Dear Anxiety: How do you manage to keep showing up at the worst times? No offense or anything, but that whole gig in the middle of that crowded Wal-Mart? News flash, but the frozen food aisle isn’t a cool place to freak out (no pun intended). And, just as I’m about to convince myself I have a hold on things, you remind me of how many different grocery cart paths I’m obstructing by just existing and being right here.
Oh, and how could I forget your tendency to butt into all of my conversations? When you jump in like you do, I overanalyze every movement, every facial expression, of the person I am speaking to. Friend, acquaintance, cashier at a drive-thru—every single one. You present me with all of the most intricate worst-case scenarios. What if they hate me? What if I just said something really stupid? Don’t even get me started on text messages. With you around, a message saying “Hey” with a period at the end gets me panicking that there is a bitter undertone I’m meant to decode. With you, one simple “Hey” isn’t just a greeting.
Perhaps it would be easier if you were a person, to have conversations with you and hear your side of the story. But of course, you are no person; you are nothing that I can ever see. First, you came to me with the name of Social Anxiety Disorder, a companion to my BPD. But as time passed by, you earned another name: Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
It’s safe to say, although you still run rampant while I dream—God forbid I get an ounce of restful sleep for once—you don’t hold nearly as much influence over me as you once did. Thanks to counseling and medication, I can now self-talk my way into managing my time spent with you. They used to speak as if, one day, we would part ways. After all of these years, I know you are a permanent part of my life, but that doesn’t mean you have to rule my life. You’re the reason I have to remind myself to breathe, the reason why tiny tasks can send me into a non-stop frenzy until they are completed. You’re the reason I have to take pills every day, and why I can’t handle the days when I don’t.
For all these things, I used to blame myself instead of you. Doing so only encouraged you—it only made you stronger. But now I can claim the title of the stronger one. Despite the pain you’ve caused, I have accepted you as a part of me, just not all of me. You are not me. All in all, you have caused me a lifetime of pain and frustration. I wish I could say goodbye; we both know that’s never going to happen. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.
Question: I have to say that I'm in love with your blog and your story gave a lot of strength to keep on going and you are such a beautiful latina girl. By: Anonymous
The Five Steps. A cognitive approach to regaining control of our lives: What are they? This simple coping technique can save lives and has been shown to be a highly effective form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Please keep in mind that simply knowing what the Five Steps are doesn’t mean that your life will change overnight.
- Putting the Five Steps to practical use on a daily basis will take time and practice.
- Don’t get upset if you don’t or can’t master them right away.
- Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again the next time!
One of the most effective ways to learn to incorporate the Five Steps into your list of coping skills is to work the steps in hindsight or retrospectively. By this, I mean that it’s totally understandable that after years - even decades - of learned and practiced Borderline behavior cannot simply be stopped dead in its tracks by sheer desire. There are years of behaviors to undo first. Working the steps retrospectively means you examine a situation that has already occurred and use the Five Step process as if you were still in the situation.
- Stop / HALT: Just stop and breathe for a moment. Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? The HALT feelings are physically-based and only temporary. Remember that!
- Determine what the problem is: Sure there can be (and usually ARE) more than just *one* problem but even still, write the problem(s) down on a piece of paper.
- Come up with three possible courses of action: Start with one of your problems and come up with three (and only three - not a hundred, not just one) possible things you could do. Do not overthink it.
- Figure out which one is best for now: You don’t have to make a lifelong commitment right now and if things don’t work out quite the way you’d hoped they would, you can work the steps again and again and again - just like everyone else does, don’t give up and keep trying them.
- DO IT!: I say that assuming you haven’t chosen suicide. Obviously, that’s the ultimate final solution (assuming you’d succeed). Nothing will happen to change the situation/problem until you actually DO something, no matter how small. A change in your situation, outlook, etc. requires a change from within yourself. In order for that internal change to have effect on the outside, tangible world, you must take action to implement that change. The first step it’s the hardest.
A Practical Approach: Instead of trying to implement the steps up-front, pick a recent situation where you recognize that you acted quite Borderline. Then apply the Five Steps. Start at the beginning and check the HALT. Working all the way through the steps shows your conscious and subconscious mind that there are other ways to cope with stressful situations. It is this preparation that gears us up for implementing the Five Steps in real-time scenarios.
Feels so weird to post selfies but my hair was amazing last night at the wedding of a team mate. I’m always with my hair in a lazy bun because… Well, just for being lazy and not wanting to brush it lol, I didn’t even noticed how long is it now hahaha.
The good thing is that my hair is growing back and the patches are filling in, the bad thing is that it’s still damaged by that horrible hair dye from march, I desperately need a profesional hair repair treatment but the ones that sell here are way too expensive and I have already tried the home made ones with out luck, so the Salon it’s my last chance, I hate how my hair feels, and I’m not cutting it again ugh, it took me a year to have it long again.
Yeah, I like cupcakes and sweet, but you know what I really really love? Spicy snacks, hot hot hot that my tongue it’s on fire and my belly hurts. Tostitos Loco, Churros Locos, Chamoyadas, everything with a lot of Chile, here is my recipe for Tostilocos if you dare! Really easy:
- Tostito brand tortilla chips
- Cucumber (1” by 1” pieces)
- Jicama (1” by 1” pieces)
- Chaka chaka (mexican tamarindo candy) and Peanuts
- Clamato and Two limes
- Hot sauce, I like tabasco, Chamoy and salsa del amor
- (Optional Pickled Pork Skins) I love these
- Lay a small bag of Tostitos on its side and slice it open with a knife. You will be using the bag for a container. It works like a bowl.
- Place the cucumbers, jicama, pork skins, and peanuts inside the bag and mix up.
- Squeeze the two limes over the contents of the bag. Add “chamoy souce”
- Pour enough salsa or pepper sauce over the contents until it moistens the ingredients. Be careful about how hot the sauce is. If you are sensitive to heat, use a mild brand.
- Grab a spoon and enjoy! The mixture of flavors is incredible and it tastes especially great on a hot day, with a beer.
It was my mom’s birthday this week and Ollie just love cakes and blowing out candles, that damned cake was amazing, full of caramel, lechera and vanilla, heck totally worth it.
Ollie has been calmed this past week, sleeping in his bed, playing nice with the cats, eating what he gets served and no major meltdowns which is great for both of us, I get relaxed and he get more play time. The change we made this week was that he is not taking nap, we used to ‘make’ him to nap and when he naps even for just an hour, he stays up until 1 am sometimes, so we are letting him go all day without naps, so far it’s working great on his sleeping time during the night. He only wakes up to go to the bathroom.
The weather it’s trolling us, we had a nice time last week but this one it’s hell again and that makes us stay indoors more, the AC it’s on 24/7 and that scares me because the electricity bill will be bigger this month. Stupid summer heat, it needs to go now!!! Ugh.
5 Steps to Clear Your Mind & Get Focused: How often do thoughts, worries, or other mental distractions interfere with your ability to focus on the task at hand? Sometimes worrisome thoughts get in the way of feeling alert, calm, and present. When your mind feels as if it is “somewhere else,” you just might be missing out on what’s happening right now… in this very moment. It’s completely natural for thoughts to pop into your mind in ways that feel random or out of the blue. This type of mental chatter may become problematic if you are struggling with maintaining attention, concentration, or efficiency. Here are some tips to help you:
1. Write: Take out a fresh notepad or piece of paper, your favorite pen or pencil, and choose to direct your full attention to the present moment. Pause to take a few deep breaths in… and out. Notice the way the pen or pencil feels in your hand… observe the way your body feels as it is supported by the chair, sofa, or ground… notice how clean and fresh the blank sheet of paper looks. Once you feel sufficiently tuned in to the present moment and ready to begin, start writing.
- Write down every single thought in your mind – big or small – onto the paper.
- Don’t stop writing until your mind feels empty.
2. Organize: Does that first sheet of paper look neat and tidy to you? Remember, you weren’t writing something that anyone else would ever read, and you certain weren’t expected to write down full sentences. Just thoughts. Do you notice how jumbled or random some of they may appear? Now that out a second sheet of paper… fresh and clean, just like the “thoughts” paper was before the contents of your mind filled it up with mental chatter.
- Create three columns on the new sheet of paper… label them: (1) to be done, (2) maybe later, and (3) delete.
- Look at your thoughts from the first sheet of paper and decide which of these three categories fits best for each thought.
- Rewrite each thought under one of these three new columns.
3. Delete: Now that the contents of your mind have been released onto the first sheet and paper and then organized into one of three columns on the second sheet of paper, it’s time to tidy up a bit more. Notice how long your list of thoughts is in the “delete” column. The thoughts in your “delete” column may be the kind of thoughts that are especially irritating or distracting… they might be repetitive thoughts that are upsetting or worrisome… or they might even be song lyrics or poetry that pops into your mind for seemingly no reason. Whatever the case may be, thoughts that belong in the “delete” column tend to a few things in common… they’re unproductive and/or maladaptive.
- Take out a pad of sticky notes. Write each thought in the “delete” column on its own sticky note.
- Spread them out and take a look…
- Pick up a sticky note. Read the thought aloud. Does it sound silly? Upsetting? Bizarre?
- Now… crumple it up and throw it away.
- Do this for each and every sticky note. Each time, say “goodbye” to that thought. Notice your mind becoming more and more clear.
4. Maybe Later: What kinds of thoughts did you put under your “maybe later” column? Generally, these thoughts are about something you need to take care of in the future, something you wish you could do or do differently, or thoughts that seem to be persistent or “eating away” at you. These “maybe later” thoughts can be productive or unproductive. For instance, a “maybe later” thought such as “I just know I’m going to screw up that presentation tomorrow” may not serve you well insofar as helping you feel confident and motivated. It’s up to you to decide which thoughts seem productive and likely inspire you to move closer to your goals, and which thoughts are unrealistically self-critical, exaggerated, or tend to lead toward a downward emotional spiral.
- Take out a third, fresh sheet of paper.
- Write “maybe later” at the top of this clean sheet of paper. Time to make a new list…
- Decide which thoughts are healthy and in alignment with your values and goals… hold onto those.
- Write down each productive or positive thought from your “maybe later” column onto your new “maybe later” list.
5. To Be Done: These thoughts are typically task-oriented or behavioral in nature, but as you’ve probably noticed, they too may be positive or negative. For instance, a thought such as “Oh yeah, I need to pick up groceries” is probably a thought worth holding onto… if you feel like having food in the house! In contrast, a behaviorally-based thought such as, “There’s no way I’m eating at all today; I’m way too fat” is unhealthy for your physical and emotional well-being. You can begin to discern between adaptive / healthy thoughts and maladaptive / unhealthy thoughts by reflecting on how well those thoughts are in alignment with your core values and goals. For instance, if you highly value physical health and fitness, then the negative thought just mentioned is unlikely to serve you in the long-term.
- Take out a fourth (and final!) sheet of clean paper. Write “to be done” at the top.
- Decide which thoughts you want to keep, and which thoughts you want to release.
- Write down each adaptive or healthy thought from your “to be done” list.
- Transform each thought into a S.M.A.R.T. goal.
- Give yourself (healthy!) rewards for staying on track with your commitments.