Changing my thoughts for the better

Here I sit, at a round table within a historic stone library nestled in a small New England town. The library is having a book sale today so I had to climb an old wooden staircase in order to get away from the frenzy of people searching for bargain books. The librarian and I are the only people in this cozy children’s room. I’ve never been to this library; however my son’s soccer club has brought me here. I intended to write report cards but I don’t have the necessary form so I feel unhurried, with time available to focus on my blog.

I saw Lynn at 8:00 am this morning. She fits me into her private practice on Saturday’s. I’ve been descending the stairs to her home office for about a year and I cannot believe that it’s taken me so long to build a trusting relationship with my therapist.

I could go 2 ways with this post:

  1. What the fuck is my problem that it took me so damn long to have confidence in this particular therapy? The post would focus on my blatant and ridiculous flaws.
    Or
  2. Recognize my progress with therapy. Celebrate the giant steps I’ve taken and look forward in this journey of healing my spirit.

The precedent would be to choose #1, based on historical patterns that I can easily list negative thoughts about how fucked-up I am. I will not entertain this old pattern any longer. It is self-sabotaging and not productive.

Oh, what the hell? For old time’s sake I will give short due to these feelings, if nothing else but as a way of distinguishing them from my newfound “mindful awareness.”

Here goes:

  1. The self protective walls I’ve built around myself are impenetrable. I never learned to expose myself to others for fear of being hurt and rejected. If I let someone in, they would see my flaws, my shame and guilt and surely I’d be judged as harshly as I judge myself. These thoughts are so imbedded in my brain that even when I voluntarily seek therapy, and go each week without someone twisting my arm, my fucked-up self does not know how to get the help I need.

I have this crazy thought, I should just fix what’s broken. I know exactly what my problem is. I grew up hating myself. I should just let it go. It’s simple, right? Maybe for you and them but it’s not as easy for me.  I’m beyond help.

My thoughts and feelings are deeply entangled in my mental illness and I’ll probably never be cured.

I’m on a roll with this train of thought. It’s so comfortable for me to berate myself. I want to continue. I want to write about how long it took for me to construct my sense of self and how nearly impossible it is to untangle fact from fiction.

STOP! I must learn to see these thoughts for what they are and so, I move onto #2;

  1. (#2 really, but I can’t edit it!)I have fabricated my life with amorphous things called thoughts and feelings but what are they, really? There is no truth to my thoughts of guilt and shame and yet I have allowed them to shape my life. I have conditioned my mind to hold itself separate from others. This has affected the way I connect with others, including the relationship with my therapist.

Truthfully, it is okay that it’s taken a year to let down my guard and share vulnerable feelings.

I will go further and boldly venture to say, I am making progress. I am beginning to see what is before me and not believe my historical interpretations that are riddled with self-judgment and negativity.

The practice of mindfulness is helping me investigate how I look at things and how I view myself.

The book I’m reading teaches me that my thoughts lead to emotions and my pattern of self-blaming thoughts has caused an undeserving feeling of guilt. I must begin to recognize my thoughts don’t represent reality. I will learn to recognize they are only thoughts; that these learned thoughts are arbitrary, nothing more.  Not realistic.

Ultimately, awareness of these thoughts will cause them to lose power. I will no longer be swept into a miserable psychological state of mind.

Realistically speaking, I will also depend on antidepressants to help me on this journey. Every doctor, therapist, psychologist and psychiatrist has told me so. The chemicals in my brain do not properly fire the right neurotransmitters in my synapses. Whatever the fuck doctors mean when they say this shit, I really have no idea except it sounds so technically correct – who can argue?

I hate to end on a bad note but, here’s the million dollar question, Is it the right antidepressant cocktail or my wilfulness to change my thoughts in a way that will transform my emotional health?

Daylily 2012

10 responses to “Changing my thoughts for the better

  1. Maybe it will be a combination of your will to change and the right antidepressant that gives you what your body needs to be able to face the things you need to face. Maybe the right antidepressant will make it possible for you to set your will to make the changes you need to make, to see the things you need to see and to do the things you need to do. Perhaps they work hand in hand. You ARE making progress and that’s outstanding. You should feel proud of yourself for fighting this fight. It’s not easy. But you are moving forward. Good for you!

    • Thank you so much for your comments. I know you are right but it is so hard to change thoughts that I’ve grown up telling myself. My issues are deep and I know I need the help of antidepressants so I accept it BUT I also feel less than perfect for needing the help. AHHH, the stigma of mental illness. It sucks!

      I’m sorry my blog today is full of expletives. I love your blog and you always write so eloguently without the “flowery” language. I hope things are going okay for you. –Daylily

  2. I don’t know how you do it, Daylily. How can you make me laugh, bring me so close to your pain and struggle that I can feel it, inspire me, and challenge me all in the same post? All I can say about you and your honest to God, raw, sincere, all out blog is FANTASTIC! Keep truckin’! You’re amazing.

  3. At least you were able to stick it out with one therapist for such a long time. The first therapist I had I couldn’t stand and changed until I found someone I felt would try and build a trusting relationship rather than ask me all sorts of questions, expecting me to just trust them. After all, trust should be earned.

  4. This is a great post!

    To answer your question, perhaps your antidepressant cocktail lifts the veil, so to speak, allowing you to think more clearly and make positive changes?

  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Daylily, as one who was undiagnosed NEVER went to doctors and revealed until 2009, and then for the first time in my life had antidepressants (started with Zoloft before trying many – that did NOTHING, and I felt so hopeful to be supported chemically in the brain at last, at last to concede I’m not normal) – it isn’t just your wilfulness, no. It is the chemical – the antidepressant. You DO need them.

    I had forgotten mine a few days and was watching TV, saw a centipede eat a trapdoor spider by hacking into its head with its pincers, and I started crying at how cruel it all is – WHY should death be so horrible, why can’t these weird species just put a numbness venom on someone then bite their head off (given we all need to eat) – WHY did it have to be so macabre, and poor Daniel said, “Have you been taking your antidepressants?” and I realised I had indeed forgotten them a few days. You DO need them. I have conceded after DECADES. Just accept that, and then work on the other bits.

    xx N. I feel very much, what you write.

    • Thanks for your sympathetic response. I wish I didn’t depend on antidepressants for my mood — as much as I wish I could stop my reliance on alcohol to numb my emotions. I have developed an inability to balance my own brain chemicals and I must learn to rely more on antidepressants and less on alcohol. I do feel you understand because you have been so honest in your own blog. Thank you for that! xx-Daylily

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