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Friday, June 13, 2014

[Anxiety Series Part 3] Once Upon A Time, I Was A Slave With Unrealistic Expectations



Let's begin with the Unrealistic Expectations.  
Please take a moment and click to watch this short video.

That Charlie Callas clip illustrates my Unrealistic Expectations for setting a dinner table.  When faced with simple tasks such as this, rather than just set plates around the table, I create an Unreasonable goal in my head, such as spinning plates on sticks--for dinner, totally stress out as plates are breaking and nothing is spinning or turning out the way I'd envisioned it, and Anxiety is there like a big dork in a blue suit egging it all on.
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The video is pretty funny but in real life Unreasonable Expectations can be exhausting, devastating, disappointing and sometimes paralyzing.  My goals are ludicrous at times, yet I run around like that headless chicken we've all heard so much about desperately trying to see them to fruition.
Smiley Faces
***I am not a professional regarding anything other than my own experience.***  
Anything stated as though it is truth is solely my truth and accurate according to my experience.
Click to Email The Author--Nyla C. James
The worst of all the effects of Unreasonable Expectations is their ability to paralyze me against taking future action. Who would look forward to the next social gathering when being the "absolute life of the party" was exhausting last time?

Who would look forward to having guests stay the night for the holidays when the last sleepover meant white-glove-inspection cleaning from top to bottom, including areas your guest will never enter?!

Who would attempt another night of romance when after all your extravagant efforts and planning it didn't turn out like a scene from The Notebook--because that's normal right?
So, there I was, a little over a year ago,
coming along quite nicely in my sobriety.[click to read about my sobriety]  
Yet, I was still a Slave
for to suffer from anxiety is to be a slave to your feelings.  My dishes used to pile up until it felt right to do them.  Some days it never felt right to dress my girls or brush their hair.

It often times didn't feel right to keep a commitment I'd made during an earlier time when it felt great!--if it felt right to cancel I would, but typically it felt better to just not show up.....because it didn't feel right to answer the phone and it felt worse to return a phone call.

I was a Slave with Unreasonable Expectations and I was newly pregnant with my son, sick and weak from a failed attempt at quitting my Bipolar II meds, and exhausted per the usual first trimester experience. [click to read more about this period in my life]

Finally well enough to get out of bed, I was eager to resume my responsibilities as a housewife and mother.  My husband had been doing it all--working full time, grocery shopping, laundry, taking care of the kids, etc.
Just as I thought I was turning a corner, my uterus began tightening up with the least bit of physical exertion.  I was near panic and beginning to feel trapped inside my own body, but I was not! going to let this beat me.

I had come too far to give up now.

It was clear that my Slave days would have to be a thing of the past.  It was imperative that I take full advantage of each physical opportunity that presented itself.  I had to tend to my duties no matter how it felt psychologically.  I no longer had the luxury of time.

My Unreasonable Expectations would also have to go as I was physically incapable of achieving any of them.  No white-glove cleaning the entire house in one day.  No perfect errand trips with the girls dressed to the nines, stopping at 8 different stores, concluding with stop at the park.

My new rules for survival became:
  1. you better get it in when you can 
  2. if you can't get it done, you just can't get it done: let it go
The Circle of Empowerment
And here is the secret that following my new rules uncovered! 
Realistic Expectations and Powering through the Feelings standing between you and your goal, 
lead to Positive Results, and 
Positive Results Diminish Anxiety.

See corresponding explanation for the Circle of Empowerment below.
I wrote in a previous post [click for Anxiety Series Part I] about taking your thoughts (Anxiety) captive and not leaving them (1) Unsorted to rule your life.  We must (2) Blast our Unsorted Anxiety and determine whether it is Realistic or (3) Unrealistic.  If the Anxiety is Unrealistic, we must determine what (4) Core Issues are causing the anxiety.  In another post [click for Anxiety Series Part II], I took a look at one of my reoccurring Core Issues--inAuthenticity, and today I'm covering two others: unRealistic Expectations and Feelings.

Once one becomes aware of their Core Issues and (5) formulates a coping plan that is

--unimpeded by feelings 
--includes Personal Authenticity and Realistic Expectations
 they will begin to experience (6) Positive Results!

Achieving these little goals--aka generating Positive Results, gives me a rush, a motivation, and a satisfaction like no other!  But, more importantly, it significantly (7) Decreases the amount of Anxiety I associate with achieving that goal.

(8) I've noticed an improvement in my Brain Function.  I'm able to be more Creative and think Analytically instead of emotionally which has led to additional adjustments regarding how I attack that same goal the next time. (9) As time has gone by I've been able to whittle several of my goals down to their most efficient, most Realistic form, which frees up more and more time to accomplish more and more!

Me and my son.
I've been able to get more done in a day then ever before in my life--with much less anxiety!  I reached a new personal best this past week.  I had a running joke with myself that I could never seem to have two good days in a row--a good day being one where I was on top of things, stayed a step ahead of the kids, chores flowed, etc.  Inevitably, the next day would be a dud and I would just embrace it...it was almost like my system was fried and needed recharging.

I'm going on five good days in a row and I'm just praising God for how far he's brought me and am so excited for wherever I'm headed from here.

Well, folks!  I'm just winging this series and attempting to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I have at least two more pieces on Anxiety to share, as well as a praise report on my marriage.  Saints, won't you keep me in your prayers as I attempt to tell my story for the glory of God.
I realize that many of the topics I cover can be heavy and downright personal.  Please feel free to private message me on Facebook or email me at nylacjames@gmail.com
 Now if you're with me for the long haul, won't you Holla Back!! in the comment section below or via private message, "I'm still here, Nyla!"

Until next time, all my crazy crazy love.....

~me~