Dear Girl Afraid of Being Judged

Dear Girl Afraid of Being Judged

Dear Girl Afraid of Being Judged,

Who isn’t afraid of being judged? I feel like all my life, I have always put others first before myself, wondering what others may think of me, and wondering what their opinions are of me. But it’s time to start living, and I feel like I have not lived my life yet.  Wondering who’s going to like my Instagram photos, when in reality, they don’t know the story behind the photo, but automatically you are going to be judged. That’s life. No matter what you do, somebody is going to judge you whether you like it or not. But you know what? Own it. If you want to post a progress picture that you are too afraid to post, just do it. What is the harm? It’s your account, your Instagram, and your time to show off your progress. I can admit that I am a selfie queen, and a lot of people have asked me in the past, ” why do you post so many pictures of yourself?“. One word, I am “proud“. I am proud of how far I have come as a human being, challenging myself each and every day. I am proud of how I look, and how much I have worked on myself, I am proud of how far I have come.  I have gained a sense of independence and I have become stronger over the years. So why do I post so many selfies of myself you may ask? Because I woke up today and I am happy to be alive, I am feeling good, I want to show off my best friend’s amazing photography skills, or I am just generally in a good mood. That’s why.


Dear Girl Afraid of Being Judged,

I was that same girl, in fact, I still am at times. It took a lot of people to get through to me that it’s okay to not care what others may think of you. Do you really have to impress them? Are they really too caught up in your life, that they forgot about minding their own business?  I can relate to this statement. After breaking up and getting back together with my boyfriend I knew the judging would start. I had endless amounts of time to think and really think hard if this is what I want in life, I knew for a fact the judging would be there, but I had to push that aside. I knew that some people would not agree with the decision I made but in reality, “who cares”.  Are they really going to determine your happiness for you? Are they the ones in your relationship? No.  When you are thinking twice about posting that Instagram picture because you gained a couple pounds over the summer, just think, “Who are they to guide your life, to guide how you live, and to guide your direction in life?”. You are your own person, you have your own mind, you can make your own decisions. I currently am focusing on my life, my relationship, and my future. Those who can not accept it are not really your true friends and are not going to be there in the long run for you. This is like an experiment and I am testing you. I am testing you to see if you will be there for me, you may not agree with everything I am doing, but you will be there for me in the end. That is the real test. 


Dear Girl Afraid of Being Judged,

It’s time to start your life and be who you want to be. I am supporting you 100%, and if you need a shoulder to cry on, I will be there for you. In the end, it’s about you and your happiness, not theirs. It’s not their life, their body, their mind… it’s yours. I am in the process of not caring what other’s think of me anymore. It’s not an easy thing to do, and the road may be a bit rocky, but once you stop caring what others think of you, you can truly find your happiness and start living your life. I can finally say I am starting to live my life the way I want to, are you?

I hope you beauts enjoyed this dear letter for the week. I usually gear my dear letters towards what is on my mind, and what I think other’s around me will benefit from, and learn from. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts located on my home page for more blog posts to come in the near future!

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Moving back home after being on my own for a few years

Moving back home after being on my own for a few years

 

Hello my beauts, it’s me, yes I am still alive. Where have I been again might you ask? Honestly, guys, so much shit has been happening in my life and blogging had to be put on hold, but I am back and have a bunch of blog posts in mind for you guys, so thanks again for being patient with me!  From job hunting to trying to figure out my life in general, things have been hectic, to say the least. But I am here and finally feeling back to my old self again, which I have missed dearly, trust me.  I have been trying to brain storm different blog posts to come up with and have come up with a few great ones that I think that you beauts will enjoy a  lot. Shall we get into it or what? Like shut up lyss, no one cares.

The Bedroom

Guys…. GUYS. Can I just start off by saying you have not seen a kiddie bedroom until you have seen mine. Before I moved back home, I had this beautiful queen size bed, had my own room and everything. I still have my own room at home now don’t get me wrong, I mean that would be the cherry on top of the cake if I had to share a room as well, thank god I don’t have to. My bed you guys, is a toddler bed I kid you not. It’s no beauty queen size bed anymore, I am pretty sure I got jipped and got my little sisters’ bed when they were like two. I shit you not. But honestly, it’s actually a pretty comfy bed which is nice and I enjoy it. Would I invite my boyfriend to come stay over, sure…. if he wants to sleep on the ground? Oh and that’s the other beauty about being at home, I am still not allowed to sleep in the same bed (if I didn’t have my toddler bed) as my boyfriend and I am going on 24 years old… I used to live with the guy... I mean come on mom, I am going to marry the guy soon anyway. Gotta love being at home, but hey beauts…. Oh I am just getting started so grab some tea and come hang with me a bit longer.


Clothes 

I am pretty sure I am missing half of my wardrobe now, to say the least, and I came with a full wardrobe to moms…. Can you possibly guess who has been jacking my clothes? Oh yes, you guessed it.. my little sisters of course! The best part about all this is karma is a complete bitch. I used to steal my sibling’s clothes all the time and never asked permission to do so, so guess what? It’s going to bite me in the ass now, and now they are taking all my clothes without asking me. I apologize to my roommates and siblings for doing this to them because honestly, it sucks a lot of dicks. I hate that feeling, of all your stuff slowly disappearing and you can not do anything about it. Mom, I am getting a lock and hiding all my shit, k thanks.

House Rules

I think one of the beautys about coming home was the amazing house rules, tootles to you mom. Gotta love being on your own and coming home and having to follow all these rules or basically, you were getting in shit. The best one yet was no cuddling on the couch or laying down beside your boyfriend on the couch. I am not much for PDA but Mom….MOM, I am 24 years old, let’s get with the program here.  I remember one day my mom also got fed up with being the maid and set a new rule where everyone in the house picks a day to cook dinner. Hey, guys, I thought when you move back home, you got everything made for you, like dinner… am I right ?! Thank god this rule did not really follow through and I have not had to show off my famous cooking skills yet… I feel bad for my boyfriend when I visit him. Emptying the dishwasher kills me. I mean let me just inform you how big my family is okay. I am a twin, we all knew that and I have two younger sisters who are 14 and they are twins too, then I have my step dad and my mom, oh and also my step sister as well.. you feel my pain? I feel like we are always constantly emptying the dishwasher because of how many dishes we go through on a daily basis, it’s insane. And emptying the dishwasher literally is one of the most annoying jobs ever in life, I absolutely hate it.    Another thing is that it’s a race to be the “table setter” because everyone hates clearing the table once we are finished dinner. So we literally run to be the table setter and it’s a competition. Another rule that we are very strict on in this house is turning off things.  If something is left on such as a light, god forbid someone is getting murdered.  There is literally rules coming out of my asshole and I can not stand it, I dare you to live in my house for a week, goodluck!

Family Movie Nights 

Oh god do not even get me started on family movie nights. I am so used to cuddling with the boyfriend and relaxing on the couch but oh no… no no no we have beautiful family movie nights here. I am talking about the whole sha-bang. Also, did I mention it takes an hour to try to find a child appropriate movie for my younger sisters and a movie that everyone will enjoy watching? By the time we have picked a movie, I am literally ready for bed or K-OD on the couch. Also one of the amazing rules mom came up with was no texting during the movie and phones completely go away. Try telling this to two 14-year-old girls, and someone who is a selfie-queen …. it just does not go over well. I can proudly say I am a 24-year-old woman who still has family movie nights almost every other day…

 Privacy

Privacy… what is privacy these days? Nobody really even knows, especially when it comes to my household. I try to have a nice romantic visit with my boyfriend and I am welcomed by my little sisters splashing in the hot tub with us and talking about periods. I can not even handle it. There is nowhere to go alone in this house without being welcomed or interrupted by another family member. We usually like to peace out and just go out for a nice dinner instead of having a group dinner at home. Oh and the noise, don’t even get me started on that. I am trying to sleep in my child room and all I can hear is “Aaron liked my picture!” or ” Tony said I was cute!“, at like 3 in the morning…. there is no proper sleep in my house ever.

Well beauts, going to go take a nap in my toddler bed! I hope you all enjoyed reading my crazy journey back home and laughed a bit! I absolutely love my family don’t get me wrong but sometimes, it’s good to move out and have your own personal space. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts located on my home page for upcoming blog posts in the near future! Take care!

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Dear Girl in a Mixed-up Mind 

Dear Girl in a Mixed-up Mind 


Hey beauts! Yes I know it’s probably been about a million years since the last time I blogged and so much has been going on! I thought “hey…why not tell you guys through one of my famous dear letters?” And that if someone is struggling like I was and am , that maybe this letter can help you out just a tad bit. I also want to thank a person who inspired me to write this letter & reached out to me.

Dear Girl in a Mixed-up Mind,

It’s not easy, this thing they call life. I remember not having to have a single worry in the world, just having to dread your younger sisters running in and jumping on you in the morning. Close your eyes. Now you’re an adult. You’re here, it’s real. I remember they didn’t teach you this in school. They didn’t tell you that adulting would be like arts and crafts time. I wasn’t prepared. I still am not prepared. I am 23. I know that must mean that I have it all together but I really don’t. I know how to tie my shoes, I know how to be a good role model, I know how to write an essay ( when I like the topic), but school/parents/friends don’t prepare you for your own personal journey ahead.

Dear Girl in a Mixed-up Mind,

I know you’re tired. You’re stressed with school. You’re mentally and physically exhausted. No one can really tell and know how you are feeling except for yourself. When they ask you what’s wrong you simply state, ” just stressed out “. But they don’t know that you just bombed a test for the first time in forever, that you’re having relationship troubles and don’t know where to turn, that you know you won’t be able to enjoy your weekend because you start placement Monday, so your anxiety is eating you alive. But did you personally look at the big picture? Did you get up this morning and look in the mirror? Did you take a deep breath, throw all your worries in the garbage and think “today’s the day I make a change ?”. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath, let out all our worries and just give ourselves a pat on the back. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to live. We are so hard on ourselves that before we know it, we will be gone. I want to look at the bigger picture. That I went back to school after taking a year off to continue my education. That after school, I will get a career even if it takes me a little bit and you know what? That’s okay. 


Dear Girl in a Mixed-Up Mind,

Did you laugh today? Did you reach out to your friends and acknowledge every aspect and characteristic they hold? They are your support system, and will always be there for you even through these hard times. Reach out to them. Tell them what is going on in that brain of yours. I’m sure if you state “I’m crazy”, they will want to be crazy with you. They will want to endure that with you.  Don’t lose touch with them, I know they live far away but it’s only a car ride away. It’s life, but you make it work. 

I know you stopped going to the gym because you’re stressed out and that’s ok. So what? Take a break, figure out you and your present life, figure out your short and long term goals, figure out YOU. I know you’re hard on yourself because you’re gaining some weight, so what. What are a few pounds here and there? When you are ready, you will go back and push yourself like you used to. But right now, it’s not the right time and I think you know that. You need to have the proper mindset, and I know you’re living in a mixed up mind now. That won’t last forever. Take a few deep breaths right now, run a bath, play some of your favourite music and calm down. It will be okay, it’s always okay, even if it doesn’t seem like it at that moment.

Life is precious. Life is eventful. Life is unexpected. Life is a journey, it’s YOUR journey. Mixed up or not you are here, breathing and alive.

Tomorrow is a new day, decide what changes you want to make and start making that progress. It only gets better if you do something about it. Don’t worry Girl in a Mixed-Up Mind, you’re not the only one.

Dear Girl In An Abusive Relationship 

Dear Girl In An Abusive Relationship 


You fit in an 83% percentile category. I bet you wish that category was ones who have loving relationship and are respected as wives, mothers, and women. I wish I was lying dear girl in an abusive relationship, trust me. Sadly you were the vulnerable victim chosen to be tortured and your strength tested. Are you strong enough? This isn’t what I am asking YOU but I know you ask yourself this as soon as you wake up til when your puffy eyes close. Can you answer this? Better yet, I will help you answer that lingering question. I know you are. Remember the time when your grandpa passed on, and you were there every second for your family, or the time you started figuring out your life plan for yourself? That is called strength, and that is something you have and will always carry with you. But he makes you question your strength, and why is that? Because you’re a slut for talking to that other guy, or you’re a bitch just because? Do you honestly believe that? For one second , girl in an abusive relationship, picture me waving my magic wand over your life. Imagine him not there. Do you still think you’re that slut? I know you are probably thinking, “yes I am, I should not have even spoken to the guy”. You are your own person, you can speak to both guys and girls. You can be sociable instead of hiding in your room under those cold blankets. Wipe those tears away. I need you to find and help dig for that strength buried beneath you. I know you have it, you’re a beautiful girl nowhere near a slut, that I know. I miss you. I miss your smile and goofy laugh. Most importantly, I miss your free spirit, and outgoing personality. I remember always making each other laugh. Now I am the one trying to crack a smile from you, anything. I remember everything.


Dear girl in an abusive relationship,

Remember the time when you used to think so highly of yourself , that you didn’t need a man in your life. Remember now , how you sit there and think to yourself ,” why am I so stupid?”, or ” I don’t think I can do this on my own without him”. If you were stupid you would not have gotten to where you are today , you would not be that lovely girl hidden underneath those lies, and you have survived life without him before you met him. You can do things on your own. You went to appointments on your own, you went to school on your own, & you have your own friends. You are an independent person and you’re own person, he isn’t you. His name isn’t yours and he doesn’t have your strength, that’s the strength to not insult others, treat others with disrespect and betlittle people. You should be proud of who you are, I know I am. Even though she’s hidden, she will come out. In order for her to come out , you need to give yourself some credit. You’re not a failure for being that vulnerable victim. You’re not a failure for choosing the wrong one. And you’re not a failure for not changing your ways earlier. Today’s a new day. It’s time for YOU to shine. Today’s your day. Life is too short to stay stuck one other day in this life you did not wish upon. Life is too short to explain to your kids that daddy is not a nice man, and that you hope better for them. I know you want to show them everything in life, and to encourage their growth and development over time. You don’t need a man discouraging you, or even them for that matter. I know you would hurt inside seeing that. I know you don’t want them to go through what you did , so let’s change this. You and me together. Let’s get started on this journey one step at a time.  Those endless nights where you couldn’t sleep because you started to believe the names he would call you. Those days where you couldn’t spend time with family because he was jealous and wanted you for himself. Those days are gone. This is a new chapter and guess what? It’s not too late. It’s never too late. I want you to know I am proud that you have the courage to start this journey , even though you’re unsure. I don’t know where this path will take you but I promise you it will be better than the one you were on for years now. I promise. I know there are more cons in your relationship than pros, that you are certain. 


I just want to give you a few reminders before you start this journey . 

1) You are strong enough to take on any battle. You are getting your life on track, you have a job , you are here.

2) This journey may cause you numerous amounts of anxiety, anxiety which may doubt your decisions. Remember why you’re here , why you started this. Face your anxiety, this is about you not him.

3) Your body is your canvas and it’s yours. You do what you want with it , but don’t let someone claim it’s theirs. 

4) Your happiness is the only thing that matters. You need to put yourself before others and truly think about your needs and wants.

5) Noone in their right mind should belittle you , you’re an individual with a name not ” stupid” or ” faggot“. Remember that name on your birth certificate ? That’s you, not who he thinks you are you imagines you to be. 

6) Everyone is here to support you. Often we feel alone in these circumstances, that is never the case. You are never alone . There’s always a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand around the corner and ears to listen. 

7) It’s not too late to start a new life. Don’t live in the past , start fresh , you got this. When starting your new journey let go of your grudges and frustration, it’s time to let go.

8) You’re beautiful. Often we need to be reminded after someone destroys us mentally and physically that you’re beautiful on the inside and outside. For someone who offers so much to this world you deserve way more credit than that . That’s why I’m here. 


9) Think positively . You got this . I know your brain is full of negative thoughts at the moment, it’s probably overwhelming . Trying to have that positive mindset will help you along this journey , more than you know . 
10) F*** him. You’re better than him. You need to keep repeating this to yourself and this upbeat thoughts. You managed once without him, you can do it again.

Dear girl in an abusive relationship,

I am with you on this journey. I want you to understand that , and so are your friends and family. Make this change today , why wait another minute. Life is so short to let him waste YOUR minute . He’s not worth it . Let someone come into your life who treasures your dimples, the way you get nervous around big groups of people as he makes you feel comfortable, and the way you chuckle when you laugh. Let him take in all your flaws and treasure all your traits. Let him find you . He will trust me , he already told me he’s on his way , he will be there when you least expect it. Do you trust me? I know your trust issues are high , they have every right to be. But you can trust me when I say everything will be okay . You will be okay.


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 ?

Dear Girl on the Verge of Quitting

Dear Girl on the Verge of Quitting

Hey my beauts, hope you all had a wonderful weekend spent with friends and family! These are the times and moments you have to treasure and remember. I recently have been inspired to do more of my “inspiring blog posts” lately, such as my dear letters. Sometimes these type of blog posts come to me and sometimes I will be sitting in front of the computer for hours trying to get something to come to me, it’s really a hit or a miss. I have been inspired to do a letter geared around the theme of quitting.  I know for me, if I do not want to do something or I am not motivated, I will just say f*** it, I am tired, or I will do this tomorrow. This letter is meant for those on the verge of quitting, on the verge of saying “I will just do this tomorrow“, this is for you.

Dear girl on the verge of quitting,

“You’re fine, you’re good, you can just pick up the pieces tomorrow and start fresh that day”. Do these sound familiar? Your brain can be an absolute beautiful pleasure to have, filled with wonderful thoughts and encouraging statement pieces. On the other hand, it can be your fuel girl on the verge of quitting. Don’t let these thoughts fuel your fire. You’re better than that. I know life would be so much easier if one could just start a new process the next day, leaving today a day to relive your normal unsatisfying routine that you wanted to change. Girl on the verge of quitting, do you remember why you started? I remember. You only told me a thousand times why would want to change up your routine, and better yourself. It was only those numerous nights where you kept reminding yourself in the morning you are going to start. So start. Go and be that morning person you always wanted to be. Don’t think that you can’t do this, I have seen what you can do. I think that you are blind to the amount of amazing things you can do. Were you fast asleep when you won your university 45-minute debate in front of your seminar? Remember that sleepless night before hand? Did you show up to your seminar stating, “I am going to do this tomorrow“? No. You did it. You won. You knew deep down you had this even though I know you are not 100% sure of yourself. Don’t worry girl on the verge of quitting, that is something we can work on another time, but let’s focus on the aspect of quitting, and how you did not quit in that moment. How good did that feel? I know you were completely out of your comfort zone, I think that is life right? Life is about doing things you would not normally do, and you did just that. I think you surprised yourself, don’t you think?

Dear girl on the verge of quitting,

Can you remind yourself why you started this journey? If you need some help, why don’t you grab that pen and paper over there and write out your reasons, I think you could name 10. But that’s just me. Your reasons are not dumb, do you need to be reminded of that? I know you thought of these reasons for a purpose, so let’s continue to strive for that short or long term goal. If you need me to help push you, I think you should hang your reasons above your bed, that is what I usually do. I know it’s hard girl on the verge of quitting, but can you just do me one thing? I don’t ask for a lot. Can you please stick through this one thing and push yourself as soon as you wake up and get out of bed? I know this is a really big commitment, and you’re probably scared to take on the challenge. May I remind you of the time you went completely out of your comfort zone and joined a treatment program? No, it’s not something to be ashamed about, so get that thought out of your mind. Where would you be right now if you said, “ I am going to do this another time, not today”? Would you be reaching out to lots of people in regards to blog collaborations, let me just add in there that you have never even met half of these beautiful individuals, but you did it. I am proud. I know you want to say you are secretly proud of yourself as well. It’s okay to take that credit once in a while you know. In those moments, you did not quit. You were not a quitter. You are not a quitter.

Dear girl on the verge of quitting,

You can do this. I know you got this. I know you regret some things in life, but don’t let this be one of them. Don’t let this opportunity slip and run away from you. You are already in the moment, you’re here, so let’s stay here and hold onto that promise. You need to let go of things that you quit in the past, you’re not that same person anymore remember. That isn’t you. Let’s show you what you’re capable of.  So girl on the verge of quitting, I hope I got through to you a little bit. I know it may take a few reminders here and there to not let this opportunity slide, this is why I am here. You may read me anytime you wish, okay?  I just think that some days I may know you a little better than you may know yourself. I know for a fact you’re a strong girl with many ambitions and goals in life. Keep this goal on your list, don’t scratch it out until it’s completed.

Remember all those nights where you questioned yourself in university and stated, “I don’t know if I can do this”. Remember when your palms were super sweaty before presentations and you had to borrow your friend’s water bottle in order to add some moisture to your throat because it was so dry before that one presentation. Remember when you scored a 90 on that presentation and you hate public speaking? I remember. In fact, I will always remember. If you need a pick me up, I want you to take a second and glance at that diploma hanging on the wall. Did you quit that? No. You did that, you got that education. That was all you. Do you see how much stuff you’re capable of? Don’t let yourself down, because I know you’re better than that.

Daer girl on the verge of quitting, you’re not a quitter.

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Dear Struggling Girl, 

Dear Struggling Girl, 

Dear struggling girl,

You may know me on a personal level or I may be a complete stranger to you, let’s just pretend for this moment in time, I am one of your best friends. I don’t know exactly what you are going through all at once, but I may know a few things. In this world full that is full of hatred and terrible things, there are a few good things, shall I remind you? I know work is exhausting. I know you get up super early each morning dreading work, dreading your coworkers, wondering who is going to yell at you today, but do you see the glass half full or half empty? Can you see the good in this situation? I see a girl who has a job while others are struggling to find one, I also see a girl who is showing independence that they can work and are capable of doing things on your own. Remember when mom used to always say, “you can do this on your own“,when you needed her help? She was preparing you for this moment in time. But should we talk about mom? I know you come home from an exhausting day at work and just want to crash in your room with the door locked, you would rather not hear what she has to say. One day, you won’t be able to hear what she has to say. You won’t be able to see her every day and get mad at her for not stepping up in the mom department. You won’t be able to not just talk to her for that day, one day she will be gone. Dear struggling girl. I am not trying to depress you, I want you to diminish that thought of the glass being half empty.  I want you to hug your mom in one of your screaming matches and take in her flaws, take in every single one of them. Appreciate them. There’s only one of her in this world. I know you hold a lot of hatred struggling girl, and it’s okay to be mad at things that happened in the past. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, you can’t just live in the past anymore. I know you’re hurting, I wish I could take that old pain and new pain away but I can’t.  I don’t know your whole story.  I know there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors as to what the present eye witnesses. I am not a fairy godmother, I can’t make things better when they seem terrible. However, I do have a wish for you struggling girl. I wish for you to see the positive in every negative situation.  You’re alive. You’re healthy. You are here. Let’s make today about today, not yesterday.

Dear Struggling girl, let’s talk about boys for a quick minute. Not all boys are terrible, not all boys are great either. Remember when mom used to say, “there’s plenty of fish in the sea“, and you used to always think, “where are they“. That’s because, in reality, fish are afraid. You can’t go near them without swimming away. You have to wait til they come to you. That is the same with boys. The right one will come and find you when you least expect it. When you’re a hot mess from working out at the gym and locked yourself out of your car, it’ll be that guy down the street laughing at you silently. When you had a bad day at work and are swearing to yourself down the street, it will be that guy yelling swear words back to you as he smiles under his breath. I know you’re searching for that guy, being alone is lonely that’s for sure, but remember when you told mom and dad you were going to live with them forever and never get married? I want you to have a similar mindset. I want you to be that independent girl you always were, in these situations, she hides. I want her to come out. I want her to treasure every “single” moment in life, being single or with someone. I want you to not search but then again I can’t tie you on a leash. Remember, the fish will swim away, and that is not just with you, that is for everyone.

Dear struggling girl, did you say 3 positive things to yourself in the mirror today? I know that sometimes we get so down on ourselves that we start to think if no one wants us, then I don’t want me either. Picture this. 5, 10, 15 years from now, would you want your daughter, your little mini me thinking the exact same way you thought at that age. Life is too short struggling girl, and I know you would want the world for her. I want you to stare in that mirror and think about all your accomplishments over the years. Are you proud? You should be. You completed school, you mastered your exams, finished your papers, and got the motivation to get up each morning for class. That means a lot to me. I know deep down that means a lot to you too. Is your diploma framed on your wall? Go to Wallmart buy the most expensive frame because you deserve it, and hang it in your room. A simple reminder is something everyone needs each day. A reminder that you got yourself here. You have done so much over the years and I want you to know I am proud. I am proud you thought twice about ending your life that one day. I am glad you thought things through struggling girl. People would be miserable without you.

Dear struggling girl, life is not on a time limit. It’s okay to change your mind a billion times about school, it’s okay to change your program, you are not a failure. Sometimes, our minds do not know what they want, and that is part of life. I want you to sit down and think about what you want to be in life. If you want to be an astronaut I will go to the moon beside you, if you want to be a painter I’ll be your still life, anything you want to be I will be here for you, I will be beside you. I want you to know that it is okay.  I want you to know that nobody is perfect, and we are all going to have our bad days. It is however, taking a negative situation and turning it into a positive that I want you to try out. Trust me, it’s not easy. I myself and struggling to do this very same thing.  Life is soo short struggling girl, and I know first hand how short it can be. I know deep down you can do this. I know that your emotions are getting the best of you, but I want you to learn to love life. I can not love life if you’re not enjoying it. That would not be fair. I want you to live for the moment, the present moment. I want you to love your life because I love you.

Is your glass half full yet?

“14 Going on 20; Comparing Generations”

“14 Going on 20; Comparing Generations”

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Hey beauts, I have been super excited to share with you guys what my latest blog post was that I have been working on. I was honestly thinking of this idea for a blog post for a while now, for some reason it is extremely interesting to me. What I find so interesting is how the generations have changed so dramatically and drasticallyBy no means am I bashing the 14-year-old generation today, I am simply comparing from when I was 14 years old to the age my little sisters are today. From topics such as social situations, friends, appearance, recreational activities, and education, you can clearly see two different generations. What scares me about this generation, however, is how fast kids are growing up these days. Literally from 14 to 20 like that, and it’s the norm.  Having 14-year-old sisters who are in grade 9, I wanted to personally see how much our generations have changed over time. I got to see first-hand what it is like in the day of a 14-year-old girl, and I can not wait to share this interesting information with you beauts. Let’s jump right in.

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First things first, I have a twin of course who I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts before, but I also have two younger 14-year-old sisters, Jennifer and Kimberly,  who are twins as well…. shocking I know! I love it. Kimberly and Jennifer both attend a catholic high school together. I first got onto the topic of social situations and friends. I had asked Kim how many friends she had. Kimberly stated, “I have around  60 friends, I am close to around half of them. I talk to them whenever I see them at school.”. Okay first of all, can I just say, I don’t think I have ever had so many friends in my life. When I was in grade 9 I remember having like one friend and that was my sister. We were in the same situation as Jennifer and Kimberly, new school, new people. At least ,however, they had some of their friends attending their high school with them, where as my twin and I did not know anyone.  I then went on to ask Jennifer the same question, she stated, “I have roughly about 10 or 8 at school”.

I then proceeded to ask Kimberly if she found it important to have a lot of friends. Kimberly explains, “Yes and no. Yes because everyone at school has lots of friends, and no because sometimes I don’t talk to half of them.I think that it is okay and acceptable to not have so many friends although it would be more acceptable to have a lot”. I could not agree more with Kimberly, I feel like this generation often depends on having a lot of friends. Jennifer agreed stating, “yes because you can meet more people”. This leads into my next question, “If you were to only have one friend, would you consider yourself unpopular?” Kimberly states, ” Yes because everyone now has lots of friends that they see in the halls or on the weekend”. Interesting.  There has always been the concept of popularity, and I feel like this has always been a huge thing in high school. I remember, however, that you were a big deal if you had around 6 friends, as opposed to 60. Can you tell times have changed? Would I be considered unpopular because I only have 2 main best friends? That is a question that ponders me. Do I consider myself unpopular? No. Do I think I am queen shit? No.

Jennifer answered, “ Yes because I wouldn’t get noticed that much and I wouldn’t have a lot of people to go to, it would only be one person”.

Is there bullying in your school and a lot of gossip? Kimberly-” There is usually gossip at my school based on what a girl and a guy had done on the weekend. I usually do not hear so much about bullying however”. 14…..14…. and there is gossip about intimacy and all that jazz. I personally think I was afraid of dinkys til about like 20 no joke. I can not believe that kids as little as 14 are being spontaneous and promiscuous it blows my mind. In grade 9 I did not care about boys, I cared about making it to class on time and not getting into trouble. I was that girl 5 minutes early to every class

.I then proceeded to ask Jennifer the same question, she stated, “Yes a lot of gossip about me spreading stuff about people that is not true, it’s a vicious cycle .  However, I don’t see bullying too much… just a lot of girl talk”.

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…”I feel like others will forget about me”.

This next question also blew my mind as well. I had asked Kimberly and Jennifer if they ever felt obligated to attend parties at their age. Kimberly explains, “yes because highschool is a lot diff then elementary school. In elementary school you hang with only a couple of people where as  at a party in high school you hang out with a lot of friends at a house. A lot of popular people go and there is the opportunity to make new friends”. What do you guys think? Do you think this should be seen as more of a pro going to parties or a con? I can see both sides. Do I agree with drinking at 14? Absolutely not. I do promote the idea of making new friends, but at a party there will be drinking, usually always. I was not involved with parties until grade 12. GRADE 12. I did not care about drinking, or trying new things. I was worried about my grades and like I said, making it to class on time. It’ a scary thing to think about when it comes to parties. I think what scares me the most is that 14 year olds are still developing and their brains are still maturing. They are obligated to make mistakes and learn from them, encounter bad decisions but fix them. I feel that a lot of 14 year olds would be under that pressure or may make a very poor decision that could affect them for the rest of their lives, and that is what scares me.

Jennifer answers, “I feel obligated  to go to parties sometimes because if I don’t show up, I feel like others will forget about me”.

Recreational Activities

Moving onto the topic of recreational acvities. I started off by the girls what they do for fun. Kimberly answers, “Hangout with friends, go to Tim Hortons, or Macs, take pictures and post them on social media  which is always fun”. Okay, so that is pretty standard. Jennifer explained, “I like to go on my phone  usually on Instagram and snap chat”.


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I then went on to ask them what they do for fun on the weekend. Kimberly states, “I am usually on my phone or I am on social media accounts such as Snap Chat”. Jennifer also agreed to the same things. I remember having a phone in grade 9 because we had moved to a brand new school but for safety reasons. I was only involved on Facebook I believe it was. I had no idea what snap chat was or even Instagram for that matter. I do remember texting a lot…. I was no saint.  But when it came to the weekend, I would often hangout with the family, go bowling, go to the store to shop or hangout with some friends.

Technology

I knew this was going to be a huge topic of discussion, especially in this generation.  Cell phones are everything. You can literally find absolutely everything on a phone and could spend hours on it. I know because being 23 years old, I do spend a lot of my time on social media and getting the latest gossip on technology. I asked Kimberly and Jennifer how often they were on their phone each day. Kimberly explained that she was mostly on her phone 5 hours a day. Jennifer went on to explain that she was on her phone from school til bed time. I was then curious to see if my predictions were correct. I thought for sure that 14-year-olds would hardly ever speak on the phone since texting is the primary form of communication. However, I was wrong. Kimberly explained that she actually is on the phone a lot of the time talking to her close friends. I do promote this since I thought for sure this form of communication would soon be forgotten, so I am happy this is still around.  On the other hand, Jennifer stated that she would much rather text as opposed to socialize over the phone.

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What kind of social media platforms do you use?  Kimberly-“My main platform of social media that I usually go on each day would have to be Snap Chat and collecting streaks. I sometimes use Instagram here and there but could go a month with that”.

Jennifer- “Instagram and Snapchat”

Have you ever gotten your phone taken away? Can you explain more what “streaks” are on Snap Chat? Kimberly- “Yes I have had my  phone taken away before because I was caught drinking alcohol with my friends. Streaks are what you collect on snap chat when you send someone a snap in a row. A good number of streaks to get would be around 200-300. You can lose your streaks within 24 hours however.

 

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Stress

I was extremely interested in getting to know what causes my sister stress. Personally what would have caused me stress at their age would be finshing homework on time, getting things done on time and so forth, so I was excited to hear about her. There were a couple of things that stresses Kimberly out. Kim explains, “Uhhh probably getting my phone taken away and counting on my friend to keep my streaks up on Snap chat. Another thing that stresses me out is friends.Some people have friends that are in grade 11 and 12… and a lot of them.Sometimes it’s stressful because you try to make new friends but they already have their tables in cafeteria , depends where you sit and who you hang out with at school. Lastly when it comes to clothes. My friend was over the other day and she had really nice clothes and mine do not really compare to hers. She was wearing this loose sweater with tights,  and it looked good on her. Clothes are a big deal”. This was so interesting to read and listen to. Personally, I did not care what I looked like in grade 9 at all. I had no desire to impress anyone.  Also social media was not a huge big deal at the time in my era, which fascinates me that is what stresses some people out these days. Stress is different for everyone. That is okay.


A lot of things had stressed out Jennifer as well that I found interesting. Jennifer states, “a lot of things stress me out, usually with a boy if he doesn’t want to talk to me I get upset, being nagged to do chores,  I  am worried about what people think of me.  It would bother me if they thought badly about me.” Again, it all comes down to what others think of themselves at that age.

How do you deal with stress?Kimberly- “I usually go into another room so I don’t make a huge scene to calm down. Or sometimes I facetime my friend to talk about it”. Kimberly also goes on to explain that she would rather keep things bottled in as opposed to talking about it. The fear of judgement is there for herself as well as for her friends. I do agree that this generation is quickly to judge. When I was 14 I spoke to my mom about everything and never really kept anything bottled in ever, or I would have lost it. To this day, I still go to my mom about everything and anything.  Jennifer explains, “I don’t really do anything, I just stay quiet”.

This next question was a huge eye-opener, and one that made me sit back and think, “wow”, something needs to be done about this. I had asked Kimberly and Jennifer how their friends deal with stress and both gave me the same answer.. Kim explains, “most of them usually self-harm or starve themselves . Some of my friends leave and don’t tell people where they are going. That is their way of coping”.  No wonder children are getting the wrong idea in their heads that this is a good coping mechanism, they think it is normal, and it is not. This was super scary to hear but it needs to be heard. They need to be heard. Where are the proper coping strategies and resources for these kids? They are kids right? Where is the help and where can it be found? That is the question that needs to be answered and provided.

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Peer Pressure

I knew that peer pressure has always been a hard topic to discuss and it literally is always lingering around, that is nothing new. I wanted to know if the peer pressure has increased, especially for the younger crowds such as 14 year olds. I had asked the girls if they have ever been peer pressured by a boy before or to send pictures? Kim states, ” yes I was peer pressured to send pictures to a boy but I didn’t. He dropped it after I refused to send him anything, I wasn’t too peer pressured”.   Jennifer stated that she did not have any boy peer pressure her into doing something she didn’t want to before.I think the part that scares me if that since 14-year-olds are still developing, they can be easily influenced for sure. If someone told me at 14 to send pictures and that they will only be the ones to see it, I probably would have believed them. Especially if I was in a relationship with that individual and truly “in love”, I would think what is the harm? Now answering that question years later, that would be the worst mistake of my life. You never know where that picture is going to end up, and how your reputation could be potentially ruined. It is not worth it. It is not worth it to be peer pressured into something. 14-year-olds, and young audiences need to know that it is okay to say no and stand your ground. Nobody can force you to do something you do not want to do.

Kim  and Jen went on to explain that sometimes they feel peer pressured to drink with their friends, because so many people their age drink. Kim explains that the curiosity is there even though she knows it’s wrong and not the right decision.  Since it is normal for 14-year-olds to go to parties these days, why would she think any differently?

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Do you feel like you have to act or be a certain way in the views of others? Kimberly- “Sometimes, some of my friends are really nice and they wouldn’t ever do anything to get into trouble. Whenever I am around those groups of friends, I act that way. Some of my other friends, ,however, don’t care sometimes..so you can say I am not myself around all of my friends”. 

Jennifer- yes I can not be myself in public, I can not be goofy. I can’t act weird around the guy I like”.

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Beauty

I think this is probably one of my favourite discussions throughout this whole blog. Mainly because I literally see so many 14-year-old girls look like they are going on 20 years old… and that is scary.I began to ask Kimberly and Jennifer how long it takes them to usually get ready in the morning before school. Kim explained that it roughly takes her around an hour to get ready, ensuring she looks presentable and ready to take on the day. Kim states however that when it comes to the weekend, there is nobody to impress, so she doesn’t spend so much time getting ready when she wakes up. Jennifer on the other hand , went on to explain that she is usually rushing out the door, and that it takes her around 20 minutes to do her makeup.

Do you wear makeup to school? If so name the products specifically that you use. Kimberly-Yes I do wear makeup to school each day. I wear sometimes eyeliner, mascara, foundation, highlighter, eyeshadow and lipstick”.


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Jennifer-yes I do wear makeup, I wear bbcream, eyeshadow, mascara and lip chap”.

Okay first of all, I am mind blown, I don’t even know how my sister knows about highlighter but I would have never known what the hell that was in grade 9! I think I literally wore mascara and that was it, like I said, I really did not care what I looked like each day whatsoever.  This answer blew me away. Even some of my sisters friends look like models and they are 14 years old, I lierally am left speachless looking at some of theirInstagram pictures. Do I think they are growing up way too fast? Absolutely. But would you get made fun of if you did not behave like this, probably. Welcome to this generation, how would they know any better?

Would you ever go without makeup to school? Kimberly-“I did not wear makeup the other day to school. I couldn’t stand the first period without it and it was bothering me so much. After first period, I put it on,  simply because I brought it in my bag. You could say I prefer wearing makeup  to school”. I personally think that a lot of young girls feel the need to wear makeup and look a certain way. I think more young girls should be promoted and influenced to go natural and to show off what God gave them. Like I stated earlier.. would this be considered normal?

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Education

Lastly, I got onto the discussion of education and what happens inside and outside of the classroom.. I had asked Kimberly and Jennifer how much homework they usually get at night. Kimberly explained that she usually finishes all her homework in class, but if she doesn’t finish it, she usually has aout half hour of homework at night time. Kim also stated that she usually does not finish all of her homework because she gets bored very easily. I wonder however, if the teachers check on the homework if it is complete or not. I remember my teachers would go around with homework checks to see if you completed all of your homework. I also remembered that we would get in a lot of trouble if you did not finish it all.

Jennifer went on to explain that she gets very little homework at night now, but used to get around 2 hours of homework each night. She then went onto explain how she too gets bored of homework and sometimes does not finish it all.

Do you text or message people in class? Kimberly-“Some classes I cant have my phone but I bring it anyway and still go on it. I however, mostly just listen to music on it”.  I remember being scared shitless to have my phone out in some of my classes, mostly because the teacher would call you out on it. I never really had my phone out ever when I was in grade 9, I was honestly too scared.

So, now that I compared generations, can you see the scary difference? By no means am I judging, but this was a huge eye opener to how fast this generation is growing up and changing. I really hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog post, I thought it was so interesting coming up with and getting to know the ins and outs of 14-year-old girls these days. I hope you all enjoyed it as well. If you have any comments on this article be sure to write them down below, I want to hear some of your views on this. Be sure to follow my social media accounts to stay updated on my posts!

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Much love xo.

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Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 4

Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 4

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Happy Hump day everyone! Wow…. I am on a roll today with these blog posts, mostly I give credit to this amazing and unreal coffee getting me through! So I know some of you have been wondering how my last Wednesday session went at my social anxiety group therapy. Honestly, it was a struggle going to this meeting that time. It was a very long day and the thought came into my head, “meh lyss….come on… you can miss just one!?”. In reality guys, you can’t. I mean sure if you really have an emergency or something which is totally acceptable but it’s so crucial going to every single one of these meetings, you literally learn something new every single time. I am so glad that I pushed myself to go. I knew for a fact that I was going to have days like this where I really did not feel like going and then your brain explodes with excuses why it’s okay. So.. shall we jump right into it?

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I honestly was not nervous whatsoever this time, literally no nerves at all which I found so surreal. I sat down in a different chair this time and quietly waited for 6 o’clock to hit. There was the same amount of people there as last time and everyone just kept to themselves until the session started. We began with doing some mindful thinking and breathing like the last few sessions. I rather enjoyed it more this time because we had to close our eyes and listen to a girl on an app speak to us and calm us. I actually have this app on my phone and can honestly say I really do love it. There is something about listening to other people speak to calm me down as opposed to listening to my own thoughts. If you guys are interested in downloading the app it is called, “Stop, Breathe and Think“. I remember clear as day, the first time I ever tried this app, I chose “trying to feel more thankful & grateful for things” (you can choose what you want to work on). After listening to the lady and finishing with the mindful breathing, I sent this huge text message to my aunt saying everything I was grateful about towards her, I will never forget that!

So after the breathing was done, I was feeling extremely relaxed and we started getting into the session. We always start by taking up homework that we had to do that week. Of course, I get called upon, but now when I am getting called upon… I really am not tensing up that much as opposed to what I usually would do.  We were working on exposures that week and I decided to focus on trying to incorporate more “small talk” with my boss or the mom I nanny for. I had looked at my hierarchy of exposures and basically came to the conclusion that alot of my fears have to do with having a conversation with someone whether it be via face to face or over the phone. I decided to give it a go. I remember that week trying extremely hard to push myself and initiate some of the conversations that I had with my boss. Prior to this exposure, I really tried to keep our conversations really basic and would hope they would finish like that so I would not have to talk as much. I started pushing myself with little questions and conversation starters such as, “how was your week or your weekend?”, “what did you do on the weekend?”, “how were the boys this morning” and so forth. This sparked some nice conversations between the two of us which was good for a change. The mom knows that I am taking part in my social anxiety therapy group sessions, so every Thursday she asks how my session went the night before. Of course, I do not have the balls to say “oh hey I am doing my exposure on you“, so I basically just tell her I am onto exposures now and so forth.

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I continued to try to initiate small talk with the mom every single day. I tried hard to push myself to go that extra mile and stayed in the anxiety-provoking situation. I shared this current exposure with the rest of the group and shared that after the week it really felt “natural” to have conversations with my boss. I also informed the group that I really am capable of having small talk with someone, and that I am very hard on myself. This is accurate for someone struggling with anxiety, we are so hard on ourselves and just need to step back and say, “I can do this“.  We then went around the room where others had shared their current exposures as well. After doing this, we went right into what we were going to learn that day and what was “skill building“.  The instructors asked several questions and read out several statements to us, asking if any related to us at all. One particularly stood out to me and I informed the instructors.

“I am just shy,  but others say I appear snobby or better than others”.

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“I am just shy,  but others say I appear snobby or better than others”. This literally was me to a T. I then shared my story with the group how in my first year of residence, I hardly spoke to people on my floor because I didn’t know anyone and was super shy. I remember hearing that some people on my floor literally thought I was a stuck-up bitch for not socialising with them which was extremely hurtful considering I am so far from that! Often I do feel judged when it comes to my shyness and that is one of the reasons why I am attending this program, to work on it. We then began to talk about skills to help us communicate better and help us with our listening skills, some of these include:

  • looking  more interested by making more eye contact
  • more involvement by asking for clarity
  • staying with the conversation
  • a response that is honest and supportive
  • being open and showing awareness
  • do not worry about being perfect

Often there are certain things that I found that interfere with my attempts to listen to someone. I often rehearse everything that I am going to say back to the individual who I am engaging in a conversation with, this can distract me from actually listening to the person. Being an anxious individual, I come off as a closed listener. I try to avoid eye contact at all costs, usually, my hands are wrapped around my stomach or crossed in front of me, I sometimes sit hunched over, or I even have a serious face. So…. taking that into consideration it may come off to others that I am not actually listening to them within the conversation. This week, I have been trying to be more of an open listener. I have been trying to: make more eye contact with others, lean forward, sitting up straight, smiling, and having my arms placed at my side.

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For our take-home homework, we had to record down on a sheet different ways we showed active listening. I will let you guys know in my next blog how that went and if I actually pushed myself to engage more so stay tuned! We also had to continue doing some more exposures as well.

Lastly, with the remaining few minutes of the session, we had to get into partners. From there, we had to literally interview each other and ask personal based questions to get a better understanding of that individual and their interests. Some of the questions I asked my partner were:

  1. do you have any pets? What are their names?
  2. how do you exercise?
  3. favourite movie and type of music?
  4. tell me about your education.
  5. where do you work? etc…

So we had to take around 10 minutes to ask these questions to each other and write down the answers. After this, we had to share and address to the group who your partner was sharing their answers out loud and introducing them. I will admit, I was pretty nervous for this. I hate anything to do with partner work and I also found it extremely awkward when my partner was introducing me for some reason. I do not usually like being the centre of attention, so I think that had something to do with it. But hey I did it. That was a beneficial exercise to get to know everyone a tad bit better, which was awesome.

Well I hope you guys enjoyed this update on my therapy! As you can see it’s going great so far and I am slowly opening up more and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts to be up to date with my blogs!

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Much love xo.

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Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 3

Social Anxiety Group Therapy- Session 3

Processed with MOLDIVGood evening my beauts and happy Saturday! So I have some pretty good news to share with you guys, I have not been in a rut this week so that is a good start! I have been feeling pretty good lately since I have been eating a lot better, meal prepping and even going to the gym on a daily basis. That being said, my mood has been up lately and I have not been in an aggravated state recently. So, that being said, moving onto session number three of my social anxiety group therapy. This Wednesday was a lot more interesting than the other ones by far, as we actually started to get into the real deal. Shall we get right into it?

I actually was not nervous at all this time when 6:00 hit. I was feeling a lot more at ease and comfortable which felt so nice. The week prior I had been filling out my cognitive therapy tracking form. We had to track for the week our social anxiety thoughts. This basically included different situations such as the place where it happened, what your anxiety was rated during that moment, what different anxiety provoking thoughts and predictions that were going on in your mind, different alternative thoughts and predictions, the evidence and realistic conclusions afterwards and lastly your anxiety rating after the situation. So.. this was a lot of information to track down as you can see but it is crucial to get every single detail within that moment so you can actually sit back and view how your anxiety gets triggered and how you cope with the situation. I only basically had written down one big situation that had happened that week.

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We began the session by some mindful awareness exercises… basically, like meditation. We closed our eyes and focused on our breathing taking 4 big deep breaths in, ensuring your tummy pops out as you are inhaling, and exhaling for 5 seconds through your mouth afterwards. I do find these extremely relaxing but I often find myself not being able to hold my breath that long so I really need to work on that! haha! This went on for about 15 minutes for the start of the session, then we reviewed the homework that we were assigned to complete that week, such as the anxiety thought record sheet. Of course, being a social anxiety group, nobody ever really volunteers to speak when the instructors ask if anyone wants to share some experiences they had that week. I am however thankful that they push you to step out of your comfort zone. So of course, I did not raise my hand whatsoever, and just kind of stared down at my sheet hoping they would not call on me. This brings back so many memories back when I attended Brock University. If I would not want to be called upon I would often look down and avoid eye contact at all costs. So low and behold who do you think they call upon? “Alyssa do you have anything you want to share with us?“. I wanted to badly to say “pass” but I knew deep down I would only be letting myself down and not really trying to push myself to go at it.  I remembered during that whole time when I was wishing they would not pick me, just going over and over in my head what I would share if I had to. That’s part of my anxiety,  going over and repeating what I would say, often preparing myself so I do not stumble or make a fool out of myself. I began explaining what had happened that week and how I actually had my first panic attack. I will share it with you beauts what had happened to me that Thursday night.

I was at the gym and actually had my last personal training session that I had paid for. I had a total of 4 personal training sessions which I absolutely loved and I really did love my trainer. I informed her a lot about my life and what was going on such as my anxiety and so forth. So after my session had ended, she sat down with me and offered more extensive training to me. Basically, for 9 months I would be training 3 times a week with her. I honestly was very excited about this opportunity and did not fully think through the financial aspect of it. Personal training is not cheap. So once I saw the number that I would have to pay by the end of the nine months I almost passed out. She then began to inform me to not look at that huge number but that I would be making bi-weekly payments instead. At the end of the discussion, I decided to sign the contract without informing my boyfriend who I am living with right now what I was doing (bad mistake on my part by far). Anywho, I eventually told my boyfriend Ian later that night what I had chosen to do and he was pretty upset with me, to say the least, which was completely understandable. I would be upset too if I were him, especially since we are saving money at the moment. So as I was speaking to him I decided to message my personal trainer informing her that I had made a mistake and if I could possibly cancel my contract and the personal training altogether. Let me just add in there that this personal trainer is actually the boss and the head person at my gym. She had messaged me back saying that she could not cancel the contract as it was already sent to head office, my registration. This caused a lot of tension in my home, as I was now informed that I had to stay in this contract and keep making these payments. I could feel my anxiety going up tremendously, and my heart started to race. Tears then started streaming down my face and I was having a hard time trying to breath. I literally thought I was dying, but I knew right away that I was having my first panic attack. Luckily my boyfriend had calmed me down at the time and actually looked more into my contract. He then found a statement in fine print at the back of the contract that basically said I had ten days to cancel my plan and get out of my contract. I could not believe it. If it had not been for him looking more into it, I literally would have been completely stuck. I do not really know anything about contracts and how they work, let alone this was the boss that was giving me this false information. In her messages,, she kept saying she could lower the payments and cancel some training sessions so I did not have to pay for as much. Long story short, I cancelled my personal training…. thank god… but this whole thing could have been completely avoided from the start. I was so mad and felt the frustration run right through me.  We ended up complaining about the whole issue to the head office, so I am not too sure if something had been done about it or not.

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As I shared this whole long story with the rest of the group, I was actually surprised by myself how I did not even stumble over my words. I took my time when I was sharing my story and didn’t feel the need to rush through it. I was honestly proud of myself for speaking and even speaking for a long period of time. After others had shared some of their stories as well, we then got onto the topic for today’s meeting which was “exposure therapy“. I have been dreading this…. you guys can probably tell by the title just what it is. The instructors informed us that a lot of people would rather avoid situations instead of dealing with them head on. Basically, avoiding an anxiety provoking situation brings immediate relief but only for that exact moment, not for the long run. By facing your fears, on the other hand, you learn that avoidance is not the only strategy out there. We then went over some subtle avoidance and safety behaviours that a lot of people tend to do including me. One that stood out was distraction. Often when I am in an awkward situation and I do not know what to say, I pull out my phone and immediately start texting or looking at social media. This helps me feel more comfortable in certain situations but this stops me from learning different ways to manage this uncomfortable feeling. Another behaviour that stood out to me was “overprotection“. I was called upon again and asked if this had ever happened to me before. I then stated to the group that I often like to go with a friend to certain events. I stated that in previous years I only went to the gym with a friend and I would not dare to ever go by myself. I also would never go to the mall by myself as well. The instructor then questioned why I would not do these things, what I would feel. I then stated that I would not know what I was doing at the gym if I went by myself. I would look like a complete idiot not knowing how to work the machines. That way if I was with a friend, they could help me out without me having to ask someone else. But I have been slowly challenging my anxiety without really taking the chance to step back and notice. I joined a gym here in Hamilton, and actually go by myself. However, I made sure I felt comfortable in the atmosphere before joining and that it was an all girl’s gym. I also love to go to the mall by myself now too, and I can literally take as much time as I need in the stores….. which I love! This also made me remember about a week ago what my best friend had pointed out to me. I was shopping with her in Lazensa and she was looking for some bras and needed help with her size. The lady who works there came over and asked if we needed help with anything. I then proceeded to state that my friend here was looking for a size in a certain bra. I also thanked that lady for her help on the way out of the store when we were finished. My friend then stated that she was super proud of me and could not believe I did that. Some things I do not even really notice I am doing now, which is a huge step for me.

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Some of the other behaviours that were mentioned included: overcompensation; which could include preparing topics to discuss at a party, excessive checking and reassurance seeking; including constantly checking how other’s perceive you. This behaviour I can strongly relate to, especially when it comes to my relationship with my boyfriend. Whenever he looks upset I always ask him, “what’s wrong?”, or “are you mad at me?”. I often am always concerned about his state meanwhile he just had a long day at work or he’s just tired. This sometimes comes off as nagging on my end which I can totally understand but I sometimes can’t help it! Another behaviour that I can relate to strongly is “substance use“. Whenever I am invited to a party, I usually always ensure that I had a drink before arriving. I hate being sober at parties and even this thought causes me a lot of anxiety. I am usually afraid that I will not know what to talk about, and that when I am intoxicated I am more sociable and outgoing.  So after going through these safety behaviours and avoidance behaviours in great depth, we then discussed the “exposure hierarchy“. Before I even attended my first social anxiety group session, I had to attend an orientation. Within this orientation, the instructor and myself came up with a hierarchy of different social situations that make me nervous. I will share with you guys exactly what was on my list:

  1. talk with individuals one-on-one                 Fear(90)   Avoidance(50)
  2. maintain eye contact                                          Fear(70) Avoidance(40)
  3. manage anxious thoughts about what people think of me  Fear(80) Avoidance(80)
  4. tolerating criticism                                               Fear(80) Avoidance(90)
  5. express more in a job interview                        Fear(80) Avoidance(50)
  6. go to a party sober                                                 Fear(90) Avoidance(100)
  7. call people on the phone                                     Fear(90) Avoidance(80)
  8. return an item to a store                                      Fear(80) Avoidance(100)
  9. ask someone for help                                            Fear(90) Avoidance(100)

Ask you guys can see this is quite a big list, but it basically covers which really triggers my social anxiety.  After reading this list again we started discussing the topic of “therapeutic exposure“. So basically this needs to be structured, planned ahead of time and it needs to be done frequently. I had to decide when I was going to do my exposure, what time I was going to do it at, who was I going to do it with and it needs to be done as close as possible to each other. One thing that the instructors emphasised was that while thinking of these exposures and planning them, we needed to make sure they were small and not overwhelming. These exposures are going to test out our anxious thoughts, and also challenge our beliefs and predictions.  We were informed to make a plan. While working on our plan, remembering to let our feelings happen, and to not leave a high anxiety situation, but rather to wait it out. No safety behaviours are to be used in these exposures as well as no avoidance. We can also use the cognitive strategies I had mentioned in my last blog post to challenge the anxious thoughts that come up afterwards. One that I had mentioned that worked well for me was stating, “it’s only temporary“.

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Phew, that was one hell of a long blog post this week sorry guys! There was just so much to discuss that had happened in this meeting. I have been slowly tracking different small exposures that I have been doing so far. Some of these exposures include:

initating small talk and one-on-one conversations with my boss. Asking more questions such as “how was your weekend” and so forth.

-returning an item that did not fit from Forever 21. 

I am making some progress but it is not just all going to happen at once. I will admit I was anxious in both of these situations, but I did not leave and pce the hell out. I dealt with them, and they were really not as bad as I thought. I am still brainstorming what other exposures I will do until next Wednesday. I will be sure to tell you guys in my next blog post, what other exposures I did. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post! Let me know what you guys think. Be sure to follow my other social media accounts as well:

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Much love xo.

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