Agoraphobic Nomad | Goals & Mindset

Goals & Mindset
I have found a huge obstacle to overcome when dealing with my own anxiety and agoraphobia, is trying to tackle the ‘problem’ or situation as a ‘whole’, for example, I want to be better ‘right now’ and go to the places I want to go at ‘this instant’ and do the things I want to immediately without any anxiety, or at least feel able to deal with the feelings and carry on regardless. Of course, this is most likely unrealistic and I haven’t found a magic wand to disappear the feelings of anxiety and panic as of yet! 🙂
I have noticed, in pretty much all areas of my life, I have wanted to achieve a goal immediately, however large the goal was. For example, when I was working as an electrician and had a house rewire to carry out, my mentality or approach would be to rewire the whole house. My goal was to rewire the whole house. This would actually be quite overwhelming, as it would take some time to achieve the goal, thus creating a feeling of non-achievement, for the days I hadn’t reached the goal of completing the house-rewire. This mentality was how I dealt with everything I did, learning songs/techniques for guitar, painting/drawing a picture and so on. I would always set myself up for an immense ‘mountain to climb’. Often, I could not even see the top of the mountain.
When having a goal which may only be achieved in the distant future, it seems to be less overwhelming to break the ‘big’ goal into smaller goals. For instance, when I was to rewire a house, it would have been more beneficial for me, to break the full house rewire into smaller goals, such as breaking the house down into daily achievable goals, for example, rewire kitchen, living-room, bedrooms and so on.
Breaking tasks down into smaller goals which are achievable in the moment has many positive effects, including a sense of achievement, increased motivation, decreased procrastination, elimination of feelings of overwhelm, satisfaction and so on.
You can break your goals into smaller and smaller goals if that is what is needed. I now know, I need (and needed) to break my goals down into smaller goals and will split a ‘big’ goal up into many, many smaller goals. I even approach chores as goals now and feel happy or satisfied when each small goal is completed. I also seem to get more done, instead of setting myself too large a goal, being overwhelmed leading to procrastination, lack of motivation, etc.
I have also applied this way of thinking to my anxiety condition and if I feel I have set up a goal which is too overwhelming, I will break it down into even smaller goals which are achievable. This seems to have a huge positive impact with maintaining positivity, achievement, confidence and so on. It is also good for your well-being to be mindful of your achievements, in whatever form they take, and give yourself praise after each goal is achieved.
This is such a simple change in mindset and for me has been invaluable to my sense of well-being and for years, I could not see the ‘wood for the trees’ with my previous way of approaching the way I went about situations relating to this post.
I’m still quite the procrastinator, but things are improving and am practicing and building on the small goals I have set myself, learning new and healthy patterns for well-being and recovery.

(Written June 2015).




Agoraphobic Nomad | Walter the Pigeon, Fight or Flight & Desensitisation to Fear

Walter the Pigeon, Fight or Flight & Desensitisation to Fear

Around a week ago, a pigeon landed in the back garden at the house where I live. The pigeon had an injured wing and was obviously in distress. I was in the garden at the time and was careful not to add to any more distress to which the pigeon was feeling. I went to go and get a handful of cornflakes to see that he had food. I walked slowly toward the pigeon, so as to drop the handful of cornflakes in front of him, so at least he would have something to eat. Even though I tried to be careful, not to make any sudden movements, the pigeon was very frightened and in a state of panic. He flapped his wings and ran into some ivy which was draping from the garden fence.

I made sure I kept my eye on the pigeon (who I named ‘Walter’), while he was in the garden, hoping he would make a full recovery. I looked on the internet to see if there were any animal/bird services who would maybe pick him up and take him into care, but the problem being, birds are very hard to catch, even if they are injured and are needing help. I decided to keep checking up on him while he rested in the garden, made sure he had food and to make sure he was safe.

Over the course of a few days, Walter was becoming less fearful, more used to me and it came to a point where he would no longer run away from me when I went to give him his cornflakes. He was still slightly on edge and cautious of me, but no longer as distressed as he was on the first day he flew into the garden. On the first day, I could see the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in full operation, except poor Walter couldn’t fly with his injured wing and had to resort to running into the ivy and hiding amongst the leaves.

I could see, over the period of a few days, while I checked up on Walter, his fear of me was diminishing. I could see he was forming a new habit, or was learning through experience that I was not a threat to his existence. On the first day we met, I was an object of fear, but a few days in, I was transformed into being an object to be cautious about and not an object to cause Walter full scale panic. I noted, in a relatively short time period, the intense fear in Walter had diminished over a few days after being exposed to my presence at frequent intervals. I could see a desentisation to fear in progress, right in front of my eyes. Walter gave me confidence in my own ability to diminish my own sense of fear and high-anxiety triggered by certain situations through repeated exposure to the object/situation of fear.

After a few days, Walter’s wing had healed enough for him to fly and he flew off into the sunset to live his life again.

Life’s teachers can come from the most unexpected places, times and situations.

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(Written June 2015).




Agoraphobic Nomad | Positive Input

Positive Input

Whether you are feeling low, unmotivated and sad, or in high spirits, motivated and happy, listening to music can be a good way to lift spirits or boost existing happiness and contentment.

I remember, when I was younger, I listened to quite a lot of ‘dark’ music and would play this music repetitively, thus creating a dark place in my mind. Conversely, listening to uplifting and positive music can lift the mood and make a person feel good.

It’s a lot easier, apparently, for a human-being to remember phrases if they sing them, rather than reading a phrase or talking a phrase. We probably all know this ourselves through experience. Marketers and advertisers know this, which is why we often see or hear many adverts on the TV and radio using medleys and sung catchphrases of their products to ‘get’ into our minds. For example, I, like many others, find the ‘Go Compare’ TV advert/commercial highly irritating with the operatic sung catchphrase of the company, but nevertheless, the advertisers have done their job very well as I will not forget who they are and what they do.

Knowing this and being aware of how music (and information) can affect our mind and well-being, we can choose what we wish to put into our minds. If we are aware of how our environment affects us at a subliminal level, we can choose what we want to be influenced by, whether that be negative or positive. For me, I prefer to choose the positive!

Here’s a song which lifts my spirits and feel free to add your own:

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(Written June 2015).




Agoraphobic Nomad | Personality

Personality

It seems that people who experience, endure and develop anxiety conditions are very creative and imaginative. We can envisage scenarios, may enjoy writing, creating poetry, creating art, creating music and so on.

Being creative and imaginative has it’s ‘downside’, as we can also imagine and create dark, negative and scary scenarios in our heads. Coupled with a sensitivity, or even an over-sensitivity to our environment and our ‘inner-world’, the ‘dark side of creativity’ can and usually will produce feelings of fear, uncertainty and anxiety.

There seem to be so many traits which contribute to an individual’s personality and character and obviously everybody is unique and different. I have enjoyed taking personality tests over the years and have taken the Myers Briggs/Jung Personality type test. The test is a simple test and I have included the link to the test here. I view the test as just having a bit of fun, but also may reveal an insight to our own personality characteristics. Obviously, a human-being can not be measured by taking a short personality test, as we are far more complex than that. Nevertheless, the test may be fun, interesting and insightful.

http://similarminds.com/jung.html

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(Written June 2015).




Agoraphobic Nomad | Codependency

Codependency

In 2001, I visited a counselor to seek help for my increasing levels of anxiety, ‘panic attacks’ and onset of agoraphobia. Part of what she had noticed about me was my lack of assertiveness. Unwittingly, I was a ‘people-pleaser’ and found it difficult to say ‘no’ to others’ requests and demands due to not wanting to ‘let anybody down’ or upsetting them. I stayed in a job which I detested for 10 years, due to not wanting to upset my bosses and when I finally did leave to become self-employed, I found it hard to say ‘no’ to favours or extra jobs, when my work time was already filled up with existing jobs. Trying to fit all the extra favours and jobs into my full work timetable had a negative effect and would push me behind, timewise, with existing work, sometimes causing anger from clients. My ‘people-pleasing’ mentality also pervaded other areas of my life, including relationships.

However, since discovering my own assertiveness from an insight during counselling, I have now and again, slipped into ‘people-pleasing’ mode, at the expense of myself, creating negative effects. Also, after discovering and developing my own assertiveness, I would become aggressive in situations I perceived as unjust, or situations where I may feel I was being taken advantage of, or disrespected. It seemed, after knowing I could be assertive, I had switched from ‘people-pleaser’ to stubborn and aggressive, which also yielded a negative outcome. Years later, I was to learn the common term in psychology for ‘people-pleasing’ behaviours is called ‘codependency’ and maintaining a balance between self and others, is the way to move forward positively.

From what I have learned and talking with others who experience high levels of anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, etc, there seems to be a ‘people-pleasing’ and codependent trait in the individual.

Here’s a link to more about codependency: http://www.dummies.com/…/codependency-for-dummies-cheat-she…

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/agoraphobicnomad

(Written June 2015).




Agoraphobic Nomad | Emotional Resistance

Emotional Resistance

One of the biggest obstacles I have faced since experiencing panic disorder and high-anxiety is ’emotional resistance’ to change. Over the course of time, I had/have developed unhealthy behaviours, such as using alcohol, procrastinating and not doing the things which would create positive change and positive behaviours. Of course, both positive and negative behaviours, once learned, turn into habitual behaviours. I have found my own emotional resistance has hindered me to recover and affects motivation to change and move forward. I have also found, when feeling emotional resistance and wanting to do what I need to do to improve is to push through the emotional resistance. At times, this may feel uncomfortable, but have found it to be very satisfying when ‘doing’ whatever is needed to be done for a healthier state of mind.

It has been easier for me to self-medicate with alcohol, instead of facing my fears, leaving things until ‘tomorrow’ which would benefit me if they were done today. ‘Tomorrow’, of course, never comes.

Here’s a link about ’emotional resistance’ which explains it better: http://www.motivatehealthyhabits.com/…/emotional_resistance…

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/agoraphobicnomad

(Written June 2015).




Agoraphobic Nomad | Introduction

Agoraphobic Nomad

I have experienced agoraphobia with panic disorder for around 14 years, after experiencing anxiety and panic episodes. In the past, I have used both healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with the condition, but mainly unhealthy and dysfunctional methods, such as using alcohol to block out the intense feelings of anxiety. I started to depend or self-medicate with alcohol to get out and about, more and more, but found myself in a situation where I was drinking far too much and too frequently.

I am now in the process of facing and dealing with my anxious feelings and fears without the aid of alcohol. I have sought help and support from therapists, and others who find themselves in a similar situation.

I will be starting a blog very shortly, documenting recovery, sharing positive and healthy advice, and I am also in the process of writing a book which will describe my experiences over the years, from childhood, until present. I hope to shed light on personality characteristics, experiences and more which may relate to people experiencing agoraphobia, panic disorder or similar, and to gain insight into the genesis and development of the condition.

(Written June 2015).

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