Why do I suddenly feel the need to explain myself?
I am almost five months out from my hospital stay for depression. That is almost five months of living with depression, of saying the word depression out loud, and keeping depression out in the open where I can see it.
As I wrote the sentence about being out of the hospital for almost five months, I suddenly felt I needed to explain that it was a “short stay.” I felt I need to say it was my choice, that I wasn’t committed. I felt myself wondering what I sound like and how it will sound to others.
This is the first time that has happened since I began my blog. Everything I have written up until this moment has been unfiltered, whatever I was thinking and feeling. I have not held anything back. So, I was surprised to feel that impulse to consider “what people would think.”
Now I do not know if this means I am getting better or getting worse?
I do know that it bears examination. The whole idea of this blog is to write out what is going on in my recovery. It is not meant to be a polished piece of literary work that was massaged by an editorial team for correctness. It is my raw existence, as I think and feel it, written down as a form of self-therapy.
I have explored my feelings and emotions by journaling about them as I recognize them.
The act of journaling for me is therapeutic in and of itself. It is spontaneous and unfiltered. Or at least it was until just now. Why would I care about what people will think about me being in the hospital? Why did “what will people think” even pop into my head?
I have blogged about some very, very personal s*^t.
I have not held anything back. But writing my 122nd blog post, I wondered what people will think. With everything I have written about myself, how I could I even think that someone is going to focus on how I ended up in the hospital and whether it was a free choice. Now I am having flashbacks.
Finding all the local resources I could, back four months ago, I decided to attend a SMART recovery meeting at On Our Own, an organization that has been providing recovery support to individuals for over 30 years. The meeting started at 6 PM, and I arrived a little early. The instructor had not arrived, so I was standing on the front porch of the urban home that had been converted into their facility.
The road in front of the building has a stop light near it, allowing cars to get out of the side street.
When the light is red, cars will back up in front of the building. This means one of the things people can do while they are waiting is to look at the building and the people on the front porch. Being my first visit, and being very new in my journey towards recovery, I felt ashamed to be standing there.
I felt that everyone was looking at me, wondering why I was on the porch. “What are they thinking about me?” This is what I was thinking. Can you imagine? I felt almost paranoid, that everyone was looking at me, that everyone was wondering why I was there, that everyone was focused on me and what I was doing.
I understand now that this is an unhelpful thinking style.
I am catching myself in these all the time now and asking better questions about the thoughts and feeling to determine f they are legitimate and if I should pay attention to them. I have caught many small decisions and thoughts before they became big thoughts. Of course, this is a work in progress, and I have not been entirely successful.
But I am also realizing that one day, one thought, one less than perfect response will not send me over the edge into the abyss.
I am much more open to myself, my thoughts and my feelings. I am allowing myself to feel things, to be happy, angry, lonely, and tired. I can recognize when I am feeling one of these and how it may skew my thinking. In fact, by realizing I am tired, I can understand that the automatic thought that just popped into my head may not be valid, that what it is really telling me is that I need to get some rest and then rethink the idea.
Once the underlying issue is resolved, the unhelpful thought goes away as well.
I will work on understanding the reason why suddenly, I was worried what a reader will think. Yesterday I was reading one of the WRAP books and they talked about journaling. In it, the author recommended not correcting any writing mistakes, just forging ahead and writing everything as it comes out, no filter, no going back and correcting things.
My journaling, blogging, is unfiltered and what I am thinking at the moment. But, because I am putting my writing out where others can see it, I am going back and correcting my spelling. I am not editing my thoughts, rather I am making them readable for myself and others.
Tomorrow I will start on my list of what my ideal life will look like. That was my original idea until I got to the second paragraph. Today it took a back seat to why I would suddenly be worried about what others think.
What do you worry about?