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Author Topic: Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't  (Read 222 times)

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Offline Jbird

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Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't
« on: February 02, 2014, 04:05:47 PM »
I have been really struggling with "psyching myself out" lately.  I am absolutely terrified to make the first effort to do something, and horribly ashamed later when I don't.  This could range anywhere from getting up and cooking a meal or making a sandwich to going to my painting studio to work on an intimidating project. 
It starts out with passive laziness; I'm tired, I'm comfortable where I am, I don't want to have to get in the car, put on pants, shoes, etc.
Then it quickly grows into fear and self depreciating thoughts; I'm going to screw up whatever I cook/draw/paint/clean, so why bother, what ifs and what will people think (afraid my roommate will see me failing at something, classmates will see my sloppy work), etc
Shortly after, it turns into a full blown anxiety attack and I am shaking and nauseous and my head and abdomen hurt and I can't even fathom the thought of leaving my bed.  The prospect of seeing others and them seeing me makes me want to vomit and there us just no way no way I can get up and do the thing I had wanted to do.  What was I thinking???

Then.... An hour or so later,or maybe many hours later when my anxiety has died down, I'm downright humiliated and angry that I didn't get that thing done.  I worry about my health because I will forget to eat (note: not due to body dysmorphia, just because I am embarrassed about preparing food) and my schoolwork becomes sloppy because I never end up taking the plunge and going to my studio to work.  I cannot work at home like I would prefer, where I can screw up and panic out of sight, but I HAVE to go work ony art among others.... This cycle is continually getting the best of me. 

Does anyone else go through this?  Why is it always the most mundane, normal things that must terrify me?  I've been laying down for two hours now trying to calm down enough to go to the studio.  I have a lot of work to do and I just can't do it.... I'm growing more ashamed of myself by the minute and the depressive thought pattern is doing nothing to encourage me...
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Offline Paws

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Re: Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2014, 08:22:19 PM »
Dang it. I was just abotu to go to bed so this won't be a lengthy reply. I can relate to what you say. I deal with the same issues when I do certain activities. Most are work-related, but it can transfer to going out or doing enjoyable stuff too. However,  for me it's never been that hard with mundane tasks. Eating is a vital process. If you don't eat, you die :P. You may think your mind is in control, but wait too long and instincts will get the better of you. At some point, you will DO the cooking.

ANyway, getting sidetracked. Your problem here is over-thinking. You can't argue with your mind. Well, you can, but 99% of the cases you will not have it the way you want. The brain is continuously searching for problems, and by thinking you give it more and more and more until you overload. You've been there, you know how nasty it is, so why over-complicate things?

The answer to your dillema is very simple. Just do it. Don't think of what can and may happen. You'll see when you actually do the stuff. Most of the times, that's never any of the 'believable' scenarios your mind will conjure.
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Offline Doxie Lover

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Re: Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2014, 11:00:29 PM »
Jbird,

I haven't had your exact type of experience, but somewhat similar.  I am in the midst of trying to get back to working full time, and the anxiety of going back to work (even though I want to) causes me to sabotage my job search.  Then, when I don't get the job, I get angry at myself, not embarrassed.  I feel disappointed in myself for allowing my anxiety to get in the way of my getting back to work.  Like you, the "what ifs" start up again whenever I get close to an interview and it's the same repeating cycle.  At this rate, I'll never get back to work  :sprachlos020:

As Paws said, you DO have to eat, so maybe you can eat something that doesn't require much preparation until you can overcome your embarrassment.  I'm a big fan of guided meditation and positive affirmations.  I like Louise Hay, in particular.  You might try that to see if it helps to get rid of the repeating negative thoughts.  One of the most common problems for people with anxiety is negative thinking.  It's tough to get rid of...it creeps back into my thoughts and I try to push them out by listening to positive affirmations.

Keep us posted,
DL

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Offline Jbird

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Re: Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2014, 05:05:09 PM »
So how do I "just do it" if my fear is of that first step?  Usually, once I get started I focus and I'm able to complete whatever task pretty normally.  It's getting the courage up to make the decision TO do it. 
I still eat, but I eat cereal or bread instead of a meal when I'm up.  I can cook when I'm starving and in a good mood, but if i am feeling slightly anxious it is like I just put off making dinner until I fall asleep.
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Offline Paws

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Re: Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 08:26:57 AM »
You ignore the fear. I know how hard it can be. A few days ago I pondered almost 5 minutes before calling somebody. I told myself "This is important. It's just phone call. The world won't end if I blabber/get a shaky voice/say something stupid. I will have to do it later anyway, so I might just get on with it."

Fear is just an emotion. It can affect how you feel, but it cannot make you DO things. It can influence, but not control you. What you do and the choices you make are YOURS. YOU are in control, even if anxiety makes you believe otherwise. Encouraging yourself and thinking of the benefits of being active may work, but like I said in my first post, anxiety is more like a bully who forces his ideas down your throat rather than argue and explain what's happening and why.

Just do it. There's no philosophy behind it, no beating around the bush. It is as simple as telling to yourself. "I AM GOING TO MAKE dinner because it's freaking tasty" and sticking to your word. Usually, anxiety becomes worse when we lack a definite goal. Busy yourself with more activities. Pursue some of the hobbies you want/wanted to partake in. Do something different in order to break out the monotony.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask :)
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Offline Jbird

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Re: Afraid if I do, ashamed if I don't
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 07:12:23 AM »
Usually, anxiety becomes worse when we lack a definite goal.

Thank you so much for your advice, that makes so much sense.   This bit especially!!  Having an end goal sounds like a great way to minimize the "threat" of failure and allows me to feel very accomplished when I'm done!  When I'm in an anxious mood, it's very difficult to think this way, but I'm going to try to think about what you said instead of my fears of screwing up or making a fool of myself. 
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