TIME TO FORGIVE

I can’t tell you how much I need to sit down and write today. As you’ll be aware if you’ve read my recent posts I have been down in the depths lately. I’ve sunk deeper than I have done for a long while. Some of it is meds related (it’s a long story), but most of it is what has happened lately and the understandable impact it’s had.

Sometimes usually I feel I’m making no progress whatsoever in my mental health treatment and psychological interventions….but when I do notice any remotely positive changes, it’s ESSENTIAL I acknowledge them and enjoy them. So that is what this post is about.

What I have learned, and what has taken me a long time to believe, is that I am actually allowed and entitled to be happy; falls over in shock

…..that happiness isn’t a sin, and experiencing any relief when my suffering lessens isn’t some guilty secret to feel ashamed or dirty about.

Dirty is a unusual word to use in that context isn’t it….but dirty is totally what springs to mind. My childhood life lessons were: if you fail you’ll get punished, if you do well you’ll get punished, if you feel balanced and content you’ll get punished, if you get scared you’ll get punished and if you feel fearless and confident you’ll get punished…..in other words, whatever happens and regardless of how you feel or approach life, bad shit will happen.

I carry so much guilt and my soul is overflowing with toxic shame. I’m bad. I’m not OK. I’m unworthy. I’m not as good as you or you. I’m me, and me is not cool.

“YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF SUMMER”

That was the phrase I heard most as I grew up.

Should I?? Really……should I?

Lately I’ve felt depressed, very depressed….suicidally preoccupied depressed actually. I’ve had two crisis periods (so far), engaged in some self harm, and have had to rely a great deal on the genuine care from my close circle of friends, my other half, my blogging friends, and even my kids, to keep me safe and surviving. I’ve (characteristically) beaten myself up for feeling as depressed as this. (..’this’, meaning suicidally poorly).

There is a difference between a primary and secondary emotion. The primary emotion is the real deal- that’s what we experience when something from the outside triggers huge reactions on the inside, we feel strong emotion (energy in motion), but then the pesky secondary (interpretive, commentating, judging) emotions start to come in….

”I’m a fucking idiot, why oh why is this affecting me? Other people wouldn’t be bothered, so why am I? Why can’t I just move forward? I’m weak, I’m pathetic, I hate myself, I hate my life, the only way I can do anything to sort this problem out is to get rid of myself (suicide), because I’m the problem, and the reason I’m the problem is I’m prone to depressive reactions to any damn tiny life trigger that comes along.’

All of this harmful self-flagellating rumination just makes me feel crap and ill and useless and overwhelmed- drowing in my tank of isolated turmoil.

My therapist alerted me last week to my thinking patterns making me feel worse, and that made me feel worse, because I knew she was right.

I have the personal insight and self-awareness to KNOW that thinking like that and doing all the self-judging is only going to have one outcome; soul destroying and destructive melancholic depression.

But can I flip the switch on my thinking and suddenly not do all the judging of my feelings? The answer is “CAN I FUCK!”. (Worded politely, no, I can’t) not instantly…..it takes t i m e for me to process and get my head around myself being (one of my) own worst enemies.

In my experience as a patient in MH services, having your secondary emotions pointed out, and all the faulty unhelpful thinking behind them, makes you feel FAR worse before you feel better. I felt that on top of everything else that is absolutely and wholeheartedly wrong with me, I think like a depressive who has failed their CBT exam, I’m such a loser!

I do critiquing commentary on my critiquing commentary!

I berate myself for berating myself.

I despise myself for thinking in all the CBT textbook incorrect ways. I’m a bloody psychologist!!! Why can I not change what is so obvious?!

I have thoughts intrude in my head to the likes of…. ‘if my cognitive patterns are always leading me to depression, then I might as well kill myself to save me the bother of having all this crappy NHS CBT bollocks rammed ineffectively down my throat all the time with no psychological improvement, only leading me to feel depressed in anticipation of my next EPIC FAILURE.’

I recognise, in hindsight, that this is bloody ridiculous (!) but that is genuinely how I was thinking a week ago! Genuinely!

STOP> This depressive thinking pattern must stop N.O.W. [says wise voice in head].

Today I forgive myself. I forgive myself for sinking into a pattern of consistent low mood. I forgive myself for having this kind of defeated and despondent reaction when my main/most dominant & influential childhood abuser decides to break the police advised ‘no contact’ request, and write me a letter; a letter full of self-justificatory bullshit and lies and invalidation, showing NO remorse, giving NO acknowledgement that the abuse happened, that it has ruined my life; attempting to emotionally manipulate me and arm twist me into meeting up with him purely so he can tell me he’s “sorry I’m mental but it’s nothing to do with me- it’s all false memory syndrome”.

I forgive myself for feeling shit about that. I absolutely do!

I forgive myself for feeling angry, and that anger (which cannot be expressed), seemingly converting into depression.

I forgive myself for having negative thoughts.

I forgive myself for being a psychology graduate who demonstrates less than optimal cognitive patterns that would cause expired CBT therapists to turn in their ‘balanced-thinking-what-is-the-evidence-for-that-thought-you-just-had’ graves!

I forgive myself for my spirit feeling a bit crushed right now.

I forgive myself for not firing on all cylinders.

I forgive myself for needing extra support.

I forgive myself for not being okay.

I commend myself for admitting that depression is where I’m currently at but this is NOT my forever destination. I know it’s temporary. I know it’ll lift. I don’t know when, but it WILL lift. Over time this upset will hurt less. The anger will simmer at a lower temperature. The head shaking unfairness of this and everything about him will slowly diminish, and my mind will be distracted by and filled with other things; better things. The pictures in my head will be less graphic and less real-looking and less horrible and less raw. My chest will ache less. My head will spin less. My body will collapse and sink into itself less. My ears will be comforted by the still and safe silence around me. I will enjoy the lifestyle I’ve deliberately cultivated to be stress-free (as far as is possible).

His words were burned away to nothing.

My brain hasn’t forgotten the taste of his poison but I’m not going to indulge him one bit by drinking any of it.

That poison was tasted, but spat out on the first read of his letter. Not a bit of that poison was swallowed.

It IS natural that I feel depressed about this triggering contact.

It IS ok that I dealt with it bravely at the beginning but his words have burned me more and more emotionally as time has gone on and I’ve reflected what exactly that letter means about our previous father-daughter relationship.

It IS ok that I had a couple of crises and that I’ve drawn more heavily on my support network lately. They really care for me and they are all genuine and sincere, and that means SO MUCH to me.

It’s all ok, and I’m ok. And the unhelful secondary emotions are going to have to JOG ON. I’ll stick to the primaries, and quit judging myself for having a natural understandable and fully justified emotional reaction to something shitty and upsetting. (Textbook self-validation there. My DBT therapist would be SO proud!)

It’s all ok girl!

Believe me, YOU HAVE GOT THIS :)

climbs on magical rainbow unicorn and waves a cheery goodbye to depression

summerSHINES©

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “TIME TO FORGIVE

  1. BelleUnruh says:

    Glad to hear you can see light in the darkness. It’s so hard for abused people to forgive themselves. Very hard for me.

    Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helps a lot, but man, it’s hard to learn it so it becomes your normal way of thinking! It feels alien, or fake or something. But it comes easier the more you do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rolandlegge says:

    I am glad to find your blog. It takes courage to share what you are going through. I admire your honesty. Your ability to forgive yourself speaks volumes to me of your commitment to your long term healing journey. My heart goes out to you as live each day as fully as you can. Roland Legge

    Liked by 1 person

  3. summerSHINES says:

    Thank you Roland! Welcome to summer starts to shine :) It will take me a long time to heal…probably the rest of my life, to some extent anyway, but I will try and make my future better than my past. I’m determined to do so.

    Like

  4. SDC says:

    You know that I have long struggled with Happiness Guilt. I still do and it’s reinforced as often as it isn’t, I’m aware of the irrationality (possibly? Not convinced) of it, but I still feel home there. All of this is only to say and point out that I’ve not seen anyone else mention this in this way you have here. I also think that type of guilt/fear keeps us from moving forward (even though we legitimately deserve to) and can be just as real and powerful as those *primary* forces that are keeping us down. ALL are real though, and all have to be worked into the equation of our own personal balance. That I’ve accepted will always, always waver. Sigh. My scales are tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. summerSHINES says:

    I’ve missed your insightful blog comments 😊 Nice to have you back. I am convinced that happiness guilt is fairly universal, particularly with those who have a history of difficult experiences, although it’s something people don’t verbalise as we feel bewildered by our own bizarre emotional responses to goodness. We don’t have happiness guilt spring up from nothing. It isn’t genetic. It’s only heritable to the extent that our families can pass on faulty/unhelpful ways of conceptualising life and our emotional reactions to life that we come to adopt subconsciously as our own. Conditioning is very real and very sticky and very hard to rise above and overcome. We are, as people, what we have learned, and if our life experiments haven’t always yielded good results we come to expect defeat. Today I’m happy, but I don’t feel bad, because my forgiveness of myself last night was very real. It’s sad that we expect shit to go wrong, and even sadder when what we expect materialises and we know, in some level, we’ve probably played a hand in sabotaging it ourselves. This reply may not make sense….I’m just in from my therapy sesh so a bit busy in my brain 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. SDC says:

    Same. 😶 I hope you can get some rest. I’m in and out of conferences today and overstimulated like crazy. Sensory deprivation in order for this evening 😣

    Liked by 1 person

Share your Shine

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s