever had a problem with it. He said that it was a great place to work, but I shouldn't think that it was because it was a great company, but rather because of the town that it is in (this is an extremely open-minded place, where people with alternative lifestyles can enjoy a freedom that is often not possible in other places).

I swore to myself never to work for anyone else other than myself. While I had been working there for under a week, I had stopped taking my anti-depressants, and I didn't use my dismissal as a reason to go back on them. I had a very difficult time after that, but I nevertheless somehow managed to stay off weed for the whole following year, including half a year of cigarettes. But on the day that I received my notice, I had my first ever migraine, and I slipped into serious depression.

As a result of what had happened, I became very dubious about corporate culture, and I renounced wage slavery. At the time, it was however still easy for me to be around large groups of people. But subsequent events made that more and more difficult for me, and I developed severe social phobia. I don't need anybody to tell me that I just 'need to get over myself' or anything like that. I simply don't feel comfortable around large groups of people, and if you have ever suffered from a panic attack, you know what that's like. At the same time, I am responsible for my own life, and I am not going to waste my time by giving it away to some anonymous bosses somewhere in the higher echelons of society, even if that decision has cost me dearly, and together with the results of my social anxiety assigned me to a place for the past ten years where it has been difficult to handle my finances, and to find any kind of purpose for myself. I am obviously committed not to stay here forever, as I want to be financially independent. But I also need to be sure that what I do is what I enjoy doing, and I am still exploring the different options that I have, while working on my self confidence and overall health. Obviously, things don't change overnight after stopping smoking (the main reason that was holding me back), and life can be an uphill struggle at times. However, I am determined to climb up the ladder and become my own master, and expressing how I feel is one of the keys to my success. 'Know thyself' is a maxim that I strongly identify with. Knowledge is power, and there is no power greater than the power over oneself.

If the money is so tight, then you need to be on your account every single day, checking and balancing.


Correct

You know exactly how much money you are spending.


Wrong, or rather, until two days it was wrong, and I didn't know how much I was spending. I make a lot of purchases through PayPal, and I had made the mistake not to realise that my account overview contains a second page with due payments. The first page only shows the latest seven purchases, and I didn't realise that I had to click on the arrow next to 'pending' in order to see the other payments that were due to come out of my account. Had I known this a month ago, I wouldn't have been charged once again for three direct debits, as I was constantly checking the main page. But I wasn't able to see them, and I couldn't figure out how it had happened, despite keeping a close eye on the overview. But two days ago, when the same thing happened, I had a closer look, and I finally noticed the mistake that I had made. Obviously, I can't change the past. But in the future, I can now make sure that the same thing isn't gong to happen again.

Two days until my parents come to see me, so I'll be busy tidying up and at the same time trying not to worry about anything else. I'm not going to starve, and my parents always invite me for a meal. The most important thing for me is to have a nice and tidy flat. Last night, I took a sofa downstairs that had only been taking up space in my bedroom. I am very pleased with the progress, but there is always more to do.
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#130

Postby laureat » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:05 pm

I think you are seriously underestimating the effect that social anxiety can have on someone.


because the anxiety, because the panic sometimes we may run away from something that we shouldn't run away from

they say face the fears

the idea is to face the fears and change how you feel about
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#131

Postby Julia Stretton » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:19 pm

laureat wrote:because the anxiety, because the panic sometimes we may run away from something that we shouldn't run away from

they say face the fears

the idea is to face the fears and change how you feel about


I have done that in the past, laureat. Until two years ago, I was regularly seeing an advocate to help me deal with different issues, I went to group therapy sessions at a local mental health charity, I would go to the town centre to do my shopping, and I even spent 2½ years at college, to do various art courses ... but each time it would make me physically sick, at times I would get panic attacks, but even if not, I would usually feel exhausted and not be able to do anything other than spend the rest of the day in bed, or I would end up with a horrible migraine (even if it was something that helped me with my self esteem, like my art courses). That's when I decided that I'd much rather be on my own, or in areas where there are less people. I tried and I tried and I tried, but why should I force myself to do something that only makes me feel uncomfortable, and that makes me ill as a result? My art course ended for me two years ago, when the stress of being around other people got too much for me. I hard heart pain every day, I was getting palpitations, and there were a range of situations that would cause me to shake uncontrollably. In class, I flipped on one occasion, and I threw an ink jar against the wall, for which I received a warning. I could have continued the course (in theory), but I realised that it would be dangerous to go against my feelings, and to force myself to do something that made me feel that uncomfortable.

For the past two years, I've just been walking my dog twice a day. Especially in recent months, it's become a lot easier for me, and I've reached a point where I actually enjoy it. It also enjoy the social interactions that I have as a result. The conversations with people whom I meet nearly every time - people whom I've met before, and complete strangers - brighten up my day.

In recent weeks, I've started to meet friends for the occasional cup of coffee. I prefer to meet people one-on-one, rather than in a group. Otherwise, the group dynamics just make things too confusing for me, and I feel very self-conscious, resulting once again in increased anxiety. But not long ago, I wouldn't even have been able to sit in a cafe with someone. It helps me to take those small steps, but I'm not ready for any giant leaps. I have no idea whether I'll ever be able to be around loads of people again. but even if that might be a future possibility, it is certainly not a short-term option. The only times when I've been able to be around other people in recent years was when I'd take acid, and I'd go clubbing - to techno, drum 'n' bass, breakcore & jungle, or once to a noise gig, and another time to a punk concert ... anything that was loud enough, and around other people who were off their face. But for the past two years, I've not even felt like going dancing.

Being alone - yes
Meeting one friend (including in a friendly environment where there are several people around) - yes
Anything more than that - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh, leave me alone!!!
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#132

Postby laureat » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:15 pm

look, I don't know what you have tried before but what I am talking about it works 100% and its not 99.99% , its 100%

if you are willing to make progress
if you are willing to get rid of anxiety ,

follow my advice, don't expect me to convince you that works, because some things just don't make sense , like it doesn't make sense the world is not flat but it isn't , so there is no point on argument with someone who don't know it because it doesn't make sense , but you have to trust me that it works

you can change how you feel about being around a group of people
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#133

Postby laureat » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:31 pm

here is a recipe to get rid of anxiety :

EXERCISE:
once you wake up in a morning do half an hour exercise

there is no magic on this but the idea is to decrease the level of energy that you don't know how to control it, which may serve no other purpose but anxiety so you can relax easier, anxiety reduces because it has no extreme source of energy

if that sounds too much for you simply walk your dog around about an hour or half just to get rid of some of the energy somehow

goals are important
now I am not talking about OBSESSIVE GOALS,
just daily goals, daily things

you can cook some food, you can make a tea, you can walk the dog, you can buy some ice cream, you can play a game like candy crush,

so you keep oneself focused at something so you redirect your energy you give a different purpose

when you are tired you relax or take a nap

3 ) keep it calm, don't become too excited and obsessed

excitement is good , a specially when we dance, when we do sports and that kind of things but when someone has anxiety problems, fearful state of mind i believe excitement can easy escalate to anxiety there for better keep it calm and simply enjoy

4) success = confidence ,

but how can it = confidence if we are not aware about it ?

because we want to be more aware of our success, so we can become more confident, use a notebook and write down every single positive experience you have , at least do that for a month , consider it a medicine that you have to do it

you write down every simple stuff like 9 a clock, I am drinking a delicious drink, I am relaxed, what a good morning,

so you keep HIGHLIGHTING the goods , you be more aware of the positives, and as a result it brings more confidence


5) to change how you feel about being around group of people

this is same like dealing with any other phobia, it may need more elaboration but for now I would simply say :
- Face the fears
- don't run away from
- stand there until you change how you feel about it
- when you change how you feel about it, write it down on your notebook, FINALLY I AM HAVING A GOOD TIME, and than leave ,
- do not leave with the fear
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#134

Postby Julia Stretton » Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:34 am

There's a lot that you've said which I agree with, laureat. One statement that I've got a problem with, however, is that something 'works 100%'. Psychology never has been - and never will be - an exact science, but rather something that is based on probabilities, and estimated values. How would you otherwise explain that psychiatric institutions are full of patients, some of which will never be healthy enough to be released? Why are there those who start out with relatively mild symptoms, but whose condition gets progressively worse, despite ongoing treatment? How do you distinguish between someone who is 84% well, and someone else who has merely achieved 82.3% mental health? How can anyone be healthy in a sick society? Why is it that the DSM itself is constantly changed with every review? Why are conditions which were previously classed as mental illnesses removed, and new ones added? How do you assess the subjective factor?

From my point of view, there is no system - psychological, philosophical, religious, political etc. - which is infallible and valid both in its entirety and when applied universally. Equally, there is no single method which will work for every single individual, Despite humans obviously being machines, they are at the same time more than just the sum of their parts. Every claim to the opposite would invalidate individual experience and freedom of choice.

On the other hand, you have raised some very valid points. Originally, I only saw your first reply last night before you wrote the second one, and I resisted the temptation to reply straight away. Instead, I thought I'd let everything sink in, and think about both what you'd written, as well as how I felt myself. I realised that writing about past emotional states had partially brought back those emotions, and made them seem more real than they actually are, so the way that I think that I feel can be different from the way that I actually feel.

On 14th July I wrote the following:

Julia Stretton wrote:[...] when I walked into town today I also found that it was a lot easier for me to be around other people, without succumbing to an anxiety attack. [...]


So things have indeed become a lot easier for me - I can't say that I particularly enjoy being around other people, but at least it's not the kind of problem that it used to be. Maybe more like 'I don't like / want to be around large crowds of people'. It's something that I've thought about a lot, including about my own prejudices, but elaborating on that would go beyond the scope of this post, and the attention span of most people.

What I agree with is that exercise is very useful. Although I know that high impact exercises would help with flushing out any toxins from the body, and they would also help with releasing valuable endorphins, I try to avoid anything which puts a lot of strain on my joints. When my father was a few years older than I am now, he was diagnosed with arthritis, which has caused him a lot of problems since. So I need to be very careful, and besides the emotional component, one of the reasons why I do my Chi Gung exercises is because of their preventative effect when it comes to that kind of disease. But weight lifting, running etc. is out of the question.

Since I've stopped smoking, I've noticed that I feel slightly manic a lot of the time. At other times, this state can turn into anxiety, and it appears like there is some kind of excess energy. But rather than physical energy, it is probably more like Prana in the Vedic traditions, or the Chi of the Taoists. After waking up this morning, I was paying close attention to how I felt, and I realised that there was some slight nervousness present. I usually tell myself that I need to get ready to take my dog out as soon as I get up, as he will be desperate to go out. But in reality, I spend some time online first, and I could simply use that time to do half an hour of exercise (or probably more like 15 minutes at the beginning). The breathing exercises that I've been doing before taking my dog out for his evening walk, have really helped me with calming down and placing my mind into a positive state. If I did my moving practices in the morning, it would probably have a similar effect. Particularly Nei Gung (which is the water method of Taoist practices) is about dissolving excess energy downwards from the body, unlike fiery practices that are about raising energy levels. At the same time, releasing that stagnant energy will make space for new and fresh energy to enter the body. It is a very gentle method, and one that seems very suitable for my kind of condition.

That said, it is time to get on with my day's work, and feed both myself and my canine companion, before carrying on with tidying up. We had some rain yesterday, and after it has been hot and humid for quite some time, the air now feels nice and fresh.
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