rosefox: My hand with my wedding ring prominently displayed. (wedding ring)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2016-09-02 04:05 am

"As good to myself as I am to everyone else"

Tonight my therapist made me cry in a good way. I was talking about the cycle of "I gotta do the work/chores" "but I don't wanna" "but I gotta" "but I don't wanna". He said, "That's the cranky kid and the authoritarian parent, but where's the third voice? The compassionate parent?"

"Oh," I said. "That's the one I call my wife." (I've decided I'm not going to poke at why my wife is still my wife even though I'm NB-identified now. It's just how it is.)

"Where's she?"

"...I forget to look for her."

"Well, try inviting her into these conversations."

Oh right, being kind and compassionate to myself, I forgot about that.

So, some things my brain is telling me lately, and things I can say back to it with kindness and compassion:

I don't want to do work right now.
"I'm sorry it's hard. It needs to get done, even though it's hard. And once you start it will be easier and go faster than you think, and then you'll be free of the burden of needing to do it."

I have so much to do and I don't want to do any of it because there is so much.
"It sounds like you're tired and need to go to bed. When you're rested you'll be more confident, more efficient, and better able to prioritize."

I can't go to bed. I have too much to do.
"Right now, while you're as awake as you're going to get, do anything that has a real serious deadline between now and noon tomorrow. Then go to bed. You can do the rest after you get some sleep."

I can't sleep. Something bad might happen to the baby.
"You're not on duty overnight anymore. X has the monitor on and reliably wakes up when the baby makes noise. J is getting up in a few hours. The baby is very healthy and will be totally fine. Also, it needs to be normal and okay for you to sleep while Kit is sleeping instead of hovering over them and fretting. Let's practice that tonight--just do it once to see how it goes. Remember that the last time you went to sleep before J got up, everything was fine."

I don't think you understand. SOMETHING BAD might HAPPEN to the BABY.
"The vanishingly unlikely worst-case scenario is that J wakes up, discovers something is wrong, and wakes you and lets you know. And that would be horrible, but you have survived other horrible things and you would survive that too."

There was another two-voice scenario that should be three. When I'm getting things done during the day, I feel like "This is very challenging and I'm totally on top of it!", but when I'm flopped on the couch after dinner, all I can think is "There's so much to do and I feel it on top of me like a weight". The third voice there isn't agitated or despondent but calm and relaxed, both capable of doing things that need doing and fully present for times of rest and fun. I'm not sure what to do to get there, though. Having less to do would help, but isn't going to happen anytime soon. I will think more on that.

In the meantime, I'm going to pet my cat (I've been home from the office for three hours and she just came into my room yelling WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN because she is oblivious) and then talk myself into going to bed. Maybe even before J wakes up.
asterroc: We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours (We Can Do It Sinfest - Up Yours)

[personal profile] asterroc 2016-09-02 12:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Your authoritarian parent reminds me of my "shoulds". I should be further along in my research. I should have already cleaned the bird cage. I shouldn't have such a hard time grading. I should already have met goal X bc my advisor did and he's younger than me by a month. I should be working on the other paper. I should go to the gym. Every day not just now. But I should also go now. Those sorts of things.

My breakthrough came when I realized I had been using my "shoulds" exclusively to set (sometimes unattainable) goals and then feel guilty for not making them, while I could (should?) use them as motivational goals and dreams to try to live up to without the guilt.
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)

[personal profile] gingicat 2016-09-02 09:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Worth considering. My therapist is my only nurturer these days, I guess I need to find one within myself.

(It's not that Browngirl and Wolf are against nurturing me, but thrusting comfort food upon me is not actually a good solution.)

[identity profile] justphoenix.livejournal.com 2016-09-02 01:07 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a great approach :)

[identity profile] mindyklasky.livejournal.com 2016-09-02 06:10 pm (UTC)(link)
These examples just resonated very loudly and very deeply with me. My specific conversations are quite different, but for the first time in a long time, I understand some of the dialog I've been missing.

Thank you.

[identity profile] musechick2007.livejournal.com 2016-09-19 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)
brilliant responses to stress/anxiety brain <3