So, I've had a lot of reasons to be pretty introspective and self-scrutinizing lately. I've come up with a few things in me that I'd like to change. Character traits I'd like to free myself of. I know, I know, you're supposed to embrace your flaws, not override them--so maybe change isn't even possible. But these are unhealthy things about me that I would like to root out.
Sorry in advance for the personal post, guys. Its a diary moment. I could write about this in my actual paper journal, but I'm hoping there will be some interesting food for thought in here. Or maybe I'm just too tired to use a pen. Anyway . . .
Things I'd like to be free of:
Guilt- Guilt is a big thing for me. Its haunted me for forever. People get irritated with me because I'm constantly saying "I'm sorry" and "Are you mad at me?", even (especially) when I've done nothing wrong. The reason I constantly feel guilty partly goes back to my childhood, when I felt it was my personal responsibility to keep my family on an even keel. I did a pretty good job, but whenever things began to fall apart, I would take that as a personal failure on my part. Hence, guilt. The other reason I feel guilt is because somehow this sense of responsibility for everyone else's wellbeing has spread to the entire world for me. I've folded, caved. I have been unable to help everyone in the world. There are problems I have to outright ignore. Once again, this inability to help everyone on the planet feels like a personal failing, and I feel constant, intense guilt.
Sadness - Let me preface this by saying I don't want to be entirely free of sadness. Sadness can be healthy. Tears are a good way to release intense emotion. What I mean when I say I want to be free of sadness (and this is something almost no one will understand) is I want to be free of the lingering sense of sadness that I carry with me in the pit of my stomach. Like, all the time. From other bipolars I've talked to (there's that topic again . . .I can see you rolling your eyes), there is a core of intense emotion in them that can't be shaken. Often, this is an intense sadness that just sits there in your gut. Its not sadness for any particular reason. It feels like all of the sadness in the world has been soaked into you like a sponge. My theory is that manic phases are an effort to drown out the sadness, while depressive phases are succumbing to it. When my meds are on track, that feeling goes away, and life feels much less difficult because I'm not dealing with all the sadness in the world, so maybe there is something to my theory that intense sadness is just part of the whole bipolar shtick.
Fat - I know what I should say here is "I want to be free of my poor body image", but most of the time I don't really have one. I look like a goof. Sometimes I look like a slob. I've never had a model's body, and I never will. My personality makes me endearing, I think, so I really don't have so many poor body image issues as I did a few years back. Before I realized how cool I am (ego kick). But yes, I do want to get rid of my massive coating of fluff (under which there is a good deal of muscle, I think). Sometimes I feel trapped in my own body. Like I'm drowning in unnecessary pounds of flesh. It feels yucky. I don't like it. This is an easy fix, and yet a hard one. So difficult to get up the energy to pursue a fitness regimen when its constantly snowing and cold and your body is telling you to hibernate.
Compulsive Behavior - Once again, this may be associated with bipolarity, but that really isn't an excuse. I tend to get very dog-with-bone about certain things. I'll get an idea in my head, a notion, a perceived problem, and I will.not.rest. until whatever it is has been resolved. This is not only exhausting, but it makes me pretty much harass anyone who might be involved until they cave and talk to me about it.
The Need for Positive Affirmation - Positive feedback from people is a good thing. . .a wonderful thing, when freely given. My problem is, I often dig for it. Try to get people to give it to me. Part of this is an anxiety issue, part of it ties back to my guilt. I want people to reaffirm for me that I am indeed a good person, despite my failings. This is probably the trait that ticks me off the most about myself. I should be stronger. I should be able to give myself that affirmation. In general, I should feel more secure. Its annoying to me, and its annoying to other people. I don't know why I do it, and I don't know how to stop.
The truth is, I don't know how to be free any of these things, really (except being fat and to an extent being compulsive). I can't bend my head around concepts of just picking myself up and not feeling sad, accepting myself as I am so I don't need affirmation, realizing that there is no reason to feel guilt. I try to understand these things, but I can't. Its like my brain shuts off and goes a little slackjawed when I try to work through it in my mind.
So, that's where I am, and more about me than any of you wanted to know. If anyone has any suggestions for me on how to work on some of this crap, please send them my way. I really don't want to pay for a therapist :p