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.

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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.