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Topic: Anxious about what people think of me with HSP

20 posts, 0 answered
  1. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    20 August 2020
    Hi there,

    This is my very first post since I discovered this wonderful place. Reading the threads and other people's stories really inspired me. I feel like there is hope at the end of the tunnel and that I am not alone.

    My story is quite typical, I am always sensitive towards other people's opinions of me since a young age. And it intensified since I started working. I also have very high expectation of myself, and these two combined have taken a toll on me from mid last year. I was put on multiple projects at the same time, in a territory I am not familiar with, I was working so hard trying make it work. However, with all the pressure and my eagerness to prove myself, it triggered my first anxiety attack. I removed myself from the projects to protect my mental health, but I felt quite shameful since then and ultimately found another job instead.

    The new job was great to start with, however, there were a couple of recent changes have shifted the picture completely. Since the pandemic started, I have been struggling for a bit. The constant feeling of not being viewed as a good performer has haunted me on regular basis, I also feel quite difficult to nevigate through the office politics and play the game.

    To change it, I've started to jog and meditate every day. I also write journals to record my feelings/achievements. And enrolled to a Mindspot online course. But the negative thoughts still hit me everyday.

    Does anyone else experience it? How do you manage it?
    2 people found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    8236 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale

    Hi, welcome

    Well you’ve displayed that you are capable of self help- getting another job for example.

    Have you visited your GP? Medication along with therapy is all part of the bigger picture to recovery.

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to white knight
    Hi TonyWK,

    Thanks for the reply. I have visited a GP, and got my my mental health plan, but I want to try to manage my anxiety without medication first. If that doesn't work, I'll reach out for the alternative option.
  4. CyP
    blueVoices member
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    CyP avatar
    26 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale
    Hi Freewhale

    Thank you for sharing. And I hear you!

    COVID has definitely changed not only the way we work, but also people, and has amplified underlying feelings of uncertainties and our capacity to handle the unknown .

    I also struggle with feeling 'I'm enough'. On days that I don't feel my best self, I chase down rabbit holes, overthink, and get hooked by the imaginary need to do more. It's exhausting.

    I too have done the mindspot training. The content was great in terms of understanding our anxiety, how it works, and how to scaffold our way through and not get caught by our own anxiety.

    Taking small steps is the key I find. Keep it up! And do keep up with all the wonderful exercises and journaling !

    You mentioned office politics - it can certainly make something simple unnecessarily complicated. It's great that you are recognising it, and I think awareness is key... so you don't get involved in the first place. I have no advice for you around navigating office politics because I don't know how to play the game either ! My strategy is to stay out of it as much as I can, so I minimise the chances of getting caught in one :P

    At work, its not always easy to find genuine collegial support. I think it takes time and opportunities to understand how people are feeling , and to find those who understand integrity to keep conversations respectful and confidential. I tried by just asking people how they are, "are you okay ", and sometimes carefully acknowledging tricky situations/challenges by simply saying ' that wasn't easy, was it? Thanks for doing it together " and see what they say back.
    Sometimes it gets reciprocated, sometimes nothing. Oh well it's out of my control how people react so make sure leave it as it is. I hope slowly that would build a small circle of people we can trust.

    By the way I also pull myself out of a project 4 weeks ago.
    Like you, I always try to work through things, but I werks in, i realised it wasn't for me. It was starting to take a toll. Oh yes there was some level of embarrassment when I broke the news to the group, but my mental health comes first, and I know I could redirect my energy into something else. I believe we have made a similar decision to prioritise and protect our mental health, so don't be apologetic. We know our panic attacks, and to manage it is to recognise our triggers and knowing what can make it worse.

    If you would like to come back and talk more, feel free to do so . Name it to tame it! .
    Sending warm wishes..
    1 person found this helpful
  5. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to CyP
    Thank you so much for your reply. I feel so related to your experience.

    Your tips of taking small steps are very encouraging, the amount of pressure I put on myself makes me feel like it's never enough. This extend to the feeling of if something goes wrong, my first instinct is "have I done enough" or "is it my fault". And of course, it's so very exhausting and also impacting my confidence. But I am trying to celebrating little wins, telling myself if I have done everything I can then it's enough.

    On office politics, I feel like I am too honest and genuine, I need to learn to control my urge to tell people what I really think. Definitely agree with you on not getting involved at the first place. But little things like when my manager stuffed sth up, I struggle to explain what happened cuz I don't want to dob him in.

    Thanks for the warm wishes, I want give you a virtual hug in return.
    1 person found this helpful
  6. CyP
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    26 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale
    Thanks for the reply and the vurtual hug :)

    Judt want to quickly share too- I love Brene Brown's work. Her book 'the art of imperfection" was the first book that has made a shift on my perspective . I keep a few of my favourite quotes from her work around integrity, impefection, and unamoured self in my phone as little reminders :)


  7. white knight
    Community Champion
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    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    8236 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale

    Hi again, I can understand how you’d like to meet the challenge of overcoming anxiety without medication and it is your choice. However it is a major health issue and when they develop they need all the available resources to combat it.

    Please put these topics into the search bar at the top of the page -

    anxiety, how I eliminated it

    meltdown back to basics

    meditation, words of wisdom, he helped me for 25 years- Maharaji

    seeking the origin of anxiety

    I hope they help. Reply anytime

    TonyWK

  8. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    21 August 2020 in reply to white knight
    Thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it. Will explore further on your suggestions. Cheers
  9. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    21 August 2020 in reply to CyP
    Thanks for the reference.
    May I ask what your routine is to cope with the anxiety on the daily basis? Or what's the fundamental thing that changed your mindset overall?

    Despite my daily attempt of improvement, I still feel quite tormented by all the negative thoughts that come and go during the day? Is it a matter of time? Or techniques?


    Thank you.
  10. CyP
    blueVoices member
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    CyP avatar
    26 posts
    21 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale
    Hey back :)

    I've been taught different strategies to manage negative thoughts ...
    The common one is 'leaf down the stream' visualisation ... you put your thought on a leaf, observe it without judgement, and let go of it so it flows down the stream . My therapist taught me that, I liked the idea.

    But soon after I came up with another visualisation that really worked for me .

    When I have an unproductive thought, I blow that allllllll into a balloon. Imagine it rises like a helium balloon , but still has a string tie to it and you hold on to it , I think that symbolises when we are not ready to let go of that unhelpful thought yet ... it's okay to observe the balloon and observe what's inside, and process it until I'm ready to let that balloon go .

    If I'm holding onto too many balloons, the force would pull me up and away , I would lose control. Therefore , I need to let those balloons go, so I can stay grounded .

    Regardless of strategies , its important to notice them as they are , and not dismiss them. Acknowledge them they are there , and when you see they are not serving you well, you can say , 'thank you Mind, but that's not helpful and I try to let that go.

    For me, it's a matter of practice and time to test your strategies. And knowing your triggers, and staying hopeful .

    That's what I try to do. You can come up with your own analogy, or visualisation, if that helps.

    It takes practice, and its deliberate , it takes a lot of awareness, and non judgement .

    I can see that you are motivated to change, and that motivation / inner incentive will be your fuel to practice these resilient strategies . Your exercise/mindful journaling and other self-care activities will be help refuel your brain :)

    You may also look up 'postive reframe' and 'growth mindset' materials to help build some strategies to replace with more helpful /positive/ productive thoughts. Ted talks are great, I also like beyond blue and black dog institute resources too.

    There are some videos on neuroscience of negative thoughts, that explains why we all have them from an evolution point of view, and how to get 'unstuck'

    https://youtu.be/3ThUrVXz9j0
    This is an example.

    Be careful with internet sources . If in doubt, start with names and sources from tedtalks / beyond blue etc

    Brene Brown also has some beautiful ways of explaining why sometimes we feel need to be a 'perfectionist ' , which explains the feeling of shame and guilt and how they are interlinked. I thought that was really interesting .

    Its easier to have compassion when we understand more. I hope you will find additional ideas from the mindspot course. And make use of the phone call catch ups with the clinician , I found them really helpful just talk stuff aloud in exchange for a clearer mind , and at the same time you get some feedback too

    More warm wishes coming your way :)
    1 person found this helpful
  11. CyP
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    26 posts
    21 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale
    the mindspot training is CBT based and i believe it has some materials there to help notoce thought (lesson 1) and challenge your biased thoughts / assumptions (lesson 3)

    I've kept some course notes and materials so I can revisit them. Recommend that you do the same :)
  12. blondguy
    Life Member
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    10707 posts
    22 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale

    Hi Freewhale

    I understand the anguish you have experienced with anxiety symptoms and yes they are awful. You mentioned ' I want to try to manage my anxiety without medication first' and thats understandable

    Everyone has varying levels of anxiety as you know. I experienced the same as yourself when I was 23 and also changed careers too. Just for myself....I made the wrong choice by choosing natural alternatives and tried to self heal...for 13 years..ooops

    Just as per my own experience...my anxiety actually exacerbated over those 13 years which was unfortunate even though I was super fit..had an excellent diet and practiced meditation

    I now understand that the earlier our anxiety is treated with super frequent help from our GP/Counsellor and meds if prescribed.. the better our recovery will be!

    CYP wisely mentioned CBT....Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.....That works very well......when we have the determination....patience and a strong desire to heal

    I hope you can stick around the forums Freewhale...The forums are a safe and non judgmental place for you

    any questions are always welcome too!

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

  13. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    23 August 2020 in reply to CyP
    Thank you for your reply.

    I found the visual techniques very inspiring and practical.

    Since I started my mindfulness practice a while ago, it's only in the last couple of days that I started to feel a slight epiphany moment when I can feel a short peaceful moment that was worry free. Visually it feels like I was under dark clouds all the time, but there are a couple of short moments that the sun shines through the cloud and I can feel the warmth.

    I am dedicated to keep practicing it until those moments are prolonged.

    I still dread for the meetings tomorrow and the worse case scenarios. But I am working on not letting myself get too attached to those thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing the materials, I will explore them. Btw I am starting the Mindspot course tomorrow.

    Warm hugs/wishes coming your way.
    1 person found this helpful
  14. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    23 August 2020 in reply to blondguy
    Hi Paul,

    Nice to meet you and thank you for sharing your experience.

    I definitely would stick round to the forum. Whenever I stuck in the dark place and need some strength, I found it in here.

    I am starting an online cource with Mindspot next week that has CBT built into it. I am also doing my own research on this topic to help myself. For now I can understand the practice but still finding my way to practice it.

    I have so much respect for you for your achievement of managing the anxiety for 13 years, and I feel grateful for hearing your experience about what worked.

    Thank you.
    1 person found this helpful
  15. CyP
    blueVoices member
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    CyP avatar
    26 posts
    23 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale
    Hey Freewhale

    The cloud analogy in meditation is beautiful . Observing all the clouds that come in all shapes and forms , just like our thoughts ... they stay a little , and along they move, and we see light again and remember glorious weather will come our way.

    I'm glad for you that you've found that precious moment of peace as a result of your practice of meditation.

    It sounds like a feeling or moment that kept you grounded, still, and safe perhaps? Wouldn't it be lovely to remember that feeling of worry-free, so you can retreat back to the calmness whenever you need it. I wonder if that came with some bodily senses too in your epiphany? The breath, a steady heart rate , perhaps? I hope you will find more of these moments through your practice.

    I wish you a better week ahead , and all the best with your course.

    I also want to thank you for reminding me the power of meditation. I am going to practice more this week. Even just a few minutes , to get started again. Thank you for sharing it here

    Warmly,

    CP
    1 person found this helpful
  16. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    24 August 2020 in reply to CyP
    hi CP,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Today was a tough day for me being Monday at work, at the moment even my manager is saying it's difficult to be with the company due to the tension between different departments and the lack of process. I struggle with that,feel like that I tried so hard but haven't achieved anything. And the future is looking pretty challenging too. I know I need to change my mindset, there are a lot of other ppl experiencing a lot worse.

    I keep telling myself that my time would come, keep my head down and focus on what's in front of me. But at the same time, it's a daily battle.

    Positive thing is that I've been running for 9 days straight. For me, it's a bit like a meditation session.

    My partner has been great in supporting me. And we talk about 3 things we feel grateful everyday.

    Hope you are well. How did you go with meditation session? I am still exploring.

    Warms wishes.


  17. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
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    10707 posts
    24 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale

    Hi Freewhale

    Its always nice to have a reply (not that we expect one) and thankyou for your super kind words too :-)

    You are very proactive with with your health and Kudos to you. Your course combining Mindspot and CBT sounds like an excellent concept. With your inner strength and determination you will do very well

    Great to have you as part of the Beyond Blue family Freewhale

    my kindest always

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  18. CyP
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    CyP avatar
    26 posts
    25 August 2020 in reply to Freewhale
    Hi Freewhale

    Work is not an easy space to navigate through. Focusing what matters and what's in our control can certainly help especially on difficult days.

    Mediation is going steady for me. Its easier for me to do it before sleeping.

    It sounds like you have some support from your partner and a gratitude routine . It's a lovely activity for the mind and is further strengthened with physical exercise . Keep up the great work !!

    Warm regards,
    CP
  19. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    25 August 2020 in reply to blondguy
    Hi Paul,

    Always nice to talk to someone here. Nice to know people going through their own life challenges and still being so warm and welcoming towards others.

    I am being proactive, but I still struggle on daily basis. I try to focus on the positives, but still have my episodes.

    I am trying, and hopefully grow everyday. How are you going?


  20. Freewhale
    Freewhale avatar
    11 posts
    25 August 2020 in reply to CyP
    Hi CP,

    Thanks for your reply. Hope you had a good day. Good to hear your meditation is going well, I try to do it when I wake up and before sleep, but sometimes fell asleep instead.

    I read my 1st chapter of Mindspot course last night, learnt about the cycle of symptoms. It helps me to rationalize things. Will see how I go.

    Warm regards and virtual hugs.

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