Setting the intention to heal

Summer mode is here.  I work during the school year but I get a break for the summer months.  I’m drinking too much, staying up late and sleeping until 10 in the morning. My new antidepressants were working for a while and I was curbing my drinking and sleeping well.  But, with summer here all of that has flown out the window. It’s nice that no one really cares because my kids are older and my husband goes off to work in the morning. But, it’s also sad that no one notices my self-destructive ways. Except me, of course. And my therapist, Lynn, who recently told me my drinking causes me problems not the medications or depression, which I have always blamed first and foremost. I might argue that all of it causes me problems but that would be my negative attitude rearing its ugly head. And I don’t want to go negative in this post.

This is the post where I admit I need to make changes.

I am taking the first step by recognizing my habit of drinking wine is counter-productive. It serves an immediate need I have to make it through a typical day, acting normal and appearing in control when, deep within me there has always been a sense of self-hate and shame.

Children with histories of childhood abuse often develop negative thought patterns. They put the blame on themselves, rather than the perpetrator or their parents. It’s a fucked up way to cope with abuse and fears of abandonment (if we told on the abuser, we would be risking more abuse and if our parents knew about the abuse they would stop caring for us because we perceive ourselves as dirty and unlovable).

I’ve always known I hate myself but I have not tried to stop the onslaught of negativity in my head. Quite the opposite, I’ve just tried to hide my secret. My life from the outside looking in shows no signs of self-hate. I have painstakingly masked it with drugs, sex, addictions and needing to be perfect. These days, my numbing-medication of choice is white wine. I drink so that I stop hearing that inner critic. Respite comes when I drink in the form of a mental break from my own self-hatred.

I have low self-esteem, I lack a positive sense of self and my ego is shot all to hell. I believe if anyone really knew me they wouldn’t love me. I have been damaged since childhood. There, I’ve admitted it.

A Taoist philosopher named Lao-tzu once said,

“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

This form of admission is not easy. It goes against my need to show the outside I’m perfect. And I don’t mean perfect as in material goods because that I’m not. I wear jeans, t-shirts and baseball caps. My car has a huge dent in it and I accept that kind of imperfection in my life.

My perfection comes from a need to act intelligent and always have a calm demeanor. I’m thoughtful and empathetic to a fault. I’ve always looked at other’s feeling and easily can mold myself to their needs. This trait that I’ve been burdened with somehow ties into a sense of shame and a need to please others so they will not see my needs. My needs are deeply rooted and complicated and I rarely get them met.

Anyway, I ordered 2 books on Amazon and I have begun re-reading a book I already own (but never delved into) called Healing from Depression by Douglas Bloch. It’s a workbook, of sorts that will make me really think about changing harmful patterns, beginning with writing a vision statement of what I would be like if I really was healthy and well. Not just a woman faking perfectionism.

Here is the inside cover of the book I am using as I begin my intention to heal.

12 responses to “Setting the intention to heal

  1. Your post is very parallel to the one I have forming now, and I could title mine the same as yours if I wanted to. Please do this, sister, what you’re talking about here. Take that step of intentional change. I want to know I’m doing this alongside someone else. Please tell me that you will tell yourself kind and lovely things, and not be afraid of feeling too weird because you are reflecting the truth of your Creator and Savior, not some independent hyper-fascination with self. I want to know someone is willing to step out all by themselves in this knowing they are not alone in that step. I want to know I’m stepping out in this all by myself, which is all I have since there’s no one except a few in cyberspace who don’t even know, but to know that I’m not alone. Will you step out into this? Can I know that as I’m doing it, somewhere someone else is too?

    • You are sensitive and caring in all of your responses to me. I’m not sure I understand your story but you sound like a good man and I would be happy to help each other grow in the belief of ourselves.

      • Well, it would help if I understood my story first, before others might through what I write. Incidentally, I think I get it more than ever before, at least where I’m at now and why. I have a post in formation that I may or may not actually put on my blog, or I may password protect it, because it makes me feel like I’m trying to get sympathy and attention. But at the same time, it’s real. As a leader, I believe transparency is golden, and I have come to understand that great faith in God doesn’t mean the absence of weakness, ultra-brokenness, and the like. I think I just need to get it out, at least it seems that way, to help me step into it. It’s as if the blog world has a place for this that other social media outlets don’t really have…unless I were a part of a special Facebook group or something. Either way, I also must make sure I balance cyberworld with the real world, to not overly lean on electronic fellowship at the expense of face to face contact. That’s my responsibility to maintain that balance. That said, I’m a writer (because this preacher doesn’t have enough outlet, not because he likes to write), so it’s a great outlet.

        Thank you for caring. Bless you sister…you and your family.

      • You need not explain to me nor anyone why you are at the place in your life that you have found yourself. I respect your privacy. I am a very private person and do not have people in the real world that understand the struggles of depression and being a survivor. I have many that love me, though, and I lean on them to feel special. I just need to feel it intrinsically. We are all God’s creatures and deserve to feel equally loved and important. I am on a mission to learn self-love and squelch the negativity I’ve learned from childhood. As to you being a writer that doesn’t like to write — I laugh! Of course you do or you would not be typing away at the keyboard.

        Blessings to you, too. –Daylily

      • (Believe it or not, honestly I don’t like writing :)…it’s truly out of necessity, like going to the gym. I’m thankful for what it does for me, but I don’t like the process, and I wouldn’t take the time to do it if I didn’t need it.) I think part of me has developed a complex because of not having many or hardly anyone to lean on to feel special, as you so well put it. So it’s even more squarely on my shoulders to rediscover that self love. Thanks again, catch you on another post sometime…

      • I know what you mean. I write to unburden myself but wouldn’t it be wonderful to use my words to sew together a romantic love story or a fairy tale with a happy ending? Oh well, it’s not meant to be — I’m too busy working on my own stuff.

        I came across a quote we can try and focus on this week:

        “Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it.”
        Thaddeus Golas

        I will need this in my pocket at every moment because I’m taking off on a trip to visit my narcisstic mother. (More on that when I return).

      • I will keep that quote in my inbox for the rest of the week to remind myself of that, or post it at my work desk. Thank you…and may you be persistent in your attention to this in your visit with your mom. Seems like it will be exercise for your faith and your soul. May God’s grace strengthen you beyond your own will power.

  2. Hi Daylily. I agree that the first step is to make a promise or intention. I don’t live with depression, I’m not going to try to give you advice or anything, but I do understand what happens when we feel hopeless. I thought I’d never be back to normal after only two weeks of being so sad. I thought it had ruined me. But remember the ability of the human spirit to start fresh. Every day is a new beginning where you can make the intention again and again, until you are really living the intention. I’m thinking of you but most of all I know you can do it, and I have no doubt that although depression is a horrific thing, it has given you then gifts of understanding, empathy, kindness and compassion that so many don’t have.
    Lots of support from me and I’m sorry for not coming here and supporting you more.
    DCG xx

    ps. You wrote a post ages ago where your therapist canceled because her cat was sick, or something like that, and you were writing about how annoyed you felt (it was a bit more complicated than just being ‘annoyed’ but you know what I mean). Anyway I just wanted to tell you that it struck such a massive chord with me. When my therapist answers his phone during the session I say ‘no problem’ and smile and look around the room but inside I feel so annoyed, but I can’t explain why. You’re the best x

    • I’m smiling that you visited my blog. I’m honored — truly. I know how much you have going on right now so thank you.

      My world is good right now. I’m listening to my inner voice and responding in ways that honor myself and still allow me to be empathic and compassionate. It’s a balance of giving to myself as much as I give to others. This has been no easy feat because I am on “vacation” helping my narcissistic mother post-surgery. Not only that I’m also around my brother — the perpetrator of the childhood incest I endured. But, I’ve forgiven both of them for the crime and the enabling of the crime. They don’t have any power over me anymore. What I have to do now is forgive myself, which, quite unfairly, I haven’t done. I should have stopped the blame and shame years ago — now I am ready!

      The nerve of your therapist to answer the phone during your session. It’s like saying, “Excuse me I have someone more important than you to help.” I would have felt belittled and annoyed. GRRRR! But, I’m not sure I would speak up — it depends how feisty I was feeling.

      Keep plugging along on your book. I know it is going to be fabulous! –Daylily

      • I drop by quite often actually but it’s hard to keep track of all the blogs I want to read and then remember to revisit them later that I rarely leave comments, but I’m always lurking 🙂 In a good way.

        He asked if it was okay but it still felt weird. OH one time with a counsellor ages ago, she had to answer the call as it was an emergency. A friend of hers had discovered her partner after he had attempted suicide and was obviously wailing down the phone at her. They both thought at this stage that he was dead. I just sat there in complete shock while this conversation went on and on. That, I thought, was fairly not okay. What do you think? I never know whats okay or not and never know who to trust or even if I should trust myself so I’m always at a loss. But that was really weird. I cried for that man the whole way home.

        Anyway sorry for rambling on. All my love and support to you daylilly you’re a special person and special to me because you were one of the first, if not the very first, people to pop up and say hi on my blog. Thanks for that.

      • I would have cried the whole way home, too. The counselor probably should have spared you from hearing the trauma of it all. But, hindsight is always 20/20.
        I have issues around trust, too. It takes time to lower the wall protecting me but I’m getting better at doing it by allowing time to trust my intuition. “Time” can be months or years. Rarely days! To be my close friend, in real life, you have to prove your trustworthy and will never judge me. That, my friend is not easy to find. I can count my friends on one hand, not including the thumb! And even then, I don’t talk about my issues around self-acceptance. That’s a vulnerable topic I’m not ready to expose. –Daylily

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