Hard Realization

Because of my sleep problems/anxiety, I decided to see a therapist a few weeks ago.

To a certain extent, I have a good sense of where a lot of this stems from. But I thought there were some underlying issues I wasn’t completely conscious of that affected my ability to sleep or the level of anxiety I was feeling throughout the day.

After about four sessions, I’ve come to realize how exhausting therapy can be. There are so many things I haven’t really had the chance to talk through, and it’s starting dawn on me that there are a lot of complicated emotions that I’ve suppressed for years.

In the most recent session, my therapist said, “It sounds like you’re hard on yourself.”

I started nodding, and I could feel the pressure building behind my eyes. It never really occurred to me until she said it, but I’m really hard on myself. For every mistake, every miscalculation, every misjudgment, every regret, I chastise myself over and over until I feel beaten down. For every decision I have to make, I think over a million different possibilities that might follow my decision. It’s exhausting.

I recently came across this buzzfeed that really capture how an anxiety disorder can affect your life. Please view it if you don’t necessarily understand how anxiety can disrupt someone’s life, or if you want to look at some comics you can relate to easily.

The thing is, I don’t usually think I’m being all that hard on myself. Usually I feel like I’m always letting myself down, like I can do better, but I never thought I wasn’t being kind to myself or like I was being mean internally. I know I’ve done good things, and I truly believe that I have solid values. It’s just sometimes I feel disappointed by my actions/thoughts.

Or something like that. It’s so hard to explain what it feels like sometimes. If I could adequately explain my thought process, maybe I wouldn’t have this much trouble sleeping.

All I can say is my therapist being so direct and telling me straight to my face that I was being too hard on myself made me cry. I got home and sobbed myself to sleep. Sometimes your therapist says something that literally pierces you in your heart, something that you’ve suppressed for so long, it digs deep into your skin, and something that rings so true that it literally exposes the pieces of your tattered heart to the world to see.

Those seven words, “It sounds like you’re hard on yourself,” have been swimming on my mind this past week. I can’t stop thinking about that sentence. Honestly I feel a very small strand of relief in knowing and accepting something I hadn’t consciously accepted as true before. But there is a disconnect in the processing phase. I need to really understand it and maybe even learn to believe it.

Because according to my therapist, there is a difference between feeling something and believing something.



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