Things I've gotten better at:
Asking for help
I never used to be able to do this. Even small, silly things like asking another mom for help with rides to soccer practice. I would either suffer in silence, making myself crazy trying to meet everyone's schedules or just declare the kids simply couldn't do something because I couldn't get them there. I am now able to ask for help because I want to believe that people genuinely want to help me if they can & I’ve also found, the more you ask for help, the more other’s in turn, as you for help. I have an inkling that this is how community building begins
Stating my feelings
My therapist says I should say "I feel.." before I say... how I'm feeling. This sounds obvious at first but when you think about it, you realize how often you don't say "I feel" before you say anything else. Truly, this has been really beneficial in my communication. So now, instead of saying like, You are a complete & total fucking idiot. I can say, I feel really upset when you say things that devalue my decisions. See how that works?
Saying I had a shitty childhood
I used to not talk about this. Ever really. Not talking about this is how I've been able to achieve supreme level four status as an independent person. Don't spill your secrets, then people can't hurt you. I don't think I can say that I'm an emotionally vulnerable person (yet?). No, I'm definitely not. But now I have no problem saying - I had a super shitty childhood - in any conversation. And to be quite honest, I think it may come out a bit too easily, catching people slightly off guard. I credit therapy with this because I spent so many years blowing off my childhood or laughing it off or having so many fucking people tell me I was fine or should just be happy with everything I had, or simply trying to forget, convincing myself, Hey - other people had it way worse than you. It was easier that way. Feeling bad is hard. Forgetting is easy. Except the fact that you never really forget, you just pass forward some deep rooted shit that your own parents probably tried to bury or forget themselves. At some point, someone, somewhere has to decide the shit stops here. That point was with me.
I have to hands-down give this credit to my meds. Truly. I used to feel like everything was threat level 10 all the time. It's hard for me to accurately describe the physical sensation but I used to call it 'pinging'. My senses felt hyper aware of everything. Noises, lights, demands. Think of it as if you've had 4 espressos & no breakfast. You are fucking awake, man, & everything is intense. I remember once asking my younger son to do something & he responded with a typical 6 year old 'I don't want to' attitude. I slammed my hand on the counter & said - You will do as I say & do not talk back to me. That wasn't just me hitting a point of frustration after a long day. That was the immediate reaction my body produced. Once I started my meds, the most noticeable thing I felt was that the edge had been taken off. And not in a bad way. Now, if I need to shout, it's because it's a choice. I choose to raise my voice. This is preferred to the knee jerk reactions of shouting I had before.
I do the things ‘normal people’ do. I eat. I aim for three times a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Depression has this funny way of stealing your appetite. So I tell myself - eat something. That’s what normal people do. Even if you don’t feel hungry. Because I know that not eating begins a cycle of misery. It makes you more tired that you already were. It makes you have less energy than you already did. It makes you drink more coffee than your body really needs. Get dressed. Take a shower. Compartmentalize the shit. Push it aside when the kids come home. Do the things normal people do. Eventually, hey, maybe I’ll be normal too?