“I finally knew I was worthy...” Ana's faith helped her come to terms with her past and choose life & love over death.
In the third episode, our guest is Ana Cukrov from Croatia. A mother of five and a very dynamic individual, she has explored multiple industries professionally. She is a trained psychologist and has worked many years as a counselor. Ana is committed to living a free and meaningful life no matter her history and helping others to do the same.
Awareness is still her first step in responding and living a more balanced life, even with anxiety. By sharing her personal experience and journey of self-awareness, Ana explains how it leads to self-acceptance, freedom and ultimately reduces anxiety. Ana shares how she does not believe that suppressing or ignoring anxiety is the best way to deal with it.
In the first part of the podcast, Ana recounts growing up with anxiety, her past traumas and how these experiences gave her a chance to improve both as a person and pursue a career to help others struggling with similar emotional states.
Ana talks about how setting unrealistic expectations of others can add to anxious feelings. Because she lived with very loving grandparents, she expected the same from her parents, which they failed to provide. Living in a highly dysfunctional and abusive family exacerbated her feelings of being left out and isolated from everyone else.
Learning to cope with the overwhelm of anxiety was a slow process for Ana. Her journey involved reading more about anxiety to get a sound understanding of the condition, engaging with people who cared about her and immersing herself in traditional faiths from varying world traditions.
You need to really accept and actively engage with anxiety. At one point during the interview, she says, “I finally knew I was worthy.” Her faith really helped her come to terms with her past and choose life over suicide.
Characteristics of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, how they generally present in relationships and maintain connections with others around them is described through Ana's experiences with her mother and husband. As Ana lived with one both at different times throughout her life, she offers her insight into how to deal with them and, most importantly, herself.
In the last part of the podcast, Ana talks about how life feels with less anxiety, and she describes it as - Freedom. Now, Ana feels that she can do whatever she likes and appreciates that anxiety has provided a window to explore various aspects of life – how to learn and grow with it. She feels grateful to have been given this perspective on life.
• [02:27] What about herself is Ana most proud of today?
• [06:09] Ana talks about her journey towards self awareness
• [08:26] Ana shares her story of growing up with Anxiety
• [11:42] Biggest trauma in her life and how it shaped her future (both personally and professionally)
• [17:42] Ana discusses unrealistic expectations and how she dealt with her anxiety
• [22:10] Ana recounts the relationship with her twin sister and how it helped her have a better association with everyone else
• [24:45] Loyalty as high functioning anxiety
• [26:13] The fear of loss: How Ana dealt with her fears
• [28:03] Ana details her journey towards self realization
• [29:25] Ana gives some background on her experience with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
• [31:15] How Ana tackles Anxiety
• [35:54] How change looked over time
• [39:03] From being at rock bottom and wanting to die, how Ana got to where she is today
• [43:58] How life feel with less anxiety
• [46:44] What anxiety has taught Ana about herself
Narcissistic personality disorder