Scott… my CBT therapist, sent me a series of audio files which are called “Talk with music”. It is a psychologist called Melanie, talking through some activities to help confront anxiety and how to approach them differently.
I can be really easy to say… my anxiety is making me feel like I am not good enough to do something, so I just need to think that I am, but putting that into practice is much, much harder. Especially if you have had, and still have a constant voice that is not in your own head telling you that you could be better than you are.
Once of the early exercises in this was to think about the statement “I am…” and write down what instantly came to mind. For me it was three things:-
I am not good enough
I am not wanted
I am difficult
These things aren’t necessarily true, but they are the things that rattle around in my head in the voice of my mother, and these are my anxiety demons. I constantly feel that if I have a problem I am burdening others if I talk to them about it, and their issues are much more worthy than mine. For people I truly care about (and this maybe only a handful of people if I am honest) I go through cycles of not understanding why they want to be close to me, when my own mother tells me so much that I wasn’t wanted. I can be difficult as I tend to push people away if I feel they are getting to close, which on the outside looks as though I am being rude. This is never intentional, more a protective reaction to stop me getting attached.
The recording goes on to talk about self affirmations and ways to combat this type of thinking, but I am on 5 out of about 10 recordings at the moment, and wanted to take some time out to really comprehend what triggers by anxiety at the moment.
As an example, I received an email at work today, saying that I was disappointing because I wouldn’t agree to do something that was infeasible and hadn’t been defined (it was a bit like being asked to hold water in a sieve and transfer it across the Sahara without losing any of it). My initial reaction was to feel totally drained with the situation and like I was doing badly at my job. It took me a while to realise that this wasn’t my wrong doing, I had asked quite clearly what they wanted doing to not receive an answer, so when I said it was impossible for me to do without the information I had requested, they went for a personal hit on my character rather than just do the work to get me the information I needed.
At this point, I had my mother’s voice ringing in my ears telling me that I wasn’t enough for this job (as she said when I got the job) and that things were getting on top of me, along with a few other things that she said. It is very hard to extinguish this voice.
I am still working through the audios, therefore I haven’t hit the point yet of knowing how to combat these thoughts, and it can be really hard going, but for now, I take a time out, walk around my garden, tell my very close friend what has been happening to get a different perspective on things. These are all really simple little things, but they do help.