It started out rough, it got worse, and it ended with exhaustion. Despite the fact that it was so difficult, a lot of good, hard work happened. And despite the fact that I was exhausted last night, I was more at peace than I have been for a while.
Yesterday was my counseling day. I had counseling with Robert, then by myself. Then, yesterday evening I had Celebrate Recovery. That’s 4 hours of hard work, on top of the work that I did on my own at home.
I cried a LOT. It’s been a long time since I did that. There’s healing in tears. There’s healing in honesty. There’s healing in hard work.
I have been building this wall of condemnation and expectation for years and years. The words I use about myself have just been the cement that holds the wall together.
One of the things that my counselor has been working with me on is the words I use. She reminds me that words matter.
The words that are red flags are: should, never, and always. If I hear myself saying these words, I need to re-word the sentence. They bring condemnation and are not helpful. Finding scripture to combat the lies is helpful.
I constantly say that I am always anxious, I will never get better, and I should do this, this, and this. Those words just put cement, sheet rock, and stucco on the walls that I have built up.
It’s time to knock the wall down.
Something important that I’ve realized through the hard work is that it has taken years to build the wall, so it will take a while to knock the wall down. I need to have a lot of self-compassion through this process and realize that I will have rough days. That’s normal.
We talked about contentment. That life has seasons. This is just the season of life that I’m in right now; that doesn’t mean it will always be this way. While I can’t work right now, that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to again. I need to think of things in life as front burner and back burner. Right now, working needs to be on the back burner because I can only fit a few things on the front burner. To operate more on the short-term (this week), but plan enough in the future to stay motivated.
So the things that I’m working on to knock that wall down are: pay attention to my red flag words and re-word them to be more helpful, remember to have self-compassion when I have a rough day and that it takes time to knock the wall down, be content in this season of life.
Another really important thing is working to stop ruminating on my anxiety. The more I think about it and think about how I can make it better, the more anxious I get. We talked about things that I can do in order to not just be home alone, thinking all the time. That I need to compartmentalize things… work on my anxiety when it’s the right time, but other than that, work on something else. I do have homework (for counseling and Celebrate Recovery), but when it’s not time to work on things, be more mindful of what I am in the middle of. Engage with my husband and kids (be careful to not be in my mind, thinking too much), spend time with friends, maybe go to a woman’s Bible study, and when I am home alone and working on something, put on music and sing along… maybe listen to fiction books on CD. Ruminating on my anxiety makes it worse, working on my anxiety helps me heal. They are two different things. So, I am working on compartmentalizing it.
One piece of cement at a time. One brick at a time. One step at a time. One minute at a time.
The wall will eventually be knocked down.