Today was my last day of treatment in Sacramento. After 5 weeks of isolation, really hard work, crying, a break up, and panic attacks, I have successfully completed my treatment here. But this does not mean that my work is over; far from it. It means that I have finally gotten off my butt after falling flat on it and I’ve started to walk.
I resisted this program very much when I started. But I’m glad that I went against my gut for once because it was ridiculously rewarding.
I am incredibly grateful to my therapist and the people in group therapy who helped me. I grew every single day as a person from what I learned from my therapist, and from them. I had numerous accomplishments during that time.
- No panic attacks for 2 weeks
- Forgave people I thought I couldn’t
- Dean’s List
- Felt good about blog posts
- Able to go roller skating after a panic attack
- Learned a new roller trick
- Able to catch cognitive distortions
- Didn’t beat myself up
- Finally able to do mindfulness meditation
- Wrote a thank you note to myself and believed it
- Being really and truly proud of myself
- Got to a zero in an exposure
- Made it successfully through this program
- Able to sing Adele with crying.
Although some of these accomplishments don’t seem like much, every single one of them was huge for me. I started treating small things like learning a new roller skating trick and able to sing Adele without crying as huge victories and that made me feel like a more worthy person. My therapist helped me with that. When I said that I learned a new roller skating trick after saying that I was able to catch my cognitive distortions (aka hating myself) she told me to write it down in my accomplishments. I guess its little things like that where it makes just living feel like an accomplishment.
- Started self-love
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Said goodbye to my hurtful past
- Started looking and loving the present
- Stopped self-harm for good
- No more suicidal thoughts
- Stopped thinking of myself as fucked up
- Learned mindfulness
- Focused on the positive
What did I learn?
I learned the difference between self-love and being egotistical. I learned that fighting anxiety will always make it worse, but embracing it and hugging it till it goes away actually works (lookin’ at you exposures). I learned that the wall I built doesn’t keep me safe, it keeps me closed and therefore when me and my therapist started knocking it down, I became significantly more open. Just because the wall is starting to come down doesn’t mean I’m in danger, it means I’m exposed; which isn’t always a bad thing. I learned that opening up to people doesn’t make me weak or exposed; it educates and gives people hope.
I learned how to treat myself like I would a best friend: tenderly and with all the love in the world. I’m still working on it and it will continue to be a work in progress, but I’m hoping that I will one day be able to love myself as much I will a significant other.
I learned fear can be turned into strength. I learned sometimes you have to do the things that terrify you in order to move. My therapist compared it to the “Going on a Bear Hunt” story. You encounter something; you can’t go around it, you can’t go below it, and you can’t go above it. So you got to go through it.
I learned that change doesn’t happen unless you make it. Just because I wanted to change didn’t mean that it was just going to come to me. I had to actually work towards the change and accept that change is scary. But its a good kind of scary. Like a roller coaster kind of scary.
If you have started your first steps in treatment, I want you to know that it is okay to take them tentatively. This is a progress where you are going to change as human in a really drastic way, and its going to be scary and its going to be a little terrifying too. But please trust me when I say that it is going to be so worth it. Keep a journal so you can keep track of your progress. Also, when you finish your work isn’t done. You have started a new chapter in your life where you are using your tools that you have gained through treatment and you are applying them to your life. Now, you can start living.
Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?