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Author Topic: You don't "lack" anything.  (Read 738 times)

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Offline Anxiom

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You don't "lack" anything.
« on: October 17, 2013, 03:17:27 PM »
How many times have we heard that we "lack confidence" and have "low self esteem"? Society seems to think we have a problem performing and that we need to "do" better.  Do you feel good about yourself when you hear this because I don't. Every time I think about my "lacking" this or that I feel ashamed. I am tired of this so I want to introduce a more accurate perspective that doesn't hurt our self-esteem or make us look like invalids.

The lack of confidence and self-esteem are not the cause of the problem or the problem itself, they are symptoms. Consider other disorders which are accepted by society as genuine problems. In general we don't say that a person with Cerebral Palsy lacks "coordination" or that a person with an auditory disorder lacks "hearing comprehension". It doesn't make any sense to emphasize these symptoms because they are natural consequences of those disorders. Furthermore, calling attention to the symptoms misplaces attention and implies that the person is failing to perform when that is not the case.

I insist that the same thinking applies to those with mental illness and neurological conditions. I do not lack "confidence" or "self-esteem", I have a psychiatric disorder (several actually) which is actively producing those symptoms! I refuse to acknowledge a performance failure and I reject the suggestion that I "need" more confidence, more self-esteem, more self-respect, more discipline, more social skills, etc. No! What I NEED IS LESS ANXIETY, LESS SHAME, LESS OBSESSING, LESS COMPULSION, LESS DEPRESSION, LESS DISTORTED THINKING. I feel much better about myself looking at it from this angle and I think most others will too.
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Offline Cuchculan

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 02:50:47 PM »
Can I ask a simple question. You have your great theories. But you are still here suffering from anxiety. Now if you said you were anxiety free people might say ' he just might have something here '. But if you look around at anxiety sufferers you do notice a few things. A few of the things you say they are not lacking in. Theory is one thing. Use of the theory is another thing. It would be similar with exposure therapy. We all how it is meant to work. What we are meant to do. But only so many of us have made it work for us. Is it because we believe more in ourselves than others do? You have to believe in something in order for you to even begin to think it might work for you. It is pointless trying something out if you think ' this is rubbish, it will never work for me '. So people with anxiety need to have belief. A good few are lacking in belief. They do manage to get so far. I always credit them for their efforts. They are all fighters. It is just having that full belief. Especially, with exposure therapy, for example, when you are told the best way to get over your fear is to allow those bad feelings, you have spent years running, to come on and hit you. People hear that and most go ' no thank you '. They have to believe such things can work. It is like going out on a ledge and trusting in a close friend who tells you they will hold your hand and not let you fall over. The fall is a long way down. Do you trust that friend? Do you have the belief in that friend? What we are asking anxiety sufferers to do is go out on a ledge. Take steps out into places they would hide from as a rule. To test a theory out. One they are promised will work. It is giant leap for them. So they take it bit by bit. Not all in the one go. If you have no belief you have little confidence. So they have to build the confidence up. To take those first steps. Esteem wise too. Some do thing very lowly of themselves. They may have tried a lot of this theory stuff before. Got so far and failed. That reflects back onto them. So they have to learn to undo this. Put the full package together slowly. Using various methods. What works for you might not work for someone else. Some try affirmations. Sticky notes all around the house. Something positive on each sticky note. So no matter where they walk in their house they will see positive words. Positive words about themselves and about life. This is building up the self esteem. Making them feel good about themselves. Once they do that they will have some confidence there. So it is like everything is linked together. Get one piece in place and the next piece will begin to fall into place for you. But no over night. Maybe not this month. Maybe not next month. Time is what they need. To understand there is no hurry at all. No pressure on them at all. They have to understand that what is done they are in full control of and it is done at a pace that suits them. No theory has a set pace or time limit. They do what they can do in their own time. Set goals if they want to push themselves. But always reward themselves when they do something positive and gain a result. People nearly always forget about self rewarding. A way of saying to yourself ' well done '. To be honest even the mention of the word invalids in a way of thinking that you imagine that that is how you think people with anxiety see themselves as is a bit harsh in its wording. People with anxiety are some of the most creative people you will ever meet in life. They have amazing skills. But belief is the key word you failed to mention. Belief is everything when it comes to making things work. If you don't believe in it, it won't work for you.
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The Lovable Irish Rogue

Offline Anxiom

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2013, 03:43:22 PM »
Cuch, I feel like you are just saying that I am full of it because I am not "all better". You don't mean that do you?
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Offline John22

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2013, 05:28:24 PM »
This is a really deep post.  It's important to really try to get to the root of these things and it's cool you are taking the time to not only do that, but share it. Thank you.
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Offline Kyky89

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 12:00:57 PM »
I really enjoyed your post, thank you. I never looked at my self confidence/esteem issues as a symptom of my anxiety(depression) before. It makes sense to me. I have tried so many different types of therapies and most recently have been trying to dig into my past and been trying to place where the source of these things I "lack" are. It is very frustrating for people to assume that I can just fix these issues by just choosing to be confident in myself. It takes a lot of work. I will probably never get to the level of self confidence I would like, but I am content in knowing that anything I do to work towards improvement makes me move toward that goal.
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Offline Quetzal828

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 02:27:34 PM »
Great post. Since I've been diagnosed with GAD, it's been a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's a relief to finally understand where all my issues are coming from and to have hope that they will gradually improve. On the other hand, it can be so deflating to realize there's something wrong or abnormal about me, and that I lack all these things that others possess so naturally. Sometimes I feel really overwhelmed thinking about all the things I lack that I need to develop. Then I realize that's also part of the anxiety; rather than focusing on all my deficiencies, I need to learn to be okay with myself as I am right now, and to focus on the progress I'm making rather than all the things that are still "wrong" with me.
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Offline AncientMelody

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 02:58:35 PM »
Thought provoking post, an interesting topic. I understand what you're getting at....I'm hard enough on myself as it is, so to say that I'm "lacking" something, you're thinking it puts more pressure on that. However for me, my lack of confidence is not a symptom of my anxiety, it IS most definitely one of the multiple factors that led to an anxiety disorder developing. My lack of confidence has been present in greater or lesser degrees for years. Years. Finally when increased work stress, family issues, and hormones reached a boiling point, the confidence issue certainly played a role in finally tipping things over into a full fledged anxiety disorder. And because I can only work to manage these stressors....I cannot remedy ongoing issues with extended family, I cannot resolve all the work stuff, I must find a different part of the equation to work on to improve my anxiety levels. One of these is working on the hormone issue with my primary care doctor. Lexapro played a role in alleviating the anxiety induced depression. But to really get a handle on the chronic anxiety, then yes, I PERSONALLY (I won't speak for anyone else) Do need to work on my confidence, on my self-esteem.

A couple of other interesting points to ponder though:

1) Studies suggest that higher self-esteem doesn't actually decrease rates of depression (not sure about anxiety, haven't read any data) Sometimes in fact more depression can be found. Because higher self esteem may lead to certain expectations out of life that people expect and may not neccessarily get, which can lead to dissatisfaction. That there has been such a high premium placed on self esteem in raising kids that it leads to a sense of entitlement. So more of it isn't always better. This may sound contradictory....but what I'm saying is that for some people low self esteem IS a cause and not a symptom, and for other people it may not play a role at all.

2) It's important to realize that we're not perfect. nobody is. We DO need to think about personality traits and thought processes that exacerbate our anxiety and actively work to improve them.  We're not always successful. We don't achieve these goals in a day or week, sometimes not a month or more. And that's ok. but it's part of the process. The same goes for people with physical health ailments. It's not someone's FAULT they have asthma, But they need to acknowledge that there are ways of limiting exacerbations. It's not about faults or deficiencies. It's about the fact that we humans are a work in progress, and sometimes we can work to find ways of alleviating our anxiety which is to our own benefit. And if we can't do so ourselves, this is where a qualified therapist comes in. Medications can be very important but they are only one part of the equation.....that's true of mental and physical health disorders.
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Offline Cilantro

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Re: You don't "lack" anything.
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 01:04:11 AM »
Yeah, social anxiety seems to be one of those things that's not very well understood and may be looked at as the same thing as everyday anxiety or shyness (and the solution to those is the same: just change!). Similar to OCD stereotypes about just being a clean, fussy, or organized person, people miss the disorder part of it that tags it as something else.
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