Stop Downplaying Your Progress and Success!

Hi everyone! So last week, I had a great time shopping with my mom. While I didn’t do a ‘perfect’ job, I did do really well when it came to going out and not allowing anxiety to get the best of me. I never had to leave the store early, I walked around, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

With that being said, there were moments when my anxiety did increase and I found myself doing less than spectacular. At those moments, I found that I began to beat myself up. My mom kept saying how well I was doing and yet, I still felt down on myself. Here’s the thing – there was a time when I wouldn’t even try to go into those stores. There was a time when I’d have to sit on the ground whenever I got too anxious to stand (true, they were furniture stores, so instead I sat on the couches, but I did get right back up and continue shopping!).

In the back of my mind, a part of me is still wishing I would have done even better. For example, I wish that I wouldn’t have had to hold on to my mom for the majority of the shopping (there were times when I didn’t). You know what? It’s okay to wish that. It’s okay to wish that I would have done better. Why? Because it’s good to set goals for ourselves and it’s good to want to accomplish more. At the same time, however, we have to give ourselves credit for what we did accomplish. I am so proud of myself that I went shopping to so many stores! I haven’t done that in a long time. All week was full of getting out and having a good time. It felt great! The more we practice facing our fears and overcoming our obstacles, the more progress we’ll make!

So stop downplaying your progress and success. The next time you hear yourself saying or thinking I did okay, but… or I did really good, but… stop yourself and realize that you did a wonderful job. Tell yourself that you’ll continue to work harder (and follow through with that promise), but at the same time, be proud of what you’ve already accomplished. None of us are perfect, but the fact that we continue to make progress makes all the difference in the world!

I hope that you’re all doing well and please remember that you’re not alone in your journey to be free from anxiety and any other issues you may be dealing with. Thanks for reading!

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What’s Been Going On

Hey guys! I hope you’re all doing well. I thought I would update you as to how things have been going.

For starters, just last weekend, I went to a restaurant I’d never been to and hung out with my mom and her two friends. I had met her friends before, but never spent much time with them. I had a great time and even fell in love with a new food – Crabmeat Rangoons! Anyway, in terms of my anxiety, I did really well!

Yesterday, I went out again. After heading out to my mom’s (where I did well, as usual), I went out to see her best friend. I’ve known this individual for many years and while she can be nice at times, she can be very cruel and can say some very hurtful things.

While this friend of my mom deals with anxiety, she isn’t always the most understanding when it comes to mine. This is frustrating both because I find it simply rude and hypocritical. How someone who suffers with anxiety themselves can treat someone else with anxiety so horribly is beyond me.

I will tell you all something that while I’m not proud of, is important to share for this story. Sometimes due to my anxiety, I hold on to someone I trust’s arm when walking. Upon seeing this, my mom’s friend said “That’s enough of this,” and tore my hand off of my mom’s arm, making me feel unsteady and anxious. Her friend went further to say that I could “hold on to her” and made me do that instead.

I was extremely upset that my mom’s friend made the comment about me holding onto my mom ‘being enough’. It’s already hard enough seeing myself struggle, let alone having someone say cruel things and literally rip me away from feeling comfortable.

After that incident, my mom and I went out to a store. My mom told her friend that we would both be back. Going into the store, I did well, but upon leaving, I began to become anxious. Upon having to sit down (unfortunately on the floor), I noticed a few people staring at me.

I understand why people do this, I do. I know it’s not normal for someone to simply sit on the floor. I hate that I go through this. I understand one’s curiosity in seeing someone sitting down in a strange spot. Still, I wish that people would be more supportive and less judgmental. Also, I think if someone thinks that something might be wrong, or that someone might be going through something, that they should maybe check if the person is alright, instead of blatantly staring at the individual. We’re not stupid, we see you staring, and it only makes things worse for us.

To continue, while I was trying to get my courage back up so that I could head to the car with my mom, I saw a literal sign in the store. My eyes were drawn right to it and I truly believe that I was meant to see it. Maybe that sounds strange to some, but it’s what I believe.

I know some of you may not be religious and that’s fine, but I thought I would share the quote on the sign. I hope it inspires you like it did me.

“Good things happen when you believe in God, who always believes in you.”

Also, here’s something else that is important to remember when you’re struggling. You have made progress before and just because you may be having a difficult time at the moment, does not mean that you’re not stronger than your obstacles or that you’re not improving. We all have days that are better than others and none of us are perfect. It’s okay if we struggle sometimes, it doesn’t make us any less successful.

I wish you all the best. Please remember that you are strong and that it doesn’t matter what others say. As long as you are working hard on a consistent basis to reach a positive goal, that’s all that matters.

May: Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness month. While I admit I didn’t find out until I saw it on Instagram, I still consider it an extremely important topic.

As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety. I’m happy to inform you that through practicing on a consistent basis, I’ve made a lot of progress. However, I still struggle with a lot of things and there is still a lot of improvement to be made.

There are a few things in particular that I’d like to talk about today. First and foremost, never give up on yourself. I know how easy it is to wonder if you’ll ever get through your anxiety and other issues. Trust me: with hard work on a consistent basis, you will. It may take a while, but you’ll get there.

Another thing I want to talk about is how it seems that many people are under the impression that anxiety and other mental health issues are always a ‘silent struggle’. While some people do keep it all bottled in, there are people that express what they go through – whether or not they want to. Also, while some issues can be invisible in that it’s hard to tell that someone is struggling, sometimes it can be pretty obvious that someone is going through something. No matter how mental health issues are illustrated (or not illustrated, for that matter), it does not indicate that someone is weaker or stronger than someone else. It is simply how their mental health shows itself. Either way, we need to support each other and help each other overcome our obstacles.

I’d also like to talk about something that’s a pretty big problem in the world – misconceptions about those who struggle with mental health issues. There are too many to name them all, so I’ll just focus on the ones that I’ve actually been accused of.

1.) My anxiety is just a way for me to stall growing up – This can’t be further from the truth. I want so badly to get a job, be able to do the things I once did without feeling anxious, etc. I hate that anxiety has gotten in the way of that. I don’t enjoy it at all.

2.) Anxiety is easy to ‘snap’ out of – Another misconception. It’s not always that easy to just ‘think yourself’ out of feeling anxious. Anxiety has the power to hold on for dear life at times. Sometimes it takes great force to get rid of it.

3.) Anxiety isn’t real – When a person is anxious, it can feel like it’s the end of their life. Everything can feel impossible and what was once easy, seems like the hardest thing in the world. Anxiety exists and it can be debilitating if you don’t learn how to take control.

4.) Anxiety is just an excuse to be lazy – This kind of goes hand in hand with number 1. Again, I hate not being able to do some of the things I once did without feeling anxious. Also, I enjoy doing things and working hard. Anxiety is not being lazy.

If you’re reading this and you struggle with a mental health issue, chances are that you’ve run into a plethora of misconceptions about whatever you deal with. I’m sorry you have to go through this. Stay strong and remember that it doesn’t matter what others think – it matters what you know. For those of you who know someone who struggles with a mental health issue, please try to be understanding and rid your mind of any misconceptions. If you have any questions about what someone struggles with, please ask them kindly. Don’t just make assumptions.

 

Being Proud of Progress (even when you’re not perfect)

As human beings, I think it can be difficult not to be tempted by negative thoughts. It’s hard when we struggle not to beat ourselves up, to put ourselves down for all of our missteps. However, it is important to remember that we are making progress and that even though we’re not perfect, that does not take away from our success.

Let’s take yesterday, for example. I went to church and did extremely well. I usually sit next to a relative and this time, because someone was sitting where my relative usually sits, I couldn’t. Therefore, I sat in my usual seat in back next to someone I’ve never met, and my relative sat in the pew in front of me (a good few away). You may think that doing well during mass while someone that usually sits next to you, instead just sits a little further away, isn’t a big deal, but to me it was. It meant that I could be independent and have enough faith in myself to believe that I could get through mass without becoming anxious – which I did! I didn’t really get anxious at all!

After church, I discovered that my relative and I would be staying after a while to help decorate. Even my relative was unaware of this. We ended up staying after (a whole two hours) and while I did struggle a little, I did pretty well all in all!

Now here’s the thing: I did get very upset with myself when I struggled. I felt miserable and I was mad at myself – mad that I couldn’t stand up to my anxiety and overcome its power. I allowed my anxiety to take control and for that, I was very upset. However, at the same time, I did get – in the end – get through it in that I didn’t let that one moment control the rest of my day. I got through that moment and I continued on with my day. You know what? The rest of the day went well! How awesome is that?!

I understand how difficult it can be not to get fed up with ourselves when we allow our obstacles and struggles to take control. At the same time, though, we can’t forget about the progress we’ve made or the fact that we are able to overcome our obstacles.

So, don’t forget to be proud of your accomplishments! Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t allow your moments of hardships to convince you that you’re not strong enough to get through whatever tries to hold you back!

More Progress!

Hey everybody!

I have some great news! On Sunday, I made some more progress with getting through my anxiety!

When I go to church, I usually sit in the back against the wall. I’ve gotten used to sitting there and I do extremely well. This last Sunday, however, someone was sitting where I usually sit, meaning that I had to sit somewhere else. While I was nervous at this idea, I felt confident that I would be okay. Still, during the service, I became a bit anxious.

It wasn’t easy sitting in a new spot. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but sitting against the wall where I know I can lean my head if I have to (I haven’t had to in a long time, but just knowing I can is a huge help), was nerve-racking. As many of you who deal with anxiety probably know, when anxiety hits, it can feel as if you’re trapped and while sitting in a different spot, that’s how I started to feel at one point.

When I started focusing on how I was sitting somewhere different, that’s when my anxiety hit. You might be thinking that I should have just stopped thinking about it right away, but that can be way easier said than done. My mind was focused on it and then I started thinking about how there was nowhere to rest my head if I needed to. Panic began to settle in.

However, I got through it. It wasn’t easy, but I did. I started focusing on other things – on my grandparents (who have both passed away, but used to be at church with my mom and I when I was younger), on the necklace I was wearing around my neck that reminded me of my grandpa, on what was being said in church, and on my hair which I was twirling nervously, but that helped me relax. Eventually, I calmed down and I got through mass! It wasn’t easy, but I did it!

While to some, this may not seem like a big accomplishment, I know otherwise. Ever since I’ve started going back to church, I’ve been sitting in the back (other then one time when I sat in the front when my grandpa died – another sign of progress), but this time was different. I did something that I’m not used to – even though I was anxious – and I got through it. Taking small steps towards reaching one’s goal does matter and being able to stay the whole time during mass while being anxious is a big deal!

It felt great that I got through my anxiety on my own. Yes, my mom was sitting right next to me, but I never told her I needed to leave or anything like that. There would have been nothing wrong with that if I did, but I didn’t. I got through it on my own and that hasn’t always been easy for me in the past. Counting on myself to calm down has always been difficult – I tend to obsess on my anxiety, which leads to me feeling the need to leave wherever I am. Even now as I write this, I feel slightly stressed. It’s a scary thing feeling anxious and not knowing if you can get through it. But again, I did and it felt amazing!

To all of you out there who struggle, with hard work on a consistent basis, you can and will get through your anxiety and over any obstacles that come your way. It just takes time, patience, and a lot of effort. Try your hardest to have confidence in yourself – you deserve it!

 

I Did It!

Hey everybody! Today I’d like to share some exciting news with you!

I used to love shopping – seriously. However, once my anxiety began hitting hard, it became more and more difficult to go out, especially for long periods of time. While I know I’ve made significant progress over the years, I still have a long way to go.

In terms of shopping, there is really only one place where I feel somewhat comfortable, and even there I struggle with walking around without getting anxious. It’s hard for me to focus on simply looking at things and enjoying myself while I’m worrying so much and I tend to get shaky and have to sit down. However, I will say that in general, I do pretty well there.

Today I did something amazing. My dad and I went out to buy some gifts for the holidays and when he asked if I’d like to try to go in, I said yes. I asked that we use a cart so I could hold on and he said alright. While I did hold onto the cart while we walked around, I stayed in the store the whole time and did great! I held onto my dad’s arm while we left the store because I felt a bit shaky, but I’m extremely proud of myself! There would have been a time when I would have either not tried going in the store at all or would have had to leave the store before we were finished shopping. Today I stayed inside the whole time, helped with finding everything, and didn’t get overly anxious. I can’t tell you how good that felt!

The point of this story is that even though it may seem like you’ll never get through your anxiety or over your obstacles, you can and will if you work hard on a consistent basis. There was a time when I wouldn’t have thought I could go shopping like I did today; when I didn’t think I could possibly stay the whole time, walk around, and leave without getting uncontrollably anxious – but I did! If I never would have gone in today and tried, I never would have seen how well I could have done!

So if you struggle with anxiety or some other issue, don’t feel like you’ll never overcome these obstacles. As long as you work hard and never give up, you can and will continue to make progress!

I wish you all the best in overcoming your obstacles!

Taking Back the Holidays

Hi all! First and foremost, I hope that everyone who celebrated had a great Thanksgiving. I am happy to say that, I myself, had a wonderful holiday and felt very little anxiety! I am quite proud of my success!

I’d like to share some more good news with all of you! Yesterday an article I wrote was published on Harness Magazine’s website! The subject of the article dealt with taking back the fun of the holidays by not allowing anxiety to ruin a good day. If interested, I would love it if you took some time to check it out. You can find the article here. The article also includes some tips on getting through anxiety in general and during the holiday season.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

-B.

 

First Review for Inspiration Unbound!

Hey everybody! As a writer, it’s always nice to receive reviews from my readers and friends. Today I’d like to share the first review I received for me and Gary Ginsburg’s inspirational article and poetry collection, Inspiration Unbound. If you’re interested in purchasing your own copy, you can do so by visiting Amazon.com. Thank you! Special thanks goes to my good friend who wrote the following:

Matthew
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Motivational Read!
October 17, 2018
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
B.W. and Gary have put together an absolutely beautiful book. 25 short inspirational messages and poems that combine to deliver that perfect positive spark of motivation that so many of us need and search for. An excellent read, well worth the purchase!

 

Thinking Back

For those of us who struggle, we may often times find ourselves looking back. We may think about how we once did things with ease and now, those same actions seem difficult. While focusing on the past can have negative ramifications such as causing us to feel depressed or hopeless, there is a way to reflect on the past and use it to our benefit.

For starters, even when looking at what once came easily and may now seem difficult, we can turn the fact that we now struggle into something positive. How? We can realize that since we were once able to do that action with ease, we still can. We just have to work our hardest to accomplish that goal! That may not seem simple, but it is possible.

Additionally, thinking about the past can be a good thing. Many of us (even if it doesn’t always seem obvious) have made progress when it comes to facing our fears, getting through our anxiety, and overcoming our obstacles. Many of us have made tremendous strides in accomplishing our goals. By reflecting on the past, we can see just how far we’ve come. Perhaps we’re not exactly where we want to be, but the fact that we’ve made progress is extremely important.

So next time you find yourself focusing on the past in a negative light, try to remember all of the positive ways you can think about the past. Think about how far you’ve come and how with continued hard work, you can become even more successful!

Doing What You Didn’t Think You Could

We all have fears – whether they’re irrational or not. Something that I’ve always feared is swallowing pills. I’ve always been afraid that I’d choke. Therefore I’ve either taken chewable medication when I was younger, liquid forms, or pills that were crushable. However, recently I had to take something that wasn’t suggested it be crushed. At first I was told that it couldn’t be, but then I was told that it was just that it wasn’t suggested. In the end, I decided to cut the pills in half and swallow them – I was still scared.

I had to take two pills a day for a week. While perhaps some of you may think it got easier, it didn’t always feel that way. I was still nervous I would choke. But you know what? Every day I took those pills and in the end, everything worked out! I never skipped a day and nothing bad ever happened. I did really well and I’m so proud of myself! It just goes to show how important it is to have faith in ourselves and to go out of our comfort zones.

I’m not going to lie – I’m still going to ask if medication can be crushed in the future if I have to take something else. Still, I know now that I’m capable of swallowing pills and I’m confident that if I ever have to do it again, I can. It feels so good to know that! The saying really is true – we’re often much more capable of things than we think. We really need to start having more faith in ourselves.

I’m also proud of myself because, while the last few days for me have been difficult and I’ve had to do a lot of things that made me nervous, I’ve done pretty well. While I did struggle a little, I also got through things that I wasn’t sure I could. We all have the strength inside of ourselves to conquer our fears – we just have to constantly exercise facing them and remind ourselves of our true strength.

I hope that each and every one of you are doing well and please remember how strong you truly are. I know that getting through anxiety and overcoming other obstacles can be extremely difficult, but with time and consistent effort, you can accomplish your goals!