I Attended An Anxiety Workshop | Part 2

This week is a continuation of last week’s blog post, titled I Attended an Anxiety Workshop. Please check it out if you haven’t read it yet. Thank you! ❤

On November 19, 2019, I attended the last session of “Confront the Discomfort, which is an anxiety workshop offered to students at my university. I’m technically a student but at the same time, I am not a student. I am registered as a student, but I haven’t taken classes since being forced to withdraw in April 2019. I will be starting school again in January 2020. A part of me dreads 2020 because I used to think that 2020 was in the distant future. Well future, here I am so watch out! 🙊

peace-social-text-square-templateDuring the summer, I stopped taking my antidepressant medication. Please do not abruptly stop any kind of medication without speaking with your doctor first. After quitting my medications and significantly reducing my caffeine consumption, I am feeling mentally stronger these days. Hopefully, the progress I have made will be enough once I return to school in the new year. Ultimately, I figured that I had nothing left to lose and everything to gain by attending this anxiety workshop.

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right.” —Tony Robbins

Shine Bright Like A Diamond

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I was unable to attend Session 2. Luckily, they were happy to fill me in on the details. Only I showed up for Session 3 (final week) so I got to word vomit all over ’em. Like diamonds, private counselling sessions like this one are incredibly rare, so I interpreted this opportunity as a blessing in disguise.

Here is what I’m having a hard time fathoming: One student in particular made a lame excuse as to why he couldn’t attend the last two sessions. Dude, here are 2 professionals who are willing to help you for FREE and instead, you rather turn down this opportunity? SMH. 🤦‍♀️

Tip of the Iceberg

Using the summary sheet from Session 2, we talked about The Anxiety Iceberg. If you have studied psychology, you’re probably familiar with this diagram. I don’t have an exact diagram to show you since the one they gave me is barren. Basically, the behaviors that we outwardly express on the surface are attached to underlying subconscious thoughts such as fears. What fears are holding you back in life? Why do you suffer from anxiety and what factors may have caused this? Most often, the root causes stem from negative childhood experiences. Our behaviors are a type of coping mechanism we have adapted in order to survive in the real world. In other words, your fears are meant to protect you.  

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What fears are you hiding under the surface?

As I dug a little deeper into my past, I learned that I have a fear of both success and failure. And balloons. I am afraid of succeeding at something that seems overambitious, like nursing school. In elementary school, I learned that peers will dislike you if you are the smartest kid in the class. In high school, I leaned that nobody will notice you if you are extremely introverted. Loneliness followed me throughout my childhood and adolescent years, which added to my depression and social anxiety.

In university, I was an average student. I took a mainstream degree so I could please my parents and win their approval. Unsurprisingly, a mainstream B.Sc. degree got me mainstream results. I stopped trying to stand out or achieve big dreams. I thought that I wanted to be like everyone else, but trying to fit into mainstream society DID NOT lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.

“Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy.” —Rihanna, Shine Bright Like a Diamond 💎


Emotional Activators: What is Really Going On?

Instructions:

  • Think of one emotional activator that triggers you.
  • Write it down on the tip of the iceberg.
  • Think of the memories, experiences, thoughts, and beliefs that contribute to this emotional activator in particular.
  • Then write these memories, experiences, thoughts, and beliefs under the water of the iceberg → This is what’s really happening.
  • What can you do to better manage/respond to this activator? Write down 3-5 strategies.
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Drowning to be reborn again as her true self. Source: https://wall.alphacoders.com 

Thank you so much for joining the conversation last week, and leaving such lovely and insightful comments. This week, I plan to finish replying to the rest of your comments. I apologize for taking my sweet-ass time, as I unintentionally got swept away into the addictive world of video gaming. 105+ hours later, I finally beat the game and awoke to the realities of life. As of today, this blog has gained 400 amazing followers which is a HUGE milestone for me. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for spreading the love and helping to keep this blog alive.

𝕊𝕥𝕒𝕪 𝕒𝕨𝕖𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖, 𝕞𝕪 𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕤𝕦𝕞𝕤.

great-vibes.regular (1)

 

38 thoughts on “I Attended An Anxiety Workshop | Part 2

  1. Michelle says:

    Worlds in video game are fun to get lost in. I tried the route you did after high school thinking I had to get a degree right then. I failed out of school. It took me a while to discover myself and find the confidence to return to learn what I wanted. I learned that the social anxiety didn’t matter in college. People there care more about their school work than others.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thanks for your insights, Michelle! The experience of obtaining the wrong degree can be soul crushing. I wasted so many years getting the first degree and I still question whether or not I should return to school. Everyone around me is telling me to go back but I still have my doubts. I am happy that you were able to grow and evolve from the experience, and that you are now doing something that you enjoy.

      Trapping and isolating myself in a library to study for several hours at a time isn’t fun to me. I feel like I am missing out on life, which makes my anxiety worse. I often resort to instrumental music while keeping some side tabs (distractions) open so I don’t feel completely alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        I couldn’t even focus for 10 minutes without having to check social media or reply to text messages. The Pomodoro method helps to an extent (25 min uninterrupted study, 5 min break. Repeat). There are so many more distractions at home vs. solitude in a library. The struggle is real. 😥

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle says:

    I used to be terrified to be called on when I was in school. Not because I had to speak in front of everyone, but because I always knew the answer and the other kids would think I was a dork. I actually started getting bad grades later on in school just because I didn’t want to get made fun of for being smart. Great post! Love the iceberg perspective.

    Liked by 3 people

    • buddy71 says:

      even though i might have known the answer, i too was terrified to be called upon in school as i feared the answer i would give would be wrong. i didnt want to be seen as a failure. i took me a long time to understand failure was not bad.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hilary Tan says:

        @Michelle I too was the kid who wasn’t afraid to say something in class! Even in a lecture hall of 200 students, I had no problem talking. In a lecture hall of 600 students, I only had the guts to speak up once.

        @Buddy71 What’s the worst that could happen if the answer was wrong? Did you fear that people would judge you if the answer was wrong? More times than not, the answer you give in class is usually right.

        Liked by 1 person

      • buddy71 says:

        looking back, it was the fear of being seen as foolish or stupid. children can be so cruel to those being perceived as “stupid.” it all comes down to self esteem, which of course as i learned later i had lots of and then saw mistakes/failure as a learning experience. i applied what i learned when i myself became an educator. it may not always be the most correct answer, but just another way of viewing the problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        @Buddy71 I think it’s wonderful how you turned your fear into something positive. 🙌 Becoming an educator sounds like a great career!😀 As for the mean kids, they exist in every classroom at every school unfortunately. 😔 It seems to be less prevalent in universities but that’s solely based on my observations.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. seaofwordsx says:

    This is really interesting and I can understand it well. I’m anxious about getting a job and also going to the dentist because of bad memories and afraid that I can’t do it. I’m happy you could some lessons out of this workshop. I wish you much luck with school 🍀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      OMG I’m so anxious about working and can relate. I’ve had several jobs in the past but every shift terrified me. However, the shifts themselves weren’t as bad as I thought they would be. Indeed, going to the dentist can be terrifying. Throughout university, I didn’t see a dentist for 5 years because I was so scared, but I finally broke out of that and see a dentist now. It’s usually not that bad once we break our chains and face our fears. Thank you for your well wishes! 🙏🏻💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jenny in Neverland says:

    Firstly well done on 400 followers! An anxiety workshop sounds great especially if it’s something your university offers. I’m currently in group CBT and I love the group atmosphere about it. I’m very familiar with that bloody ice berg from when I studied psychology! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. buddy71 says:

    a great follow up post to the first one.
    i agree about the guy making excuses not to attend.
    i have a friend who is going to nursing school in january. she has been out of school many years. she has a BA in english but never worked in a field to use her degree. her family situation is not very steady, 5 kids and a husband not really supportive and they are not well off money wise. she is taking a big step to improve her and her families life by going back to school.
    sending you good vibes to you.
    this workshop seemed to be of great help to you.
    stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kachaiweb says:

    That is such an interesting exercise. We are mostly managing the tip of the iceberg and all the energy is aimed towards that. When we try to attach energy/attention to what lies beneath it, maybe it will make more sense (what saves enery) and it helds a more active position when tackling your fears or thoughts.
    I also think that the strategies we once learned did serve us in the past but sometimes become a problem on their own when we still use them in the present times. But the whole un-learning proces is also a proces. I’m glad you took so many positives from the class. And congratulations on 412 followers now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ellieslondon says:

    I love the perspective of this post and the openness. I don’t know what it was but when i was growing up i think i must have been wired a certain way when I was a child, i always took unusual classes away from the masses and excelled at lessons and people would talk. In college people talked about what subjects I did and then at University i had like zero friends for three years but i got thru it. I’ve never minded these things. But then leave my alone in a crowded place and I’m panicked AF! 😵

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ki-Heug says:

    Hi Hilary, that anxiety iceberg diagram was quite intriguing, I’m currently studying psychology as a 2nd degree (in my last year now), and don’t recall coming across anything like it. Or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention while studying haha 🙂

    Just out of curiosity, which videogame did you just beat that took you 105+ hours? I’ve also spent countless hours on various games over the years, so I know where you’re coming from 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Wow! Congrats on majoring in psychology and working towards a second degree!😀 I desperately wanted to major in psychology but was taking a different major at the time. I wish I would have switched to psych instead of biological sciences. I took a few electives that were 1st and 2nd year psych courses, and the iceberg was discussed in lectures. I guess it depends on the professors and the content they choose to include in the courses….🤔

      I finished playing Persona 5 for PS4!😄 It’s a really good game which I highly recommend playing. I heard that an extended version will be released 2020, so it might be worth getting the Persona 5 Royal version if you haven’t played it yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ki-Heug says:

        Yea err to be more exact, I’ve actually majored in Economics the 1st time around.. now I’m studying Psychology (in my last year of studies) to pursue a different path 🙂 anyways, yea course contents might differ depending on professor or country for that matter 😉

        Ah lol, that’s so cool 😀 I’ve heard a lot of good things about Persona 5, although unfortunately I don’t have a PS4 -_- but I’ve played some other games on PC, so err yea haha (?) 😅😄

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        I wish you luck with your second degree.🙂 I am sorta in a similar situation and in uni for a second degree as well. Except that I am in nursing school now. It’s been a rough journey, as I am still in 3rd year as of Jan 2020 which is frustrating, but it is what it is. 🤷‍♀️

        PS4 is with getting imo. I’ve only played a few PS4 games though. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time for it. My favorite genre is definitely JRPG. PC games I heard are decent, with good graphics. 👍

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ki-Heug says:

        I see, that’s cool about the nursing school, I guess we’re both headed towards the “helping” professions 🙂 I know how you feel about the frustration, hopefully you’ll get through it.

        Yea well, to be honest, JRPG’s are my favorite genre too, along with strategy games 😉 the last one I played (and finished) was Dragon Quest XI, pretty epic. ✌️

        Liked by 1 person

  9. PoojaG says:

    This post really resonated with me. Now that I’ve had time to understand my anxiety better I know it usually gets triggered by one thing on the surface but has a lot more to do with other things that are below the surface. These days whenever I feel like I’m getting anxious for no reason I meditate for a while and think about what’s really triggering me and try to get to the root of the problem and this has really helped reduce my anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Hi Pooja! I am happy that this post resonated with you. I admire the fact that you sit with your feelings and dig deeper into why you are feeling anxious. Often, I let my emotions dictate my actions which usually doesn’t end well. Next time, I will try sitting with my thoughts rather than immediately reacting. Thank you for your insights! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • PoojaG says:

        Yeah I used to do that too and honestly I still do sometimes but with practice over time getting to the bottom of what’s triggering is getting easier. I hope it helps you with your anxiety too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        I guess the real test starts in January when I’m back in school where I’m facing my demons once more. If I’m able to handle that stress and anxiety, I’ll be able to conquer anything. 🧘‍♀️🌱

        Practice, practice, and practice some more. The more we practice, the easier it will get. I really do believe that! Have a great day, Pooja! 😊🌺

        Like

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