So as I mentioned in my last post I started seeing a new therapist a few weeks ago. Starting over with therapy seemed like a little decision at the time. To be honest, I assumed I would go for a few weeks and then stop seeing him when he pissed me off like they always do.... but I was VERY wrong. This man has completely changed the way I view myself and mental illness..... and is changing my life completely. I was informally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, with bipolar traits. However, the thing that is really changing my life is not a diagnosis or pills, but learning to take control of my own mind.
My therapist began teaching me how to take control of my life by teaching me how to GROW UP. Its not as simple as it sounds. As children we experience different kinds of stress on a high level and learn to deal with them in many ways. When something negative happened to us we felt it, and learn how to deal with the emotion by crying, throwing a tantrum, holding it in, taking it out on someone else... etc. He had me tell a story about the last time I got really upset about something in detail. As I was telling the story and remembering how I felt he had me pause and think about how old I felt in that moment. I felt six years old. He then asked me to take a look at the way I was sitting.... I was crunched over with my hands over my ears shrugging my shoulders like I used to do when I was scared as a child. Its terrifying that the person deciding how I feel at any moment is a 6 year version of myself. I never re-trained my brain to react like an adult. I kept most of my fears inside growing up because most of them were tied to my sexuality, which I wanted to keep secret. I never learned coping mechanisms. I didn't know what it felt like to NOT be at least a little nervous all the time. To NOT be constantly on guard. I had never been COMPLETELY honest about the way I felt. I didn't want to be myself, because who I really was, was disgusting to me at the time. So I let other people decide who I was. I took what all my friends observed about me and created a persona that everyone else like. I took every comment, negative or positive, and made it true to me. The problems is NOW I'm still letting people do that to me. I take everything people say VERY personally because I don't know how to live any other way. So the path I'm on now is learning to train my brain to think a different way. I'm learning that it is up to me who I am and more importantly how I feel and react to things in my life. And I'm doing it through the power of positive affirmations.
The process of affirmations used to sound really silly to me, because I didn't understand the process well enough. To most people it sounds like a dumb therapist thing to do to feel good about yourself... but the science behind it is fascinating. The whole process is about crating new pathways in the brain and is a little bit too complex for me to fully explain in this blog post. I recommend you look into the book "Experience Your Good Now" by Louise Hay, I promise it will change your life. I really can't even put into words the difference it has already made to me and I am only a few weeks into the 6 month process. I'll explain in more detail the process of affirmations in my next post.
At age 20 I'm finally learning what it means to feel happy. I'm growing into the man i want to be. My positive affirmation for who I am is :I am a well postured, handsome, talented, masculine adult. I create who I am so why not make it IDEAL? Who cares if someone else doesn't agree with what I wrote? In my reality that is true and I can enjoy it fully. If someone wants to think I'm awful and be miserable with that negative thought and feeling then that is their decision. My decision is to love everyone and most of all MYSELF. As my good friend Jessica Kennedy once said to me "Who does it hurt that I think I'm beautiful?" What an incredible thought. If I think I'm fantastic then not only will I be in a better mood, but so will everyone around me. Who wants to be around someone who hates who they are? It creates negative energy that isn't fun to be around.... and it does ZERO good to feel sorry for yourself. I have spent most of my life hating myself as some sort of self punishment. Its like I learned that who I was (an overly emotional gay mormon) was bad so I was obligated to hate myself. So now I release the need to do that and embrace the idea that I am a WONDERFUL human being and nothing anyone can say will stop me from believing that with all my heart.
I know how silly it sounds... but just try telling yourself how great you are... you have nothing to lose! Tell yourself how wonderful you are. Think about what makes you awesome and BELIVE IT. Its not arrogant because no one needs to know you are doing it, its totally private. Create a positive affirmation. Come up with the person you want to be most, and then start telling yourself that you ARE that RIGHT NOW. I am a _____________ right now and I love me. Then let yourself experience how much it can change the way you see the world.
This is the first step in a LONG process for me, but I can't wait to keep going!