I can remember your smile. I recall your laugh. We went on adventures together where we chased imaginary cars and closed restaurants. And you, a different you, I know you but we just met. Every time we see each other it’s like time hasn’t passed. I can see your eyes across the table. The creases in your face when you laugh. And you, another you, I remember your voice, soothing, guiding me through the emotional waves. Helping me stay steady. Also you, another you, we danced across the street together listening to honking cars. I’ll never forget you. All of you. sometimes I try to find you. I’m running, panting, and sweating. But you are somewhere else. I can see you through dirty glass. When I try to get a clearer picture my eyes hurt. You are ghosts who are still living. And it hurts me to think about it. But I accept the pain and I cherish the memories.
I'm scared. Anxiety is paralyzing. I feel like no matter what I do; it's the wrong thing. Being judged is scary. Being me is frightening. It's like I can't think straight. I'm scared of being scared. I feel like I'm naked, standing in front of hundreds of people, and they are picking apart what they don't like about my body. It's like I'm sitting in a creative writing class, and everyone misunderstands my poem. One step forward One hundred steps back. Two leaps backward, 900 jumps in the river. It'll be okay. That's what I tell myself. It's okay, even when it isn't. I will always have words. But it's scary when people read them. What if they don't like what I say? What if they think I'm pretending to be scared when I'm actually afraid. I'm not pretending. I wish I were faking it. I want to be acting a part. Things don't seem real sometimes when my anxiety is this high. I hate it when that happens.
I hate showering. There, I said it. When I have depression, getting into the shower feels like torture. I can practice all the behavior activation techniques, and use CBT skills, but I can’t seem to clean myself. Living with a mood disorder is a pain in the ass. You want to do things, but you feel paralyzed. That happens to me when I'm experiencing depressive symptoms. I don't have major depressive disorder either. What happens is when I get burnt out from panic attacks or generalized anxiety I get super depressed. I experience common symptoms of depression: loss of interest in the things I once enjoyed, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, dark thoughts and lack of motivation to shower. So there I am, wanting to clean myself, and feeling scared, lost, and gross. I'm wrapped in a proverbial and real dirty blanket. In the midst of this hygiene crisis, there was a tub at the end of the faucet, or is that the other way around? I remembered that there was another way to wash my body - it’s called “baths.” Sometimes, I get into the pattern of black and white thinking. I envision there’s only one way to practice good personal [...]
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My brain wants to kill me. I don’t think it wants me dead, but it’s trying to tie me up. Every time I want to move it stops me. I want to apply for this job. I want to eat a sandwich or ice cream. No, you’re not allowed to do any of that. Sit down and cry. Be quiet. Be a zombie, and hate yourself. But not enough to die. You should be tortured for the rest of your life. Think about the mistakes you’ve made, and harp on them. Keep thinking about how bad you feel about yourself. You definitely fucked up. You hurt so many people. You lied. You’re a fake, and a fraud. Something is definitely wrong with you. Everyone else can keep a job, so why can’t you? Because you’re insecure. You don’t know your worth. And you question yourself, and think that you need to pay for the mistakes you’ve made. It’s your fault, you know? All of it. Everything you try to do inevitably will fail. You might succeed for a while, until other people uncover that you’re lying. And that you can’t keep your shit together. I’m under here. I’m scared of [...]
Therapy Shaming Is it too early to get couples counseling? No. Couples counseling isn’t just for people who have been together for years and years. You can go into counseling when you’re having problems with your partner within a period of months. It depends on the relationship, and there’s no right answer as to when you’re supposed to be in therapy with your partner. Every relationship is different, and every connection is unique. Some relationships are instant connections. You might meet someone and hit it off right away. You bond, talk for hours on the phone and find that you’re symbiotic. That’s a beautiful beginning. Then, down the line, you begin to notice differences between the two of you. There are things that make the relationship strained, and you can’t seem to work the issues out. That’s where therapy can help. Making it work When a relationship is important to me, I want to make it work. There have been instances where I've been in intimate relationships, and there have been problems. I'm a huge believer in therapy, so I believed that even though we were in the new stages of things, couples counseling could help us. Unfortunately, I never [...]
What do I want in a therapist? I don’t know what I want in a therapist. When I first started therapy, I had no idea what to expect. My therapist was an older woman, and I’ve mentioned her before on this blog; she was kind, and she listened more than she talked. At the time, that’s what I needed, because there were a lot of thoughts racing through my brain that I couldn’t sort through them. I benefited from therapy, but another thing is that I needed some guidance, and I felt like she didn’t give me as much guidance as I would’ve liked. It was hard because being a teenager is a difficult time, but I’m just glad that I made it into therapy and that my parents found somebody. What are my therapist requirements? I’ve been through so many different modalities of therapy. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned a lot about myself. From psychodynamic to CBT, from Gestalt to psychoanalysis, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I relate to the world. I’ve decided that I needed to focus on my trauma before anything else. I started EMDR and worked through some painful experiences. After [...]
Curiosity When I'm first getting to know a new friend, my curiosity is piqued. I want to know everything about them. I'm interested to hear their stories about childhood, where they grew up, their pets, their siblings, the relationship they had with their parents and how it was for them to be a child. I want to hear about heartbreak, funny stories, and things that they've never told anyone. I love hearing secrets. I love being able to share the thoughts that I hid from people as a child. And I find that there tends to be overlap with many people. Open or closed Sometimes people are mysterious. I have a variety of friends, some of them are opened, and others are closed. I love all of my friends, whether they reveal things about themselves or keep them close to the chest. Depending on what we're talking about, I can be open, or I can keep things under wraps. I understand both ways of being. I find it hard when people are private because it's more of a challenge to get to know them. I've had friends who were slower to open up, and it's more rewarding when they do. [...]
Parting Ways It’s not easy to break up with someone. The words “breakup” sound harsh. Whenever I’ve gone through a breakup, it felt like I was falling apart. Breakups are brutal; you’re losing a piece of your life. I had a dream last night where I shared a heart with a man. I felt connected with this mystery guy, but he was pulling away from me. Out of nowhere, a therapist beamed down from somewhere in the universe. Whether it was another planet or therapist-land, I don’t know, but he insisted that I needed to keep my heart safe. My heart was raw and cracked. I ran my fingers over it, and it was prickly to the touch, and that’s how breaking up feels. It hurts, it’s brutal, and that pain is some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. With every breakup, I felt like I would never get over that person. They would haunt me for the rest of my life. But that’s not true. Eventually, I would heal. Breakups are painful During past breakups, I wished that I could press the fast forward button. I prayed for a way to push through the pain, and get better. [...]
Making Art Heals Me Sometimes I’m tired of talking about myself in therapy. It's exhausting, and I feel like I'm talking in circles. How much can I talk about my childhood, heartbroken adolescence, and fragmented adulthood? I know that therapy helps, but it can feel draining. Since I was 15, I’ve been through many different kinds of mental health treatment including psychodynamic therapy, gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, CBT, and EMDR. It's been exciting learning about myself in these various forms of treatment. Each of them taught me a variety of emotional skills. Emotional exhaustion leads to creativity Despite how much I learned by working out my issues in therapy, there have been times when I've been straight up emotionally exhausted. I’m tired of talking. Instead of talking, I want to take my feelings and transform them into something creative. That's where making art comes in. Maybe I'm in a play reciting a monologue or doing a scene. Perhaps I'm sitting at a table in my house making a collage, or (most commonly) I'm sitting at my computer writing a story, blog post, or a poem, I feel alive. Creating something makes me want to make more things. Translating feelings into art [...]
I don’t want to be alone because then I have to think and deal with my pain Being alone is emotionally challenging for me. Sometimes I love having time by myself. It helps to reset my introvert brain. Other times, when I’m anxious or panicking, I don’t want to be alone. I’ll look for ways to be around people, so I don’t have to feel those intense emotions. Anxiety can be frightening. There are many times that I don’t want to be alone because when I’m by myself, I have to deal with my emotional pain. I’ll do anything to distract myself from how I feel. “Call a friend.” That's what I think when I start to hurt; when I feel my heart physically hurt. It feels like it’s bleeding from the inside, but that’s not what's happening. It feels like I’m dying inside. When I am alone, and I start to feel that hurt inside of me, I begin to panic. The panic makes me shake, sweat, and feel scared. I don’t want to be frightened and alone. I don’t think anyone would choose to be scared and by themselves. Fighting feelings I know that I have to fight [...]
Massage My Hands and Tell Me I'm Beautiful Relationships can be downright exhausting. It’s difficult dealing with myself and my emotions, and now I also have to deal with someone else and how they feel? I consider myself to be an empathetic person, but there’s a balance between caring about somebody else and how they feel while also prioritizing myself and my emotional needs. It’s difficult because I value myself and I’ve gotten to a place in life where I’ve come to see my inherent worth. I still struggle with anxiety and depression - anxiety being the more prevalent issue - however, I’m able to know that I matter. I Excitement I want to be with somebody who also sees that I’m worth it. That’s willing to fight for me, that’s excited to see me every day. That wants to hug and kiss me. I don’t want to be a source of frustration to anyone. I want the man that I’m with to love my kids and me and see the good in me because I've been told for my entire life that I’m “too much” and I don’t want to feel like that. I want someone to see what’s [...]
I'm going to make it. I keep telling myself that. I'm back on the therapy wagon. I've been searching for someone who does EMDR therapy. And I found a person. While investigating different kinds of therapy, I found out there was something called "depression therapy." Depression therapy is something that I didn’t know existed. Over the years, I’ve talked about being depressed with my various therapists. I’ve gone through periods where I’ve felt low. But, I wouldn’t necessarily believe that there was therapy that specifically addressed depression. I guess there is. When I was growing up, I heard about the wondrous nature of therapy. My parents told me how it could help with your problems. I started seeing a therapist at age 15, and I was depressed. It wasn’t a fun time. Talking about depression in therapy helped me. It was difficult to talk about the vulnerable emotions that surrounded being depressed. I felt shame for not being able to function at an optimum level. I felt like I was different from my peers and that made me sad. It was difficult to relate to those around me when I was fixated on how down I felt about myself. It [...]
My first EMDR therapy session felt like going on a date. It was hard finding her office, and that made me even more nervous than I already was. It was as if I was trying to find a restaurant where my new date was waiting. I called her frantically trying to find the building, which was seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I was meeting my therapist for the first time - she’s a Capricorn. I’m a Libra. I asked her what her sign was in the middle of quizzing her about herself. I know that therapy isn’t about her, it’s about her helping me, but I like to know a little bit about a therapist before I open up and tell them everything about myself and my life. I’m well-versed in astrology, and knowing that she was a Capricorn made me feel that she must be a dedicated person; she’s committed to studying whatever topic she chooses. She picked EMDR, which means she’s going to be an EMDR expert; this made me happy. It was exhausting going through all of the different things I needed to tell her about my trauma, but I knew that in the end, it [...]
I’ve wondered if I might have entitlement issues. “Entitlement” is a buzzword, and it’s a quality that has bothered me in others, so I want to be conscious of if I may have a sense of entitlement myself. As the youngest child in my family, I wonder if I might be spoiled, which is part of a societal issue where we stereotype the youngest sibling as being doted, babied, and so on. To some extent, in my case, there’s truth to that. My parents doted on me and got excited when I did things like put my pants on by myself as a kid; that was actually a big joke in my family. My dad would exclaim “you put your pants on by yourself!” like it was astonishingly exciting. Now, as an adult, I use that as an analogy because I still get excited over the tiniest of things of things that people do for me. I’ll be like “wow! You got me a soda?! Awesome!” and in my experience, people find this to be strange because they don’t know why I’m excited over something as small as handing me a glass of water, etc., but I think that [...]