If I Get It All Down on Paper It’s No Longer Inside of Me Threatening the Life It Belongs To

I started back in counseling in April.  At my last session my counselor told me my homework was to “process my shame.”  Of course she didn’t tell me how exactly to go about doing that.:/  My shame isn’t really about anything I have done.  It’s about who I am.  I broke down when talking about my daughter because even though I am not the best mom, I suck at everything else.  At least that’s my core belief at times.  Or more accurately I believe that everyone else believes that I suck.  And if everyone else believe I suck, then two other things must be true: 1) I really do suck and 2) I am worthless and have no love.

So I spent the afternoon writing all the ways I suck in order to “process my shame.”  Here it is.  Maybe you can relate.  There’s really no words of wisdom that accompany this or happily ever after epiphany of self-confidence, but I am somewhat calmer than when I started writing.  And tired.

I suck at being a girl.  I should care more about appearance and take the time each day to shower, do my hair, makeup, shave, wear jewelry, and make sure everything coordinates.  I should plan my meals and only eat clean healthy foods and exercise everyday so that I am trim.  I should be able to drink a socially acceptable amount of alcohol without having it affect my weight.  My nails should always be perfectly manicured and pedicured.

But I am none of those things because I like to sleep.  I like to spend time on Facebook.  I am too lazy to be a proper girl.  Not proper like Emily Post.  Proper like socially acceptable, accepted, liked, popular.  The kind of girl my husband wishes I was.  I am a consolation prize.  I am what people settle for when they can’t do any better.  I am always trying to make up to people that I am what they ended up with.  I spend too much effort and money on trying to make my husband happy.

This leads to the belief that I suck at being a confident, empowered female.I should have left him when I found out he had cheated on me.  A stronger, better woman would have realized her worth and left.  But I didn’t, and now I’m stuck.  Because I suck.  Because I suck at being a friend.  If I had more friends or more accessible friends I would have the support I had needed to leave.  I would have had somewhere to go.  But I suck.  I’m not fun enough.  I don’t go out as much as I should.  I don’t find joy in the right activities.  Standing too long at concerts hurts my back so I want to leave early.  I’m not doing enough.  I like to eat and talk too much.  I care too much what others think but at the same time I don’t care enough.

I don’t have a real identity.  Even my handwriting is inconsistent.  It sucks.  I can never be 100% real.  The “overseer” in my brain is constantly reviewing, judging.  Even while I write this I wonder if it’s poignant enough, visceral enough, relevant enough.

I half-ass everything.  I get so tired from my brain that I stop caring.  I care so much that I am too tired to care.  And I just want to go to sleep.  Or watch The Simpsons.  Or The Cat in the Hat on PBS.  I pretend to watch it for my daughter, but in reality I find it comforting.  And these days I will do anything that makes me feel comfortable.  I just want to be comfortable, warm, accepted.  I don’t want to plan or rehearse everything I say and do.  That’s why I like tequila.  I don’t care about what I say and do when I’ve had a margarita.  I understand now how people become alcohol dependent.  When you are so full of anxiety and intrusive thoughts that you will do anything to quiet your mind.

And now I need a nap, or just a chance to lay down and stare at the sky, or lay down next to my daughter.  I am comforted laying next to her while she’s sleeping.  Listening to her baby noises.  She is still perfect.  She doesn’t know how messed up mommy is yet, and my hope is that she never does.  I know the husband doesn’t want my issues to affect her, and he judges me because I still have anxiety attacks and lose my temper.  He has told me that I don’t have that luxury anymore.

 

Hmm.  Maybe I’m not the one who sucks.

So You Found a Girl Who Thinks Really Deep Thoughts

WARNING: This post is random and disjointed.

I feel I should write more, but I get bogged down with the details, wanting my words to be linear, profound.  Instead my thoughts get disjointed.  I have scraps of paper with questions, phrases, small paragraphs.  Instead of trying to write anything cohesive, I am sharing my randomness.

Questions I ask myself:

Do most people with anxiety also have low self esteem or lack confidence?

I sometimes wonder if I have an antisocial personality.

I wonder if because I know I overreact if I give people more leeway than I should.

Paragraphs:

When things aren’t going my way, and I feel like I have no control, I feel this constant uneasiness. Discomfort.  Tension.  I need to compartmentalize and make things better. I can’t stand uncontrollable (in my mind) chaos.  Everything needs to be tied with a bow.  No loose ends.  I need to have the answer or the path to the answer at all times.

I vacillate between wanting to be more open and stand up for myself and then never speak and isolate in my cube.  I was probably initially diagnosed with depression because of this isolation and helplessness.

Are there really people that don’t think all the time?  Is that possible?  Is it possible to have just one moment of complete peace?  I can’t fathom that at all. (Apparently I’ve been spelling ‘fathom’ wrong my entire life.  Thanks, spellcheck).  Adult me is always analyzing every thought, every action, even in meditation.  “Am I doing this right?  I know there is no ‘right’, but am I on the right path?”  “Stop thinking.  Just listen.”  “Ok.  Am I appropriately listening now?”

Do I do anything solely for myself?  I think I do everything either to make others happy or in defiance of others.  Either way, everything I do is solely to elicit a response from someone.  I will never stop caring what others think of me.

I need to stop pulling out my hair.  Will more meditation help that?  I don’t have bald spots, but it’s definitely shorter in places.

What would happen if I deactivated my Facebook?  Would my anxiety and paranoia decrease?  Do all people with anxiety also have some level of paranoia?  My husband tells me that people don’t care enough about me to think about me as much as I worry they do.  He says this is how I am like Sheldon, that I think people are thinking about me, that they do things because of me.  He also has stated that he doesn’t believe I actually have a disorder.  I have to accept that he will never really understand.

My Pandora is on a Ryan Adams kick again.

 

 

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Let go of your shoulders.  Let go of the space between your eyebrows.  Let your jaw drop open.  Let yourself be fully supported by your chair.  Feel all points where you make contact with the chair.  Notice any thoughts and label them as thoughts.  Let them float by without attaching to them. They are like clouds in the sky.  Let go of all that doesn’t serve you.  All we have is this moment.  Breathe it in.  Notice sounds, smells without attachment, without judgment.  Breathe in.  Let it go.

 

 

Namaste

 

There’s Always Some Reason to Feel Not Good Enough, and It’s Hard at the End of the Day

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift-mind/201307/low-self-esteem-missed-diagnosis

I have very little confidence and very low self-esteem.  I wonder if this is due to the anxiety, life experiences, or how I was raised.  So what does a good little anxiety-ridden girl do?  I Googled it, of course.  The article above poses the question in reverse.  Are we as a society over diagnosing anxiety when it’s our low self-worth that is manifesting as anxiety, depression, etc, instead of the anxiety causing low self-esteem?  The author of the article thinks so:

“I often see anxiety and depression occurring as a consequence of low self-value as well. A confident and secure relationship with your own self makes it less likely that you’ll suffer from these conditions (but, of course, doesn’t guarantee it). These afflictions can certainly exacerbate low self-esteem and mask the genuine source of the disorder, as they take center stage”

In the author’s scenario of the young man with social anxiety I see a lot of myself.  I don’t feel good enough most of the time.  I don’t like answering the phone or the door.  I rarely call people.  I’m not at the extreme this young man was, but I tend to isolate when my self-worth gets really low.

So what do we do?  EMDR to challenge our beliefs about ourselves?  Meditation for acceptance?

On another note, if because I know I overreact and feel easily hurt, do I give people more leeway than I should?  Do I doubt my instincts and initial reaction and therefore let people treat me in a way that makes me feel even more worthless?  I know I don’t end relationships.  I’m always afraid I’m giving up before I should or being too something.  Too selfish?  Too emotional?  Too dramatic?  So I stay in relationships that drain me rather than provide me with energy.  I stay friends with people that I dread talking to.  Then I feel worse.  Then I feel bitter.  Then I feel like I’m not good enough to have happy friends.  Friends that are fun.  Friends that want to hang out with me because I’M fun.  Because at this point I’m not fun.  I have become a friend that drains rather than provides energy.  It’s a downward spiral.  Everything with anxiety and depression leads to a downward spiral.

What does it take to get us to stand up for ourselves?  To have the self-worth TO stand up for ourselves?  Why don’t we believe we’re good enough?

Take no more. She practices her speech as he opens the door.

*I use “her” and “she” because I’m a girl.

How many of you feel like your partner doesn’t understand you?  How often do you and your partner argue because your partner tells you that you’re overreacting or that you need to “chill?”  How many of you feel hurt much of the time?  Worry that you’re paranoid?  Analyze every situation for fear of being caught off-guard by something unpleasant?

When a person has anxiety and her brain never stops thinking, she can never decide if the hurt she feels is warranted.  If she has been actually wronged or if it’s just her anxiety catastrophizing the situation.  She wants to be able to “just chill,” but for some reason she was specially picked by genetics or some higher power to have a brain that is in constant go mode.  Her brain MUST consider every option before making a decision for fear of missing something.  And even on that rare occasion that she can make a decision, she will still worry that she missed something and not be able to stop perseverating (I love that word) over “what if…”

I wonder if women that stay in abusive relationships have pre-existing anxiety or depressive disorders.  If one of the reasons they don’t leave is the consuming fear that they’re overreacting and will regret the decision because they’ve been told over and over that they make no sense, that they’re irrational.  I often find myself in situations (in various aspects of my life) that I think I should leave, but I don’t because I’m waiting for that one clear sign that is objectively, definitively wrong.  That no one could deny is wrong.  I rarely find anything objectively and definitively wrong.  Do we with anxiety put up with more assholish behavior because we worry that we’re overreacting?  Do some of the people in our lives know we’ll put up with it and act more like assholes because of it?  Do they know they’re hurting us?  Do they mean to hurt us?  I hope not.

I have no great wisdom. I have no answers.  So right now I do nothing, make no decisions, feel weak and worthless.  I re-post other, more inspiring blogs and listen to a lot of late 90’s/early 2000’s angsty female rock.

There’s So Much Left To Learn And No One Left To Fight

Keep in mind while reading this that I am fully aware of how absurd and totally counterproductive my thoughts are.

Last week I had a mini heart to heart with someone, and for the first time in a long time truly felt understood and not judged.  I was reviewing a case with my supervisor, and multiple times he commented that I was unusually quiet and wondered if something was wrong.  I denied anything being wrong.  After the case review we were randomly chatting, and he asked again if something was bothering me.  I stated that I felt that I can be annoying to my coworkers by talking too much and therefore was currently choosing to keep to myself unless someone wanted or needed to talk to me.  He stated he understood, but historically speaking, that strategy doesn’t work long for “someone like me.”  Someone like me being, in his words, a happy, bubbly person.  I may attempt to portray this personality to others, but, as my husband has told me, I am a very angry, resentful person.

Anyway, my boss basically said that attempting to keep to myself would most likely backfire on me because that’s not the type of person I am, and I was letting my fear of being disliked by my coworkers negatively impact my behavior and thoughts.  What we eventually got around to is that in my attempt to control my environment, I subconsciously yet purposely sabotage events and relationships essentially making everything I fear a reality.  When I said that I’m constantly trying to control situations because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, he pointed out that most times there is no other shoe.  What’s more, if there is another shoe, am the one pushing it off the shelf.

I’m so worried that I’ll be caught off guard by something bad that I almost make it happen so that I have the control.  I’ll hurt me before you can hurt me.  Because if you hurt me, that will prove to me that I’m not good enough and I’m not worth NOT hurting.  So I sabotage everything good because of the paralyzing fear that it will go bad anyway.  Because I’m broken.  Or so I think.

But the thing is, I’m not.  Tonight while conducting a counseling session with a client very similar to me (anxious, self-sabotaging, belief of not being good enough) I had a mini epiphany. (Notice everything is “mini.”  Why is that?)  I’ve had this epiphany before, and I’m positive I’ll have it many times again.  I’m not broken.  None of us are really broken.  We may have flawed thinking.  We’re insecure, and we make mistakes, but none of these traits equate to brokenness.  They simply mean we are human.  As such, we are not perfect.  That is what it means to be human.

I am no less “good” than anyone else.  I may have a different thought process, a different work process, a different approach to life, but that in no way means that that other person is any better or any more “right” than I am.  In grad school I saw classmates stressing about papers and midterms.  I worried that I was not worried enough about these things.  My husband asked what my grades were.  When I told him my grades were A’s, he said, “Then I think you’re doing it right.  Did you ever think that the people who are so stressed are the ones that should change their approach?”  This doesn’t mean that my classmates were wrong.  It just means that I wasn’t wrong either.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s the same.  We all struggle just in innumerably different ways.  I will continue to make mistakes.  I will have many more moments of self-doubt, even self-loathing.  I will continue to drive my husband to the brink of lunacy with my clinginess and need for reassurance.

But I am not broken.  I am human.  And so are you.  And we are wonderful.

We Believed That We Could Change Ourselves, The Past Could Be Undone

I have this incessant need to have people like me. I insinuate myself into situations in order to have the most exposure to others, especially coworkers and friends of friends. I am annoying. I annoy myself. I worry that when two or more coworkers are talking in a whisper or low tone, they’re talking about me. I think often that I am purposefully excluded from work social happenings or friendships.
I have minimally attempted to leave people alone, keep to myself, only speak when spoken to or when I have a question or concern. Basically not try so hard to be liked. The adult me knows that if I just “chill out” ( as the hubs tells me daily) and stop trying so hard, life will be much easier and more enjoyable. Not everyone has to like me. And, better yet, it’s totally okay if some people don’t like me. “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” But needy teenager me is highly sensitive to and paranoid about rejection.
I was somewhat bullied in high school, except that’s not what it was called back then. It was just called high school. For most people, high school kinda sucks, but those people get over it. I’m a big girl now. I SHOULD be past that. I’m a married woman with a Master’s degree, a house, and a car. I have some good friends. I SHOULD NOT care about high school or coworkers or whether or not people like or include me. But I do. And, as my mother-in-law’s pastor once said, there is not a Book of Should.
So what do I do? How do I get adult me to have more influence over my behavior and thoughts than needy teenager me? I have no clue. I don’t believe in one ultimate solution or answer. So I meditate. I go to yoga. I take my meds. I try to keep to myself (mostly doesn’t work). I tell myself over and over that people don’t have to like me, and maybe if I stop trying so hard, more people will want to spend time with me. I stop seeking acceptance from others when I know I don’t totally accept myself. I stop believing that the decisions other people make have anything to do with me because I am not the center of anyone’s life except my own. I stop expecting unreasonable responses from people I know will never deliver, and I accept who they are because I want them to accept that this is how I am.
I have tons of self-help books that I’ve only partially read, but I hear they are good. One of them is “I Need Your Love. Is That True?” I attempt to implement the strategies I HAVE read in that book (about 4 chapters). But it’s a good question. Do I need your love? Probably not. I need MY love of myself. I need the love of my higher power, which I know I have. Before others can love and accept me, I have to love and accept myself. ALL of me.
We are human. Our neediness, clinginess, flaws, moods, mistakes, they are what makes us wonderful and beautiful. We are perfectly imperfect. Now as soon as I figure out how to start believing that, I’ll let you know.
P.S. As another example of seeking acceptance, I have my husband read most of my blogs before I post them.  I want him to read them and finally “get it.”  But he doesn’t, or more accurately he doesn’t get it the way I want him to.  And he won’t because that’s not who he is.  And I have to accept that and stop expecting him to suddenly be someone he is not.

God Help Me. Am I the Only One Who’s Ever Felt This Way?

I don’t remember the last time (if ever) I was able to focus on one thing at a time.  I’m sitting in a very useful training for my job, and the trainer is very good, but I’m also thinking about this blog, wondering if my coworker like me, figuring out the best route to the vet after work, and worrying that my eye sight is getting worse.  My brain never stops, even during meditation and hypnosis.  This is probably why I constantly have to pee so much at night, because my brain needs something on which to focus, and that’s the only thing on which it can focus.

This leads me to wonder how many people with OCD and Anxiety Disorders have co-occurring AD/HD.  How many of you have felt this way?  Have you felt that you couldn’t pay attention to one thing at a time?  Have you gotten distractedly fidgety in meetings no matter how interesting or important the topic was?

Because when a question pops into my head, I have to figure out the answer, I Googled OCD and AD/HD.  I found a really interesting article by Amitai Abramovitch, PhD, & Andrew Mittelman that after reading had me going, “duh.”  The biggest thing that I believe should have occurred to me being a Professional Counselor is that OCD is a disorder of Compulsivity while AD/HD is a disorder of Impulsivity.  This being said, the article states that 21% of children and 8.5% of adults have both.

So go here and read this article and let me know your thoughts and if/how you’ve experienced this:http://ocfoundation.org/default.aspx?id=3043