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Anxiety and Panic Disorder

March 5, 2014

Loneliness

What is loneliness? Is it a nothingness, an absence, or something different for you?

 

“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of “parties” with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship – but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”
-Sylvia Plath

 

Everyone experiences loneliness. It is aching to be healed and it can be.

 

Loneliness can feel very destructive. For example, when someone loses a love they may feel lonely and have thoughts of life being useless without love. They may feel as if they are never going to be loved. That is the first bit of symbolism in loneliness. It says that the person learned loneliness at a time that they were feeling destroyed. Very true. Very young children do not know things exist beyond what they can see. So, when a child awakens, they cry for their mother or primary parent and magically he or she appears. If the parent does not show quickly, however, the cry changes to a wail. It is at this point that the child believes he or she has been abandoned and unable to survive. The child is learning loneliness (as well as abandonment).

 

Loneliness can be tied to shame. This too is learned in early life. Shame is that icky feeling inside that says you aren’t good enough. It is that feeling that has you question why people see you as not good enough when you feel so good on the inside. It makes you ask: why can’t others see my good self? As children, you learn shame from the judgment of your parents and family. Maybe you were told you are an embarrassment or maybe you were told not to tell anyone what happens inside the home. It could be, you were constantly made to feel like you, your dreams, and your actions weren’t good enough to earn love rather than judgments or maybe you just heard so many judgments that you could not assimilate the compliments. All or any can be precursors to the development of shame.

 

It doesn’t stop there. The shame makes you feel not good enough. It grows to make you feel not good enough to be wanted, loved, or kept. So, you fear you will be abandoned. If you are abandoned you are lonely and without. It is why loneliness is so connected to the absence of belonging. If you do not feel you belong, then you may think you prefer to be alone … Yet, you are looking for love and partnerships! More than likely the isolation in this situation is an effort to master the loneliness.

 

Isn’t it odd that we push everyone away and want to be left alone when we are lonely? If you understand the shame, fear of abandonment, and the need to master the loneliness, it makes sense. The loneliness may influence thoughts that it is safer to be left alone.Once alone, the feelings of loneliness may increase, This is how the loneliness spirals. It is at this point that destructive thoughts of suicide may appear. If those thoughts appear, understand they are showing you the destructive aspects of the experience. If those thoughts become scary to you please reach out to someone. Loneliness can be healed and more often than not is experienced in bursts but is not permanent. Everyone experiences loneliness in this life. Everyone is capable of transcending or getting to the other side of it. The very few that don’t see the other side of the loneliness gave into the pain and were engulfed in depression or committed suicide.

 

How do we heal loneliness? This question is not a “how to” that can be answered in this blog because healing loneliness is so individualized. Let me see what I can do to offer a general idea. If you or someone you know is feeling lonely, ask what it feels like. See if a metaphor can be created. Then objectify the metaphor. That allows you or the other to separate from the loneliness and not identify with it. If the loneliness is intense this will not work. It is a time for you to ask yourself or the other what YOU or THEY need at that time. This is not a time to think you know what someone else needs or feel you have to listen to what others tell you you need. It is a time to say, “Come over and sit with me because I do not want to go anywhere.” It is not a time to struggle with a friend who is trying to get you to go out. Be very aware that you do not want to buy into the loneliness you want to help it pass. If you or someone you know is seeming stuck in the loneliness and starting to get lost in depression, please contact a professional immediately. Depression can be healed and averted if dealt with early in the experience.

 

Please offer your comments on the blog and if you have any questions regarding loneliness, feel free to contact me at AskKristen@KristenBomas.com. I look forward to hearing from you all!

 

December 11, 2013

Yuletide Anxiety?

I have met many people who feel anxiety, or feel their anxiety increase, as the holidays take hold. For some, it can be disabling. For many others it is in response to their relationships, stressors, and/or external expectations. Let’s look at several examples.

 
  • Many dating couples who are struggling to maintain their relationship choose to avoid breakups at this time of year because they do not want to hurt the other person. This may seem like a kind decision but, in truth, it becomes a decision that lends to increased anxiety, frustration, and unhappiness.
  • Because anxiety is the flip side of depression, oftentimes people struggling with loneliness, loss or depression begin to get anxious about how they are going to function, or how they are going to get through the holidays.
  • There are many expectations that “you should spend the holidays with your family.” Family is the most challenging environment for most people because it is the primary source of our challenges. That is by design!
  • Often, couples feel they want to experience a loving romantic time with their partner but find there is a conflict in how that is going to happen. They may also feel it’s a futile wish when a conflict ensues. This can trigger anxiety due to the disruption in love and acceptance.
  • Many people think they are anxious about their financials but truly this is coming from the expectations they perceive. They think they have to buy certain gifts, serve certain meals, throw certain parties. None of those experiences are true gifts or expressions of the individual if they are creating stress in order to “do or be good enough”. The same is true when the gifts given are causing anxiety for the giver. One of the most common causes of anxiety is the fear of not being good enough.
  • Because of the social expectations, many people will travel. For those with anxiety about flying or travel this can be particularly difficult and even a double bind. For others, it can be a time of stress that leads to anxiety.
  • If there has been a loss, anxiety may increase or present itself. We may become more aware of the absence of a loved one. This is especially true if it was a traumatic loss.
  • Some will experience anxiety because of taking time away from work or not being able to take time away from work. It may be a business owner who does not trust that the business can survive on it’s own. So he or she feels their anxiety increase. Anxiety may also come from a person who is afraid to ask for time off or for a person who has to work and feels the loss or loneliness of not being with others to celebrate.
  • Finally, some people actually feel anxiety increase as they recognize another year has passed. This can be disabling for some. It may trigger the fear that life is short. It may also trigger fears that result from goals that weren’t met. There are numerous triggers onto which anxiety can grab and then spin a person’s thoughts with fear.
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    In conclusion, there are many events, experiences, or symbols that can trigger anxiety. During the holidays those triggers can be pronounced or multiplied thereby affecting more and more people. If you or someone you love experiences some anxiety, remind them to breathe and to focus on their breath going in and out. Sit with them as they breathe like that for 10 breaths. As they feel some relief, begin moving forward without a conscious focus on the anxiety but a focus on a solution to the holiday stressors instead.

    For more information on anxiety in general, please see previous blog articles:
    Anxiety: What is it, what causes it, what to do about it? Part 1
    Anxiety: What is it, what causes it, what to do about it? Part 2
    Anxiety: What is it, what causes it, what to do about it? Part 3

    October 17, 2013

    Success and Anorexia

    Many strong, successful career women seem to have had eating disorders in their past. And many of those women seem to have married or are dating men who are much more attentive to the home and children. It is as if the roles and definitions have been reversed.

     

    In my experiences, it appears that, in general, strong ambitious women do not learn how to define themselves in this culture so they identify with men in their need to find acceptance. When young, they may struggle with their female curves and body and, more often than not, work to eliminate it with the eating disorder. It seems to be of continued importance for them to maintain an attractive figure and appearance in adulthood. They also continue to develop a more male-oriented position in life through career and providing. They tend to have a hidden judgment about being taken care of and so make sure they do not need to be “taken care of” by providing for the family. It may be important for them to feel in control. Again, this may be due to the need to identify with a man’s world and find acceptance through being good enough.

     

    But why do they tend to marry or date less ambitious men? It appears to represent their need to feel accepted without having to work so hard at it; to be able to relax and not take things so seriously. It appears to be a compliment to their intensity. It is as if they are learning to love the very part of themselves they used to hate. As if they are accepting the very characteristics in their partner that they desperately needed accepted in their Self as a child.

     

    More often than not, however, the relationship appears to take on an abusive quality. That again, goes back to the days of the eating disorder. The control of the eating, was the struggle to stay away from the judgment of not being good enough. It is that very judgment that creates shame in an individual. The judgments may also allow the woman to feel unaccepted and, consequently, not belonging to the family or group. The shame and absence of belonging are two consistent characteristics in the abuse pattern in an individual.

     

    A woman of this experience may be struggling internally with being good enough and may still be looking for extrinsic rewards or reinforcers to confirm that she is good enough to be loved, accepted. Part of this may be due to the perception that in our society, women need to shut down their female aspects to succeed in business. This leaves an internal feeling of not being good enough because as a woman you cannot be who you are. It may also be that the very shame that developed in them as young women interrupted their ability to define their Self and lead to the eating disorder or more. Or, maybe, as an ambitious female, her role models were males and so she learned to shut down her female aspects to be more like a man in order to be accepted by men. This suggests women may perceive that they cannot be accepted into a man’s world for who they are and so need to be like a man to be accepted as a professional among them. It may then be more clear that they would choose a partner who is complimentary, supportive, and caring of who they are.

     

    As women begin defining their Self from an intrinsic point of reference, they will begin to accept their Self for who they are which will lead to feeling accepted by others and, consequently, society. Women will then pass forward the defining of self for self and by self. This will end women defining themselves through men. I believe the ending of women defining their self through men will also have an impact on the numbers of eating disorders. Just think, mothers and women will no longer press their daughters and younger women (respectively) to be thin in order to be loved, they will begin teaching a healthy lifestyle that embraces the unique characteristics of each child. Something so many women want and try to achieve.

     

    May 20, 2013

    Anxiety: What is it, what causes it, what to do about it? Part 3

    Anxiety!! What can I do to make it stop and go away! Anxiety feels like a helpless state of suffering but there are things a person can do to heal and transcend the suffering. This article will give a feel for what can be done. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list or suggestive. It is meant to open the possibilities of treatment and healing of the suffering of anxiety. The article will look at western medicine, and then will focus on self help, therapy, and all other medicines.

    May 16, 2013

    Anxiety: What is it, what causes it, what to do about it? Part 2

    Welcome to Part 2 of this series on anxiety where we will look at causes of anxiety. Part 1 described anxiety and gave a simple description or feel of anxiety. If you missed the beginning of this series, you can find it by clicking here: PART ONE. This article will address how anxiety may be caused by environmental factors, medical factors, substance abuse, or a combination of these. Although it has been suggested there may be a genetic component in anxiety, this article will talk of environmental factors that may be more influential. Finally, the article will address that while anxiety is a response to outside forces and can be amplified with “negative self-talk” or a belief in the worry, rarely can an immediate trigger to anxiety be identified.

    May 14, 2013

    Anxiety: What is it, what causes it, what to do about it? Part 1

    What is anxiety? In this time of economic strain and significant transition , people are having their fears illuminated. At what point do those fears become anxiety? How does someone interrupt/stop the anxiety when it is happening? What causes anxiety to become more of a steady state beyond an emotional reaction? What triggers a feeling of anxiety versus an anxiety attack? Does someone have to live the rest of their life on medication to “manage” anxiety or can you heal from it? All of these questions will be addressed in this article. The series will be divided into three parts: what is anxiety; what causes it; what are the techniques that prevent or interrupt the anxiety and the treatments to heal.

     

    Anxiety is described as the fear of fear. It tends to be vague. As an emotion, we have all experienced it. You are getting ready to go out for the evening and all of a sudden you get this odd, gently disturbing fluttering in your gut or tingling of your skin. You wonder from where the feeling is coming but then keep going and don’t think any more about it as it drifts away and you continue to dress and go to your event. Anxiety can become more consistent for some. That consistency may take the form of a person experiencing anxiety periodically for a limited amount of time or consistently always increasing and decreasing in intensity. There is a significant difference between the experience that everyone has of a brief, intermittent feeling of anxiety or angst and someone who lives with chronic anxiety that can become debilitating.

    Please contact KB@KristenBomas.com if you have any questions about services, topics or products.

    Kristen Bomas, PA
    398 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 104
    Boca Raton, Florida 33432
    Phone: (561) 212-7575
    Email: KB@KristenBomas.com

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