“You don’t fit the mold,” my therapist told me.
I tried to ignore her statement, but I knew she was right.
“You’re different now,” she continued. “It can be scary for people who live inside their own world and don’t stray far. It just scares them.”
I had spent half an hour complaining that I don’t get any acknowledgement for my work — my columns in the paper, working with NAMI Greater Corpus Christi, and the most difficult: the positive changes in my life since coming out of a depressive episode in 2019. It’s night and day, at least to me. I’m so grateful, and I want to make sure nobody else feels alone in their struggle, so now I talk non-stop about every aspect of my recovery. I’m sure my family and friends have felt weary listening at times. But scared? I don’t know about that.
Regardless, I have to keep talking.
I don’t do what I do for acknowledgement, but it feels like a slight with family or friends when they don’t bring it up or ask about it. A big slight. I take it personally, and I know I shouldn’t, but at times I obsess about it. Honestly, it makes me feel like I’m not good enough, even though I’ve worked very hard to get where I am.
I’ve never felt good enough. But some part of me must think I am because I marvel at the depressed, anxious person I was just three years ago. I’m highly functional now — I can volunteer at my kids’ schools, go to lunches with friends, work, write, practice self-care on top of everything else. I’ve proven I can do hard things. Yet…there’s that deep-seated nagging feeling that makes me feel rejection, hurt, confused and angry. And poof! The visual of myself stronger and happier vanishes from my thoughts.
It’s there, and likely always will be unless I do an exorcism of these thoughts, and for that, you have to put in the work with honesty, therapy and introspection. Who has time for that?
What I need to remember is that my worth isn’t tied to anyone’s opinion, no matter what. I need to tell myself every day I can do hard things — that I’ve done hard things. That I crawled my way back from the darkest pits of despair. At one point, I thought that I was just biding time until I killed myself. I slept all day. I engaged in self-mutilation and abused my medication. I lied to get narcotics from the doctor. I wanted to feel anything but the awful pain I was in.
That’s not me anymore.
I am more than my worst mistakes and moments. I wake up at 5 a.m. I take care of my kids and husband. I work to spread awareness about mental illness. I take my medications, I see my therapist weekly, and I do the work, even when it’s hard. I can see my transformation reflecting in my family’s eyes.
I made it. I lived. I survived.
So it makes me wonder if the reason I get so upset at my loved ones’ apathy is not because it’s painful but because I deep down I “know” I’m not good enough — that I’ve put up a farce. That I’m not worthy of their love.
Once again my brain is telling me conflicting things. And it’s scary when there’s such dichotomy in those thoughts. I mean, who do I listen to?
More importantly, which one is right?