Sasha – part 5

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The biggest challenge about the anxiety I had was to reverse the beliefs that made me scared.

Once you believe in something, especially if it is something that demands your attention all the time, such as extraordinarily fearful thoughts, then you must get away from it or diminish it. Since it was my mind that made these calculations and found in itself the right to fiercely warn me of the fearful situations, moment after moment, basically  I could not run away from them.  So how do I reverse such strong beliefs?

At first, resisting to the fear acted very strongly against me; the more I resisted to the fears, the stronger they got. That was a horrible experience. That pretty much describes it….

Once you hit the bottom, something moves you up sometime. So, since there was no hope in resistance diminishing my fears, I opted for accepting the consequences of my fears. I assumed in reality I was in that fearful situation. Do you think that feels better? Certainly not – as a matter of fact it horrified me more than anything else. What would I do if my fear become reality? What if I lose it then? Would I cry, scream, or beg? How would be the pain I would go through? How would I stand all of these? There was no relief in it. The end was, well, horrible.

Since neither resisting the fear nor accepting the fearful reality were solutions, then what was it going to be? Establishing what I could do to scare myself less and making new memories and new beliefs were essential in my recovery. This is how I found in myself the courage to calculate the risk; how likely was it? Was it possible to get away from the prompters (those things/people/events that made me remember it), would change in my life be helpful in getting rid of the fears? Was there a space, behaviour, attitude, or people that I would feel safe with? What would I find the strength, hope, and protection in?

That was a turning point. Took sometime, but it is done.

I still time to time feel that they are check me, making me feel like they are coming, but I am not going to let them take over again. Nope. I have suffered quite a bit from anxiety. While this is my wish, nevertheless, if it happens again I am confident that this time I will go through it faster and with much less suffering.

In the mean time, I will go ahead and continue working my mind, have a healthy and relaxing life style, and enjoy my life. I have one life. I mean to enjoy it. Pretty much actually. And that feels good. Great in fact.

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*that is probably the end of Sasha’s story

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Sasha – part 5

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Sasha – part 4

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Life with anxiety forces you to change. I tried very hard to do my best to relief my symptoms. First thing first, I started eating a little bit healthier. It nourished my mind maybe more than my body – there was a little bit excitement and satisfaction in putting the effort to go to the stores, get fresh produce and healthy food; I had felt like taking care of myself, having some kind of superficial control in my anxious life. It helped.

Then, I started exercising – similar to the better eating attempts, that idea was mostly from the books I have read about anxiety. It was not easy at first, but I somehow managed to start cardio activities. Kick-boxing to be exact. It really works; a surprising fact. They say it is endorphins or something, the feel-good hormones and natural pain-killers that are released during physical activity that elevate the mood. Cool. For me, no levels were enough to make me feel better though. But with activity, I at least had the chance to focus my mind on my body and environment – or somebody would come and kick me at the head :). I needed to force myself to focus on something.

Yet, one cannot live at the gym and doing nothing meant listening to my mind. And it was telling me terrible stories. No, I could not be still. So I walked. I walked any time, any day. No rain, no snow storm, no work waiting for me did defer me from walking. Day and night, whenever I had “it”, the feeling of suffocation anxiety gave me; the feeling of desperately looking for a way to escape from it; the feeling of “what will happen to me?” ; the feeling of seeing no no-anxiety day in future; the feeling of having no hope whatsoever to return back to what I was prior to anxiety, I threw myself out. I often cried, too, out of misery.

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Sasha – part 4

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Sasha – part 3

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Once I identified that it was anxiety I was experiencing, one of the logical problems was solved. At first, I thought I would get better after that. Well, I did not. Not seeking professional help was a huge mistake.

I still needed to deal with the thoughts and emotions going through me; they were strong and scary. I could make my mind focus on literally nothing; I thought if I could use my analytical mind, I would get away from the irrational thoughts and emotions. Yet, my mind worked only at a primitive level and whatever I needed to use it for was hence put on hold. I am certain that my mind was paralysed. It felt like I was suspended in the air with no movement, no effort, and no energy. I was aware of everything around me and beyond, but I had no control over neither myself, my body or life, nor my surroundings. Things would happen to me – good or bad – without my involvement, consent or resistance. My entire well being was at stake, there was no safe place for me, and my fears, the fears that my mind created so generously and vividly, would eventually happen. I knew I was stuck at that invisible corner and I had nowhere else to escape. I was going to be a victim.

Of my own imagination.

-to be continued

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Sasha – part 3

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Sasha – part 2

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Where shall I start?

The beginning is too long ago; but maybe the most impactful will make it. I was mid 30s unhappy with my job. We all thought that we would have opportunities to move up within a pretty reasonable period of time. But we did not. The economy was not good and works for people like us were highly competitive. I had this desperate wish to leave my current work place and move to somewhere else with a better level of job, respect, and financial prosperity.

Well, it did not happen and I got more and more agitated. I started to have problems at my current work place; I was good at what I have done but I was not particularly a pleasant person. So people working with me, specifically my boss, were having a hard time to deal with my career-frustrations. I lost my motivation quite a bit and decided to do something else, mostly to get away from my work place. Hence, I started studying French language. My aim was to have a feeling of how much I could get into it and if I was into it at a sufficient level, then to attend a course to learn it. I was buying the books and listening to the CDs for pronunciations. I could turn the TV on French channels and try to grasp. It was all fun.

What I have not seen coming was that while I was not working the analytic side of my brain because of the less time I spent at work, even though I thought I was as I was studying, my brain would just collapse. Not literally; but that is how it felt. At one point of time, I felt a sudden and powerful rush and vicious, violent dance of all bunch of emotions, not necessarily the positive ones for that matter, into my conciousness.

I was sitting on my couch when that happened and it was a nice afternoon. As soon as it happened, I started to freak out with the strength of the feelings. I did not know what was happening but I knew I was feeling incredibly bad. I was scared by the thoughts running in my mind; I was living in a terrible world created by my mind. I believed every single thing it said. Otherwise was not possible.

With this new “reality”, I walked around as if I was being dragged around with the heaviness in my chest. I could not sleep. I could not find one moment of peace. This horrible state and my lack of understanding of it continued quite a bit. I bought books, realizing it was possibly a mental situation, but focusing was so difficult I could not read them for quite sometime. I thought about seeing a doctor, yet I did not even know how to define it. I could not ask help, I could not focus on anything, and I could not understand it.

Eventually, I identified the core feeling as fear and thus was able to find self-help books on fear. There I realized what I was happening to me was a kind of anxiety. It was a relief finding a name to my situation. It also helped me to see that whatever looked real was not real; I was safe. But in the majority of time when I could not focus on reading and thus understanding my feelings, my mind was busy playing me the worst scenarios over and over, more vivid than ever, and more fearsome than anything. My mind was the worst enemy and finding a way to subsidize it did in fact  prove to be difficult.

– to be continued

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Sasha-part 2

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Sasha – part 1

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I deep down know well that what I am going through is not normal.

I have issues to deal with – my mind, which has been antsy and uneasy for decades, is busy formulating ways to assess problems, even when they do not exist, and frantically searching for solutions. At times when it is too prolonged, too overwhelming, I give up. I give up either the joy of life or the sanity.

I self-diagnosed myself with anxiety a long time ago. At first I did not know what it was; now I do. It is a terrible feeling. When it gets too unbearable, I am grateful for the depression lurking it and eventually replacing it for some time. Depression is equally tormenting, never been happy to have it, but it at least freezes the pain a little bit so that I can take a break from constant fear and worry. To me, it feels better than anxiety. I bet you have never heard about someone who is grateful for having depression time to time. That person is me.

My first anxiety episode was sudden and inevitable. Yet, I have grown up with it and now I can feel when it is close to show up. I slightly panic and rush to calm myself. Lately I have had some success in it. I found that the best way is to keep my mind busy; I am grateful for my job, which lets me work my left brain hard. Yet, work has its own problems, and I have a house, social interactions, and a mental sanity to keep. When all life areas are problematic, it breaks.

I desperately look for something to hold on to at these times. People advise finding something I like; I guess they have never been in the same situation; during anxiety or depression those people and things I like all disappear. Not that they physically go away; my perception of them does.

-to be continued

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Sasha-part 1 

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