Day 222: Shhhh!! Fears (in London)

Dear Readers,

During this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, I’ve often written about unhelpful thoughts that contribute to anxiety and depression (called Cognitive Distortions by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT).

Here are some examples of recent Cognitive Distortions (and please don’t tell anybody that I’ve been having these thoughts in the beautiful city of London, where the people AND the sushi really know how to have fun and get around, with amazing modes of transport:



Now, where was I, before the photos of the fabulous conveyer-belt sushi place that my old friend Alexa and her son Alex took me and my son yesterday?

Oh, yes, some cognitive distortions I had yesterday (long after we had said heartfelt thank-you’s and goodbyes to Alexa and Alex):

I should be enjoying this trip, every moment.

If I let my son know how I’m feeling right now, it will be bad for him.

People in London think I’m a stupid, obnoxious, naive American.

If I am not completely vigilant and at the top of my game, bad things will happen.

I should only blog about happy things while I’m away. If I don’t, people will be disappointed in me.

It’s okay to be afraid and express those fears, but not while I’m on vacation! People will think I’m weird, get impatient with me, and stop wanting to hear from me.

I guess it serves me right for thinking I was such a big shot my first few days here …doing great, connecting with people, being a smart tourist, showing my son a great time … Who did I think I was?

For those of you keeping score, the Cognitive Distortions above include the following: Shoulds, Mind Reading, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Emotional Reasoning, Labeling, Negative Filtering, and pretty much everything else on the list.

So, yes, I confess. In the beautiful city of London, where I am meeting up with wonderful people previously known and unknown to me, where the ratio of kindness in the population is the same as anywhere else in my world, and where I am the same person that I am back in Boston (with the same limits and weaknesses), I felt, much to my horror ….


… The Dreaded Thud of Shame (DTOS).

And, as always, there were contributing factors to the DTOS:

Contributing Factor # 1 (iPhone related): I still can’t figure out how to connect my iPhone to the internet safely enough to avoid, in my mind, the possibility of incurring mega-amounts of dollars or pounds.

And that’s a bummer for many reasons, including the fact that I’ve taken some AWESOME photos on said iPhone of wonderful places like Camden, which Alexa and Alex showed us yesterday. And I can’t access those photos, right now, to put in this blog.

But, it’s Google Images to the rescue!



(Not to tempt the fates by bragging, but I think I took — having spied, with my little iPhone — a COOLER photo of the Camden Lock than that second Googly-eyed photo above.)

Contributing Factor # 2 (iPhone related): So far, I haven’t been able to talk to my boyfriend back home, at the end of each day, as long as I would like to, without the fear of incurring mega-amounts of dollars or pounds. (Never fear, though: both my bf and my son are working on fixing that.)

So considering that there were several contributing factors (mind you, I’ve only listed the iPhone-related ones above), why was the Dreaded Thud of Shame (London edition) such a surprise to me?

And yet, it always is.

In ways, I’m glad that The Dreaded Thud of Shame is always a surprise, no matter where and when it takes place.

Maybe that shows that I KNOW, on a deep level, that I don’t deserve to feel it.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our blog post for today.

Thanks to Alexa, Alex, Camden, the good people of London, my son, my bf, and to you, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Day 222: Shhhh!! Fears (in London)

  1. My brother was caught with a $15,000 phone bill when he went to England for 2 weeks last year, although I think most of the charges were incurred during transit through Asia. (He was able to dispute the bill and it was reduced).
    After that episode, when I had a trip to the UK with my son 7 months ago, we found it more cost effective to actually buy a cheap English phone for each of us to be able to call and text each other. As for our iPhones with an Australian phone carrier, I turned off data roaming and phone carrier, and only occasionally linked up to wifi to check my emails about once every few days.

    • Thanks for this comment, Elizabeth. $15,000!! Amazing. I did talk to my phone carrier a few times before leaving the states and I did several things to prevent exorbitant charges from happening (and if it does, I’m sure I can dispute it). Anxiety about this kind of worst case scenario is still coming up, though. The part that is really bothering me is that I can’t use any kind of map application to help us get around London, which has been a distinct disadvantage. I’ll look into getting a cheap phone. Thanks again!

  2. My mother (who I do not speak to anymore, and that is best) once tried to convince me to live in another city, one she preferred and would allow her to visit without boundaries or restrictions. I tried to be cool about it and not get as direct as I would need to.

    However, Mother is not one who listens unless you become uncompromising or brutal, so I then went into a point by point as to why her thinking was absolutely ridiculous.

    She thought my allergies would be better, as well as family support (really never happened, no reason to believe it would be different after 40 years of the same kind of thing going on), and I’d get a job, (never mind that the economy was in trouble ALL over the country).

    So I explained, and this is very relevant to where you are…. I’m always the same person, same biology, same physiology, same skills, same reality…no matter where I am. SO, I work to accept that, and I’m a lot less surprised by being the same person no matter what state, country, situation, or otherwise. 😉

    Being in London…doesn’t mean you are different, it means where you are in as yet un-experienced in that moment.

    Be nice to you! Your readers read you because you are real…every day. ❤

    • Thank you so much for all you wrote here. I found this very helpful. And let’s make a deal: I will do my best to remember to be nice to myself if you will do the same for yourself, too. (I like those kinds of deals.) Also, I appreciate your kind compliment.

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