I saw my therapist yesterday afternoon. I reported in on my goals (you may want to read my previous entry “The Wrong Way to Cope – a Mental Health Post” so you can catch up on the details). I honestly didn’t set any numerical restrictions on my consumption last week as I was on vacation and didn’t know what that entailed. However, I did stick to my rule of avoiding consumption when I was having a bad day. I found myself once consuming because I was frustrated and decided not to consume anymore until my frame of mind changed. I also didn’t consume to excess, so I’d call last week a win. I’m back to monitoring my intake on a daily basis and will punish myself if I exceed my limit. She was proud of my progress.
We started talking about my other negative coping methods, I have plenty that I would like to address. Again, the details of each aren’t important because a negative coping method is still negative, so there is no point listing each of them out here. My next goal will probably be my most difficult to achieve, its a habit I participate in so frequently I no longer receive any kind of joy from it. I’ve been trying to figure out how to structure my approach, and its been making me a little anxious. I know I need to significantly cut back, if not avoid indulging all together. During our talk it became apparent we needed to begin addressing the root of the problem because we realized I spend most of my life escaping reality.
It started at a pretty young age. I would party and abuse various substances because it made me feel cooler. People finally could tolerate my strong personality. I don’t know if I’m wittier, or less shy, but I learned really early on that people enjoyed having me around when I was inebriated. It also helped me forget about my deteriorating home life, so the cycle of negatively coping began. When I was injured in the Army, I was prescribed so much medication I lost track of days. I became addicted to my opiods and stayed in a haze for years. I would later find safer, more legal ways of coping, but they were still negative. I don’t consume to enjoy, I consume to escape reality. If it were up to me I would stay in that haze forever, but I realize that’s not a healthy way to live. I realize I miss out on many things in life by avoiding all the other things. I push my feelings down and do everything possible to ignore the situation and avoid processing my feelings. My doctor mentioned this is the exact way people end up with PTSD. I realized all these years I’ve been trying to protect myself, I’ve actually been doing damage deep down. I’ve spent so long numbing myself, I forgot what its like to experience my day like everyone else does. I simply don’t know how to positively cope. And though my negative coping methods are harmless on their own, they keep me emotionally stuck.
I’ve been trying to flee thoughts regarding my relationship with my mother a lot lately. If you read “The Fall Out – a Mental Health Post” you are aware there was some drama with my in-laws, resulting in the cancellation of my wedding. This situation brought back those feelings I had as a child and young adult, trying to fit in to a family that wouldn’t accept me. The most harmful rejection came from my own mother, and I’ve never processed that. I’ve spent my entire life running from the feelings brought on by the thought of her, and I feel it all bubbling up to the surface lately. I feel neglected. I feel unwanted. I feel unloved. And I know that isn’t the case currently, but these are things I’ve felt my entire life and they consume me. I have a wonderful mother figure in my life right now, but I can’t quite shake the pain I’ve carried so long. So I consume, and consume, and consume. I’m constantly putting something in my body to push it all down.
Having to be honest with myself and my therapist about this really hit me. I feel guilty and weak, but my support system says I need to look at this in a different way. Yes, we have identified a problem that I am perpetuating by avoidance. Now that I know what the problem is, its time to work on it. You can’t fix something until you know whats broken. Now I will learn the tools to rebuild. I’d like to get to a point where I’m no longer dependent on my negative coping methods. I’ve prioritized each one, and I’m working down this list with my therapist. I just need to replace those actions with things I enjoy. I should be learning and creating instead of desensitizing myself. I should be indulging in my passions instead of my vices. I’m positive I’ll get there one day, I’m just a little overwhelmed at the moment. But I’ve already proven I can do it with one vice, so I bet I can do it with them all. I just need to show some discipline and stick to my goals. I need to put forth the will power to partake in the highs and lows of reality. I have hope for a happy life, and I’m going to do what is needed to live it.