That familiar feeling

Right now I am having that familiar feeling from a few years ago when I just don’t feel comfortable during the day and can’t concentrate. It has crossed my mind (only briefly) that I am going to end up going down the same road as 2014 but I am thriving now and I won’t. I don’t feel like doing anything because I want to go on holiday! I want it to be holiday time right now, not in a few weeks time!

The other thing is that by the time I left my last job I knew what I could get away with. I knew that I could have a quick look on the internet if I needed to or go and talk to one of my friends. Well this is only my third week and I don’t really have that rapport with anyone here yet. I am having a laugh with them now and again but no one I can call a friend yet.

I actually have to do some work here as well! In my last job I probably spent at least an hour in total talking to people. Well at the very end I did!

I am going to thrive this time. I will settle in and get along with people quickly as I am a nice person. I will process this internally and will not let any social anxiety get in my way.

It’s not just the worry about whether the people will like me as a person, but also whether they think I am suitable for the job like I sold myself in the interview. My old boss used to tell me that I should be more confident in making decisions and just do them without having to ask all the time. Well yesterday I came up against a situation where I asked one of my new bosses a question that I should really have made the decision myself and I even pulled her out of a meeting to do so. I sent a message apologising saying that as it is only my third week I wasn’t sure if they want me to make decisions or not and didn’t know the protocol but it was obviously on my mind going by the dream I had last night. It was my old boss from my previous company calling my into a probation meeting and telling me that they feel I am not right for the job because I am not confident to make decisions, I am not performing how they want me to be, and I am not proving I can do what I said I could in my interview or what I did at my previous job. She said to me that I have to step up as she recommended me for the job (not true in real life) and I am making her look bad! To which I started writing down all the reasons I haven’t been able to get things done yet to try to prove myself. After that it went into some other weird dream but it is obviously playing on my mind. I have a six month probation here and I need to prove that they made the right choice in hiring me. Instead I appear to be catastrophising in my sleep about what could happen and ruminating over something small that happened in my third week on the job. I know I can do this job with my eyes closed so why am I letting myself think I am not good enough. Why am I even worrying that they will think that? I know I can do it and I should have faith in myself!

Out of my comfort zone

I’ve been comfortable in my job for three years now and was putting up with going to London but it became to much when I found out I would have to go to London five days a week in the near future. I knew I needed to change jobs but was thinking I would probably start looking in six months to a year as I knew they wouldn’t close my office until at least the autumn 2018 (although my job was already based in London really). The perfect opportunity came up so I took it. 
I started yesterday and everyone seems really nice so far. But of course my stomach is playing up as I am out of my comfort zone and I can feel my social anxiety showing its ugly head. But I am going to process this in an internal way. I decided to make the move to make my home life better so I wasn’t spending all my time on a train home from London. I am going to make this job my own and make this my new comfort zone. I can also handle the nervous stomach and feeling out of sorts for a while because I can cope I will be myself and I will thrive. I can cope with the acid reflux. 

On another note, I have also let myself touch door handles and cold taps in the kitchen without washing or antibac’ing my hands after. I am not going to let the monster scare me!

A letter to my teenage self

Dear Jen

The first thing I should say to you is don’t worry. Worrying really isn’t worth it and I promise you everything is going to be ok.

I know you are having a hard time at the moment dealing with the anxieties of growing up and being in the real world but you will find your place. You don’t need to worry about getting sick and you don’t have to try and control everything around you. Some things can’t be controlled and that is just part of life. You will be able to cope when those things happen. Believe in yourself. Trust your own judgement. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. You don’t need them to say that you are a good person to know it. You don’t need their approval to be who you want to be. Stop pretending to be someone else and be yourself.

There is no use attempting to be perfect. No one is perfect and it is an impossible task. You don’t need to spend hours on your hair, hours in the bathroom or hours writing a letter. Just do what makes you happy.

The people you think are your friends right now are not your friends. I know you get along with them now but when you start being your true self you will realise that they aren’t the sort of people you want to associate with. Your parents gave you your two best friends, your wonderful sisters. You may argue now but when you are older you will realise that they are two of the most important people in your life and will be there through thick and thin. Don’t argue with your parents. They are doing everything they can for you and you can tell them anything. Trust them.

Don’t worry about being alone. When you are 20 you will meet the sweetest guy ever and will go on to marry him and want his children. He will become your partner, your best friend and the person you trust most in the world. All those other boys are just frogs. Enjoy your time with them but know that the best is yet to come.

Don’t let your anxieties stop you from doing what you want. I am 30 and regret that I have missed out on things as I have been too afraid to do them. I was afraid to go to university  or out clubbing as I didn’t want to be near people being drunk and therefore sick. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have let the silly worry get in my way. You will be able to cope with anything that is thrown your way just like I know now that I will be able to cope with having children. Whilst I am on that subject, you should admit to yourself that you do want children. Don’t let the worry of them being sick stop you from admitting that.

Stand up for yourself. Don’t let people push you around. You are strong willed but spend your whole life wanting to please other people. Sometimes you have to be selfish. You are the most important person in your life. If you don’t look after yourself, then you will be the one to suffer. Speak up. Let your thoughts be heard.

So remember, stop worrying, love yourself, trust yourself and be yourself.

With lots of love

30 year old me x

Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive!

Had my first Thrive session with Lucy last night. It makes so much sense to me and I hope that means I can clear myself of this phobia.

The main principle I learnt last night is that all phobia’s (and particularly Emetophobia) are made up of the following three elements – the sufferer has:

  • A low self-esteem
  • High social anxiety
  • An external locus of control

I have all of these things! The low self-esteem is self-explanatory really. I often don’t think I am good enough and struggle to congratulate myself for achievements. That is something that I have been given as homework to do. I often feel that my self-esteem is based on what other people think of me but it shouldn’t be. It should be what I think of myself!

High Social Anxiety – I have never thought of myself as having this really but I really do. When I googled the symptoms of it I do everything! (http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder-and-social-phobia.htm)

Emotional symptoms of social anxiety disorder / social phobia

  • Excessive self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday social situations
  • Intense worry for days, weeks, or even months before an upcoming social situation
  • Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others [for being disgusting for being sick. Or weak for crying at being sick], especially people you don’t know
  • Fear that you’ll act in ways that that will embarrass or humiliate yourself [fear that I will be SICK!!]
  • Fear that others will notice that you’re nervous

Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder / social phobia

  • Red face, or blushing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upset stomach, nausea (i.e. butterflies) [I also get pain in my stomach and IBS which is a classic anxiety symptom – right now it really hurts in the pit of my stomach]
  • Trembling or shaking (including shaky voice)
  • Racing heart or tightness in chest
  • Sweating or hot flashes
  • Feeling dizzy or faint

Behavioural symptoms of social anxiety disorder / social phobia

  • Avoiding social situations to a degree that limits your activities or disrupts your life
  • Staying quiet or hiding in the background in order to escape notice and embarrassment
  • A need to always bring a buddy along with you wherever you go
  • Drinking before social situations in order to soothe your nerves [I would probably do this if it wasn’t for the fact I was afraid the alcohol would make me sick]

So as you can see I clearly also have social anxiety. It makes a lot of sense to me as my anxiety is always worse when I’m not in a place of comfort either physically or emotionally. So at the moment I don’t really feel comfortable at my job. I just feel that I don’t fit in and there isn’t really a place for me. So my anxiety is worse. After I got married I suddenly found that I had everything I wanted and didn’t know what to do with myself. Although I was happy I felt uncomfortable as I didn’t know what to expect next – except that people would be expecting me to have babies. That terrified me even more (morning sickness anyone?) and so my anxiety got worse. Actually my DH and I had planned to start a family this year and even began TTC but the one time I thought I was pregnant, I began to panic. Clearly I wasn’t ready and this is another case of me being uncomfortable. So I guess social anxiety makes sense.

Finally there is an external locus of control. There are two types of locus of control – an internal one which is how much you believe you control your life; and an external one – which is how much you belief other things such as fate control your life. I (and other emetophobes) have a high external locus of control. My fear is that my number is up and it is my turn to get sick. That someone or something out there will decide when the day is, not me, and that I can’t control it (that is another thing emets have – a high desire for control). I am working on believing on mind over matter, working on the belief that people can get over illnesses if they put their mind to it (to an extent). I sort of believe it as my Grandma was hardly ever ill and she was a Christian Scientist (I believe they pray to God rather than take medicine). It worked for here most of her life until her hip broke. Also my Mum often feels ill in the morning and says when she gets up and does things, and stops thinking about it, she feels better. So clearly it’s mind over matter for her as well! The book also talks about how significant imagination is as well. I often imagine myself being sick and think about how I would cope if it happened (for example I was imagining running to the toilet on the train). That is not helpful. It is my desire for control thinking it through (if I control how I would react then I will be ok). But actually thinking about it was making me anxious and feel sick (even writing this is). The book teaches you to imagine the positive outcome and then that is what should happen (though that is easier said than done and I haven’t managed it yet – though it is day 1). It really does make sense that you can control how you feel with your imagination and this brings me back to mind over matter. If you can convince yourself you are ill (and actually bring on physical symptoms) using your imagination, why can’t you do it the other way? Just need to convince myself of this.

So far I am looking forward to how Thrive can help me. I would recommend anyone with Emet to buy the book – Cure your emetophobia and thrive – and if it is really bad, work through it with a consultant.

I am also working on CBT myself (as much as I can) and having an assessment with the NHS later today for CBT to try and get over this. If I put it all together maybe I can rid myself of it?

Hello Jen

Last nights CBT session was very interesting. We discussed my progress and I realised how well I am doing. It is like my eyes are opening or the cloud is disappearing and i can finally see straight. I feel like I am starting to know who I am again for the first time in years (think that is also due to the intro of 90s pop music comeback through The Big Reunion!)

One thing that was worrying me though was how I’m becoming more aware of real dirt around me like dust on our ceiling. I asked my therapist if she thought that meant my OCD was just shifting. She asked me how I feel when I see that dirt. Do I need to clean it straight away and am filled with anxiety or do I just get annoyed that it’s there? My answer was the later. She asked me what I would have done previously (before CBT) when seeing that dirt. I answered that I probably wouldn’t have seen it or would have made my husband clean it. she felt that I had been blocking out things that weren’t perfectly clean so seeing them and doing something about them is a good thing. I have also noticed I am doing more things around symmetry but I am now trying to stop myself when I do that.

We then went on to discuss what would be so bad about the dust being left on my ceiling. When I answered that people would see me as a slob, she said she thought I’d say that. So she asked me why I think people would think that of me when there is clear evidence that I’m an extremely tidy person. This made me realise it’s about my childhood and wanting to be as good as the other kids. Plus loosing two BFFs over the years just because they decided not to be friends with me anymore. I never found the reason why they turned on me so I can only assume it was because I wasn’t good enough. I actually feel quite emotional writing that as it is a truth so deep down. I now lack friends my age (my friends are all at least 10 years older) and I seem to struggle to make friends. So I can only assume I am a horrible or geeky person that no one wants to be friends with. Hmmmm this seems to have ended on a bit of a negative note :-9