Friday, December 02, 2005

An inventory


I got back and hour or so ago from the first therapists appointment I have had in probably 2 months. My work schedule was messed up and my phone number was inaccurate in Dr. T's database so things didn't match up well. But I am fortunate that I get 3 appointments this month :)

I was pleased to see her with good news. I got depressed but managed to come out of it. She called that "spontaneous recovery" and pointed out that my depressions are seeming to be related to feelings. I felt shame from my dating disaster at the beginning of october, and that shame and lack of faith in my ability to care for myself triggered the depression.

I discussed with her the last post I wrote about why I feel like even my run-of-the-mill stresses couldn't be understood by others, and she validated my read on it. She sees the same "narcissism" in her deaf clients. When in your developing years you can't be understood, you turn inward. I was happy to have some understanding about it, and I think it was important that I see how it ties into my not taking care of my needs (I feel guilty for focusing on myself, and so in trying to focus on myself less I don't focus on myself enough, and I leave myself open to people who take advantage of it)

I have had an opportunity in the last couple of days to do an inventory on how I am doing. What I found was empowering. I can see alot wrong with me, but the things that are wrong are sort of clear cut and understandable, which means they can be fixed. The things that I found were right about me made me proud.

One of the things wrong is the "mal-adaptive narcissism" (maladaptive behaviors are survival techniques learned in formative years that are no longer beneficial) this belief that no-one could possibly understand the anguish I feel leaves me feeling lonely and defective. I am not alone, I have marvelous friends and family, and I am not defective, in fact, I am quite healthy, healthier than many people who do not struggle with depression and anxiety disorders. This maladaptive behavior is also disruptive to my life because it hurts my friend's feelings, much of the time I would rather clean my house than socialize, the thinking being "I am a person who has a hard time keeping up with things, no-one could understand becuase they aren't screwed up like me." Almost everyone has a hard time keeping up with housework and bills, I need to undo that thinking style because it gets in my way.

Another thing I noticed that REALLY gets in my way is that I don't accept that I am attractive. I realize that this is an affliction of nearly every American woman but it really needs to stop. I got pretty lucky in the looks department, my body is proportioned so even when I am overweight (which I am now) it is distributed in a way that makes me look 20 pounds lighter than I am. I am pretty fortunate that way, yet I tell myself that I look repulsive. This isn't even completely about weight, if I never lose another pound I am still quite attractive. I have no excuse to behave like I do.

I think it all adds up to be a defense mechanism. Tell yourself you are repulsive then what's the point in making an effort? If you are repulsive you will be repulsive and well groomed so why put in the work of wearing makeup in the first place? If you are repulsive no one will want to cheat on you, take advantage of you, sexually assault you, fall in love with you and then die, anything. If you are repulsively ugly you are safe from all of the danger that trusting men can lead to.

It is time for me to not only accept that I am beautiful but be proud of it. It is time for me to accept it as a blessing. It is time for me to embrace the power that beauty affords. It is time for me to trust myself that I can keep myself safe from predators, and that I can be strong enough to accept that people you love, like all things in life, are impermanent, but it is still worthwile to have it.

Another behavior that gets in my way is another mal-adaptive behavior, there is names for it (transactional analysis?) but it is how you interact with people. When my mom died, stepmother left and then dad stopped interacting with me I needed someone to raise me, so I turned to the world. I observed how people operated and learned to raised myself by modeling myself after those I saw as being successful. (Oprah was one of them, Madonna, sadly, was another LOL.) This skill is a big part of why I ended up the way I am instead of drug addicted or pregnant, but since it was so sucsessful I am still a little stuck in "Child to Adult" interactions. I still, at times see myself as knowing nothing and others as having things figured out.

It is obvious why this causes problems. For one, it sets me up for abusive relationships, (what my experience with marshmallow cock was/would become) If you interact as child to adult you leave yourself open for others to describe your reality, and take advantage of you.

It usually causes the problem of feeling let down. I think of one of my managers most of all in this situation. When you look to equals as role models in the child to adult way they rarely measure up. You feel failed and helpless If you look to equals as adult to adult you can take the good and reject the bad. In my life I need to notice in what way I am interacting. (Its possible that I interact adult to child with some adults, that isn't benificial either)

During this inventory I found alot I was proud of. I am proud to say I am quite an ethical person. I have work to do on what companies I spend my money on, but all in all I have a strong moral compass, and I think, even though I make mistakes, I do a pretty good job.

I am also proud of my compassion. Buddhism teaches that compassion is one of the keys to a happy life, and I overflow with compassion. I have such a gift of empathy that it hurts, physically at times when I know someone is in pain. I am proud to know that I was given a gift like that. Some people were given the gift of singing (I was given that too lucky me) I love that I was given the gift of strong compassion, becuase it can be so helpful to the world.

I should probably write long posts boldly celebrating my good qualities and gifts. I think it would be really helpful to me since I have the self-esteem problems that I do. I can't bring myself to do it because it sounds so arrogant to me, but at least I the ability now to do it in my head :)

This week I recieved news that I have reacted to with periods of extreme pain. (Pain so bad I was able to use it to clean my kitchen!) I am so happy to say that not only am I coping, but I am successfully transforming it. The next day not only did I have a clean kitchen, but I felt better than I had felt literally in years. I felt like my old self, overflowing with vitality. Pain is unpleasant, but its also an opportunity. I think I have learned the skills to turn pain into opportunity from therapy & Buddhism, and I have had the strength to do it thanks to this blog, and the wonderful people I have supporting me in my life.

This week I got to take an inventory of myself, and I liked what I found. It's good that I found negative things too, because they are highlighted so I can work on them. his week I was blessed with an abundance of new knowledge, and, with a clean kitchen.

mood: blessed, optimistic

No comments: