There Is A War Going On Inside Of Me

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plantsandworms

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There Is A War Going On Inside Of Me
« on: July 26, 2018, 06:09:52 PM »
I have been teetering on the edge for a while. Tiny things set me off into spirals of self-hatred, like forgetting to put out the trash bin or failing to return a phone call. Today in therapy I started sobbing because I confessed to my therapist I told a work client I would call them back in 20 minutes TWO DAYS AGO. I told her about how it brought up every single deadline I've blown, ever single phone call I haven't answered, every single friendship I've failed to nurture because I was too busy trying to get out of bed. I told her how it made me want to give up. And then I started telling her how angry I am at myself for crying in therapy over a phone call and how it's so cliche and how I'm so sick of myself. My T pointed out that I'm being so hard on myself I'm not even giving myself permission to make space for my feelings in therapy.

On the drive home from my appointment all I could think about was how much I wanted to kill myself. The funny thing is that I really don't want to die. I really want to live long enough to get better and to experience all the joys of life more fully than I've ever been able to. And I realized it isn't me that wants to kill me, it's the little critic in my head who is always telling me how worthless I am, what a failure I am, what a waste of energy.

I came home and took a long nap, even though I'd only been awake for three hours and I was supposed to go to work after my appointment. Now I'm awake again and feeling hungover almost, drained and exhausted but more emotionally stable. I'm trying not to give up. I feel like there's a war going on inside of me. I don't allow myself any gentleness, any vulnerability, any safety because this voice inside my head says I'm not worth it. I hope I can figure out how to win this fight.

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Phoebes

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Re: There Is A War Going On Inside Of Me
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 06:28:43 PM »
Hi Plants and Worms! I'm so sorry you're in the midst of this struggle right now. I can assure you you are worthy and worth staying and fighting for.

I have these same thoughts, but have been gradually getting better in the sense that when I feel that "toxic shame" feeling (like literally adrenaline and a sick feeling in my stomach) for some benign thing, I have been asking myself, if a friend I care about did the same thing, how would I feel about it? And try to apply that grace and mercy to myself.

If I wake up in the middle of the night and a rush of toxic shame comes over me (something that has gone on consistently for years) I tell myself, yep, there's that toxic shame feeling. My body thinks it's an addiction apparently, but I can recognize it and think-I'm just having a flashback of sorts and sometimes just that will make it subside. If it's attached to something that happened, like sometimes I say something I later feel stupid about, I will think well they probably don't even remember, and they probably didn't think of it that way if they did. And even if it DID come across stupid, that's actually OK! Usually, it's just my inner critic, and the other person had other things on their mind and it didn't even register. But, if they had said the same thing, would I think oh my that was so stupid. No. And if I DID, I would love them anyway, if they were a friend.

So, over time of practicing this, the toxicity has gotten a lot better, but I still do it sometimes. And when I do, I try to think, this is a process and be easier on myself. Give myself a break a little bit.

I've had setbacks and am constantly processing something or another, and in phases feel hopeless like you describe, BUT I have learned, hang in there, it gets better. It's ok to go through these phases. We've been through a lot of confusing, hurtful and messed up stuff, and we are making the effort to heal.

I really love a few youtubers-  Lisa A Romano has been really helpful, and Pete Walker's books..I hope any of this is helpful to you. We are all on your side here and I can bet most relate exactly to what you describe-I do!

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Blueberry

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Re: There Is A War Going On Inside Of Me
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2018, 07:17:29 PM »
I'm sorry too Plants and Worms that you're feeling this way. :hug:

I get this too, it seems a part of cptsd. I have the same experience as Phoebes - it does get better. The phases get shorter.

I agree with your T on being gentler, more forgiving to yourself. That is very difficult for me though so don't expect a huge change from yourself in this way all at once. Baby steps count! Other mbrs on here often remind me of that. I often don't recognise how harsh I'm being toward myself. 

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plantsandworms

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Re: There Is A War Going On Inside Of Me
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 09:15:37 PM »
Phoebes and Blueberry,

Thank you for your messages. I'm not thinking about death anymore but still in a deep fog of depression and hopelessness. I've been thinking about something my therapist said to me. She said, "Sometimes, feeling like you want to quit your job just means that you need a vacation." I think that might apply here too - I don't really want to die, I just need to find a way to make life a little easier to bear. Maybe by reducing my stressors or increasing my support. But my job is a big part of my stress and I have so many other factors in my life relying on that employment. It's going to take a big burst of functioning and energy to get me through making any career changes if that's what I need to do. But I'm taking it one day, one hour, one minute at a time.

Phoebes, I relate to that toxic shame feeling so much. I get it when I first wake up in the morning. Sometimes I can push through it and start my day, and other times I just lay there in my shame all day. It's been going on as long as I can remember, when I used to miss 2+ days of school per week because I had a "stomach ache" that was really just shame and overwhelm from the trauma in my life. It brings me so much hope to know that you've been able to learn to work with those feelings. In all this time I've not been able to learn how to deal with it any better than when I was 8 years old.

Blueberry, being gentler with myself is so hard for me too. I think I get caught up a lot in feeling like I "should" be more stable already or I "should" have done this healing work a long time ago or I "should" be able to emotionally handle things that other people my age handle with ease. I really appreciate your signature: should is never good for me, either. We are here now and we are doing the work and our healing is taking exactly as long as it needs to and that's okay. Baby steps it is!

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Blueberry

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Re: There Is A War Going On Inside Of Me
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 07:07:39 AM »
plantsandworms, it's good to hear you're feeling a little bit better. Taking things one day or one hour at a time is a good strategy.

I'm too exhausted myself to say any more but this caught my eye:

I think I get caught up a lot in feeling like I "should" be more stable already or I "should" have done this healing work a long time ago or I "should" be able to emotionally handle things that other people my age handle with ease.
These are the sorts of "should" statements I am oh so familiar with. Due in part to my signature constantly reminding me to lay off a bit, they are less prevalent or I can do thought-stopping earlier.