A Walking Declaration of Everything I Couldn’t Get Right

Am I going to be in therapy my entire life?  I have been going on and off for 17 years, and although there are things about me I have a much better understanding of, I don’t feel any better, anymore confident, any less anxious, any more mature.  I still cry.  I still take everything personally.  I still lash out.

I feel like I haven’t found that one underlying reason that I am the way I am.  EMDR has helped with specific phobias and fears like vomit and letting other people drive me, but this self-loathing, inability to make a decision, fear of abandonment never gets resolved.

Do I just live with it?  Is there a magic formula?  Is it truly day by day?  Will I never wake up one day and realize that I get it, and now everything will be great?  Am I meant to?

Is this where I practice acceptance?  Is this where I take the concept of no positive or negative?  Things just are what they are with no value, no judgement.  Sometimes that sounds so depressing, so boring, so just existing.

I am going to a workshop on cultivating contentment in July, so maybe that will provide some guidance.  I worry, though, about contentment turning into complacency.  I told my current counselor that I am worried that if I become content and accepting of myself, that I will stop trying which will lead to backsliding.  Backsliding into what?  Gaining more weight than I already have?  Becoming more of a selfish bitch?

My mom, friends, and counselor tell me that I need to relax more, but the thing is that I really don’t do as much as I could.  I let my anxiety overwhelm me to the point of exhaustion, and then I get lazy.  When I do accomplish things, I do it in a hypomanic frenzy because I don’t know how long I’ll have the motivation or energy to complete tasks which is often what people see which leads them to believe I can’t relax.  They don’t see all the time I sit on my phone while my 2-year-old watches Bubble Guppies or check Facebook at work.  I could spend more of my lunch breaks taking walks to increase my exercise.  I could create more interactive activities for me and my daughter that will help her learn and cultivate her own creativity, but more often than not I take her to playground and just watch her or put on Bubble Guppies.

Is that the anxiety speaking?  See, it’s cyclical.  I worry too much, and then don’t do anything.  I am paralyzed by the fear of doing something wrong and then the exhaustion that comes from my brain never turning off.

So back to therapy I go.  Back to rubbing on essential oils and yoga (when I don’t make an excuse not to go) and meditation (if I can stop my brain from analyzing whether or not I’m doing it right).

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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?

What Helps? What Doesn’t?

So in the past seventeen years I have tried a myriad of therapy and self-soothing techniques to effectively live with the symptoms of anxiety.  In this blog I’m asking you to comment on what you’ve tried, what’s worked, and what’s been utterly useless in your journey to wellness.

The most effective strategies I’ve experienced have been EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and to some extent hypnotherapy.  I also take Pristiq 100mg which has been the most effective anti-depressant I’ve been prescribed.  I know many people that don’t believe that Pristiq works at all, but it works for me.

Strategies that have been less than effective have been regular talk therapy, couples therapy, Zoloft & Paxil, and distraction & avoidance.

So my hopes are that this post and its comments can be a forum for sharing our strategies in the spirit of helping each other.  We do not exist in isolation.  We are not “other”.  We are not weird.  We are not broken.  Please share, and let me know if this is helpful.