This February, I’m doing #LoveMe, a challenge designed to help you learn to love yourself! One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be kinder and more gentle to myself, so I’m trying to be as positive as I can possibly be in 2017 and hope that doing this challenge will be good for my mental health and overall well-being. Check out my previous #LoveMe posts here!
Today’s prompt is:
Share a fear you overcame.
WOW OK SO I JUST REALIZED THAT THIS POST TIES IN VERY NICELY TO YESTERDAY’S POST. YAY ME. My task on the thirteenth was to share a quote and I chose the following words by Carrie Fisher:
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
I didn’t plan for that to happen, so this is cool! I mean, all of these posts were written and scheduled in advance because I knew there was no way I’d have this much time for blogging this semester, but when I scribbled down a list of ideas I didn’t even realize that the quote I’d selected was about the same subject as what I’d be talking about in the very next post.
Good job, me.
OK, now I’ve got that out of the way. (Except not really, because I’m going to return to that quote eventually.)
A fear I overcame? Well, how about I talk about a fear I’m still working on overcoming and have made a great deal of progress on? I’m afraid of the hard work that it takes to get better.
There, I said it. Achieving better mental health is a monumental task and it overwhelms me.
I almost said that I’m afraid of getting better… but that’s not quite true because A) my problem is more specific than that and B) I definitely do want to get better.
It’s just that, well, it takes a lot of work to get there.
Talking about my thoughts and problems with my therapist is hard work. Talking about those things in a group therapy setting is even harder because there are more people involved!
Remembering to take my meds every day is hard work. Visiting the psychiatrist again and again because what they prescribed didn’t work and I need to switch to something else in the hope that maybe that med will work is hard work. [Note, 2/12/17: As of today, I started the third antidepressant I’ve tried. Wish me luck!]
Practicing nurturing self care – stuff like getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and doing chores so that I have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of – is hard work. Asking for help and support when I need it is hard work.
Making myself try new things and meet new people even though I’m anxious is hard work.
Making myself get out of bed and attend to my responsibilities even when I’m incredibly depressed, because I can’t afford to fall behind in school or not show up to work, is hard work.
Making myself face my OCD head on and really, truly deal with it is hard work. At the moment I feel this is probably the hardest thing I’m doing. My OCD makes me feel uncomfortable, causes me to feel like something feels “off,” and as a result I’ve developed all sorts of reassuring rituals over the years to soothe those feelings. Repeating certain words and phrases, checking things, counting things, you name it. The list goes on and on.
Lately I’ve taken to reminding myself, in those moments, to “stay afraid, but do it anyway.” Because it does make me afraid. It really does. It’s hard to resist the temptation to give into my OCD. When I ignore it, or try to, a part of my brain is screaming at me that I can’t do it, that I have to fix what feels wrong! When I ignore it I feel uncomfortable and… I think the best word to describe it might be “untethered,” actually? And that’s scary.
It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get better. It already has. It’s not going to get any better unless I put in all that hard work. I take a lot of comfort in the quote I posted yesterday, reminding myself daily that it’s perfectly fine to be afraid as long as I “do it anyway.”