Friday, November 20, 2015

Therapy and Brene Brown

Anxiety and depression are two things that I have battled with since I was young. I didn't know that was what was going on at the time but looking back it made complete sense about some of the phases I went through as a pre-teen and teenager.

When I went to College I was no longer one of the smartest kids in my class and that was a huge wake up call for me. I also had no idea what gorgeous women would be at Carolina....all 70%+ of them. I felt unattractive, unintelligent and unspecial.

I was struggling with some of my classes and went to see a Psychiatrist thinking that I could just get some ritalin. Well after some testing it came back that I had Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). WHAT?! Yep. And with that, I was in a "Major Depressive Episode". I tried Prozac, Wellbutrin and ended up just going off of them when I left school. Most recently I have been on a very low dose of Zoloft to keep my no wire hangers tendencies at bay. That was prescribed by my favorite Dr. here in Charlotte. I came back from a Cruise and told her about my anxiety attacks and she couldn't stop laughing and said "So you wanted to be the Cruise Director and thought you would have done a better job?" Well yes. So zoloft it was.
A few months ago a friend asked if I wanted to go see Brene Brown at an event our Church was hosting. I didn't know who Brene was but she said it was sold out so I figured it must be worth getting dressed up on a school night. To say I was blown away is a total understatement. I cried, I laughed and as cheesy as it sounds I was moved. Moved to do something about what is going on inside my brain.

She immediately won me over with her sarcasm and potty mouth. She admits marriage is hard. She admits kids are hard, that mothering is hard, that being a woman is hard. She says we all tell ourselves a shitty first draft (Our SFD) which is basically a story we make up in our heads about all the things we hate about ourselves and feel others hate about us as well. Via Steve Safigan:

First, Dr. Brown recommends that we identify the story we make up by writing out what she calls a “sh***y first draft” (SFD). She cites research by Dr. James Pennebaker about the value of writing down our thoughts and feelings in order to organize the experience. It’s important that we don’t filter the experience or worry about how our story makes us look. We search for the hidden story we’re telling ourselves about our emotions.
“What do I know objectively?”After we identify the story we’re making up with our SFD, it’s time to probe our assumptions, which are usually self-defeating. Dr. Brown recommends asking ourselves other questions:
  • “What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?”
  • “What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?”
Then we can look for the difference—the delta—between the story we make up and a more objective truth.
She says that if you write about your trauma for 25 minutes a week it helps. You are externalizing it. I am going to force myself to do this. I have mentioned before blogging is therapeutic and even if I don't post it I can save it as a draft. 

Brene also said this and this is where I started crying. She said we are least likely to ask for help when we are drowning. I have been drowning. This blog and my Instagram/Facebook posts about my mother are my cry for help. To me I feel like asking for help is a cry for attention, but in my heart that isn't what it is. I work from home, alone, and this can be incredibly isolating. This past year has put us through the ringer. I'm mentally and emotionally exhausted. And when I get a breather someone gets sick, or we have a setback with Mom and I have been relying on friends to help pick me up. And my friends have come in to help full force. Sarah, you called our hairdresser and had her show up at my house b/c I wouldn't take the time to go get a haircut. Katherine, Cory, Lauren, Sarah, you all dropped off meals. Kathryn, Elisabeth, Elie, you sent cards and flowers. Betsy, Abby, Olivia, Margaret, Holly you all came to walk with me. Mary Katherine you were determined to make little Amelie a birthday cake. Emily, Ashley, Nina, Alicia you have brought me to tears from your comments and messages. BS, Kristen, Allison, Katie and Ashley, your care package basically made me cry for an hour. 

When family has failed me this year (and no not mine) friends have taken the baton and run their hearts out for me. I feel guilty for this. Guilty for needing help and attention and love. Repeating my SFD to myself, Oh that needy Katharine, whining again on social media. What does she want now? Which is where the topic of this post comes in.

Brene says that therapy is life changing. We all need an hour to cry, scream, yell about everything in our lives. I remember the first appointment I ever had at UNC. I felt a huge weight was lifted. So after asking the Mom group here in Charlotte for recs off to Therapy I went. 

After only two appointments (I missed one...completely forgot....begin Alzheimer's paranoia) we have come to one conclusion. I have crippling perfectionism. I want everything to be perfect and wonderful and beat myself up when things aren't. I have an obsession with pictures. I worry too much. My SFD is a book worth of things I hate about myself. And I'm in there laughing and crying and able to look at this and say what in the hell?! 

I want to write more about this but this post has already lost 98% of the 6 readers perusing it today. What I will end with is Therapy is not taboo. It isn't silly or something to be ashamed of. If you have thought about it before go for it.