Once upon a more productive time, I used to do a catch up blog every month. Ah, the days when life was simple, unencumbered by the wild throws of admiration and attention that sudden success and fame brings. Continue reading “Catchup.com”
Things have been much better around these parts.
Last week started with the amazing news that my visa was granted. Which, based on the all consuming sense of relief and fantastic good feelings that came with it, must have been weighing heavier on me than I originally assumed. I had a few moments throughout the week where I thought I might lose it, but they passed pretty quickly. I got some weird, sad news about my grandfather on Friday that left me pretty worried for my mom, but it didn’t send me into a tail spin like I thought it would. I also started therapy on Friday.
Meeting with a therapist for the first time is a lot like going on a first date. There’s a lot of small talk at first, a lot of awkward answers to questions like “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” “Is there a history of mental illness in your family?” Just like a first date. Except in this date, one person is asking the questions and is sometimes writing notes or giving you confused looks bordering on judgemental. This is the 4th therapist I’ve seen, technically 5 if you count the social worker/guidance counsellor that we were required to see freshman year of college to make sure we weren’t falling behind in class, but who I saw as weekly (or some times 2x or 3x a week). So I’ve been on some strange first dates.
In the weirdest first visit I had, the therapist told me that I was likely bi-polar, and obsessive compulsive, but said it was ok because everyone was to some degree. She went on to make an example by telling me, “Your bangs are covering your right eye just slightly, and so I can’t see both of your eyes fully. It’s really bothering me. In fact, it’s bothering me so much that I want to ask you to put your bangs back with a bobby pin.” And she immediately shot up, got to her desk, pulled off a bobby pin from its package, and handed it to me. I looked at it, like what? * In the saddest first date I’ve had, I showed up in my pj’s with dirty hair, sobbed at an uncomfortably loud volume for the whole hour, and left without paying my bill.
My new therapist and I seemed to hit it off. She had a nice, comfortable office and she let me guide the session and ramble without end, only offering her opinion when I came to a stopping point, which was extremely helpful to me. I think that’s important for a first session, to just get everything out on the table without judgement. She did say one thing before I left that really resonated with me.
“I think you’re exceedingly hard on yourself. I think we should start discussing the idea of ‘good enough.'”
I understand what she means, because I am exceedingly hard on myself. I’m my own disappointed parent. But I don’t like the idea of being good enough. I’ve always been the one that wants to be the best at everything. I want to over-excel and be the most badass at everything I do. And what comes hand in hand with that is a near-paralytic fear of failure. So you can see how well this desire to be the best has done for me so far – i.e. a lot of untouched goals, missed opportunities, nights where I stay awake counting heart palpitations.
I’m slowly beginning to realise that there’s no point in having this drive to be only the best when it prevents me from getting anything accomplished.
However… I don’t think the answer is simply accepting good enough, and not pushing myself. I think the answer is managing my expectations, and acknowledging that mistakes and failure are a part of any process. I shouldn’t be so afraid of what isn’t guaranteed to happen. It’s going to take a lot of work to train myself out of these depressive habits, but I’m looking forward to feeling confident one day. It’ll take baby steps.
AND I NEED TO REMEMBER THIS.
Patience isn’t one of my strong suits. I’m the person who gets irrationally irritated with slow internet, stop and go traffic, long lines, babysitting, making pancakes, etc. My lack of patience is one the biggest hurdles when it comes to getting better with myself.
Take for example, this past week.
Between Sunday and Monday I had a few big talks and I felt like everything was going to be A-ok. Monday was fucking fantastic. I woke up feeling good, I had a good work day, I came home and everything was great – not a single panicked thought and no real worries. Then Tuesday. I woke up optimistic, and by the time I got in bed, I was numb and exhausted. Wednesday, more or less the same. Thursday, no panic attacks, but I felt on edge all day – in flight or fight mode so intense I could barely think straight. Friday, more of the same. I came home, ate fast food, took a shower, and crawled into bed at 8 PM with 2 books and The Wire. Saturday was great until about mid-day when the edge kicked in. I felt better by the end of the night, but there were some bad moments. Today has been touch and go. I did spend about 3 hours on the phone with my mom, which helped a lot.
I start therapy this week, and I’m so relieved to be 4 days away from help that I could cry – well, everything has made me cry today (hooray anxiety + PMS), but this really makes me feel like I could cry. I feel like I’ve dug myself into such a hole that the slightest kick of dirt makes me curl up, ready to be buried. I feel worthless, overwhelmed, and like a big fat pile of sweatpants, fail, and panic. And I’m exhausted of going through each day feeling like I can’t make it. Even making lists – my go to worry reliever – makes my mind race.
It’s hard to convince myself that everything is going to be ok, even though I know it will be. It’s hard to believe that it won’t always be this hard. That I won’t always feel so far behind. That I won’t always feel so paralysed and scared. It’s difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel because I’m so distracted by the now and how I’m not dealing with the now particularly well.
I need to make the half of me that knows I’ll be ok stronger than the part of me that hates myself and thinks it’ll never get better. And that takes time, it takes energy, and above all, it takes patience.