Recovery is constant resistance 

I wish I could see what you think you see in me. Just once I would like to be at peace with myself and look in the mirror through your rose-coloured glasses. But then you would have to take them off and see me for who I really am. I don’t think I want that quite yet.

Above is an unfinished draft I wrote a while back. On the 18th of September, specifically. This was written on a bad day.

I used to deflect compliments and praise because I strongly believed that to love myself, the love had to be intrinsic. It couldn’t rely on other people’s opinions of me. While I still believe this is true, I now realize that I took that sentiment too far… As I tend to do with most things.

My emotions and thoughts shift from one extreme to another. On bad days, I think I’m worthless. I think I’m a failure. Sometimes, I even feel like I hate myself. On good days I am confident, easy-going, and full of positive energy. Obviously the good exists. It is there, and it is intrinsic. However, the habit of refusing compliments is so deeply ingrained in my psyche that even on good days I cannot accept them. On bad days it’s even worse.

What I am starting to realize is that if I open myself up and let some of the positive in from the people around me, it can help coax out the self love that already exists. This is an important realization especially for the bad days. I’ve been living so long believing in this delusion that everyone who loves and cares for me must be wrong or mistaken. I could go on like that forever, if I allowed it. I could stay miserable forever.

It’s hard to let go of those thinking processes. They’re hardwired into my brain like a bad habit; no – like an addiction. I know they’re bad for me, but I’ve lived with them so long; I’ve lived with them all my life. It’s a constant effort to break free. I improve, then relapse. Improve. Relapse. Repeat.

I’m fighting against biology and brain structure. I’m resisting the pathways that have been ingrained within me. Through my studies, though, I know that it is possible to change. The brain is surprisingly plastic and the body is surprisingly adaptive. It’s possible to override these patterns. It’s not easy, but just like anything else that takes work, it will be worth it in the end.

Heavy

Today, she had me sit down with my arms outstretched in front of me. In my hands she placed a basket full of polished stones. The point of this exercise it to show you that even if you can hold the basket with no problem, over time, the longer you hold on, the heavier it becomes. She looked at me with sad eyes. Kind, but sad. She told me I hold on too long to too much.

I’ll admit I’ve been through a lot and I always forget how much I take on others emotions. I forget how much I want to take care of others.

We went back to the beginning, where I told her about my childhood, even my infancy when my mom suffered from post-partum depression. She said when we are born, we are pure and wholesome. We are born good. Then we grow up and the world around us shapes us. Sometimes it changes us to the point of self hatred and we believe we have no self worth. She said I needed to stop taking on other’s pain. My friends, my supervisor, even my mother’s pain.

The more we spoke, an image surfaced in my mind. The image of a bright eyed infant born as a natural empath.

She rests peacefully in her mother’s arms without a care in the world. Her mother fights the loneliness, guilt, and harrowing depression while trying her best to care for her child. Holding the baby close drives the darkness away.¬†

The baby senses this change. The empath in her yearns to care for her mother as much as she yearns for care from her mother. They become inseparable. The child cries and will not be soothed by anyone but her mother. Adults chuckle affectionately at the attachment. The child cries when being dropped off at school. She becomes anxious when apart from her mother. Everyone assumes she is just shy and afraid of strangers. What they do not know is that she also takes on her mother’s pain. She wants to hold her pain, to take it away. To hold it in her outstretched arms, eager to help.¬†

How to tell if you’re an empath.
The science behind empathy.