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Social Anxiety and the Ring

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Welcome, lately I have been listening to the struggle of social anxiety.  This is such a double edge sword.  We need socialization to survive, it’s a process of working together as a community.  Socialization is learned not something we are born with.  That being said, some of us have extreme anxiety when we are in social situations (why doesn’t matter).  This leaves the individual at risk for loneliness.  Social anxiety is feeling excluded from the group, intense worry, fear that others will know you are nervous and excessive self doubt.  People who suffer with addictions often struggle with social anxiety.  I want to list a few things that might be helpful to know:

Avoid Transition

Predicting the future,  assuming the worst.  This is called fortune telling.  This is common for someone with social anxiety.  Notice when you are doing this, just noticing it will reduce it.  Fortune telling feeds social anxiety and makes it worse, do what you can to challenge these thoughts.  Don’t believe these silly ideas.  None of us know the future.

Catastrophizing is normal for someone with social anxiety.  Thinking things like “this is awful” or “terrible.”  Those are extreme words, how much do you really care if someone else is nervous?  Probably not much, others really don’t care that much either,  others are worrying about themselves, or didn’t notice.  Remember the word terrible or awful are words to describe something like homelessness, or a car accident.  Put things in perspective.  You have gotten used to catastrophizing, challenge these thoughts as well.

Action Stranger

The human brain can only think of one idea at a time, move your brain from an internal thought to an external thought.  Think of someone else and focus on them.  This is takes time but try it. Over time this will work.

Acceptance

Work on yourself, write about it, process where you are at with it.  Acceptance is the first part, then you can change, sometimes the feeling moves if you acknowledge it.  Spend time in social situations that you can tolerate. You know you best, listen to yourself on this.  You can learn to change your thoughts and the way you feel about yourself.  If you are not in therapy get to therapy, it doesn’t have to be group.  Group is great when you are ready to challenge fears but only if you are ready for it.  Be patient with yourself, you are not alone.

Personal of the Speechless

I don’t struggle with social anxiety.  There go I by the grace of God; I have a brother who is an addict, suffers with social anxiety, and is now homeless.  Throughout the years he has counted on substances to cure his anxiety, this is so common.  He has a heart of gold, most gentle soul you will meet.  He is uncomfortable all the time, and now so isolated that he sort of lives on the outside of society.  Society is so important for us to meet our belonging needs; some of us have to work harder at it than others.  Stay engaged and continue to work on yourself.  You deserve this human need to belong.  Comment below, provide feedback to me as always, and suggest something you want me to blog about.  Be well.

Innovator of the Abusive Relationship and the Witching Stain

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Welcome to Inner Healings Counseling blog, I am so glad you are here.  There are many types of abusive relationships, verbal/emotional, physical, sexual, mental/psychological, financial, and cultural.  How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship?  This is defined as a pattern of behavior, used by someone who seeks to gain power and control over another person.  Let’s take the time to explore ways to get out.  Even if you are not ready yet, it’s ok.  Be easy on self, acceptance first.  You can’t change what you don’t accept.   I have outlined a list of three places to start.

Jagged Isolation

Your abuser wants you to be isolated.  It’s part of the cycle of abuse.  The abuser wants to control what you are doing, who you are taking to and limit your social network.  Take one step towards communication with others, in any way you can.  One baby step a week.  Getting out is a process, trust that you don’t know if you are almost at the top of the mountain.  Change can happen rapidly, and abrupt.  Make a therapy appointment, this will be support for you to move your process.  It’s extremely hard to get out.  You don’t want to be in this and if you could do it on your own you would have done it by now.  It’s not your fault you are here.  Most likely a consequence of your childhood.

Humiliation of Portrayal

Emotional abuse, name calling, mind games, gas lighting, making you feel crazy, and guilty.  Practice responses so you are prepared, change your responses.  You know your abuser, this varies from person to person.  Many times you won’t be able to say the right thing so do your best to engage less.  Keep it moving, if you can get away while they are name calling this is best (this just depends on the situation of course).  Remember, they want you to feel like all the names they are calling you so you don’t leave.  Get in touch with your rebel, look at all the best rebels who stood for change in a positive way; Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Kathrine Switzer (first female marathon finisher) and many others who paved the way.

Confident of the Rebellion

Abusers don’t want you to be confident, hence all of the name calling and put downs.  This is tough for people because if you have been in it for years, you are probably believing the abuser.  I get that, that makes sense.  Here is a list to draw off of and a place to start:

  1. Imagine yourself doing something right
  2. Question your internal voice (it’s a liar)
  3. Do something for yourself
  4. Reach out to a friend
  5. Help a friend
  6. Try something new
  7. Take a break from the abuser

    I want to share a little about my experience.  I was in a relationship with a guy who cheated on a regular basis, an alcoholic, how exciting? I only knew I could expect two things, he would drink and cheat.  I felt powerless over the relationship, this was my destiny.  Trapped with no way out, and I would say things to myself like “we have so much fun when we are together” or “he did make time for me last night.”  Making excuses.  The process of getting out took a few months.  I ran in to a previous counselor/professor and he said “you are still wasting time.”  He was right.  After some time, I realized that I was going back to rescue myself from being alone.  If I can get out, anyone can get out.  Comment below, feel free to give me so feedback or suggest a topic.  Be well.      Christine Weller, LMHC

Shakedown of the Suicidal Thoughts Anchor

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Welcome, I am so glad you are here. I want to be able to give you some direction on what to do if the thoughts of suicide start up again. You have more power than you feel. If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 only if you are a Veteran. Text: HOME to 741741 to text a live counselor.

Talking Flame

Keep taking about what has you thinking of suicide. Know what has you wanting a way out. If you don’t know keep talking until you do. Get a therapist; schedule an extra appointment if you already see a therapist. Talk to people who get it, nothing worse than opening up to someone who shuts you down. Go to people who know how to respond.

List of Living

Make a list when you are feeling at your best of what keeps you going. Add in the things you are good at, sometimes we can struggle to remember the good when we are in the bad. Add future goals to this list. This list is an ever changing list, as you are. Name the list something amazing like ” Beginning of the Magnificent.”

Food Speculation

Here is the deal, you are what you eat. This is real and it is not going to change. Serotonin is technically a neurotransmitter and is released in the gut, regulates behavior, sleep, memory, digestion and sexual desire. Fruits and vegetables clean us out and help us maximize the release of serotonin. Dopamine is also neurotransmitter that is responsible for emotion regulation, it is also released in your gut. I am a strong believer in gut health. Take a pro-biotic daily, it will help balance your gut. Take Folic Acid to help serotonin and dopamine receptors be received your brain. As a society we have underestimated the power of a healthy diet and emotional health. Eating healthy will help you feel better emotionally.

Gift of the Shut Eye

Get some good rest, even if you can’t sleep lay down. The most current research has found a correlation between thoughts of suicide and lack of sleep. Feelings move, they are like water they are going to change forms again. You might find that when you wake up from a nap you feel better.

Imminent Safety

Create a safety plan. Make it solid. This is best when it is created by you. After all, you are in charge of your mental health. You will get out what you put in, so when it comes to the safety plan, make this detailed and make a commitment to use it. One example could be:

  1. Reach out to a loved one (have the phone number ready)
  2. Sleep
  3. Eat fruit and/or vegetables
  4. Create a distraction (music, walk, go to a public place)
  5. Watch a funny movie
  6. Reach out to the crisis line, text
  7. Set up an appointment with therapist
  8. Write feelings down (review my list of living)
  9. Plan a future trip
  10. Schedule an appointment with therapist
  11. Read this blog/seek resources that have helped me in the past
  12. Help a friend
  13. Get rid of means when there is a plan
  14. Call 911

This is the shakedown on the thoughts of suicide anchor. It’s really brave to say the truth, and look within. When I first shared my story in therapy I cried my eyes out in front of a group of twenty. What a fiasco? I let so much go. I grew that day because I took a risk. Take an emotional risk in group and individual counseling sessions every chance you can. You deserve to grow. Don’t be stingy on the feedback, comment below give me feedback. What was helpful and what wasn’t? Request a topic.

Christine Weller, LMHC

Fear Faced

Anxiety can be overwhelming.  Many people turn to medications.  Mostly, in my time as a counselor I have seen this add to more complicated issues.  Medication is time limited and a band aid.  Real relief from anxiety comes with daily practice of coping skills.  A solid commitment to get to therapy weekly.  Figure out what works for you.  Every person is different, and that means coping skills will be different.  Anxiety has many different forms, panic, physical issues, depersonalization to name a few.  The best “cure” for anxiety I have found is cognitive behavior therapy.  Therapy helps us face the real issue. Fear.  What can you do on a daily basis to get through if you can’t get to therapy or you are not ready for therapy?  Here are a few ideas to try on that help me in my personal life.

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Nature Heals

For me, facing my fears means that I get out there and do something that actually leaves me feeling a little uncomfortable.  I am a hiker/backpacker.  The fear is always there a head of time, “what if I didn’t bring enough food?”  “What if we get lost?”  etc.  Never fails that the fear exists and, other people try to add to my fear with their own fear.  However, I know that it will move.  The fear will change.  Once I am actually out in nature, my fear is gone.  Funny how that works.  Nature forces people to be in the here and now.  Doctors are starting to prescribe hiking (because it works).

Music Heals

FB_IMG_1480534429022I play the guitar, sing and dance whenever I get the chance as a habit.  This is key for me to relieve anxiety.  Playing music takes so much energy because it comes from the soul and it is honestly like a time warp.  Hours move faster than ever when I am playing music.  I love creating a song, and/or lyrics.  They are a way for me to get the anxiety out.  The key for me is that making time for music as a habit so when something does give me anxiety I am comfortable gravitating towards it (because I do it daily).  The habit of playing music is why this is a coping skill.

Take a Break from Social Media

We love to be connected to each other which for me has been a double edge sword.  I want to stay in touch with family, friends, and with my private practice communicate with my clients at times.  One day after listening to several people talk about how social media has overwhelmed them I decided to see what happened if I got off of Facebook (at the time my main social media site).  At first I found myself checking other sites, like Pinterest and Instagram.  After one week I noticed that I was SO much happier without it.  I was more focused on myself and my life.  After a few weeks I was on my phone less, or I would spend my time reading something that could be useful to me and my self care.

Taking care of self is so important and focusing on what is happening right now.  WE can use other approaches other than medication that help us actually face the fear we are experiencing.  The approaches I use are music, listening, playing, dancing and writing as a habit.  Getting out in nature, seeing beautiful parts of the world keeping me in the here and now.  Using social media less and less helps me focus on me.  How do you cope with anxiety?  Comment below, and share this post if you found it helpful.  As always I am open to feedback.  This is my first real blog post (this is a work in progress as I am).

Christine Weller, LMHC

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