Here are quotes I wrote down from my recent therapy session that included my key supporters.
Their observations and view of me include:
“Inconsistency of saying one thing and doing another”
“Actions build untrust”
“Doesn’t have a consistent story”
“It’s hard for me to find firm ground to stand on, too trust”
Whether or not I believe they are true doesn’t matter.
In my head, I have created my own BRAND, my own way of viewing myself and my interaction with others. But knowing how people’s minds work, I would say that these comments are true from the perspective of those that said them.
And it hurts to hear them said out loud.
But then again, that’s what the session was designed to do. Get things out in the open. And my depression has created many obstacles to building trust. Depression taught me to be secretive, to be alone, and to never share my thoughts, feelings and especially not to share my emotions.
My plans belong to me and no one else.
This type of “it’s about me” thinking is very damaging. To not consider the consequences of my actions is selfish. Depression had me thinking that this was normal. That everyone else could not possibly understand my plan, so there was no point in including them in it.
Retiring early, a year ago, was something depression helped me do.
Things were going to well and it just didn’t seem right that I would be enjoying the fruits of my labors. I had worked over 40 years to get here, and depression hated the fact that I was happy.
And so, it whispered in my ear an idea that turned out to be disastrous. I did not know depression was planning to send me into the abyss and shove me up against the wall as it showed me the path to early retirement. Depression lied to me. Imagine that.
What I heard from depression was “this will be fun.”
You will retire four to seven years earlier than you planned and work your side business from home. You’ll be your own boss and set your own schedule. This internal dialogue between me and depression continued for several months before I was fully on board. And the more I obsessed with this all or nothing idea, the more secretive I became.
Which led me to the hospital seeking professional medical attention.
Now I am in a therapy session with some of my supporters. And what they are saying about my behavior over the years is chilling. Four months after getting out of the hospital, I thought I was making progress. On the surface, I have started back to work and am enjoying it.
The day to day interaction with others gives me that sense of belonging. And the fact that I am no longer self-funding our healthcare expenses, is an added plus. Yet hearing these observations and concerns about my behavior over the years is making me very sad.
I am disappointed and angry at myself, that I did not stand up to depression sooner.
I am so mad that it has taken 43 years to finally say, enough is enough. And even with all this newfound knowledge, I am still making mistakes. Automatic thoughts pop up and I don’t recognize them immediately. I make decisions that involve others, with only a cursory glance at how it will impact them.
Yet I have caught many unhelpful thinking styles in action, and have realized that I have choices, that I can ask better questions, that there are alternatives. I am gathering tools and know that I am making progress.
So, I will own these poignant observations and use them as a road map to improve.
While it hurts me to think I have been like that, it hurts me more to understand that this is how those who love me see me. This gives me the courage to face these facts and improve upon them.
I want to be trusted, not thought of as Pinocchio.