On Fighting The Negative Voices Within [Dear DBN]

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dear dbn

The things that make us feel most alone are often the things we have in common.  This week, how to start tackling the demons that keep you from living your best life.

How has your anxiety manifested itself in social situations? Do you just try to get out of that date/etc. as quickly as possible or do you have a way of dealing with it? Had this happen to me yesterday when i was hanging with a new beau, he could definitely tell something was wrong and I didn’t know what to do.

My social anxiety manifests prior to being in the social situation – sort of an anticipatory feeling.  Dates, concerts, road trips…they’re all events that make my heart race, and heart racing is one of my triggers.  I try to plan time before these events to do some breathing exercises and yoga.  I’ve also found it helpful (and embarrassing) to just talk to the people I’m with about what’s happening.  “Hey, my anxiety is acting up for no reason – would you mind going for a walk with me or asking me silly questions to help get my mind off it?”

Everyone’s anxiety trigger and fixes are unique.  What works for me may not work for the next person.  Research others’ solutions and if it’s available to you, I would suggest talking to a therapist.  Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of.  It’s as common as headaches, especially as people get older.  Take your health seriously and don’t hang out with people who aren’t willing to help you do so.

I’ve been reading your blog for several months now and your advice generally is blunt but on point. What advice do you have for a 28 year old female who just cannot seem to find self-confidence, who consistently sabotages good relationships with her own insecurities (weight, ability to contribute to a conversation, attractiveness) and spends unnecessary hours (that she could spend furthering her career) stalking boyfriends’ ex-girlfriends on Facebook? How do I, at this age, fix myself?

Thank your lucky stars that you’re young enough to start addressing these self-esteem issues.  And then get a grip.  You’re spiraling yourself into this desperate situation of listing so many problems that you make it impossible to climb out.  You’re educated and self-aware, be grateful for at least that.  Now, here’s what I want you to do:

1. Find a therapist to talk this out with.  If therapy isn’t readily available due to your insurance, location, or work schedule, do this, and I’m serious so don’t roll your eyes at me: at the end of every day, write down five things you’re grateful for and three things you’re insecure about – then think objectively about ways you could improve on those insecurities.   Write them down.  Do them the next day.

2. It’s pretty likely on day whatever, one of the things you’ll be insecure about is not trying to overcome your insecurities.  Be prepared for that and don’t let it deter you.  No person or plan is infallible.

3. Facebook?  Seriously?  Look, I get it.  I do.  How about every time you stalk someone on Facebook you do ten military push-ups?  At least you’ll get something out of it.  You are literally stalking this person to upset yourself.  When was the last time you stalked someone and felt better?  Even if you think, “she’s a total loser,” you’re making yourself feel indignant, disgusted, and you’re contributing to the unnecessary larger issue of girl-on-girl hate.  Block the girlfriends.  Block the exes.  Get a browser plug-in that blocks Facebook.  Or else you’ll just keep drinking poison and expecting the other person to suffer.

4. Exercise regularly.  Feel free to spend the next 20 minutes listing all the reasons you can’t, don’t want to, don’t have time, etc. and then remember you could have spent that 20, 10, even 5 minutes doing jumping jacks.  Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary and things go awry when they are.  Wake up and spend 10 straight minutes doing jumping jacks.  Your life will get better.

5. You need a friend you can turn to openly and honestly about your progress every week.  If you don’t have anyone like that in your life, you can email me while you look for them.

CollegeCandy is excited to announce that we’ve partnered up with one of our favorite Tumblrs, DateByNumbers, to bring you some of her very best advice. Each week she’ll tackle your questions. Life, love, sex, the real world…nothing will be off limits. To submit a question of your own, visit her “Ask” page and keep an eye on CollegeCandy every Thursday afternoon!

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