Self Destruct Mode: OFF

I’ve been feeling pretty great lately, which is a bit unusual, but hey, I’ll certainly take it. When I feel this good I tend to treat myself better, I’m more productive and generally in a good mood.

But I’ve noticed, even with these good moods, there’s still a part, albeit a small part, of me that looks for ways to be unhealthy. For example, I’ll get the urge to overeat, even when I’m not hungry. I’ll think, “What pills can I take to feel good?” even though I have no such pills. Images of cutting myself will appear, even though I surely don’t want to do that.

I’m aware that it’s happening and I know it’s 100-percent my lying ass brain spreading more lies. It’s just a malfunction. It’s not really real, but emotions are energy in motion, and I can’t let these awful thoughts fester in my head.

If I do, unhealthy behaviors take control and with them come intrusive, unhealthy thoughts. My control over these thoughts and behaviors loosens, and just like that, I’m in a dark, ugly place that I can’t find my way out of. It’s like being in a deep hole and my depression is just too heavy, weighing me down and preventing me from climbing out.

It’s a slippery slope, a dangerous one for me, given that I can become suicidal very quickly.

I have to take inventory of my emotions constantly to prevent this. I have to be fully aware of how I feel and avoid switching to autopilot where I might miss something. I have to be so diligent so I can avoid that hole. And honestly, it’s exhausting and feels like sometimes it’s too much or not worth doing. Before I’d try to figure out why I was having these thoughts and ask what it meant, but like I said, it’s just a malfunction. I need to stop wasting time wondering why and just dismiss the thoughts. They’re not worth thinking.

I must release the energy that fuels these damaging thoughts and refocus if in a productive way, channeling it into exercise and writing, etc.

A self care check list is helpful to have so I can stay on top of the things I need to do to prevent self destruction. Just thinking about all the work I have to do to stay healthy is daunting and tiring. But I have to do it if I want to be happy. This past week has made me realize how much I’ve missed being happy — singing at the top of my lungs in the car and shower, truly enjoying spending time with my kids, reading for pleasure, writing my ass off and exercising. Medicine, ECT and therapy just aren’t enough to maintain my good mood and healthy behaviors. I have to put in the work at it, just like anything else. Sometimes it bothers me that other people don’t have to work as hard at life.

But I don’t do happy-go-lucky — I physically can’t. Happiness, for me, is hard work. It’s sticking to a strict schedule, taking an assortment of pills daily, going to therapy, keeping a close eye on my emotions and lots of prayerThere’s nothing lucky about it. 

I do have to work hard, but the payout is so, so good and that’s what I need to remember. What is the point in having an amazing life if you can’t enjoy it? Why do I spend so much time self-sabotaging? Again, with the “why?”

I’m going to work at my life like it’s my damn job and like it pays, because it is and it does.

It pays so much.

This is the Self Care Checklist that I created. It’s super simple; feel free to download:

Saboteur

I had an epiphany today. I realized that I am not mentally healthy, which is completely different from being depressed or having mental illness. I flat out don’t do anything that would promote mental health, which no doubt affects my depression.

Recently, I’ve had trouble with overeating. My husband and I order out a lot and every chance I get I order something unhealthy and then proceed to overeat. It’s not a new practice, I’ve done it for years. What starts off as “I don’t feel great, I need a treat” turns into a habit that are incredibly hard to stop. But today I decided to stop.

Not just the overeating, but the way I look at myself, the way I talk and treat myself – it’s horrible and I would never say or do anything like that to another person. I pride myself on being compassionate and nonjudgemental – the oppotisite of what this saboteur in my head does.

I listented to a great podcast, Brook Castillo’s Self Assault, and learned that what I’ve been doing is assault – inflicting harm or attacking. This is what I do to myself day after day. Not only verybally but chemically as Brook Castillo put it – using chemicals and substances to inflict harm. That includes overeating, drinking massive amounts of Diet Coke and abusing meds, which I have a tendancy to do. I always need a hit whether it’s food, shopping, soda or relying too much on my anxiety pills.

So I threw out all my Diet Coke. I wrote down positive affirmations. I jotted down mean things that I said to myself and then disputed them.

And even though I begged my husband to order out tonight, we cooked a healthy meal. It was good but also sucked because I couldn’t overeat or have Diet Coke with it. I realize now that I’m constantly seeking false pleasure in things. I actually cried because we didn’t order out. But that’s just me being uncomfortable with change – losing my blankie, if you will. I have to get uncomfortable. I have to stop treating myself like shit if I don’t want to feel like shit. Again, this behavior can not be helping my depression one iota.

I also realized that I didn’t have any goals set for myself anymore. I used to set goals, acoomplish them and make new goals, it was just what I did. The fact that I don’t have any goals told me I don’t think I’m worthy or even capable, which isn’t true. Where does all this hate and sabotaging behavior come from? How on earth did I learn to talk to myself with such animosity and disgust?

Wherever I picked it up, I’m trying to put it down now. I know it’ll take sometime to break bad habits but I just have to do this. I have to be as healthy as possible. I have to set an example for my kids and husband. I have to love myself and feel worthy of that love.

Tell me, friends, how do you self sabotage and what do you do to be mentally healthy?