Last Tuesday, I had my first real therapy session. (The first one was just questionnaires, mostly.) I held in my tears until she shut the door and said, “So, how was your week?” Because, it wasn’t great. We talked about how my negative thinking is affecting not only me, but everyone around me. She helped me come up with three good things (so far) about me that are positive:
- I am a mother.
- I am determined.
- I am strong.
She told me I have to stop with the ‘buts’. For example, she said “you are a mom.” I said, “but not a good one.” I may not feel like a good mother in the moment, but I have to realize that I am doing the best I can for my kids with all that I know right now (and hopefully I will learn to be an even better mom as I learn to change my thinking and behavior.)
I am determined, BUT not as determined as I could be, or should be. Then she reminded me that I am here, at therapy, getting help. I sought it out, and I got up and went, even though I was scared.
I am strong, BUT not that strong. I fail constantly, at everything. Then she reminded me, that if I am determined to do the work, I will continue to get stronger each day, and I am fighting for my mental health, my marriage, my kids, my life.
My homework was to find positive things about myself, tiny or large, and refuse to add the ‘but’. Like, I took the kids to the park tonight. Before, I would have added, “BUT I didn’t let them play very long, because I was anxious about all of the older kids at the playground.” BUT, I’m not allowed to do that anymore. I need to change my thinking. I WILL fail, but I am not allowed to hate myself for it, and I’m supposed to try again. And again, and again, until I can find several positive things about myself, and not even think about the ‘buts’.
I AM A MOTHER.
I AM DETERMINED.
I AM STRONG.