Yoga Me

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The other day I was discussing ways to relax with a good friend (and fellow anxiety and panic disorder sufferer*) and we started talking about yoga. I have become a huge yoga junkie- sometimes going to up to three classes in a weekend. She was commenting on the fact that I suddenly sound like a new-age hippie and asked what the benefits (besides amazing flexibility) were.

That's when I realized that the number one reason I do yoga so much is that I can not meditate. Yoga forces my brain to concentrate not only on breathing correctly, but on moving from pose to pose with each breath and getting those poses correct. There's very little room for mindless chatter.

Now, I know... it takes years to be able to meditate with any success. I know everyone says that they have a hard time quieting their brains. But if you have an anxiety disorder, you know that this is doubly difficult. I can usually silence my brain for all of about 30 seconds before it becomes that annoying friend (or coworker, or sibling) that just won't shut up. The following is a sampling of the kind of mental conversation that takes place each and every time I try to meditate:

"I'm bored. Why are we doing this? You aren't any good at this. I won't shut up. Why can't we just watch tv or something? This is boring. This sucks. know what would help you concentrate? Picture being at the top of a mountain with snow all around you. Peaceful, right? Oh, that's aren't a cold-weather person. How about a beach? You like the sound of waves crashing. Oh, but that's not very peaceful. I know! Swimming with dolphins. Isn't that fun? Remember when you did that in the Keys? That was the best. Maybe we should go back there. No, nevermind. Too many memories with you-know-who. What the hell anyways? You two were perfect together. Everyone said so. And you made each other happy. Oops, not supposed to think about him. How much longer do we have to do this? What are you going to wear to work tomorrow? Are your new black pants clean? What top looks good with those? When can we turn the tv back on? House is on."**

And that's about at the point where I give up...usually a whole five minutes into my planned 30-minute meditation. Bugger.

Any of you have success with meditation?

*Suddenly, I'm no longer embarrassed to admit that I suffer from this. Maybe it's the fact that I found a support group that is really helping.

**I really wish I was exaggerating.


Suddenly I see

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Epiphanies are a strange thing. You're going along, living your life, trying to figure things out for yourself and BAM! Suddenly things start to become clear. At least that's how it seems to have happened for me.

I've always been depressed. And I've always looked to other things or people to make be feel better. As if there was something in this world that would stop the pain...I just needed to find it. And the whole time I was looking, I was becoming more and more frustrated and angry. I just wanted to be happy. Other people made it look so easy.

When I met 'George Clooney,' I was ecstatic. He's everything I've wanted in another person. He's kind and considerate and loving and sweet, among many other things. More importantly, he gets me. So I threw myself into the relationship. I stopped doing other things I enjoyed. I stopped calling my friends. My life suddenly revolved around him.

But I still wasn't happy. It had nothing to do with him. He is amazing. I finally realized several weeks ago that the problem is me (well, this problem is...there are things that we both need to work on). I needed to fix myself. I needed to finally be happy with myself.

Over the past year and a half, I've lost 45 pounds. But I still wasn't happy. When people told me I looked great, I answered with "I still have a long way to go." But that has stopped. I do look great. Although I'm working toward an even bigger goal, that doesn't mean that I don't look great now. And I've been telling myself that every day. I'm actually starting to really believe it. I'm not avoiding mirrors anymore.

I have also reconnected with old friends. I'm going to Philly this weekend to meet with some of my sorority sisters whom I haven't seen since college. And while the whole situation brings some anxiety- driving to Philly by myself, seeing people who knew me as a much thinner person, going out to clubs. The whole thing has my stomach in knots. But I will do it. And I'll have a blast.

That's another bonus- I have been going to a support group for people with anxiety and panic disorders. It's amazing actually- I've never been comfortable speaking in front of people- especially strangers. But with this group I am. We share our issues with anxiety and panic attacks. I am completely comfortable talking to them about the things that I have dealt with and things that have helped me. A year of therapy didn't do half as much for me as a month of this group. It probably has something to do with the fact that everyone there has similar experiences, and while they are all ages and races, they all know what I have gone through.

I'm also taking a lot of vitamins (thanks to the Celiac) and working out daily. The pounds are suddenly melting off me- 4 lbs this week! I feel strong. And for the first time I can remember, I am happy.

So, as much as I love and want a future with GC, if things don't work out, I'll cry and miss him, but ultimately I'll be ok. And to be able to say that is a huge accomplishment for me.


Fairy Tales

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I've always loved fairy tales. Maybe a little too much. I've probably let them seep into my brain a little too much. As cynical as I pretend to be, I've always dreamed that some day, my prince would come along and sweep me off my feet and we'd live happily ever after. Maybe it's also the fact that I'm a Pisces, who are known for being dreamers. Maybe my mom should have told me over and over again that fairy tails are fiction. But is that harmful? Is it so bad to dream? I'm not sure.

On one hand, believing in fairy tales leads to unrealistic expectations. It also leads to a certain "rescue" mentality- that is, that we feel we need to be rescued by the handsome prince. It also makes it a little difficult to appreciate when you do have a real prince in your life. We keep expecting certain behaviors that we've seen in fairy tales and romantic comedies. Romance novels are also guilty in that regards. They all follow a formula: girl meets boy; girl and boy fall in love; some kind of disaster/friction/fight ensues; girl and boy separate; boy realizes how much he misses and loves girl; boy goes after girl...and of course, they live happily ever after and everything is perfect from then on.

Does this set us up for failure? Does it make us think that when we fall in love, no matter what happens, everything will work out in the end? And of course, when it doesn't, we're completely crushed. Is it healthy to have such high expectations of relationships?

On the other hand, I sometimes think that my dreams make me happy. I daydream a lot and my daydreams make me feel like there is hope. Is that so bad? If we stop hoping for the fairy tail, are we setting ourselves up to be cynical and angry?


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