My (now former) therapist and I had an argument today, and the thought of facing her again stresses me out so much that I decided to switch agencies. She said that not every friendship will be a close friendship and people don’t have time to invest in friendships. I thought that friendships are supposed to be close, so I was upset to hear that, and I said, “That destroys me.” She accused me of having a mean tone. I got defensive and said, “I don’t appreciate the accusation.” She said, “You’re putting words in my mouth.” I said, “I’m not.” She said, “It seems like you’re trying to pick a fight.” I said, “I came here for therapy, to feel better and cuz Social Security forces me to. You’re just making me feel 10 times worse.” She made another accusation, I forget what, and I got so angry that I lost my temper, saying, “Shut up, asshole!” and I left.
I have a long history of difficulty getting along with therapists and people in general. I don’t want life to be like this. I constantly feel like a bomb could go off. People seem chaotic and threatening to me. That could be related to my schizophrenia. I wanna be able to be comfortable around people and have positive relationships. I wanna be a force of good in the world, someone who people can be comfortable around and who has a positive impact on peoples’ lives. I’m gonna go over my notes about the Nonviolent Communication book, by Marshall Rosenberg, again and start reading The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Anger, by Russell Kolts. I like that it has compassion in the title, since that’s something I value and a trait I wanna cultivate more of.
I hope to turn over a new leaf at the next agency. I’ll talk to the new therapist about the difficulties I’ve had getting along with other therapists. Maybe they’ll have ideas about how to make this relationship go better. One idea I have is to end the appointment early or leave the room for a little while and come back if I start getting upset.
I’ll continue updating the blog about my progress learning to manage conflicts.
For a while, I’ve had a bad habit of spending 12 hours or more per day sleeping due to mental health issues. Even after my mood started improving and I started enjoying activities again, the oversleeping persisted.
I feel a surge of willpower and am finally committing to not oversleeping anymore. I wanna spend more time developing myself as a person, helping others, taking care of my responsibilities, and simply having fun.
To help with this goal, I’ve started a new ritual of planning my day when I wake up every morning, which gives me something to look forward to when I’m going to bed. I’ll write about how I do that in another blog post.
It’s a privilege to be able to make the choice to cut down on my sleeping. Some people have health conditions that don’t give them a choice. I appreciate this ability and won’t let it go to waste anymore.
During my worst episode of depression, time started to pass very slowly for me. I found it unbearable. I thought that the slow passage of time contributed to my depression, but now that my mental health is better, I see that it was my depression that made me dislike the slow passage of time. I enjoy life enough now to like it when time passes slowly so that I can savor every moment. My change of perception has been such a relief.
Gaining knowledge and skills and doing activities can help build self esteem. Pursue things that are related to your interests, not just to impress others or cuz you think that’s what other people expect of you. Doing things for the latter two reasons can build resentment and leech enjoyment out of those things.
If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, it’s okay to dabble with a lot of different things till you find something that clicks. If you try many things, and nothing clicks, that could be a sign of a mental health issue, such as depression, so it may be a sign to talk to a professional.
Pursue things that you can measure your progress in so that you can see how far you’ve come. For example, on my blog, I can keep track of how many posts I’ve written. Even leveling up my Pokemon in my 3DS games gives me a little boost. For more abstract knowledge, you can measure things like the number of books you’ve read about that topic. Since I’ve started reading again several months ago, I’ve read six books about psychology and subtopics within it, such as communication and the therapy process, and I feel good about how my knowledge has been building with each book I’ve completed. Whatever your interest is, it’s okay to set small goals. Sometimes I read a children’s nonfiction book or a For Dummies or Complete Idiot’s Guide book to start digging into a new topic.
There are lots of how to videos/books/etc to help with building skills. Good old practice helps, too. Learning something or getting better at something can take a lot of time and effort, so be patient with yourself.
I’ve learned more about writing over time as I’ve been working on Oasis Charm. For example, I’ve realized on my own that it’s nice to have a little wrap up at the end of a post instead of letting it trail off at a random sentence.
These kinds of things help with building self esteem cuz they can give one a sense of direction, accomplishment, and even mastery. What knowledge, skills, or activities make you feel good about yourself?
Part of having compassion for yourself is taking good care of yourself. Taking carer of yourself is an investment in yourself. It’s how you show yourself that you matter.
When I shower, I don’t have to worry as much that other people will think that I stink and not wanna be around me cuz of it. That peace of mind is good for my self esteem.
When you get enough sleep, you’re able to think more clearly, which can help you combat doubts and insecurities.
Making time for leisure activities can remind you that you don’t always have to be productive or be serving others; enjoying life for your own sake is important, too (Finch, “You Can Care About Social Justice and Care About Your Own Happiness, Too”).
Treat yourself like a friend. You wouldn’t want a friend to go hungry, so if you’re hungry, get something to eat that you like. This might sound too obvious to some people, but honestly, there have been times that I’ve been depressed enough to let myself go hungry, which is something that I’m working on.
Over time, I’ve been getting better about taking care of myself. Getting it together gives me feel like I’m in control of my life, not that my life is in control of me.
Taking care of yourself will help you feel good about yourself.
Finch, Sam Dylan. “You Can Care About Social Justice and Care About Your Own Happiness, Too.” Let’s Queer Things Up, 11 Nov 2017, https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2017/11/11/you-can-care-about-social-justice-and-care-about-your-own-happiness-too/. Accessed 11 Nov 2017.
The foundation of building self esteem is to have compassion for yourself. Care about your own well being as if you’re a friend, and be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes. Having compassion for yourself is your fundamental right as a human being. It’s possible to accept yourself and aim to make changes at the same time. Treating yourself compassionately will make it easier to make changes you want cuz you’ll have energy freed up to go into making the changes instead of beating yourself up.
If you have trouble mustering compassion for yourself, a good motivator is that if you have it for yourself, it’ll be easier to have it for others (Rosenburg 129). Think about how you’d like other people to treat themselves. If you hope for them to be kind to themselves, don’t you deserve the same?
Rosenburg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication. Puddledancer Press, 3rd ed. 2015.
For a while, I wasn’t hopeful that I’d be able to work due to my mental health issues. Now, thinking about becoming a therapist brings me joy. Every day, I think about how I can get closer to my goal. I know that when I finally become a therapist, I’ll constantly be thinking about how I can improve my services to my clients.
Having a purpose has done wonders for my mental health, but I think that my mental health also had to improve a little bit first before I could think of myself as having a purpose. What made it possible for me to get to that point was that I started being able to enjoy doing things again. I went through a year or two of not being able to enjoy life, which made it impossible to de-stress. When I started having fun again, I started to relax more. I still get anxious sometimes, but at a much more manageable level.
After I became more relaxed, I started thinking about what I wanna do with my life. I realized that I spend a lot of time researching and writing about mental health. I thought about how I enjoy listening to and supporting others. Since the role of therapist combines all of these things, I decided it would be the perfect fit for me, which was very exciting.
Lately, I’ve been doing things like watching therapy role play videos online to absorb everything I can about the profession. I’m completely fascinated. I hoped for a long time that I would feel this way again, and I’m glad that I hung in there.
If you’re wondering what your purpose is, think about how your interests, strengths, personality, likes, and dislikes fit together. Your purpose doesn’t have to be about your career. My career is gonna be a huge part of my life, but some people do jobs to pay the bills and focus more on other things, which is valid, too. A purpose also doesn’t have to be fancy. Some people like to spend a lot of their free time time decompressing, such as by watching tv/movies, which is okay, too. Content makers need an audience. It you’d rather take life day by day than build it around a particular purpose, that’s also valid.