Fear and Guilt


Years ago, you never would have thought I was afraid of anything, or did I ever feel guilt about something I didn’t do. Somewhere over the last year to maybe a year and a half, I have been fearful of leaving my home outside of commitments and things I’ve deemed “safe” to go and do, but with the intent of returning home.

A few days ago at my appointment, my therapist challenged me. She asked me what social things I like to do. I told her there are many things I love to do, that I always have the best of intentions, but somewhere the guilt comes in. Guilt about leaving my pets, guilt about not being home “in case I need to be”. She said that guilt is a reaction to doing something wrong. So what is it about doing something social that would be wrong?

Ever since this conversation I have been incredibly anxious. I have spoken out loud to myself and to my husband. I just can’t shake this fear and guilt. Even for Christmas and my husband will go out of town to see his family, I more than likely won’t go. I feel very guilty at leaving my pets at our boarding facility, even though I know they will be very well cared for. I just can’t make this feel o.k.

When I think on what my therapist and I talk about, no answer comes to me that could make me see the reason why I feel guilty makes sense (in this case, in doing something social). She said I deserve to be more of a woman than “the dog lady” “the rescue person” the “volunteer” person. She said I have friends, good friends, who I have known for long periods of time, there is no logical reason to be afraid to see them, or feel guilty about seeing them.

These feelings have jumped into my friendships as well. To those that have thought I disappeared or don’t care, that is very far from the truth.

I have also felt fear, she challenged me and asked me what I was afraid of? I thought on the fear and the only thing that came to me was the feeling of fear its self. This paralyzing fear that has literally stopped me from living a life of enjoyment and friendships in all areas of my life.

She said for a very long time, I have lived in a very safe, rigid box. It has served me well, trauma, abuse, no longer have entered. However, with saying that, the safe bubble I have created has also robbed me and replaced it with Fear and Guilt.

I have been challenged to start pushing myself, bear with me, the fear and guilt do cause anxiety, and I have been learning about riding the wave of emotion til it peaks, then as it peaks it starts down the slope. I know I can do this, I miss my community and I miss my friends and my life.

Do you have problems with feeling fear and guilt?

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Stinking Thinking


I learned and struggled with something called Thinking, Feeling Behavioral Triangle.

The triangle is designed to break down why you may act out the way you do. So for example I struggled with going to this Tool Kit session today because of the residual scabies rash I have.

My thoughts bounced back between scabies and my feelings (feelings can be Shame, Sadness, Irritable). I realized my feelings are Shame and I didn’t want to to go to this session because of the shame I feel around something I picked up anywhere. The feelings then in turn went to the Behavior which was to isolate. The experience felt is vulnerability. I felt this cycle going around and round inside my head early this morning as I tried to convince myself to NOT go to this session. I was prepared to call my therapist and explain to her why and in all honesty seeking her permission so that I didn’t have to feel bad about not attending. None of that happened. What I found myself telling myself was I had made a commitment to myself and it was important to go. I knew I was safe from infecting anyone, that I had done the medication as prescribed, but it was the emotional feelings I was putting on myself that I was fighting with.

How did I understand this? Well we talked about “Unhelpful Thinking Styles” It is taken from http://www.psychloytools.org. I had hoped to copy and past the document we used today, but unfortunately I can’t. Basically there are 10 styles of unhealthy/helpful thinking.

1. All or nothing thinking (also described as black and white thinking) – If I’m not perfect; I have failed.

2. Mental filter (Only paying attention to certain types of evidence) – Noticing our failures but not seeing our successes.

3. Jumping to conclusions (There are two key types of jumping to conclusions

  • Mind Reading ( imagining we know what others are thinking)
  • Fortune Telling (predicting the future)

4. Emotional Reasoning (Assuming that because we feel a certain way what we think must be true) – I feel embarrassed so I must be an idiot

    One of the descriptions I learned today is emotions guide your thinking. (i.e. emotions may be there at the height of a moment, so your attaching a feeling to it.).

5. Labeling – Assigning labels to ourselves or other people

  • I’m a loser
  • I’m completely useless
  • They’re such an idiot

When those thoughts above happen, challenge those words. Find different words to use (dig out a thesaurus)

This takes a lot of time to work through.

6. Over-generalizing “everything is always rubbish” “nothing good ever happens” (Seeing a pattern based upon a single event or being overly broad in the conclusions we draw.

7. Disqualifying the positive – Discounting the good things that have happened or that you have done for some reason or another. That doesn’t count.

8. Magnification (catastrophising) & minimization – Blowing things out of proportion (catastrophising) or inappropriately shrinking something to make it seem less important.

9. Should, Must, Ought – These are critical words “should”, “must”, “ought” can make us feel guilty, or like we have already failed. If we apply “should” to other people the result is often frustration – Get Rid of Using these words!

10. Personalization (this is my fault) – Blaming yourself or taking responsibility for something that wasn’t completely your fault. Conversely, blaming other people for something that was your fault.

Another comment noted is one I have said out loud almost daily

I feel fat —-> Is not a feeling nor is it an emotion.

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Things haven’t been going well for a while now. I’ve had this rash that has gotten progressively worse. When I saw my family doctor he didn’t think too much of it, and prescribed me some ointment and sent me on my way.

I’ve also been through a ton of very stressful things this last month or more and so I wasn’t going to rule out that maybe this rash was stress induced. Same with my dietary changes I had made.

Went away to Texas for a few days and my rash was still with me, its intensity had increased and I was not taking Claritan for the itching. When I returned home, I was now taking Benedryl AND Claritan. I am covered in dots on my legs, arms, under my arms, down my ribcage and my upper back/neck.

Where am I going with this you wonder? I had my routine psychiatrist appointment last Friday, he saw my rash and commented on it. During our conversation he advised me would be abruptly removing me from my mood stabilizer Lamotrigine. One of the side effects with Lamotrigine to be aware of is a rash and any kidney issues. Now I felt confident that this rash was not anything to do with what Dr. M was thinking, but he is my psych and I will abide by his request.

Saturday morning I head back to my family doctor, I no longer can take this scratching on top of now the removal of my mood stabilizer. Dr. C examines everywhere and says he is going to take a skin sample. So he freezes an area and takes what he needs. He tells me he feels very confident that what I have is SCABIES!

So now I am off my mood stabilizer and I have a bug that I have no idea where I got it from. The last time I felt this way was when I picked up bed bugs and I was mortified.

My moods have been swinging. Today they are low, very depressive; I’ve had bouts of anger as well. I’ve contacted my psych and we spoke about this, this afternoon. Don’t get me wrong I understand why he removed me abruptly, what I want to know is, what are we going to do so I don’t feel like I am going off the deep end!

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Observation


I have recently observed something in myself.

When I become overwhelmed and uncomfortable, I pull out my cell and play solitaire. Yes, it distracts me from being in the present moment, yes it stops me from figuring out why I am feeling uncomfortable and yes, I know it cuts me off from talking to people. I am the same with animals, if they are super friendly, I become engrossed with them, and cut out everything around me.

Its very hard to be present in a difficult situation. I’ve also been one to shy away in social situations and find a place where it is quiet, no one else around me. Do you do that?

I struggle with….

Feelings
Anxious / on edge

Vulnerable / under the spotlight
Self conscious / out of place
Embarrassed
 
Physical Symptoms

Face goes red (blushes)
Butterflies in stomach / stomach churns
Heart races
Voice goes shaky / body trembles
Sweat
Dizzy / light headed
Breathing changes
 
Thoughts

I have nothing interesting to say, I’m boring

Everyone is staring at me
People can tell how anxious I am
I’ll stammer / I’ll blush
I mustn’t look anxious
I look and sound stupid
 

 

Behaviour Patterns

You avoid social situations

You make a quick exit from social situations

You stay in the background or hide away
You stay quiet to not make a fool of yourself
You always take a friend with you
You drink alcohol for courage beforehand
 
I went and read over the above from this site http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/shynesssocialphobia.asp.

Self Harm


This past week I’ve been out of town for a wedding and meeting my hubby’s family. It went well, just as I knew it would.

Food has been my main focus this whole trip. What to eat because the food choices are either heavily processed or heavy in creams and sauces; I also was incredibly upset as I didn’t have a scale (no, not even in the exercise room at the hotel we stayed at),

One evening we dined at a 5 star hotel with 3 course meal. Variety to choose from, but nothing that would appease my conscious mind. The voices in my head jabbing at me, making me feel insanely guilty for everything I chose. I chose to have slivers of each choice, so I could show I was eating something, yet inside I was cringing. I felt so uncomfortable, I left to go to the ladies room.

Yes I was THAT tempted to self harm.

While in the ladies room, I looked at myself in the mirror, pretending to focus on my make up because at any time someone could come in and yep, a friend did come in.  I could feel the knot in my belly, urging me to purge; but I didn’t. I was afraid someone would hear me.

I walked quickly to my spouse who was at our table. He asked me what was wrong, I told him what I wanted to do. He said very reassuringly that he was proud I didn’t act on my self harming behavior. He could see how stressed out I was about everything. 

Over the rest of the weekend, I did look at my affirmations we were given at my eating disorder group, but I struggled to actually read the words versus scanning it. I ended up scanning it and if you were to ask me a specific one to tell you, I know I couldn’t.

I know that members of hubby’s family noticed that my food choices at the buffet we went to, were minimal compared to the heavy foods everyone else mostly ate. I just said I eat lighter and that I changed my eating habits a few months ago.

When we attended the wedding on Saturday, again there were choices, included deep fried foods. I could only allow myself sliver portions. Enough to taste, but not enough to become full. That night, I woke up with such an upset stomach, I was moments away from self harming. I just couldn’t take the knot in my belly, the gas or indigestion. I just don’t eat like everyone else does.

Today I’ve come down with a head cold and I felt incredibly nauseated. Yes, I self harmed. I felt myself no longer fighting whether I should or shouldn’t. All I wanted was everything to go away.

I’m not perfect, and yes, I did weigh myself today, just to appease my mind.

I do have group on Thursday, I will discuss this then.

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