Reducing Anxiety During Earthquake

I’m writing this especially after the Earthquake that happened in Nor Cal just recently. And if you’re like me who lives an anxiety disorder, ADHD, and PTSD, earthquakes definitely doesn’t help the hypervigilence (and sometimes energy) that comes with those. Trust me…it took me 3 days for me to calm down after the second quake happened after the Fourth of July.

While we’re told to prepare for an Earthquake, whether it’s going under a table for cover or stashing up on a 3 Days supply of food and water, how do you emotionally prepare for an Earthquake, especially if you live with a mental health disorder and/or ADHD? The infographs below showcase below how to physically as well as emotionally how to prepare for an Earthquake. It even give a rather nifty phone number to call when you experience a natural emergency distress. Be sure to check them out!

New Job

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I got a new job! I got offered the job yesterday during the interview. It’s for a learning center teaching job (I wanna say it’s more of tutoring job) where I will be able to perform duties such as:

  • Preparing for each instructional session; Gathers and prepares materials as appropriate
  • Evaluating and recording the progress of each student on their program assignment
  • Managing students, tasks and time to create a balanced and robust instructional session

It starts at $12, but that’s fine, because at least I will be able to practice my teaching skills. But what’s even better is that I got this job before the school year ended this week. I was so worried because I was afraid I wasn’t going to get a job before the end of this month. I feared of being homeless again. I didn’t want to relieve what I went through last year living in my car especially during the upcoming summer months (it’s already hot right now, but it’s going to get worse). I don’t want to roaming to place to place looking for places to park my car.

I’ve been putting in applications since January of this and NONE of the jobs contacted me for an interview. I was wondering what did I put or put down for me not to be employable? I mean…I have 7 years of customers service skills under my belt. Yes it’s been AWHILE since I’ve worked at such jobs, but it’s not hard to do. Anyways, a couple weeks ago, I got called for an interview for another job I wanted, but I didn’t get it (which is fine because it was only for the summer).

Let me tell you… the thought of NOT getting that job, the ONLY job which contacted me for an interview was heartbreaking. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, the fear of my landlady kicking me out of my room haunted my thoughts. And like it wasn’t bad enough, I gained weight (due to stress; not eating)! I was bloated! When I’m anxious/stressed I tend to develop a lot of gas, most of it going to my stomach, making me look (as students have told me) pregnant. But after I received the good news of getting interviewed at the job I have now and getting hired on the spot…I let out a BIG burp! In fact, I gave TWO big burps. I was THAT stressed out and I could’ve sworn my stomach got smaller after that.

I got my needs met which was to be financially stable. Without that, my anxiety disorder and depressive disorder will worsen. But now it looks like I can take a breather (for now) and just focus on the upcoming training I’ll be able to partake in. Finally…I’ll be able to sleep with a peace of mind.

Perfectionism

I am terrified of failure. Absolutely terrified. I know that out of failure you can, for example, learn how to write a better or how design a better classroom instruction. But it’s still terrifying, because I want do so well on those activities. I want people to know I’m an expert in what I’m talking about or presenting. It can be so terrifying that anxiety begins to settle in me that I don’t want to do activity anymore…until the last minute, making easy for others to think I’m a procrastinator, when I am not. I’m really a perfectionist.

Perfection is defined as the need to be or appear to be perfect or even believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection. The thing is…true perfectionists think nothing they do is good enough, regardless of how much they have achieved. What they do has to be absolutely perfect. Instead of giving themselves a pat on the back or kudos, they may withdraw from the activity (something I’m too good at). Having such personality traits may lead to and/or coincide with anxiety. Though perhaps if we conquer such unreasonable expectations, we can achieve more practical, achievable goals.

To begin with there are different types of perfectionism…3 kinds to be precise: personal standards perfectionism, self-critical perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism (Good Therapy, n.d):

    • Personal Standards Perfectionism-This person may have a set of standards they live by. These standards may look high to others, but it’s what drives the individual to achieve their goal. This form of perfection (as long as it doesn’t leave the person fatigued, stressed or paralyzed) can lead the person to success.
    • Self-Critical Perfection-This person is more likely to be intimidated by goals they set upon themselves (haha! Me!) thus making themselves less driven, because they feel the goal is hopeless or it may never come true. This form of perfectionism can lead to stress, anxiety, avoidance and self-condemnation.
    • Socially Prescribed Perfection: This kind of perfectionism can affect a person in one of two ways:

A) when a person is in a job in which precision is heavily required. People who work as, for example, lawyers, medical professionals, and architects can be affected by perfectionism. Such jobs can cause professionals to experience hopeless thoughts, stress, and a higher risk for self-harm and suicide.

B) The other form of socially prescribed perfectionism is when individuals aspire to meet unrealistic goals that can be set by high cultural or societal standards. this can include when kids try to meet the goals set by parents or individuals trying to obtain a particular body type high regarded by society.

So which one, do I think I identify with? I would have to say self-critical perfectionist. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have procrastinated on projects just because I fear how I won’t execute them well. I expect nothing the less from myself, but possessing such a mindset can be crippling because I think can’t perform the task well. Such mindsets can also induce major anxiety for me. Speaking of which…

How can anxiety trigger perfectionism…or visa versa? Well that relationship is …complicated (Kvarnstrom, 2016). All that is known is that one, perfectionism is the onset of the individuals’s inability to cope with the stressors they ave set upon themselves and then on top of that, perfectionism itself worsens anxiety that in turn prevents the person from achieving their goal. Huh…go figure. Makes sense why I procrastinate.

So how can you help yourself overcome perfectionism. According to Healthy Place article, “How to Stop Being a Perfectionist” try to:

+ Recognize perfectionism as a problem

+  Set realistic goals for you

+ Look for positives in yourself and your life

+ Love yourself in your entirely, including your imperfections

+ Embracing your uniqueness

+ Stop procrastinating (This includes when something is just not right)

+Think of mistakes as lessons

Speaking for myself, failure should not be looked as a stain that would forever blotch out any opportunity for success. That’s not what failure is. This is what it means to F.A.I.L: First Attempt in Learning. It’s only in failing it’s pushes us to reach deep within ourselves and pull out sleeping and dormant skills and resolve we thought we’d never had or we thought we exhausted. However, this cannot be achieved if we strive for perfection instead. Perfection only leads to a shallow, unreasonable and perhaps unattainable goal(s). As the old saying goes: To err is human. So it’s not just much we should accept our errors, but our humanity as well. We need to start accepting our humanity.  

References

Agathanelou, F. (2015) How to Stop Being  Perfectionist. Retrieved from: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/09/how-to-stop-being-a-perfectionist

Good Therapy. (n.d). Perfectionism. Retrieved from: https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/perfectionism

Kvarnstrom, E. (2016). Why Perfectionism and Anxiety Disorders Go Hand-in-Hand. Retrieved from: https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/why-perfectionism-and-anxiety-disorders-go-hand-in-hand/

Other Readings:

You Aren’t Lazy–You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis and Perfectionism