BONNIE STEPS BEYOND STRESS
See Bonnie’s story at openingup.substack.com/p/bonnie-steps-beyond-stress
When has a stressful time in your life eventually taken you to a time of peace?
See Bonnie’s story at openingup.substack.com/p/bonnie-steps-beyond-stress
When has a stressful time in your life eventually taken you to a time of peace?
As a child, I was left alone to deal with my problems. I became hyper independent. That’s where the bad coping skills came from. I was 7 years old when I first cut myself. I still to this day have no clue how in the world a 7 year old tells themselves I will cut myself to feel better. Until in the last years that I realized I needed someone to talk to about my experiences, share my feelings with (my stupid feelings and emotions that I never fucking understand or know what they are) and to help me organize my emotions and their meanings. That is why I initially seeked a therapist. I wanted to understand better why I keep on having my suicidal thoughts and get help managing them so they are less invading. I only recently realized that we (my therapist and I) have created a safe place together for my thoughts, but now it is like I am doubting it again because of last session. What I somewhat understood is that: reassurance seeking leads to over explaining, over apologizing, what if and doubts which come from shame/abandonment issues.
After reading a little online, I can conclude that excessive reassurance seeking is addictive. Like any addiction, the more you do it, the more you want it. It’s an immediate relief like self harm. It is quick and relieves the anxiety that is rumbling through your head. Like self-harming, the relief does not last, and you seek it more and more. The problem with reassurance is that, in the short term, it decreases your anxiety. However, in the long term, it creates a vicious cycle that worsens your anxiety and increases your need for more reassurance. It also decreases your confidence in your ability to answer your own questions and reinforces that you are unable to tolerate the discomfort of uncertainty. How do we fix it? “By exposure and response prevention. This involves repeatedly facing the fear and choosing not to seek reassurance (i.e. not to check, measure, ask, review, and do). Exposure can be paced to slowly and purposely help the person reduce the reassurance seeking. Anxiety levels will eventually fall and the individual learns that reassurance-seeking is not needed to reduce anxiety, the feared outcome does not occur and that they have power over their thoughts and actions.” It all seems very straightforward and easy to do when you read it but emotions and feelings are mixed with all this and that is where it gets complicated. I understand I need to learn how to tolerate uncertainty. Uncertainty is not danger, its distress, it’s a feeling, and it’s not an indication of real danger in the world. I need to change how I respond to it so I no longer seek reassurance, but how do I do that when I lived in a world where no one was safe, every time I trusted someone, it literally backfired. I was either criticized, laughed at, or misunderstood. And even as I grew older, I tried trusting more, forgiving more, being more tolerant with people and they still proved my anxieties were right. My gut feelings are rarely false now. I know how to read people so I do not get hurt, so I know what to expect. The only person I have trouble reading is my therapist and it is quite anxiety provoking. I don’t know why and it’s a piss off.
Since the beginning my therapist has been telling me to trust people more, be more vulnerable with them. Part of seeking validation and reassurance is also asking for help and being courageous enough to ask for help when needed. Don't all humans do that? Why is it bad? The message that I retained from last session with my therapist is that asking for reassurance is bad and that I shouldn’t do it ever, especially with her and yet I started trusting her and being vulnerable with her. How do they expect me to be vulnerable and honest with them if sometimes involuntarily I have questions and want some reassurance? No one can be self-sufficient, even her. It’s literally impossible. Talking about my fears and insecurities is very hard for me and she knows that, but how am I supposed to do that without relying on her a little or expecting a little reassurance. It is a blessing to find people with whom we feel safe to share our vulnerability when we feel anxious or insecure. Sharing our thoughts, including our need for reassurance, builds trust and connection. How am I supposed to do one without the other? How am I supposed to be honest about my thoughts, my feelings and questions I wonder? Yes, I worry about other people’s feelings, including my therapists. I can’t help it. I do think I am a burden to everyone around me, including her even without any concrete evidence. It is a feeling so ingrained in me that I can’t shake it off because maybe I’ve been told most of my life to shut up because I talk too much and talk too loud. I know she is a human too. I know how difficult it is to remain neutral all the time, to not show your opinion. Unloading onto someone is hard for me because the only thing I’m telling myself is don’t complain too much, don’t unload too much because they will leave. Don’t talk too much or take too much space or else they will stop this. I wish I could press a button and press stop but it goes so fast. I’m starting to realize that a lot of questions and things I ask to my therapsit are a reflection of my opinion about myself as well. I have zero self-compassion, zero self-confidence and zero knowledge on knowing how to reassure myself. I look bad right now, but being honest is so much more important to me. The only way to trust people is with honesty, especially if I want to trust myself one day. #Therapy #Therapist #Anxiety #Depression #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #reassurance #Selfblame #Selfharm #SuicidalThoughts #Trust #vulnerability
I remember a time where my family gathered at the dinner table. It was not the standard gathering of parents and children, who pass the salad and spilt bread, like we see on tv shows. I never had that. Instead, we had our own version; the dinner table where my parents were almost always absent due to their line of work, and where my grandma was the one in charge of feeding us. Whether my parents were sitting with us at the table or not, I distinctly remember always having my siblings around me. We would share our school stories between us and most often, have my older sister help us with homework once supper was over. That was over 10 years ago, when we didn’t have jobs or odd sleeping/working schedules. Today, I’m lucky to even see my own twin brother more than twice in 24 hours – despite living under the same roof. I eat by myself most times or in the company of my dog, who only joins me to beg for a nibble. I miss the times where I heard their stories and shared my own.
Dr. Starla Fitch’s 2015 TEDtalk on human relationships talks about the importance of human contact. Her message is impactful in the simplest form as she merely suggests for us to give hearing, seeing and talking to each other a chance. Her message is brilliantly important: We are social beings and when social contact is denied we threaten our own lives.
Humans. We are odd creatures. Brene Brown, renowned author, speaks about human vulnerability in her 2010 TedTalk. As I heard the words coming out of her mouth, I began to question my own shame and heartbreaks and struggles. For many years, my weight has been my biggest challenge to overcome. In school I was briefly treated by a school psychologist for bulimia. Prior to treatment, I had already accepted my binging habits as a part of who I was and I did not see myself as being out of control. So much so, that I only attended therapy a few times, believing I did have control. As any teenager would, I promised my mom that to start anew and dedicate myself to school as an emerging freshman in high school. Yet, my disgusting tendencies continued well into high school and not much changed.
It was only at the end of my high school career that I’ve learned to contain my anxiety and fears through reflection and healthy eating. You can say I’ve transformed from a chocolate binging addict to a broccoli obsessionist. I had to let go of my shame, my past hurt and embrace a new me. I had to change for me, not for my mom, not for a school psychologist, but for me. I had to be okay with not knowing this new lifestyle I was to embrace would guarantee a positive change, instead as Brene Brown says I had to accept my vulnerability as a way of life and sought comfort in knowing she was right.
Here’s why: people who were unable to accept their vulnerability become numb and turn uncertainty to certainty. I numbed my pain. I ignored my therapy sessions. I ignored my mom’s pleas and dove into school work as a distraction. Out of stress, I became rude and out of frustration, my reality became terribly skewed. I was certain my family hated me when they looked at me. I was certain I was meant to be fat and forever ugly. So I became mean. I refused to attend family gatherings and made a point to have them know I didn’t want to be around them. I pretended that my struggles were my own problem and that it didn’t effect those around me. I saw how my mom looked at me, in concern, but pretended she looked at me in disgust. I pretended I was fine. I pretended I was okay and didn’t need any help. I isolated myself from family and friend and in parting ways with human connection, I ultimately paid the price.
Human connection is built on love and compassion, and one cannot receive it if one does not practice it. All those years I felt alone was because I made myself lonely. So when I learned to love myself first, I was able to shred the blame and rage I had felt for so long.
#MentalHealth #BreneBrown #psychology #Students #studentinterns #Imhc #GradSchool #MentalHealth #Therapy #counselors #Selflove #vulnerability #Shame #Powerful
Lately I have been feeling very blah. That’s the best way to describe it. I’m staying with my boyfriend for a few weeks and I feel like we have fallen into a rut. It’s almost like we are just roommates rather than parterns. I feel as though I have already mentally checked out of the relationship and maybe he has too. We aren’t the same as we were in the past. This month will be the one year anniversary of when I considered ending it at. He was there for me when that happened - as a friend- we weren’t dating yet. Now as I reflect on this past year I am so proud of all that I have accomplished mentally, emotionally and physically — but a part of me still feels sad, numb, and lonely. My boyfriend is also a vegetarian because of his religion so I haven’t had any meat in the past two weeks. Could my diet have an effect on my mindset? Maybe.
All I know is I feel so alone even though I have a lot of people that I know love me. I can’t talk to my parents about this because I dont want them to worry. My sister is going through interviews for school so that is taking up a lot of their time and energy. I feel good being able to write this in this community. Would love to hear from others #vulnerability #Depression #Anxiety
#BreneBrown #Speakyourtruth #resilience #SuicideAwareness #vulnerability #MentalHealthStigma #Survivor
Gooooood Morning to my family of Lost Souls! Wanted to give our new members a very warm welcome and thank everyone here so much for being part of this community!
So, I was thinking about ways we can use this space to help ourselves and I had this thought. You know, society isn't at the point where we can have deep conversations and it's those types of conversations that help us learn more about what we need and who we are.
Vulnerability is so important to me, it's what makes everyday worth living because I feel HEARD! I want you all to feel like you matter in this space because you DO. So, I ask all members to step out of their comfort zones and answer the following question:
"Do you believe in yourself? If so, what things do you do to maintain that mindset? If not, what are some of the dark thoughts that keep you from doing so and why do you think they exist?"
My dear friends, I have to remind myself everyday that mental health is HARD WORK. This group is not for complaining about our problems, because complaining just helps us validate/rationalize our feelings. I mean, every once in a while it's necessary to vent lol, but for the most part I want to focus on what we can do RIGHT NOW to start feeling better.
We are here because we want to find actionable steps to feel overcome our obstacles. We are here because we want to confront the scary things that lie in the darkness of our minds and make peace with them. We are here to help ourselves by helping others.
With that being said, I'll go first on my next post! Can't wait to learn about everyone here :) #vulnerability
This quote from Brene Browns new book Atlas of the Heart made my brain explode.
Wrote my first full chapter of my book yesterday. Titled “I love you even if you are crazy” which is how I always signed all my cards from the time I was little to my mom. It’s a recounting of the day my mom had her bankruptcy hearing which devolved completely into her self harming in the car on the way home and my almost crashing my car. It was the day I decided I needed to go no contact with her. My head has been spinning since then. #Trauma #vulnerability #PTSD #CovertIncest #Enmeshment #Parentification
The Mighty Has Given Me A Voice
I have felt as if, I have been unheard and unseen, my whole life through. I feel like I finally MATTER, to someone, on this earth. The freedom is astounding, but with it, comes great pain. I must warn, as I have already experienced, a hurtful, bully, almost succeed in getting through my thin skin. My life’s wounds are fresh, and yes they hurt; I almost packed up my pen and left. I beg of you, to hear me out, how crucial kindness is, on this, lifesaving site. We must protect this gem of freedom, called “The Mighty!”
The Mighty, gives me, unlimited, thought provoking questions, that I can in turn, inquire of myself. What I learn from my own answers, speaks volumes itself, but more so comes from the comments, soon to follow. The compassion I’m given, which I won’t give to myself, is healing many broken bones. More importantly, I have finally begun, putting ink to paper, allowing those thoughts, feelings, and parts of my life, which remained hidden away, to be touched by the light of the sun. These are the facets of myself, the sun’s light, can start to heal. Exposing the very idea of “secrecy,” as a life draining force itself.
I now beg of you, when I write in prose, be kind, for I’m lying my fresh wounds, out, bare. Please, don’t hurt me, for it’s happened before, and I need you all, to help me, recover. I have CPTSD, and I just opened myself up, to an endless amount of pain, if I’m again attacked, so please be kind, to everyone who puts pen to paper. I will leave you now, but listen up, for I have just learned how to speak…. #Bekind #CPTSD #togetherwecan #Openingup #vulnerability
It is 3 weeks this Friday since my ex moved out. I have a lot of immense difficulty speaking. I wasn't like thus before I met my ex. I've never in my life been like this. Not able to speak properly or without a tremendous amount of fear.
I'm waiting to start some counselling. I'm so very confused, scared, depressed, lost and sad. I don't know what to make of the relationship I was in. I was so traumatised that I really disconnected from everything, including myself. It was just all too much. Trying to re connect with things again is not something I'm interested in and actually am finding hard to do.
I did not feel safe in my relationship. I didn't feel emotionally safe and I did not feel safe to be vulnerable. It wasn't like that for me the whole way through. It was more towards the last 3 months.
My trust has been broken a few times before that in the relationship. My safety in many ways had been compromised before that in the relationship. It was me who chose to forgive and re build trust.
It just kept getting knocked back down as it had started to build until I could trust no more, nor did I have anything left to re build after the trust got broken over and over again. Every time it did it broke a little more of me.
Everything that got done races around my head. I try not to let it but it's hard. I don't know if I can even trust myself or my experiences anymore. All I know is I feel really horrible inside if myself. Like a betrayal has happened and I feel so dirty and scared.
I now struggle to open up to anyone at all. I've been pushing people away who try to get close. I know I have become overly protective of myself.
I have two businesses I run, mostly from home but I'm scared all the time.
My ex used to scream at me all the time to take responsibility. I never knew what for. I couldn't see anything I may have done wrong. If I stood up for myself and put a boundary down around it because I was being her punching bag, then I paid a price for that too. (Same sex relationship)
So, for a long time throughout, I would rack my brains wondering what I needed to take responsibility for but not being able to find anything. I was aware of projection happening from her end. I didn't want to take responsibility for others mistakes and I was hated and punished for it. I tried to understand and remember it wasn't me she hated and wanted to punish. I forgave and my love for her didn't waiver. In the end, the last three months I was so completely drained and very sick.
The behaviours escalated more and more. I was getting more and more depressed. I tried so much to stay with her because I actually was deeply in love with ber. I was a very commited, loyal, attentive and supportive partner.
I did make a few mistakes. Who doesn't? Not huge, massive ones that could cause damage. Truly innocent mistakes. I always apologised and I always change it immediately. Just needed to get some stuff off my mind I guess.