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Monday, 20 December 2010

My new page - Esther's cakes...

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Esthers-cakes/120977057969556

Decisions, Decisions!

The time has finally come to make a decision. And I am ready to make that decision.

I had originally chosen financial safety and security, so that I could buy my own home and become a mother in 10 years time.

But I think I was wrong about everything - I don't want to be paying off a mortgage for the rest of my life (I can just get a council place like I planned), and I don't think having a baby is the best idea. I was just feeling emotional about it and broody, but somehow I think that doing other things like travelling the world, and maybe doing excavations in different countries is a much better idea.

I focused so much on the most sensible decision, everything was about me doing this so that I could have a child.

But the best thing for me, I think, is to do something that I love. I could enjoy the beauty of history so much, and history seems to capture me so completely that I can never let it go. I long to travel the world (like I used to), and go on excavations abroad. There is so much that I can do with my life which means that I would really be living my life for the first time.

So, in conclusion, I have chosen the path of working towards something I love, and actually living for once!

xoxo

Crossroads

One thing I hate is when I find myself facing a crossroads. It makes me confused about which road I should take. I'm always afraid of going in the wrong direction (as I have so many times before). That is what I am facing now.

This is not a new thing for me though, This particular crossroads always seems to pop up every once in a while. Especially when I get broody and one of the roads would make me more financially stable so that I could have a child in 10 years time.

My crossroad is always the tug of war I have inside me concerning becoming either a psychologist or working in a museum.

The problem is that it seems almost impossible to get a job in a museum (the field is very competitive). And the present state of the economy makes this ten times worse. The way things are going with the governmental cuts museums will just be run by volunteers!
I felt that becoming a psychologist would give me more security, then I would be able to buy a house and have a baby in 10 years time. I was hoping that with this option I would have a lot more money and would get to be a mum in the future.

This time I have to decide for good, one way or the other. I just hope that I make the right choice!

Do I go straight down the road of more money and security or turn towards the road on the right - the road of the job that I would be passionate about, maybe even travelling the world?

xoxo

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Square One

I feel like I am back at square one, I always feel like that at this time - at the end of my period. It makes my hormones go crazy which in turn makes my nerves go insane. Added to that the cold weather has made it almost impossible for me to function as usual and go outside. I have also allowed myself to relapse by letting the cold keep me indoors in a safe and more comfortable cocoon. I have been feeding the nerves and anxiety like I used to do, and even when I have been indoors I have let all the things I have learned (to fight against my anxiety and agoraphobia) run away from my mind. Everything has been against me going outside regularly, but I should have fought against it more. The past few days have been like hell, feeling so fittish and awful - and instead of letting go and not caring if I have a seizure, I have been giving into extreme panic and am letting the fear grip me once again. From tomorrow I must start to let go of the control that I cling to so tightly - this is the key to my recovery.

Anxiety is a bully that you have to beat by standing up to it.

xoxo

Friday, 19 November 2010

Quotes about....

Learning

A library is a hospital for the mind.

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. 
- Gandhi (1869-1948)
"Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere"

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live."

Quotes about....

Reading


"To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”

“How my life has been brought to undiscovered lands, and how much richer it gets - all from words printed on a page.... How a book can have 560 pages, but in only three pages change the reader's life.”

“To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.”
Credit goes to: http://www.readfaster.com/readingquotes.asp

Going to the cinema

For some reason I felt more nervous going to the cinema today then I did last week. Its mainly due to the anti depressants making my vision so blurred. This makes me feel so paranoid that I am going to have a seizure and makes it harder for me to go out and do things. Thats why in weak moments I feel as if I am getting worse. I'm not really, its just the side effects of my anti depressants (and beta blockers) that make it seem that way.

The whole time I was watching the film I felt this internal urge to walk out and just come bach home, but I really wanted to stay and see the film - so I focused on the movie, "My afternoons with Margueritte". I'm glad I did because despite of the nerves I really enjoyed myself and it was a great film. It was a French film (with English subtitles) about a largely built man who everyone ridicules (calling him stupid) who forms a very strong friendship with a petite and kind elderly lady. He finds it difficult to read but she reads to him and shows the great joy that books can bring, changing his life forever.

I love films like this that inspire me to fully indulge my passion for reading, after all..

"He that loves a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, as in all fortunes."

xoxo

Disabling doubts

I know I haven't been posting for quite a few days but its been a very rough and difficult couple of days. I'd been doing so well, fighting really hard to beat my agoraphobia and after I had been to the cinema I felt like I was really getting somewhere in getting my life back. But then I had to see my psychologist for another session of my CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and things got a lot worse. I always get so nervous and anxious a few days before I have to go to the mental health clinic - I hate the whole thing: getting to the clinic, sitting in the waiting room, and then talking to the psychologist for about 30 mins to an hour.
Often when I leave he has said something that makes me feel worse.

He seemed to be very pleased with my progress and told me that it is important for me to focus on what I have been able to do rather than on how I am feeling. Being an introvert makes this very difficult as I have always focused on my emotions and my 'internal world'. But then he kept asking me if it is getting easier for me to go outside yet. This may sound ridiculous but this made me feel horrible, like everything I had achieved was for nothing. I felt like I should be doing a lot better than I am - even though the week before I felt like I was well on my way on the road to recovery! Its quite ironic too than the one person who is supposed to make me feel better is the one person who makes me feel worse, lol.

It was probably silly letting what he said make me feel worse about my progress, but I am just so scared of the idea of the agoraphobia and anxiety getting worse.

I think it is getting easier though, its just that the anti depressants make my eyes feel unfocused and blurred, and also make me feel so tired and dizzy all the time. So when I go out all of this makes it seem as if I'm getting worse but really I have come a long way. Only a little while ago I could barely make it to my back garden and now I am going out for long walks, going shopping round the city, and even going to the cinema :)

And today I plan to go to the cinema again, so here's to progress!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Facing fears instead of running from them

Yesterday I faced a big milestone in overcoming my epilepsy anxiety and agoraphobia, a big obstacle that I managed to overcome! I haven’t been able to go to the cinema ever since becoming more and more anxious about my epilepsy, and I used to love going to the cinema so much. It was always a kind of a pick-me-up whenever I was feeling down, to go the cinema (as you may have guessed, alone). I have really missed it and there have been so many films that I have wanted to see :(

I was nervous all yesterday morning about going, I kept feeling that I was not ready for this big step yet – the thought of sitting in a room for two hours with other people around me only added to my agoraphobic fears. So I tried to take a bit of the pressure off by thinking if I go that will be great but if I don’t then I’ll just try again another time. But I think deep down in my heart I was determined to go. I must have been secretly determined because in the afternoon I was walking the 20 minute walk to my local cinema in the pouring rain, etc. But that was not the hardest part.

The hardest part was when I entered the cinema to find crowds of people queuing up for tickets. What was making it worse was that my anti depressants can often make my vision blurred – which made me so scared that I was going to have a seizure. I stood there so tempted to run out and walk back home again, but I kept telling myself ‘you’ve come this far, if you keep going you will feel such a sense of achievement’. I also kept thinking about what someone (who is also epileptic) told me a few years ago ‘If you have a seizure and people have a problem with it, then that’s their problem not yours’.

I was so relieved when I had bought the tickets and was sitting in ‘Screen 2’ waiting for the film, ‘The kids are alright’ to start. All I had to do now was focus on the film and just enjoy this experience like I did before I developed bad nerves. The film was great, with some funny moments too which really helped to calm my nerves. I soon began to relax and really enjoy the film. When it finished and I was leaving I felt so happy. I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it, I had actually sat in a cinema (like I used to love doing) with people around me for 2 hours. It was the longest I have been outside since becoming ill with anxiety!

Overcoming this obstacle must have been so good for me because I had a wonderful (and very vivid dream) about the girls who bullied me when I was in high school. In the dream I walked right up to them saying that they had been the root cause of my problems and they were not going to get away with it. I then pushed them right across the room like they would have if I had told any of the teachers what was going on. I have always dreamt about the bullies but I have never had a dream where I have been the victor, lol.

It’s true that we can often achieve more than we think we can. It just takes a huge amount of determination.

xoxo

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Thoughts on Christmas

For all you fab introverts out there, how do you feel about Christmas?
I love Christmas, but then I am lucky as my Christmas involves a peaceful and wonderful xmas with just my mum and dad, who appreciate my introversion. If I had to deal with lots of relatives (e.g. aunt's, uncles, cousins, etc) I wouldn't be as enthusiastic!

Best thing about Introversion

I was very happy yesterday to have finally received my copy of the book: "The introvert advantage: How to thrive in an extrovert world" by Marti Laney. I've loved reading it so far, its a great book that focuses on working with your personality instead of working against it.

I've been thinking about the things I have read and my own feelings about being an introvert and its true what Marti Laney says, there are excellent advantages to being an introvert.

I especially like the idea that Marti Laney introduces :  extrovert vs introvert  =  breadth vs depth.
For example, even though I don't enjoy social situations anywhere near as much as an extrovert, I have the ability to experience things much deeper than an extrovert does. Like when I went to Paris with my mum (who is an extrovert), and she wanted to race around - going to as many attractions as we could fit into the 4 days. I didn't enjoy racing around as much as she did because it didn't really give me a chance to really absorb the experience of seeing all these things. I convinced my mum to let me go to the Paris Opera House twice and I loved really absorbing the historical beauty of the Opera House - it was one of the best experiences of my life. She couldn't experience this wonderful place as deeply as I could, she was constantly focusing on lots of other places she wanted to fit into the subsequent days! She could never enjoy sitting somewhere and just reflecting on something deep and important, but this is something that I love doing.

Speaking only for myself, being able to reflect on various very deep topics and truly feel the depth of life, rather than the breadth of life, is the best part of being an introvert.

xoxo

Monday, 8 November 2010

Daily Introvert Quote

  • "Do not look for a sanctuary in anyone except your self." (The Buddha, Siddhartha Gotama)


  • http://www.introvertcentral.com/Quotes_on_Introversion.cfm

    Musings

    I cannot tell you how pleased I was to return to my studying once again today. But then again, I am always eager and enthusiastic to study. There is something so wonderful about learning new things and improving the mind. It also gave me an excuse not to venture out into the pouring rain this morning – but of course it is beautiful sunshine now, lol.

    What’s more, Psychology is the perfect subject for the analytical introvert! I seem to have really taken to this subject, much more than other subjects I have studied in the past such as mathematics and history (though my passion for history still remains).

    Its hard for me to find things to do outside, being an extrovert. And the problem is that as I am going through CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to overcome agoraphobia I have to venture out as much as humanly possible during the week. There is only so many different things to do. There are no lovely country walks nearby, just a small selection of shops :( I have to admit I am not a lover of shopping, I try to enjoy it but in my heart its always something I have to do, rather than something I want to do.

    The two places I enjoy going to are the cinema (I wish there was something good on there at the moment!) and the library. So I really hope that the weather improves so that I can do some of my studying at the main library in Winchester :)

    xoxo

    Sunday, 7 November 2010

    Daily Introvert Quote

    "Only in quiet waters do thing mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
    (Hans Margolius)

    * http://www.introvertcentral.com/Quotes_on_Introversion.cfm - this site has some great quotes for all you introverts out there!

    Saturday, 6 November 2010

    Self realisation - introvert pride!

    Looking back on the past 25 years of my life, I cannot think of a time when I didn't feel like a fish out of water, like there was something wrong with me, like I was on another planet from everyone else. I always seemed to be so different from everyone else, in a way that was difficult to explain. How could I say that faced with a situation involving groups (or even worse crowds) of people, I would feel miserable? That I didn't want to go out to any parties, that I hated pubs and clubs or that I didn't want to socialise with any more than one person at a time? For this I would have been called anti social, lol!How could I explain that I hated trying to make small talk and longed for deep and meaningful conversations about history, how important intellect and learning was to me, psychology, philosophy? Or even worse - that the times when my heart and soul has truly felt happiness has been when I have spent time with just my incredible mum and dad, when I have read a fascinating book in my room, or spent the afternoon in my room studying a subject that I have a passion for? For this, many have found me to be boring. I've always felt like the odd one out, even when I have tried I never ever quite fit in. For so long I felt that there was something wrong with me. And most of all, I felt like I was the only one who is like this - but I was wrong.

    It seems to me that Western society is utterly and completely extroverted. People 'should' be outgoing, sociable, bubbly and, younger people especially, normally go to parties and have large groups of friends and lots of other people who they love to spend lots of time with. Society seems to view introversion as a problem - whereby an introvert is seen as an anti-social hermit, who needs help to improve their confidence and to improve their social life - so that they can be like everyone else.

    I confess though that my harshest critic has been myself. I did not want to see myself as someone who could be viewed as some kind of anti-social, hermit. I tried to actually enjoy going to pubs and parties, not focusing so much on intellect and studying and tried to get to know different people. But it felt wrong, I was trying to be someone else and it made me feel even more awkward and weird than I ever did before!
    It made me miserable and exhausted me - there's nothing more tiring than trying so hard to be someone you're not! But I hated to admit to myself that I was bored with normal small talk, that I was much happier studying and focusing on improving my mind. I've always felt ashamed of the way I am, that maybe I should be more outgoing, more 'sociable'.

    Until now, I had no idea that there was any such thing as an introverted personality. Reading the internet articles about the signs of an introverted personality, I couldn't believe how much their descriptions were completely explaining what my personality has always been like. No one has ever been able to understand me (not even me in some ways). When I work somewhere and I'm the new girl - everyone always seems to think that I am weird, but suddenly so much about me makes sense. And, even more surprising, I discovered that in the way that I am and the way that I have felt about my personality - I am not alone.

    For the first time I think I really see and understand myself. I feel no shame or guilt that maybe I should be the way society would wish me to be. I feel proud. I'm not an anti social hermit - I would like one close friend. But I don't need lots of people around me to feel happy. I feel very lucky to have an amazing mum and dad who love me completely for who I am. I'm not an extrovert - bubbly and outgoing - but I am intelligent, I'm very kind, and I feel things very deeply with a heart that hopes that one day everyone can understand that introversion is not a problem, infact it can often be a blessing in disguise.

    Whether you are introvert or extrovert, be proud of who you are.

    xoxo

    Saturday, 30 October 2010

    Climbing mountains - Its their problem, not mine.

    Going out today (as I am only a week away from my period) really did feel like climbing a mountain -
    a hard thing to do but at the end you feel like you have achieved something great.
    As I walked out the door I felt so nervous, and as I walked further and further towards the city I felt worse and worse. The urge to rush back home was so overpowering, it took all the knowledge from the book 'Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for dummies' for me to be able to resist that urge.
    But the most important thing and surprising thing is that I did! I was physically able to go further than I have in years. I sat down in the city centre with lots of people walking by doing their day to day shopping, and I tried to calm my thoughts and convince myself that if I have a seizure and people have a problem with it then its their problem, not mine.
    I was walked right through the city centre and even round three of the supermarkets (Iceland, Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer)! I then went right down to Thorntons and bought my mum and dad lots of yummy chocolate treats for Halloween :)
    When I got home I felt so good, like I really had climbed a mountain. I felt like I had really turned a corner in my struggle to overcome this anxiety and agoraphobia. They key is to not care if  I have a seizure or not and to go out and do all the normal things I want to do, whether I 'feel like it' or not!

    Esther xoxo

    Monday, 25 October 2010

    Achieving anything

    I did so well today, much better than I thought I would!

    After a week of not being able to go out because of the awful cold I am still recovering from, and the big break to my routine of maintaining busy and challenging days, I still managed to walk right to Winchester city centre! It felt awful and so frightening as I reached the city. I felt so dizzy and my head felt like it was vibrating so violently, the only thought that went through my head was ‘oh god, I am going to have a seizure’. It was just my nerves and anxiety playing tricks on my mind. I know that what matters most is not what I  am feeling inside but what I have actually done. I wanted so badly to do something normal and to go to ‘card factory’ so that I could buy some Christmas wrapping paper. It seems silly I know to start wrapping presents so early but the presents I have bought for my mum and dad are so big that I really need to wrap them as they arrive from Argos, and I’m only half way through my Christmas Shopping, lol!

    As well as this I have had a very busy day: wrapping my mum and dads christmas presents, cooking my own lunch, washing up, and began studying my first Psychology course (DSE141 – Discovering Psychology)-that I am studying with the Open University.

    Today just goes to show how often you can do more than you think you can!

    Esther xoxo