December 11, 2017

my own worst frenemy

Last week, I had a dream that really threw me off my game. It was one of those dreams where something awful happens and you wake up knowing it wasn't real, but it still feels like it happened.

Without getting into the details of it, because they're just too sad for a blog post I'm sharing during the holiday season, basically I woke up at 4:30 completely gutted and devastated. Even as I told myself "it was only a dream," the pit in my stomach, the ache in my heart, seemed to grow stronger. Unable to get back to sleep, I got out of bed thinking I'd get some writing done or do something productive. Instead, my mind would wander back to the dream, bringing with it the self doubt and pain.

I carried it with me all day. The idea that I don't take good enough care of myself from a diet and exercise standpoint. That I haven't accomplished as much as I'd like. That maybe I'm all alone in this world, because of some horrible flaw with myself. I'm not fishing for compliments or validation. I'm not throwing a pity party. I know I have plenty to be happy about. I know I have good people in my life. I know I'm a work in progress, but I'm trying. But none of that mattered during the day after this dream. I knew I was okay, but I didn't feel okay.

The kicker in all this is that I've really been trying to adjust my thinking. I've been trying so hard to be positive. Towards others and myself. I'm not a negative person, but, as I've mentioned before, I deal with some anxiety and can get overwhelmed, which leads to "woe is me moments." I've been doing my best to not dwell on my mistakes or mis-steps, but instead celebrate the good part. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of it until I had this dream.

Thanks, sub-conscious.

Because that's what it was. It was my sub-conscious pointing out my biggest self-image issues, my biggest fears, and really throwing them back at myself in a mean package. Ever since, I've been thinking about this a lot. And here's what it really comes down to:

No one will ever be meaner to me than I am to myself.

Some of the mean, nasty thoughts I get are things I'd never say to another person. They're words I wouldn't let others say about or to my friends. Yet I'm bullying myself. Constantly.

Unfortunately, I don't have a magical answer on how to make this all better. There isn't a "but wait, the next day everything was perfect and I lived happily ever after." (Though, the next day was better than the day before, and the effects from the mean dream had lessened.)

I decided to share this story with you today, because this time of year can be really stressful and difficult. It can feel so lonely, even when you're spending so much time with friends and family. I just wanted you to know that if you're feeling bad or sad, you're not alone. I wanted to urge all of us to be better friends to ourselves. I wanted to remind myself that these bad feelings do pass, and I need to remember that.

Your feelings are valid. And if they're ever overwhelming, please speak with someone. It can be scary getting help, but even the strongest of us need it sometimes.

I'll note that it's a few days later and I'm feeling better. (Emotionally. I caught a cold that's been going around my office, but what are you going to do there? At least it wasn't during NaNoWriMo, right? :D) It's good for me to remember that.

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