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8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Hi Everyone, I came back to visit and share some things I've learned about myself this year.  The last time I posted, I had flown around the world, solo, to S. Korea.  I fell in love with a S. Korean business man and I was working for his flooring company and we were going to get married and travel the world together.  Well, if I had gone SLOWLY and got to know him BEFORE I fell in love with him, I would have saved myself emotional devastation.  I put him on a pedestal and saw him for who I wanted him to be and did not see him for who he actually was.  It turned out he was controlling, critical and a user.  And, I was in DENIAL and ALLOWED it, because I wanted the fairy tale ending.  So...I broke up with him and I stopped lying to myself.  I saw a negative pattern of the types of men (and friends and people in general) that I have been seeking out and attracting.  Humans tend to stick with the familiar and I am very familiar and comfortable with bad relationships.  I need to become comfortable in good and healthy relationships.  Now that I was aware of this self-sabotaging behavior, I needed to change what I do, in order to get a different result.  Shockingly, I discovered I have an unhealthy dependency on people.  I had a false negative belief that I couldn't take care of myself.  I saw other people as strong and powerful and if I could cling onto those people, they would take care of me and I would be alright.  I attracted people who have a sense of entitlement and they saw me coming a mile away.  I gave them my power in exchange for a false sense of security.  I fed into their power egos and fueled the dysfunctional relationship, that was doomed from the start.  Another sad realization is that I would accept "friends" who would treat me like crap, just so I wouldn't be lonely.  So...enough negative and onward in positivity...I've learned not to put all of my focus on one person.  And, to not put all of my hopes and dreams into other people, events or outcomes.  That's a recipe for disappointment.  I'm in charge of my own happiness.  I would rather be in my own good company than to be treated poorly by anyone.  I am becoming self-reliant.  I am learning to trust myself.  I am protecting myself from toxic and harmful people.  I am whole by myself.  I like myself.  Once I liked myself, I couldn't allow other people to treat me with disrespect any longer.  I'm happy to say that I took a workforce class at CSM and I am now a Certified Computer Repair Technician.  I am looking for a job as an IT Help Desk Technician.  I will be able to take care of myself.  I know what qualities to avoid in people and I also know what to look for in people.  If I want to get married in the future, it's a choice.  I don't have to gt married, because I think I can't take care of myself.  I looked back at all of my successes in life and I found one common thread.  I didn't give up, even if it was difficult, scary, out of my comfort zone, had self-doubt and was uncomfortable.  I wanted to quit that computer class 4 times.  I thought I would fail the final, but persistence paid off.  It's how I overcame panic disorder and agoraphobia.  I still use the coping skills I learned here, in all areas of my life.  It's how I got on a plane and flew 35 hours within a 10 day trip.  My two new values are adventure and travel.  I've joined 2 Meetup groups in my area.  I'm learning Spanish as a second language and I'm in a computer group to hone my skills. I'm building confidence.  I'm going to make mistakes and take steps backwards while I'm going forward, but one day those steps back will become less and less until they become a distant memory, like panic attacks and agoraphobia.  Old habits are hard to break, but you keep going and don't quit and never ever give up!  Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Thanks Ashley!  I'll post a picture of my new confident blonde self :-) as soon as it will upload.  I also reached my goal weight!

It's funny how blind you can be to yourself.  I hated facing the ugly truth, but awareness is a gift which promotes change and growth toward being the best "you" you can be.  Looking back, I can truly say it was worth all that I went through to get to where I am now.  Life is about continual learning and growth.  I'm not hard on myself anymore and I focus on the positive.  I'm excited about my life and all of the freedom and possibilities.  I stay in the present and don't worry about the future.  Whatever the future brings, I will be able to handle it when the time comes.  I have a large cork board that I use as a vision board or dream board.  It has positive quotes and pictures of what I want to attract in my life.  I also have an Adventure Book (a positive spin on the term Bucket List) and I have printed out pictures of places I want to travel.  My next International trip will be to Tokyo, Japan!  I'd also like to see the Northern Lights in Anchorage, Alaska and go dog sledding!

I am continuing to apply to jobs in Washington D.C.  I got rid of the procrastination habit.  I even sent a bold follow up email to one company.  I said, "Since this is an Entry Level position and I have an AA Degree, I would be happy to volunteer and help out while you're continuing to look at other applicants.  It's a win win situation.  You have temporary free help and I have an opportunity to prove my ability that I am an asset to your company."  I have a new found confidence.  I mean what the heck, the worst they can say is, "No."  I'm not attaching my self-worth to the outcome of whether I get this particular job or not.  My attitude is, it's their loss, and on to the next!  Life is less stressful now that I have gotten out of my own way.  I like the new improved me and I'll keep you posted!  Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Thanks Ashley! 

I couldn't have said it better myself :-)  It's exactly how I feel.

Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Hi Cara!

Thanks for your nice post :-)  I'm happy to answer your question.  Here's what worked for me:
  • I completed the Panic Center course and did all of the homework.  (I'll admit, at the time I wasn't able to do much of the Simulating Panic and Exposure and Simulation, but I was able to do it later on).
  • I replace (and I continue to do this) negative thoughts with positive true statements.  This is the KEY to success!  I can't emphasize this enough.
  • I never gave up or quit - ever!
  • I was kind to myself when I made mistakes or went back a few steps.  I let it go, forgot about it, and kept moving forward.  We all fall, because we're imperfect humans, so what matters is not that we fall, but how long we stay down.  Pick yourself up and try, try again.  It requires a lot of patience, but it's another KEY to success.
  • A specific example, when I had panic at red traffic lights, I wrote a list of positive true statement (a page long!) to counteract the panic attack.  Statements like, "This is just a temporary uncomfortable feeling.  It will pass shortly.  This is good, because the longer I do this, the less fearful I'll become over time."  By the time I read to the bottom of the list, the light was green and panic was managed and eventually was gone.  I had to do this a lot.  
  • Don't avoid what you fear, because it gives fear power.  Fear is:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  It's a toothless lion.  It tries to scare you, but it cannot harm you.  And, the more you confront it, the less power it has over time.  Until it goes away.
I'm going to post this now and I'll continue Part II shortly.  Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Part II.  More tips from Shari:
  • Identifying triggers is big!  Once I knew what triggered panic, by identifying it, it helped tremendously.  Exampe,   I had physical triggers.  My heart would start racing and then I would notice it and think, "Oh my gosh, what's going on, there must be something wrong."  Then, the panic snowballed into a full blown attack.  Next time, my heart started racing, I said, "Just because my physical symptoms are in flight mode, doesn't mean there's anything to be afraid of."  I would just not make a big deal out of it and then I would calm down and the symptoms would go away.  If there was a real reason why I was afraid, like having to take a trip somewhere, I just would tell myself that being nervous is just another word for excitement.  THIS IS IMPORTANT...when your body goes into anxiety mode, remember that nervous fear and excitement have the EXACT same physical symptoms.  It's how your brain is interpreting these physical symptoms.  So, if you tell yourself you're excited about what you're doing, for me anyway, it shut down the panic sequence and I would not panic.  Just an idea to see if it works for you.  
  • Once you are triggered STOP!  Replace those negative thoughts, BEFORE you spiral downward.  Don't let them take hold, nip them in the bud.
  • Be afraid and do it anyway.
  • I used to have panic attacks in the shower and while driving a car.  So, I falsely associated the shower and the car for the cause of panic.  It's identifying the trigger.
  • The "What If" game.  I put a positive spin on it.  Instead of saying, "What if I fail?"  I would say, "What if I succeed?"  Replace every negative with a positive.
  • Make a list of all of your successes.  Focus on all you can do and have done.  Like getting your Driver's License, graduating from High School, College.  Being a Mom and raising great kids, etc.
  • Baby steps are important.  Don't try to do something huge if you're not ready for it.  I couldn't drive 10 minutes down my street at one point, so jumping on an airplane was not a good idea for me at that time.
  • Read positive material and listen to positive uplifting music.
Part III is next.  Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Part III.  Shari's Tips:
  • Make a list of self-soothing things that comfort you and keep the list in your purse or wallet.  When you have anxiety, do one or more things on the list.  Here's my list to spark some ideas:  massage, decaf flavored coffee, music, positive reading material, hug my dogs, visit my parents, do something fun with my daughter, shopping, journal, chocolate candy treat, an ice cream or frozen yogurt treat, eating out, socializing, TV, exercise, stop thinking and relax for awhile, make something creative.
  • Get around positive people.
  • From experience, if your desire is greater than your fear, you will do anything to get it. 
I have one more to share, but I'll post this now and write again shortly.
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

  • Prepare coping skills in advance.  For example, although I hadn't had panic attacks in 4 years, flying 35 hours around the world, was a bit daunting to say the least.  My desire to meet the Korean man was greater than my fear of flying.  So, I went online and printed out lists of things to do while on a long flight.  I made a list of things to take.  And, I wrote a list of why I was doing this.  
Here was my flight experience and the result of having done it.  I got on my National flight from D.C. to CA.  The guy who sat next to me was a jerk.  He stressed me out so much, I got up and told the Flight Attendants I had to get off the plane.  I couldn't do it.  One Attendant was a Life Coach and said if I was stressed during the flight, he'd come and help me and talk with me.  The other Attendant asked one passenger to switch seats with me and she did!  So, I stayed.  I watched a movie and we had the worst turbulence over the Rocky Mountains, but I was fine!  You should have seen the Cheshire Cat grin on my face when I landed in San Francisco!  I had just built confidence by doing it.  On the International flight, I thought that is was a much longer flight, but I pictured the business man on the other end of the flight waiting for me at Incheon Airport, so off I went.  I had a nice seat mate and only once during the flight, I felt like I had enough and wanted to get off.  So, I took a motion sickness pill and I was fine.  My grin was even bigger when I landed in S. Korea.  I DID IT!!!  For the flight back, I hopped on the planes, like I hopped in my car and didn't even give it a second thought.  Now, when I see a plane in the sky, I wish I was on it going anywhere for adventure.  When you do things, then you learn how to cope.  Once you get rid of big fears, the rest of the little fears go away.  I can get on cars, planes, trains, buses, and ride in elevators (which I couldn't do before).  Now, I can do anything, because my limitations were self-imposed.  Once I flew around the world by myself, I know I can do anything.  

Shari

8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

P.S.  Also, please rule out physical problems that could give symptoms of anxiety or make them worse.  All of these coping skills are valid for both physically and mentally managing anxiety and panic.  I was severely anemic at one point.  When I was given supplements, I greatly improved.  And, now I am thankfully cured.  It's good to cover all of the bases and rule out health issues which could add to the anxiety symptoms and make anxiety management possibly easier.  Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Hi Mark!  Thank you for your kind words.  I'm so happy you found your trigger.  That's great!  I'm going to take a guess that you haven't lost control.  And, you could replace that thought with, "There is no evidence that I have lost control when I'm not near people and hospitals."  And, with dread you could replace that thought with, "Dread is a temporary uncomfortable feeling, but there is no evidence that anything bad is going to happen.  I have felt dread before when nothing bad has happened."  I would also say, "I can handle it."  You'll see, over time, that you are okay and you will build confidence.  It's repetition of saying these true statements, every time you think otherwise. And, over time you retrain your brain to default on positive thoughts and not automatically thinking negative thoughts. We're trained to focus on negative things, just look at the news, or rather don't :-)  Also, keep a record of all of the times you are successful and have been successful and that will keep you focused on all of the things you can do and minimize negative thoughts.  It's all about what you focus on.  

Shari
8 years ago 0 Shari2014 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Positive Self-Growth from Shari

Hi Mark, Thank you for your uplifting post.  I just came back from a new adventure.  I've been joining meet up groups and trying new things.  Some are outside of my comfort zone.  And, I still have to make myself get out there in life and experience it.  I use to be agoraphobic and I find that it is easy to slide back into staying home, but it's not good for me. So, tonight I was supposed to meet a new friend at a new place.  I went to a Japanese drum and dance studio.  The friend I was supposed to meet, did not come.  So, I sat by myself and thought that I would really just like to get up and leave now.  But, I forced myself to stay.  Some people came over and talked with me.  And, one person put my chair in front of the stage, so I could watch the dancers up close.  So, guess what happened next?  The next thing you know, they gave me a drum and had me dance with them!  You know what I did?  I just didn't worry about it and had fun with it.  I actually had a great time!  I danced for an hour and felt like a kid playing with new friends.  So, if I had left, I would have robbed myself of having fun.  From experience, although I balk at going out sometimes, I know afterward I am glad I went.  So, I still need to talk myself into doing stuff sometimes.  It beats being isolated and alone.  You never know what friends you'll meet and what great experiences you'll have if you don't try.  Monday night I'm taking Spanish classes and Wednesday night I'm teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).  I've learned to speak basic Chinese/Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese.  And, I'm happy you wrote Mark.  I'm proud of you for using google translate.  I've used it to speak with my Asian friends. Good for you!  I know you will continue to do well!

Your friend, Shari