Here I am. I’ve completed week six of group therapy. The bare minimum for what I was asked to commit. By this point I should be seeing some improvement. At this point I should have some tools. From here I should begin to heal. I should be learning something. The benefits are meant to be working their magic now.
It’s still infinitely hard for me to walk in the door. It’s not AS hard as it was because it’s no longer a variable. It is, however, still mortifying to be there at all. To need this. I hate that I can’t handle it all on my own. I’m realizing some truths about myself beyond what I already thought I knew. For example, I never realized how much of my behaviour is motivated by fear and anxiety. I have addressed and accepted that this is not how I want to live, yet I’m still at a loss as to how to change it completely. I’m challenged by being asked not to spend time identifying why I’m reacting in the ways I am reacting, only to pull myself into the behavioural aspect.
People don’t like to hear that depression is a choice, but in effect this is what I’m, hearing from therapy.. No one would dare come out and say that, exactly. But when we talk about a behavioural approach, we’re talking about a shift in mindset when it comes to negative self talk. The issue that keeps coming up for me is self image. The person that I am, both inside and outside, doesn’t seem to match the person that I think I am.
I’ve accomplished a lot in the last five years of my life. More than I sometimes give myself credit for. I quit smoking. I lost a lot of weight. I’ve launched a photography company, created a family, raised a conscientious little girl who is intelligent and thoughtful. I’ve turned my writing from an outlet into a source of income. I’m living the proof that I am a capable and strong woman, but I don’t feel it. It’s like someplace in there it doesn’t translate.
“I lack self-confidence.”
“I noticed that about you.”
I care so greatly what others think or believe about me, I am nearly unable to function. It’s the issue that repeatedly comes up. So then I put it in terms that I can understand; When I lost all the weight, how did I do it? One small change daily. But it was … I’m not going to say easy, it was easier for me when I was working with that. I had a goal. And the goals were small. I only looked as far as my choices that day. I only looked so far as what I was doing minute to minute. This is what they say we need to try with our negative self talk.
But it feels like the things they refer to as negative self talk are truths. And I’m told that the more I work on it the better it will be, the less they will feel like truths and the more they will feel silly.
The parallel was drawn between a person who says or thinks that they’re lazy. How do you challenge it? Do you spend each day looking in a mirror and saying, “I am not lazy”? No. You work at becoming less lazy. You pick up after yourself. You get motivated to arrive places on time. You change your behaviour to match what you want to become. But when what you want to become is abstract, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to challenge the thoughts. What am I supposed to do beyond losing the weight that bothered me? Dying my hair blonde? Splurging to get my eyebrows done? Piercing my lip? All these things I did in an attempt to make myself feel like I’m pretty, and some days I have a bit of clarity, but it takes little more than a sideways glance to send it all crumbling down.
I’m impatient, I know that. Maybe six weeks isn’t enough time. Maybe I’m looking for instant gratification here and I’m unlikely to get it.
I can’t say for sure that I feel much better than I did. I’m proud of myself for learning to drive, for putting myself through challenges that I thought were impossible, for getting my photography put up at my favourite cafe’s…. I am still moving forward, and according to therapy, if I’m moving forward I’m better off than if I’m not.