Lessons Learned in Therapy That Have Saved Me
My therapist recently gave me the summer off, citing my recent, excellent mental health. I haven't seen her in a month and am doing fabulously. Here are the lessons I carry with me to keep the anxiety and bad feelings in check:
- •It's not MY job to "fix it." Don't get either physically or emotionally involved in matters that don't relate directly to me.Siblings fight? Nope. Parents squabble? Nah. Work drama where one person hates the other and drama went down? I love listening, but I've learned to do so objectively and without alienating myself to any single person in my unit. This took practice and a lot of hurt feelings from those who relied on my "taking care of it" for years. But now it's pretty easy to say, "I love you and support you, and that's all I can do."
- •Sometimes, I have to give myself permission to take care of myself.When days are horrible and I can't take a single thing more, I cancel plans. I rest. I go for a walk. I write, write, write the feelings away. I have an ugly cry. I watch the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice 800x in one night. I need zero social social stimuli and I enforce this with gusto. I nap. I acknowledge how terrible the day was and give myself some credit for majestically handling that shit. All of this is ok and not "selfish."
- •Those things that happened in the past that I forced myself to swallow up and hide behind destructive tendencies I now freely accept as being part of the past and part of myself.Denial has never done anybody a bit of good. Trauma hurts. Sometimes it rears its ugly head. But I face those moments instead of hide, and that skill in itself took years to acquire.
- •Release the creative animal!Coloring, crocheting, writing... they both help me to process the world around me and escape it at the same time. And I give myself time and space to do these things.