Mar 28, 2007

March update on social anxiety

March has been a bad month as far as social anxiety goes. Judging from the lack of posts on the other social anxiety blogs, I wonder whether everybody is in the same bucket. Maybe it's spring-related or equinox related or something like that. Back in Romania they used to say there's a spring anemia.

I've been up and down, but mostly down. I forced myself to do a few things, I abandoned scores of other communications. As usual, for my failures, I blamed everybody around me, my life, the universe. I expected people around me to do specific things for me, but did not tell them what they had to do.

Now that spring is finally here, I hope to be able to get over this period and find my way again.

Mar 25, 2007

"No act of kindness ever goes unpunished"

This is a follow-up from my last post. My kid has been sick for the last two days... poor guy, I keep thinking it must have been a present from those nice kids he hugged.


Mar 23, 2007

Hugger baby

I need to share something wonderful with you: my 15 months old baby is a hugger. We met a group of about 5-6 kids yesterday and he went on and hugged each one of them. At the time when he should be at the peak of his stranger anxiety he's showing and demonstrating affection for others.

I was so scared that he will either inherit or learn the anxiety and shyness from me. I guess there's still time, but right now it looks like he's just fine, maybe even a bit more social than kids his age. I got the book on helping shy children and read it even before he was born, I watched his every interraction with everyone. and now I got to have a big sigh of relief. Hey, he can get all our other deffects, but if he won't be painfully shy, it will be so much better for him.

And I'm happy that he learned that hugging is nice. I can tell how he learned that: he's hugged and asked to hug a lot and he sees us hugging a lot too. In my family that didn't happen. I can count on my fingers the number of times I remember my mother hugging me. I guess some families are like that. I'm happy ours isn't!

Successfully shy

A great benefit to having statistics counter... I could find this nice blog from someone that liked and linked to my blog.

Thanks you for reading my blog. I like yours too. I will dig into it some more.

Mar 22, 2007

Why would you do something so stupid

Today I noticed something that my babysitter glued a page of a baby book back to the book with lots of pieces of scotch tape and I thought to myself: "Why would you do something that stupid?"

And while thinking about it, I realized that I am doing that a lot: when I see something that somebody (including me) does I notice right away what's stupid with it, actually I try to find something stupid in that. You can always find pros and cons to any action that anyone is doing... if somebody did something, it's done, so what's the point of labeling it?

I remember I heard that CEOs of big companies have 2 advisers: the yes person (that will tell him all the good stuff about a decision that he needs to make) and the no person (that will find all the bad parts of it). This way the CEO would be able to see both sides of the coin and make an informed decision. I would be great for a no person. I can find faults with anything.

I need to get back to zen.

Mar 20, 2007

Dealing with emotional people

I am reading If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee. It is a wonderful book. I am surprised. I am surprised that such a great book on health care management exists and so many hospitals and medical offices seem to not use these simple, common sense ideas. I am surprised to see people criticising the book so harsh: that's exactly what we need, another health care administrator teaching us how to do our job or how can you compare Disney with a hospital. I think the book successfully demonstrates that health care (and actually any domain that deals with people) can use some of the techniques that Disney is using.

I guess I'm learning one more time that in health care just like in any other field some people will just not get it. And I am sure there are other great books out there that deal with all these issues.

I was amazed to understand why I loved the hospital where I had my first baby and loss, and wasn't impressed by the one where I got home healthy and with a healthy happy baby. The outcome doesn't matter, the people and empathy and caring does. I thought it was more a matter of people cutting us some slack because we were having a loss, vs. being the whiny, healthy woman in labor that is anxious and crazy. You would think that a good outcome should cause a good impression, and a bad outcome would cause anger and need to revenge... not necessarily.

I was happy to also find a useful idea on understanding my anxiety. The author was discussing how when dealing with an angry person, it is important to imagine what the person goes through and empathize with them rather than rationally demonstrating that they have no reason to be angry. This is so right...

I am very proud of being logical and using reason to resolve problems. It is tough on me to realize that when I am anxious and emotional I seem to lose this. Things that seem unresolvable now might seem clear in an hour if my anxiety subsides. I can convince myself how that person did something completely wrong and an hour later just realize that it was just an opinion. So when I talk to someone and I am all emotional and their rational response demonstrates that I am wrong, I feel very bad. I hate myself and get into a spiral of anxiety. If the other person understands that I am emotional and knows that I wouldn't say that under normal circumstances, if the other person lets me know that they get it and I am OK, I feel good, my anxiety dissipates and I can see the world for what it is.

I think that is a lesson for me too: do not argue with people that are obviously emotional, just try to understand where they come from and let them know that you do.

Mar 19, 2007

Welcome back, Ileana

I'm back! Where have I been? In my anxiety world. What did I do there? Not much: mostly bitched about everyone and everything, pushing everybody away. Not fun to be there for either me or anyone around me.

It was my birthday. Happy St. Patrick's day! I don't like birthdays, I don't like Christmas. The burden of putting a happy face for everyone is too much for me. I don't know why. Over the years I got to almost perfection in pushing everybody away. It is my leave me alone day. I can't understand why people like parties... It's not that I don't like attention on me... I love to teach or present to a conference.

The blog... I have statistics counter now and I can see that some of you faithfully came over to check what's new on the blog. I wanted to write something, but it wasn't nice and I felt guilty to burden you that are persistent in reading my blog. I know everybody has bad days, but this was so dark. I felt there's nothing to say anymore. All my dreams were gone, all the good stuff I could do was gone. I wanted to delete the whole blog, I wanted to run away and disappear in the dark.

Today I went for a long drive. I love driving. It helps me think things through. And life is so much better. There's inspiration for the blog, there are nice ways to say things I was critical about before. Openness is possible again. The impossible dream didn't die after all.

Thank you so much my friends for checking on me. I'll try to keep above the sea level from now on... at least until Christmas... and then, I'll plan a long drive the day after Christmas.

Mar 13, 2007

About perception - from another blog

My dear anxious friends, please don't miss Maria's post at intueri.

I love Maria's writing, but this post in particular is such a good reminder for us worriers.

Mar 6, 2007

Dependence and independence

There' s a great article in today's New York Times that discusses whether dependency is healthy or not. It suggests that a controlled dependency on a spouse can actually make for a happier marriage. I must admit that I agree with the statement.

When I started feeling better about myself, first it felt great that I don't need to run to my husband to help me get through this or the other crisis, but by the end of the month I realized that we missed on the quality time together. Readjusting our relationship to the new me and still keeping close together is maybe the most challenging part of this process. We spend quite a lot of time with our son though: eating dinner and bathing him, and playing with him and reading stories (Winnie the Pooh is our favorite - the jury is still out though if I am shy Piglet or wise Rabbit). And probably having a child would have been a challenge to our quality time anyway. I think we are adjusting well though.

We had a great relationship before and I am happy that nowadays the thinking is pretty much that a bit of dependency doesn't hurt. I wonder if when I'll get to the bottom of my social anxiety, I will discover that nothing was wrong to begin with.

I went shopping yesterday... first I noticed that when I'm outspoken people realize how strange I am. Then I got annoyed at their bad database design (you know, when they ask for your information even though they should have you because you already gave them identifying information). The service is bad and it takes a lot of time... So I guess I will continue to do Internet shopping not because I avoid it from social anxiety, but because I think it saves time.

The same with friends. I was very unhappy because I couldn't make friends. Now I don't want some of those friends because they have a dose of negativity that I don't need in my life right now. The friends I had before are still around and they seem closer now that they know about me.

It feels like the world is just the same, only my perception of it changed. Hmmm, nothing new under the sun.

Mar 4, 2007

Positive trends in anxiety

I feel funny about posting all these positive messages all the time, but I am doing better, I can see it from month to month. I am afraid that I will break the luck... we'll see, here comes another one.

I notice a difference in the way I am feeling and handling anxiety these days. I first noticed this in December and now it just happened again. When I have an event that is causing me big anxiety, I used to ignore it. When the event was close, I started being ballistic against anyone around. I would finally accept that I am anxious, not sleep for a night or two right before the event. When it finally happened, I was exhausted and tired.

Now, my anxiety starts way before the event: two weeks in advance I keep thinking about it, about all the bad things, how I'm not going to do the right thing, etc. It is really painful: I'm thinking about it all the time, I can't sleep well, I get IBS symptoms. This happened to me this last week. All of a sudden the world became unbearable. I was wondering what is going to happen if this will go on for another week.

And then, out of the blue, in the shower one morning, after two sleepless nights, I thought: if this is so painful, I'm resisting it. If I just let go and stop resisting, it will get better. My anxiety dissipated right there and then and now I can't even believe that my last week was so difficult. It felt like I lived so much anxiety that there was no more left to feel. I ran out of anxiety :D

My meeting is will be in a few days, but I am sleeping well, feeling great and having no problems. The same thing happened with a party back in December. I love this. It is getting so much better.