Yesterday was a Therapy day, and we talked about a lot of things. We started off with the positive affirmations I’d chosen, and I expressed how it just felt like I was lying to myself. She suggested I modify them so that I couldn’t call myself a liar, and maybe down the road change them back. So my new daily affirmations are:
- What I’ve done is in the past, and now I can create my future. I’m trying to forgive myself.
- I am in control of my actions. I have the power, right now, to decide what I want to do.
- I’m trying to love myself more every day.
We talked about the idea of medicine and whether or not I need some. Right now, she’s hesitant to recommend anything because this current bout of depression is brought about by grief. If I was still having anxiety attacks, or was completely nonfunctional, maybe then we’d look at some medicines. Right now, though, she’d rather me focus on coping skills and see if that helps. If I’m able to come out of this grief and still suffer, maybe then we can talk about medicine again. I respect that approach, so I’m not arguing with her about it.
I also mentioned that I haven’t been writing quite as often, because it felt like I was just repeating myself. She suggested I change the format a little bit. I could write letters to my wife and lay out all of the things I’m thinking about and doing. She said I could store them away, and maybe one day down the road share them with her if we reached a point where she’d want to read them. That got me thinking about this blog, and whether she’s reading it or not. Back in the beginning, I used to have a program running on here that logged the visits. It wasn’t anything invasive, just a record of what IP people came from and if they came here from Google, what terms they searched for to land here. It’s probably still running, but I don’t remember what site to go to to check it, or what my credentials would have been way back then, or, most importantly, if I’d want to know the truth.
If she isn’t reading it, I think that might hurt. I’d think that maybe I was wrong, and she didn’t care anymore. If she is reading it, though, I’d be too curious as to why she was. Would it be because she still cared and wanted to check in on me without having to communicate with me? Would it be because she was looking for ammunition for a surprise divorce settlement? (I don’t think that’s likely, but I might’ve had some dreams where she shows up with Johnny Cochran. It’s not like I’d fight her in court, though. She can have everything.) Either way, I don’t know that I want to know. Anyway, I’ll probably start typing letters. Writing on paper just kills my wrist, despite not having a carpal tunnel anymore. I might post them here as private, or maybe password protected.
My therapist suggested I start looking for the things that bring me joy. They don’t have to be big things, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of joy. They can be as simple as eating an ice cream sandwich. That was one of the things I came up with. The other was dancing, although between my bruised-ass hip last week and spraining my ankle last night, that’s not happening a lot lately.
Another suggestion, which I’ve heard before, was come up with three things every day that I’m grateful for before I go to sleep. Last night those things were friends brought me chili for dinner, the bathroom remodel guys finally got the damned tub in, and I couldn’t think of a third. It’s not that a third thing didn’t exist, because surely I’m grateful for a lot of things, but it was more like I was putting too much pressure on myself, or putting too much important on the thing being a “big” thing.
We talked about my cognitive distortion, which is a fancy phrase to describe the negative thoughts/lies I’ve been telling myself my whole life. The self-deprecation and pessimism that my mother refers to as me “being gloomy.” I need to start identifying when I do it, and challenging those thoughts when they happen. Out of everything we’ve talked about in therapy, that literally feels like the most impossible task. (And, in writing that statement, I had a whole wave of negative thoughts, which I identified, and challenged, and went back to re-write that sentence in a less “gloomy” manner.
The last thing we talked about was when I feel the worst. Is there a common trigger? Is it a particular act or thought that brings it on? If I can identify those, could I develop a strategy for coping with them, to prepare for them? I can think of two times when it’s really bad. The first is anytime I walk through the front door and come into the empty house. It’s terrible every time, like walking into this corpse of a home that was once alive with love. The second is bed time. We used to lay next to each other and cuddle or hold hands, and just small talk for a bit before we rolled over to go to sleep. I miss that so much. I miss telling her good night, telling her that I love her mostest and bestest, forever, I promise. I miss it so much that I still say it out loud, every night, before I turn out the lights, and every time, I cry.
I cry because it’s still true. I may have made terrible decisions and mistakes, but that’s been true through all of it.