Just over a month ago, I started writing this post, and it began as follows:
"It's Monday, it's 1/5 into the working week, and I have had something akin to what has become "normal" for my first day back after the weekend. I wake with a feeling of fear, a need to replay the weekend to eke out the last details of what I could possibly need to apologize for..."Further to my last post about over-analysis, fear, and acceptance, I appeared to take an even bigger nosedive into fully-fledged physiological panic, even in light of extensive contrary evidence showing that everything was in fact fine, and especially when experiencing something happy. Twice in one week I made myself ill over my sense of inevitable misery and lack of worth, and became inconsolably upset with my being "this way", because I can see my own irrationality and yet can seemingly do nothing to stop it drowning me. It had become compulsive to look for the negative, to desperately search for what would potentially go wrong, to find it before it happened (as though that would protect me), to check in with others that everything was okay, and to search for the minute and most insignificant things that might eventually bring me to my 'downfall' were I not to note them. The compulsion has become so strong that I was beginning to believe that if I didn't do this "check" then it put me at a greater risk of these things coming true. OCD at its finest.
But this is just one story. It doesn't have any basis in fact, and really only exists as a reaction to crisis. It's a story my brain has been telling me, the story that has protected me, that has stopped me from relaxing into my own happiness and belief that I'm alright, just in case I'm torn apart again. And this weekend, in therapy, while not quite as dramatic as the "breakthrough/breakdown" I had a month or so ago there, my therapist gave me a technique to work with (not against) this story. We gave the story a name. The "I'm Not Good Enough" story. The "Aha! You've Been Found Out!" story. The story that ends with me revealed as useless, disposable, alone, and deserving of that status. This allows me to recognize what my mind is doing, acknowledge and accept the story's existence, but not give it the power to take over.
So while there are so many more important things going on right now (and in general!) than my panic issues, I wanted to take a minute to out this story, because part of what helps keep it going is believing it's true and not sharing those fears. I want to be stronger, for me and for others I love. I don't want to sabotage my own happiness, and weigh on the people close to me each time something good happens. When I acknowledge that I know the story, and let other people close to me know that this story is being told a little too often, I can face it, thank it for trying to do its "job", walk away, and start to write a new one.
This past week and weekend, I didn't tell myself the story. I wanted to. Badly. I thought I should. But I couldn't find anything to pin it to. When I got a little more anxious about that and wanted to search harder, I told people. I told Buddy, and I told some of my friends that I would do this, and they listened. They helped me out it. I can't stop the story from existing, but I can call it out when my brain tries to turn it into compulsion, or even fact. I already know how that story ends. I can and will start to work on a new story that involves me doing what I do best: appreciating people, letting them know excessively that I love them, making connections, smiling at just being, letting myself be happy. Lately, I so frequently feel on the precipice of being "better", and I think this is a big step towards truly being me again.
"I'm Not Good Enough (so expect the worst)" is not the story I need to hear. It doesn't serve me, even though once it did. So I choose to tell myself a different story.