I wrote this over a month ago, mostly as a post-therapy journal entry after our session got me thinking, but after re-reading it I decided to post it. I used a behavior last week that I hadn’t used in almost 6 months. I’m grateful that it hasn’t completely thrown me off, but it has caused my anxiety to increase. That on top of a crazy school and work schedule, which always increase my stress levels, has led to me being incredibly self-critical so this was a refreshing reminder to stumble upon today.
“It’s not you, Melissa. You don’t have to blame yourself. “
I, well ED, rolled his eyes as my therapist said this to me in our session today. We pretty much spent the whole hour trying to figure out why the heck my body image has been so terrible lately because it’s been bad. Like, real real bad. This is the worst it’s been in…probably ever.
We figured out 5 pretty big contributors: classes, the weather, the possibility of needing my meds changed, not following my meal plan completely and the underlying theme in all of this: anxiety. Like an absolute shit ton of anxiety. Everything is making me anxious and then I don’t use behaviors to give myself “relief” and then I just get more anxious. Basically, my life is a hot mess right now.
The problem is that all of the things causing me increased anxiety are things I can’t get rid of. Well that’s a lie, not following my meal plan is something that I could change instantly, and I am going to work on getting back on track because I know that it’s not making me feel any better. But besides that I’m kind of in a catch-22.
These are big things. They’re huge and they cause a lot of people anxiety, people that aren’t also trying to recover. People who aren’t trying to relearn how to live their life. People who aren’t having to battle it out with every single thought in their head and trying to unlearn deeply ingrained, and deadly, habits. This shit sucks. It sucks to have to be fighting this. It sucks to be an anxious wreck all of the time. It sucks to second guess myself in pretty much everything I do. It sucks to say such terrible things to myself, know that they’re wrong, and yet still say them and believe them. It’s exhausting, especially because I’m doing all of it on top of trying to live my life and be a college student. So why can’t I accept these and stop blaming myself? Yes, those reasons are valid and exhausting and I can accept that but I still ultimately think that it’s all my fault. That these things shouldn’t affect me because I spent 3 months in intensive treatment learning how to deal with them so I should be able to handle it all. The funny thing is, I hadn’t even considered the idea of blaming other things. Like, yeah I knew that my classes were giving me anxiety and that all of this would be hard and exhausting but shouldn’t I be able to handle them? External factors play a role but doesn’t it ultimately come down to my choices and what I decide to do?
Logically, yes. Of course it does. I’m a human being with free-will and l know that my actions are going to have consequences of some type. But there’s also the fact that this whole situation sucks nonetheless. It is an inherently shitty situation and no amount of “perfection” or effort is going to change the fact that it was a shitty situation to start with. I didn’t make it shitty. It’s not my fault that its shitty, it’s just shitty and that is okay to accept.
Now only if I could actually convince myself of this. I want to believe it.