I remember sitting there speechless when my therapist asked me if I loved myself. I did what I always do when I’m asked a tough question or asked a question I’m hesitant to answer. I looked away and focused on a spot in the room and tried to get my thoughts together. I do this because I don’t want anyone to see me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m incapable of hiding much of anything. I told her I had never been asked that before and the thought never crossed my mind. Loving myself had never been a priority. Feeling as if I’m worthy of love didn’t cross my mind. I mean I guess I am? Aren’t we all? She had me start a journal where I had to write down every day something I loved about myself. It was weird and uncomfortable and most days it took me quite a bit of time. Some days were easy. When I didn’t want to put too much thought into it I would remind myself that I love the color of my eyes. Other days I put more thought into it and noticed that I loved the fact that I’m an empath. It started to work. I stopped journaling, but I saw what she was trying to do. She was right. There are many things I love about myself and there were many reasons for people to love me. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it before. The people I loved were just more important to me, but you can’t love the people around you to your full potential if you don’t love yourself first.
When we started diving into my everyday life and the things that affected my moods asking for help was a huge factor. When I really looked into it I realized that asking for help made me feel weak and bothersome. I do not like feeling weak. Sure, I love to learn new things and try new things, but the anxiety and pressure I put on myself to be perfect right away is crazy. As much as I love to learn and challenge myself I hate going into a situation not knowing what I’m doing. I like to oversee everything around me. I need to be in control. I realized that when I asked questions or asked for help people didn’t mind. These thoughts and feelings were in my own head. Working on this and letting it sink in took time and is still taking time. There is strength in asking for help and nothing to be ashamed of.
I talked a lot about the people in my life and the different situations I was in. When talking through all of this I realized that I absorbed all the emotions around me whether it be from people or just simply the atmosphere. Both my therapist and my psychiatrist explained to me that I’m an empath. Yes, it’s one of the things I listed I loved about myself, but it’s also something I learned I’ll need to keep an eye on when it comes to my own mental health. If the person I was with was down in the dumps and constantly talking about it and letting it affect their day it would start to affect mine. If I was spending time with someone sad or angry I would leave with those same feelings. I had to learn to shield myself from other people’s emotions. I could observe and notice these emotions, but I had to learn not to take them on. I had to learn to separate them from myself. Just because those feelings and those things are going on around me doesn’t mean they are my own and it doesn’t mean I too need to feel them.
We talked a lot about my weight and the before and after affects of it. I mentioned in my first post that I used to use my weight to blend in. I used to use it to go unnoticed. I’m no longer going unnoticed. I no longer blend in. Some people might thrive with this kind of attention, but I was suffocating. I hated the attention. I never mentioned that I lost weight to people. When friends would bring it up I would be embarrassed and would do what I could to end the conversation. I never wanted the congratulatory comments. I didn’t need them and they didn’t make me feel any different. I set a goal for myself, I completed that goal and that was it. I never thought anything about it. My weight came up a lot in my sessions and I’ll never forget the day my therapist said, “You are not your weight.” It was a wake up call. Ever since I had lost the weight that’s all I had been. I do realize that I lost an entire person and I realize how hard that was, but I still have a hard time taking the praise. I don’t do anything in life for praise. Being congratulated on anything makes me feel uncomfortable, but I’m learning to appreciate it and enjoy it.
Learning to love myself was probably one of the saddest things I had to work on. We should all love ourselves and the fact that I had to do homework in order to figure that out is horrible. Learning that I’m an empath was eye opening and made so much sense. It explained why large groups of people drain me and why I’m exhausted afterwards. It explained why I need time alone and value that time to recharge. Asking for help is always going to be something that’s hard for me, but I know there is no shame in needing it. It took a lot out of me to seek help for my depression, but I’m so thankful that I did. I’m thankful that I have the tools to get me through.