My healing journey…

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Miriam now speaks of her healing journey.  I am challenging my fears.  I believe in them less!  There is still anxiety because part of me still thinks What If?  Slowly I heal.

The way that I am challenging fears is to use the forms that I have at my disposal to help me analyze my fears, rate them, analyze my belief in the, use positive counter statements and rate the belief in these positive counter statements.

I am using the Name Your Fear form and a new one called Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts found on page 216 of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne.

Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts 500 pi

First I rated my fears in the following way for the general fear of going out:

Fear rating    Is it real?

  1. water flowers outside                                                                           3/10            Maybe?
  2. go for a short drive                                                                               5/10             No
  3. go for a long drive                                                                                 6/10             No
  4. give someone you love a ride                                                             7/10             Maybe?
  5. go shopping                                                                                            9/10             Maybe?

 

I gave someone I love a ride and I went shopping.  I’ve simplified my fears a little but the anxiety was real!

Then I used a Facing Your Fear form (shown below).  For the fear of giving someone I love a ride I rated it as a fear of 8/10 at the moment even though while I was just writing about it I would have rated it a 7/10.  The time to test this fear lasted a half hour.  I was not as scared coming home because I thought to myself that they’re not interested in me.  This positive rational thought helped me to be less anxious!  I even stopped at McDonald’s on the way home!  So I feared less.

Face Your Fears

Then I used the Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts and rated the fear I felt as an 8/10  (they use 100 but I’m using 10).  The automatic thought was they are going to get the person I love and my belief was an 8/10.  The positive rational thought was that they’re not interested in me.  This I rated as a 3.5/10.  The belief in the initial fear thought was changed to a 7/10 because of this positive rational thought.  The feeling after was one of relief that I believed in at a rating of 5/10.  So I still fear and I still believe that they are after me but the more I go out and see no positive reinforcement of that fear, the less I fear!  I did mindfulness while I was driving trying to relax my fear.

Another fear was to go out shopping.  I rated this fear as a 9/10.  The positive counter statement to this fear again is that they are not interested in you.  I called the Crisis Line last week and they helped me with my anxiety and the fear that organized crime was after me.  Firstly I am not rich and secondly I am not involved in crime or drugs.  The probability then that they are after me is low.  So the question is, is this fear real?  Is it true?  I would rate it as 6/10 as being true.  I still have to face my fears and go out to see if people are interested in me!  Only time will tell.

The Facing Fears Form rated the fear as a 9/10 and lasted 1.25 hours.  Only one person looked my way and might have been watching me.  I feared less on the way home.  If no one had looked my way I would have been more confident.  I had never seen the person before.  I would rate my fear of going out shopping now as an 8/10.

The Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts rated the fear as 9/10 with the automatic thought that they are going to get you and a belief of 9/10.  The positive rational response was that they are not interested in you and the belief in that was rated as 3.5/10.  The initial automatic response to the fear was rated as 8/10 after that.  And the feeling of relief was 6/10.

So analyzing my fear to see if it’s real or true is helping me.  When I go out I look for evidence that I am being followed.  As I progress, I think that I will see no evidence and fear less.  My inner instinct is to be cautious because I always ask myself What If?  What if they are after me and find and identify my family who I love?  Let alone myself?  So I have to be smart and safe to keep my family from harm!  I have to wait and make sure that I am not being followed and the only way to do this is to go out and test it!

My next step is to go shopping again.  I will observe and be very careful.  My life might depend on it.  I’ll keep you posted!

I phoned my counselor and talked for the first time, freely, about my fears.  She was very helpful.  She helped me talk about my anxiety and helped me to express my fears.  She agreed that organized crime was probably not after me!  I’ll have to wait and see.  She also suggested that I draw/paint a shield of courage for myself.  I have no idea what that would be but that’s my task for today.  I will sketch a shield of courage and then paint one!  Until next time…

 

 

My healing journey…

 

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  The meeting with the professional was a let down.  My anxiety is less as I face my own personal demons…my personal fears.  Slowly I heal.

I spoke with a lady who knows about making statements to the police about abuse.  Unfortunately my memories aren’t explicit enough to be considered by the police.  I don’t remember kissing or the sex act only my babysitter crouching over my half naked body.  I had been sleeping and woke up to that.  Had he been in the actual act of sex then I would have had a reason to go to the police.  I could try to remember more but my counselor has already told me that I don’t have to do that unless I want to.  I really don’t want to relive that time.  I am trying to forget it!  We’ll see however if my mind is happy with that.  Now when I do mindfulness often the thought of being raped floats into my mind.  My mind wants it to come out somehow.  Just how far I have to go for my mind to be calm I don’t know!  I’ll continue to work with my counselor.

I spoke of the Name Your Fear form last week.  I have been using that form.  What you have to do is take a fear and rate it.  Then ask yourself is it real or isn’t it.  If it isn’t then remember the positive counter statements every time that fear surfaces.  Remind yourself that it isn’t real.  If it is real, think of smaller steps that could bring you to that particular fear.  Smaller fears if you will.  Rate them.  Then take the lowest one and work on it.  By working on it I mean expose yourself to that fear and rate your feeling/fear on a scale of zero to ten.  As you repeatedly expose yourself to the fear with positive counter statements, your fear should subside slowly.  If it doesn’t then it is time to see a psychiatrist and get counseling.  Notice I use the word counseling.  Therapy without counseling is useless!  So unless you are able to talk about your fear, nothing is going to help you!  Once a lower rated fear has subsided to lets say a two or three out of ten, then it’s time to choose a higher rated fear and work on that.  In the same way expose yourself to the fear repeatedly.  Slowly your fear should subside especially if you are using positive counter statements.  If it doesn’t it’s time to talk to your psychiatrist or a counselor.  But at least you have identified a fear that you could discuss with them and work on further.  By positive counter statements I mean answers to questions like is this real? and has this ever happened before? and is this a proven fact?

Well it feels like a bit of an anticlimax.  I was ready to go to the police and now I can’t.  I will concentrate on celebrating my accomplishments rather than the negative aspects of my bad experience.  But I can’t block it in anymore.  I have a mental disability because of it.  I will continue to read The Courage to Heal and the Anxiety and Phobia workbook and see where that takes me.

I chose the picture above because I love the mountains.  This picture invokes in me a feeling of peace and awe.  A peace that I desperately crave.  Until next time…

Name Your Fear.

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Miriam takes the time to write about her healing journey.  I talked to someone important and found out something new.  I created a Name Your Fear form.  I am slowly going forward.  Heal my friend heal.

I finally broke down and talked to my mother about my childhood.  I just told her that I had had a dream about that time.  I didn’t say whether it was a bad or a good dream.  It helped me to figure out what age I was when I had my bad experience.  I was only 1 1/2 years old.  I cry.  My soul cries.  My spirit writhes in anguish.  How could my babysitter do that!  Heal my friend heal.

I spoke to my counselor today.  She calmed me down.  One reaction of someone else was is it credible then if you were only 1 1/2 years old.  I have the memories.  It is real.  My counselor calmed me down.  She helped me think of sudoko, adult coloring books and mindfulness.  She also said that we would discuss more on Tuesday about the legal aspect of filing a third party report.  It doesn’t mean that we will go to court.  But it will be on record!

I have another dimension that I am dealing with.  It is my anxiety.  I have created a form called Name Your Fear.  On it you can list your fear and rate it from 0 to 10 and then there is a column that asks Is It Real?.  Here is a copy.

Name Your Fear short

The most important column is “Is It Real?”.  You can answer Yes or No.  No one in my long history of my illness has sat me down with a form like this.  No one has talked to me about my fears specifically.  And I have been ill for a long time.  Trying to cope with my anxiety and live a normal life.  “Is It Real?”.  Test your fear if it is safe to do so.  Is it real?  Ask yourself.  Open yourself up to the fact that it may not be real and that your anxiety exists only in your mind!  I have tested one fear.  And I will test it over and over again.  I am working on another fear.  I am trying to stay tuned with reality and figure out how much of my anxiety is in my mind.  This form will help.  Heal my friend heal.

Again, writing this blog has helped.  Hopefully it can help you too.  That is why I share my healing journey with all of you.

Sorry for the rant.  I am in a state of flux.  Of self discovery.  Of sadness.  Of mourning a childhood lost.  Until next time…

My healing journey…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  I have had a major breakthrough in my awareness of all that’s around me.  I am also assessing the damage of my abuse as a child.

It is so hard to write the word abuse.  It’s something that I try to hide from.  I have shame.  I feel dirty.  Yet what my babysitter did to me was not my fault!  I think that that was the hardest realization and the most freeing realization.  It wasn’t my fault.

I am mentally ill because I was abused as a child.  I am on disability.  I am not able to work.  I fear for my life.  That is how deep the anxiety goes!  My major breakthrough is that my fears may not be real.  What I have feared and the signs I had along the way to encourage the way I feel may just have been coincidence.  This is a major break through!  But how do you test it when even the ones you love might be in danger?!  You test it alone.  Without them being involved.

Today I went out and against all my instincts of self preservation, I went straight to the store and picked up some things.  I was testing if I was being followed.  I wore sunglasses just in case.  People seemed normal.  There was no obvious person that was following me or watching me.  Whew!  So when I got home I filled out my fear ladder.  And rated my fear as well as the event of going out.  You can read more about the fear ladder in this post.  So my fear is about an 8/10 with ten being the worst fear I can imagine.  It went well but was too short for me to be sure.  In addition I have to repeat going out like this more than once to be more sure that I am not being followed.  My psychiatrists response was to increase my medication dose and he had no comments on how to help me to know if my fears were real.  I have to rely on the Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Bourne.  It seems alright but to protect the ones I love I still have to be careful.

On another note I am also assessing the damage of my abuse.  There I said the word.  It’s a word people cringe from.  Forgive me.  The most damage has been in my self-esteem, my feelings and my body.  I have low self-esteem, I am numb and find it hard to cry, and I am overweight.  I have problems nurturing myself.  What I found interesting was that my sexuality has not been affected although I tend to be attracted to manipulators and men who don’t respect me.  I am also too obedient towards my lover and allow him to take over my personality.  Recently my family relations have suffered greatly from my mental illness.  I am extremely sad about this.  Hopefully they will respect me and allow me to heal at my own pace.  It is slow and painful and takes all of my courage.  I am using the book The Courage to Heal Workbook by Davis.

I have to wait until next week to talk with the professional about filing a police report.  We’ll be talking on Tuesday.  Then I think that I will make a report so that it’s on record what that babysitter did but also to protect myself.  What if after all these years he finds out that I know?!  What could or would he do!  Therein lies another fear.  For myself and my loved ones.

In addition I have decided to ask my mother about dates when the babysitter was taking care of me.  I won’t tell her about the abuse.  I’ll just say that I’ve been having bad dreams.  My mother is too old and fragile.  I don’t want to bother her about this!

Major changes.  Major hurdles.  All requiring courage.  The courage to heal.  I thank God for my counselor and the two books that I am reading.  The healing journey is a difficult one.  Hopefully this post has helped someone.  It had really helped me to heal.  Thank you.  I am posting Tuesdays now instead of Mondays.  Mondays are just too busy for me.  Until next time…

My healing journey…

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Miriam shares about her healing journey.  There is calm.  I new breakthrough.  Some of my fears have all been in my mind.  Not real.  I think?

Today has been a day of calm yet with a little bit of anxiety.  I am calm.  I painted without too many distractions.  It was quiet.  So much so that it worries me.  Go figure…

A major breakthrough.  If it’s true.  So there is calm as my mind adjusts to this new reality.  I thought that I had proof about something.  But it may have all been just chance.  Maybe it was random and didn’t prove anything.  This is mind blowing.  If so then I am not in as much danger as I thought I was in.  I am safe.  But I have to be careful.  I have to be sure.  The only way to do this is to relax a little and be very observant and cautious.  So I have relaxed.  And it is quiet.  The new demons have been quiet.  The demons of the past have been almost as quiet.  When I sit still with nothing to do, my mind wanders and the demons are present.  If I am busy they are not as present.  I guess that means that I should just keep busy.  But that too is avoidance in a way.  I have to find the underlying reason for the demons.  One demon I am sure of.  I know exactly why it’s there.  The other demons I am not sure of.  So I relax and enjoy this day of relative calm.  I will be careful, cautious and observant.  Maybe it is true.  Maybe that part of my anxiety was all in my mind!  Wow!

Heal my friend heal.

 

Negative Self Talk Continued.

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Miriam speaks about her continued healing journey and negative self talk.  Her negative self talk is so ingrained that it is hard to recognize it.  So much so that she stopped thinking about it.  It is there however and needs to be dealt with!

I had a previous post on negative self talk.  It can be found here.  I was discouraged because my negative self talk is so ingrained in me that I short circuit to negative ideas without recognizing the negative self talk.  The way to counteract it is to have positive counter statements as I have said before.  However, if you are unaware of the negative self talk this is hard to do.  With practice however it is possible.  It is like exercising.  You have to slowly go through it and lift the weights (use the Worry Worksheet…see Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Bourne and my previous post) and slowly get your mind used to using the counterstatements.  It helps if you write it down.  Another form called Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts is recommended.  The headings in the form are:

Date,

Situation:  1. Actual event or 2. Stream of thoughts leading to an unpleasant emotion.

Emotional:  1. Be specific ie sad, happy and 2. Rate the degree of emotion 0 – 100.

Automatic Thoughts:  1. Automatic thoughts that came before the emotion and 2. Rate the belief in the automatic thoughts 0 – 100.

Rational Response:  1. Rational thought to automatic thought and 2. rate belief in the rational thought 0 – 100.

Outcome:  1. Rerate belief in automatic though 0 – 100 and 2.  List and rate your subsequent emotions 0 – 100.

A jpeg file of the form is found below:

Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts 500 pi

But it takes practice.  Just like exercise.  You have to do it over and over again.  The more often you do it the better you get at doing it!

The book goes on to say that there are three things that you should do if you feel yourself getting anxious or getting negative self talk.  They are:

  •  Notice that you are now doing negative self talk.  This happens when you are feeling depressed, anxious, self critical or upset.
  • Stop.  Ask yourself a) what am I telling myself to feel this way, b) do I really want to do this to me and c) do I really want to continue on being mad.
  • Relax and do something else.  Meditate, clean the house, exercise, read etc.

I have taken a step to the side in my healing journey.  I have to first name the abuser before I can continue healing the proper way.  The professional I wanted to talk to is away on holiday so I can’t do that this week.  So I opted for the Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.  I read either one of the two main books that I’ve told you about.  The other is The Courage to Heal (with a workbook too).  When one is too much, I read the other one!  As long as I keep going forward.  I have promised a loved one that I will work on this and heal and survive.  So it’s important to me.

Hopefully this post has helped some along their own path of healing.  That is why I post on this delicate subject.  Enjoy!  I will be posting Tuesdays now instead of Mondays.  It just works better for me.  Sometimes I will post Thursday evenings.  I will always try to post on Saturday.  Until next time!

 

Gannets Pastel Painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Gannets pastel painting.  She drew and painted on days of anxiety.  The painting helped her forget.

The black of the markings contrast markedly with the white beige of the gannet.  It is striking and draws the eye immediately.  The blue background contrasts well with the white and beige of the head and neck.  The grey of the bills contrasts as well.  The middle ground is the body of the two gannets.  They are embracing.

I drew at a time of anxiety.  I didn’t do as well with the proportions because of this.  The day of painting was with anxiety as well.  Luckily there were large areas that required little thought.  Today was calm enough to put the last touches to the heads and allow the contrast to stand out.  I am pleased with the painting.  I did forget for a while.  I am blocked and am therefore posting art instead of my healing journey.  I have named the abuser.  This has taken a lot out of me because I have to decide whether to file a formal complaint or not.  I will decide on Tuesday maybe.  Courage is what I need.  Courage!

The blue background was a challenge.  I could have used soft pastels but opted for my Derwent Fine Art Pencils.  They are getting short though and I will have to buy more soon!  The black markings contrasted well and I am pleased with it.  I took care to put more detail on the body.

The Gannet is one of the largest sea birds in the North Atlantic.  It was declining in numbers but is on the rebound.  It is well known for diving into water to fish for it’s food, sometimes from more than a 100′ above the water.

This is a 12×18″ pastel painting and is available unframed or framed.  Please see the Shop tab above and click on Portfolio.

Enjoy!

Cheetah pastel painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Cheetah pastel painting.  I painted this painting on days of extreme anxiety.  I tried positive counter thoughts to ease that anxiety.

The golden brown eyes of the cheetah draw the viewers eye to the center and middle ground of the painting.  The beige yellow fur reflects the golden brow of the eyes.  The black spots contrast markedly against the beige of the fur.  The beige of the background blends well with the beige gold of this lesser cat.

I drew at a time of extreme anxiety.  New demons and old fears.  The attention I gave to the proportion of the distance between the eyes and the length of the nose and the height of the brow absorbed me and made me forget my fears.  I was at peace.  The attention to the beige and yellow made me focus and forget my fears.  The attention to the black spots made me focus and forget my fears.  As I painted I felt the anxiety drain away.

Technically this lesser cat was a challenge.  But I am finally getting the proportions right!  The distance between the eyes compared to the length of the nose and the height of the brow are important.  My family is my greatest critic and they say this is my best lesser cat yet!

The cheetah is endangered and it’s biggest predator is man.  Also encroachment on it’s habitat by farming is putting this lesser cat at higher risk.  The cheetah is not considered a big cat because it can’t roar.  It’s missing a bone in it’s throat to do this.  It is known as the fastest feline in the world.  It has also been tamed often, sometimes as a hunting animal.  Please protect the cheetah now!

This is an approximately 12×18″ pastel painting.  It will be matted to a smaller size though.  It is available for purchase.  Please see the Shop now option on the top tool bar and choose Portfolio.

Hopefully you have appreciated this painting rather than a post about my healing journey.  I am too busy today to do  my usual healing reading.  Please accept this painting in it’s place.  Enjoy!

Leopard2 pastel painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Leopard2 pastel painting.  This is the second one in a series.  I drew this on a day of extreme anxiety.  The next day was filled with joy.  A new idea.  The painting was finished on a day of extreme anxiety.

The blue yellow of the leopard’s eyes draw the viewers eye to the center of the painting.  The leopard is looking right at you.  What is he thinking?  He is ready to leap.  The foreground of his face doesn’t distract from the eyes and blends well with the rest of the body.  The background of his body contrasts well with the head.

I had extreme anxiety as I drew the leopard.  The eyes were done on a day of relative calm.  The rest of the head was done on a day of joy.  A new idea was born.  I could write a second book, this time non-fiction.  I will have to wait and see!  Old fears have resurfaced with new voices while I finished the painting.  But I stay calm.  I know how to be still.  Calm…  Still…

I tried to concentrate on the eyes.  They worked out well.  I love the blue, purple, and gold mix!  I spent a lot of time on the nose.  It still looks a bit crooked.  But better than before!

The Amur Leopard is critically endangered with only 35 left in the wild!

This is a 12×18″ pastel painting available framed or unframed.  Please see the Shop button under portfolio.

Ramblings…

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Miriam’s healing journey is on hold right now.  She is writing a book.  At first it was to be three short books, now it’s going to be one long one!

I didn’t post last night and I should have.  It was a very anxious day.  I am sorry.  New demons haunted me.  New fears.

I am also writing a book as you know.  But the first book is too short.  So now I will write my three books as one.  I was going to give the second ebook away if someone bought the first one.  But now it’s all going to be one book.

Yesterday afternoon was so anxious that I didn’t do anything but watch television.  I had too much fear.  My coping mechanism still is to watch television.  I guess I should have written the fear down.  I didn’t do this.  It was fear that a loved one would be hurt.  They are busy and active, the ones that I love.  My fear is great that they will be hurt.  The voices in my head were after them.  How do I cope with these voices?  I don’t know.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I could write the fear down and use positive counter statements to alleviate the fear.  So there has been no evidence to support that my loved ones are being followed.  No evidence to support that they will be harmed.  Now I am calmer.

I will try to be calmer on days like this!  I will try to heal…

Namaste!