Sunday, February 17, 2013

Things I'm working on in my life.

I sincerely believe in my heart of hearts that every person could benefit from therapy at some point in their lives. Whether you've survived the death of someone close to you, lost a job, watched your dreams stay dreams, recognized you're in a funk and need help getting out of it... going to counseling, talking through the things that are hard, that beat us down, that defeat us, it is GOOD.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with asking for help.

There is NOTHING wrong with admitting that sometimes we can't do it alone. 

There is NOTHING wrong with seeking out a therapist. 

There is so much stigma with asking for help to deal with emotions or mental illness. No one will shame you for going to the doctor to put a cast on your broken leg, to get chemo and radiation (literal poison to your body) to fight the leukemia. So, why the heck do we make a point of tearing down people who have the courage to ask for help for anything else???

Seeing a therapist gives you a few specific things that are sometimes hard to find in regular life. 
  1. A safe place to discuss things and people that it might not always be easy talk about to the people around you. 
  2. A third party perspective that has no ties to your life, and can offer another way to look at things without the problem of muddled connections that sometimes friends and loved ones have to take into consideration. 
  3. And, a person to help you work through your own reactions since we can't change anything else. It's impossible to change our environment, it's impossible to control other people, it's actually not even possible to control our initial reactions to things. That said, we can choose what we do with all that information. That's what therapy can help a person do. 
Now, I have to admit to being a little biased because I once dreamed of getting a PhD in Clinical Psychology and going into practice with kids with attachment issues. That probably makes me a little more pro-therapy/counseling that most.  And, I'm in therapy right now. That probably also makes me a little more pro-therapy than the average joe. I'm ok with that. 

Therapy is hard. I think it takes someone brave, someone strong, and someone who is willing to admit weakness to ask for help instead of putting pride ahead of their needs. And work. Therapy is a place to analyze, to talk, to plan, and find the ways to work so things get better. It's active, not passive.

One of the things we're working on right now is that I feel the need to do things for people, to constantly prove my worth or value to them as a person because I don't expect them to want me around based on my personality. I'm not so sure I want me, why would anyone else? It comes down to not believing I'm good enough for them to want me around if I fall short of the mark or am less than perfect. At work, this means that I will say yes to the things I'm asked to do, and do everything I can to work above expectations and well into excellent. This is also how I view my schoolwork. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform at a pretty high level. Generally, this isn't a bad thing, but with me, it's not because I take satisfaction in a job well done, but because I am not sure they'll want to keep me if I don't do those things.

I've had some very specific instances that have knocked the fact idea that I am unworthy of acceptance and lacking in value way out of the ballpark and into my head so succinctly it becomes really hard to dislodge it from my brain. The easiest of these experiences to talk about that still can make me cry if you catch me on the right day is the story of when I went through rush before the start of my freshman year of college. If you're not from the south or a school with a massive Greek system, you might not fully understand this, but I was not invited back to any houses for preference night. I was cut from recruitment. Now, part of me wishes I could say this was because I didn't have community service hours, or had made mediocre grades, or didn't have recommendations. But, I know none of that is true. I graduated in the top 2% of my high school class, I was a legacy to a house not only on campus, but to the house my mom was actually a member of years before (she went to OU, too), I had volunteer hours out my ears, recommendations in triplicate to EVERY house, I'd held leadership positions in almost every organization I was involved with in high school which equated to about 8 in total, I was rushed by family friends' children at almost every house I went to, and I was savvy when I went through. I wore the right thing, said the right words, was excited, open, willing and so very ready to join.

On paper I was a perfect rushee; an ideal PNM. I was also fat. In reality I became the girl that no one wanted to wear their letters, to invite to date parties, to mar their pictures on facebook. To say I was devastated is an understatement of epic proportions. The message came through loud and clear. I was not worthy as I was, as I am.

Now, I did end up pledging in the spring of my freshman year to a wonderful house full of women I came to love dearly. They also happen to be one of the 11 houses that cut me the fall before, but I found a place to belong.

But, this is just one of the cases where I learned I was not worthy of people to love me because of who I am with devastating clarity. 

In my personal life, it's sometimes really hard...

I found this picture on pintrest earlier this afternoon. For the people I care for, want to spend time with, find myself drawn to, I see that I work really hard to impress them. I feel the need to make sure they recognize what I can do for them, and then that's why I'm allowed to hang around. If I'm indispensable, then I'm not so easy to ditch. I'm worth the effort. 

Therapy Man (my doctor... he doesn't know that I call him that, haha) says that I shouldn't do this. He says my overachiever tendencies are a great thing in general, but when I let them overrun my ability to see that I am worthy - just as I am, I tear myself down far worse than anyone else ever could. 

And it's hard. Very hard. I've had quite a few experiences, more recently than in my past, where someone has told me that I am not good enough as I am. When that's replayed in my head over and over I simply hear, "I am not worth it. I do not have value outside what I can prove I am able to give. So prove it. If you can't - obviously you don't deserve it." Whatever "it" is. I do not doubt my capabilities to perform, but faith in others to want me just as I am without what I can give them is not a sure thing in my head. 

So, I'm working on it.

On my other blogs that I've had (and not kept up with), I would never have written about this. Never. But, this is a place for me to be myself, to be honest. So, I'm being honest. I'm not perfect, I don't have all the answers, I need help and have asked for it.

I'm finding a way to make sure I know I am worth it. 


Alyssa @ Sugar, Spice, and a Dash of Advice said...

Hi Mallory! I wanted to respond to your comment you left on my blog but your email address isn't attached! This was such a thoughtful and raw post and your strength shines through. I would love to talk about my job anytime, feel free to send me an email :) Nice to "meet" you!


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