If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Maybe your nose is too big, or your ears stick out. Maybe those love handles aren’t going anywhere, despite all the time you put in at the gym.
For me, there’s a hell of a lot of stuff I would change, but there’s one thing that I absolutely HAVE to change because if I don’t, it could be my undoing. As previously documented here and in my guest posts on www.foldsfive.co.uk I’ve been having a little bit of a to do with depression. More than a ‘handbags at dawn kind of affair.’ Even more than a ‘southern gentleman type affair complete with glove slapping and a duel’, I’d say it’s more a Highlander type battle raging inside me – THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.
|I could well have him in a fight|
For all I make light of my situation (a coping mechanism), it’s almost all but destroyed me. On the face of it, I seem like I’m coping and getting on well, but you don’t see me laying in bed at night, knot in my stomach, you didn’t see me on the edge of the hill in Skye when I considered hoying myself off, you haven’t seen me sobbing for hours over something seemingly trivial, that I have done incorrectly and (rightly, to my mind) berated myself for being such a fucking failure. So, for the past few months, I’ve been seeing a psychologist. It was arranged through work (initial appointment with occupational health in February, appointment in May – I could’ve been dead by then). He advised me that although he was worked for my employer, everything we discussed was confidential, no reports would be going back to HR about the mad fat ginger chick in on the 5th floor. I was assured.
Every single session I’ve had so far (four) has been incredibly emotional, not least the last one earlier this week. Raking up difficult things from my history, (bullying, sexual abuse etc) has been so hard to do, to link my feelings of failure as a human being to such things that happened a very long time ago. I touched on this briefly in my last blog post here, if someone calls me hurtful and abusive names, I believe them because that’s how I perceive myself. It’s a coping strategy I developed from learning that if you try to argue back or fight back, the abuse just gets worse, so I don’t bother. Sure, I am fiery and angry and argumentative when it comes to injustices for others or political issues, but it’s rare that I truly fight for myself. I don’t think I’m worth it. I also don’t think I’m a particularly bad person, I’d do anything for my family and friends: I’d die for them. This, according to the Doc, is part of my problem. I could be manipulated, walked all over. I’m a soft touch and I know it.
I’ve referred to before my dark side; she’s the side that made me want to cut my wrist, or throw myself off a hill. She’s the one who torments me about my weight, my looks when I try to go clothes shopping or go to the gym. She’s the one who reinforces that I’m a useless fat failure when I don’t achieve the things I want to. And she needs to be stopped, or at least muzzled. The Doc said that when I talk about myself as a fat useless failure, I should imagine myself telling a child that they’re a fat useless failure. “Well, I can’t do that, because I absolutely wouldn’t do that. Who would? It’s just cruel”….”So why do you do it to yourself?” And the answer to that is I just always have. As I mentioned, it’s a defence mechanism, or a coping skill. I need to change a 25+ year habit. I’m going to have to try to break it, if I want to feel ‘normal’ (whatever that is). And I’m scared. I’m scared of failing (the irony). But I need to persevere, my defiant, fiery, doesn’t give a fuck side needs to come out more often. The side that lets me concentrate on ME and how I’M feeling. The side that puts me first (without sounding like Mother Theresa). I’m not sure I’ve encountered THAT side before). I need an emotional MOT. I’m going through the process right now, and it’s painful, INCREDIBLY painful, the emotions run so high in each of those sessions, that after the last one I had such a headache – it was so intense. BUT the sessions are doing me good. The next one is supposed to be a review session where I can either adios the Doc or carry on. He’s already said that we’re not finishing anytime soon. And I’m okay with that. I need to learn, and he’s willing to help me. I wish to be a version of myself less the darkness and suicidal thoughts.
I hope I get to meet that version of her. I hope I like her.