Okay, so maybe I age myself a bit with a Seinfeld reference but if you remember the episode where George’s Dad’s blood pressure goes through the roof and to calm down he’s supposed to say, “Serenity now” but when hes does it, he is screaming his fucking head off, “SERENITY NOW SERENITY NOW SERENITY NOW!!” (I might be a little off on the details, but that’s the gist). I’m feeling a bit like that at the moment.
Once you internalize these odd little coping skills we pick up along our journeys like taking a deep breath, or repeating a helpful phrase -“One day at a time”, or a practice like grounding or yoga… these things show up in funny ways when we are in those moments we bothered to learn those coping skills for. Fake it till you make it!
One of the biggest issues I deal with is liking who I am. Being who I am. Embracing who I am. Loving myself. I have the self-esteem of a rock. The good and slightly funny thing is that I actually like myself and have more confidence now than ever before in my life but honestly, how low was it before? Can you have less than zero-self-esteem? If you can, I did. Remember how I was all excited about therapy the other day? Guess what? It was probably the most emotional session I’ve ever had, and Ive thrown stuff in therapy before. We dove into why I have such low self esteem and well, I’ll share more on that as we learn it. I am an emotional person. I am always emotional. This was some weird fucking emotional Ive never encountered before. I’m cool though, good session…hard session…new territory…progress.
Two days later…
I’m having trouble with people. Im being sensitive and taking shit personally. I see it all unraveling before my eyes. It feels like failure. Emotions I’ve spent years learning how to manage, are now in this crazy spiral where everything feels huge. Panic. Chest pain. Breathe. Im lashing out. Strike first! Strike hard! Build those walls! Shut everyone out! They will destroy you! Dont let them. Breathe. Overthinking takes total control, I can’t let anything go. I should have said this, I should have said that, why did I say anything at all? Distract. Jaime NOOOOOOO!!!! Dragons!!! My apartment needs to be cleaned. I should shower. Depression is here. Where the fuck did that come from? Breathe. Helping a friend with a thing. Good. Useful. Busy. Service. Calm. Confidence. Whew. Write. Blinking cursor. Taunting. Daring. It doesn’t matter. Chest pain. Breathe. What in the actual fuck? PMS? Do I need a Snickers? I can’t calm down. Triggered. Write. Breathe. Write. Breathe.
That right there is a description of my mind/action/thoughts in the last 24 hours. I’ve had a few therapy sessions where a few days after, I completely lose my shit. Nothing in particular sets it off, my life is no more or less stressful today than yesterday, but my mind and body experienced a knock out punch in therapy and this is the regain consciousness period. I forgot this stuff happens. Its been a while since I’ve had a really enlightening/emotional/productive session. I don’t even know what to call it when it’s like this – because I can’t really explain what a ‘breakthrough’ or even ‘progress’ in therapy feels like; because sometimes it doesn’t feel good at all – but I know it IS actually good. Like sweet and sour I guess.
Heres the victory and here is how even though I am going through this emotional shitcoaster at the moment, I know it will pass. Not once in all this mind chaos have I even thought of harming myself. It doesn’t even show up anymore. Alcohol? Not present. No craving to numb. No desire to drink away all this discomfort. There is no negative self talk (except at the very beginning where I felt like I was failing because I was freaking out). The way I have handled myself is completely different from how I would have handled these feelings a year ago. I am by no means handling things the way I would like; not even close, but the progress is there and the turmoil is all emotion (I’m not creating physical turmoil to match whats going on inside). I’m actually starting to notice these huge differences in how I think and they are so much better than before; more positive, hopeful approach to my own chaos. Confident that if I can just pinpoint the problem, I can apply a solution; and if I can’t pinpoint the problem, I can scream SERENITY NOW at the top of my lungs until I can…and then I can breathe.
This coping skill shit actually works. Huh. Fancy that.