Finding my True Self

#135

Postby HikerOfTheSoul » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:56 am

Hi!
Julia I know what you mean about been slightly "manic". It really feels like there is some energy going around which needs to be released, tamed or otherwise expressed. It could really become a force to change our life if we are able to put it to good use. I also get what you are saying about percentages and psych wards, but I think that we also have to remember that it's a large minority of people that actually get worse. From what I've seen on the internet, the majority of those people get worse because of incompetence fron their doctors (like prescribing drugs too easily, or fast tapering from psychiatric drugs). I've skimmed through this thread and you strike me as a resourceful person. Actually pretty much everyone on this forum seems to ve very resourceful. I don't think we are going to get worse, I think we will heal, with time and effort.

I really like laureat's advice of having a notebook. It's actually a technique used in CBT (which is shown to be as effective as medication, or more).

I will start to use it. I will also start another technique that works on the negative: having a list of questions (like "what negative feeling am I experiencing?" "Is it real, from an objective point of view?" "Is there anything I can do to make me feel better, like drinking some tea or meditation?" "Is the situation that bad, or are my thoughts making it seem worse than it is?") and then answer them, writing your answers. This gives you something to do that needs concentration, so that you are not as caught in a stream of thoughts.

Have you decided about giving SAMe a try?
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#136

Postby Julia Stretton » Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:11 am

HikerOfTheSoul wrote:Hi!
Julia I know what you mean about been slightly "manic". It really feels like there is some energy going around which needs to be released, tamed or otherwise expressed. It could really become a force to change our life if we are able to put it to good use. I also get what you are saying about percentages and psych wards, but I think that we also have to remember that it's a large minority of people that actually get worse. From what I've seen on the internet, the majority of those people get worse because of incompetence fron their doctors (like prescribing drugs too easily, or fast tapering from psychiatric drugs). I've skimmed through this thread and you strike me as a resourceful person. Actually pretty much everyone on this forum seems to ve very resourceful. I don't think we are going to get worse, I think we will heal, with time and effort.

I really like laureat's advice of having a notebook. It's actually a technique used in CBT (which is shown to be as effective as medication, or more).

I will start to use it. I will also start another technique that works on the negative: having a list of questions (like "what negative feeling am I experiencing?" "Is it real, from an objective point of view?" "Is there anything I can do to make me feel better, like drinking some tea or meditation?" "Is the situation that bad, or are my thoughts making it seem worse than it is?") and then answer them, writing your answers. This gives you something to do that needs concentration, so that you are not as caught in a stream of thoughts.

Have you decided about giving SAMe a try?


Thanks for your input, Hiker!

Yes, I agree with everything you said, particularly with redirecting that excess energy towards a useful purpose. And you are of course correct, most people do get better if they receive the right kind of help. I was merely pointing out that there is no approach which will help everyone, even if there is a 99% chance of success. But the vast majority of people who come here to ask for support will obviously receive help in some form or another, and their success will depend to a large extent on whether they accept it or not, or if they feel uncomfortable with the advice that is given, whether they will seek out other sources of information or support.

I had some CBT sessions a few years ago. A self-help group which I was attending (and which I was a committee member of for a while) had a bursary fund available, which allowed me to attend a small number of sessions. Although it was interesting to find out that the counsellor was a very alternative person (who was a fan of Throbbing Gristle, and who told me anecdotes about the time when Genesis P-Orridge lived in this town), I found it pretty tedious to constantly write down any thought patterns that I had. Maybe it was just my lack of discipline which made me feel that it was leading nowhere, or maybe it was simply not the right form of therapy for me.

Yes, I've been taking SAM-e for a month - mainly for joint health, as I saw them mentioned on an arthritis website, but I'm also aware of the other benefits. However, I discontinued it a few days ago, due to fears of it being converted into homocysteine without the relevant co-factors being present (namely, various B-vitamins which I can't afford until next week). Particularly pantothenic acid seems to be useful, and it also helps with absorbing lecithin, which is something that has helped me a lot with improving my brain / memory function. So a vitamin B complex is something that is currently high up on my wish list.

I've already spent so much time on here today, so I'll be getting on with some work now.
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#137

Postby laureat » Sat Aug 20, 2016 4:20 pm

its because
- some people are not willing to change
- some people may be willing to change but don't understand how to do it

now just because someone is not willing to change that doesn't make the technique less effective than 100% you just are not willing to change

just because someone don't understand how to do it that doesn't make the technique less effective than 100% you just don't know how to do it

- Face the fears
- don't run away from the fears
- stand there until you accomplish relaxation
- even if it takes hours don't give up wait for relaxation
- wait until you finally relax even if it takes for 24 hours


so what we searching for is relaxation ,
is about changing how we feel about the situation
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#138

Postby Julia Stretton » Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:11 pm

laureat wrote:- Face the fears
- don't run away from the fears
- stand there until you accomplish relaxation
- even if it takes hours don't give up wait for relaxation
- wait until you finally relax even if it takes for 24 hours


I think you're oversimplyfing things. For years, I faced my fears of being around lots of people, and I ignored them. I'd still end up feeling ill every time, and I'd spend the rest of the day in bed. Even when I was at college, which really boosted my confidence, I'd usually have to go to bed afterwards because being around other people would make me feel exhausted , and often I'd end up with a migraine

Not everyone is the same, laureat, and you are deluding yourself if you think that an approach that works for one person will automatically work for another. My problems was lying elsewhere - yes, maybe I needed to face some fears, but it probably had more to do with the fear of quitting harmful substances (like the synthetic cannabinoids that I was smoking at the time). Thinking about it, that probably was the main issue. But I didn't realise it. I just saw my social anxiety, and I thought that it had to do with other people.

Currently, being around people is far less of a problem, even if I haven't found the kind of people whose company I enjoy. I simply haven't got any good reason to be around anyone else, that's why I like being on my own. Particularly if there are risks involved, such as being tempted to smoke or have a drink, I'd much rather be by myself. I find drunk people extremely annoying, and I can understand why people get drunk, as it's the only way they can stand being around other people who have had a drink.

At the moment, I am wondering mainly why I keep forgetting to have a tea. Right now, I'm having the first one that I've had for over 24 hours, and it isn't until I've suffered from withdrawal for half a day, that I realise why I'm feeling really crap. It doesn't make any sense - surely you'd think that someone who has just recently stopped smoking would appreciate an opportunity to feel better and relax a bit!

Anyway, I'm going to really enjoy this cuppa now ...
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#139

Postby Julia Stretton » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:17 pm

I am feeling soooooo much better after I've upped my caffeine levels, and my personal well-being is going to improve even more once all of it has reached my bloodstream. Over the past two months (or slightly more) I've stopped smoking weed, I've stopped smoking tobacco, and I cut my sugar intake to a fraction of what it was before. I can't be too hard on myself - I really need my tea or coffee. Otherwise I just end up depressed, and with a headache. That's not something that I need when I'm trying to take care of myself. But why I keep forgetting about the one thing which is so important for keeping me in balance, is something that I don't know.

That's one example of how important it is to determine the cause first, rather than taking a 'head through the wall' approach. I was feeling pretty low all day, and I was attributing it to all kinds of factors, with my mind just going round in circles. That it could be something as simple as low caffeine levels never occurred to me.

Similar with the social anxiety that I was experiencing. About two years ago, it really hit me hard. At the time, I was smoking legal highs, which were making me seriously ill - both physically and mentally. A couple of months later, I stopped smoking them and went back to weed instead. The worst symptoms subsided, but I still carried a lot of anxiety around with me. Yet, I faced my fears - not by deliberately seeking out large crowds of people, but simply by walking my dog twice a day. It was easier than when I had been smoking synthetic chemicals, but it was still extremely difficult, and a lot of the time it made my heart race. But things were slowly getting better, bit by bit. By the time that I quit smoking tobacco ten weeks ago, I realised how much I enjoyed talking to other people whom I met during my walk, even though I still felt quite anxious a lot of the time. By the time that I quit smoking weed three weeks later, I realised that I felt pretty good a lot of the time, with far less anxiety. Now I really look forward to my walk every single time, and there is hardly any anxiety. But without quitting weed - the primary cause for my anxiety - things were only improving very, very slowly. It was only after taking those positive steps that being outside stopped being an issue for me.

When I go for a walk, it is in a relatively quiet area. When I need to go to the town centre, it is obviously a lot busier, but something that I can now deal with. If I have a good reason to go there, or anywhere else where it is busy, it's something that I'm just going to face. Who knows, at some point I might even enjoy it. But the point is that it is something which didn't do me good for a long time, without having established smoking as the root cause of my problems. Even when I 'faced my fears', I would get ill from being around lots of people, and at times I would even get a panic attack.

A lot of the time I wondered whether it was taking insane amounts of psychedelics (of the less toxic kind) which made me so hypersensitive to other people's vibes. Whenever I was anywhere busy, I felt like I was being sucked into this chaotic and disturbing maelstrom of emotions. But now I know that those substances only acted as a catalyst for the far more harmful chemicals that I was smoking. I could have tried to battle the effects in any possible way, and it still wouldn't have helped without eliminating the primary factor that was responsible for me feeling so unwell around other people Legal highs have a highly dissociative effect, and after a while I didn't even notice how much they were affecting me - besides becoming ill on a regular basis, as they would completely knock out my immune system. When I dumped them in favour of weed towards the end of 2014 my health improved - but the effects of my social anxiety that had been caused - or at least exacerbated - by smoking the far more toxic legal variety, were still lingering inside me, and weed was certainly not doing my health any favours. Freeing myself from my addictions helped with improving my situation a lot more in just a few weeks, than simply ignoring my fears did in nearly two years. It was only quitting completely that helped me with re-establishing my freedom, and it is a process that I am still - and will continue to be - actively involved in.

Now for my daily breathing session (which never fails to have the desired effect) before I walk my dog,
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#140

Postby laureat » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:51 pm

you faced the fears but you did not change how you feel about

it was because you did not take your time to relax
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#141

Postby Julia Stretton » Sat Aug 20, 2016 8:48 pm

laureat wrote:you faced the fears but you did not change how you feel about

it was because you did not take your time to relax


Right now, I am feeling really angry. Although I know you are only trying to help, I am angered by the fact that you are trying to tell me that you know better how I feel and how I function than I do. I wasn't capable of relaxing while I had that chemical imbalance going on in my body, and I thought I had already explained that extensively.

I can't afford to feel like this. When I just went for my walk, it was the first time for about a year that I got into an argument with someone. We just heated each other up, and in the end he threatened me with violence, while expletives were being exchanged. I don't need this. I was feeling angry before I left, and I took that anger out with me. In fact, I've always been angry, and my anger has just been hidden by other feelings. That's why I keep emphasising that feelings can't just be suppressed, or ignored. They won't just go away, but instead they'll build up in the background, until the pressure is so large that they need to be released - often in an unhealthy way.

No, relaxation wasn't my problem when my body didn't allow me to do so. The chemicals that I had inside me were the one thing that needed to go first, before I was able to take any other steps. Ask all the smokers on here, who after quitting discovered meditation for themselves. Would they have been able to do so while they were still smoking? In most cases, I doubt it. Those who tried would have given up after about five minutes, as there would have been too many distracting thoughts, and too much impatience. Too much resistance to push against, just causing further tension. It simply doesn't work.

I will now need to do some more of my own meditation, so I can release some of that anger. But that doesn't mean that I'll be dealing with the root causes. Those will have to be addressed and dealt with separately. All I can do now is try to calm down again, so I can regain some of my normal functioning.

But I'm really upset right now.
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#142

Postby laureat » Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:48 am

I am sorry if I caused troubles I did not really mean that, I will try to keep more distant next times

a problem is that when discussing about the fears it sure may cause discomfort, excitement, anxiety, frustration, fixation

because what you focus on = feelings

this is a reason I asked from to do those daily things
so you make sure you have something better what you focus on most of the times

but a problem is that we have to search for progress, at least some gradual progress

if one asks to face the fears that may cause discomfort but we have to find ways to face the fears comfortably

a problem is that you are rejecting the idea that success = confidence you making anxiety sound unsolvable
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#143

Postby Julia Stretton » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:39 am

That's OK. I know that the way I feel is my own problem, nit anyone else's, and only I can change that. It's just that nothing would have been able to change the way I felt at the time. I was just too messed up. But there's no point anyway in ruminating about the past. We can look at it to learn from our mistakes, but we can't change it. So there's no point in even discussing 'what if'. The only thing that matters right now is the present, where I am able to think more clearly, and when applied to the here & now, your points are probably very valid.

Things were so bad for me that I had to give up the one thing at the time that had given me more self-confidence than anything else I'd ever done before - my art course. Even if I ended up with a headache nearly every time (which as I said had more to do with the substances I was smoking combined with being around lots of people, rather than being around those people per se), and the stress sometimes caused me to become ill for weeks , I enjoyed doing the work. I was happy when I produced a piece of work that awed not only me, but also the other students. I was happy about the motivation it gave me, to get the work finished for the following week, or for the next deadline. I was happy about the inspiration I received to get me going, and if I ever got stuck, and I learned a lot about myself in the process. But I was feeling so bad, that I had to give up on everything. I got my first year degree, but I had to quit during the second (final) year.

Just a few days ago I was thinking about whether I should still pursue an academic career in arts. There is a college in a nearby town that offers a BA (Hons) course that I could attend with my portfolio, without having to pass the foundation degree first. Friends who have studied there have told me that my work is good enough to not require the degree. They also help people who face or have faced various difficulties in life. But if I did it part-time, it would be a 5-year course, involving about an hour each day (several days a week) to get there, and the same amount of time to get back. Unlike this town, it's not a very nice place to live, so moving there isn't an option. Alternatively, there is a Uni just around the corner from here. I would probably have to work on my portfolio to be accepted, which would mean taking another course beforehand. With it being so close, it would be easier to do a full-time course, and get my BA in three years, instead of five (after taking a portfolio building course first, or finishing my foundation degree), There is also an art college nearby. So there are options. But I'm not even sure if I want to study art anymore. I just want the motivation back that Ihad at the time, and some inspiration. I know that formal education isn't the only way for this. But what is???

So as you can see, I'm not really sure where I'm heading. Since I quit college two years ago, I've not completed a single piece of art. And when I try, there's just a huge amount of resistance. What I need is a real vision, and not just randomly starting pieces, and then abandoning them when I become disinterested. I need belief in myself again. I'm not lazy. I just don't like the feeling of not knowing whether I'm heading down the right route, or whether I'll once again end up going down a dead end.

My parents are coming to visit me today, so I've got to head off now, walk my dog, and then do a little bit of cleaning. Luckily it's just been a little bit of work I've had to do over the past two days, to get the flat in order. In the past, I would get stressed out weeks beforehand, when I knew that my parents were coming for a visit - that's how bad the sate of my surrounding (and my mind) used to be! Things have really improved so much over the past few months, which is something that I need to bear in mind.
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#144

Postby Julia Stretton » Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:10 pm

I just wanted to write post #77777 in this forum, and I believe I have succeeded in doing so.

Image

I am very fond of repdigits, which are called 'Schnapszahlen' in German ('shnapps numbers'). It is said that whenever such a number occurs on someone's life, they need to buy everyone present a round of drinks. As I am not particularly fond of alcohol, please all be free to accept a round of virtual hugs.
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#145

Postby Vintage678 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:51 am

Im so sorry, julia
I had no idea. I think if i really needed some cash, i would start applying in restaurants. I like the atmosphere. Surely, there must be something out there for you. But, if not, that's cool. Your dog has your undivided attention and he's probably spoiled rotten, like mine is.
Take care.
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#146

Postby laureat » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:21 am

thanks for the hug
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#147

Postby Julia Stretton » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:04 am

Vintage678 wrote:I think if i really needed some cash, i would start applying in restaurants.


It's not that urgent. Taking care of my finances (mainly by being more observant) is more important right now than adding to my incomings. I need the time in order to establish what works for me, and to get started on some projects that help me towards achieving my goals. Being organised is very important, and after I had several hundred books added to my collection yesterday, I will once again need to figure out how to best arrange things in my flat. Everything that has no use will need to go, as a part of the ongoing project to simplify my life. I also need to go through my portfolio, to see if there is anything that can be used. I might want to produce prints from some of my existing work. Other pieces might be best cut up and reassembled in a new way. There is always plenty for me to do, and there should never again be any reason to be bored. If I don't know in which direction to head, it is best to just stop for a moment and have a break while I clear my mind and see what insights occur.

Vintage678 wrote:Your dog has your undivided attention and he's probably spoiled rotten, like mine is.


He's probably saved my life on a number of occasions. Without having to walk him at least twice a day, I might have decided at some point never to leave my flat again. Or I might have thrown myself off my 15th floor balcony. On the other hand, being responsible for him does mean that I have to live with some restrictions. I can't just find someone to look after him five days a weeks while I attend uni. Even when I was going to college for eight hours twice a week, it was difficult for me to leave him on his own. But he is seven years old now, and I am aware that he won't be around forever. However, for now he is my responsibility, and that is something which I take very seriously.

It was good that my parents took us out to the countryside yesterday, where we were able to enjoy some fresh air! :D

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#148

Postby laureat » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:58 pm

I like these dog walks you doing there
so because it is something that you " must do " even though you may had negative experiences before you still had to go out and walk the dog and so you found a way to change how you feel about it, you start to enjoy it, you have a good time with it,

it is easy to love dogs,
because they are a source of positive emotions
relaxation, enjoyment, play, confidence,

unlike humans, dogs know how to relax
they just sit there and open their mouth, they enjoy themselves and the environment but human doesn't know how to relax just always keeps fixated, tension, anxious, angry he just don't know how to snap the brain out of it and relax for a moment

I am happy you have a dog there because I believe it has a positive effect on you
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#149

Postby Vintage678 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:19 am

Julia!! What a cool dog!! He is big!! I am sure he loved running in that field!! I try to take mine to an open field around here. He loves it.
Good that you are decluttering. It makes you feel better. You have to declutter some of your books, though. You cant keep them all.
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