During my last appointment with my therapist we mainly discussed my achievements of the previous week. It was a comforting change from the normally anxiety-ridden discussions. Not only are anxious moments just that, but they also produce anxiety when discussing them. Therefore, it was a welcome break to spend the entire time talking about the changes I’ve made that have allowed me feel more comfortable, confident, and relaxed.
For my own personal note and for others to take note that therapy can lead to winning these seemingly small battles, which are actually large battles, here is what we covered last week:
* I took a sick day & didn’t worry about having to be ridiculously ill to take it. I didn’t feel the need to justify myself (prove that I was sick), I just clearly and concisely told my boss, “I’m feeling under the weather and won’t be coming in”. Nothing terrible happened as a result and I was able to rest all day and felt much better faster than I would have had I pushed myself too much.
* I’ve been speaking up in meetings more. I didn’t back down the other day when I disagreed with a judgement. I didn’t get worked up neither. I simply mentioned that it was inconsistent with our other judgements. This led to a manager agreeing with me and further clarification on the appropriate judgement. There were no terrible consequences as I often fear. My team lead did not hate me after that. I was not “being mean” as I’m often afraid people will think I am.
* I also made a suggestion in a meeting even though I felt silly suggesting it (it really was a good idea) and calmly accepted when it was denied. I can understand why they didn’t want to implement it. It doesn’t mean my idea was bad, it was not a personal jab against me, it just might not work out at this point in time. I did not dwell on it, did not allow myself to think negatively about it (that it was a stupid idea, that I sounded stupid for bringing it up, that everyone was annoyed because I wasted their time bringing it up, that I sounded arrogant or picky) and I felt great for the rest of the day because I did not drag myself down with my thoughts.
* I calmed myself in the laundry room when I took out my neighbors wash because it was done and I didn’t have time to wait and wonder if she was coming back. I reminded myself over and over that it is considered acceptable to move laundry in a shared facility, that I was very respectful with her clothing, she knew I was waiting, and even if she did get angry or annoyed that would not be a reflection on me, but instead on her.
Most importantly, I have been changing the way in which I’m talking to myself. Rather than focusing on what could go wrong, I am focusing on what the potential positive outcome could be. Rather than thinking about what I didn’t do right, I am thinking about what I did do right.
I did shrug off my achievements and say “I suppose so” when my dr. told me that they were great advances. She asked why I was belittling them. I wasn’t sure. She thought it may have been part of my perfectionism coming out, that I was thinking about what the perfect result would be (no anxiety about anything ever!). I was thinking about how far I have to go instead of how far I’ve come. She is right, which leads me to a new goal of focusing on how much I have accomplished. When I look at it that way, I feel good about me. :^)