Blog Self Talk

Self Talk

Today, I wanted to write about the power of self-talk. Some of you might find it funny or weird to talk to yourself, but it actually works. I talked about this coping mechanism a bit in the “anxiety" section of this site, but I thought I would elaborate a bit more.

I find a lot of times when I’m struggling with an anxiety issue, before I call anyone for instant reassurance, I just say out loud what I am worried about. An example: “my phone fell on the floor and now I’m worried that there are germs on it” when this thought is racing in your head, it may seem like the end of the world and that you need to run for the sanitizer. However, if you say your worry out loud, a lot of times it will help you realize that you are thinking a rationally and it’s not a big issue at all.

When I first started experiencing signs of anxiety and OCD several years ago, I remember one time I was home alone and the fly landed on my head. Yeah, a fly. Right away my thoughts started racing, where had that fly beam before it landed on my head? Should I wash my hair? Before I acted on these questions, I phoned my dad. It was a pretty funny conversation. “Dad, a fly landed on my head”, “a fly?”, “Ya, am I going to get sick? Should I wash my hair?” Right when I asked that, my dad and I both laughed because I realized it was such a simple thing that was not an issue at all.

I find that talking my anxieties out loud really helps me conquer them. Doing it too many times though may cause you to obsess over it, but try it once. If I state my anxiety out loud and then also stated out loud the facts, then that will shut down the anxiety. It helps eliminate the racing thoughts of panic. Let’s try it with the “dropping the phone” example: “I am worried that there are germs on the floor and now they’re on the phone. I am going to touch the phone and the germs are going to make me sick.” Now, start rationalizing those thoughts out loud”.” Dirt does not equal and germs. You have an immune system for a reason. There is nothing harmful on the floor. Your phone is dry.” And eventually it will sink into your head that their concern is not an issue at all.

It’s all about reasoning with yourself. So, instead of running to someone, for them to conquer your anxious thoughts for you, challenge yourself! Self-talk works.

Blog Perserverance

Perseverance

I write this blog so that people can read about my recovery and what I do to stay well.

I will share today’s topic: perseverance. Perseverance is so key when recovering from a mental illness in dealing with anxiety. I have had to persevere over the years by taking my medication, going to doctor’s appointments, and doing things to keep well mentally. Sometimes perseverance for me has been as much as just getting out of bed in the morning. The will to have to fight through the challenges that I face. To pick myself up when I get knocked down and brush myself off. To keep moving forward with my recovery and make steps each day.

Currently, I am persevering. I talked in my last blog about my OCD with my toilet. Well today I am fighting Albert and refusing to let myself go and sanitize the toilet. I have done it once already. This is very difficult for me, because I have a strong urge to get up and do it. But this is a key chance to persevere and beat Albert by fighting back. Telling him that no matter how much I want to give in and sanitize the toilet, I am not going to.

This is just a personal example. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to do something, even when it doesn’t need doing. You just have to be strong and tell yourself NO, you are not going to repeat actions over and over because it becomes an obsession. Try not to obsess over thoughts. Occupy yourself with something that can take your mind off the issue at hand. If you are strong and persevere, then that is a step forward. Recovery is all about making those steps forward.

So, that is how I am going to challenge myself tonight. The toilet has been sanitized and I’m going to keep telling myself that it doesn’t need doing it again. Then I’m going to occupy self so I don’t obsess over it.

So, try it. If there is something that is really bothering you, or you are obsessing over something, fight back! Use positive self-talk, and tell yourself that you’re not going to get caught in the trap that your mind sets. Do things once and move on. Keep making steps forward in your recovery!

Blog Eliminate Negative Thinking

Negative Thinking

I’ve stumbled upon a sort of revelation. If you suffer from anxiety like I do, the biggest thing you can do is eliminate negative thinking. What I mean by this is when you get a thought “oh that might make me sick” just tell yourself “NO that is not going to make me sick”. And leave it at that. I’ve been trying it tonight, as I got some public speaking engagements coming up this week. This is when Albert likes to run free. If you just challenge these thoughts and strongly say NO, there’s no way that Albert can win. It seems simple but it is something I have been working on for a very long time. It’s harder than you think. You have to make a conscious decision that you are not going to succumb to the anxiety, and that you are going to fight. It’s a long hard battle, but so worth it in the end. Try it.

Blog Cut the Crap

Cut the Crap

In my recovery, I have learned that you get to a point where you just have to cut the crap out of your life. Stop doing things that enable you to take shortcuts with fighting anxiety.

For me, sure, I can get a friend to drive me to the whale house instead of taking the bus. Sure, I can carry a bottle of hand sanitizer and use it after touching each door handle. Sure, I can go into my bathroom and sanitize the toilet “again”. However, after a phone conversation with my dad, he helped me realize that these are just things that are fueling my anxiety. I want to continue to move forward in my recovery.

So, let’s tackle these three problems.

The bus. The bus has always been a huge anxiety of mine. I am very lucky that where I live I have very easy access to the bus, and I can use it to go anywhere I need to. As you know, I have a huge germ phobia. Now, have you ever seen those bus seats? They’re disgusting. When I do ride the bus, I stand up and look back at my seat several times to make sure it’s clean enough. Now let’s think about it logically, hundreds if not thousands of people ride those buses every day. I watch people get on, and they just sit down on any random seat. They don’t analyze the seats to pick the cleanest one, they just sit. They don’t think about what germs are on the seat or where the stain comes from. This would be a good challenge for me - to think rationally and realize that no one else worries about the seats and no one else gets sick from them. So. One thing I am going to be working on is riding those buses and using them to go where I need to go. I will remind myself that everyone else takes the buses and doesn’t worry about it.

Hand Sanitizer. I have been carrying bottles of hand sanitizer for the past few years now regardless of how many times I’ve been told that it’s bad for me. I touch a door handle, I use the sanitizer. I want to use my phone, out comes the sanitizer. I want to eat something, sanitizer. This is another area of my life that I want to challenge. My dad suggested I just simply not carry the sanitizer with me. That’s going to be kind of strange because I always have it with me. However, if that’s what it’s going to take then I’m going to try it. I’m ruining my hands with the amount of sanitizer I use. It is become automatic for me to use. It is my safety blanket. I need to change that. I ran out of sanitizer totally anyway, so now is a better time than any to start. I’ll keep you posted.

The Toilet. I think about my toilet probably far more than anyone on the planet. I come home from being out and I use the toilet, then the first thing I do is sanitize it completely. Sometimes depending on my anxiety, I’ll sanitize it two or three times until my head say’s it’s clean enough. For instance, I am fighting a strong urge to go sanitize my toilet right now. [So, this website is helping me in many different ways.] Because of my extreme fear of getting sick, I have to make sure the toilet is just right. I’ll spend 20 minutes wiping it down, even if it’s completely clean. I have to keep doing this until it clicks in my head and my thoughts tell me that it’s okay to use. So even this very moment I am fighting. I just have to accept that I cleaned it twice already tonight and it doesn’t need any more. So, I’m gonna keep working on that.

There’s three things that I’m going to be working on to continue in my recovery. I’ll post updates here to let you know how I’m doing. If you’ve got some tips or want to share what you’re working on in your life, feel free to comment!

Blog Appreciate

Appreciate

It’s another beautiful sunny day. I just wanted to encourage you guys to appreciate what you have. Every day I find something amazing in my life that I am grateful for. I challenge myself before I go to sleep at night, to think of five things that I am grateful for. Try it.

What I appreciate, [in no particular order]
Today I’m grateful for my family. I got the most incredible dad, who is my rock. My grandma’s in England who Skypes me every Monday while I’m doing my laundry. I got my sister who supports me. I got my brother Matthew who I admire very much, especially for his paramedic work. Then I have my brother Christopher who was always been there for me over the years. I can’t forget my beautiful sisters-in-law Christina and Michelle. Two more people I look up to. Finally, I have two absolutely incredible nieces and the cutest nephew. So, I am definitely blessed.

I am also grateful for the apartment I live in. I am very lucky to live where I do. It is in a beautiful location; the people are friendly and the staff are very understanding if I have anxiety about something. I love having my own place and being independent.

I’m grateful for the Whale House. That clubhouse has been such an amazing support to me since 2009. I have made so many friends there, both members and staff. I went there yesterday for the mall outing, and I was reminded how loved I am and how many people care about me.

I am grateful for my friends. I have made some awesome friends not only through the Whale House but through Speak-Up. It has been an awesome program to be part of because we are all on our own personal mental-health journey, and we support each other. I will never forget the friends I have made through Speak-Up. My boss, Linda, is also a great woman who has taught me so much about life and how the world works.

Finally, today I am grateful for gaming. Gaming has been a huge coping mechanism for me, especially with my anxiety. I have more games than I can count, and some really awesome gaming buddies. A shout out to Goose, who has been my biggest online support. He helps the anxiety go away and always makes me laugh. Gaming is a huge part of my life and is the best mechanism I have for de-stressing and relaxing. I’m not too bad at shooting zombies either. [Ha ha]

So there is a five things from me. Your turn! You can post yours in the comment box or below!