Yesterday, my therapist gave me a homework assignment. There seems to be a lot of homework in my life recently. Between therapy, group meditation, and my upcoming end-of-life doula training, I have a lot of random readings and assignments to do in addition to normal life.
C’est la vie
My assignment was to reach out to some friends and ask them two interrelated questions:
“Why do you continue to stay friends with me?”
“What are some things you like about me?”
I sent this message to a handful of friends but I also was curious what other people thought so I’m asking for anyone who is reading this and willing to fill out this quick anonymous survey. I’d like complete honesty, no reason to fluff anything up for my ego or anything. The truth is best.
I know this may seem super awkward and weird. Trust me. It feels super awkward and weird to me too.
Alright, so some of you might be wondering why I am seeing a therapist weekly. There are a few different, overlapping reasons.
First, I think everyone should see a therapist regularly. Having a trained third party provide guidance and support is incredibly valuable. Therapist, to me, can be like a personal trainer. Yes, many can generally get to a certain level of mental fitness alone but in order to really excel, to really be healthy, it is beneficial to have an expert help motivate and educate.
Charlie, my personal trainer, helps me both heal and push towards my physical potential. Kayla, my therapist, helps me both heal and push towards my psychological potential.
Second, I deal with some anxiety issues pretty hardcore. I haven’t kept this a secret. I’m on Buproprian, which is helping, but medication isn’t going to get me to where I want to be. Maybe an example would be helpful, here is something that happened last week:
- I receive an email from my boss that has information for an important client
- I email my boss to get some clarification and my boss tells me to contact the client directly (something I’ve never really done)
- My pulse quickens, my breathing gets shallow, I feel an uncontrollable desire to pace around the room. A warm pulsing pressure appears behind my eyes.
- My mind goes into a death spiral
- What if I screw up the email?
- What if I accidentally attach a phone from my desktop or my writing isn’t professional enough or I make a mistake.
- This is an important client. I might embarrass myself and my boss.
- If I disappoint my boss he may hit a breaking point and realize that I’ve been faking it and am incompetent
- If that happens then he will probably fire me and then I will be out of a job and my world will collapse.
- I need to get out of my office. Is there food in the house? I need something salty and savory. I need a beer.
Yep. Illogical as fuck. Several months ago this experience would have likely paralyzed me but I have been improving using some techniques given to me by my therapist. So, it isn’t as bad as it has been and I’m still managing to get things done at work.
Lastly, Kayla and I are working on my personal confidence and self-image. This is incredibly difficult for me. My evangelical Christian upbringing and time in the military kind of did a number on me. I am constantly apologizing for things (a close friend actually pointed this out last week) and I view myself as unworthy. I have a very difficult time feeling comfortable or valid. I often feel like I am wasting people’s time when I want to hang out with them, so I never initiate things even when I really want to. And I also don’t go out to new places or events where I can actually make friends because I feel like I am imposing on other people’s sacred spaces. Basically, I feel like I have nothing to offer. Also, after talking about how I view my body Kayla feels that I have a distorted view of my own physical attractiveness.
So, that is what brought about this homework. I’m nervous and feel super weird about this but I trust Kayla and I’m trying to trust the process. If you are willing to anonymously help me out here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9739QVD