Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Ultimate Goal

So when I started my ACT therapy, I had my list of goals. At at the very top of the list was my ultimate goal: to be a mother. When my freedom of movement was so limited, when I was so dependant and phobic, it didn't seem wise to embark on such a journey. I then started my adventure. I was not housebound, but my ratio was not more than maybe 5 miles. Even as I write this now, I stopped and thought about it, I can hardly remember such a time. But it was so, I spent maybe 8 years without going out of this ratio, and without going back to my hometown. My parents thought I would never go back, like they thought I would never have children., or never get well. And time was telling them they were right. They did not want this to be so, but had lost faith. I felt I had to dig myself out of hole, and no-one, however safe, could dig for me. I tried to take it day by day, moment by moment, and not look at the massive job I had ahead of me. I remember starting with my ACT anxiety workbook. I would enthusiastically tell my parents down the phone, but they found it hard to believe seing there were no results yet. But there were results I could see myself, slowly. Like catching a plant on slow motion camera as it bloomed, at this time only I knew. And then came that first journey. That was out of my safe ratio and it felt like going to the moon without oxygen, but I did it. I remember the happiness and disbelief in my family when I told them. Then came more journeys, all a build up to the Big Journey. The one that would take me 6 hours by car to my hometown. And finally that day dawned and I stepped into a car, and felt literally like I was going to be thrown of the edge of the earth, but I was going to do it anyway. I remember both fighting, and accepting, and many other moments, just being okay and just being, and finally arriving. I then did another journey the following year. And then, my father got extremely sick. Thanks to what I had achieved I was able to go there and take front place in the fight against cancer. A fight, I have many reasons to believe that should I have not been there, would have took my father with him. But he survived. Since then I have been able to do:- Have several MRI scans- Go in a lift- Have surgery- Go go the dentist and have multiple treatments (never been before this date). I have been able to stay standing when life has blown me of my feet, and after brushing myself down go forward. I have been able to survive a life threatening illness. And, finally, FINALLY, I am a mum. I am the very very proud mum of the two most beautiful twin boys that have ever existed. They are now nearly two years old, and I've wanted to update and tell everyone this, but my life is now so very hectic, that I just don't have time.

So I would like to say, that at least 3 people would not be here today if not for my ACT therapy, which also lead to me becoming a Buddhist. That I am very grateful. That I would like anyone that doubts themselves to know that if I did what I did, believe me, anyone can. You couldn't get much phobic than me. I am still very phobic, and still take a day at a time. Many fears and anxieties have vanished, others remain and await me working with them. I have a lot to do still, but very happy with what I have now. Whatever happens, for me the ultimate goal has been achieved: mummyhood! Thank you so much for reading, much metta: Emaria

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hello there,

Another year has passed. A very hard year to be honest. Many things have occurred, so much that if someone had told me what 2013 had in store for us before it had started I would have ran a mile probably. But we got through it. And I still have a lot to be grateful for: the love of my husband and family, being part of a sangha, the joy I find in my teaching... I am also very grateful that my therapy was done when it was. I know objectively that I would never have been able to go through the many trials that last year demanded of me if I had not done the therapy. So goodbye 2013, there was much pain, but there was also much learning and valued life.Happy New Year everyone XXXX

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Hello there everyone.

I hope you are all doing well. My life has been very demanding in the last 12 months and had to deal with several big issues. Trying to use my practice so that all of this makes me open and soften. I am actually very interested in creating an online sangha. I've created a yahoo group and a google plus community. I don't actually use social profiles, but joined just for this purpose.

I am interested in:

- Getting together to meditate at a particular time

- Discussing books on mindfulness and Buddhism, especially those of Thich Nhat Hanh

- Giving support to each other.

The links are below. Really hoping you will want to join XXX

Friday, 24 May 2013

Mri scans and claustrophobia

Hello there!

Many many years ago, a long time before I had even known agoraphobia, I had the pleasure of meeting his brother: claustrophobia. I have been highly claustrophobic since the age of 3 after an unfortunate incident that I still carry with me. Both phobias have a lot in common, and I am certainly not the only person to suffer from the two.

So when I found out I would have to go for an mri scan, I was not a happy bunny. I just couldn't imagine having to get inside a small tube and have to stay there, just thinking about it made me feel ill, so how would the real thing be? But nowadays you can have open mri scans. I researched and found that there were many types of machines out there. My first scan was in what is called a vertical open mri scan. Come the day I was still nervous though, and didn't like the fact I had this collar put round my neck, or how you are lowed backwards into the machine, even though you can see the ceiling very far off. I had read that many people didn't like the collar thing, but I could see it was something that came on and off easily and after asking to try the panic button, allowed them to get going. It was a horrid moment when they were lowering the machine and I was going backwards away from the people but I was determined to do it. When it came to it some mindfulness helped me, some distraction helped me, and I did feel very much in control because I had the button in my hand.

The problem came when something showed up that needed a stronger mri machine. Not only did I have the fear of what the outcome of the test would be, I also had the fear of what had to be a much more claustrophobic machine. Its very hard to find an “open” mri high field scanner, but I did. The thing is, when I actually got there I could hardly believe it was open. Why? It was a tube, and didn't seem a big tube either, but the technician explained to me that in a conventional scanner my nose would nearly be touching the ceiling, this was more roomy. Then came the second problem, it wasn't a collar this time, it was more like a frame that was attached to the machine with me inside it, I made the technician open it and close, and show me how to do it, once I could see this, I felt more in control. I am not going to lie, when I was put into the machine it felt very very claustrophobic, but it was still doable, and its hard to get more claustrophobic than me, if I can do it, anyone can.

What helps when having to go for an mri scan when phobic?

- Find a clinic that takes claustrophobic people into account. Ask for a kind and patient technician who will take the time to reassure you. This for me was key. Many places are very well prepared for people like us. You might have to pay a bit more, but its worth it.

- Think beforehand of some ACT defusion techniques or some CBT distractions. I did student's report in my head for example while accepting I would feel nervous at times.

- I took a mild tranquillizer. You could do this with a doctor's prescription, or just take a relaxing infusion. For some cases you can even be sedated if necessary.

- Be kind to yourself. Don't worry if you have to hit the panic button, don't feel stupid or guilty. My appointment was a bit late because the man before me hit the button twice, of course I was deeply sympathetic and said I didn't mind waiting as long as it took for the man to get it done.

- Remember that doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone will make you feel great afterwards.

And don't worry, they have to scan many people, they have no more interest in you being in longer than necessary in that machine than you do.

In the end the results were fine by the way, well, its something that will have to look at time to time so I will probably have to go for more mri scans in the future. But now I know it can be done :)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Hello there!

Just a quick post to update... Well, I haven't been well lately, still "struggling" with a back problem, I am also dealing with some other issues... Since doing the mindful course I have been meaning to do a 8 week mindful time, to get back some better habits. I am planning to report on this daily, if nothing else, helps with my commitment.

I can't draw very much at the moment, but I thought I would share anyway, most is fanart. Here is the link:

Take care everyone and tread gently that mindful path XXXX

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mindful Yoga: Some free videos and other material

Hello everyone. Hoping you are having a good start to the year. I am still on holiday, enjoying what free time I have left and resting. I am a little better, or at least I think I am, from my back/hand problem, tomorrow I have one of those massages that can't help but bring me back to the present because of the pain (lucky me, at least the ambience is super zen :D ) One of my mindful resolutions was to do mindful exercise, which is now a must I can no longer avoid. So mindful yoga seemed a good place to start. My problem is, I am no good at following pics and recordings, I needed a video! So after investigating a bit on youtube, I found some free mindful yoga videos that, to me at least, look good! There are 5 videos in total, and they cater for young and old, and for people with good or not so good mobility (there is even mindful yoga in a chair!) I include one video here, but below I include a link with the other videos, plus a lot of other mindful exercises they offer. Enjoy! XXX

Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 Mindful Resolutions

Hello everyone,I am going to make my resolutions for 2013, and they are very mindfully orientated. So lets go:

  1. To be more mindful: To commit to both formal and informal mindful practice. Again, this is very ample. I want to do at least 45 minutes of formal practice. I have a lot of books with exercises, as well as audios,so I have a lot of material to keep inspired. As I am doing the course at the moment I am probably doing that already, but want to keep it up.
  1. I want to start mindful eating. I am doing a mindful course so this might become part of it, there is a link in my post below if anyone is interested. I don't have any weight problems really at the moment, I have put on weight since the photo you can see on my blog, where you can see my arms look too thin, but now I am a normal healthy weight. But I still eat very mindlessly, I watch a video or read a book, and I want to stop and eat in a mindful way and also to eat those foods I know that suit me better. So mindful eating, mindful diet.
  • 3. Mindful exercise. All these problems I have had in the last fews month with my back, has really brought it home how much I need to. I was always very traumatized about my back, I have a bit of a curve in the spine, and at school they always used to tell us stories, the teachers, like horror stories of the complications back problems could bring, and it used to terrify me as I was a highly phobic child, well, I am still a highly phobic adult. At the moment I have the problem in my upper back which makes using my hands or arms sometimes painful or I have other issues, all of which I find very hard to deal with, its been very trying. And I have other issues with my hip, which as stopped me from doing exercise. So I have been having massages, and they are very painful, and the man who does this is actually into mindfulness, and he does some courses, and when I would feel the pain, he would bring me back to the moment by saying how we can't feel pain in the past or in the future, only in the present., that pain brings us back to the present. Its very hard, the massages are anything but relaxing. So, I will be wanting to get into a routine of mindful yoga or mindul pilates, and I am going to try biodanza as well. I love swimming but I am a bit phobic about water that is deep. Mindful walking would be here as well. So mindful exercise and a better relationship with my back and body.

  1. To keep on facing phobic situations with mindfulness, using my ACT therapy and with of course compassion and kindness. Even though my agoraphobia as improved a lot, my claustrophobia is actually a lot worse, this is my big first trauma, which was an occurrence which happened when I was 3 and it left me with quite a severe claustrophobia. And at work I just have this phobia about the door, I keep thinking its not going to open, and there isn't a lot of logic to that anyway (there is and there isn't as we did have some problems with the door which I think set off a bit this type of behaviour in me) So what I do, is I keep going out of me work area, so I interrupt my work, to check that the door is opening, I don't actually check the oor myself, but when I hear the doorbell I check that people are indeed able to get in and out. So I keep reinforcing the phobia with this behaviour, instead of just letting go, getting on with my work, I use energy and become mindless in my behaviour obeying thoughts and impulses that arise. What I have to do, and I did do it for a day or so, but then I gave in, is when I feel the impulse to go out and check, to use my ACT therapy, possibly the ride the wave exercise., which I think works better for me when I have impulses based on panic and habit behaviours . So what I do I feel the impulse to check, so instead of obeying it and going out and doing it, I sit with the feeling and thought, with the emotion, and stay with it, it will go up in intensity, as waves do, and then it will subside. The more I do this, the less reinforcement it will have and the easier it will be. Its not even like this habit would help me anyway in the case of not being able to open the door. This I want to keep applying in general to panicky situations.

  1. So Number 5, is that I have to manage my time. Its not that I want to fill it with activity after activity, but I do tend to be lazy and let time slip through my fingers. In ACT we look at what we value, and if I want to do those things I value, I need to probably plan my day instead of just letting my day go by.
  1. Mindful cleaning, and being more orderly. I can't do loads of cleaning at the moment anyway, but, I often get untidy, and I don't feel good when I am. When I do cleaning mindfully I feel good, I will probably use Thich Nhat Hahn's gathas, and probably write my own.

7. Just taking the day one day at a time. Taking each moment, one moment at a time. And this goes for all situations, work or play, pain or pleasure.

  1. I will continue to be reading books, or listening to audios, where I feel that I am learning more about mindfulness, or ACT, or Buddhism, and all of this helps me a lot, and I actually really like it, its very enjoyable, but even the nicest activities can easily get forgotten so I include this as a resolution.

  1. I am working with a lot of guilt, from past actions, past mindless actions, so I will be doing a lot of metta meditation, where I will be forgiving myself daily. I think this will be very positive for me.
  1. Mindful usage and consuming. This probably started when I took up drawing again, and I just don't get on with raditional methods like paint. I always wanted to buy a digital drawing board, but they are very expensive. SO I said that I wouldn't spend any money at all (except for basic things like food etc), and each month I would save towards this drawing board. I have had it now for some months, and I still am saving up to finish paying for it. So I didn't buy any clothes, and I have always been a big fashion fan, and it can be a habit to buy. So I don't have this habit anymore, its been 6 months now without buying anything (which is a lot of time for me) And I've decided to continue this even if it wasn't necessary for one whole year. I think this will help me with mindful consuming. The thing I want to extend this to some other areas. I want to finish reading all my books before buying more, and most importantly is my larder, where we keep food. Its very big and food gets hidden and forgotten and then it gets thrown away which makes me feel terrible, awful, and brings on loads of feelings of guilt. So I want to be mindful in what food I buy and that we eat it and it doesn't get thrown away.

So I will be reporting back on this, either on my mindful routine, or how much of my mindful routine I am doing, and how this is influencing my life. So Happy New Year, and may all of you have and peace be safe, and that you may have a valued life. Take care, and tread gently that mindful path.