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Day 2 Facebook free, an update

I had a therapy session with my psychologist on Thursday night after work. I told him how I get really obsessive about my social life and my quality of life. I also explained how a lot of my obsessions come about especially during PMS and how they are usually sparked by my usage of Facebook. He told me that I need to really limit the time that I spend on Facebook, which I already knew, but now I have someone, more importantly, my therapist to hold me to it. He proposed going on once PER WEEK, which is pretty drastic as far as I’m concerned, but I agreed to cut it down that much. After explaining the thoughts that I have – ideas such as worrying about how many friends I have, holding onto bad friends who treat me like crap, comparing my life to others’ – we both agreed that I have to change my attitude and be grateful for who and what I have in my life. I also have to cut the fat from my life – as long as I have good people around me, the quantity doesn’t matter.

So here I am, two days into my “Facebook detox” (I went on the site on Friday, which will be my designated day to go on once for a half hour) – a legitimate effort this time. I know that towards the beginning of my writing this blog I stayed away from the newsfeed and it helped tremendously, so I’m hoping that this works and that I stick to it. I think that I’d like to make a goal of either deleting my account or deleting all of my friends and staying on just for certain bloggers that I follow.

I’m tired of wasting time on the internet, I’m tired of watching everyone else’s lives and seeing their impression management skills (i.e. fake it ’til you make it), and I’m tired of beating myself up over my own life. I have a lot to be thankful for and I need to stop letting this technology get to me and stop it from making me want to keep up with the Jones’.

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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Facebook Rants

 

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A new year, a new me? resolutions and reality.

Today is New Year’s Eve and I’ve thought about resolutions. Resolutions seem like a great idea, every year. But this year I’m trying to take a new approach. Instead of resolutions, I just need learn to take care of myself and not got frustrated if I miss a day at the gym or if I miss a day of my skin regiment. I need to relax and stop trying to be so stringent on myself. I hope to go out more with my boyfriend, family, and friends. Do more activities, take more trips (long and short). I just want to live in the present from now on, but I know myself, I won’t do that all the time. But I certainly want to try at least! The reality is that I’m human and I’m not perfect. To try to stick to a strict regiment isn’t going to work; life happens and it could throw off your schedule on any given day.

In terms of my health, I know that I use this blog to go over birth control and the anxiety and depression that I had, but I want to at least try to not talk about that so much and just focus on my feelings each day that I write. If I’m feeling anxiety on a day, so be it – it’s therapeutic for me to blog about it, but I have to focus on the present and find solutions to anxiety; how I would help myself through anxiety or irrational thoughts at that particular moment.

In terms of Facebook, I need to cut back (AGAIN!) because I spend way too much time on it (I fell into the trap). I have a few interest groups that I “like” and follow, but beyond that, the rest of the site is just garbage. Many of my Facebook friends fall into one or more of these categories and it’s getting annoying: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friendship-20/201112/the-facebook-fix

I’m just hoping to improve upon things in the new year and continue to learn and grow.

Happy and Healthy New Year to you and yours!

 

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An estate piece and home alone anxiety.

The past three days have been weird to say the least. It all started on Wednesday when my mom and dad went shopping during the day (they’re teachers, so they’re off from school all week). My mom received tons of gifts from her students, one of which was a necklace from a jewelry store. She returned the necklace and decided to buy me something instead of herself, which was a nice gesture, but not necessary. She called me at work and told me that she had bought me something but didn’t tell me what. She went onto say that she dreamt about this object and had to buy it. When I got home later that night, she gave me a small jewelry box. I opened it up and inside was a brooch; an estate piece. It was dainty, made of white gold and it had a small sapphire in the middle. Honestly, it was beautiful, but I don’t own brooches, nor do I know how to where them properly. My mom waited in angst for my reaction and I guess it was less than expected. I thanked her, but I probably had my go-to puzzled look on my face, which isn’t very nice. Then I went on to tell her that I was concerned that I’d never wear it and it (plus her money) would go to waste. She told me to “do whatever I wanted with it” and walked away. Minutes later, we were in the living room and talking and she started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she insisted that she was worried about the cruise that her and my dad were going on today (I’ll get to that in a minute). Then yesterday morning I wakeup and my mom says “why is the pin on my dresser” in a nasty tone. Again, puzzled, I wondered why she was so mad. Then last night, we barely spoke and when we did, it was awkward, at least on my end. So I basically let loose on her, at first I told her calmly that I’m sorry if I offended her and that I thought I was doing the right thing by expressing my concerns. Then she pretty much dismissed me, so I got angry and raised my tone. My parents left for their 4 day cruise this morning and my mom still seems pretty awkward to me, so I’ll have to see what happens when they come back on Monday.

Now onto their vacation. I’m happy that they take trips, especially since when our family dog, Boomer, was in his later years they couldn’t travel much because he required constant care (he was very sick at the tail end of his life, we put him down on April 5, 2010). Since his passing, they’ve been travelling more and… my anxiety developed, peaked, and lingered between then and now. When my anxiety was at its worst and even as it got progressively better, I had a hard time when they took trips because of the agoraphobia that I developed as a result of my anxiety. I would fear being alone in the house without anyone to have close by “if” something happened (a big issue with anxiety is the “what if” scenario). I also feared being embarrassed if I called someone and asked for help, thinking that they’d think I’m a lunatic. Clearly, these were all irrational fears, especially since I lived and worked away from home while I was in college.

Anyway, today my parents left at 4:30am and I got a little nervous as I watched the taxi drive off with them and their friends in tow. I went back upstairs to my bedroom and tried to relax, go back to sleep. At first it was tough because I thought back to how badly I felt during their trips past with my anxiety, so I turned on Jersey Shore to distract me, which inevitably relaxed me and got me back to sleep (weird, right?). When I woke up later in the morning for work, I decided to think through my mild anxiety from earlier – I pinpointed my thoughts and realized that they’re really terrible thoughts. I never really looked at them and understood why I was so afraid sometimes, but once I became cognizant of them, it all made sense.

Here’s a list of my thoughts when I get anxious (I had all of these when it was really bad, now I only get a few of them):

– What if I can’t breathe?

– What if I choke?

– What if I get hurt and no one finds me for days?

– What if I need to call 911?

– Who in the neighborhood or surrounding area can I rely on for help?

When driving, my mind raced (sometimes mildly races) to these thoughts:

– Drive in a populated area in case you need help

– Where is the nearest hospital?

– Does this road have a shoulder (emergency lane)?

– What if I’m in the left-hand or middle lanes and I lose control of myself and subsequently the car?

When I look at these thoughts on paper, they’re astounding. I’ve never worried so much in my life than I have in the past almost 2 years. More importantly than that, I’ve been worrying over the worst case scenario during that time. At first I thought that writing these down would get me anxious today, but as I analyze them, it’s actually helped me because logically, my mind is saying “no, that’s not going to happen” and “you have plenty of people to call in case something does happen”. I used to never be like this, that’s what gets me, but I am almost 100% sure (there’s always that inkling of doubt) that this is hormonal, especially because I’m currently in the week before my period, also known in my life as PMS time. If you read through the PMS link, it explains:

“PMS may often be triggered by hormonal changes. It tends to begin at puberty, after pregnancy, after starting birth control pills, after hormone related surgery as hysterectomy or tubal ligation or around the onset of the menopause. In fact, it is not unusual for the PMS sufferer to confuse her symptoms with those of an early menopause.”

I never had PMS before I started on Yaz in March of 2008, which is used to treat PMS/PMDD and as a result of taking it for almost 3 years (ended it Sept 2010), I’ve had several doctors mention that it possibly gave me PMS, which I’m still dealing with today. I have to admit though, it’s gotten better and I’m getting more and more comfortable by myself as time goes on. I’ve been taking Women’s Menocaps (per my Naturopathic doctor) to restart my endocrine system, which was shut down by hormonal birth control. My naturopath also has me on larger doses of vitamins B & D, which were depleted by the pill.

All in all, I’m doing well so far up in New Jersey and I hope that it stays that way. My parents are in sunny Miami on a cruise ship that will be heading for the Bahamas.

Needless to say, I’m jealous of them.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Family, Women's Health

 

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PMS.

I wrote yesterday’s entry with such vigor and energy, yet today, I don’t have the same energy. I’m a little down today; it’s manageable, but I’m waiting for my period to arrive, so it’s definitely hormonal, plus I’m tired, which doesn’t help. Between yesterday and today, I’ve had these irrational thoughts and just “meh-ness” (as I put it) – this is what my PMS is like now, post-pill. It’s hard to deal with sometimes. Last night is a good example.

My boyfriend came over after work. He works an odd shift from 3pm – 11pm, so he came over around 11:30pm. We started talking but eventually our conversation turned into a debate over “Occupy Wall Street” in the city. Now, I work in financial services and he doesn’t, so it got heated and I lost it. I didn’t cry or yell, but I noticed myself getting very angry and temperamental this time. We both got mad at each other and then I explained all of the feelings that were in my head. For example, he said “you people”, including me in the Wall Street bunch, as the debate got heated, which set me off. I then had visions our of future together being bad and us arguing all of the time. Other things he said too made me think “should I even be with this guy?” They weren’t even bad things per say, some were even supposed to be jokes that I’d usually get, but my mind runs away and runs fast when I’m PMS’ing. Usually if he said something like that to me, I’d just laugh at him and the conversation would calm down and we’d see how heated we got.

I just hate analyzing EVERYTHING he says irrationally in addition to EVERYONE and EVERYTHING around me, including myself. It’s basically the fact that I lose control of my mind for a few days out of the month. It’s frustrating to say the least. I think my boyfriend and I get the brunt of it though because we’re at that point where we’ve been discussing getting engaged and subsequently married, living together, etc. Every little thing he says or does while I’m PMSing gets blown out of proportion in my head and then I question us together, but I know that I love him and want to be with him. It’s sick. I’m also not 100% back to enjoying life like I used to and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do so (I get really hard on myself when I feel numb). I used to be able to see the good in EVERYTHING and I mean that. It was so easy for me to be happy and now I have to work at it some days, which makes me sad. Today’s thoughts are that I feel like my life is so mundane and I feel hopeless. It makes no sense on one level, but that’s what my mind is telling me. It’s irrational, but that’s what I am hearing, so I’ve been working hard today to combat this. I’m a little over six months off the pill and yes, my symptoms of anxiety/depression have improved significantly, but I really just want to be myself again and I’m not there yet. Some days, like today, I feel so helpless and I wonder how I will advance onto the next stage of life, i.e. moving out of my parents house and creating my own household. I used to have a lot more self-confidence and I hate the fact that I have to rebuild it. I need to help myself along though and stop beating myself up over this.

I read an article in Psychology Today’s blog yesterday, written by Ms. Ann Smith, that I wanted to save for today and thank God I did because it resonates with me today:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/healthy-connections/201110/can-lifes-disappointments-really-make-you-stronger-part-2

There’s a blurb in this article that struck a chord with me:

“…That said – I’m not sure that terrible events make us stronger or even that getting stronger is a good thing. I do believe that if we are willing to go through the open door created by a loss, it can make us smarter and wiser with a clearer view of the road ahead.

After two consecutive major tragedies in my family and a great deal of pain I heard myself say to a friend who was offering support, “If this is how my life is going to be, bring it on!!” My words of resignation shocked me. I couldn’t believe that I had reached such a low point.

My personal philosophy has long been that words and thoughts hold a great deal of power and magnetism. If I held on to that belief, I was not going to recover and grow from this trauma. I began to bounce back with the help of friends and family. I remembered that my true intent is not to get stronger so I can handle more bad stuff. It is to handle whatever comes with grace and with hope to use this situation to better the world and those I love through the wisdom of my experience.”

Some days when my PMS is bad and I’m in a bad place, I find myself too saying  “If this is how my life is going to be, bring it on!!”  I know that deep down I need to change my thinking and take a positive approach to what’s going on because that’s what going to help to change my life for the better. 

I never thought that I’d say this, but I hope I get my period soon.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Communication, Quotes, Women's Health

 

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Why am I still in therapy?

I’ve been working really hard at remaining positive this week. I’ve made a few strides on the job search front, I haven’t been eating all that well, but I haven’t been beating myself up over it (as much as I may want to), and I have been exploring new options for my career. Even on this blog, I’m trying to stray away from negativity (although I know  that it can’t be completely avoided) and really focus on forward-thinking ideas that will help improve myself.

I met with a recruiter yesterday and we discussed a possible career change to marketing (I currently work in investments). I also told him that I’m open to remaining within accounting or finance, if the opportunity is right. In this economy, I can be picky, but I need to be realistic too. If the right opportunity comes along, in ANY field, I need to jump on it and try to advance myself.

In regards to my diet and exercise, I haven’t been keeping up. I’ve certainly been good in terms of portions, etc., but I’m still not eating well; I’m not eating good things. I went to the gym twice last week and I haven’t been once so far this week. My life seems to be busy I suppose; between playing sports, seeing friends/family, volunteering, etc., I make little to no time for myself to exercise and relax. I push through most days with poor or little rest. I keep saying I’m going to work on this, but I have yet to stick to a schedule or at least a rough schedule. I wonder what it’ll take to get me to make the time for myself? Until I figure that all out, at least I can say that I don’t eat like a pig and still do little things that keep me active (albeit on a small-scale) like climbing the stairs at work instead of taking the elevator and parking further away from the door for an extra long walk from my car to the door.

Last night I got to thinking about possibly putting my bachelor’s degree in accounting to good use and perhaps getting my masters in accounting or a post-MBA certificate in accounting. I was thinking maybe I can go into the tax field and even sit for the CPA exam one day. Then I was thinking about moving to marketing, non-profit work, or teaching. I have a lot of ideas in my head, yet I have no particular goals in mind. I don’t have an idea of the lifestyle I want to live 10, 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years down the road. All I know is that I do not want to be in survival mode, like I am now.

Speaking of survival mode, that was one of the topics that my psychologist and I touched upon last night and how I’m working, emphasis on working, on remaining positive, even if my life isn’t exactly how I’d like it to be at the moment. He mentioned how that if I choose not to believe the negative (and irrational) thoughts that creep into my head…

ex. “I will never have a job that will be fulfilling”

ex. “I will never make enough money to comfortably sustain a family and a home”

… then I can change my thinking and making it more positive. And that’s what I’ve been working on. Trying to change my mindset and not give strength to my anxiety. Oddly enough, before I went to my appointment, a good friend of mine asked me out for coffee and I explained that I had therapy at 7pm (I’m very open about going), but that I could meet him afterwards. He is a really nice guy, but he lacks a filter and bluntly asked me, “why are you still in therapy?” I was slightly taken aback by this question, but then it got me thinking – why am I still in therapy?!

I was at work when I was faced with this question, so I sat in my cube and thought about it.

I still get anxiety (meaning physical symptoms, even though they’re mild now) in certain situations or when I hear/read certain things. For example, I went to a Broadway show with my mom last week and had a little anxiety at the beginning of the show because of the loud music. I also got anxiety when I heard Steve Jobs died. I’m in therapy because I have to work on these reactions.

I’m still not the bubbly, can-see-the-good-in-every-situation self I was 2 years ago. That’s not to say that I haven’t seen improvement, I have. I can feel emotions again, I get excited by things now, but every now and again, I get scared or I just get numb. I’m in therapy to work on my thinking; to improve upon it and give myself a better quality of life.

I’m human. Things bother me; things make me happy. I have to deal with the same stuff as anyone else on this planet and since I have the opportunity to vent, I might as well take it and get it off my chest! I’m in therapy to spare those around me from having to hear my ranting and raving (although it does happen at home sometimes).

I have my reasons.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Changing My Situation, Job Search, Life's Goals

 

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Let’s get physical.

I arbitrarily picked October to be the starting point for my diet and fitness regiment. Although it’s really not much of a regiment, so much as it’s just me trying to develop and grow healthy habits for living.

As far as dieting is concerned, I am trying to eat a snack or small meal every few hours or so. I went to the supermarket on Sunday and I picked up a few of my favorite snacks (with low amounts of calories, fat, and sugar) including dark chocolate covered raisins, hummus, and greek yogurt. I just have to be careful not to eat corn, oats, potato, and soy per my naturopathic regiment. Monday I packed up 4 snacks for the day, ate breakfast (cereal), and then hit the road to work! And by road, I mean my 2 mile drive to the office on the other side of town (and I’m looking for a new job… geeze)… Anyway, my plan as it stands has me eating breakfast at home (around 7:30am), then having 2 snacks around 10:30am, eating lunch at 12:30, snacking at 2:30, snacking AGAIN at 4:30, then going to the gym after work (if I don’t have plans/commitments after work), and finally dinner around 7/7:30. I track my calories (supposed to stay between 1598-1798) on my iPhone via the Daily Burn app so as to not go overboard with my snacking! I’m on day three today and this system seems to be helping me not stuff my face at dinner plus it’s given me energy for two workouts!

Speaking of workouts, before this past Monday, I hadn’t been in the gym since the beginning of September (I think?) – either way it’s been some ungodly amount of time away from training. So with the start of this new diet plan, I decided that it’d be wise to incorporate exercise (which also helps my moods). On Monday I lifted my lower body, included an ab workout, and used the treadmill for 40 minutes. Yesterday I lifted my upper body, did another ab workout and another 40 minutes on the treadmill. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty sore the past few days, but I feel good that I was able to get into the gym and finally push myself.

I’ve gotten pretty lazy, especially over the past year and a half dealing with my emotions/anxiety. Now that I’m feeling relatively better, my body feels like it’s “waking up”; it’s almost as if it’s telling me “let’s go”, having this energy is such a pleasant surprise.

I’ve always had a gym membership since I was 14, that’s not to say that I used it the whole time, but I’ve been pretty active for most of my life. In high school, I was an athlete, a gym rat; lifting, running, biking, you name it, I did it and it showed. My best body was my senior year of high school; I was a muscular 140 lbs (U.S.)and wore a size 6/8 (U.S.) in clothing . I was fast and strong, I felt good and had a ton of confidence which helped me excel in sports. Then college happened… I gained forty lbs in a year between my freshman and sophomore years and managed to maintain my weight close to 200 lbs until my senior year. I slowly started to lose weight that year (mainly due to stress). When I graduated I was roughly 190 lbs. I went into the professional world a size 14. As I started working, I started to watch what I ate, cut soda out and basically made little changes. After a few months (slow, as I’ve mentioned), I lost another 10 lbs and met my boyfriend when I was 180 lbs (which is pretty neat considering the heavy emphasis placed upon people, especially women, to look a certain way). That was February of 2008. By September 2009, I was down to 150 lbs and a size 8 (I hadn’t been a single digit size in about 6 years at that point). It was a slow progression, but all in all I lost 50 lbs and I’ve managed to keep it off for a few years now. I just made little changes here and there and they eventually became habit. Now, I’m trying to do this again.

My weight currently fluctuates between 150-155 lbs depending on diet, menstrual cycle, physical activity, etc. I’m looking to really add some muscle and lose more fat, perhaps lower my weight, but not by too much (thinking 10-20 lbs), really releasing my inner athlete that’s dying to come out again.

My current motivation is the espnW Body Issue.

 

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Stopping the obsession. Moving Forward.

I had therapy last night. I have been having a harder time driving the past week and a half or so (I get anxious sometimes; Difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, heart palpitations), so I brought this up to my psychologist. Usually, we discuss using the mantra “I’m safe”, etc. However, I notice that even though I know that I’m safe on one level, my mind still believes the anxious thoughts. As of last night, we decided to switch my mindset to “I don’t agree” – where I know my anxious thoughts are irrational and now I have to work on not agreeing with them. Sounds weird? It is, but I have to do it.

We also spoke about how I’m so obsessed about finding out the cause of my anxiety/depression and how I read EVERYTHING there is to know about it. I actually walked into his office last night with 3 articles about gephyrophobia (fear of bridges – where most of my anxious moments driving happen) because I was obsessed about it all day long yesterday. All my doctor did was mention to me what he has before in the past; there is no one cause of all of this and I have to do the work to change my thinking. He’s right. I need to stop frequenting the birth control forums so much. I need to really work hard to change my thinking instead of trying to justify this situation by blaming medication, environment, genetics, etc in order to make myself feel better.

So today, that’s what I’m starting to do. I won’t visit the forums so much (I won’t visit at all today), I won’t google “birth control agoraphobia” “gephyrophobia” etc.  I need to really focus on my thinking and in addition to that, I need to get myself into a good, healthy routine and MOVE ON. I still feel like I’m in this vacuum and dwelling upon the last year and a half, but that’s over now (although by reading my previous blog entries and my brilliant idea to relive my scariest anxiety/depression moments you wouldn’t think so). After last night, I have to stop. I’m not going to write about my past experiences with anxiety and depression anymore. I’m now going to focus on my day-to-day and making myself better both mentally and physically.

My short-term goals (hopefully not too long-term if they have to be) are as follows:

1. Continue to work on my thoughts and subsequent reactions

2. Get myself into the gym, lose some weight (hoping 15-20 lbs.), and perhaps finally get that personal trainer certificate I’ve always wanted.

3. Continue to search for a new job; a job with potential for growth and future success.

In regards to goal #3, this economy and the lack of ease in finding new employment does cause me great anxiety in all honesty. I spoke about it with my doctor last night. I have this fear that I’ll never accomplish anything that what I want (move out, get married, have kids, have a great job) for myself. I feel very stifled by my current position because I’m stuck living at home with my parents as I do not have enough money to comfortably move out (I spent all my savings on graduate school to avoid MORE student loans; I’m still paying my undergraduate degree off). In addition, it offers no growth opportunities – it’s basically a paycheck. Sometimes my anxiety gets the better of me on this topic and I become hopeless in my head; my therapist says that’s nonsensical thinking caused by the anxiety, which I agree with. We spoke about how the economy is cyclical and how that I will always have opportunities and that I need to change my thinking about my life – again, starting that today.

My boyfriend has been really good with helping me out on the job front. We both subscribe to a great blog, http://promo.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/?back_to=http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/. We subscribed to it and the author writes some great articles about how to find a great job, etc. Recently he’s posted some videos that I have yet to watch because I’ve been distracted and lazy. So, my boyfriend’s been pushing me to watch them (he’s been my coach (in a Vince Lombardi-esque way) with this and everything else in my life) and since today’s the day I want to put myself back into a routine and actually get stuff done, I plan on watching the videos after I finish this entry (At work, of course).

The past few months since I’ve graduated with my MBA have been such an adjustment for me. I was used to having most of my week taken up by classes and schoolwork. Now I have lots of free time and although I am involved in a few organized activities, I still need to strike a balance where I make sure to take care of myself and surroundings. My room’s been a mess and I haven’t been to the gym in 3 weeks – things need to change.

I am going to slowly put myself on a routine that’s not so strict (because I know it won’t stick) and hopefully over time, it becomes habit.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Changing My Situation, Job Search

 

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