Thank you all so, so much for your support. It is overwhelming, but in the very best way, to see that I’m not alone on this Fantastic Voyage. ♥
Since I started this process there has been a constant voice in the back of my mind telling me I will fail. Some days it yells at me, most days it is more of an irritating whine similar to what I’m sure I sounded like during much of my early childhood. It would be so much easier for me to say FORK THIS (surely someone out there understood this reference. If not, drop every single thing you are doing right now and go watch The Good Place on Netflix. Right now. Go.) and keep letting OCD control my every move. Honestly, I had that exact thought (without the fork) the other night as I was leaving work because even though I have taken this first step, it is still really intimidating to think about how much the checking and the accompanying anxiety are part of my life. There is still a ton of work for me to do and, quite honestly, I will likely be working on this for the rest of my days. This first step is one of those awkwardly long steps that also isn’t very tall so you end up falling. In fact, I have fallen every day this week because ~ya girl~ has checked at least a few of My Things every morning.
One of the most helpful pieces of advice I have received during therapy is that we *vaguely gestures to surroundings* are a lot harder on ourselves than we would be if we were helping a friend through the exact same situation. Below is a re-enactment of this life-changing revelation with PG (PG is my therapist):
PG: How do you feel like you are handling everything so far?
Me: Not well. I missed X deadline, didn’t finish X or X, and didn’t make it up to X to visit X. I feel like I can’t just do one single thing without it going sideways. *The sky grows dark. The wind starts howling as the rain falls from the sky like teardrops. In the distance, sirens*
PG: Ok, what would you say to a friend who reached out to you explaining that she has had a really rough couple of months? She’s got anxiety over the health of a close family member, she’s been working herself to the point where she keeps making silly mistakes, and it is all made worse by the fact that she can’t sleep because the anxiety is keeping her up at night.
Me: Well the first thing I would tell her that she needs to give herself a break. Reach out to people to come up with a plan on how to tackle whatever it is that is spreading her so thin. It’s ok to take a day off to do something she enjoys, even if it is just watching every episode of every season of The Good Place. She doesn’t have to go at it alone. *Beyoncé appears and starts singing Run the World (Girls). The entire cast of Parks & Rec comes in the room and high fives My Overwhelmed Friend. Tom Haverford points finger guns at Overwhelmed Friend and says “what’s crackin’?”*
AK: ….yeah, this makes sense.
I have been giving myself a hard time for 1,455 weeks (this assumes that I just came out of the womb with anxiety which, if you spent any time in my head, is highly likely) and all for something I would hate to see my family or friends struggle with. I would bet all of the cash in my wallet right now that this is something everyone, regardless of anxiety or mental health or whatever, could practice more. We need to be more willing to help ourselves. Let’s treat ourselves with the same compassion we show our family and friends (Thank you for coming to my TED Talk).
There is no cash in my wallet, by the way. Maybe I don’t want to help better myself because myself keeps spending all of my money and then complaining about not having any money.