Friday, March 15, 2013
Day 1144: Just One Me, Actually
I'm starting this post off with a cute picture.
Because it's a difficult post to type.
So, feel free to just look at the cute picture and forget the rest of the post.
I don't really know where to start...
So, after Monday's appointment, I kind of drove myself a little crazy. I always just feel kind of yucky for a bit after therapy (not to mention, physically ill with nerves before each appointment!) For whatever reason, it was really bad after Monday's appointment. Which is funny, because initially, I felt really good about that one! I thought HH and I accomplished some really great stuff. But, then I thought about somethings I had said and just got super embarrassed thinking about how crazy I must come off sitting next to HH in all his well-functioning normalcy, across from the therapist who clearly has it all figured out, which is why he's trying to help others, like me. And I hate going to therapy.
This is the way I was thinking, at least.
And it lasted for a couple days and was making me crazy. I couldn't turn it off. I was totally obsessing about what my therapist was thinking about me and that in and of itself was making me crazy. For a hundred different reasons--why should that even matter?
But, it did.
So, I did a ton of writing in my journal trying to sort things out. It took multiple entries over a couple of days, but finally, Tuesday night, things started kind of piecing together. I realized that the main component seemed to be that therapy was very embarrassing for me. It was a little weird, actually. Once I realized that the issue was that I was embarrassed, that helped. And then, it was like these different parts of me and my history kind of started meshing together in my mind, all pointing towards something, but I couldn't figure out exactly what.
So, I kept mulling things over in my mind. I thought about how I kept my depression a total secret from everyone (except HH) for a few years and how when it finally came out, just to those closest to me, it was such a relief. I had been paranoid that people would be disappointed in me, or would get weird and judge-y, but everything had been okay. And it was nice to not have to hide it from people like my parents any more.
So, I started wondering if maybe learning to be even more open would help the same way, because maybe this intense mortification of the details is somehow holding me back? Because it was keeping me at, what I feel at least, a safe distance from everyone around me. But, it was starting to feel like keeping people out is part of the problem and not something I'm supposed to do any more.
Then, I went to the temple Wednesday night. There were some times where it was just quiet and nothing was going on. During those times, I would think over all of these thoughts and try to sort them out a little better. I was kind of having a conversational prayer with God and I asked why it matters if I let people in. I said, "Why do I need to need people in my life? I'm just fine the way things are." And the answer I got came in a line from a quote from Marjory Pay Hinckley, who I love, "Oh, how we need each other!"
Every time I tried to argue with the promptings and feelings I was getting, that same line would just repeat in my mind, over and over.
So, I mulled things over some more. I went home and discussed all of the different pieces floating around in my head with HH, trying to make more sense of them. And I told him about what had happened in the temple. And as we talked, things started to get clearer. The following morning, I did my best to write down all of the different pieces. And what it boils down to is this--I am totally living (or trying to) two separate lives. I try to put on this picture of perfection for everyone everywhere. I was going nuts over what my therapist thinks because he is the one person outside of HH who knows just how un-perfect I am. On the few occasions when I've bumped into him outside of therapy, it's been major stress because I've felt this overwhelming need to prove to him just how great I'm doing. How weird is that?!
I put on the facade of perfection, so that I don't have to let people in. I don't have to tell anyone what is really going on with me. In part, so they don't get disappointed in me, but also so that I won't ever be vulnerable to them. If I let people into my inner weakness, then there is this really scary vulnerability. Then I might begin to rely on someone else to help me when I'm emotionally struggling. And what if they can't? Or, what if they won't? Then I'm the one left disappointed and hurt. And I don't want that.
But, I also realized (and this is actually something I've been aware of most of my life), that I don't have the same close relationship with others as they have with each other, or sometimes even, with me. I just don't form the same level of a bond as other people do. Because in doing so, I would have to let myself need someone else. And that has just always seemed not worth it.
HH is the only exception to this. And that is because I had several powerful experiences while he and I were dating that led me to know that I had to let him in. And I'd be lying if I said I'd never regretted that. Sometimes it's resulted in a lot of pain when I've needed him and felt (whether justified, or no) that he didn't give me what I needed. I've threatened to shut him out, just like I do with everyone else. I'm a really good actress and he and I both know I could do that. I could hide it from him every time I feel the pain and darkness of depression. But, I also know that would destroy us. We could not have the closeness and unity that we share without me needing him. It's just the nature of relationships. All relationships.
And so, suddenly, I felt like this huge fraud. I recently had a conversation with a really close friend in which I was made keenly aware of this issue, as she expressed a closeness to me that I didn't quite feel in return. I wanted to. I just didn't. And it made me sad. But, I pretended I did. And that's not the first time I've done something like that. And I'm sorry to all of my friends. I have never understood the close friendships other girls have with each other. In fact, most of my life, I've felt kind of a disdain for them. But now, I'm starting to feel differently.
I also feel like a fraud in terms of this blog. Everyone is always praising me for being "so courageous" and "so open" and "honest", etc. I've even prided myself on it. But, the truth is, my posts are pretty censored. I only share just enough so you know the general mood going on. And when things get really bad, I don't post for a few days. That way, no one can know when I'm in currently in my most vulnerable state, to look at me weird, or try and do something kind that just feels weird because I don't share that same affection. And then, I can catch up those post rapidly and make sure the last one, the one that will be at the top of my blog and most current for my followers, is the one where I say that everything is okay and I'm doing so much better. So, I don't need anything from anyone else. I took care of it on my own.
Back on Tuesday when everything first started to come together, I felt strongly that I should set up another appointment with my therapist for this week. I knew that if I waited two weeks for my next scheduled appointment, I'd have talked myself out of any of this mattering and would just keep going the way I have been forever. But another appointment in one week? Ew. Let me tell you how reluctant I was to do this. I kind of tried to sabotage my minimal efforts by giving him a very narrow window in which the appointment could happen. It was somewhat legitimate, as the friend I asked to babysit could only do it at a certain time, but I knew that I could probably get someone else to watch my kids at a different time. My therapist however, seemed more than willing to make this work. I think he could tell something was different since I'd never done something like this before.
So, we had that appointment today. I was so sick all morning. I thought I'd throw up. But, I didn't. Nor did I hide from my therapist just how little desire I had to be there. And then I confessed how much it weirded me out to see him outside of therapy and why And then, in the spirit of full confessions, I just kept going with everything else--even more detail than I've gone into here. And then I told him that I was kind of hoping he would tell me that all of this was normal and to just go home.
Surprisingly, he did tell me that part of it is normal. He said that some people just don't let other people into their inner life. And since there was no traumatic episode from my past that had resulted in my being this way, then it was probably okay. There was no need for me to change, unless I wanted to.
Then, he told me that he thought I was probably exhausted. From all of the effort of pretending that I and my life are perfect. And we discussed that at length. Because, of course, he's right. It is exhausting. But, it's such a habit.
And our appointment went over again. As the last several have. But, something felt different about this one. Like maybe, I've uncovered something more significant here. Or maybe, finally be honest with someone else--AND myself--is just such a huge relief.
Which is why I knew I needed to type this post. I know I said I wasn't going to chronicle my therapy progress here any more. But, that is when I was thinking I was almost done (insert wry chuckle here) with therapy. Now, who knows. Maybe I'll be in it forever.
This current line of thinking and discussion though, just feels right. This is what I'm supposed to be focusing on now. The full quote from my experience in the temple is this:
"We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young, and hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old... We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other. These friendships are a necessary source of sustenance. We need to renew our faith every day. We need to lock arms and help build the kingdom so that it will roll forth and fill the whole earth."
I know my therapist said it is okay for me to continue being a rock and an island. But, it seems that that is not what God intends. I feel quite strongly that I am meant to form those "deep and satisfying and loyal friendships" with the amazing women I am blessed to have as friends. That quote is a bit too long to be my new mantra, but it is my inspiration. I resolve to be a better friend. As I pondered how to do this, I was reminded that sometimes when I am wishing to feel more love for HH, I find ways to serve him. When we serve others, we are serving God and He blesses us to feel a portion of the love He feels for the person we are serving. So, I will find more ways to serve my friends. Which I'm excited about, because it's about time I started doing more for them, as they do so much for me.
I also resolve to be more honest. And thus, I'm lifting the ban on discussing things I post on this blog with me in real life. You are allowed to approach me about it when I'm going through a rough patch. I know everyone knows I'm not perfect, but now I'm going to start behaving as though I actually believe that. No more of the two separate "realities". I'm just one me, somewhat flawed, and somewhat on my way to perfection. Still a far cry off. But, that's okay.