In recognising the amount of stress and strain many of us who have this personality put ourselves under, if we recognise how we are currently functioning – and how it is detrimental to our wellbeing (and is making us worse in regards to pain and other symptoms, then we have the opportunity to make changes.
Stress and ‘Type A Personality’ Go Hand in Hand…
Pressure, stress, worry, impatience, control…are just a few things we A Listers tend to have in our lives. I think for us, combined with fibromyalgia and CFS/ME, if we are a Type A (and there is crossover between the two in many of us), we also tend to be hyper aware of everything going on with our bodies.
According to Ashok Gupta, who does amygdala retraining with his Gupta Programme for CFS/ME, Fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities, he believes through a combination of stress and trauma that our central nervous system has gone into Flight or Fright Response.
I have personally just started the Gupta Programme, because out of all I have researched, tried and have not had huge success with, I believe Ashok is onto something huge here. He had (yes, had) CFS himself, did a huge amount of research and came to the conclusion that we are experiencing ‘unconcious amygdala fear’ – Click here for Ashok’s published research paper done in 2000. (I have had a lot of correspondence with Ashok and he believes in his work – and the results – and offers a 100% money back guarantee…you don’t see that with other professionals these days!!!). Hid success rate is very high…and no medication. Bonus!
Here is a perfect example of a situation that happened last night…
Me: Honey, my throat feels really weird and sore and hard to swallow – it feels really tight
Me: I am really worried about it!
(Silence ensues…husband is busy coding for a research study app and I interrupted him. Something I do quite often, whether it is to show him a cute picture or something funny, interesting…to taste something, you get the drift. My husband is a very patient man and I love him to pieces.)
Husband: Why are you worried?
Me: Because I am wondering if it is my thyroid, even though I had my thyroid checked we know it wasn’t the tests really need (and not done through the NHS apparently) and both my grandmother and mother have had thyroid issues… or what if it is throat cancer? I don’t know if I should book to see the doctor (where I try not to go as much as possible), or what I should do… (at this point I’ve already thought the worst…and am getting scared).
Husband: Wow. I would take a sore throat drop and expect it to be gone in the morning – you are in overdrive! Jumping to conclusions, worst case scenarios. Chill out. Have a mug of chamomile tea and honey, get tucked into bed and tomorrow it should be better.
Huh. No wonder my husband is so easy going (Typical B Type Personality!) and sleeps the moment his head hits the pillow. A few weeks ago I asked him before he goes to bed what he thinks about, ‘Nothing’ was the answer. Oh to be like that!
My goal is to retrain my brain and be aware of negative thoughts, catch them, stop them and think positively. But when your head is in overdrive and constantly thinking and overthinking – and for years. Well, I have a lot of work on myself to do, that’s for sure!
(Oh and by the way, the next morning, of course, my sore throat was a distant memory.
Back to Personality Traits…
As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog, originally the Type A and B Personality Traits was figured out by two cardiologists – because they saw a definite pattern in regards to personality types in conjunction with heart attacks. (That would be the Type A peeps – we get stressed out over all sorts of stuff – our minds are on overdrive constantly and we end up creating perceptions and stories about things – and think that we are Superwoman to boot!).
We ‘A Listers’ (as I like to refer to myself) are driven, high achieving peeps and when an illness sweeps in and catches us in the prime of life and we are unable to continue the way we worked, lived, played etc., I believe that it makes us even more depressed, anxious, stressed out…which means insomnia, which in turn creates flare ups in regards to fibromyalgia as well as CFS/ME and the cycle continues…on a downward spiral.
Journalist, Paul Hudson says, ‘The other side of the spectrum includes, well, everybody else. Those grouped mostly towards Type B aren’t as driven or goal-oriented, are more laidback and more careless.
There are definitely benefits to both types, but Generation-Y strongly believes, and for good reason, that Type A personalities are superior.
I, myself, am a Type A personality, so I have no qualms in saying that we are the sh*t; we are. The trick is to be a very rational and intelligent Type A personality.
Unfortunately, Type A’s don’t always come with a high IQ or clearer understanding of oneself. If you are a Type A personality and can manage to control your faults, though, then you have a very bright future ahead of you.’
Here are Paul Hudson’s 25 Things Type A People Do:
(I thought, just for the heck of it, I would add my commentary on each of these! 🙂 ).
1. They don’t procrastinate. They hate the idea of wasting time so they do things the moment they come to mind. Why wait and do it later when you can just do it now? (Exactly! For me, if I don’t do something RIGHT NOW I am afraid that I will forget about it – or perceive that ‘it’s one more thing that needs to be done, might as well do it now to pace myself’.)
2. They always have a task list — a never-ending one. If there is another day to be lived, then there is another set of tasks to be accomplished. (My poor husband can identify with the lists! If we don’t have a list, then we forget about things that not only we need to do, but what everyone else needs to do, too! (‘Needs’ is the operative word here…what I ‘believe’ as stuff that ‘needs to be done’ vs what my husband sees – which is, what is a priority and what isn’t. For me EVERYTHING needs to be done. Like yesterday.) I cannot imagine my life minus Post It Notes!)
3. They have several alarms set throughout the day so they always stay on top of things. They wish they could remember it all in order to save time, but this is the best next thing. (This is the one thing I don’t identify with…I have a tendency to turn off alarms I have set because I am busy doing a task and don’t want to be interrupted! In saying this, when the alarm goes off in the morning, it drives me bonkers when hubby constantly presses the snooze button – for an hour. When the alarm goes, I am up! I cannot understand why he just can’t set the alarm for an hour later – so we can sleep…for another hour (especially if I just fell asleep to begin with!!!)
4. They have trouble understanding the stupidity of others. They don’t believe themselves to necessarily be exceptionally gifted or genius. So why is it that they are competent when almost everyone else seems like a moron? (See above re husband and alarm clock).
5. They don’t understand the concept of not being capable of doing something. To them, if something can physically be done, then why would they not be capable of doing it? If they need to learn something, they will. (Yep. And a broken ankle later, due to deciding to go into the garden and pull a weed out of the rockery at 6.30am one fine Saturday morning. Because I just HAD to get that damned weed! I can definitely identify with this statement….and wind up in an accident or increasing pain levels…!). I simply don’t have the patience to WAIT for someone else to help me!)
6. They understand that laziness is a choice. Most people talk about laziness as if it was some sort of disease. Type A’s look at such people as idiots. Laziness isn’t more of a disease than is ignorance. (This is one of the BIGGEST things that I struggle with. I am scared that if the house isn’t clean, the laundry done, food on the table (and many other things) that I am just being lazy. And being lazy is a bad thing (for me!). I have created the perception that if I don’t do x, y and z, that I am lazy (which equals in my mind, useless). I have a fear of being branded with the lazy insignia!).
7. They often become passionate. If they are going to do something, then they are going to do something they believe to be meaningful. If it’s meaningful to them, then it deserves their fullest attention; passion is inevitable. (Definitely! That is why FibroMapp app was created – in order to help people with CFS/ME and fibromyalgia gain more control over my illness and chronic pain – so this is a good thing! (There’s that word ‘control’ again!).
8. …But not always for too long. Unfortunately, because they are so passionate, and because true success takes patience, any sort of early failure easily discourages them. They are likely to pack up and change careers in a heartbeat.
(Yep. Impatience is my middle name! I want it done. Yesterday! And sometimes give up way too easily. In saying that, there are things I will NEVER have patience for…so I have learned to steer clear! (Sewing is a good example of an Charlie Brown ‘Aaugh’ moment). Many things catch my attention and focus…always have done. That’s because there is all these other things that are going on that are exciting and I want in on them!).
9. They can be very emotional. Type A’s seem to be more strongly rooted in reality than most people. They seem to understand the world around them better, and because of this, they are more influenced by the outside world.
Worse yet is that they are just as likely to be found lost in their thoughts — a very dangerous combination. (Yep. I am a very sensitive human bean…and I cannot stop thinking and being influenced by all that goes on in the outside world. In fact, a few years ago I stopped watching and listening to the news – highly recommended!)
10. They’re prone to stressing. Put simply, they worry a lot. They do their best to see into the future and can’t shake the fact that things can always go wrong. Plus, being as passionate as they are makes them dread that ever possible and looming, crappy outcome. ( See above about the news!) This to me boils down to being more positive and believing that things WILL work out! But impatience does tend to rear it’s ugly head still…).
11. Although they know they should take more time to relax, they don’t always find it appealing — and when they do, they simply can’t find the time. For them, they feel most at home working and doing their thing. It’s difficult for them to understand that getting away and slowing down is in their best interest. (Oh yah…Identify bigtime with this one. Relax? Chillax? I can’t stop not only thinking, but hubby calls me his ‘Mexican jumping bean’…I cannot sit still. Ever.)
12. They love sleeping, but have trouble stopping their thoughts from racing. It’s not easy to fall asleep when your mind just keeps on running through thoughts and images. Stopping them is no easy task. (See Number 10 for my thoughts on this, ‘insomnia’ is my other middle name. Hubby puts his head on the pillow and is snoring within minutes. One day I asked him how he does it, he said ‘I just don’t think of anything’. HOW CAN HE DO THAT???!!!)
13. They can muster superior focus. When things need to be done — for Type A’s, things always need to be done — they are able to focus intently and block out the rest of reality. They call it getting into their “zone.” (Yep!)
14. They’re perfectionists. It’s not that they are trying to be perfect, but blemishes, mistakes and inconsistencies frustrate them. They find them ugly and appalling, not being able to allow them to pass their inspection. If they could, they would – but they simply can’t. (Yep!)
15. Doing things efficiently is their first priority. As little time spent getting as much quality work done as humanly possible? If you just got a hard-on, then you’re a Type A personality. (No hard-on. I’m a woman. But everything that I look at that needs to be done I do a quick mental sweep through and figure out the easiest and fastest path forwards. I am a brilliant multi-tasker! Until brain fog hits! Now things get partially done all over the place, at least it starts like that – but I go around finishing what I started….I just get distracted with other things that need to be done! What looks like chaos to others is completely organised in my head! I have a real mental fight in regards to efficiency when it comes to things that require patience as well. The two don’t mix for me. That’s why 2 years ago people got their Christmas presents in a Tesco shopping bag tied up with a gold ribbon. I just could not muster up the patience needed to wrap gifts. I look at it as ‘upcycling’.)
16. They make plans, lots of plans. If you want to achieve something, then Type A’s only find it logical that you should know how to get there. So they make plans. Unfortunately, making plans isn’t always efficient. Once they realize this, they revert to focusing less on planning and putting even more emphasis on efficiency. (See Post It Note reference above…plans require notes!)
17. They center their life on their careers. Their careers are their passion, their purpose in life. Once they figure out what that is, there isn’t much else that interests them. (Yep. From owning a couple of catering companies and restaurants to property development, to being ill (and focusing on that), to where I am currently -and Bodymap Apps and FibroMapp are my passion…because I am passionate about making a difference for other people. I consider myself as a ‘career chameleon’.)
18. More often than not, they feel that they are too busy to be in a relationship. This is sad, but true. Type A personalities often end up alone because they don’t allow themselves to date. They feel that they don’t have the time, so they don’t bother with trying to make a relationship work. (Ok, this I don’t identify with. My hubby is my everything. Making him happy and creating a home for him is very important to me as is being in a loving relationship.)
19. They have a tendency to cut others off in conversation — not to be rude, but to be right. I mean, what’s the point of letting them yammer on with some nonsense when you can just tell them the way it really is, and then you can both move on with your lives, right? (Yep – I am worried about my brain fog now…and forgetting what I was going to say…because it was really, really important (whatever it was!). No matter how hard I try, I struggle with this one – if I don’t say what I need to right NOW then I am scared I will a) forget it or b) the opportunity will pass. I MUST SPEAK. NOW!
20. They love the spotlight. Some may call them attention-whores. (I would say not so much the spotlight, but certainly love/crave appreciation and recognition when I do something well.)
21. Always having a plan for the worst-case scenario is a necessity. What’s the worst possible thing that you can possibly imagine happening to you? You losing your job? Your pet Pooky getting run over by a car? Cancer? Armageddon? Yup, they have a plan for that. (To the point that I spent the Millenium in my apartment, alone with my cat and with my ’emergency supply kit’ armed for complete crumbling of the world at midnight January 1st 2000. All my friends were out partying, I was waiting for Armageddon. Hey, I was a Girl Guide – the motto is Be Prepared!)
22. They walk fast and with a purpose, doing all they can to avoid lines of any sort. To them, walking is getting from point A to point B in order to do what needs to be done at point B as soon as possible so that they can move on to point C. If you’re out for a leisurely walk, then find a park. (Or hobble…not quickly these days…but when I am on a mission, I stick to the plan…(Unless it’s going to a grocery store (which I rarely do…so when I do, it is a ‘special occasion). I do love to look at all the new things and trying different foods.) I don’t ‘dilly dally’. And it drives me up the wall when I’ve gone shopping with friends who take their time going through clothing rack by rack, ‘just looking’. For hours. Yep, I don’t go with them anymore – for my mental sanity!)).
23. They are punctual and expect others to be the same. Other peoples’ time is worth respecting. The sooner you’re in, the sooner you’re out. That’s what she said. (There’s punctual and then there is just ‘too damn early’. I’ve been known to be close to an hour early for appointments, just because I wanted to ensure I got there on time. When we have to go somewhere as a couple, there is a discussion of the time we think we should leave. My estimation is usually way to early and hubby’s not enough time to avoid things like accidents, roadworks, car breaking down, getting lost… So we tend to meet in the middle of his time to leave and mine (and get there generally with time to spare…most of the time!)).
24. Doing things with a purpose is the only way they know how to live. If there is not purpose behind action, then Type A personalities don’t see a reason for doing it in the first place. They understand that actions are only worth the goal they are trying to achieve. (This statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Once I became ill for several years I had no sense of purpose whatsoever. And that made me depressed, unhappy and angry.)
25. They love solving problems and believe there is always a solution. They believe the world to work in a logical manner – minus the illogical creatures that live in it – and therefore, believe that there must always be a solution for every problem. For the very few that may not have a solution, they should be forgotten. (Definitely. In fact, I learned a great tip from a teacher years ago – don’t present the problem until you already have a solution in place. However, if we are talking about a jigsaw puzzle to solve – forget it! I don’t have the patience (nor the sense of perception!)).