I went to see Kent today. I did what you suggested, KC, and took my blog in for him to read. He laughed in all the right places and nodded in others.
We took time to catch up on what had been going on with me since the last session which was before Thanksgiving. As always, he was very supportive and encouraging. I told him I was really trying to take charge of my life and that things were going really well in those areas that we had discussed previously. Tom and I have since gone to a marriage conference that was amazing. He and I are also working on our budget, and that is going relatively well. And, lastly, I don’t feel stress about committments.
So, as I told Kent, on paper, things are going really well. So why am I all knotted up all the time?
WHAT?!?! Guilt? Me? Never! But, let’s explore that a bit.
The “shoulds” have been creeping back in my thoughts and words. Not good. I even said it several times during our session. DOH!
Kent used the analogy of a nuclear plant. I have successfully removed the big tower-thing. All sorts of huge things in the last year made up that tower. The bipolar diagnosis, changing my lifestyle, realizing my limitations, etc. Now that the tower is down, there is all this nuclear leftover crap. (He used another term, but I won’t share that with you.) The crap has been there all the time, but you didn’t notice it because you have focused on the tower, and now there’s this “stuff” to deal with.
Well, by not dealing with this stuff, I’ve felt guilty. Guilty because I don’t feel like I deserve it, and because I can’t just enjoy it. At first, I had a hard time with his “diagnosis” of guilt. But, as he explained it, I’m thinking about all the great things that are happening in my life, and yet, I feel as though I have fallen short on my part of making it happen. I’m focusing on my faults (my “shoulds”), wondering why I can’t be a better person.
Yes, I know. Most of you that read this, love me. You think I am a great person. And, please know…that means the world to me. I know I am blessed to have such wonderful and supportive friends and family. But, just writing this blog today makes my stomach hurt. It’s like my my head is telling me, “Come on, girl. You know better than that!” But, my psyche? Not so much. So my body is in this tug of war.
So, Kent has given me homework. I’m to write 50 words that positively describe a person. He told me what we were going to do with them, but I’ve forgotten what he said. I did ask him if he was going to make me sit in front of a mirror and tell myself how I’m a good person, like Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live. I thought he would laugh and say “no.” He didn’t. I know I raised my eyebrows in a “you’re kidding, right?” look. He said that he didn’t used to believe in the whole “positive affirmation” thing, but now he realizes it’s a necessary step and that he would explain why and how next session.
I guess I should practice. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And, doggone it, people like me.” Yeah. I don’t see that happening, but I’ll try it if I have to.