Me to myself last week: “I need help. My mental health is not good right now. This is the end. No really, this is it.”
I was eventually able to help myself and get out of what I was struggling with. There’s still a part of me though that feels like it’s just a matter of time before I’m back in the prison of paranoia once again.
There I’ll be – hanging onto the certainty of my own awareness while feeling trapped in the same, minimized state of emotional reduction that I write about and help men and women get out of every day.
For two days last week, I experienced the worst kind of anxiety. I don’t remember the last time I felt anxiety that bad but as far back as I can remember, I would always engage in what caused it – up until I made a committed decision to change my life in my early twenties. Not only had it become second nature growing up, but it was also my only means of emotional survival as a kid.
During those “I need help” two days last week…
I experienced an emotional hangover fuelled by this exhausting, involuntary re-hashing, catastrophizing, and “what if-ing.”
There’s a term in the medical community called “anesthesia awareness.” It’s a rare condition where the patient wakes up during their own surgery. In the majority of cases, the patient can’t feel anything but they can hear what’s going on. They can also feel pressure, pulling and cutting sensations, and are aware of their surroundings but are unable to speak or move.
Last week, I went into an important meeting that I knew was a very routine “surgical” procedure, but I experienced emotional anesthesia awareness about halfway in.
And it had nothing to do with the other party.
I knew that the meeting went really well. In fact, I didn’t know how it could have gone any better or been more of a breeze in regard to the connection that was made. It was one of the best meetings I’ve ever had and I felt great until…
an old feeling decided to resurrect from the emotional graveyard of my past a few hours into the evening.
There was no way; it couldn’t be.I thought this feeling was dead and gone. I had murdered and buried it years ago.
I thought that maybe it was just a ghost of bullsh*t past, up until the paranoia got so bad, I felt like I was going to throw up at every turn. This was a full-blown resurrection.
It got to the point where I said to myself “I need help.”
I’m not scared to ever ask for or admit I need help – from myself first and foremost. I think I’ve Google’d “I need help,” “I want it all to end,” “I’m lost,” and “What to do if you serve no purpose,” “I hate myself,” “How to stop caring what people think,” “I want to die,” “No one notices me,” more times than I could ever count.
I get asked all the time from readers: “Natasha, what’s it like to never feel insecure or scared or triggered or heartbroken? It must be so nice.”
Newsflash: As I’ve said many times before, I’m human, I’m fallible, and I still feel every.single.one of those feelings. The only difference between now and years ago is that those normal triggers and emotions that we ALL feel, no longer permeate to the point of paralysis.
I wasn’t paralyzed last week, but I was definitely stuck.
I was stuck in the mud of a trigger that was so intense, I realized that I have literally built myself, my business, my friendships, my romantic relationship, and my life around invalidating the need for it.
I did this through the awareness of my own self-administered anesthesia wearing off halfway through that meeting.
Here’s what happened and how I finally uprooted my most dangerous trigger of all…
I knew that this meeting was about pitching. I would have to pitch myself, my brand, my upcoming book, and my baby… this blog.
There was no anxiety associated with it other than excitement because I’m solid in the knowingness that WE ALL have built this incredible community and tribe. I’m proud of how I’ve been able to expand the brand on my own. I have nothing to hide as far as the Uber-driving paychecks it was built from and how successful it has become as a result of OUR connection.
So, back to the meeting – I pitched my entire life, myself, my blood, my sweat, my tears, my hopes, my dreams… my everything. And it went really well.
I left feeling great.
A few hours later, the “I need help” anxiety started to kick in.
It didn’t matter how great the meeting went – I felt like I had acquired some sort of psychological B.O. and no matter how many showers of reassurance I tried to take, it just kept getting worse.
It was all internal; all my own stuff. I started to remember times in my life that I felt this exact way.
I call it reduction – You get into a situation and no matter how positive it is, you somehow, get reduced back to a very painful and familiar dynamic of your past.
I couldn’t get out of my own head. I thought about the meeting and wanted to vomit. I went over every word said and convinced myself that I had behaved like some name-dropping, braggadocios a*shole. I hated it.
No one could tell in the meeting, but I hated having to talk about what I do and who I know, what I’ve made, my story, my numbers, how many clients I have all over the world… everything. I just hated it. It’s not me. I promised myself years ago that I’d never pitch myself again. I’d rather be alone.
I knew the logical answer to this all but it didn’t matter. I hated that I had to do it and because I did it, I hated myself and started to question everything.
I realized that the dynamic of that meeting internally reduced me down to how I felt as a child in a lot of horrible situations.
It reduced me down to exactly how I felt in scholastic, romantic, and friendship dynamics growing up.
Having to go into “sales mode” (in regard to myself) reduced me down to feeling like the crumb-hungry performerl I was as a child for my family, in school for my teachers and classmates, and in the majority of my friendships and romantic relationships.
Whenever I showed an ounce of vulnerability as a child, the reactions I got from others did nothing but affirm that I was a much better “court jester” than I was ever going to be a girl who was desired, worthy, and enough.
So, I became a liar and started to pitch myself in grandiose ways that I could never back up. The trauma and embarrassment associated with years of delusion, fear, and lying, eventually motivated me to build what I can now, actually back up – without having to put on a dog and pony show or say one pretentious word.
I’m allergic to the feeling that pitching myself elicits; I’ve done everything I can to make sure I never have to do so.
And I haven’t done so.
It’s been really nice not having to be my own hype beast for anyone.
You should NEVER, EVER have to pitch yourself relationally. Period. Your pitch is comprised of your actions, your tolerations, your boundaries, and the level to which you match what you say with what you do. NOT the level to which you feel like you have to audition, perform, and illicit “oooh’s and ahhh’s” from reluctant/toxic people (or anyone for that matter).
It is an awful thing to have to hype yourself up, brag, and put your achievements/attributes on display – relationally AND professionally.
This meeting taught me that YES, I write a blog about choosing YOU and the relationship that you have with yourself first. But sometimes in life, other people have to choose us – for a position, a promotion, a sale, a job, etc.
In these circumstances, we have to remember that while we want to be chosen, we ALWAYS have the right to CHOOSE who we want to deal with and invest our emotional energy in. Fortunately for me, the company across the table was invested. It was mutual. And I take so much comfort in knowing that if I’m not in good, respectful, and receptive company... I can always walk away.
This was good. I just needed to stop allowing my “sales mode” trigger from jeopardizing my professional destiny. I had done it relationally – WHY COULDN’T I do it professionally?
Where do you go into “sales mode” and why?
Unless you’re soulless or completely deranged, it feels wrong to have to pitch yourself in any way, but it’s necessary in some circumstances in life. If it makes you feel bad, that’s a good thing: It shows how modest and connected and well-grounded you are.
Sometimes you have to do it. Just don’t EVER do it with friends, family, and lovers. It will come at a cost that you will never be able to afford.
Dignity will always be too high of a price tag.
And when you do have to pitch yourself, it’s important to remember to do it with confidence. If only because there are so many arrogant people out there with no self-knowledge who are selling themselves hard. And in some instances in your professional life, you may have to shut them down.
But usually, once you’ve done it; once you’ve got your book deal or your agent or the promotion or job or whatever it is you’re going for, you don’t have to do it again for a while. I had one of my closest friends remind me that this is a temporary thing…
“Most importantly, Natasha… In your, case you are telling the truth. You *have* done the things you say you’ve done, you do have those clients, you have helped those people. And the reason you’re talking about it in this context is so you can do more of it and help more people on a bigger scale. It’s not like you’re stopping random people in the street and saying ‘Hey, do you know what a big deal I am?’ You deserve this. You’ve earned it.”
And just like that… my trigger was uprooted.
Ask yourself: “What situations emotionally reduce me?” and REMIND yourself, each and every day…
“The fact that I have survived my pain, my past, and myself makes me irreplaceable and irreducible.”
Big love to you all.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationships, please look into working with me here.
Thank you for writing about many things I struggle with daily Natasha. Whether it’s confusing doubt with danger, people-pleasing, inauthenticity or refusing to believe I am enough…when these symptoms appear they’re (usually) prompted by one thing and that is my refusal to embrace my own vulnerability.
And yet be vulnerable I must, as you reminded me here. You are 100% right that we “should NEVER, EVER have to pitch [ourselves] relationally” and we must offer our actions, maturity, honesty, character, empathy and confidence up for others’ judgment. If the person judging us doesn’t like what they see, we can take solace in knowing that we are enough. The only judgment that really matters is the one that we make of ourselves, and as long as we have our own back (as you’ve written many times before) we’ll be fine.
As you endure the scrutiny of your pitches, I’m reminded of these lines from “Ratatouille” – “The world is often unkind to new talent. The new, needs friends.” And you have made so many of those here. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Because you’re authentic, you have nothing to hide. I think of vulnerability as being a suit of armour. But it’s transparent. There’s power in it, because most people struggle with being vulnerable, which highlights the fact, vulnerability is a strength. It’s a quality to envy, covet, develop and admire. In a way, it’s something to fear a little in those who can show it, because they are truly dynamic characters, living their lives through pure truth and acceptance. ‘This. Is. Me’ power. Nothing to hide or disguise. ‘Just do you’ power.
And in that moment, we have real presence when we walk in the room. Because honesty and acceptance of ourselves lets us shine. I think vulnerability is when we are able to expose our soul just enough to let those around us know that we are more full of love than fear and we not pretending in any way.
In a world full of falseness, image and ego, no wonder the power of vulnerability is so exquisite.
Have an awesome day being you, Brandon.
Well said Lorelle! Thank you for the kind words.
YES. Love this! xx
I will never be able to read (or watch) that quote without tearing up. Not only because of the emotions it brings up, but because it reminds me so much of YOU + your love, presence, understanding, and support that I am grateful for each and every day.
Thank you for finding me. You have come so far and you know what?… You aren’t refusing to be vulnerable anymore. If what you have shared here on PMS isn’t the definition of vulnerability and strength, I don’t know what is.
Always coming in clutch with the wise words Natasha! I literally went through this exact situation while interviewing for a big job change- I even ended up calling out sick for the rest of the day because my inner demons completely took over. As always, it is so good to know that I am not alone- there are so many other people in the world who experience some of the same challenging “self” situations. Thank you for all the reminders.
Thank YOU so much Eryn for sharing your experience and affirming that I’m not alone 🙂 It means everything to me. You are never alone soul sis, and I’m so sorry that you had to experience it too.
Thanks for being you.
Love you. xoxo
Natasha… as usual this post couldn’t come at a better time.
Thanks to you and your No Contact Contract book, I have successfully completed 50 days of no contact and have actually genuinely gotten over him.
I met someone new and in the right place (outside of work for once!) and we have similar lifestyle and values and he is the one showing interest in me and is never cold, always hot for months and months without fail. He is steadily ramping up his engagement with me and recently I got overcome with fear that I’m not good enough and I’ll make the same mistakes I did in the past and etc.
I had anxiety about being rejected if only he know how “bad” and defective I truly am. That’s why, in retrospect, I would always chase guys that were unavailable. I felt I didn’t deserve more. But I have good self esteem now and feel like I bring so much to the table, but when you meet someone you can really see a future with you can get scared! Because it means so much moretto be rejected by someone you respect and admire and want to be with than someone that treats you like crap already.
I am rambling but my point is that proving to myself that I can go no contact showed me that I can also …. not chase a man. I have been patient and I have been showing him signs of my interest and he is coming closer, it seems, and what will be will be. But I will be OK with whatever happens. I won’t devalue myself by chasing after him. I won’t screw up a potential good thing with my anxiety!
Once again. I’m so glad you feel the things I feel, it gives me so much courage to face the unknown.
You are amazing and your product is amazing, your brand is amazing…
No matter what… never give up. You will create so much more, and we need you to! You do so much for your community.
I am in tears. Your peace, happiness, and success is truly mine. So happy for and proud of you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart – I love you endlessly.
This made my day – You deserve this relationship and all of the good that is going to continue to come your way. xx
Just how I have being feeling lately…and this article could not come at the most perfect time!!! Thank you so much!!???
Happy it helped! 🙂 Thanks Melissa!! xo
Hello sweet Natasha,
‘what’s it like to never feel insecure or scared or triggered or heartbroken? It must be so nice.”
I have no clue how that would be either.
But those feelings highlight the joys in life. They teach us appreciation and how to be grateful. We cannot flatline happiness. I’ve said this before, but the lowest ebb is always the turn of the tide.
Childhood experiences are so powerful- they really can reappear in the most bizarre ways and situations. They have a way of hollowing us out, even though often in the moment, we aren’t actually hollow at all. Triggers are powerful – but they are like ghosts. There – but not there. Rarely seen by anyone else. But they can haunt us.
Ghosts of the past, pretending to be scary today.
My biggest trigger is rejection. I’ve been known to cry like a little girl ( in private mostly, but still!) when I have sensed/ felt or been snubbed/ excluded. It’s a powerful trigger because it can undo me in seconds. Heart rate goes up. Stomach feels sick and I’m overwhelmed with numbing emotion.
I don’t fight it anymore though. And when I stopped, amazing how quickly that ghost of rejection disappears.
Allowing softness and acceptance always allows our triggers to be seen for what they are. Emotional ghosts of yesteryear…or decades ago!
Love your wisdom, Natasha. Always makes me think and connect the dots. Xxxx
Thanks, Lorelle 🙂 I couldn’t agree with you more about childhood experiences <3 Thank you for seeing, identifying with, and empathizing with the experiences that still launch me back to the emotional helplessness of childhood. Thank you for shining your light and sharing how you rose up from your own emotional and relational ashes. You are incredible.
I cannot wait for your next post. Love you. xx
Wow. Just wow. Your vulnerability is so beautiful and courageous!
Thanks Emma <3
Love and appreciate you endlessly. xx
Glad you’re feeling better. Sounds in some ways like a pain contraction.. but it passed. You’re human, you’re a Rock Star, but you’re still human.
We are all behind you in these meetings. Think of us, the entire tribe behind you, literally sitting at the table, rooting for you. You make a difference, more than you know!
Keep doing what you do – your future is great and you deserve it!
Love you xox Christine
I screenshot this the moment I read it and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read it over and over – In the bathroom, in the car, at lunch, in meetings… you name it. I will never, ever forget you or your love.
Thank you for this. It means more than I’ll ever be able to express. LOVE YOU. xx
Love this, I’m honored!
I’ve read your words so often when I was unraveling and about to fall off my white horse.
Great news is – he is married and I am doing good. I saw him in the hall, I said “Congratulations”, smiled and I kept walking.
And I just got a GREAT job offer! I will be leaving here in less than a month. I’m so excited to start a new chapter.
Love you. Love all of you! The support on here is invaluable. You’re a blessing and an asset to anyone and any company.
YAYYYY 🙂 CONGRATS Christine!!
This made my day. I am so proud of and happy for you 🙂 You know your value and deserve it all.
I love you too. Can’t wait to give you the biggest hug in person one day.
I love you and your blog too Catherine 🙂 Thank you! xx
Hello Natasha. All I can say is that is that this is very powerful. I am speechless this time.
Thank you and you are amazing. ????
I get it. Thank you for being speechless – It means that I’m not alone in this weird anxiety I was convinced that I was alone in.
Love you Linda. xo
This blog post and many of your other ones resonates with me so much, it’s incredible. I feel so grateful to have found this blog. Thank you for all that you do. I feel like I could have written this because your past and experiences mirror mine. Wow. Thank you again Natasha!!!
Thank YOU Michelle from the bottom of my heart. I am so happy to help and you are never alone.
Thank you for affirming that I am not/was never alone in this.
Love you soul sister. XO