Friday, 29 June 2012

But, the thing is...

Monday’s session with my psychologist went very well – despite the fact that I was COMPLETELY out of it. I was in such a haze I wasn’t sure what I was saying. It was like I was only partially conscious. Well, at least I remembered the important parts (at least I hope – LOL).

We talked about language and how the words we use to talk to ourselves – and others – shape our lives.
Now, I’ve always considered myself to be an optimist (despite the title of this blog and my recent circumstances).  To learn that perhaps my language has been adversely affecting my life was a bit of a shock.  It’s somewhat like going to Weight Watchers, thinking you eat healthy meals regularly, only to discover that you don’t get enough of the basics – water, veggies and fruit.
Apparently, one of the things I say is ‘but, the thing is’ and then I justify why something isn’t possible or wrong, or why I’ve wriggled out of something.  I noticed I use ‘but’ a lot in my writing, and I’ve been consciously trying to curb that trend; but however, I didn’t realise how often I use it in my everyday language.  My psychologist’s challenge to me is to stop using this ‘justifying’ language.

I’ve tried to be more cognisant of the words I use to talk to myself and others as well. I realised I do put myself down quite a bit, under the guise of self-depreciating humour or some sort of misguided modesty. Why can’t I acknowledge my talents, abilities, skills and goodness?  Why do I downplay my accomplishments to myself and others?  Is it a fear of being ‘un-lady-like’?  Or perhaps, I was told to stop bragging, when I would share stories of my life going well. Even though I know some of the things I said were just matter of fact, sometimes I would brag, out of a need to show that the poor, not-so-little, Hungarian girl, from a modest background was doing okay in this big, bad scary world.
Sometimes, I think my words are about not needing to be the centre of attention all of the time. I know too many people who need the attention focused on them for one reason or another. Those people irritate and frustrate me.  I don’t need to be the star of every event, and I certainly don’t need to share every drama. Perhaps, I’ve taken it too far and stopped sharing my thoughts and feelings – even in my personal life.  I’ve downplayed my emotional and physical pain – sometimes considerably and to my own peril. (I’ve even downplayed my emotional agony on this blog, so even you - mostly complete strangers – don’t know how dark my world can become). Perhaps this repression of negative emotion had a role in creating the complete absence of positive emotion.

Of course, there is an upside to all of this. Now that I’ve admitted I have a problem with my mental and physical health, I’ve been able to take steps to remedy the situation. Obviously, I now see my psychologist, but I’ve also booked an appointment to go to the pain clinic to learn how to cope with my physical pain as well. (I’ve always treated my headaches as ‘background’ pain; now I’ll be able to address the issue head-on).
My homework assignment for the next couple of weeks:
  1. Continue to breathe, focusing not only on the intake of breath, but the exhale.
  2. Remind myself of my affirmation: (inhale) I embrace the now; (exhale) I let go of the past.
  3. Watch what I say. Words are affirmations, and they shape and become my reality.
  4. Write more. Write more. Write more.

‘Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight.’
– Bruce Cockburn

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Visiting my psychologist

About a year ago, I was seeing a lovely psychologist. I thought she was very helpful. But, as loyal readers of this blog know, I was asked not to see her again for various reasons.

Well, I thought it's time for me to take more control of my recovery, so I booked several appointments with her.

At my first meeting last week, I updated her on everything and apologised for my long absence. Yesterday's meeting was a bit more productive. I explained my general anxiety about doing things and my inability to be present. And, her advice was to take a deep, focused breath every 15 minutes or so, just to change my focus to the inside.  Good advice. I've been trying it. (Of course, I forgot when I felt anxiety at the grocery store. Oops!). I hope this will be the start of REAL recovery (recognising that I've probably made some progress, but so small and gradual that I haven't even noticed it).