What is that one thing in your life that makes you go “if this ONE thing was different, everything would be okay.”
Is it money? Your relationship? Your weight? Your job?
Maybe it’s several things, which sometimes can be overwhelming, but when it’s ONE thing…One MEASLY little scrap of a thing that feels like it’s coming between you and absolute bliss, it’s excruciating. It’s crazy, isn’t it? You wake up in the morning and immediately start worrying about this one thing. It rules your life. Like, full disclosure, I woke up this morning and my very first thought, aside from the pimple on my cheek, was that my electricity bill is late, and I can’t pay it til Friday. This thought ruled my morning. With every light I turned on, on my way to the gym, while I worked out, while I worked BOTH of my jobs. Things like this lead you to that thought that will be the thing that kills you…
“If only I had ______money_____ everything would be okay”.
Like, yes I still think like this sometimes, but you’re always surprised when you get the one thing you always thought was standing in the way of you and your true happiness, and you’re still not happy.
For me, this thing was the huge chunk of excess skin that quite literally hung from the front of my body. It felt like an elephant trunk or something. Just sitting there in the way, and there was nothing I could do about it. I’d go and get consultations from surgeons and they’d look me up and down and tell me they could fix me and give me that same $20,000 quote for a cheque I knew (or thought) I’d never be able to write. I’d wake up every day and get dressed and hate it. I’d take off my clothes to shower and hate it. I’d pinch at it and pull at it and notice it in photos before I noticed ANYTHING else. I’d be in the most intimate of situations with my shirt on every single time. I’d have men accuse me of not trusting them, but it wasn’t them, it was me. I was uncomfortable. This was my ONE thing. If this was different… everything would be okay.
I’ll get to the story of how that surgery came about another time, but either way what’s done is done and the surgery happened. The money was paid and the skin was removed and that was supposed to be it. The big moment.
The moment that everything would change for me.
I’d heal from the surgery and the skin would be gone and I would love every fibre of my being because that skin was the only thing standing between me and happiness. Right?
If the skin is gone… why do I still hate myself?
If the skin is gone… why do I still feel like something is missing?
If the skin is gone… why am I not in a place of eternal bliss?
Because that’s not how it works, sweetheart. That’s not how it works.
Why am I still binge eating? Why can I not accept myself for who I am? What is wrong with my brain? All things that I typed into my google search bar. Then one day, my friend Sam recommended a psychologist. I thought… no way. I don’t need a psychologist. I’m not a psycho. Like okay I am totally psycho like at east 40% of the time but not to the point where I need to be medically assessed. Right? I mean, clearly I didn’t even believe myself when I said that, so I called her. When we talked on the phone she asked me “what is it that you want me to help you with?”
I replied “I thought that once I looked the way I’ve always wanted to look, I’d be happy. I’m not happy”
She said “I can help you.”
So I signed a 6 month contract to which I agreed to see her for 4 hours a month (once a week give or take, thank effing God for benefits, am I right?). And so it began.
When I walked in for my very first session, I had to rate a bunch of feelings from 1-4. 1 being the least, 4 being the most.
Do you feel worthless? 4
Do you feel like you have to earn self worth? 4
Do you feel anxious? 4
Do you have trouble sleeping? 3
Do you find it easy to blame yourself? 4
Do you think you’re ugly? 4
I filled out about 50 of these questions without a second thought. The most absolutely brutal responses, because, well, you are your own toughest critic. That’s just how life works. Like imagine looking into the eyes of ANOTHER human and saying “you are WORTHLESS. You are UGLY. This is ALL your fault.” Not even just another human being. The human being who carries you, feeds you, houses you, takes care of you, keeps you alive. Would you say these words to them? Then why do you say them to yourself? This is not how I’ve always looked at life, but it’s something that I wholeheartedly learned during these 6 months with my psychologist.
I feel like I’m a little all over the place right now while I write this. I just want to be honest. I want you to know how it felt, and that it was not easy, and that it’s a weird thing to say “can we move our plans up a bit I have a psychologist appointment” - but this should not feel weird to say. You should not feel ashamed or embarrassed or shitty about it because you fucking matter, and taking initiative when it comes to your mental health is only proof that you know this as a fact.
A lot of it seems like a blur. I don’t remember a lot of the stuff we’d talk about. I’d tell her about little spats I’d get into with my boyfriend (and she always took his side, super annoying LOL). I’d tell her about life, work, everyday stresses, and she’d tell me about her life, too. It really felt like I found a friend in her, it was nice. I honestly didn’t even do all of the things she asked me to. Meditation is just too quiet for me, which I mean is very likely why she wanted me to work on it so badly, I promise I’ll get around to it eventually.
I’m a crier. I cry all the time. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m confused or scared. When I feel too much of any emotion, I either get VERY mad, or I cry. No in between. Sometimes I’d walk into her house (that’s where the sessions were) feeling like everything was okay, and she’d say “so how have you been?” and I would start to cry. It’s weird, like you think everything is okay and as soon as someone genuinely wants to know how you are it’s like this crazy river of tears that won’t stop flowing. The reason I bring up the tears, is because the thing that sticks out to me the most out of all of the time I spent with her, is likely the hardest I’ve ever cried before.
Like I just mentioned, I am no stranger to tears. If I want to cry, I do. I’ve been through some gnarly shit. Some harsh words, the breakup to end all breakups, and I also listen to a ton of Taylor Swift… so I’ve done my share of crying. This was different. She sat me down one day and drew out a triangle. Try and stay with me here:
The top of the triangle was the “critical parent”. The part of you that tells you you aren’t good enough. The part of you that tells you you ate too much, that you weigh too much, that you need to be smarter and prettier and all around better. That you didn’t workout enough this week. That this shirt makes you look fat. That you are worthless. The bottom right corner of the triangle is the adult. The adult in you feeds you 3 meals a day (sometimes) and does your laundry and goes to work and makes money and pays bills and does all the things you need to do to be a functioning adult. I mean, this is all subject to whether or not you live like a normal adult I guess, but this will hit close to home for most people as far as I know. Anyway, I’m trailing off. The bottom left corner… is your inner child. This is the part of you that eats pizza because pizza is amazing. The part of you that makes up games and dances to music and sings in the car and laughs with your friends and gives you that eternal bliss kind of feeling.
On this particular day that sticks out in my mind, she asked me how my inner child feels about the critical parent. She told me to close my eyes, and look inside of myself, and see the child in me sitting there. She asked me what the child is doing. I said “she’s crying.”
“Why is she crying?”
“Because she’s scared”
“Why is she scared?”
“Because I’ve been mean to her”
“What do you want to tell her?”
“That everything is going to be okay but she won’t believe me”
I was sobbing.
“Go and sit next to her”
“She doesn’t want me there”
“Because I’m not nice to her. She is afraid of me”
“Go sit next to her. Don’t touch her. Don’t talk to her. Just be there with her”
Writing this makes me want to lose it and cry all over again, but I don’t need to anymore. This moment with my psychologist may have been one of the most eye opening things I’ve ever experienced. If your daughter, or future daughter (if we’re being hypothetical like I need to be) was eating a slice of pizza, would you stare at her after she was done and tell her you can’t believe she ate that? That she’s fat and disgusting and should go burn off all the calories she just ate? Of course not, because that would be make her sad, and you love her unconditionally. Why do we think of ourselves as any different as we’d think of our future children? It makes no sense to feel anything but unconditional love for the one person who will literally be there for you until you die (I’m talking about YOU by the way, love yourself God Damnit!).
Things changed for me after this day. Things continue to change for me every single day. I’ll be sitting there in my car driving to work and all of a sudden feel more self worth just come upon me when I’m doing something completely different and unrelated. I’ve found more peace. Not complete peace, but definitely more of it. I’ve learned to listen more than I talk. I’ve learned to appreciate people, and to love them, but to know I don’t need to chase them. I’ve learned to not be so scared of dying that it gets in the way of living. I’ve learned that my worth does not need to be earned, it just exists. And that’s that.
If you’re going through something, don’t be scared to ask for help. Google it, talk to a friend, find a professional. Seeing a psychologist doesn’t mean you’re psycho. It just means you’re human.
At one of my final sessions, I filled out that form again. 1 being the least, 4 being the most.
Do you feel worthless? 1
Do you feel like you have to earn self worth? 1
Do you feel anxious? 1
Do you have trouble sleeping? 1
Do you find it easy to blame yourself? 1
Do you think you’re ugly? 1
I scoffed at the harshness of some of these questions. I couldn’t believe that I ever felt the way that I did when she showed me my first piece of paper. If you see these questions and want to give them any number but a 1…I hope you find your bliss. I hope you learn how worthy you are, and I hope you ask for help if you need it. It will change your life, I promise.