Saturday, September 4, 2010


We nervous people can have symptoms over the strangest things. A vast array of objects, activities, conversations, and other average, everyday experiences can lead us to vicious cycles--the keyword being average. We usually develop symptoms about trivialities, and recognizing this can help us overcome uncomfortable sensations.

For example, I dread buying new shoes (Hmm, that sounds like tempermental lingo). Oh, I enjoy having new footwear, but breaking in shoes makes me quite anxious. I concentrate on how different the new shoes feel over the old ones, agonize that I might have bought the wrong size or style, and generally work myself up over an experience most people don’t give a second thought to.

At my local Recovery group a few months ago I brought up my distress, and perhaps unsurprisingly other members recounted similar experiences. I realized that I am not exceptional; my sensations are not unique; and I certainly can bear the discomfort associated with breaking in new shoes (This post probably would seem ridiculous to someone who is not a nervous person, but everyone has “little” fears and worries—we just work them up too much).

After that meeting I did practice sabotage, unfortunately, by putting the shoes in the closet for a few months and ignoring them, preferring to not bear the discomfort. But now I’m using several Recovery tools. For example, I’m practicing the concept of “part acts”: I’m wearing them on weekends but not during the week; I’ll move onto that when I’m ready. Plus, I’m reminding myself that I can certainly bear this discomfort. And as often as I can remember, I’m endorsing myself. With practice and patience come success, and I hope to be footloose soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

I'm really enjoying your blog - just came across it in the last week.

I'm struggling with anxiety in the context of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I'm loving the tips and strategies you provide - thanks so much!

Doug said...

Hi, Nic. Thank you! There likely is a recovery meeting in your area or a phone meeting you can attend. All of the tips I know are from Recovery's founder, Dr. Low.

cosmetic surgery marketing guide said...


Thank you so much for sharing advise. It'll be useful for my sister. Please share more like this. I would like to know more advise about anxiety. Keep sharing.

Scared When Driving said...

Personally I love shoes so I have no anxiety breaking them in whatsoever. What gives me anxiety is being stuck in the elevator with other people in the building where I work; it's awkward. I also have anxiety going to the bathroom if there's anyone in the stalls; gotta wait till it's empty. I really found exercise to be good for my mental well being though. Just yoga for now but it helps.

Christy said...

This post brought a big smile to my face. I've spent the last few days agonizing over buying a mattress. I kept telling myself it was the money, but after reading this post I suddenly realized it was my fear of breaking it in and/or making a mistake by buying the wrong one that has caused me so much torment. Us nervous types are a funny bunch sometimes.

By way, my current state of sleep deprivation forced me into making the leap and buying the mattress. I'm still worried but am giving myself credit for going through with the purchase.