Monday, 24 October 2016

Challenging Trichotillomania (hair pulling)

At the very beginning of October I went to tie my hair up and discovered a bald spot. I kid you not.

For years I have been pulling out my hair, never thinking of the consequences. But now, I can visibly see the effects, and it is time to stop. I set myself a challenge for Believe in Yourself month - find out more about the compulsion to pull out hair, and try to stop it. Despite years of trying, I have never quite managed to stop biting my finger nails when I am feeling anxious. I had my doubts about hair pulling too, but for the month that I'm in, I needed to believe in myself and fight the compulsion.

What is Trichotillomania?

Mayo Clinic:
Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh) is a disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body, despite trying to stop.
The cause of trichotillomania is unclear. But like many complex disorders, trichotillomania probably results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Also, abnormalities in the natural brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine may play a role in trichotillomania.

Monday, 17 October 2016

I hate days like today

Today I decided to give up blogging. Because I'm shit anyway. It takes time and effort, and I have no effort to give anymore.

Today I criticised the way I looked 10 times before I'd even left the house.

Today I bit all of my finger nails down low so that they hurt.

Today I picked fight after fight with my boyfriend to the point where I didn't even know what I was mad at.

Today I replayed some of the horrible things that happened to me over and over in my head, leaving me feeling degraded and worthless.

Today I decided to bail on my fitness class. It was my first effort at exercising again in months, but I have no more effort in me.

Today I thought about calling in sick to work tomorrow, just so I could recover from today.

On days like today my confidence is at its lowest. I'm self-critical, irritable and frustrated. The longer I stay in this frame of mind the more frustrated at myself I become; frustrated because I can't just snap out of it.

That's what they say isn't it? Snap out of it. Your mental illness isn't real. Pull yourself together. 

I've tried. I've tried the snapping and the pulling and I can't get it to work.

Days like today are bad days. Write-offs. When things are good I forget days like today are even possible anymore. But then they come back and it feels like every day will be a bad day forever more.

Today I have no self-belief. Today is a reminder of why I needed The Romeo Project to begin with, and why I need to keep building up my skills to fight this.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Be a #Girlboss

Last month I read Sophia Amoruso's bestselling book #Girlboss. Sophia founded NastyGal clothing at 22 years old as an eBay store selling second-hand vintage pieces. Ten years later and she has just stepped down from the role of CEO of what has become a multi-million dollar leading fashion company.

To have grown not only a business, but an empire, in just ten years is an impressive feat in itself. But on top of that, Sophia's story is one of rags to riches in the traditional sense too. A high school drop-out, Sophia carved a path for herself through self-belief, determination and sheer grit.

Who else could possible make a better role model during Believe in Yourself month?
"And once you find success, don't stop."
What stood out for me, was how Sophia never gave up. She was told, as we all are, that she would get nowhere without an education and finishing school. But she found a way to succeed beyond the traditional routes. And while doing so, she never strayed from who she truly is.

Authenticity and success.
One of the immediate things that stands out when reading the book, is how self-assured Sophia is. Not only is she determined to succeed, but she is confident in her individuality. Sophia built on her quirky sense of style and her badass attitude, and marketed them as much as the actual clothing NastyGal sold. Never does it seem like she is trying to be cool. She just effortlessly is cool - it's authentic. She was selling a way of life, her own way of life - one that empowered women to feel confident and wear their self-belief on their sleeves.

"An advantage of being naive is being able to believe in oneself when no one else will. I was dumb enough and stubborn enough to pour everything I had into a business called Nasty Gal and to tune out people who tried to tell me I was doing it wrong."
In many ways, perhaps Sophia is right - self-belief is a mix of naivety and stubbornness. It's the doggedness never to give up.  To never consider failure as possible. To sometimes not see giving up as an option. But it's also tossing away your anxiety. I know that if I were to pursue my own business my anxious brain would be lighting up to alert me of all the possible occasions where I would mess up, lose money, fail. I wouldn't be able to tune out my own worries, yet alone other people's advice like Sophia did. She has so much self-belief that it makes her seem almost superhuman to me; as it's a level I doubt I could ever reach.

#Girlboss has left me in awe of Sophia's confidence. Don't get me wrong; she's not cocky nor does she come across as basking in her success.
If anything, she is using her platform to tell young girls and women that anything is possible if you follow your passions and create something you love and believe in.
I want to have that own belief in myself, but it seems to come naturally to Sophia whereas self-belief does not come naturally to me. I keep fearing the worst possible outcomes rather than being lead by own belief.

But maybe I need to adopt Sophia's attitude for a while. Try it on and act like I have self-belief. Wear it like an item of clothing from NastyGal.
Perhaps that's the way to start believing in yourself?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Belief can be in anything

I bought my Canon camera in June 2015. I thought it would help improve the quality of photos on my blog. Like a lot of bloggers, I thought a fancy camera would make me better.

There have been times over the past year and a half where I regretted the purchase.
I hadn't made as much use of camera as I should of. It wasn't worth the expense I had paid if I wasn't going to use it. I wasn't even very good when I did try to use it! In fact, some of the photos were coming out blurry, out of focus, and not of the quality I had hoped.

But last weekend I went out foraging in the local park. I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for. Some acorns maybe, golden brown leaves, maybe a pine cone.
I spent twice as much time out wandering among the trees than I had expected to. It was calming and one of the best ways I had spent a Saturday in a long time.

When I got back home I decided to put my foraged items to good use; as photo props.
And while playing around with my camera and a very pretty edition of Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood, I ended up with this picture.

Never have I taken a picture that I am more proud of.
And being proud of something I have done is not a feeling I am used to.
Belief can be in anything. It can be in your skills to take a beautiful photograph, writing your first draft or entering a competition. Belief isn't limited to success in the workplace. Your hobbies are only possible because of your own self-belief.
So go make something wonderful happen. Create something you can be proud of. And feel pride. Because that feeling is your self-belief flourishing. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Tips to Foster Self-Belief

Okay, so we know that self-belief is important. We also know that I don't have a whole lot of it right now. So how do we turn that around?

Well it's all about changing your way of thinking according to Norman Vincent Peale.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

My self-belief

How can I start a whole month of self-belief before evaluating and measuring my own current levels of self-belief?

I know that my self-worth has improved over the past few years. At a snails pace albeit, but since getting treatment for my mental illness I have been able to make progress towards liking myself.

I don't hate who I am anymore. I know that I have good qualities. I am comfortable with my odd assortment of interests and likes.

At the beginning of the year as I faced turning 24, I knew I didn't want to plagued by self-doubt for another 15 years. I didn't want to just like myself. I wanted to start loving myself. And challenging self-doubt was a huge part of that. Every month of the Romeo Project was set up to embrace my true authentic self and find ways to practice acts of self-care. But could it improve my self-belief?

Do you believe in yourself?

Earlier this week I wrote about the four key ways to foster self-belief according to all the self-help literature I explored this year.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Your Guide to Self-Belief

My resolution for the month of October is Believe in Yourself. You can read my introduction to the month's theme here.
Today, I want to show you why self-belief is so important and why you need it. And I sure know I need it.

What does it mean to believe in yourself?

Self-belief is about how you feel about yourself; not just your looks, but your skills, abilities and interests. Having self-belief means having confidence in your abilities. It's like the opposite of self-doubt. You know you have good traits. You know it's possible for you to succeed. You know you're not a failure.