Personal Growth

Personal growth doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a slow and immaculate process. It takes strength, determination and perseverance to become happy with yourself.

Are you happy with yourself as a person? Do you struggle with self-worth? What do you work on at the moment?

Let me know in the comments below!

Love & Peace x

Worrying

If you suffer from anxiety I bet that you worry a lot. Worrying acts like a cushion protecting you from falling down into the abyss of anxiety. You are convinced that you need it because you would be lost without it. You keep telling yourself and others who have noticed your worrying pattern that it’s always good to have ‘a plan b’. Deep inside you are tired but you are ploughing through to keep yourself and your loved ones ‘safe’. Are they really safe? How can you protect them? You can protect them by being a good and sensible human being. Your plan won’t save them, your plan gives you a false impression that you would protect them. In reality, you waste your time, the time you could spend with your loved ones instead of planning.

If you ever worry and start making a plan based on anxious thoughts and the worst possible outcome, get up and occupy your mind with something physically and mentally demanding, such as listening to music, running errands or simply talking to another human being. It such a simple and obvious solution but easily forgotten.

Dear P

Dear P,

I never thought I would experience unique love which derives from motherhood. It’s a different kind of love and is exclusively available in the Universe. We are all part of of it, creating a wholesome mosaic which consists of miniature elements.

I belong to a highly sensitive, empathetic and extremely receptive group of creatures on this Earth who cannot decide if it’s a curse or a gift to be very perceptive to feelings, sounds, smells and surroundings. My imagination runs high helping me with creativity, my anxiety often kills me with exhaustion of constant worries and my heart breaks into milion tiny pieces seeing others suffering. I mould, shape and live my life the best I can. It has been enriched by you. You are a hard work Munchkin but I would do everything to make you smile. When you had your injections, I cried with you, the nurse probably thought I was another hormonally distressed mother but I cried because you were in pain and I couldn’t stop it even though it was for your own good.

I may not be perfect and I’m a simple person but I intend to teach you empathy. I vow to show you music, nature and the Universe from my own perspective. You may not be interested in it at all but I believe experiencing it during your childhood will be a treasure in your adult life.

I want to teach you to embrace your body & mind. I would like you to be able to treat it as a temple and look after it dearly. I want you to remember that there is no other human being like you. You are the most unique, the most impressive and the most amazing copy of yourself.

I will always love you, support you and protect you no matter what because motherly love never dies.

Love,

Mama

Anxiety

A friend of mine

The worst enemy

An eye opener

A haunting nightmare

A heart breaker

An empathetic friend who reminds me of the core value of our distorted world

A disabling partner for life

It seems to be the worst curse to carry around yet I feel blessed to be a part of it. I have mastered cohabiting with anxiety.

I’ve made a tiny room in my soul for anxiety so it doesn’t feel rejected, and it doesn’t rebel to be heard or be understood because I know it so well.

I know it same as I know the darkest side of my unique and rebelious INNER CHILD.

Existence

Do you look at other people who seem to fully enjoy their life? They appear to be articulate, they bloom with self- confidence and splatter their optimism everywhere they go. ‘It’s highly contagious- this optymistic attire’- you think to yourself. ‘I shall be more like them’- you contemplate. Accidentally, you get to know them better and surprisingly this bubble of joyful existence bursts. The magic has ended and the reality has kicked in… but why? How?

Life is made of different elements. Hence it would be simply impossible to stay high and ecstatic all the time (unless you relied on dope- which would be harmful anyway).

People who are naturally more outgoing and carry traits of an extrovert express themselves using social opportunities. These opportunities enable them to relax and unwind. They provide healthy balance for their mental wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, an introvert happily retrievs to their sanctuary doing whatever helps them to find peace within themselves again.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh (who has made my life brighter and better by assisting me in understanding the concept of it) your existence is comparable to a see-saw. In order to be able to live fully and without regrets you must be capable of welcoming positive and negative experiences in your life to create harmony. This harmony resembles a jigsaw puzzle, it’s very intricate but put together creates a unique story of your existence. The problem occurs when a person tries to erase or ignore problems. Then the jigsaw puzzle is incomplete, it inbalances you as a person and makes you feel lost and shattered. You become a snake trapped under a vase of burden with a flask by your side to numb the pain and reduce waves of oncoming fear.

Yes, I agree it’s not easy to deal with both- positivity and negativity at the same time. You can read a milion of self-help books, contemplate on the subject but you will never truly know if your see-saw is balanced until life throws at you both positive and negative experiences.

Eating Disorder Prior to Pregnancy

You suffered from an eating disorder in the past, you successfully conquered it and moved on with your life but fell pregnant. How would you feel about your body if it started rapidly changing, if you were loosing control over your appearance and panicking about how quickly digits on a weighing scale increase in numbers. It’s a complete, utter and heartbreaking time which suppose to be filled with happy memories.

Are you being irrational?

Yes !!!

Why?

Because everyone knows that the body of an pregnant individual goes through the hormonal storm and a physical transformation. It’s a miracle and a real test of endurance for a person who suffered from an eating disorder in the past.

You are no longer in control and the lack of it puts you down and makes you feel anxious. It’s a truly complicated and tricky situation which causes so much fear and anxiety in ones mind. You may even experience unhealthy and tempting thoughts of going back to old habits. You quickly brush them off your mind and explain yourself that it’s natural for your mind to wonder towards a maliciously tempting spiral of eating disorder due to your current situation- being pregnant.

What do you do to survive?

First of all, you are being kind to yourself by ALOWING the negative and toxic thoughts to be and float freely without dwelling on them, or worse, blaming yourself for having them. If a situation upsets you, for example, if you are weighed by your midwife talk about your feelings out loud. Express them verbally and don’t be afraid to cry and sulk in order to get all the negative emotions out of your system. You do it to prevent the accumulation of them which may lead to a relapse.

Another thing you can do is to look at the reflection of your naked body in the mirror and find five things which you like about it without comparing it to a prepregnancy perfection. For example, I have smooth skin, my breasts look gorgeous, I like the fact that my bum is firm and round, my hair looks strong and healthy, my bump has a lovely round shape etc.

By consciously enforcing positive thinking in your mind (which is filled with anxiety) you replace negative perception of your own BEAUTIFUL BODY with a positive picture of it. Your body is a strong and unique TEMPLE. Remember about it.

If you fancy you can write down little notes (self- affirmations) and stick them on the mirror or on the door of your wardrobe. Again, it works in the same way, you welcome the power of positive thinking by reading positive self affirmations.

Addictions or mental disorders don’t dissapear, they lurk in the corner of your mind waiting and hoping for you to trip over an obstacle and fall back into their stinging arms. Hence you need to be vigilant and use coping techniques to keep them at bay (at all times).

Pregnancy & Fear of the Future

Can’t you sleep?

Why do you wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety and worries looming over you.?

It’s so stresful to be pregnant and be awoken by the fear. Thinking about an upcoming labour doesn’t help. Being flooded by imaginative thoughts about your funeral based on childbirth are terrifying but absolutely normal.

What do you do to distract yourself and break the pattern of self-destructive thoughts?

Our brain never stops working and it processes thoughts 24/7. When the anxiety strikes it acts like a net which catches and traps a thought, we begin dwell on it, we realise that it’s unpleasant and we try to get rid of it as quickly as we can. The problem is that this newly captured thought could be compared to a tick who has already embedded itself in our skin. Pulling it out won’t solve the problem but it may bring a new layer of fear which will only add up to our exisiting anxiety stricken misery.

How to fix it?

The best thing to do in this situation is to let the anxiety be and the thoughts flow freely WHILE BEING OCCUPIED. It might be tricky at 2am in the morning but nothing stops you from getting up and grabbing a book or watching a movie. You will be relieved and amazed of the fear (which has caused you feeling low) slowly dissipating and loosing its worth as you proceed with keeping busy.

Toxic Family and Pregnancy

Where do I even begin?

How would you feel if your own mother didn’t respect you during pregnancy and was constantly jealous of your life? How would you feel if she made you feel guilty about ‘a better life’ ( according to her) because your brother is currently incarcerated for his own mistakes? How would you remain peaceful if she made you feel bad of the fact that other people were going to be involved more in looking after your baby daughter?

What if your therapist has opened your eyes by showing you that in fact you don’t have to entangle yourself in hours of meaningless, toxic and emotional conversation with your mother. They told you that she is an adult and it only depends on you if you allow her to mentally disturb you. If you contemplate on it you’ll assume that they are absolutely right. But there is one problem…

She is your mother. You have always felt a sense if responsibility for her. On the top of that you are aware that she acts in a certain way without even realising it. You always justify her behaviour by stating that it doesn’t fall into category of malicious intentions. At the same time, you feel mentally distorted and drained after staying in touch with her. It leaves you feeling shaky and it’s only because you defend your point of view. When you question her about what she’s said to you she always has an explanation for it trying very hard to prove you wrong and then endlessly telling you that she loves you so much. In fact, she didn’t love you that much nor let you know about it when your brother was around and you were used as ‘ a mental punching bag’ for her anxieties, frustration and fears.

How many times did she ask you if you were normal?

How many times did she tell you that if she died on a heart attack because of pain in her chest ( due to a panic attack and anxiety) it would be solely your fault? She even proceeded to telling you that you would live with the guilt. You were 13 years old.

How many times was she there for you when you started skipping school and self harming due to bullying at school?

How many times did she start an argument with you because she was in the mood for it and she knew you wouldn’t hold it back and then she acted offended for days?

How many times did she use you as a listener when she was upset with your father or her own family?

How many times did she treat your brother better to the point of other people around you ( your grandmother, your father, your uncle, your friend and even your neigbours) openly talking about it stating that it wasn’t right? When you confronted her about it she obviously didn’t see any problem in it. She told you that she treated you and your brother equally and that your brother agreed with her all the time and that’s the difference between you and him.

How many times has your mother tried to perseude you to act like nothing has ever happened? How many times has she tried to act as a perfect family? How many times has she tried to force money and gifts on you as a sign of love?

The list could go on and on and I’m not claiming that you were an angel but you were a child and then a young person who needed a mother not a mentally unstable person who put their problems and pressure on you. Your tendency to speak up out loud for yourself was a blessing in disguise because even though it had caused lots of tears and fractions it had also helped you to stay sane.

You just can’t break the cycle between you and your mother. You’ve have attempted to cut her out of your life at least three times, she apologised and things were better for a short period of time. Before your brother got himself into trouble and was sentenced to few years in prison conversations between you and your mother revolved around him of how great he was doing. I would say 70% of interaction consisted of an update regarding your brother. You were sick of it but ignored it as much as you could.

Things had been ‘normal’ for some time because you’d keep distance from your mother but you are pregnant now. You are more vulnerable, your mother has sensed it and has been preying on your emotional weakness by doing everything to make you feel guilty of not involving her more.

How can you involve her more!? You have been talking to her, updating her about the baby’s development and you have invited her to meet the newborn. She has sent gifts for the baby. She doesn’t have the financial means but you have allowed it because you thought that it would make her feel better. Then she had an idea, an idea of being your birth partner. You tried to delicately explain her that it’s a very intimate moment and your fiancé is your birth partner. You explained to her that it’s a very special time for you both as first time parents and that you would like her to respect it.

This moment has triggered an avelanche of negative behaviour from her side. First, she made you listened of how ignorant and uncaring your father was towards her. Next, how her own mother didn’t support her. When you wanted to share an experience regarding antenatal class with her she started acting jealous towards your partner stating that she never had what you have and that she had been through hell with your father and that she should have left him. The final straw was drawn when she asked you about a job. You told her your current situations and added that your partner’s mother was going to look after your child for two days a week when you return to work. She just couldn’t help herself but made few sneaky comments to awake that guilty feeling insude you that derives from the fact that she is not the one who is going to do it. Your parents live far away.

After all this, you broke in half and snapped. You had tried to be nice, calm and composed but your snapped in the end. You told her that she had no rights to act as a perfect mother or to have any demands towards you. You stated that the anxiety and panic attacks are caused by your distorted childhood and you are tired of constant battles with her. You were opened about the fact that conversations with her leave you drained and sad.

Last night you’ve given her an ultimatum that unless she starts acting neutral and calm towards you without pressuring you to do things she wants, she will be cut out of your life again because you can’t carry on like this anymore. You haven’t received any response from her.

This post may help others who have a distorted relationship with their loved ones. It’s very easy to give an advice such as: don’t be a victim, don’t let them mentally upset you, draw the boundaries or keep your distance. When it comes to family it’s difficult because feelings and emotions are involved. The dynamics are different in a family environment. They are complex and unfortunately those who are manipulative prey on feelings of their victims. Those who are affected need to do everything in their power to protect themselves and their own family from a bad influence of toxic people who are present in their life. I wish I had a golden advice but I don’t. I struggle very hard and I try to put my head around all of this.

Fear of Motherhood

Congratulations if you are pregnant.

If you are trying to conceive- Good Luck.

If you are thinking to conceive but are flooded with fear and doubts my advice to you is: go for it, there is never a perfect time or an opportunity to have a child. Life is full of hurdles so if you really want fo bring a new life into this twisted but wonderful world just do it.

Life without a child as a couple is very convenient. You are solely responsible for yourselves, indulging in existence is joyful and planning expenses is much easier because you don’t bear the burden of making sure that a tiny human being who is not capable of sustaining their basic needs entirely relies on your physical, mental and financial support. I’m going to be brutally honest with you, as a mum to be, I’m terrified of that whole new sense of a responsibility. My partner feels the same. We are both excited about our new arrival, we can’t wait to meet our baby girl but at the same time we are both petrified. Hence we take everyday as it goes without assuming things or rushing into despair or fortune telling which is not an easy thing to do. For instance, I’m on maternity leave and have begun to sort my my baby’s room, I know people who thrill while doing it but I could compare the whole experience to walking barefoot on the shattered glass which has been maliciously scattered on the floor just for me haha. I know, I sound very dramatic but going into my daughter’s room is a reminder of the unknown and I associate this unknown with struggle, pain and fear. Let me explain why.

I have dealt with anxiety atleast 80% of my life and I’m already 30 years old woman. My mind is like a library. Every situation and every thought is carefully categorised and placed on the shelf. The biggest collection of ‘books’ reside on the shelf which is labelled ‘fear’. I could almost compare that shelf to Purgatory ( which is a place where Roman Catholics believe the spirits of dead people are sent to suffer for their sins) where new occurances in my life are initially placed before being adequately categorised. Sometimes I despise myself for it because if I’m being rational the fear doesn’t occur to me as much. I use the fear as a coping mechanism which suppose to protect me from unpleasant experiences. It’s obvious that this self- invented self- security system fails most of the time making my mind overwork itself. So after years of sending new experiences to Purgatory I decided to change it. Don’t take me wrong, I haven’t gotten rid of mighty selection of ‘Anna’s fears’ because it works like a filter for me. It’s a bit like OCD, I analyse my thoughts preparing for ‘the plan a and b’ but then I simply face my fears. If I didn’t face them I wouldn’t go in my baby’s room and I wouldn’t start sorting it out. I would stay the heck away from it hoping for the best ( solely relying on my partner’s help). I take one step at the time while dealing with it. For example, yesterday, I washed baby’s clothes and today I will take care of the nursery equipment and accessories. That’s my plan of action. Again, I would love to say that doing it is a pleasant experience but it’s not. The only positive idea which I’m able to think of is a sense of pride and achievement after I finish working on tasks which I have set myself to complete. I know that I will feel the same after finishing my baby girl’s room or her arrival. Afterwards, I will move the book of I’m terrified of becoming a mother’ to a shelf labelled ‘life’.