Thoughts from Therapy is a series where I talk honestly about my struggle with and recovery from depression and anxiety. My hope is to promote mental health awareness and to let anyone else struggling know they’re not alone. See previous posts here.
I debated a long time what title I’d use for this post. It’s not a “look at me, I’m the best person in the world!!!!1!1!!” headline. More of an “I’m starting to realize I’m not the piece of poo depression used to tell me I was”.
Anyway, I just got back from another therapy session. And there’re so many thoughts running through my head. It’s not easy to write about something so personal for me, I always feel extremely drained after writing my mental health posts. But they also help my make sense of my thoughts, and I hope they can help you too. I’m very moved by all the heartfelt comments on the previous posts, and it helps to know I’m not alone.
Right now I’m at a point where I can start to look back, reflect on what went wrong, what I’ve learned, and accept it. That was the focus of the session, and as part of it, she made me write down a few sentences with what I’ve learned from therapy
#1 I have a tendency to imagine the worst case scenario in a situation
#2 I can do it anyway
It takes courage to admit you’re not well. When you have anxiety it takes courage to do pretty much anything. I’m beginning to see I should be proud of all the times I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, even though it scared me – instead of being angry at myself for being scared in the first place.
#3 No one has the right to me, more than myself
This means that it’s okay to set up boundaries, it’s okay, no, necessary to say no if somebody makes you uncomfortable. It means it’s okay to speak up if you disagree with someone, instead of avoiding conflict at all cost.
I need to put myself first, instead of living to fill everyone’s expectations of me (which is impossible and just makes you miserable anyway).
#4 Results are not more important than my well-being
So I’m a smart kid. I never liked being the smartest kid in class, yet I still define myself by my grades. It’s okay to just skim through the articles for the lecture, or skip reading if I need a day to recharge and take care of myself.I used to think I only had values when I got good grades or when I could do something for a friend – because just being in my company is worthless.
I used to think I only had values when I got good grades or when I could do something for a friend – because just being in my company is worthless. I’m trying to learn that I can be a good friend, just by being me, I don’t need to have something special to offer. And spending time can make me feel good, it’s not as exhausting as I imagine when I’m alone.
#5 I define my own success
In line with the previous one, I’ll no longer measure success with objective scores like grades. Like everyone, I have my own strengths and struggles. Right now it’s a struggle for me to keep up with studying, and making it every class is a big deal to me.
The weird thing is, I’ve never been as engaged in discussion and group work as I am in this class. Removing the pressure to be ‘perfect’ allows me to speak my mind, even if I’m not 110% sure it’s right. I ask questions, instead of holding back, unreasonably thinking it would make people think less of me.
I don’t need to compare myself to anybody else – I am my own person, and now I’m doing what it best for me.