Archive for July, 2012

Nightmare When It’s Least Expected

Last night I had a nightmare. I haven’t had one in awhile and thought things have been going pretty good. Then out of nowhere I am being attacked by a grimacing shaggy blonde haired man with crazy eyes, probably about 8-10 years older than me. He had some kind of large sharp knife with jagged edges, more like a saw. I was lifting my left arm to protect myself when it dug into my flesh and I let out a howl while tears were streaming down my face. I woke up and felt surprisingly calm and shrugged it off.

But, later today, I’m wondering, what was that all about? Maybe there’s things I haven’t been saying I should say. Maybe I feel like I’m not really taking care of myself as much as I can. Maybe I’m not asking for help where I need it. Maybe it was really just a reminder that I still just need to be aware that there are still some bad people out there. Yesterday I had caught the news on TV for a few minutes of this shoot out in my city. These things seem to be happening more frequently here. Once in awhile I experience some things that remind me of my relationship with my ex-husband and they still really startle me. Like watching a movie where there’s a lot of violence between a couple. Or when someone gets upset at me and I don’t really understand why. Just when I think I’m getting stronger and better, something reminds me of what it was like and then I don’t feel so invincible anymore. I want to get to the point where I can be strong enough to say “that happened to me, but that’s not going to happen to me anymore” and not feel so upset.

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Struggle with Disclosure and Uncertainty

One thing I have been struggling with since I am no longer in an abusive relationship and have grown significantly in decreasing my social anxiety and expressing myself is when it is appropriate to disclose something. Reading about the DISC personalities of people with high Influence scores, I can identify with this exact problem:

“By their nature, High-I’s are extremely trusting and ingenuous. Their desire to be open with other people can lead them at times to reveal information or express feelings that more staid types might prefer to keep hidden. For this reason, they are sometimes seen as lacking in tact.” – http://www.discusonline.com/udisc/i_influence.html

I don’t really consider myself trusting, but maybe I am more so now. What I don’t understand is why I choose to tell people information about myself. For example, with inviting SuperBetter allies, I’ve realized I made a lot of friends uncomfortable by sharing my history of being a domestic violence victim and that I am trying to work on things I recognize as needing improvement. Some co-workers also know a bit about this history and I think they’d rather not know as well. At the same time, I feel angry at myself for sharing something personal with people as well as feeling angry at them for the way they seem to act after I tell them, not being supportive, not asking me how I am doing, not reciprocating by opening up with things that they are working on too.

Last night I had a dream that I think was dealing with this issue. I dreamt I was looking at houses with my family. I liked the first house we looked at, but for some reason, maybe cost, it was out of the question. That house had a lot of light and an open floor plan. The second house we looked at, the whole downstairs, especially kitchen was very dark. The upstairs had this gigantic attic that was really a hardware store. The backyard was strange. It was more like a courtyard mixed with golf course. The grass was very light green and almost fake looking like turf.

I think I was walking through these houses and backyard to deal with emotions and feelings I’ve been repressing for some time, including when and what I should and shouldn’t disclose to people. Earlier this week I broke down after I heard someone talking about marriage. I know a lot of people who are getting married and are having children this year. I keep having people ask me if I want to get married again and if I want children. I really haven’t been able to get to why it bothered me so much. Part of me feels like I still feel like a failure for ever getting married in the first place with such an abusive person. Part of me feels as if I will never get to be married to someone who is so loving and caring. Part of me feels like everything feels so uncertain. And for a person who loves change so much, that’s an odd feeling to have.

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Just For Fun

Ok this post is really just for fun.

On the Media: SuperBetter Diaries Entry 3 – http://www.onthemedia.org/blogs/on-the-media/2011/oct/19/superbetter-diaries-entry-3-movin-along/

I liked this guy’s post about the quests his allies had given him and Jane directing him to check out Omar Little on Twitter: “Take strength! Take courage!!!! Be a warrior not a worrier!”  Some of the quests his allies gave him could really brighten up your day. It makes me think I need to seriously do some of my fun quests I gave myself, like the broken babelfish cartoons.

The Hybrid Athlete: Why You Suck and Look the Same – http://www.thehybridathlete.com/why-you-suck-and-look-the-same/

Ok, I think this post can be a little extreme, but I get it and feel that way about people, life in general, and my own physical fitness and battles. I may catch myself complaining, “the course was too hilly” or “so-and-so didn’t communicate with me”, but often I just take full responsibility for what went down. “Your outlook sucks” is often a good reminder to pull me out of poor mental states. And then that brings me to the next two things I read that help explain some things about why I’ve always been able to meet my goals and be so damn driven.

Pick the Brian: 7 Habits Highly Effective People Don’t Have – http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-habits-highly-effective-people-dont-have/

At work, I probably annoy people because I am always evaluating the priorities of things and focus on completing one thing at a time according to that priority. My desk is also always completely free of clutter. I don’t even print out much. Everything is organized on my computer. I am always asking the question, “What is the worst that can happen if I do this?” and just get on with it. I’ve always been a pretty clear goal setter and luckily had training on how to do this. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who blame other people. I actually pride myself on taking responsibility for my failures. I have done it a zillion times at work and personally. Life is not about being perfect. Life is about living it. We shouldn’t be afraid to take risks and try things. That’s my take.

DISC Personality Test – http://www.123test.com/disc-personality-test/

My results explained a lot.

Influence – 32%

  • are strongly interested in meeting and being with people.
  • are generally optimistic, outgoing, and socially skilled.
  • are quick at establishing relationships.

Sometimes their concern for people and people’s feelings may make them reluctant to disturb a favourable situation or relationship.

Dominance – 28%

  • enjoy competition and challenge.
  • are goal orientated and want to be recognised for their efforts.
  • aim high, want authority and are generally resourceful and adaptable.
  • are usually self-sufficient and individualistic.
  • may lose interest in projects once the challenge has gone and they tend to be impatient and dissatisfied with minor detail.

Steadiness – 24%

  • tend to enjoy change and variety in their work and non-work life.
  • are expansive by nature and tend not to like routine and repetitive work/activities.

Compliance – 16%

  • are independent and uninhibited.
  • resent rules and restrictions.
  • prefer to be measured by results and are always willing to try the untried.

Free in thought, word and deed, they long for freedom and go to great lengths to achieve it.

discusonline.com talks a lot about the negative traits of my results as well, which I can identify with.

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Could Self-Compassion Be the Foundation for Cracking Avoidance & Being More Assertive?

It has already been a month since I’ve set my next Epic Win to crack avoidance of conflict and to be more assertive. I can certainly think back to quite a few examples where I have faced conflict head-on and have been more assertive. But, more importantly, I have noticed I’ve been a lot more confident and self-accepting.

In therapy, I have been talking a lot about changing your point of view or attitude about things, being assertive, asking for things I need, taking time I need, understanding specific situations and why people act certain ways, and how I have been feeling more relaxed. The change of mind for the game I think has helped big time. I am more focused on living in the now and enjoying life. I had an incredible weekend after a week with work life balance. (AND I just can’t wait to set new Epic Wins that are much closer to my own personal goals!)

In SuperBetter, I added in a few new Power Packs, which reminded me to chill out, be more self-compassionate, and stay present:

  • Being Awesome
  • Better Than a Chill Pill
  • The Mood Elevator: Ground Floor

Last week with the SuperBetter Quest, “The Compassion Express: When You Think You Might Suck”, I read the articles on the Science of Self Acceptance:

Self Improvement at the Risk of Self Acceptance – NY Times

Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges – NY Times Well Blogs

And took an online quiz to gauge where I am at with Self-Compassion and Self-Acceptance. I wasn’t too surprised to find I was in the pretty high ranges, with a 4.1 out of 5.0. Anywhere from 3.5 – 5.0 was considered excellent. You know that old saying, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” I think I’ve been applying the reverse principle, “Treat yourself as you treat others.” I have a lot of compassion for people and often I find myself thinking these days, everyone is dealing with similar problems and its ok. It’s even ok for me to reach out to others for help and help them when they need it. This is all part of life and its journey.

I think two years ago I was a completely different person. When I was a teenager, I used to think I was pretty awesome. Now, I finally feel that again. I am an amazing person who has led an amazing life and have much more ahead of me I am excited about. Each day, I want to enjoy something and grow closer in my relationships with my friends and family. I have my whole life ahead of me and I could choose to be miserable, but I would much rather choose to be awesome. And then doing things like dealing with conflict and being assertive become so much easier, because I know I can do it and I understand, hey, my needs are important too, just like yours.

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A New Kind of Growth

I’ve been very busy the past couple of weeks, which is why I’ve been near non-existent. A week ago I came to the conclusion that the post traumatic growth I was experiencing for the past year and half was starting to fizzle out. The world didn’t seem so bright and shiny. Things were just starting to become like everyone else seemed to experience it, just “Meh.” For example, I ran three half marathons in the past month and wasn’t like “Wow, that was completely awesome!” I didn’t want to lose the feelings I have about how amazing so many things in my life are, so I have been gripping onto them tight.

This week I noticed I was a little more relaxed version of myself even though I just wrapped up a super stressful week to flow into yet another stressful week. I might have let a lot of emails, texts, and phone calls slip by. I didn’t really feel like socializing. I just felt like being in tune with myself. Though I worked most nights, I took a couple hours to veg or explore new places and things. Then the stress finally caught up to me and I got sick and stayed in bed rather than go on my long run.

This morning though it was raining, I set out to do my long run, headache and all, before a long day of plans. I was smiling most of the run. I felt like I was flying and free.

Last week after finishing the Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon, I said to my friends, I need something inspiring to read again. They said, “Why don’t you read Born to Run?” I had it sitting around for awhile now. Now, I’m almost done with it. Reading Born to Run, I had another eureka moment like when I read Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken. I read about how the real secret of the Tarahumara was they’d never forgotten what it felt like to love running. This really rung true to me too. And reading about Scott Jurek, who is also from Seattle like myself, I was inspired by his story where he was picked on growing up and dealt with the hopelessness of taking care of his mother who would never get better, where running was his outlet. My whole life running has been my outlet, as well as a zillion other outdoor activities and sports. But, running is truly where I feel free.

Then I started thinking about Michael Richards (@mtcrun) who is also playing SuperBetter and won the Skagway Half Marathon at the beginning of the month. Michael is using SuperBetter to get better from depression, but he set his Epic Win to run the Half Marathon. After winning, Michael said, “Jane, you and @SuperBetter are directly responsible for helping me run, win, and, most importantly, enjoy the 1/2 :).” And two weeks later I saw his post that he was setting his next Epic Win. I also noticed a ton of posts about his group runs and training leading up to the race, which all in all lead to getting better from depression. And suddenly I had this eureka moment. Why aren’t I setting Epic Wins to do things I love to accomplish getting better from PTSD? Rather than focusing on the symptoms of PTSD, which has made this kind of daunting. So I don’t know exactly where to begin, but I suddenly had a change in my mindset about playing the SuperBetter game and about life in general, which I think is going to lead to a new kind of growth.

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