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My Weirdest Mental Illness Recovery Strategy: Talking to Myself on Video

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Lately, I’ve been feeling stuck, especially when it comes to getting my work done. I sit down to write, things start off well, and then… nothing. I just get trapped, not sure how to move forward, or sideways, or move at all, really. The other day I was so frustrated, feeling unable to do anything, and I realized I’d never been able to articulate this feeling to a therapist before, so I opened the camera on my phone and just started talking. I figured at my next appointment, instead of struggling to explain what I meant, I could just show her how I felt in the moment. After about six minutes of ranting, I stopped recording. Then I hit play.

Most people I know don’t particularly like watching themselves on video or hearing themselves on a recording. I even said something in my video about how I was avoiding looking at the screen because I don’t like looking at myself. But when I watched that video, I felt like somebody got it. My feelings had been heard, even if it was just by me. I’ve always struggled with validating myself, and instead, I always seem to need it from everyone around me all the time, only to have it fade away a few days, hours, or minutes later because I have no idea how to hold onto it or use it to help validate myself. But today I feel like I got a taste of what it could be like, to listen to myself and genuinely care what I have to say.

Is this super weird? Oh, absolutely. Who records themselves as they talk about themselves, and then watches it?? Um, full of yourself much? Well, too fucking bad. I have trouble conceptualizing self-validation, and this was a lovely, weird little breakthrough. Instead of just talking to myself in my head, a foggy and deeply ephemeral place, I transferred my thoughts onto something in the real world, and then I observed them as an outsider. I’ve done this before through writing or art, but part of my feeling so stuck lately is that I’ve been utterly incapable of making art or writing anything meaningful unless a moment of inspiration strikes (which is the only way you’re getting this post). When I watched myself talk, I thought “Wow, girl, that really freaking sucks.” And I breathed a sigh of relief. Somebody got it. Plus, as an added bonus, this validation gave me the power to unstick a little bit. Once I watched the video, I set down my phone and actually got to work. It was slow at first, but then it picked up and I felt so incredibly free compared to how I’ve been feeling the last few weeks.

I’ve been dealing with my mental health issues for six years or so now, and recovery has turned out to be much harder, longer, and infinitely weirder than I could have ever predicted. I figured I’d be better by now, not finding new issues to deal with every other week. I thought self-care
was eating right and getting some sleep and painting my nails, not watching myself ramble on video. I had all these ideas of what my life would look like as I got “better,” but it’s taking me a lot longer to get there than I thought it would, so I guess I’m getting creative with it. And it’s nice. Weird, but nice.

This story originally appeared on Megan Writes Everything.

Getty image by Vadym Petrochenko

Originally published: June 18, 2019
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