For women to rise above the insecurities we believe we have or those which society have inflicted upon us, we must close the confidence breach. This lacking belief in yourself, your worth and value inhibits your quality of life. It leads to missed opportunities or situations where you don’t feel equipped to handle the challenges of day to day living. There is a solution to close the breach of confidence.

CLOSE THE CONFIDENCE BREACH

To achieve self-acceptance; is to overcome the FEAR we struggle with constantly and for this, we need to ACKNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTAND and LEARN. Being told to ‘get over it’, just ‘doesn’t cut it’. Therefore by developing a wise knowledge of yourself and your triggers, meditation and other therapeutic options, we can Close The Confidence Breach.

We have the ability to achieve a successful result to a particular standard – your standard – by changing your opinion of yourself and reflecting a balanced view of who you are.

At the heart of self-acceptance is your core ideas or central belief in yourself. I am a good mother or I am……. Statements attaining to a positive perception of you and you knowing they are correct because you have life experience to back you up.

ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

What experience in my life has taught me to value and appreciate myself?

I like myself when?

It’s OK for me to care for myself and enjoy what life has to offer me?

Am I kind and considerate to myself or over critical?

 

MENTAL AND PROUD

Hayley Hogan is a career woman, loving wife and mother of two beautiful children.  She found by gaining an understanding of the reason for her poor opinion of self, she could defeat unhelpful thinking and fight self-defeating behavioural patterns. This is Hayley’s experience.

My name is Hayley Hogan and I am Mental and PROUD. Mid last year is when I had my breakdown.

19264891_10154944659688285_1775772146_nWhen I had my first child I remember being in the hospital and feeling terrified. I didn’t sleep and would just stare at my son and cry. The Doctor’s told me I had severe post-natal depression and upped my anti-depressants. I got better and have since had another child but now when I look back I realise it was anxiety.

I remember the feeling of loving this little baby with everything I had but I wanted to run. I wanted to run so far away and just live in the bush where I would never have to speak to anyone ever again. Or my other option I figured was to not speak again and they would put me into a Mental Institution.

Anxiety causes me to have horrible thoughts ‘I am a horrible mother/wife – my children/husband deserve better than this’. Anxiety also causes me to have disturbing thoughts ‘Maybe I will just pull into this oncoming traffic and I have my children in the car’. Once I was cutting up carrots and thought ‘I might just stab my husband’ (sorry honey lol). I was never going to do these things but by having these thoughts my anxiety sends me further in a downward spiral.

I hate the unreality/depersonalisation that anxiety brings. That feeling that the world is an illusion, everything normal, starts to feel abnormal. You feel as though you are watching yourself in the third person.

I had all the symptoms of anxiety for months before I realised what they were (stiff neck, headaches, dizzy, jelly legs, nausea, irritability, trouble sleeping, continually thinking every ache/pain was a terminal illness).

It was not until I presented to emergency with these symptoms, convinced that I must have a brain tumor, that the Doctors started to ask questions about stress..

I remember standing at my front door and looking out and being terrified to step outside. At this point I should explain that I have suffered with depression for the last 10 years and have been on numerous anti-depressants. My medication had not changed for the last five years. I was referred to a counselling service for meditation.

images-24My immediate thoughts were ‘stuff the meditation and give me the medication’ but I was so desperate, I was willing to try anything. I went to the counselling session and learnt about progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness.

These were amazing techniques which I never in a million years thought would work as I am not into anything like this. So that is what my days started to consist of. Wake up do some meditation, walk on the walker, force myself to eat, cry in the shower, meditate, take sleeping tablet, sleep afternoon, wake up and try and interact with children, force myself to eat, walk on walker, cry in the shower, meditate, take sleeping tablet and sleep the night waking up at least 3-5 times. This went on for weeks.

During these weeks I had a lot of time for reflection and with the help from the internet, I realised that I had been stretching myself to thin. I gave basically everything I had, first to my children, then my husband, then my community and never did I give anything to myself. The only time I did give to myself was when I looked at the inside of my microwave or fridge and thought, ‘I bet other women have sparkling clean fridge and microwaves. I am a failure.’ I saw other Mother’s at school who looked immaculate and I just felt like the frizzy haired, freckled faced lump I believed I was.

I soon realised that I needed to change, if I wanted to stop feeling this way, I needed to stop feeding my anxiety and I needed to stop trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be. I was trying so hard to be super mum that I forgot all about myself and my body/mind gave me the ultimate message and just broke down.

A visit to my doctor saw a prescription of valium and a referral to see a Psychiatrist at Mental Health handed to me. I was terrified to take the valium as I have a very addictive personality and did not want to get addicted. But I took some and the symptoms subsided and I relaxed. I made it to my appointment with the Psychiatrist and I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) with slight Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from an event which happened at the hospital. I was advised to keep going with the anti-depressants and the meditation and they would review me in a year.

So this is what I did. I pushed through and tried to learn to live with the symptoms and went back to work. Everything was going alright, every day was still a struggle but I got through, until I had a setback and the symptoms came back. I went back to my doctor and we increased my anti-depressants.

A month later and the symptoms were still strong, so I returned to my doctor and he introduced another anxiety medication which also helped me sleep at night.

SLEEP, that is also my medication. I find without enough sleep the world is an even darker place, everything is a struggle.

I have two young children, a husband and a job that I love and want to continue doing. I do not have the time or energy to tackle anxiety on my own, so for now I will resort to using medication which may be looked at as a band aid but if I have to keep changing that band aid for the rest of my life, I will. I will not beat myself up about it(even though the anxiety is trying very hard to make me feel bad).

Just as someone has to take heart medication for the rest of their life, I have to take mental health medication for the rest of mine. My anxiety is still playing games with me and has changed from jelly legs to chest pains and always the dizziness, headaches and sore neck – they never go. I am back to full days at work but am absolutely exhausted every day.

Anxiety is your bodies way of telling you something needs to change, it attacks when you are physically and/or emotionally exhausted, so I have cut back on some of the extra activities I do in my life and have tried to simplify everything.

I think the worst thing about panic attacks and anxiety is that the majority of the time there seems to be no reason for it and when people ask you ‘why’ you have no answer. You just want to go back to the way you were months before all this!

I have found that educating myself around Anxiety has helped so much, it has helped reduce the fear which anxiety feeds off. I have read and researched and now do not fear sensations as much as I used too, such as: Tingling/Jelly legs – I know that all the adrenaline pumping around my body is causing these feelings.

Dizziness – I know that all the blood has rushed from my head to my legs to get them ready to run from the imaginary fear that my mind has created.

Sore Neck/Headaches – are from the tension and stress my body holds in my neck area.

Tiredness – from my body fighting the Fight or Flight response all day.

Disturbing thoughts/increased depression – from mental exhaustion.

When you really start to think about yourself and Anxiety you start to notice a pattern, I have a long journey ahead of me but I will get better and I will win this war with Anxiety.

I wanted to share my story so people can know that they are not alone and we can all win this war.

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Thank you Hayley for your contribution to my blog. You are an inspiration. Self-acceptance is experienced by changing thought patterns, taking one step at a time, by making a commitment to yourself to learn and understand who you are and by being prepared for ups and downs should they arise.

Next week A Labour of Love Part 4 with guest contributer Cindy Rochstein.

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