I’ve been going to (virtual) therapy since last November, and can I tell you how good that has been for me? I had originally visited my doctor in November because I had feeling really anxious and depressed and couldn’t shake it. With all of 2020, a cross country move and a renovation, plus my kids home for Zoom school daily, I just couldn’t feel like myself. Even though I was happy and loved our new home and what me moved to, life was just different and I felt just off.
(I wrote more about my decision to ask for help in THIS POST.)
Slowly over the past few months I have met with her every 1-3 weeks and we talk out what is on my mind. Most of the time I go into a session and feel like I am okay, and then I get in there and word vomit out a ton of stuff that I didn’t even know I wanted to say. I feel like I am talking to a friend and she gives me simple ideas to work on. I scored fairly high on the anxiety and depression scale when I started, and a session or so ago I took the test again (just a series of questions) and both were greatly reduced. I felt really good. It’s been a few months of feeling really good.
This past week was hard again.
My daughter’s birthday was coming up and it brought up huge feelings of overwhelm and anxiety for me. I want so hard for these occasions to be “perfect,” that I start to see signs of my anxiety creeping in. I keep adding things to my to do list that feel like have to be done or the world will end. I get my old symptom of vertigo and dizziness, which is my number one sign from my body that I am overdoing it. I feel nauseous and just off. Yet I feel like all of this is ‘inconvenient’ because I have things to do and no time and it gets worse. I figure, if I could just do these things I can rest. It’s a very frantic energy. If I can just make things perfect, finish these tasks, I can stop and feel better. I thrive on routine and calmness, on downtime and moments to chill, and adding things on stresses me out and makes me feel really overwhelmed, even if it looks insignificant to the outside world. Couple that with a personality that doesn’t want to be seen as ‘weak’ for asking for help (limiting belief!), or admitting that I can’t handle something, and my internal world implodes. On the outside I am handling it, and with a smile. On the inside I am near tears and feeling like one more thing will set me over the edge. I push and force things to work, which brings up a lot of resistance, and it’s a mess. Can you tell? Lol.
Luckily, I had a therapy appointment this week and I told her all of this stuff. How overwhelmed I feel and how I just want the vertigo to go away, how I just want to feel better so I can do the things I enjoy. She had a few suggestions, and I figured I’d write them out here.
- How we talk to ourselves is important, something I work on a lot with body confidence, but don’t always use in other areas. Our brains run subconciously most of the time, and repeat thoughts. I know when I am feeling really anxious it is because my brain is telling me something that is different than I want to feel. It tells me to control things, to do all of this stuff so you can relax, and that I can be perfect and please people and all will be well. It says, keep pushing! Keep going, don’t ask for help, you can do this! My job is to hear this (the first step, being aware!) and gently disregard it. I can hear these thoughts (and I do!) and say, “I have plenty of time. I am okay. I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. I don’t have to do anything to be loved. I am enough.” Basically I need to listen to these anxious thoughts and try to slow them down, to talk to myself as I’d talk to a small child. How we talk to ourselves is important. Most of what we say is limiting beliefs and patterns from childhood that don’t serve us. It is our job to look at WHY we are doing something and listen to WHAT our anxiety is telling us. Mine tells me to do more, be better, be perfect, when really, I am enough already.
- The other thing I am working on is my daily to do list. On my weeks I am really anxious my list can grow and feel really overwhelming, yet every single thing on it seems non-negotiable. I feel like I HAVE to do all of it to be accomplished or feel I can rest. I am a Type 3 on the Enneagream scale (the Achiever!) and when I am feeling good (in flow, so to speak) I feel like I can do it all. Yet when other things are added into my schedule and I start to get overwhelmed I internally freak out. I feel the driving need to complete it all, even when I know I am on the edge. I feel very out of control. The good news is, I can see this! I am aware of it! The other night I was hanging up birthday balloons at midnight and they kept falling and I was near tears. In my mind, I wouldn’t be able to rest until they were done. So my job is to really look at what my mind is telling me is important to do, and seeing if I have to do it. Is it worth my sanity and happiness? When I am overwhelmed I try to control things, how neat my house is and my general environment, but this also makes me so anxious and out of control. I am working on letting things go. Can I do the dishes in the morning instead of at night when I am exhausted? Can I fold the laundry the next day? Do I really have to do the things I think have to be done? My brain will always tell me YES, it will say ‘do this now and you’ll feel better.” I know now it is a lie. There is no end point where I feel better, I just feel frantic and exhausted. I am truly trying to look at what I schedule for myself and the standards I hold for myself (they are very high) and lowering them, daily.
That’s it! I’m just over here working on myself daily, and how I talk to myself, as well as the standards I keep for myself. On a good day it drives me to be a high achiever, on a bad day it feels overwhelming and frantic. My job is to accept both, to let myself feel and use my anxiety as a gift. It is teaching me daily, what I need and what I don’t need. I’m working on listening.