regulating the dys

having agreed on postponing our sessions until July, one of the things my therapist emphasized during our last appointment was that i really need to keep talking about whatever it is that i feel i need to talk about. this seemed counterintuitive, but also validating. guilty as i feel about it, much as i wish i could stop it, there’s still loads and loads of things i need to share before i can process & get past them.

and yes, i’m aware that talking about shit in abstract terms is one of my favorite ways of avoiding real responsibility. it’s a coping mechanism of sorts. not a very productive one, to be sure, but a skill nonetheless.

what i will try to do is i will try to make the abstract concrete, and to put a more positive spin on things. I can’t help being a verbal processor; might as well turn it into a strength. if all i do is hypothesize, i should at least be able to shift my perspective, and potentially it can make all the difference.

to my surprise, after my all time low didn’t come the biggest high of my life. that’s what would normally have happened. but this roller-coaster ride wasn’t sustainable. and so i settled on a place in between, or rather removed from, depression and happiness. i put a hold on experiencing my emotions, because i needed to break the pattern in order to examine it.

examine it i did, though i’m still not clear on why it’s there or how to change it for good — but at least I know about it. and i know that certain things contribute to my mood getting better or worse, and there’s not that One Thing that i was looking for that would solve All My Problems.

The concrete has always sounded incredibly banal to me, but I have come to understand that there’s no shame in admitting that it does help.

for whatever reason, i resented the fact that im actually relatively low-maintenance, and I don’t need that much to be happy. solution? i didn’t do any of those things, because they seemed pathetic. unambitious. boring.

it’s almost as if i wanted to amount to fuck knows what, without meeting any of my most basic needs first. but you know what, you can’t just skip steps like that, and neglecting self-care catches up with you eventually. I have to take care of myself not out of vanity, but because nobody else will.

i also now appreciate that self-regulation is a complex skill, but very much a teachable one. And that precisely because it is so complex, sometimes baby steps can take you further than you thought they would (or could).

i get sad sometimes, but i can be okay with that sadness. i may not be able to make it go away, but there are things i can do to get through it. make it more manageable. learn from it. and if all else fails, distract myself from it until it passes on its own as it always does.

it will come back. but i will be better prepared to deal with it.

PS i haven’t yet figured out how to credit the artist, but the featured image is one of my favorites by @PDLComics (obviously).

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