This week drew a close to the CBT that I have been lucky enough to receive at least fortnightly since January. For almost half a year, I met with my therapist to try and put an end to the horrible OCD thoughts, anxiety and depression by learning new tips and techniques.
This evening, I received a text from my best friend. She told me she was feeling low about herself and unattractive. That she didn’t feel that people ever looked at her and thought, wow, she’s beautiful.
Whilst we know that ‘beauty’ is only skin deep, it got me thinking about how unkind my friend was being to herself, and how we all do it to ourselves all the time. I couldn’t ever imagine telling my friend she was unattractive and that nobody thought she was beautiful. So why is she saying it to herself?
Throughout my entire life, I have been a perfectionist. Many would argue that it can’t be a bad thing to always want to do things correctly, or always have things look a certain way. The difficult with perfectionism, however, is the question; what is perfect? If perfect is a matter of opinion, then who am I to say that the way things are for me now, isn’t perfect?
When I was younger, I planned the ‘perfect’ life for myself. I wanted to be a teacher, have a long term boyfriend, be engaged and married by 25, have children by 30 and live in a beautiful house in the countryside with dogs and horses. Now that I think about it, that may have been my perception of a perfect life, but actually, how shallow is that?! And who says that’s perfect anyway?!
At the beginning of the week, I wrote a post about making your own personal goals. (Read it here.) So, that’s just what I did. I have been off work due to Easter break and this week had to spend it alone, which is something I find difficult to do. So, every day this week, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to get done and also in order, so that I had a structure for my day and something to achieve. Some items on the lists were small and others were larger jobs. I was going to add a photograph of them but I feel it’ll be much neater if I type them out (though I have added an image of them at the end, to show you how I did it)!
Today I wanted to share something that I find very important in my life. Since last year, my anxiety has lead me to become more and more of a recluse and in the past, I have struggled to find the motivation to drag myself out of bed. Without the help of my partner, I would probably still be like that now. This has been so harmful to our relationship because my partner wants me to be the independent, carefree girl that he fell in love with – not somebody who mopes and feels sorry for themselves. He has been incredibly supportive in my journey, including taking interest in my CBT sessions, however now I know that it is truly up to me to build myself up. At the end of it all, the only person who can make you feel better is yourself; people can come and go all the time.
I thought I’d take the time to review the MoodGYM program provided by the charity Mind. You can find it here: https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/moodgym (it took a little while to load each page on my mac, but then sometimes my internet can be super slow).
It starts with a ‘Warpy Thoughts Test’ where you have to tick the statements and whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree… and so on. It took about 10 minutes to complete this part (although in each module, it asks you to complete it again… which is quite tedious).
“How do you know that people are thinking that about you?”
“I just know, by the way they look at me.”
“Have you got any evidence to tell you what they’re thinking?”
This is a conversation I have frequently with my CBT therapist. Whenever I meet friends that I haven’t seen in a while, or even when I pop to the shop, I am bewildered by thoughts of what the people around me must be thinking. “She looks horrible.” “She needs to look in the mirror and sort her hair out.” “She looks cheap.” “What on Earth is that girl wearing!” “She smells bad.” These are just a few of the thoughts I have whenever I see someone looking or I catch somebody’s eye.
This, my therapist told me, is mind reading.