Turn NEGATIVE Energy Into POSITIVE Action! (With Video)

Hello again.

Coming at you with another video today, in which I discuss negative emotions (such as Anger and Frustration) and suggest ways of making them positive.

As always, thank you for your participation in this Blog and my YouTube channel.

Have a great day,

~ Stefan

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*Book Update* – Win a Free Copy!

HSD

Hello to you!

If you have been following this Blog for a little while, you will know that I am writing a book on being a Highly Sensitive DUDE. Things may have sidetracked me for a while, but I am getting back to it.

I expect this will be released within the next 3-4 months, while I finish writing it, getting a cover sorted and edit everything nicely.

The book will essentially be a diary containing some examples of how this trait has affected my life, but will also aim to offer insights into how we can make the most of this way of being, rather than seeing it as a curse or block to experience a ‘normal’ life.

Once the book is finished, I will make it available to everyone through Amazon.

If you would like a FREE copy of the book, before anybody else has access to it, this is what you need to do:

  • ‘Like’ my page on Facebook: HERE
  • Review my page on Facebook (this is based on the Blog Posts and YouTube Videos)

That’s it! Simple.

For those who commit to the above, I will choose a few of you (depending on how many take part) and you will be sent the book for free (as a PDF). If successful, I will message you to get a hold of your email address.

That’s all for now folks.

I hope you are well,

~ Stefan.

 

Treating Agoraphobia

Welcome back to the Blog!

Another common disorder, which is essentially just Anxiety expressing itself in another form, is Agoraphobia.

I have definitely suffered from this, and continue to. I am determined to reclaim my life and normality. In relation to this blog, I do believe that HSPs (Highly Sensitive Persons) are far more likely to struggle with different forms of anxiety.

Having done some research on Agoraphobia, I understand that the best treatment is exposure therapy combined with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). With this disorder, people fear the Outside World and often panic in unfamiliar surroundings, or in situations where anticipation can build (like standing around in a queue at the Supermarket). While it may appear to be situation-based, these fears are linked to the perception of the sufferer.

Someone may consider that 10+ miles away from home is uncomfortable, or else will perceive that big cities are the cause of their problems.

Of course, in reality, there is nothing to fear. The situations are not the real cause.

While there may be some genuine – yet small – risks in leaving our homes, we cannot possible live the rest of our lives governed by this phobia. Of course, there is a slight chance you could die while driving to work. Maybe someone is going to decide to steal from you. Hell, if you watch the news for long enough, it can make you paranoid that the chances are even likely that someone will try to kill you – for no apparent reason.

The biggest issue with Agoraphobia is overthinking and procrastinating. Once someone has developed the fear, they will continue to dread leaving their home (or ‘safe-zone’). The chances of overcoming this problem while feeding the anxiety (i.e. by listening to it and avoiding situations) are close to zero.

Of course, there is always hope with these mental distortions. Once you become aware that your mind is creating these false fears, you can choose not to listen to the negative thoughts. The biggest fear is in not being able to escape a situation. But, once again, there is nothing to escape from. You are the problem.

I say this from a place of understanding and empathy – not judgement.

This is a big challenge for me, although I know some people struggle far more intensely than myself. What I can tell you, from experience, is that it will get worse if you don’t take action. If you continue to avoid situations that make you uncomfortable, your life will hardly be worth existing for. Life is outside, not in our houses (which are really just a few walls placed together). You really need to accept that this fear is an internal issue, created by thoughts and feelings.

Come with me, and dare to venture into the unknown. Know that the fear you experience is not grounded in reality. Other people, who are in the same environments, are able to carry on as usual. I strongly believe that we can recover, and our brains (more specifically, our amygdala’s) will adapt once we stop feeding ourselves lies about how terrifying everything is.

I made a video talking about my struggles with Agoraphobia, so be sure to check that out below. I make videos about mental health, healthy living and Veganism. I also throw in the occasional music video. If you’d like to see more, be sure to subscribe.

For now, I wish you well in your recovery from this very lonely and isolated experience.

We can do this.

~ Stefan.

How to Overcome Social Anxiety

What is the root cause of social anxiety and self-doubt?

Without a doubt, it’s a lack of self-esteem and unwillingness to accept yourself as you are – flaws and all.

In order to be confident around people, you have to OWN your personality, the way you look and what makes you … you. If you are an introvert, or on the shy end of the spectrum, that is okay. But in your mind, you make it not okay. You isolate yourself and feel awkward around others, because you strongly fear their judgement.

What I have learned, after years of struggling with this stuff, is that:

  1. Most people don’t judge you nearly as harshly as you would imagine
  2. You create the reactions you get by the vibe you put out – they are probably looking at you weirdly because you are looking at them weirdly!
  3. It doesn’t matter if people like you. If you are not causing harm to others, then you are a decent human being, and you need to lay off yourself.

I made a YouTube video to emphasize these points, so be sure to check that out right here:

I actually set up a separate channel for High Sensitivity, but given that my existing channel already has a subscriber-base, you are more likely to see me creating content there – so be sure to Subscribe if you want to see more!

I’ll catch you in the next post 🙂

~ Stefan

Are you having fun yet?

Stefan 5

Hello and welcome to another post.

My last post on Veganism did surprisingly well, receiving many more views and shares than usual. That was nice.

I have been doing some thinking.

About what I should do with the rest of my life. I have too often given into fear and plodded along, feeling safe but dreadfully uninspired and listless – ‘going through the motions’, as they say.

Ever since I left High School at 16, I have felt lost and worked in jobs I despise. All for that small paycheck each month. After High School, I went to College and studied Business and Finance. I only picked the subject because it sounded safe and usable in the real World. Not to mention, I had no idea what else to do. I thought about doing Drama and Film Studies … that kind of thing. But the realist in me said it’d be a waste of time and would get me nowhere.

I did tremendously well in the Business & Finance course (a BTEC National Diploma), getting top grades, but I felt no sense of achievement because it was all meaningless and I was too busy worrying about my health and feeling depressed (having reacted badly to the medication, Roaccutane).

It is surprising how fast the years can go by. Let’s face it – there are things along the way that are changing and keeping you busy, so you don’t always notice what is happening and where you are headed. Suddenly it’s the start of another year, or your birthday, and you realise you are wasting time …

I have been working within Insurance for the past 3 years (working for 3 different employers). I can do it, easy enough. But the repetition, the stress, the workload … where is the pay off? What’s the sodding point?

I realised that part of the problem is feeling stagnant. I am no longer learning and I am terribly bored of it all. A job can suck all of your energy if it isn’t right for you and so I realise it is time to get my act together, before I end up trapped forever.

So, whilst I don’t have a precise plan yet – and I really should have figured all of this out sooner – I am going to learn new things. I am going to follow my heart, because I have rarely done so and it has left me a shadow, barely living.

I think my options are as follows:

  • Study part-time, selecting an Open University course. This would take six years.
  • Or – going to a University and getting a Bachelor’s degree. This would take three years.

I think I prefer the sound of Option B.

So, the next question is what would I study? It’s got to be something I actually WANT to learn and use. I am going to dig deeper, but my interests (that I think I could get a job out of at the end of it) are:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Social Work
  • English (Writing)
  • Journalism
  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Animal Science

I think Psychology or Philosophy are the two that stick out the most for me. I don’t really know what job I could get from Philosophy, but I am very interested in ideologies surrounding our existence and around ethics. As I have explained before, and as you may gather with me being a HSP, ethics are very important to me.

But that’s good isn’t it? …

I’m thinking now. Instead of feeling like I can’t make a decision or feeling like my only option is to do what I have always done, I am actually looking into my options. I used to hope that there was an easier path. One where I didn’t have to study. But any time I look at jobs being posted, they are all … ahem, crap.

Without a degree, I can easily get a job in retail, insurance or admin.

But life is too short to sell your soul for a paycheck. I crave meaning and I want to care about the work I do.

I want to make a difference.

If I have to study for a few years in order to secure a better future, then so be it. And I am still terrified. I can still over-think it and worry that a degree isn’t enough to find a job afterwards. Or that I’ll struggle. Or people won’t like me on the course.

But sometimes you have to tell that cynical voice to keep it down and focus on what you want. And you need to have a bit of faith in yourself.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

~ Alex.

Like my Facebook page for updates: BOOM!

I’m an INFJ.

face.jpg

Hello again.

I hope you are having a nice day.

As well as being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I am also an INFJ. If you are not familiar with the term or the Myers-Briggs personality test, I highly recommend you give it a go yourself here. I have found it to be very helpful in understanding myself.

I expect it is somewhat common among HSPs to also be INFJs but, out of the 16 personalities, this is said to be the most rare – especially for men. Also known as “The Advocate” or “The Romantic”, INFJs account for less than 1% of the population.

This might explain why I nearly always feel like the odd one out. Like I don’t fit in anywhere. Like I am different.

But maybe being different is okay – good, even.

Because is the average person happy? Does the average person drink and smoke to deal with their problems in life? Do they find fulfillment and connection or are they merely a consumer of the media and over-priced clothing and material objects, chasing status or fame?

As an INFJ, I have a very high sense of morality and am extremely idealistic. Think of Gandhi, who was thrown into this category. On the positive side, we see what is lacking and what needs to be changed – we want to make the World better. But our desires for change can be met by much resistance, as many people would prefer to do things the way they have always been done. Some people don’t think there is anything wrong with this World…

It isn’t a coincidence that I found Veganism – but I will save the talk on this topic for another, more in-depth post.

At the core of the INFJ is a desire to make a difference to this World. To spread happiness and kindness. Hostile environments make us tense and we feel the need to leave those situations so we don’t become overwhelmed with negative energy, which is hard to absorb. People beeping at each other in traffic can make us feel on edge. An argument with a spouse can leave us feeling drained of energy. We have a ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ mentality, which could be considered naive given the state of our World.

We should probably recognise that most other people aren’t born with the same set of values as us. But it can be hard to have any empathy for those who chase money and power while hurting those who stand in their way. Or for those who cheat on their partners, or manipulate them for their own gain.

Speaking from my own experience, I very much lack empathy for those who act selfishly and hurt others in order to get what they want. Relating this to being Vegan, I can feel extremely angry if I see a video of someone hurting an animal ‘for fun’. And while this is the natural reaction that many other people would share, I find it hard to let go as I want so much to see justice and retribution. I sometimes create fantasies in my mind where I catch the perpetrator and torture them in painful ways. I mean, I seriously beat the fucking shit out of those horrible bullies!

In reality, this isn’t useful as I have yet to find myself in a position where I can carry out such acts. And who is to say I would be able to in reality? But seriously – hurt an animal and I will go Liam Neeson on your ass.

INFJs are known for their creativity. The ‘I’ stands for introverted, so we spend a lot of our time turning inwards and thinking. This can be great, but if we are in the wrong environment, we can become chronically stressed and negative. Anxiety and Depression are common, because there is always a need for improvement – in ourselves and in the outer World. We are very perfectionistic and expect far too much of ourselves. We focus on what went wrong instead of what went well. Something often feels missing and so – most of the time – we feel discontent.

Personally, I find it incredibly difficult to conform to rules and one-way approaches too. My current job in Car Insurance is unfulfilling to me, because it doesn’t offer me the opportunity to be creative. Everything is rigid and lacking in any personality. I don’t like to use technical jargon like ‘on a without prejudice basis’ or ‘knock for knock’. I would prefer to speak in real, animated ways. Just speak plain fucking English! Every now and then I will get a letter from a ‘third party’ solicitor and they really can talk some old bollocks.

INFJs – as well as HSPs – are prone to becoming overwhelmed and burned out, because things are rarely ‘good enough’ and so much needs to be sorted out. Being an introvert in itself can be challenging given the work-structures of nearly every company, but combined with the high expectations and over-stimulation we face in crowds or when in a situation we feel trapped by, one can sink into some very low moods. This is likely why I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I am still very hopeful to resolve.

Despite the difficulties I face on a daily basis, this way of being has made me very spiritual and – in the good moments – I feel very connected and at one with the Universe. I must monitor my energy levels – physically, mentally and socially – so I do not become ‘that guy’ who I don’t like so much. All of this is a journey and the more we understand our needs and meet them, the happier we can be. Whatever our personality type, we need to understand ourselves as best we can so we can make the right decisions in life – whether that revolves around Career, Hobbies or Relationships.

You can read all about INFJs in more detail here.

Thank you again for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. Please do follow me for further posts on being a Highly Sensitive DUDEEEEEEE. Don’t forget to like the new Facebook page for updates > BOOBIES!!!

I will try to make time to record some more videos for the YouTube channel soon.

Peace.

~ Alex.

 

I have been struggling with Depression.

Never Again

Hi.

I am writing this before I head off to work.

I slept badly again. I didn’t get to sleep until around Midnight and I woke up – wide awake – at around 5am. That’s not nearly enough sleep for someone who is burned out with adrenal fatigue. If I could just get a good night’s sleep, or a few in a row, it would help massively.

While at work yesterday, I couldn’t have felt any worse. I had also got a bad night of sleep the night before. So I emailed my HR contact and basically said I can’t do the job anymore – at least not full time. I didn’t care anymore what would happen to me, because I was at breaking point. I kind of wanted them to tell me to go home and not worry about coming in again.

I started this job just 7 weeks ago and have struggled to cope with the pace. It’s ridiculously busy, with emails constantly pouring in throughout the day, the phone ringing intermittently and various files to follow up on urgently. The role is car insurance and my stress is worsened when I spend much of my time sitting on hold to other insurers (I literally can be on the phone for an hour waiting for someone to answer) and it is impossible to catch up.

Everyone else in my team is in the same position, but they care more about the job than me. They have ambition around Insurance. Some of them have studied or taken exams and want to make it a career. I am not like them.

The rest of my team seem in no rush to leave at the end of the day. When it hits 5pm, I am ready to get the fuck out of there. I am spent. The noise and the stressful environment have taken their toll, and I am weak. Throw in the lack of sleep and subsequent lack of energy and it’s a recipe for disaster. Often my colleagues stay to work over-time. I turn down the offer any time I am asked.

The stress of the job has been creating a lot of anxiety for me and is the reason I can’t rest well at night. So I needed to speak to the lady in HR.

Instead of 9-5, I will now be working 10-4 (5 days a week). While this is an improvement and will help me, I will be losing money each month and I will still have an insane workload, because the company doesn’t want to pay more money for new staff. But fuck it. I don’t care anymore. That’s their problem. If I can’t do all the work, despite pushing myself to the max, it’s not my issue.

I still need to get out of this place, because I have been doing insurance for a few years and I’m completely sick and tired of it.

No wonder my health seems at an all time low.

I walk around like a zombie, wondering why I shouldn’t just give up entirely and end my misery …

But that’s no way to think. When you die, it’s over for good. I feel inspired to do whatever I must to leave this industry. As a HSP and INFJ, I need purpose. I have a lot of passion in life – about injustice, animal welfare and fighting the bullshit we call normal and acceptable. I need to center my career around something I care about.

I was looking briefly at Open University courses, but on a part-time basis they take 6 years to complete. I would be 32 when I was done if I started the course now. I’m not sure I have the patience to wait 6 years to live my life.

So I still have no idea what I am going to do. This life can be very testing for those like myself who don’t just want to fill a spot and work for money. We spend most of our lives at work, so if we had our jobs we need to change them.

I would love to hear from you. I am sorry I haven’t posted much in the last week or so. I hope I feel stronger soon.

Thank FUCK it’s Friday!

For those who haven’t achieved anything…

I, too, have got into the mindset where I feel I have done nothing of value with my life.

That if I died tomorrow, I would die without having anything to show for it.

And maybe that’s because we idolize Film Stars and Musicians, who have a a host of glamorized achievements under their belt. Or maybe we see inventors like Steve Jobs, or authors like J.K Rowling and we just cannot live up that level of success and contribution.

And, of course it is extremely unlikely than anyone can! Let’s be real for a minute.

But just because you haven’t walked down the red carpet to screaming fans, or got a number 1 record, doesn’t mean your life is meaningless. It doesn’t mean you never achieved anything.

For example, you might drive a car. That’s impressive – even though some driver’s make me wonder if the test is still too easy. But really, something as simple as passing a driving test shows what can be achieved with practice and dedication. I passed my test on my forth attempt. That sounds bad, and I used to get really nervous because I don’t do well in situations where I am being observed closely, but I have never had an accident in the almost 7 years I have been driving. And hey, I could have quit after 3 fails – But I got there in my own time.

Some people might pass their test first time round, but then rush into a sense of immortality and invincibility. And then they have an accident or, worse yet, die.

This has gotten a little dark, as is usual for me.

But let’s think about something else you might have achieved. How about passing your exams in School? Sure, maybe you weren’t a straight A student. But if you tried your best and didn’t end up unemployable afterwards, that’s worthy of a pat on the back.

And maybe you think your job is a bit shit. Maybe it’s dull, or a monkey could do it. Maybe you are right. But, in time, you can get where you want to be.

Also, we don’t need to see success in the same way we always have. Maybe success is being a good person who does good things selflessly. Maybe someone who looks after the sick and vulnerable is the real success. Maybe that’s what should be valued, instead of good looking people on the TV.

Because there are a lot of rich and famous people in the World who are fucking assholes. They have betrayed people, or maybe exploited people/animals to get where they are now. Like, there are a lot of rich farmers. And Steve Jobs is responsible, in part, for slavery and human rights violations. Think of all the overworked people in China, getting paid fuck all so Apple can reap ridiculous amounts of profit. And I might be a hypocrite for saying that, because (like most people) I own an iPhone. Though I didn’t actually buy it. It was a hand-me-down.

But maybe we should look beneath the surface instead of focusing on the iceberg (or Success) that we usually zone in on.. Maybe some people’s success is a veneer of shit, decorated in some shiny glitter. Maybe all that money is the product of blood, sweat and tears.

And, ultimately, whether you die a Millionaire or a struggling single Mum on benefits, you still die. Your body still gets buried in a hole or burnt to ash (pretty nice thought, isn’t it?).

So, if you want to achieve more, be reasonable. Life gets in the way and we are all trying the best we can (well, not everyone is, but those reading this Blog are the one’s who are in touch with their desires). If you want something bad enough, I believe you can get it. Refuse to quit and don’t give up when success doesn’t come quickly.

But also remember to take a chill pill and lay off the pressure sometimes.

~ Alex.

P.S. I set up a Facebook page, so give it a LIKE 😉

 

You ALWAYS have a choice …

Crossroads

Do you ever get stuck feeling like everything is helpless and there is nothing you can do about it?

Sometimes we are restricted in our abilities to change a situation, but we always have a choice.

Let’s give a couple examples to get across what I am wanting to say …

On the way to work, I go a quick way even though I am not supposed to. Y’know, because I’m naughty and so very rebellious. But really, there is a lane I am supposed to only use after 9:30am. Before then, only cyclists and bus drivers can use it. But compared to some of the other crimes in life, I recon I’ll be spared an eternity in Hell for this. Today though, as I was going through, I spotted a bus coming from the opposite direction. The road is narrow, so I pulled over to allow the bus driver to come past. He looked at me and he knew I wasn’t supposed to be there.

He shook his head at me and I audibly laughed after. But now I feel a bit nervous. Up until today, I’d not been ‘told off’ for my naughty behaviour … I’d gotten away with it. But I might see the bus driver again. It made me a little anxious, thinking ‘Shit. I don’t want to keep bumping into this guy. What if he steps it up a gear? Maybe gives me the middle finger … maybe honks his horn at me while waving his arms in outrage … Maybe blocks the road and pulls out a machine gun and f*cking shoots me!!!’ Okay – that last one seems unlikely.

But I have a choice, don’t I? I can either carry on going down the ‘illegal’ route, and risk being shouted at, while feeling like I’m sticking it to the man. Or I can be a good little man-child and add another 10 minutes to my journey.

Let’s think of another example – also from today.

I was sitting on a bench by a river on my lunch break at work. I was there for 5 minutes, enjoying my hummus and falafel sandwich, watching the swans and geese. Then, a couple of middle aged ladies came up to me and asked, “Is it okay if we join you? There aren’t any benches left.”

In my head, I said “No. I would rather be left to read in peace without feeling like I’m eavesdropping on your conversation and feeling like my personal space is being invaded”.

Out loud, I said “Sure. Have a seat”.

After a few moments, I shifted my eyes to the right and saw – quite clearly – a solitary bench, with nobody sitting on it. I thought, ‘I could just go and walk over there and have my own space again … but these ladies will probably think I’m rude and antisocial’.

I debated it for a few minutes and then I realised … I have a choice. Thinking about it isn’t going to change anything. What am I going to do? Do I want to spend the rest of my lunch sat with these gossiping women and not being able to concentrate on my book? Not really, no. So I just walked off and sat on another bench. Maybe they thought I was rude. But does it matter? Of course not. I enjoyed reading my Kindle, without feeling like I was being watched (something us introverts cannot avoid feeling).

So, what I am trying to put across to you is that you cannot always help the things that happen to you. Often, we are just a passenger on this roller-coaster ride and have little influence on what will come about. But we can change our reactions and we have a choice in how we handle situations.

Should you take that medication? Who knows… but it’s up to you if you decide to or not.

Should you go out tonight with your friends? Or should you stay at home and read like you want to?

Should you quit your job? Maybe not if you have nothing else lined up, but nobody is going to stop you.

Next time you feel yourself feeling trapped, realise that you can change your response. Sometimes, in my day-job, I get down and start wondering what I am doing with my life. I want to be making YouTube videos, or writing, or seeing the World. I want to be creating music. But I also want to be able to eat and have a roof over my head. You can’t always have it both ways, but acknowledge that you are choosing what you do with your life.

I hope this helps you. Give it some thought the next time you are feeling like things are out of your control.

If you’re a newbie, be sure to Follow me (not in a ‘I’m outside your window’ kind of way) and Subscribe to the YouTube channel for future videos on life as a Highly Sensitive Dude.

Peace and Love,

~ Alex.

Feeling Depressed :( *Trigger Warning*

Depressed

Hi.

I feel really, really, REALLY bad.

I’m going to be very transparent in this post. Like a freaking window.

I set up this Blog out of pure desperation. I am so desperate to escape my current lifestyle of working in a busy office and dealing with what feels like constant stress. And I needed to be able to express myself to people who don’t know me in real life. I feel thin-skinned and after a while of facing the bombardment of noise and bright visuals, I want to hide away. I start getting really anxious and don’t want to be around people.

I can’t look anyone in the eye, because my self-esteem has died. I start to feel paranoid that people are judging me or whispering about me.

I start to question everything.

Why is this World so cruel? What if there is no such thing as Karma? What if the people who do bad things just get away with it? Why do the bad guys so often succeed and will our World always feel so hopeless and upside-down? How can I escape this? Maybe I should just live in a cave away from civilization. Will I always feel this unhappy? What if there is no such thing as long-term happiness? Maybe the odd moment is all you get. And then you just die. Holy shit – What if this is as good as it gets? I just want to feel peaceful. I just want a bit of space and quiet. I don’t fit into this way of life …

I have been working in the wrong jobs for years but, realistically, I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do to get my life on track. It’s hard as a creative person.

I want to be a writer, or do music, or help animals.

But there are too many people in this World and they are better than me. They don’t all have adrenal fatigue or anxiety & depression. I have these obstacles. I have no confidence in myself. I feel like a lone wolf when I go about my daily life. I feel SO alone. I feel like I have nobody to connect to when I’m at work. I feel like nobody understands me. Maybe I am just a freak.

Surely it isn’t supposed to be this hard. I have read SO MANY self-help books and where have they got me? What change have they helped to create? Nowhere. Nothing.

Where do I begin? I am struggling to pull myself out of bed to face what will be another exhausting day. I just want to stay inside, away from the madness. I just want to read books and watch TV.

Due to the stress I have experienced, over such a long period of time, I am gaining weight around my stomach (AKA Visceral Fat). This can kill you in the long run, and though I still appear skinny to anyone who would glance my way, I feel uncomfortable sitting down. I have ‘Skinny-Fat’. My diet is good. I walk a lot. But stress increases cortisol production from the adrenal glands and this in turn leads to weight gain. Until I can deal with the stress (and I’ve tried for years at this point), I am screwed.

I just feel like I’m sinking into a pit of doom. I want to feel safe. I want to feel like there is hope and that I can get better. But I don’t know where to start.

I would like to hear some words of encouragement if anyone is in a position to help me. I’m feeling really lost.

😦