So you’re “Shy”? Own it.

Hey beauts! I hope everyone is having a great week & I am so happy it’s Friday tomorrow thank god! Phew! It has been an up and down week but felt pretty productive so I am happy about that! I finally am starting to feel more productive with my days & that truly is a blessing. Not going to lie, some days I really just want to lounge, chill and lay in bed. I’m not sad by any means, I honestly just don’t know what to do with my days sometimes, or I just have very little energy. Anyone with me? Lately though, I have developed a “routine” if you want to call it, mainly for work and that helps me out a ton. Not only do you feel more energized, but you feel like you are actually doing something with your days. You let your body start to follow the same routine and daily tasks start to become easier. I used to find it so difficult to get up in the mornings, I would not feel refreshed at all, I would feel sluggish and I would honestly think about my nap later on. Now, my body naturally wakes up around 6 or 7 and I do feel refreshed. Of course somedays I do wake up wanting more sleep... I mean I wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t think that somedays no matter how much sleep I got.

I truly feel like I am starting to better myself in really good ways and that honestly makes me feel so happy. I am finding ways to better myself but I am still learning to accept my flaws, and that my beauts, is not an easy thing to do. I have struggled for years and years trying to accept one of my biggest flaws that I have. This flaw has literally drove me crazy for years. This flaw my beauts, is the dreaded “S” word. The word that has haunted me since forever and has always stuck with me through elementary school, high school, university and still lingers beside me even to this day. Shyness. Oh god , that word used to make me cringe and I felt so ashamed to have this “awful” trait.

I have so many vivid memories of this personality trait and characteristic holding me back from certain situations or events. I hated it. High school was a nightmare because I was so afraid to get out of my comfort zone and mingle with people. I only new my twin sister and was super new to Hamilton. I knew no one and I could not push myself to talk to anyone. I sat with my sister for lunch and didn’t really make too many friends.

Fast forward to university, for first year of university I was in residence and I hated it. I went home every weekend because I was so shy. I didn’t know anyone & I didn’t want to talk to anyone on my floor. I was secretly known as the “stuck up bitch” which I had mentioned in a previous blog post because I was so “shy”.

You automatically get judged when you are shy. I have literally heard so many times before “ why are you so shy?” Or I often have people throwing in my face that they are not shy, that talking to people is a breeze. I remember when I was going through university to be a teacher, and I was asked one question that literally killed me. I was asked, “how are you supposed to be a teacher if you can’t talk to anyone”. That shot my confidence down a ton and I hated how I was. I was often judged so bad for this trait that I felt ashamed to be known as “the shy girl “. I often sat in my room at night time, wishing and dreaming, that I would be cured of this awful trait. I wish I could talk to a random joe blow on the corner and ask what time it was. I wish I could be like Tana Mongeau and not give to shits about things!

I wish I could be the life of the party and show up not even drunk & chat up a storm. My list was big. Boy did I ever wish I could just change how I was , and be more “outgoing”. I always wondered, “why me?”, and thought that if I was more outgoing, I would have more friends. I dreamt.

It literally took me 25 years. 25 years to finally accept my personality, my traits and how I presented myself to others. Do I accept myself and love myself 110% all the time? No . Am I kinder to myself and watch how I speak to myself now? Absolutely. Although I am working on accepting some of my other flaws, the one flaw that I finally have accepted is being “that shy girl”, and you know what? I’m going to friggen work being that “shy girl”. After all these years of thinking I had some sort of disease, thinking “why me?”, I proudly can say fuck it. Fuck the feeling of having to come off as the “outgoing girl” all the time, and screw the individuals that don’t accept who you are, they don’t deserve to be in your life. They don’t deserve to get to know you or to know you better. Bye Felecia! See you next Tuesday!

I remember clear as day, my younger sister came home upset a while back because of what one of her ex’s mom had said. She apparently didn’t really like my sister because she was “shy”. I couldn’t believe it. How dare somebody dislike something like that about someone, something that makes you YOU. Of course this broke my sister and made her feel embarrassed, ashamed and upset. Do you want to know what that family ended up missing out on? A beautiful girl inside & out, someone who is extremely artistic , someone who puts others before themselves and someone who has a heart of gold. Often people who are shy are judged so easily right off the bat and this absolutely grinds my gears. Even though someone is suffering from shyness, doesn’t mean that they are stuck up or any less of a person. We so often shame people for having this trait and that disgusts me.

Sure I may have a very hard time engaging in conversations with individuals face to face sometimes, my heart may start to race when I have to speak publicly, I may stumble on my words when speaking out loud, or I may even turn down some social events because I feel like they are too much. You know what? That’s okay. I have finally learned that it’s okay. It’s okay to maybe skip out on the big social event that’s coming up if it helps you sleep better. It’s okay to pass on big gatherings if that’s not your cup of tea. It’s also however okay to push yourself when you can out of your comfort zone. Even if that means you are extremely quiet at that big huge event. Even if that means you only speak to your best friend out of 100 individuals there. It’s also okay to have that one glass of red wine to calm those nerves.

I have been so ashamed for years but I can not express the importance of taking a step back, taking a deep breath, & saying in the mirror “I love who I am, my shyness and all”. One thing I do really find that helps me out a ton when dealing with my little extra “friend” (hence I didn’t say disease!), are people around me that have patience and understanding. My boyfriend is amazing for that. I truly could not have found a more understanding and beautiful soul. My boyfriend, Dayten, isn’t really shy and sometimes tries to help me get out of my comfort zone, but without pushing me too far! At social events, he offers to grab my glass of wine and stands by my side. He knows that I struggle with interactions at times, so always ensures I am good. He holds my hand and helps me engage in some difficult conversations with others. He doesn’t push me to-attend things I am not that fond of, and never once puts me down or centres out of “shyness“. He is a breath of fresh air.

Find someone who doesn’t centre out your shyness, and find someone who doesn’t judge. You need to surround yourself with positive people in your life, ones who uplift you. So you are shy? Big deal. You are just as smart, just as beautiful and just as important as that outgoing girl down the street. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are a failure because you are a little quieter than others, I know the feeling, and trust me, you are far from that. So you were nominated as valedictorian & had to turn it down because the thought of speaking in front of your class was enough to make you puke. I get it. I would’ve done the same. But hey, girl you graduated and that’s something you should be extremely proud of yourself for. You effin graduated! Off to the next chapter! You got this and I couldn’t be more proud of you!

There are so many opportunities in this world and you have so much to be proud about. YOU DO YOU!

I’m bringing shyness back, yeah! Them other f*ckers don’t know how to act, yeah!” – que Justin Timberlake.

My new position as a Mental Health Blogger for Chase and Hunter!

Hey my beauts, I hope you are all doing well and fabulous! Happy Saturday! I can’t believe it’s the weekend already, that literally flew by! I am so excited, I had Thursday and Friday both off which was awesome, so extra long weekend for me! As you beauts know, I am a nanny and have been for a couple years now. My last day was on Wednesday, so it was a bittersweet day. I am excited to see what is in store for the near future, but I am going to miss my baby girl dearly, she was one year old… too precious! So back to business, I have been writing blogs like crazy… literally blogs coming out of my asshole… no joke. But hey! Honestly, I absolutely love writing and coming up with posts for you guys so that doesn’t bother me one bit! I have been working on a project for about a couple weeks now and I am finally excited to share it with you beauts! I have been given the opportunity to work with a brand dedicated to sharing student’s experiences in college and university. Not only does this brand sound absolutely amazing already… right? I have had so many memories and whatnot that I experienced in university, so I adore their website so much and what they have to offer.  I found “Chase and Hunter” one day while exploring Instagram and really loved their page. It was so down to earth, loved reading about student’s experiences in both college and university, and absolutely adored the clothing line. If you beauts know me I am all about cropped hoodies. 100%. I think they are absolutely adorable and so stylish. Pairing these with high waisted pants or yoga pants looks unreal and adorable.  So I started following their page on Instagram and was always intrigued by their stories they post. They are a very interactive brand and include everyone which is amazing. They often do a bunch of polls on their stories seeing what kinds of apparel students love best and what not… love this. You have the option of having a voice and giving your opinion on things which is fantastic. I noticed one day  Chase and Hunter had posted on their story that they were searching for someone to help out with the company, marketing and so forth.  I then sent them a message saying I was very interested in this position, and I got in touch over the phone with the CEO of Chase and Hunter, Jake Karls, super down to earth guy, super friendly, and it was very easy speaking to him which I loved. I ran the idea by him that maybe there could be a section on the website discussing the aspect of Mental Health, as I know a lot of students who are in post-secondary school probably have had some struggles and experiences in regards to Mental Health. He absolutely loved the idea and thought it would be great to talk about mental health on the website. I wanted this to be a safe space where students from all around the world and different schools can come and share their own personal stories with one another, relating, connecting and expressing their emotions and feelings… what they personally went through or have been going through.

I wanted a welcoming, safe platform where students can share, and offer advice and take in new information in regards to mental health. I am so thankful that Chase and Hunter agreed to this idea, and I am pleased to announce I have joined their team and am now taking on the opportunity of being a mental health blogger for the company! I am so thrilled beyond belief that I get to express and share my ideas about something I am so passionate about and absolutely love.  I finally have been given a chance to share my stories with others around the world and for an amazing brand.  I have been gathering numerous articles and stories from student’s who are in post-secondary school or have attended it in the past. To my surprise, a lot of people reached out to me and wanted to share their mental health stories and struggles while in school, which was amazing. I was blown away. I even had a few people who I did not know reach out to me over social media which was unreal, and I was so beyond grateful for this. These stories are going to be shared amongst the Chase and Hunter website for other’s to relate to and connect to.  Mental health should not be kept quiet and remain in the dark. As some of you beauts know I have been struggling with mental illnesses my whole entire life, as early as grade 6. I did not know at the time that I had anxiety but soon later found out within my university years, and let me just say this…. I struggled a lot with it in university. I am grateful that there is now a platform to share and open up my story with others as I am not ashamed one bit. I know a lot of people struggle with mental illness, sometimes not knowing where to turn to, or how to go about it. I have been writing articles and blog posts recently strictly on mental illness and tips and tricks for those who are struggling. These articles will be published on the Chase and Hunter website which is unreal, and there will be a section dedicated to my blog posts on their website. I can not thank Chase and Hunter enough for this incredible and welcoming opportunity for me. I really have no words. I have been working my ass off for you beauts, and can not wait to share my posts with you guys! Currently, Chase and Hunter are going to launch a new website in the near future so I will let you guys know when everything is up and running on the website. Right now, we are just prepping and Jake is busy putting together the website! I am so excited and I know you guys will absolutely love it. I will keep you guys posted when I know further news about the launch of the new website, so stay tuned! One thing that I am looking forward to is sharing my story with you guys. I have mentioned a bit of my channel already about my mental illnesses, but I am excited to share with student’s around the world who I am, and what I am all about. As you beauts know I am an extremely open person, willing to share my story hands down with you guys, but sometimes this is not always an easy thing to do.If you guys are wanting to share a story and have it posted on the Chase and Hunter website, feel free to send me a message through one of my social media sites and I will gladly give you all the details! I want to personally say thank you to everyone who has sent me their story and opened up. It’s not easy and you have a lot of courage by doing so. I want other’s who are struggling to know they are never alone, and that there are always resources out there that are available to students. I am by no means a mental health professional or expert, but I do have a strong passion for mental health and have personally suffered from anxiety for years now. I have written some articles on ways to help ease anxiety before a big presentation, tips on how to wake up in a positive mood, and also how to notice the warning signs on someone who may be struggling. These are a few examples of what is going to be on the Chase and Hunter website and what you beauts have to look forward to.

So I know what you beauts are thinking… you want to hear a bit more about what Chase and Hunter are all about right? The founder of Chase and Hunter, Jake Karls, states, “ as much fun as I had in college (partying and not studying obviously), dorm rooms are pretty bland and always kind of reminded me of the back office of a senior manager at the DMV. WHITE WALLS SUCK, and worse than that, white walls don’t inspire anyone.I quickly realized that hanging a piece of art on my wall changed my headspace and created the good vibes that I wanted for me and my friends. Something as simple as a famous landmark or a quote was able to evoke powerful emotions for me and anyone coming over. Being the founder of Chase & Hunter, a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping millennials grow and become the best version of themselves it was natural for us to develop a line of art that can transform the spaces around you. Wherever you want to be, we have the art that can take you there. We invite you to browse our collection and find a piece that speaks to you and is a representation of where you are going”. 

I absolutely love this. This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Chase and Hunter. I love working and collaborating with brands that have a powerful message, and my heart was geared towards this brand. I could not be more proud to represent and wear the clothing for this brand, as well as blog for their company. I really hope you guys enjoy my section on mental health that will be on the website, I am really excited and have been working hard each day on this project. I am honoured.  I also have purchased two of their cropped sweaters from their collection, and I am excited to show you guys. I purchased this beautiful and stunning! I purchased, “The cropped hoodie” in the colour grey and let’s just say…..  I am obsessed. I absolutely love how cropped it is, it’s absolutely adorable, completely my style… I am just in love. This retails for $39.00 in store.

“…Chase and Hunter is a mix between comfy and streetwear”

The other sweater that I purchased is called, “The classic cropped crewneck“, and I purchased it in the shade Royal Blue. Something about the colour blue has me absolutely hooked and I love it dearly. I think this is such a beautiful and vibrant colour by far, something different than what I am used to having in my wardrobe. Again, love the cropped hoodies, they are stunning on. Super comfortable. There are also so many different colours to choose from this collection as well which is fantastic. This sweater retails for $34.99 in store.

I absolutely love my two new hoodies and have been wearing them so much lately. I highly recommend going to check out the website and purchasing one for yourself! We would love to see you in one and rocking the brand! I hope you guys love the new website, if you have a story you would like to share don’t be afraid to reach out. I want to personally take a minute to thank Chase and Hunter for allowing me to blog for their company, this is an amazing opportunity for me and I am beyond thankful. I can not wait to see what the future has in store for me, and for Chase and Hunter as well! Big things are happening beauts, and I can not thank you enough for your support. Be sure to check out their page on Instagram over at, “chaseandhunter”, come spread some love. Also be sure to check out my other social media sites located on my homepage for more blogs to come in the near future. Take care and much love xo.

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Mental Health Update; Chit Chat with me focusing on Social Anxiety

Hey my beauts, I hope you are all doing well! I have been doing really well lately in terms of my blogging channel/collaborations and also… shh… launching a clothing line that will be launched soon when details are discussed and finalized with my stepbrother, go follow him on Instagram at @nateslofstra! Unfortunately, I can not share too many details of this clothing line with you beauts yet, but do not worry! There will be a blog on it coming in the near future for sure! I am super excited to be given this opportunity and can not wait to share more details with you beauts!  So it has been a while since I have done a chit chat with me post on my mental health and given you beauts an update! So my anxiety has been better under control ever since starting my new job, I think it is for sure a more relaxed atmosphere, to say the least, which helps me calm down a lot. One thing that I have noticed that has started to peek up again was my Social Anxiety, unfortunately. One thing I am proud of for myself is that I noticed this right away. I have been very anxious lately when it comes to social events some things may include my eye contact is very limited when speaking to people, I get nervous in big crowds or at parties; again if I am sober this is more evident. I also just get nervous when it comes to just small talk conversations, this really gets me anxious for some odd reason. If you beauts have been keeping up to date in the past following my social anxiety journey, you are familiar that these certain things have been making me nervous over the years. Some of these things in the past include:

  1. talk with individuals one- on- one
  2. maintain eye contact
  3. manage anxious thoughts about what people think of me
  4. tolerating criticism
  5. express more in a job interview
  6. go to a party sober
  7. call people on the phone
  8. return an item to a store
  9. ask someone for help

So as you can see, there were a lot of social situations that would make me feel uneasy and anxious at times, and that is okay. A little recap for you beauts who were not following my social anxiety journey in the past. I attended a social anxiety group every Wednesday for 8 weeks which was two hours long in length. Basically, we worked out of a workbook and did different exposures to help manage and face our fears when it came to social anxiety. I absolutely loved this group, after the 8 weeks, I felt like a completely new person who was exceeding in life day by day. I literally felt on top of the world, that nothing could get in my way. I have to admit, the exposures and facing them head on were not an easy process, but I can proudly check off some things I have mastered on my list which is a great feeling!  I can now pick up the phone, make appointments, order a pizza or just have a simple conversation which in the past, made me super nervous and uncomfortable.  I am now able to speak on the phone with little to no nerves which is a huge step for me!  Another thing that I can cross off my list is that I can return an item to a store and usually ask for help depending on the situation! So there are a few things on my list that I can proudly cross off.  There are however things still on my list that I need a little bit of help with still. One of the biggest things for me would be maintaining eye contact and having one-on-one conversations. I do not know what it is about these but I just feel so uncomfortable!

I made an appointment with my therapist and told her some of the social situations that still made me feel uncomfortable and she recommended right away that I go back to my social anxiety group meetings again. I really liked this idea! I think that sometimes we forget how to manage our anxiety for some situations and it’s okay to get that reminder for sure! I need that extra help again, and I want to work and better myself for 2018 as this is my year. So beauts, I am signed up again for the Social Anxiety Group which will be starting in April of this year. This will be a 9-week program for those who experience a lot of fear and discomfort about social situations. Often this leads to avoidance of certain situations and I did not want that whatsoever. I want to be able to live life to it’s fullest without fearing every social interaction I have. So this will be held every Monday starting in April. I hope to be able to cross more things off of my list for sure which would be fantastic and rewarding.  I will be posting blog posts for every meeting held like I did in the past to help you beauts see the progress and to allow myself to see the progress I am making as well.  I hope these updates will help at least one person who may be suffering like I am. I can not wait to start this journey and process with you beauts again, and keep you up to date!

Remember, 2018 is your year to shine. Take control of it. Notice how you are feeling, and don’t push aside emotions. If you are struggling acknowledge it, and fight it. You are a fighter, and if a quiet shy girl like myself can do it, you can do it as well. You are never alone. Have a great rest of your week! Take care.

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Borderline Personality Disorder- Chit Chat & Mental Health Update

Hey there my beauts, Alyssa here with a mental health chit chat with me blogging post. As you beauts know I always share my mental health updates with you guys, I am not ashamed of having some illnesses, in fact, I share them with you guys to give you a better understanding of my life, and maybe help someone else out there who is dealing with the same thing as me. I recently have been going through a bit of a rough patch lately and it is because of some underlying issues that have risen up.  I have been taking medication for my anxiety which is a normal thing for me, and have bee taking another pill which I thought was for mood swings. I stopped taking this pill for a little while, on my own terms, which was not the greatest idea and my mood and anxiety has taken a dramatic dip and fall. As you beauts may have known I have recently had a retail job that I really liked a lot. I have never worked in retail before and it was all new to me, but my coworkers and boss were wonderful to work with. I recently have only been working a few shifts when my anxiety took a turn for the worst one morning before one of my morning shift I physically could not go to work. I simply had a huge knot in my chest, my chest was also super tight and my nerves were unbearable.  I was crying and crying and simply could not gather myself together. Needless to say, I called into work and stated that I simply could not do this job at the moment due to my extreme heightened anxiety. Luckily, my boss understood my situation and was there to offer me the support. I hate disappointing people and felt like I had let her down a ton, but I knew in my head I needed some help and my mental health came first. I saw the doctor that same day, explaining what had happened, and she asked if I was taking all of my medication which I was not. She explained again what my medication was for, and explained that the one I thought was just for my mood swings was for “Borderline Personality Disorder“. I was shocked. I had no idea what this meant, and I literally thought to myself, “oh great… another illness to add to my collection“. She explained to me that it was not a disease, that in fact, 25% of people have this and it is quite normal. This made my anxiety ease up and I knew I was going to be okay. My doctor informed me that you just have to work on this. I was surprised that the psychiatrist did not inform me what the pill was, but at least now I know and can educate myself a bit better on it.

She also informed me that just like my social anxiety meetings I attended every Wednesday, there were Borderline Personality Disorder meetings that I could attend and I am going to do just that. Why not better myself. I am going to be recording and blogging about the sessions for you guys, to inform you and educate you about my progress. Not only am I doing this for you guys, I am doing it so I can reflect on it myself if I need to. It helps to see how far you have come and the progress you are making. This will be later on down the road,  but I will keep you beauts updated when I start the sessions and know more about them. So I know what some of you may be thinking, what the heck is Borderline Personality Disorder?  It is a mental illness that centres on the inability to manage emotions effectively. The disorder occurs in the context of relationships; sometimes all relationships are affected, sometimes only one. This usually begins during early adolescence or early adulthood which would explain my situation. There are several traits of symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder that I found on the internet for you beauts, these include:

  1. unstable relationships
  2. unclear or unstable self-image
  3. impulsive, self-destructive behaviours
  4. self-harm
  5. extreme emotional swings
  6. chronic feelings of emptiness
  7. explosive anger
  8. fear of abandonment
  9. feeling supicious or out of touch with reality

Of course, people who have this illness do not need to necessarily have all of these symptoms, I personally do not. What truly fascinated me was that this disorder is rarely diagnosed on its own. Common co-occurring disorders that I have myself include an anxiety disorder and my eating disorder. So that really made a lightbulb go off when I found that out. Luckily, there are different ways that I can work on treating this illness in three steps. The first is calming the emotional storm, the second is learning to control impulsivity and tolerate distress, and lastly improve your interpersonal skills.

I am hoping that all of these are taught within my classes that I am going to be involved with so I can learn these different strategies and better myself as an individual. One of the interesting things that I had researched about this disorder is that people who have it are often indecisive, and that is me to a T, which is crazy. One thing I also found crazy was people who have this disorder often have difficulty maintaining stable jobs, which is what had happened to me with my last job. Often people who have this experience strong feelings of anxiety, worry and depression (I can highly relate to the anxiety part of all of this for sure). So even though I have this disorder, it does not define who I am as an individual, just something I need to work on an conquer. I know that nothing is impossible, there is always help out there and you are never alone, ever. There are always proper resources there to help you get through difficult times and situations. I am just happy to have found this out now so I can do something about it and move forward with my life. Even though I have an eating disorder, an anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder, I am still Alyssa. I am still me. I am no different than someone else who isn’t suffering from a mental illness, I just have to work a bit harder than others and that is okay. I am not ashamed of who I am, I am proud of who I am as an individual and how far I have come in life. I have come this far, and I am not about to turn back now. Please feel free to reach out to your doctor, loved ones, or friends if you feel you are struggling. You are not alone. I hope you beauts enjoyed this little update and chit-chat on mental health, be sure to follow my other social media accounts located on my homepage for more blogs in the near future! Take care.

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Dear Anxious Girl Afraid to Ask for Help

Dear Anxious Girl Afraid to Ask for Help



Hey my beauts , hope you all are having a wonderful week so far ! I keep forgetting it’s a four day week so pretty much have been confused all week as to what day it is , living on the edge a little bit. As you guys know , I have been doing more inspiring stories lately just because I see people each day who would use a little pick me up here and there. I really enjoy writing these types of blog posts , you can actually find more of the ones that I have completed early on, maybe last year on my blogging page ? I have recently gotten back into the swing of it and some of you have really enjoyed these types of posts. This one is for those who are anxious to admit that something needs to change, that “I” need help and are too afraid to ask for it. 


Dear anxious girl afraid to ask for help,

I’ve been there. In fact, some days I am still there. It’s probably one of the hardest things to admit to yourself , to literally sit down and say out loud ” I need help”. I have been in your shoes. I have been where you are all through university, struggling and trying to hide that I had a few dark secrets. It’s pretty easy to hide things that you don’t want to face , trust me , anxiety and I have been playing this game for years . But finally , I did it. Enough was enough. Sure I could’ve  taken that bottle of Tylenol that was spilled all over my bed, sure I could’ve locked my door so my roommate didn’t have to burst in, and sure I could’ve been silent on the phone with my mom. But what would this all have solved? Would this have made life easier, better ? No. In fact , that would have made me selfish and bitter towards life. There’s way too much to live for , I didn’t want anxiety taking that away from me . He wasn’t going to take that away from me . It’s okay to ask for help anxious girl. I was that anxious girl too . 


I know what you’re thinking, ” what will others think of me?“. Your true friends, the ones who hold your hair back when your puking after too much vodka, the ones who let you cry on their shoulder and the ones who encourage you to smile will understand. But what about the rest of the world you may ask? What about them. I bet you they have their own problems going on , maybe even worse than yours. My therapist once told me , ” don’t let anxiety take over your life, it’s okay to admit that changes need to take place“. That is exactly why I participated in a group that took place every Wednesday evening. That is why I would tense up before 6 o’clock hit. And that is why I would be exhausted coming home around 8 o’clock that day. Mentally exhausted because I pushed myself. I admitted to the internet, friends and family , but most importantly to myself that I needed help. And I am okay. Sure I may get anxious here and there, I may have to miss work once a month to see a therapist, I may have to take 3 mandatory pills a day for my anxiety , but I am okay.

Dear anxious girl afraid to ask for help, 

I know you will be okay too . If you need me I am here to talk to. I know you’re scared and I was too. In fact anxious girl, I strongly encourage you to get that help you need today. Don’t let your problems or underlying issues drag behind you all your life. That is no place to live. That’s not living, that is simply getting by. I don’t want you to just get by, I want you to laugh uncontrollably until you pee your pants, I want you to be cheering on your sisters at their talent show , I want you to love life.  At one point I didn’t love life, but admitting I need that help was one of the biggest accomplishments I have ever made. Now that I have asked for help, I am more comfortable asking for help when it comes to other things. When it comes to my eating habits I am getting the help , and guess what. I am okay. I know you can do this , it takes two seconds out of your day to finally listen to yourself. Friends have always told you you’re a good listener right? I heard you’re very good at it, so show me. Show me you can do this and show yourself you can do this . 

My names Alyssa Hotrum, I am 23 years old . I have underlying eating disorders and am diagnosed with general anxiety as well as social anxiety . I admitted this to myself, can you ?

Social anxiety group therapy- session 8 ( last session)

Social anxiety group therapy- session 8 ( last session)

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Hey my beauts! What a bittersweet moment it is. I can not thank you guys enough, my viewers, friends and family for supporting me through this new journey I had taken! For those of you who are not up to date with my social anxiety blogging posts, I will basically just summarise my journey and why I started attending these sessions. I have always been a very anxious person , even when I was little. I remember in elementary school always worrying constantly about homework and my studies. I was then diagnosed with general anxiety disorder within my years of university . I finally exploded and could not take it anymore . I received the help I needed to get back on my two feet , as well as taking medication on the side. My anxiety was under control for a long period of time but spiked back up again a few months ago . I saw my therapist and was inquiring about my anxiety levels as they were peaking again. I did not know if I just got used to my pills or needed a higher dosage. While speaking to my therapist , she had a thought. She handed me a sheet and asked me to rate my anxiety through all these social interactions. I scored a 90 for anxiety rating as my social anxiety levels were extremely high. She recommended that I seek this social anxiety group therapy sessions, but I was completely against it at first. Even the thought of group therapy gave me butterflies …. I would have rather had individualised therapy sessions. She informed me that everyone else in the group was on the same boat I was , suffering as well . I eventually agreed to the group therapy and I am so glad I did ! The first session was brutal , nobody really talked , hence the anxiety , but the instructors were very nice and comforting .

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Now look where I am today ! I made it through 8 sessions and finished my social anxiety treatment program. It’s amazing how far I have come. I notice it completely and so does my friends/ family members. From being so shy where I couldn’t speak on the phone to now being able to order a pizza over the phone is insane. I also can small talk with individuals without my chest tightening up, I am more relaxed while doing so ! The only exposure on my hierarchy that I need to work on is asking for help. I have struggled with this all of my life and it’s not going to be an easy one to work on let’s just say that! However, I made so many improvements over the past 8 weeks on my exposure hierarchy that I am super proud of myself.

So 6:00 hit and I sat down at the table for the last time.  We began our session with taking up homework that we had the previous week. Basically, our homework for last week was to just work on our exposure hierarchy. I had raised my hand and offered to speak to the class. I explained that I had been working on small talk again and stated that I had gone to a bar sober and met one of my friend’s friend there. I was afraid it was going to be very awkward but in reality, it went great and the conversation never died.  I was very proud of myself and so were my instructors! They had stated that I was improving a lot and were happy I was working so hard on my exposures.

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We then went into our last session of discussing new information. The instructors started discussing how to maintain our goals for the future. How we should continue to use the strategies we learned and also continue practising them as well. Rather than ending the treatment, we are encouraged to start living your life in a new way, when there really is no end. I am going to practice being assertive and focusing on my hierarchy goals.  We also discussed some of the goals when talking about cognitive behavioural therapy. We need to gain control of our anxiety by using the strategies we have learned over the past weeks to manage it. We need to become our own therapist. Since we now do not have our instructors to help guide and tend to us, we have to be our own coach.  We need to encourage ourselves as if we were speaking to our best friend.

Sometimes, dealing with social anxiety may not always seem effective, this could be for multiple reasons. First, maybe it’s too low of a dosage. Maybe we are not doing enough of our exposures to move past our fears and what makes us nervous. We could not be challenging ourselves enough as well. Another reason could be related to stress. We may be so stressed out or having a bad week that this interferes with our motivation and energy levels, affecting our exposures. Or simply life could get in the way. Often things pop up that may not be all that great, and unfortunately, we can not do much about that. If some things do get in the way of our exposures and trying to better ourselves, that is okay. Let these things happen, it does not mean to get discouraged at all. Let these things happen and when the time is right, you can work and use your strategies.  On the other hand, things may be going as planned and are effective, but what if the fear returns?  We need to sit down and think about what strategies were effective for ourselves, and we need to question ourselves as to why it came back. Sometimes, we only do our exposures occasionally, that leaves room for the fear to creep back in your life as you are not exposing yourselves more. However, there are things we can do to help prevent this from happening. First, continue using both the cognitive and exposure strategies. Second, practice these in different situations so that your exposures become second nature to you. You just have to keep, and eventually, anxiety will begin to decrease over time.

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We were then given some useful and resourceful information based on different articles about social anxiety. I will list them down below for you beauts:

  • “The Shyness & Social Anxiety Workbook: PProven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear” ( by Antony M.M and Swinson R.P. 2008)
  • “10 Simple Solutions to Shyness: How to Overcome Shyness, Social Anxiety and Fear of Public Speaking” (Antony, M.M. 2004)
  • http://www.anxietybc.com

Overall, I am so grateful and proud of the person I have become today. Months ago, I was so shy and uncomfortable for everything, it was absolutely awful. I know I needed to do something for myself and pronto even though I was scared to reach out. It is okay to ask for help and reach out if you want to better yourself. I highly highly recommend this group or some form of social anxiety treatment based groups if you are struggling that I was. I will share with you guys the accomplishments I have done over the last 8 weeks and what was on my hierarchy, to begin with.

Exposure Hierarchy

  1. Talk with individuals one-on-one
  2. maintain eye contact
  3. manage anxious thoughts about what people think  of me
  4. tolerate criticism
  5. express more in a job interview
  6. go to a party sober
  7. call people on the phone
  8. return an item to a store
  9. ask for help

What I have accomplished

  1. speaking with individuals one-on-one such as my boss and meeting new people
  2. have tried maintaining eye contact with people during one-on-one conversations on multiple occasions
  3.  If I embarrass myself, I really do not care so much what people think of me
  4. I can call people on the phone now
  5. I have returned an item to a store
  6. I have gone to two parties sober

What I need to work on- asking for help and job interviews as nothing has come up so far.

At my orientation for the group therapy, we had filled out a sheet in regards to “willingness to change”. I will share with you guys what the instructor and I had discussed based on what I would like to accomplish:

Benefits of overcoming your social anxiety: 

  • more comfortable talking to people
  • be happier
  • pursue job opportunities

Reasons for changing:

  • just finished university and wants to improve future prospects and her state

Specific goals:

  • feel comfortable talking with another person such as her boss, strangers
  • make friends
  • arrange job interviews

Previous attempts:

  • breathing techniques
  • Prozac

I can truly say I am a changed person when looking back on this sheet of paper. Never in a million years did I think I was going to overcome social anxiety, let alone I did not know I actually had it that bad. I am so glad I reached out for help, and I encourage you guys as well. If I can do it, you can. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, I have it, and I am sure others who are reading this have it as well. I will say it once again, anxiety does not define who you are as an individual. I hope you beauts enjoyed reading these sessions in regards to my group therapy meetings, I hope you beauts learned a lot, and thank you for all the love and support you guys gave me. Means the world to me. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts for updates on the latest posts!

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Social Anxiety Group Therapy Session 7

Social Anxiety Group Therapy Session 7

Processed with MOLDIVHey beauts! I know I know , where have I been with my updated social anxiety group therapy sessions ? I sadly did not make it to my 6th session because it was a very long and bad day I was having ! I was actually surprised that I only missed one session out of my 8… that’s a record for me and I am very proud of that ! I have worked hard these past 7 weeks and have really pushed myself in my group therapy sessions , obviously attending them and trying to push myself further out of my comfort zone . I have learnt so much these past weeks it has literally been insane !! This week was super challenging for me , mostly because the exposures are getting more challenging and they are really trying to test your anxiety levels . I was not nervous whatsoever I was more excited this time .. why might you ask ? Because this is my second last therapy session ! Can you believe it ?! Where has the time gone ? I literally thought that this therapy was going to be a long 8 weeks , but it literally has flown by .

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We started off this session by taking up some homework that we had from the week before . We were working on assertiveness and the ability to speak our mind or say “no”. I had been working a bit on this over the week and actually practiced this exposure once . My boss is very flexible with my hours and on st pattys day , she asked if I wanted to work til 5:30 or she could even do 4. I was assertive and asked if she could do 4 instead which was hard for me because I am too nice to go home early! I feel bad for some reason . Meanwhile, this suggestion was completely fine and she said that was perfectly okay. Being assertive is not really all that bad after all !  Saying no on the other hand, will be a completely different story . We then had to go over any exposures on our exposure hierarchy we have been working on. I raised my hand ( huge improvement), and stated that I had attended a party sober . Yes may seem a little funny and ridiculous but for me ,that’s a big deal . I am always afraid that when I am sober attending a party , I will not know what to say to people or be completely awkward. I always usually ensure that I had a couple drinks before I attend a party , so this was on my list. I went to a st pattys day party at my friends and literally went sober with my best friend. I knew it was time to push myself. I basically initiated some conversations and really pushed myself when I got to the party . Yes I was completely out of my comfort zone . Did I keep going ? Absolutely . My best friend stated that she could notice a huge difference in me right away . She could not believe how much I was socializing with people and not under the influence of alcohol at the time ,  not until later at least ! I did it . I managed to force my anxiety out of the way and actually enjoyed myself , sparking conversations left right and centre .

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For today’s session, we went on to discuss the dreaded interviews and interview techniques as well as skills. I literally hate interviews. I think a lot of people develop anxiety over them, I know I do! This was on my exposure hierarchy but obviously, I could not work on this one as I had no potential interviews coming up! When you are discussing potential pre-interview skills, it is helpful to use your anxiety thought record, and predict what will happen. It is important to plan ahead for the interview such as learning about the organization, what are your strengths and weaknesses and so forth. When talking about your weaknesses, this can be super tricky. It is important to try to gear more towards behavioural skills as opposed to different characteristics.

One thing to keep in mind when preparing yourself, is to remember that it is okay to regroup your thoughts during the interview. Nobody is perfect. When it comes to interviews, the interviewer knows for a fact that you are nervous and that it is normal. So breathe.  It is also important to practice deep breathing before the interview and practice positive self-talk. Using coping statements such as “ you are going to do great!“, or ” you have done good in interviews before“, will help you out tremendously. When it comes to the actual interview time it is important to be punctual. Arriving at least 15 minutes earlier as opposed to arriving right on time is better and makes you look better as well. It is important to ask questions at the end of your interview, this shows that you are interested and your listening skills are on key. When it comes to the post interview, it is also important to send an email thanking the interviewer. It is also important to write down your interview questions that you were asked just to review them for later on down the road. You can question yourself, what went good? As well as what could I have done differently?

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After discussing about interviews, we went onto the topic of public speaking. As soon as the instructor said this my heart sank. I was literally thinking, great. What exposure and activity are we going to have to do?  We had to do an in class speech by ourselves. We were given 4 smarties, and depending on the colour you had to answer certain questions about yourself. We were required to speak for exactly 2 minutes, timed, and we had the choice of standing in front of the class, standing at your seat or sitting down. I actually surprised the hell out of myself and went first. I could feel my heart drop as I stated that I would like to stand in front of the room. I knew damn well my anxiety was not going to win this exposure that it was time to face one of my biggest fears, public speaking. Even though it was only for two minutes, it literally seemed like 10. I think the most anxiety provoking thing about it was that I did not really have time to prepare my answers. We basically got our smarties, had to look on the board for our 4 questions, and begin. I always have had a fear of not knowing what to say when put on the spot. But boy did I ever surprise myself. I am actually getting teary eyed typing this because I can not explain to you how proud I am of myself and how proud I was in that moment. Even though I paused sometimes to gather my thoughts, I was shaking, my heart was about to burst, and my smarties were melting in my hands, I was okay. I did it. I started with, “Hi, I am Alyssa, I am 23 years old and so forth“. Before I knew it the timer went off, what a relief that was. I told everyone my smarties were melted and one girl replied, “don’t worry, they taste better that way“. I love my group. I have gotten so comfortable around them and it is sad knowing this is my second last session. I am so fortunate to have been given this opportunity, to challenge a demon that has been hanging around for far too long. My anxiety does not define me. Sure he may make me feel uncomfortable, seem shy in certain situations, and awkward in others, but I am still Alyssa.

We have to continue to work on our anxiety hierarchy form that we work on each week.I am not too sure what I am going to work on this week but stay tuned to find out for my last session! I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post on my updated sessions. Please subscribe and follow my social media accounts to stay informed!

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Much love xo.

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