Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sabotage or setback?

It's late at night and I should be asleep, not typing this, but I've wanted to get back to this for a while.

A couple of weeks ago, while reading PasUneSainte's blog, I found myself nodding along with the description of comparing oneself to others and "coming out on the losing end." I have angry temper, too, but mostly fearful temper. In the last few weeks, whether I'm at work or writing or posting an entry on a discussion board, I find myself looking at how many people are asking me questions (at work) or how successful and talented other writers are, or how many people are responding to my posts compared to other posts, or how soon people reply to my emails.

For me, comparing myself with others results in a great big wave of fearful temper filling me up like fast running water overfilling a glass pitcher. But in Recovery, we learn that "comparisons are odious and should be avoided." I keep imagining that everyone has conspired against me because they think I'm defective in some way, that something I've written or said or done has offended them or isn't acceptable.

These are the very thoughts that plagued me before I joined Recovery. I know now that I'm just indulging in the favorite pastime of the nervous person -- let's all say it together now -- "self torture." And I'm indulging in the thrills and chills of temper and filling my imagination with insecure thoughts. I want, as most nervous people do, to "be exceptional" but instead I fear I'm not even average.

How do I quell these thoughts? I use the Recovery training I've so graciously been given by all the Recovery members who have come before me. I choose secure thoughts and realize that I do not know what others are thinking about me (or not thinking).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Late to work - at least I have a job

This morning, I overslept. I don't usually work on Tuesday morning, but I covered for someone else at work, so I had to be there at 10:30 a.m. I rushed to get ready for work (never a good idea, as "rushing leads to tenseness") and arrived at the college where I work 10 minutes early, but then I couldn't find any parking in the staff lot.

I drove in circles, up one level and then the next. All the spots in the staff lot were full and I had to turn around in one of the crowded aisles. I'm not sure at which point I worked myself up, but I think it might have been then. I exited the staff lot and drove to the student lot. As I wound my way up the parking structure, I felt myself getting tense and I kept thinking, "Why isn't there more parking for faculty and staff members? Why are there so many people here today, it's the third week of class?" and "I'm going to be late even though I was here on time; why didn't I try to get here earlier?"

I didn't spot then, but when I got out of the car, I felt myself wanting to run to work. My RI training kicked in and I remembered that rushing leads to tenseness and I commanded my muscles to slowly walk to the elevator and then to work. I had fearful temper because I hadn't left earlier for work and angry temper at the overcrowded parking situation. I endorsed for slowing down and not rushing to work even though I knew I was already 10 minutes late.

Before RI, I would have not even had a job such as this. I was always late to work, even when I could find parking. I would have run to work from the parking lot and been upset when I got there. It would have sent me into a panic and ruined my day.

I know this is an example and I'm not asking for spots here (although you are welcome to spot if you want as it helps). My point in posting this is that I want others to see (and I'm hoping some new or non-Recoveryites are out there) that RI helps us manage the symptoms we get when faced with these annoying inconveniences of daily life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reminder Symptoms

I can't believe I will celebrate a birthday soon and mark more than 10 years of Recovery training as well in just a few days. When I came into Recovery in June 1999 I was overweight, chronically depressed, anxious and irritable. Each day, I took several medications for these and other nervous symptoms. I didn't think life had anything good in store for me and each day passed in a bland sort of misery.

In the last 10 years, my life has improved in untold ways, mainly because of what I've learned in all those Recovery meetings I've attended plus the Recovery books and from the wisdom of the veteran members, those I've met and those from the early days of RI. And most of my days now are almost symptom free, or if I have symptoms, I spot on them and they're gone.

Sometimes, though, they hang on and right now is one of those times. I'm going through some unusual events, which probably accounts for their tenacity. In RI, we learn that what's experienced seems worse than what's remembered, so if I have symptoms now, they seem worse than the ones I had years ago, even if they're mild now. Another secure thought I like is that return of the symtoms doesn't mean a return of the illness (I didn't put this in quotes because I don't have the book in front of me and didn't want to misquote it, but I've heard and seen several variations of it in meetings and in the books).

So I'll keep endorsing for my efforts, attend meetings, spot my temper, and practice, practice, practice.
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