July 28, 2009 2 Comments
I have heard myself saying so often in the last five months or so, “I just hate everything about myself and I want to change it all.” I picture myself changing every aspect of my life – losing weight, being a “morning” person, devoting every second of my day to being a loving wife and mother and servant of God, being one of those happy bubbly people and being the exact opposite of how I feel about myself right now.
Also in these last months I’ve had more chest pains, sleepless nights, anxiety and panic attacks, more missed congregation meetings, less productiveness in every area of my life. Is there a relationship between these two things, the way I feel about myself and the way my life is suddenly spiraling out of control?
See, our mental powers are so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Whatever we hear ourselves saying, we believe it to be the gospel truth, at least when it’s something about the way we feel or the way we as people are. So when I say, and daydream, about how I hate myself and want to change everything, what I’m really saying is, I’m NOT okay, I’m NOT worth loving, I’m NOT worth anything. This leads to immediate depression. Why wouldn’t it? The person who knows you better than any one in the universe, who hears your every private thought and feels your every feeling, just said YOU are a valueless person beyond hope. Of COURSE that’s depressing!
For me, depression leads to stress, which always leads to my number one enemy – anxiety. This is for a number of reasons but the main reason is because my mental conversation with myself is so destructive that I forget to pay attention to what’s starting to bug me and suddenly, I’m in the cycle of not dealing with my feelings or the things going on around me, so my body is trying to tell me something’s wrong by sending these rushes of adrenaline and bewilderment.
Six months ago my mental conversation would have been something like this:
“I just lost ten pounds. I’m so proud of myself!”
Now it would be:
“You lost ten pounds because you’re too stupid to eat right. You’re never going to be thinner anyway so who cares about ten measly pounds? It’s not like it’s gonna last. You never succeed at anything so why would you even think you could succeed at this?”
Six months ago:
“Wow, I’m so tired tonight I can hardly think about cleaning the house. It’s not too messy so I can get to most of it tomorrow. I had a really productive day with the kids and I’m satisfied with the way things went.”
“You are such a loser, you can’t even keep a neat house. Why are you so tired anyway? All you did was sit on your butt while the kids played. You didn’t even cook that good of a dinner. You have no reason to feel so sleepy. Get up and clean something now, otherwise you will be even less of a person. You are never good enough.”
See what I mean? The mental talk is just so degrading and hurtful that there’s really no coming away from it unharmed. It’s going to lead to even more anxiety than all of the regular stress and depression would cause.
My mission right now is to readjust my mental tape and be the kind compassionate person to myself, that I would be to my friends.
Anxiety isn’t going to hurt me. All this nervous energy isn’t going to cause any life long problems. Even the chest pains aren’t going to last forever. I am okay just the way I am. In fact, I’m better than okay, I’m a wonderful mother and sister and friend. I am good at putting other people first and being a great listener. I am fun to hang out with. I can be even better. Things are great.